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Kevin Cronin introduces REO Speedwagon fans to new keyboardist

Steve Jennings/Getty Images

REO Speedwagon keyboardist Neal Doughty retired last month after 55 years with the band, and now the group is introducing fans to his replacement, Derek Hillard.

“Hi friends, those of you who have caught any of our 2023 shows may have noticed a new face behind the keyboards,” frontman Kevin Cronin writes on Instagram, introducing Hillard. “Coincidentally Neal and Derek met several years ago when Derek was playing in Iron Butterfly. After that show, Neal approached the young keyboardist and complimented his playing; Derek has never forgotten that encounter.”

Cronin shares that Hillard has previously toured with Whitesnake, Foreigner and most recently Rick Springfield, who he worked with for 15 years. Cronin noted that Rick gave him a glowing recommendation. 

“Derek is a bit younger than the rest of us, (who isn’t :), grew up listening to REO Speedwagon, and is a long-time fan of Neal’s keyboard work,” Cronin shares. “He is a perfect fit, and fits right in with our band vibe.”

Finally he writes, “While Neal is certainly irreplaceable, Derek is an extremely gifted keyboardist and a fine singer, who brings renewed enthusiasm to our band. We will carry on, continue to raise the bar musically, and have fun in the process.”

REO Speedwagon is currently on tour and hit Cherokee, North Carolina, on Friday.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bonnie Raitt, ABBA & more competing for multiple Grammy Awards Sunday

CBS/Recording Academy

The Grammys are finally happening Sunday in Los Angeles and several of your favorite artists are in the running this year. 

Bonnie Raitt is up for four awards, including Song of the Year for “Just Like That,” which is her first-ever nomination as a songwriter. The tune is also up for Best American Roots Song, while the album Just Like That... is nominated for Best Americana Album and “Made Up Mind” is nominated for Best Americana Performance.

Competing against Raitt for Best Americana Album is Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Raise the Roof. The album’s track “High and Lonesome” is also in the running for Best American Roots Song, while “Going Where the Lonely Go” is up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

ABBA is up for four awards, including two in the major categories: “Don’t Shut Me Down” for Record of the Year and Voyage for Album of the Year. They are also up for Best Pop Vocal Album for Voyage and Best Pop/Duo Group Performance for “Don't Shut Me Down.” Should they pick up a win in any category, it will be the Swedish band’s first Grammy.

Other nominees include Diana RossThank You, up for Best Pop Traditional Vocal Album; Elvis Costello & The Imposters' The Boy Named If up for Best Rock Album; and Bryan Adams' "So Happy It Hurts" up for Best Rock Performance. 

The 65th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Trevor Noah, air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Steven Van Zandt makes deal with Primary Wave Music

Photo by Heidi Gutman

Steven Van Zandt is teaming up with independent music publisher Primary Wave Music in a new deal that encompasses the E Street Band member’s music publishing and recorded music catalogs.

The multimillion dollar deal includes Little Steven’s name and likeness rights, as well as a stake in producer royalties. That will encompass his work with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, like “I Don’t Want To Go Home” and “This Time it’s For Real,” and with Bruce Springsteen on such albums as The River and Born in the U.S.A., and songs like “Hungry Heart” and “Dancing in the Dark."

“Couldn’t be more excited to explore this partnership,” Van Zandt shares. “They have an incredible track record for being creative and proactive. Looking forward to seeing what kind of fun we can have with these songs I’m still really proud of.”

Van Zandt is currently on tour with Springsteen and the E Street Band. They play Atlanta, Georgia, Friday.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Joe Elliott spent most of the Mötley Crüe/Def Leppard tour in isolation

Jordi Vidal/Redferns via Getty Images

Def Leppard spent last summer on tour with Mötley Crüe, and while you’d think there’d be a lot of partying going on behind the scenes, Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says the threat of COVID kept that from being the case. 

“The safest way for us to keep that show on the road was just to avoid human beings as best we could,” he tells Classic Rock. “So all of us in Leppard traveled separately, which is the smartest decision we made. I didn’t stay in hotels. I lived on the bus, just me and Dale, my driver, in total isolation.“ 

He adds, “That’s the price of doing business in 2022. If we cancel a stadium show in Arlington, Texas at four in the afternoon, people will have travelled hundreds of miles and spent hundreds of dollars to get there. So we avoided contact, we tested every day, and it worked. We didn’t lose one gig.” 

And for all those who expected backstage to be one big party, Elliott notes, “You know, we act like children on stage but we’re actually quite responsible people when we need to be.”

And Elliott’s getting ready to do it all again. Their tour with Mötley Crüe relaunches February 10 and 11 in Atlantic City, before heading to Mexico City, Mexico, February 18. A complete list of dates can be found at defleppard.com.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Irene Cara’s cause of death revealed

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

We now know the cause of death for singer/actress Irene Cara, who passed away November 25 at the age of 63.

According to Yahoo Entertainment, the Pinellas County, Florida, medical examiner has ruled the Fame star died of natural causes, blaming high cholesterol and hypertension. The report notes she suffered from cholesterol/plaque buildup in the arteries and hypertensive cardiovascular disease due to high blood pressure. Diabetes also contributed to her condition. 

After landing roles in Roots: The Next Generations and the 1976 cult film Sparkle, Cara got her big break when she was cast as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 film Fame. The role had her singing two of the movie’s signature songs, the title track, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song, and “Out Here On My Own,” which was also nominated for an Oscar.

She also co-wrote “Flashdance…What a Feeling,” the theme song for the movie Flashdance, which went to number one on the Hot 100. It won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original song, as well as the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Queen The Greatest Live' episode three gives sneak peek at The Magic Tour rehearsals

Queen Production Ltd.

Queen is out with the latest installment of their yearlong YouTube series Queen The Greatest Live. This week's episode focuses on rehearsals for 1986’s The Magic Tour.

The 26-date Magic Tour, which hit stadiums in the United Kingdom and Europe, wound up being frontman Freddie Mercury’s final shows and had the band playing a set list that featured almost 30 songs. The episode gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals for the songs “Tear It Up,” “I Want To Break Free” and “Now I’m Here.”

According to the band’s multimedia collaborator Simon Lupton, it’s apparent the video featured in the episode wasn’t official and the band probably didn’t know it was being recorded. He notes, “Although it would have been very much frowned upon at the time, it now gives us a rare and fascinating insight into the rehearsal process," calling the video footage a "rare gem."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & more added to Sunday’s Grammy Awards

CBS/Recording Academy

Some more artists have been added to Sunday night’s Grammy Awards. CBS Mornings revealed that the latest additions to the show include Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Chris Stapleton, who’ll perform together on the telecast.

The program noted that Wonder chose Stapleton for the performance, although right now there’s no word on what the trio will be performing. 

Smokey’s addition comes on the same day he’s set to be honored as one of the Recording Academy’s MusiCares Persons of the Year, alongside Motown founder Berry Gordy.

The new additions join already announced Grammy performers Mick Fleetwood, Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow, who’ll pay tribute to the late Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie, as well as Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Mary J. Blige, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, Steve Lacy, Lizzo, Kim Petras and Sam Smith.

The 65th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Trevor Noah, will air at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New Bob Marley limited edition vinyl coming next month

Photo by Adrian Boot

Monday, February 6, would have been Bob Marley’s 78th birthday, and to celebrate the milestone the Marley Family is giving fans a present – new vinyl. 

The Marley Family, along with Tuff Gong and UME, will release 12 limited-edition Bob Marley vinyl LPs on March 24. Each release will be numbered and pressed at Tuff Gong International headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica.

The releases will include nine original studio albums, including Uprising, Burnin’ and Natty Dread, along with two live albums and the reggae compilation Legend. The album Catch A Fire is being released in its original Jamaica-recorded version, without the overdubs and mix added by Island founder Chris Blackwell. The vinyl will have two extra tracks from the Jamaica sessions.

All albums are available for preorder now.

But that’s not all. The latest edition of the web series Fashion Icon focuses on Marley’s influence on the fashion world and the evolution of his style throughout his career. The episode, which is out now, is narrated by Cedella Marley and talks with members of the Marley family, including Ky-Mani Marley, Rohan Marley and Skip Marley, as well as Chuck D and others.

Finally, the Bob Marley birthday celebration will be held at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, Monday and will be streamed live on the Tuff Gong TV YouTube channel. It’s set to feature several Jamaican entertainers, along with tributes from Tyrone Downie and Jo Mersa Marley of The Wailers.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Previously unreleased Mary Wilson song “Soul Defender” coming next month

Sweet Face Music

Mary Wilson may have passed away on February 8, 2021, but fans will soon get to hear her voice again in a never-before-heard tune.

A previously unreleased Wilson track, “Soul Defender,” is set to be released March 3 to coincide with what would have been The Supremes singer’s 79th birthday on March 6. The track, written by Billy Ray Martin and produced by Paul Brewer, will be released by Sweet Face Music in three versions: a radio version, an extended dance mix and an instrumental version. 

“Growing up in the ’70s it was not hard to hear the Supremes and see them on TV,” says Sweet Face Music's Brewer. “Although I grew up the son of a preacher and secular music was banned in our home, The Supremes and Mary Wilson always represented class and style, and also the music world I daydreamed to one day be a part of.”

"Soul Defender" is the first Wilson release since The Motown Anthology, which was released in January 2022. It was a two-disc collection spanning her Motown career.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Is Madonna giving us a peek at her Celebration Tour set list?

Courtesy Live Nation

Madonna polled her fans on what songs they most want to hear her perform on her upcoming Celebration Tour — or, as she put it, "Think of me as your waitress….. What songs would you like on the menu?" And it looks like she's giving us a peek into her appetizers and main course.

On her Instagram Story, Madonna is seen writing down the titles of some of her most beloved hits, as well as some songs that weren't singles but are fan favorites. They include "Rescue Me," "Like a Prayer," "Physical Attraction," "Papa Don't Preach," "Bad Girl," "Human Nature," "Crazy for You," "Lucky Star" and "Erotica."

Whether or not Madonna actually performs these songs is anybody's guess. According to Setlist.FM, "Like a Prayer," "Human Nature" and "Papa Don't Preach" are among her top 10 most-performed songs, so those may be a safe bet. Then again, Madonna doesn't like to repeat herself.

Madonna's Celebration Tour kicks off July 15 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Gary Glitter released from jail after serving half his sentence for sexual abuse

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Former British rock star Gary Glitter is a free man. The BBC reports that Glitter, best known for his hit “Rock & Roll (Part 2),” was released from prison on Friday. He’d been serving a 16-year sentence for various sexual offenses against minors.

Glitter was released after serving only half of his sentence at a prison on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. His fixed-term sentence meant he’d automatically be freed halfway through.

Glitter, born Paul Gadd, was sentenced back in 2015 on charges involving three young girls between the ages of 10 and 13. Those charges included attempted rape, unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 and four counts of indecent assault.

But while Glitter’s out of jail, he isn’t completely free. He will be monitored by probation officers, with a Ministry of Justice spokesperson noting he'll "face some of the strictest license conditions.” He will also have to wear a GPS tracker.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Oates feeling “Disconnected” with new single

The Orchard

John Oates is out with a new single today. The Daryl Hall & John Oates star has released the new tune “Disconnected.”

“There are always times in our lives when we all feel “Disconnected” from some thing or someone …emotionally, physically, spiritually, or any of the above,” Oates shares, “but the important thing is to never give up hope and strive to find a way to pull it all back together.”

He adds, “'Disconnected' was an idea that I had in my digital archives that I rediscovered during the pandemic...the theme felt even more timely.”

“Disconnected” is the second of a series of tracks Oates will release each month. It follows last month’s single, “Pushin’ a Rock.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rock Hall nominee Sheryl Crow isn't her kids' "favorite artist," but they're still proud of her

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for The American Heart Association

Sheryl Crow's two sons may not be her biggest fans, but that doesn't mean they're not proud that mom may be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Speaking to USA Today in New York City on February 1 -- the day she found out she was nominated for the Rock Hall -- Sheryl revealed that while she "wouldn't say that I am their favorite artist," her 15-year-old son, Wyatt, "called me today and said, 'Mom, I'm so proud of you. I heard you're nominated.'"

Sheryl also said she's not going to tour this summer so she can spend time with Wyatt and Levi, who's 12. 

"Oh my gosh, it goes so fast. I mean, I can't stand it," she explained.  "My 15-year-old, in about three months, is going to get his driver's license, and you just feel like, they're little tiny toddlers, and the next thing they're slipping away. So I am into every moment."

"I don't want to miss anything. And I'm not even touring this summer because I want to make sure that they want to be where I am and that we can be together," Sheryl added.

And despite having worked in a wide variety of genres and collaborated with any number of legendary stars, Sheryl says it's her boys who make sure she's up to date on what's happening in music.

"They're into pop music and they're into rap music, and they're also into country music," she said. "They're both really into ['Something in the Orange' singer] Zach Bryan right now, so I'm learning. I'm getting educated on what's current and what's hitting right now."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


On This Day – February 3, 2008: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headline the Super Bowl halftime show

On This Day February 3, 2008…

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers headlined the halftime show at Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix, Arizona, which saw the New York Giants take on the New England Patriots. 

In just over three minutes, the band rocked crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium with a set that included such classics as “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” The show was a warmup to the band’s world tour, which kicked off later that year.

The Giants won the game 17 to 14.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


State Memorial Service for Olivia Newton-John scheduled for February 26 in Melbourne

Ross Gilmore/Redferns

Australia will formally say goodbye to one of its most beloved stars on February 26, when a State Memorial Service will be held to honor Olivia Newton-John.  The iconic singer, actress and activist died of cancer August 8 at age 73.

The memorial service is a free ticketed event scheduled for Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, and is being planned along with representatives of Olivia's family. There will be tributes from friends -- presumably some of the more famous ones -- and a musical performance by Australian singer Delta Goodrem.

“Dame Olivia Newton-John was an inspiration to many around the world -- her work in cancer research and treatment saved lives and changed lives and her music was the soundtrack to a generation,” said Daniel Andrews, premier of the Australian state of Victoria, in a statement.

He added, "We know Victorians are eager to celebrate the life of a driving force in medical research and an icon of film and music, with a service befitting her international acclaim.”

If you want to travel Down Under for the event, you'll need to register for the free tickets starting February 10 -- visit vic.gov.au/olivia-newton-john for details on how to do it.  If you want to watch the service online, it'll stream live at that same web address at 4 p.m. Melbourne time, which is midnight EST.

You can also make a donation in honor of the late Grease star to the Wellness Programs at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre. To donate, visit onjcancercentre.org/donate.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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