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Concord Records

ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons is a sharp-dressed Santa in a new animated video for his recently released holiday tune "Jingle Bell Blues," which premiered today on his official YouTube channel.

The clip features a cartoon Gibbons donning a Santa Claus outfit as he embarks on a snowy adventure to deliver presents in a hot rod that's been converted into a flying sleigh. Along the way he rocks out on his new Christmas tune with help from a harmonica-playing snowman.

"The animators put me in a hot rod that looks suspiciously like our very own '34 Ford-based 'Whiskey Runner' though they've made some few seasonal adjustments," Billy explains of the video. "There's considerable snowfall so the wheels are replaced midway by a set of skis and now there's a pickup bed in the back so gifts can rain down from it. They have me doing a header into a chimney but it's not clear if I get to to enjoy any cookies and milk for my efforts."

As previously reported, "Jingle Bell Blues" is 12-bar-blues-infused version of the Christmas classic "Jingle Bells" that's available now as a digital download and via streaming services. A limited-edition seven-inch vinyl single pressed on red-translucent vinyl will be released on December 10.

The disc, which you can pre-order now at Gibbons' official online store, comes with an old-school vinyl center hole adapter with "Billy F Gibbons" written on it. The single's flip side features an etching of a whitewall tire.

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Beth Garrabrant

Taylor Swift always does the right thing.  After her song "All Too Well" broke the record for the lengthiest track ever to top the Billboard Hot 100, she sent a gift to the guy who'd held the record for the past 50 years: singer/songwriter Don McLean.

McLean, whose 1971 hit "American Pie" ran eight minutes and 36 seconds, was bested by Taylor, with "All Too Well" clocking in at 10:13.  McLean tweeted a photo of the flowers and letter that Taylor sent him, and commented, "What a classy artist! Thank you @taylorswift13 for the flowers & note!"

In her letter, Taylor wrote, "Don, I will never forget that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. Your music has been so important to me. Sending love [from] one writer of LONG SONGS to another. Your fan, Taylor.”

McLean, 76, said in a statement to ABC Audio last month, "Let's face it, nobody ever wants to lose that #1 spot, but if I had to lose it to somebody, I sure am glad it was another great singer/songwriter such as Taylor."

Taylor's 10-minute-plus recording of "All Too Well" is featured as a bonus track on Red (Taylor's Version), which she released on November 12.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Don McLean (@thedonmclean)

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ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images

Carlos Santana has canceled all the December shows of his Las Vegas show at the House of Blues, because he's recovering from what's described as an "unscheduled heart procedure."

The 74-year-old guitar legend posted a video on YouTube and his Twitter feed in which he explains that last Saturday, he asked his wife to take him to the hospital because "I had this thing happening in my chest."

"We found out that I need to take care of it, so I am," Carlos goes on. "So I'm gonna be taking time out for a little bit to make sure that I replenish and I rest....so that when I play for you, I will play the way I'm used to and give you 150%. I wouldn't show up unless I can do that."

Santana will resume his shows in January of 2022.  A statement from his manager further explains that Santana's "procedure" "impacted his performance," but adds that Carlos is "doing fantastic and is anxious to be back on stage soon."

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Spinefarm Records

In September, The Scorpions announced that their long-awaited new studio album, Rock Believer, was due out on February 11, 2022, but the release date recently was pushed back to February 25.

This week, Scorpions frontman Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker shared some details about the album during a Zoom interview with Chile's Radio Futuro.

Asked what fans can expect when they hear the new material, Meine said, "Well, you can expect an album that is dedicated to all the rock believers in the world…The goal was to make a rock album -- to make an album with lots of attitude, power and focus on the good old times and really enjoy the music and have some fun with the music."

Talking about the meaning of the album's title, Schenker said, "Look, we [have been] around the world since 50 years or more. And [if] somebody can say he's a rock believer, then this is us. And of course, we meet our rock believers in front of us, our audience."

The Scorpions gave fans their first taste of Rock Believer last month when they released the lead single, "Peacemaker," along with a companion music video for the hard-driving tune.

Meine told Radio Futuro that "Peacemaker" exemplified a lot of the tunes on the new record, noting, "It is an uptempo rock song, and this album really rocks…There are many uptempo songs and, believe it or not, there are even faster songs than 'Peacemaker.'"

In addition, the singer revealed, "There's also a very beautiful ballad on the album, and I'm sure there are fans out there [who] especially love the Scorpions ballads, and they will enjoy this record as well very much."

Rock Believer can be pre-ordered now.

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Live Nation Entertainment

Last month, The Black Crowes played a special two-night Las Vegas engagement at the House of Blues, and now the veteran rockers have announced plans to return to the venue in February 2022 for a pair of new concerts.

The band's residency, dubbed The Black Crowes: Twice as Hard, will take place on February 11 and February 12, and will feature the group -- led by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson -- playing their biggest hits, as well favorites from the band's 1990 debut album, Shake Your Money Maker. The concerts will be held just before Super Bowl LVI, which is scheduled for Sunday, February 13, at SoFi Stadium near Los Angeles.

Tickets for the new Vegas shows go on sale to the general public this Friday, December 3, at 10 a.m. PT. Black Crowes band, Live Nation and MGM pre-sale offers are all available now. Visit the group's official website and social media pages and Ticketmaster.com for more details.

Besides the Las Vegas gigs, Chris and Rich Robinson are scheduled to perform as their Brothers of a Feather duo incarnation on January 15 at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The Black Crowes also are part of the 2022 Stagecoach Festival lineup and are slated to play that event on May 1 in Indio, California.

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Mariah's Cookies/Virtual Dining Concepts

Last year, Mariah Carey launched Mariah's Cookies, a virtual bakery concept that allows fans to order the sweet treats from third-party delivery apps like Grubhub, Postmates and UberEats.  The cookies are now making their return for the 2021 holiday season.

The Mariah's Cookies Holiday Hits Trio, a special-edition box filled with holiday flavors, is now available for a limited time.  "We forgot to leave cookies out for Santa last year and were terrified we'd wind up on the naughty list,” jokes Mariah in a statement. "So we FaceTimed him over the summer to ensure we got his top 3 flavors."

Those flavors, according to the Queen of Christmas, are Gingerbread, Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.  In addition to the special-edition boxes of those cookies, the entire line of flavors is available, from Chocolate Chunk and Heath Bar to Spiced Oatmeal Raisin and White Chocolate Cranberry.

You can order at MariahCareyCookies.com, or via the Mariah's Cookies app or your favorite food delivery service.

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Reprise Records

New details have been announced about the release of the previously reported behind-the-scenes documentary film Barn, capturing the making of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's upcoming album of the same name, which is due out Friday, December 10.

In addition to the movie being released as part of the deluxe edition of Barn and as a standalone Blu-ray, as previously announced, the film also will be screened in select U.S. theaters on December 9 and in Toronto on December 11.

The Barn documentary also will premiere exclusively on-demand via the AARP Members Only Access service on December 10 and will be available through January 10. Barn also will be screened on AARP's Music for Grownups platform on December 17.

The Barn film, which was directed by Young's wife, actress Daryl Hannah -- aka "dhlovelife" -- offers an intimate look at Neil and the current Crazy Horse lineup working on the album in 19th-century log barn in Colorado' Rocky Mountains during the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. Most of the album was recorded live.

A video for one of the songs, "Welcome Back," premiered on Young's official YouTube channel this week, and the track will be made available as the third advance digital single from the album this Friday, December 3.

Barn, which you can pre-order now, is a 10-track collection that will be available on CD, vinyl, cassette and digital formats, and as a deluxe box set. The box set includes a CD and a vinyl LP, as well as the aforementioned Blu-ray featuring the Barn film.

Here's the list of scheduled theatrical screenings:

12/9 -- Chicago, IL, Landmark Century Centre Cinema
12/9 -- Santa Monica, CA, Laemmle at the Monica Film Center
12/9 -- New York, NY, IFC Center
12/11 -- Toronto, ON, Canada, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

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Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Later this month, we'll mark the fifth anniversary of the tragic death of George Michael, who passed way on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53.  Now, one of his famous friends is expressing regret at not doing enough to prevent his death.

Speaking with Apple Music, Sting tells Zane Lowe of his late pal, "You wonder where that immense talent would've developed. What would he be doing now? And it's with such sadness that I think of George, because he had such potential and died far too young."

Sting adds, "And he was a lovely, lovely man. I just miss him. I just miss him. I wish we could have helped him more. I think he was lonely and we should have helped him more."

Sting and George were both huge pop stars in the '80s, and sang together on the Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas." Over the years, they collaborated onstage, and George covered Sting's classic Police hit "Roxanne" on his 1999 album Songs from the Last Century.

In 2017, Sting dedicated his song "Fragile" to George and two other icons who left us too early: David Bowie and Prince.

Speaking about his friendships with other artists, Sting told Lowe that many of them came about thanks to the massive charity events that were so popular in the '80s.

"Events like Live Aid or the Amnesty Tour forced us to share space, to share dressing rooms, to share the stage, to share the limelight, to share airplane journeys together," he explains. "And some of those friendships that were forged then -- for example, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen...Tracy Chapman-- those friendships are solid to this day because of that. We recognized our own situation in those other people. We didn't feel isolated."

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The ASCAP Foundation

John Mellencamp, famed pop songwriter Paul Williams and ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer are among the artists who have contributed items to a silent holiday auction benefiting The ASCAP Foundation, which supports music education and talent-development programs for music creators.

Mellencamp has donated a signed Jasmine acoustic guitar to the sale that has an estimated value of $2,500.

Williams, who has co-written such memorable tunes as Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen," The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" and the Muppets classic "Rainbow Connection," is contributing a handwritten and signed lyric sheet to the song of the winning bidder's choice. The document is also estimated to be worth $2,500.

Klinghoffer, who's currently a member of Pearl Jam's touring band, has donated a 45-minute virtual guitar lesson to the auction that's valued at $5,000.

Other artists who have donated items to the sale include alternative-pop superstar Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS, R&B artist Ne-Yo, rapper Lil Baby and country stars Chris Stapleton and Old Dominion.

Check out all the items at CharityBuzz.com.

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Jacqueline and Clarence Avant in 2019; Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Jacqueline Avant, the wife of legendary music executive Clarence Avant, was fatally shot early Wednesday morning, a source close to the family confirms to ABC News. She was 81 years old.

The Beverly Hills Police Department issued a statement Wednesday, declaring that they received a phone call at 2:23 a.m. "regarding a shooting that had just occurred on the 1100 block of Maytor Place. Police units arrived and discovered a victim with a gunshot wound. The suspect(s) were no longer on the scene."

The statement continues: "Beverly Hills Fire Department paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital. Unfortunately, the victim did did not survive. Beverly Hills Police Detectives are conducting an investigation."

"The City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the victim’s families," the statement concludes.

Though initial reports called it a home invasion, police say a motive is not yet known.

Clarence, 90, and Jacqueline were married for 54 years and have two children. 

Clarence Avant received the Ahmet Ertegun Award and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October. He was the subject of the 2019 Netflix documentary The Black GodfatherQuincy Jones, Lionel Richie, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Babyface and Diddy, as well as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, were among the many celebrities who paid tribute to him in the film.

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Courtesy of Steve Hackett

Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett has announced plans to bring his Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out + More Tour to North America next spring.

The 35-date outing will begin with four shows in Canada, kicking off with a March 26-27 stand in Oakville, Ontario, then moving on to Quebec City on March 29 and Montreal on March 30 before heading to the U.S. for the remainder of the trek.

The stateside portion of the tour gets underway on April 2 in Boston and works its way across the country, wrapping up with a May 19 concert in Seattle.

The Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out + More Tour features Hackett and his solo band performing his former group's 1977 live album Seconds Out in its entirety, as well as additional songs from Genesis' back catalog and selections from his latest studio album, 2021's Surrender of Silence.

Some of the U.S. shows are make-up dates from Hackett's postponed 2020 and 2021 tours, and those concerts also will include a full performance of Genesis' 1973 studio album Selling England by the Pound.

Seconds Out was a double album that was released in October 1977 and was mostly recorded during shows that Genesis played in Paris in June of that year. Seconds Out was the last new album that Genesis released featuring Hackett.

"I'm thrilled to bring Seconds Out back to life, featuring Genesis material at its most exciting and virtuosic," says Steve. "This time with all numbers played in full plus additional surprises!"

Hackett wraps up his 2021 itinerary tonight with a show in Paris. For his full tour schedule and to purchase tickets, visit HackettSongs.com.

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Credit: Maxine Evans

Goo Goo Dolls are looking forward to a busy summer because the "Iris" hitmakers have added 15 new dates to their already jam-packed summer tour.

The outdoor concert trek, which also features alternative-rock band Blue October, kicks off July 15 at the Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater in Nampa, Idaho.  New shows have since been added for Portland, Oregon; Santa Barbara, California; Pittsburgh; and many others. With more dates added to their already stacked calendar, the group will be playing in a different state almost every night next summer.

Goo Goo Dolls also announced a partnership with the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at ending the cycle of violence by helping traumatized youth through its school-based programs.  The organization will join the Grammy nominees over the course of their now 42-date tour.  

The band's final night is set for September 24 at Buffalo, New York's Keybank Arena.  Tickets go on sale Friday, December 3, and you can learn more on their official website.

While you're waiting to see Goo Goo Dolls live in concert, the band hopes you "Slide" into their online store and ring in the New Year the right way -- by listening to their newly released deluxe version of It's Christmas All Over, their first-ever holiday album.  The deluxe edition features a new original song, "One Last Song About Christmas" and a cover of the Dean Martin-sung holiday staple, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."

Once the holidays are over, you can walk down memory lane with their new compilation album, Rarities, which revisits their hits from 1995 to 2007.

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earMUSIC

This past week, British hard-rock legends Deep Purple released their first album of cover tunes, a 12-track collection titled Turning to Crime.

Founding drummer Ian Paice tells ABC Audio that impetus behind the project was the COVID-19 pandemic, which kept the band from touring and from working together on new music in a studio.

"So what do you do? You just can't sit on your a** all day long, all month long, all year long," Paice notes. "And if you can't get together with your pals to write new music, then play some old music…and choose pieces which were important to you for different reasons."

Paice says the band members settled on the tunes democratically, and recorded the album remotely.

"I was worried at first that it would sound like five guys in different parts of the world, but it doesn't," Ian admits. "It sounds like five guys in a room having fun. And once I realized it was gonna have that collective feel, I was really happy with just getting the project as good as we could get it."

Turning to Crime features Deep Purple putting its own spin on such songs as the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac gem "Oh Well," Bob Dylan's "Watching the River Flow," Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken," Cream's "White Room" and more.

Paice says "Dixie Chicken" was one of the songs he picked, noting, "I love the band, but also, [I'm a] great fan of [drummer] Richie Hayward…[He's], just a feel-groove merchant."

Ian also was quite happy with Deep Purple's version of "Oh Well."

"I think [guitarist] Steve [Morse] did a wonderful job," he says. "He married…the Peter Green bit with a bit of Jeff Beck-ism at the end."

Here's the album's full track list:

"7 and 7 Is"
"Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu"
"Oh Well"
"Jenny Take a Ride!"
"Watching the River Flow"
"Let the Good Times Roll"
"Dixie Chicken"
"Shapes of Things"
"The Battle of New Orleans"
"Lucifer"
"White Room"
"Caught in the Act" (Medley: "Going Down"/"Green Onions"/"Hot 'Lanta"/"Dazed and Confused"/"Gimme Some Lovin'")

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Courtesy of The Jacksons

The Jacksons are partnering with Hard Rock International for a series of performances at Hard Rock and Seminole casino venues around the U.S. that will kick off with four concerts in February 2022.

The confirmed shows are scheduled to take place on February 18 at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in the group's hometown of Gary, Indiana; February 21 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida; February 23 at the Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee, Florida; and February 24 at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek, Florida.

Tickets for the first two concerts will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, December 1, at 10 a.m. ET, while tickets for the second two shows will be available to the public starting Friday, December 3, at 10 a.m. ET.

The Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana features a 37-foot-tall guitar marquee that was designed to replicate an original guitar owned by late Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson. The casino also houses a collection of Jackson memorabilia that includes one of Michael Jackson's iconic gloves and a suit Janet Jackson wore during her Velvet Rope tour.

"We are so honored and excited to be performing at a venue that means so much to us," says Jacksons member Tito Jackson. "To be able to perform at four iconic Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, including in our hometown, is truly humbling and we cannot wait to give fans a memorable experience."

The group's partnership with Hard Rock International is expected to extend beyond 2022. For more information, visit HardRock.com.

As previously reported, The Jacksons are also among the many artists who will be performing on the 2022 edition of the Ultimate Disco Cruise, which sets sail from Miami on February 26.

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for MC

Mariah Carey knows she's a catch, so she has this small piece of advice to the potential suitor who wants to win her heart: "You have to love Christmas."

Speaking with E!'s Daily Pop recently, the decorated singer said everyone in her family is a big fan of the holiday, so they "have the best time at Christmas."  That means she'll kick anyone to the curb who threatens to wreck the halls.

"There was a person in my life at one time -- we won't say names -- and they didn't love holidays," Mariah remarked. "And I was like, 'Well you're with the wrong person then, honey.'"

The "Fantasy" singer doubled down that hating the holidays is her dating dealbreaker. She also hinted that being a fellow Christmas lover may be a requirement to get on her good side.

This should be common knowledge considering Mariah is dubbed the "Queen of Christmas," but since she just said she dumped someone over their aversion to the holidays, it doesn't hurt to set such an important dating rule in stone -- or on top of a Christmas tree.

 

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