Music News Digest: Week Of March 17, 2013

March 25, 2013 by Amy Gold

During the week of March 17, 2013, fans mourned the passing of Bobbie Smith of the Spinners and singer Fran Warren famous for the big band classic, "A Sunday Kind Of Love."

Also, author and music historian Robert Morritt, who was interviewed on this website last November, just finished another book, "Guitar Men," about the greatest guitarists of the past 50 years. This new book will be released on April 7, 2013.

The lineup for this year's Johnny Cash Music Festival has been announced, and Rod Stewart, the Eagles, Paul McCartney, and Michael Nesmith will be touring this year.

A new Rod Stewart album, "Time," will be released this May and will include a tribute to a daughter Stewart gave up for adoption 50 years ago. Also, Pink Floyd will be streaming "Dark Side of the Moon" to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this classic album. "Dark Side of the Moon" was chosen by the Library of Congress as one of 25 culturally and historically significant recordings to be preserved for posterity.

David Bowie has been making a major comeback with his latest album, "The Next Day." This critically-acclaimed album debuted at #1 on the U.K. album charts and at #2 on the Billboard 200.

The Billboard 200 also had three other Top 10 debuts of albums by oldies and classic rock artists: Eric Clapton with "Old Sock," Bon Jovi with "What About Now," and Dave Grohl with the soundtrack from the "Sound City" documentary with featured artists that include Paul McCartney and Stevie Nicks.

"Phil Spector," a film about the legendary music producer starring Al Pacino in the title role, premieres on HBO March 24, 2013. A biopic about James Booker (a.k.a. the "Black Liberace") has just been released and is awaiting distribution, and an Elton John biopic is in the making.

March 17, 2013: New Movie About Phil Spector Stars Al Pacino

"Phil Spector," a new movie about the legendary music producer starring Al Pacino in the title role, premieres on HBO March 24, 2013. This film, which was written and directed by David Mamet, covers Spector's trial beginning in 2007 in which he was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson.

Source: HBO: Movies: Phil Spector: Home

March 17, 2013: Lineup For This Year's Johnny Cash Festival Announced

The third annual Johnny Cash Music Festival will be held on August 17, 2013 at the Convocation Center at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. This event will be hosted by Tommy Cash, and the lineup will consist of Joanne Cash Yates, Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, and Vince Gill. Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund in Cash's name and to the restoration of his childhood home in Dyess, AR. Tickets go on sale April 1, 2013.

Source: Johnny Cash Music Fest | Supporting the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Restoration Project

March 18, 2013: David Bowie Tops UK Album Charts For The First Time In 20 Years

On March 17, 2013, David Bowie's critically-acclaimed album, "The Next Day," debuted at #1 on the U.K. album charts. This album, which sold 94,000 copies the week before, is also the fastest selling album so far this year. "The Next Day" is Bowie's ninth #1 on the U.K. album charts to date. His first #1 was in 1973 with "Aladdin Sane," and his last was in 1993 with "Black Tie White Noise."

Source: David Bowie Lands First UK No. 1 Album in 20 Years | Billboard

March 18, 2013: Fleetwood Mac To Play Rarely-Heard Song On Upcoming Tour

Stevie Nicks announced that Fleetwood Mac will be performing "Sisters of the Moon," a rarely-heard song that the band has not played live since the 1980s. Written by Nicks, "Sisters of the Moon" was first released as a single from the 1979 album, "Tusk." This song became a minor chart hit, peaking at #86 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Sisters of the Moon" is a lengthy song in its live version, typically exceeding 8 minutes.

Source: Stevie Nicks: Fleetwood Mac Will Play Rare Track On Upcoming Tour

March 19, 2013: Michael Gracey To Direct Upcoming Elton John Biopic

A new Elton John biopic, "Rocketman," is in the works. This movie, to be directed by Michael Gracey, will cover the life and stellar career of Sir Elton John from age 5 as a piano child prodigy to the present. It will also include elaborate dance sequences set to some of the singer-songwriter's biggest hits.

Source: Elton John Biopic Gets a Director | Movies News | Rolling Stone

March 19, 2013: Rod Stewart To Release New Album This May

Rod Stewart has just completed "Time," his first album of new material in almost 20 years. "Time" is scheduled to be released on May 7, 2013. This album's first single, "She Makes Me Happy," will premiere on radio and be available to download on March 19. The second single, "Finest Woman," will premiere on April 8. Also, Stewart will be starting his "Live The Life" tour in Europe on June 1, 2013. He will be performing in the US with Steve Winwood beginning October 17.

Source: Rod Stewart's New Album 'Time' Due Out May 7th | Music News | Rolling Stone

March 20, 2013: Bobbie Smith Of The Spinners Passes Away

R&B singer Bobbie Smith died on March 16, 2013 at age 76 in Orlando, FL from complications of flu and pneumonia. Smith was one of the original members and lead singers of the Spinners, a highly acclaimed soul group formed in 1961 that became famous in the 1970s. Smith can be heard on such R&B classics as "That's What Girls Are Made For" (1961), "I'll Be Around" (1972), "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" (1973), "Then Came You" (1974, with Dionne Warwick), and "Games People Play" (1975). The Spinners had a long string of hits on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts that lasted through the 1980s, and the group has remained together ever since, with some personnel changes along the way. Smith stayed with the Spinners to the end and last performed with the group a month ago. He is survived by his wife Lorraine, three sons, a daughter, four grandchildren and a great grandson.

Source: Bobbie Smith, Voice of the Spinners, Dies at 76 -

March 20, 2013: Singer Fran Warren Passes Away

Singer Fran Warren died at home in Brookfield, CT on March 4, 2013, which was her 87th birthday. Warren became famous in 1947 for her big band hit, "A Sunday Kind Of Love," and she continued to chart into the 1950s with such songs as "I Said My Pajamas (And Put On My Prayers)" (1950, with Tony Martin) and "It's Anybody's Heart" (1953). From the late 1940s-1950s, Warren was a guest on several TV variety programs, she appeared in the 1952 movie, "Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd," she co-starred "The Pajama Game" and "Finian's Rainbow," and she played the title role in "Mame." She toured with Harry James in the 1960s and with Joe Cabot from 1979-1982. Warren is survived by two daughters, two nieces, and a son-in-law.

Source: Fran Warren Dies -- "A Sunday Kind of Love" Singer Dead at 87 - Today's News: Our Take |

March 20, 2013: New Oldies Artists Albums Make Top 10 Debut In Billboard 200

This week was an eventful one for the Billboard 200 with six Top 10 debuts. This is the most this chart has had in four months, and most of them were by oldies and classic rock artists. Bon Jovi debuted at #1 with "What About Now," this band's 5th #1 album and 12th Top 10 album. David Bowie debuted at #2 with "The Next Day," making this his 7th Top 10 album to date. Eric Clapton debuted at #7 with "Old Sock," and this album also debuted at #1 on the Independent Albums chart. Debuting at #8 was the soundtrack to Dave Grohl's "Sound City" documentary with featured artists that include such oldies luminaries as Paul McCartney and Stevie Nicks.

Source: Bon Jovi, David Bowie Lead Six Top 10 Debuts on Billboard 200 | Billboard

March 20, 2013: Paul McCartney Announces World Tour For 2013

Paul McCartney will be starting a world tour this year which will begin on June 22, 2013 at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. This will be the first show he has ever given in Poland, and this tour will focus mainly on places he has never toured before. McCartney will be performing songs from his entire career both as a solo artist and as a member of the Beatles and Wings.

Source: UPDATED: TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Paul McCartney Is Getting 'Out There!' - Paul McCartney Official Website

March 20, 2013: 'Guitar Men' By Robert Morritt To Be Released This April

Author and music historian Robert Morritt, who was interviewed last November on this website, has just come out with another book, "Guitar Men." This book covers the careers and lives of many of the world's most famous guitarists of the past 50 years, including such oldies and classic rock greats as Bo Diddley, the Ventures, Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Randy Bachman, Marc Bolan, Peter Frampton, and Jeff Beck.


March 20, 2013: David Bowie Honored At London's Victoria and Albert Museum

A multimedia exhibit commemorating David Bowie will be on display at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. This exhibit, which opens March 23, 2013, has already sold some 50,000 advance tickets and is this museum's biggest attraction to date.

Source: Show at London's V&A museum celebrates David Bowie - Evening Sun

March 20, 2013: 'Sound Of Silence' And Other Oldies Classics To Be Preserved At The Library Of Congress

The Library Of Congress has selected 25 culturally and historically significant recordings from 1918-1980 to be preserved for posterity. Among these recordings are several oldies classics that include "The Twist" by Chubby Checker, "Sound Of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel, "The Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd, and the soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" by the Bee Gees. According to the Library of Congress, "The Twist" captured the energy and excitement of the early 1960s, whereas "Sound Of Silence" was inspired by the sadness and turmoil during the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. "The Dark Side of the Moon" was chosen because of its innovative artistic elements, and the "Saturday Night Live" soundtrack launched the disco craze.

Source: Simon & Garfunkel Song Among Those To Be Preserved : NPR

March 21, 2013: Stephen Stills Interviewed By Rolling Stone

In this interview by Rolling Stone, the reticent Stephen Stills indicated that he has no plans to retire or write a book of memoirs and prefers to let his music speak for itself. The guitarist, singer, and songwriter recently put together a four-disc retrospective box set spanning his nearly 50-year career which will be coming out in late March.

Source: QA: Stephen Stills on Huge New Box Set | Music News | Rolling Stone

March 21, 2013: James Booker Commemorated In New Documentary

James Booker, a highly-acclaimed New Orleans pianist also known as the "Black Liberace," is the main subject of a new documentary, "Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker." Booker had a Top 10 R&B hit in 1960 with "Gonzo" which also became a minor hit on the Pop/Rock charts that same year. He died at age 43 while waiting in the emergency room of a now-defunct New Orleans hospital. This documentary, which premiered at the SXSW film festival last week, will be shown on the festival circuit while awaiting distribution.

Source: James Booker, the 'Black Liberace,' Celebrated in New Doc | Movies News | Rolling Stone

March 21, 2013: The Eagles To Tour This Summer

This summer, the Eagles will begin a tour in North America in support of this band's recent documentary, "History of the Eagles." This tour will start on July 6 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY and end on July 25 at Bethel Woods Center in Bethel, NY.

Source: The Eagles Plot Tour in Support of New Documentary | Music News | Rolling Stone

March 21, 2013: Rod Stewart Pens Tribute To Adopted Daughter

Stewart has written a song, "Brighton Beach," which pays tribute to a daughter he gave up for adoption 50 years ago. She contacted Stewart after her adoptive mother died in 2008, and the two have formed a close bond since then. "Brighton Beach" is included on Stewart's upcoming album, "Time," which will be coming out this May.

Source: Rod Stewart writes emotional tribute to adopted daughter | Showbiz | News | Daily Express

March 21, 2013: Pink Floyd Streams 'Dark Side of the Moon' From Website

Pink Floyd will be streaming from their website "Dark Side of the Moon" in commemoration of this classic album's 40th anniversary on March 24, 2013. Fans are invited to listen to the album and to tweet their comments, photos, and memories. "Dark Side of the Moon" topped the Billboard 200 in 1973 and stayed on the charts for an astounding 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. It remains one of the best selling albums of all time.

Source: Spend Sunday Online With Pink Floyd -

March 23, 2013: Michael Nesmith Interviewed By L.A. Times

In this interview by the L.A. Times, Michael Nesmith talked about his upcoming tour and discussed his main artistic influences and the prospect of a new album.

Source: Michael Nesmith talks about his solo tour and inspirations -

March 23, 2013: New CD Release: Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective [Box Set, Limited Edition] - Duane Allman

Duane Allman, whose life was tragically cut short at 24 in a motorcycle accident, is ranked #2 in Rolling Stone's list of rock's greatest guitarists. This massive 7-CD box set, which was co-produced by his daughter Galadrielle, covers Allman's entire career from his days as a session musician to his time with the Allman Brothers Band and Derek and the Dominos. This box set's many highlights include unreleased performances, rare singles, lost album tracks, and a live jam session with the Grateful Dead.

For more information and to purchase this CD, go to

March 23, 2013: New CD Release: Trouble Is A Lonesome Town - Lee Hazlewood

This CD is a remastering of Lee Hazlewood's first solo album, "Trouble Is A Lonesome Town," originally recorded in 1963. The songs are mostly cowboy ballads and story songs about various citizens of the fictional town, Trouble, that deal with such topics as prison, outlaws and other deadbeats, and love gone wrong. Also included are 15 bonus tracks and an eight page booklet.

For more information and to purchase this CD, go to

March 23, 2013: New CD Release: Songs For The End Of The World - Acoustic Version - Rick Springfield

This CD is the acoustic version of Rick Springfield's popular and highly-rated new album, "Songs For The End Of The World," which was released last October. Highlights include "I Hate Myself," "Our Ship's Sinking," "You & Me," and the opening song, "Wide Awake."

For more information and to purchase this CD, go to