Ernie Ball claims it has invented an unbreakable guitar string. The forthcoming Paradigm strings lasted through 90 days of playing in the company’s tests.
A year after Playboy adopted a no-nudes policy in a splash of p.r., the magazine changed its mind, deciding that the new format was not exactly what its readers had asked for. The revamped style also had not boosted the Playboy brand in the way the company had expected.
An album recorded by Fleetwood Mac will be released as a Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie album after third singer Stevie Nicks couldn’t make it into the studio to record. Stevie will be along for the tour, but there are hints that that may be the last we hear from the band. Mick Fleetwood has suggested that the new album is strong enough to serve as the band’s swan song. Christine McVie, though, has been more optimistic about future work from the band.
Death: Chuck Berry, pioneer of rock and roll guitar and perhaps the first successful example of the modern singer-songwriter.
Berry recorded a new album before his death, and the advance single, “Big Boys,” is a likely hit, a catchy, compact song built on the vintage high-energy Chuck Berry sound.
Todd Rundgren showed what looks like a new album cover on Twitter. The image is a shadowy portrait of the artist with the title White Knight.
The long-awaited new single from Lorde is apparently called “Green Light.” The lyrics use driving around in a car as a symbol of freedom and regret after a romantic breakup. Few details are available about the album to follow.
Deep Purple acknowledges difficulties in continuing to show up for work after half a century. The band nevertheless completed a new album, Infinite, for an April release, and is preparing to head out on what they say may be their last extended tour.
Billy Sherwood will be the bassist and lead singer of Asia in this year’s shows after the death of John Wetton. Sherwood also currently plays with Yes along with Asia keyboard player Geoff Downes and former Asia members Steve Howe and Jay Schellen. Virtually a complete Asia lineup was present, then, when Yes played Asia hit “Heat of the Moment” as a tribute to Wetton at the end of several Yes shows last month.
Advance snippets of a new Roger Waters album reveal a sound very much like Pink Floyd. Waters had pursued a sparser and more electronic sound in the decades since leaving Pink Floyd, but may feel an obligation to keep the Pink Floyd sound going now that the band has broken up.
Lady Gaga is the featured performer at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. As usual, the details of the musical performance are a closely held secret, but given Gaga’s highly creative costumes and staging during her career, there is a great deal of speculation about what her show might include.
A new Blondie album and tour are on the way. Blondie is set to support Phil Collins on at least one show of his upcoming summer tour. Rumors in December had pointed to a possible Genesis reunion this year, but now with word of a Phil Collins tour, any work with Genesis will have to wait.
Death: John Wetton, singer and bassist of the rock band Asia.
New albums in 2017 are announced or anticipated from an impressive list of recording artists including:
- The Fixx
- Shania Twain
- Bruce Springsteen
- St. Vincent
- Depeche Mode
- Justin Timberlake
- Kylie Minogue
- Avril Lavigne
- Taylor Swift
- James Blunt
- Noel Gallagher
- John Mayer
- Colin Hay
- Mike Oldfield
- Take That
- Deep Purple
- Fleetwood Mac
The new Rolling Stones album Blue & Lonesome, out tomorrow, is not the album of new material the band started working on a year ago. Think of it instead as the sound check for that album. The band was sounding out a recording studio by playing songs they knew, and within a matter of days had recorded enough old Chicago blues tunes to have an album. And that album of new material they were working on? That will take a little longer, the band says.
Forest fires in eastern Tennessee forced Dolly Parton’s Dollywood resort to close yesterday. Fires have destroyed just a few cabins affiliated with the resort. The resort itself has not been damaged, but it is affected by the smoke.
Rumors about the iPhone 8 suggest that it may have a glass front and back, an OLED touch screen, and a wireless charging pad. The new phone model could be released as early as the second quarter of 2017. In keeping with past practice, Apple has not confirmed any specifics.
On the Anderson Rabin Wakeman tour, keyboardist Rick Wakeman describes “telepathy” between himself and guitarist Trevor Rabin that keeps the two musically in sync.
The recent Yes tour was shaken by an earthquake that struck near the east coast of Japan hours after the band’s first show of the tour. The Japan tour also marked the return of drummer Alan White after back surgery.
Bob Dylan is the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. The academy compared Dylan to Homer in announcing the selection. Dylan himself has had relatively little to say about the award, beyond expressing his astonishment.
The Anderson Rabin Wakeman tour has been a simpler affair than the grandiose schemes we heard about over the last five years. The three former Yes members, singer Jon Anderson, guitarist Trevor Rabin, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, are supported on stage by only a bassist and drummer — progressive rock bassist Lee Pomeroy and Rabin’s longtime drummer Lou Molino III. The set list consists almost entirely of 1970s Yes tunes. Never mind that Rabin did not join Yes until later. He has proved to be more versatile than ever on guitar, looking almost effortless even on songs he must never have played before.
Touch screens have arrived on the desktop. Apple incorporated a small touch-screen control into the keyboard of its new MacBook Pro. Microsoft’s first computers are stylus-friendly large-format touch screens that seem intended to act as a digital drafting table.
The new Meat Loaf album Braver Than We Are resulted when songwriter Jim Steinman persuaded the singer to take on a more theatrical set of songs with deeper character portrayals. Dressed up with a larger-than-life production, the songs decidedly don’t represent the period in which they were made — something you might also say about Bat Out of Hell, Loaf and Steinman’s first collaboration almost 40 years ago.
Six-second video loop service Vine is shutting down.
Apple is set to introduce a waterproof phone at a September 7 media event. In order to make the phone waterproof, the headphone jack is removed, though users can add an adapter to use standard headphone connectors. Rumor has it that the dedicated volume control buttons are also gone. Hints in the event invitation suggest that the new phone will provide an improved video conversation experience.
The surviving founding members of 1970s English jazz fusion band If released a new album If 5 earlier this year. The release, available in the EU only, features woodwinds player Dave Quincy and guitarist Terry Smith with a new singer and rhythm section.
The size of the U.S. television audience is declining about 1 percent er year, but the audience for the summer Olympics last month hints at a faster rate of decline. Viewership for the Olympics was down 20 to 40 percent from 2012.
Isle of Man is releasing a series of postage stamps of artwork by Roger Dean, including images from Yes album covers.
Prince’s family have set October 13 as the date for an official tribute concert in Minneapolis.
A Memphis-themed Melissa Etheridge album will be out October 7.
Advance orders for MEmphis Rock and Soul are being taken at PledgeMusic. The capital E in the title isn’t a typo; the first two letters are also the recording artist’s initials.
Alan White Has Back Surgery; Jay Schellen to Join Yes Tour; Rock Vault Closes
Yes drummer Alan White had urgent surgery to repair a damaged disc in his back. The procedure had “a very positive result,” White announced, but with the need for rest and rehab, he will miss most or possibly all of the summer Yes tour.
White joined Yes in 1972, three years after the band was formed, and had never missed a Yes performance since. The summer tour may give White the rare chance to view a Yes concert from an angle other than the drum stool.
Yes’s drummer to start the summer tour next week will be Jay Schellen. No stranger to Yes, Schellen previously played in Asia with Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes. He has appeared on at least eight records over the years with Yes bassist Billy Sherwood, including a tribute album on which, as members of World Trade, they played the Yes song “Wonderous Stories.”
Until this week Schellen was anchoring the Las Vegas music retrospective show Raiding the Rock Vault, which also features Heart guitarist Howard Leese and other musicians borrowed from well-known rock bands of the past three decades.
Schellen had been the show’s drummer since it launched, and though Slaughter drummer Blas Elias stepped in on drums, the show may have decided it couldn’t maintain its momentum without Schellen. While he was packing to go on tour, Rock Vault announced it is closing at the end of the month.
The show had an impressive run, but toward the end showed signs of wear and tear. Nearly all the original cast members were gone and recent months have seen core band members Schellen, Leese, and singer Paul Shortino supported by a revolving cast of musicians.
A jury cleared the Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven” of plagiarism, finding that its opening arpeggios are not the same as a passage from the earlier Randy California instrumental “Tarkus” and not finding evidence of copying during the process of writing “Stairway to Heaven.”
The Fire Aid for Fort McMurray concert met its $2 millon fundraising goal for those affected by a fire that led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alberta last month.
A lawsuit seeks to vacate the copyright of the Woody Guthrie song “This Land Is Your Land.” Researchers found that the song had been published in sheet music 11 years earlier than previously claimed and that its melody is taken from a much older Baptist hymn.
Nickelback headlines the Fire Aid for Fort McMurray concert on June 29 in Edmonton. The benefit concert is the largest music fundraiser to date for Fort McMurray after the northern Canadian city was badly damaged by a wildfire last month.
Bon Jovi have confirmed a new album titled This House Is Not For Sale. The album was recorded in New York with producer John Shanks.
New U.S. postage stamps today celebrate Pluto and the NASA planetary exploration program.
Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro releases his first solo album Someday/Somehow on June 10. Porcaro is the lead singer for most of the album, which also features guest appearances by Michael McDonald and Michael Sherwood.
AC/DC Tour Begins With Axl Rose
AC/DC begins their tour of Europe tonight in Lisbon with Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose filling in on vocals. The band will play 12 shows over the next five weeks.
AC/DC singer Brian Johnson is unable to tour because of an illness causing partial hearing loss, with the risk of total hearing loss if he were to be on a rock stage night after night.
In a BBC interview, Axl explained that AC/DC’s material is more difficult than it sounds, saying he was “just trying to do it justice for the fans.”
Axl will tour with Guns N’ Roses this summer.
AC/DC has had to replace three longtime members since 2014. Before Johnson’s ear problems, there were two other changes, with founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retiring for health issues and drummer Phil Rudd facing legal uncertainties. Both were replaced by musicians who had previously worked with the band.
Finnish operatic metal singer Tarja Turunen is preparing not one but two new albums. The first album, The Brightest Void, is described as “the prequel” to the second, The Shadow Self. The two albums will be released two months apart.
Trevor Horn will be appearing with his former band Yes for two U.K. concerts this month. Yes will surely take the opportunity to try to persuade Horn, who has had a hand in producing five Yes studio albums, to produce a new album with them.
Heart has confirmed a new album, with final mixes underway early in April and a possible release in June.
Bruce Springsteen was quick to cancel an upcoming concert in North Carolina in response to a new discrimination law enacted by the state. Dozens of other performing acts and conference organizers have followed suit and European countries have issued travel advisories cautioning travelers who might visit the state. State tourism officials say the damage to North Carolina’s reputation will last for a generation even if the discrimination law were to be quickly repealed.
Core Entertainment filed for bankruptcy reorganization just weeks after its hit TV series American Idol concluded its last season.
Death: Prince, one of the most versatile and prolific recording artists of recent decades. He was said to have been suffering from the flu.
Music hosting site SoundCloud is hoping to alleviate some of its financial troubles with a new subscription service. The service generally resembles the subscription service on YouTube but is geared toward music listeners instead of viewers.
The Go-Go’s are planning their farewell tour with 21 dates scheduled across North America in August.
Apple has a new patent on technology that removes swear words during music playback.
Heart recorded strings with arranger Paul Buckmaster, apparently for a new album.
Deaths: Keith Emerson, keyboardist of Emerson Lake & Palmer and the most visible rock organist of the 1970s. George Martin, prolific record producer best remembered for his work with the Beatles.
Anderson Rabin Wakeman, three former Yes members, are looking for a top-notch second keyboardist for the tour that will follow their upcoming album. They were unable to recruit Rick Wakeman’s son Adam Wakeman, however; Adam will be touring with Black Sabbath this year.
The FBI persuaded a court to order Apple to create a jailbreak OS for its iPhone 5, which the FBI would use to extract data from phones of suspected criminals. The proposed project would cost Apple an estimated $50 million in labor, and Apple fears that its credibility and the security of its iOS operating system would be compromised. In court papers, Apple has objected on Second and Fifth Amendment grounds.
Television model Kylie Jenner’s attempt to register her first name as a trademark has run into a problem, a formal objection filed by the more famous Kylie, singer Kylie Minogue. Minogue is the owner of the kylie.com Internet domain and the recording artist of the Kylie album, so she has some serious credibility behind her claim on the Kylie name. Attempts to register trademarks of personal names are usually turned down in any case.
Drummer Ginger Baker announced an abrupt retirement after receiving medical advice about “serious heart problems.” A planned spring tour with Ginger Baker’s Air Force is canceled and the “Gigs” page has been removed from the web site. Baker wrote in his blog that he may never work again. He is 76 years old.
Fresh off their Hall of Fame selection, Cheap Trick is preparing to release a new album Bang, Zoom, Crazy . . . Hello on April 1. The band is using preorders on a crowdfunding site to finance the release.
Rick Aster says his new book Routine SAS Low-Level I/O Programming is not meant for a broad audience, but only for a small subset of SAS developers. “This is the most specialized book I’ve ever published,” Aster says. The book is set for release on the Breakfast imprint on March 22.
Rick Aster’s March of Trash challenge is going ahead for a second year. An estimated 100 to 200 people will participate, pledging to get rid of unwanted stuff every day for the month of March.
Trevor Rabin says he has put his half-finished solo album on hold to focus on a collaboration with two other former Yes members, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. The Anderson Rabin Wakeman album is hoped to be finished this year. A tour is on the drawing board for later in the year.
Musical performers set to appear at this year’s Super Bowl are said to include Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga.
David Bowie had begun recording a new album at the time of his death, with at least five songs recorded.
The new album Ride the Tiger by Greg Lake and Geoff Downes collects the demos for the six songs the two wrote together, including an early version of the ELP hit “Street War.”
Deaths: Paul Kantner, founder and guitarist of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Glenn Frey, guitarist of The Eagles and singer of many of the band’s hits such as “Take It Easy.”
For David Bowie, a Birthday, a New Album, Then Death
David Bowie kept his new album a secret until it was ready for release, a release that coincided with his 69th birthday. He also kept his cancer a secret from the public, and it killed him, mere days after the album’s release.
The new album, ★ (“black star”), is a musical adventure. Bowie and producer Tony Visconti worked with a jazz band over an extended period to record the tracks, but the result is not a jazz album. It has the stark tones of a Bowie album, though the musicianship of the players lends a presence and credibility to the music and helped propel the album to the upper reaches of the charts in multiple countries on its release.
The album was released on January 8 along with a video for the song “Lazarus” that shows the singer lying in a hospital bed, his eyes covered in bandages, though singing and gesturing with his usual energy. Two days later came the news that Bowie had passed away from cancer that he had lived with for eighteen months. The hospital bed and bandages were not merely stage props, but symbols of where Bowie was in his life.
The new Star Wars movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had the biggest opening weekend of any movie ever and is likely to be listed as the all-time top-grossing movie by the end of January. The movie picks up the story perhaps thirty years after Episode VI and features many of the same characters.
Mozilla has stopped development of Firefox OS, its low-cost entry in the phone operating system wars. The Firefox team will return its attention to the web browser, which is now also available worldwide on iOS devices.
With guitar hero Slash back on board, Guns ’n’ Roses is planning a two-month summer tour and is slated for a headlining appearance at Coachella.
A new Led Zeppelin album is in the works. Singer Robert Plant hinted months ago that he would be able to commit the time that a new album would require.
Bah & the Humbugs released several new songs and featured two of them, “Plain Red Cup” and “Sleigh Boy,” in their first-ever lyric videos.
Deaths: Lemmy, founder and bassist of Motörhead. Scott Weiland, original lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots. Natalie Cole, singer of pop hits such as “This Will Be.”