February 9, 2015 by Amy Gold
During the week of February 1, 2015, fans bade a final farewell to famed R&B singer-songwriter Don Covay whose hits included "Mercy, Mercy" (1964), "Seesaw" (1965), and "I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In" (1973). He also became famous for the many hit songs he penned for other bands and artists, including Chubby Checker's "Pony Time" (1961) and Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools" (1967).
Burton Cummings of the Guess Who will be launching a North American tour that kicks off this March in Victoria, British Columbia. The Yardbirds will be launching a U.S. tour which begins this April in Norfolk, CT. Also, Willie Nelson, Santana, and Gregg Allman are among the featured acts at this year's Peach Fest which takes place this August in Scranton, PA.
Paul McCartney and Paul Simon are among those who will be appearing on Saturday Night Live's upcoming 40th anniversary special. This show is set to be aired on NBC February 15, 2015.
Tony Joe White recently released a CD set titled "Tony Joe White: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings" of albums he recorded for this record label during the early 1970s. Later this month, the full soundtrack album for "Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me," the latest documentary about the country legend, is set to be released. This March, Vanilla Fudge will be releasing a new album titled "Spirit Of '67" consisting mainly of this group's new versions of classic oldies songs from 1967 that became hits for other artists. This April, Todd Rundgren will be releasing a new album titled "Global" and will also be launching a tour in support of this album that same month.
"The Wrecking Crew," a 2008 documentary film about a famous group of session musicians who played on numerous hit recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s, will open this March in select theaters across the nation. Also, a new biopic about Brian Wilson titled "Love & Mercy" will be screening that same month at the upcoming SXSW Film Conference and Festival in Austin, TX.
Spotify.com is currently celebrating Black History month by featuring one classic oldies icon each week. Weeks one, two, three, and four are dedicated, respectively, to Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, and James Brown.
Finally, the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and producing team that penned many hit songs for Motown during the 1960s will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later this month. Guest speakers will include Motown founder Berry Gordy and Mary Wilson of the Supremes.
(For more information about the above-listed news items, please see below for a list of sources with links and article summaries.)
Two Neil Youngs perform "Old Man" on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (February 3, 2015).
February 1, 2015: Burton Cummings To Launch North American Tour
Burton Cummings of the Guess Who will be launching a North American tour that kicks off on March 8, 2015 in Victoria, British Columbia and ends on April 20 in Regina, Saskatchewan. Most of the concerts will be in Canada, Cummings' home country, with some stops in the Northern U.S.
February 2, 2015: Tony Joe White To Release Early 1970s Albums On CD
Tony Joe White recently released a 2-CD set of albums he recorded for Warner Bros. during the early 1970s. Titled "Tony Joe White: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings," this collection includes "Tony Joe White," "The Train I'm On," and "Homemade Ice Cream," plus additional non-LP singles.
February 2, 2015: Paul McCartney, Paul Simon To Appear On 'SNL' 40th Anniversary Show
Paul McCartney and Paul Simon are among the many musical and other guests who will be appearing on Saturday Night Live's three-hour special which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this show. This event will be aired on NBC February 15, 2015.
February 2, 2015: Spotify Honors Oldies Icons In Celebration Of Black History Month
Spotify.com, a commercial music streaming service, will be celebrating Black History month by featuring one top artist each week. Week one is dedicated to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The week of February 9 will feature the late guitar legend, Jimi Hendrix. Diana Ross will be the main featured artist for the week of February 16, and the late Godfather of Soul, James Brown, will be honored the week of February 23.
February 3, 2015: The Yardbirds Announce New Lineup And Upcoming Tour
Since the band's founding in 1963, the Yardbirds have been going strong on and off through the years, and with an ever-changing lineup. This year's latest additions include Top Topham, the Yardbird's original guitarist before Eric Clapton came on board, while co-founder and drummer Jim McCarty continues to remain a mainstay of the group. The Yardbirds will be launching a U.S. tour which begins on April 3, 2015 in Norfolk, CT and ends on May 24 in Simi Valley, CA., with other stops in Connecticut as well as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Source: Kayos Productions
February 3, 2015: Don Covay Passes Away
Famed R&B singer-songwriter Don Covay died on January 31, 2015 at age 76. He had a string of hits from the 1960s through early 1970s that included "Mercy, Mercy" (1964), "Seesaw" (1965), and "I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In" (1973). He also became famous for the many songs he wrote or co-wrote that became hits for other bands and artists, including "Pony Time" (1961, Chubby Checker) and "Chain Of Fools" (1967, Aretha Franklin).
He was born Donald James Randolph in Orangeburg, SC, the son of a Baptist preacher, and got his start in music at an early age singing in the Cherry Keys, his family's gospel group. He made his first recordings in the mid 1950s with the Rainbows, a doo-wop group whose members had at one time also included Marvin Gaye and Billy Stewart. In 1957, he became a part of the Little Richard Revue when he worked as both Little Richard's chauffeur and opening act. That same year, Covay released his first solo single on Atlantic titled "Bip Bop Bip" under the name, Pretty Boy. In 1961, he made his debut on the Billboard 100 with "Pony Time," a song he co-wrote with John Berry. This song, which became a minor hit for Covay (credited to his group, the Goodtimers), topped the charts for Chubby Checker that same year and started a dance craze.
Covay's early 1960s hits also included "Popeye Waddle" (1962), "Mercy, Mercy" (1964), and "Seesaw" (1965). In 1962, he went to work as a songwriter for Roosevelt Music in New York's famed Brill Building. In 1967, a song he had written as a boy, "Chain Of Fools," topped the R&B charts and peaked at #2 on the Pop/Rock charts for Aretha Franklin and later won two Grammys. In 1968, he formed the Soul Clan with Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Ben E. King and Arthur Conley, a short-lived soul supergroup which had one hit that same year with "Soul Meeting." In 1972, he joined Mercury Records as an A&R executive and continued his string of hits through the 1970s that included "I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In" (1973), "It's Better To Have (And Don't Need)" (1974), and "Rumble In The Jungle" (1975), the latter inspired by the heavyweight boxing match in Zaire between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
Besides Aretha Franklin and Chubby Checker, Covay had also penned songs for many other top bands and artists that included Little Richard, the Rolling Stones, Small Faces, Etta James, Otis Redding, Connie Francis, Bobby Womack, Steppenwolf, Solomon Burke, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Wilson Pickett, Gene Vincent, Wanda Jackson, Grant Green, and Peter Wolf. In 1993, Covay was honored by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation with one of its Pioneer Awards. That same year, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and other artists recorded an album in his tribute, "Back To The Streets: Celebrating The Music Of Don Covay."
February 3, 2015: Todd Rundgren Announces New Album And Upcoming Tour
On April 7, 2015, Todd Rundgren will be releasing a new album titled "Global." He will also be launching a tour in support of this album which kicks off on April 2 in Denver, CO and ends on May 23 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, with additional stops in Colorado and Florida, as well as Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For more info, go to todd-rundgren.com.
February 4, 2015: Vanilla Fudge To Release New Album
On March 3, 2015, Vanilla Fudge is set to release a new album titled "Spirit Of '67." This collection consists mainly of this group's new versions of classic oldies songs from 1967 that became hits for other artists, e.g., "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (Marvin Gaye), "I'm A Believer" (The Monkees), "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" (The Doors), and "Ruby Tuesday" (The Rolling Stones). Formed as a quartet in 1966, Vanilla Fudge's current lineup includes three original members: vocalist/organist Mark Stein, drummer/vocalist Carmine Appice, and guitarist/vocalist Vince Martell. Pete Bremy replaced the original bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert in 2008.
February 4, 2015: Holland-Dozier-Holland To Receive Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star
The legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and producing team that penned many hit songs for Motown during the 1960s will soon be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ceremonies are set to take place on February 13, 2015, and guest speakers will include Motown founder Berry Gordy and Mary Wilson of the Supremes. This event will be streamed live at WalkOfFame.com.
February 5, 2015: Wrecking Crew Documentary Coming To Theaters
"The Wrecking Crew," a 2008 documentary film about a famous group of LA-based session musicians who played on numerous hit recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s, will open in select theaters across the country on March 13, 2015 and will also be available as a download from iTunes. Highlights include interviews with various Wrecking Crew members and the late Dick Clark as well as a number of top bands and artists who had worked with them, including Herb Alpert, Cher, Gary Lewis, Nancy Sinatra, Jimmy Webb, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of the Monkees, and Brian Wilson and Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. For more info and tickets, go to MagPictures.com.
February 5, 2015: Brian Wilson Biopic To Screen At SXSW Film Conference And Festival
A new biopic about Brian Wilson titled "Love & Mercy" will be screening at the upcoming SXSW Film Conference and Festival in Austin, TX, which takes place March 13-21, 2015. This movie covers two periods in Wilson's life: the 1960s and 1980s, with actors Paul Dano and John Cusack playing the younger and older Brian Wilson, respectively.
February 6, 2015: Willie Nelson, Santana, Gregg Allman To Perform At 2015 Peach Fest
Willie Nelson, Santana, and Gregg Allman are among the featured bands and artists at this year's Peach Fest. This event is set to take place August 13-16, 2015 at Montage Mountain & Water Park in Scranton, PA. For more info and tickets, go to thepeachmusicfestival.com.
February 6, 2015: Glen Campbell Documentary Soundtrack To Be Released
On February 17, 2015, the full soundtrack album for "Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me," the latest documentary about the country legend, is set to be released. The documentary chronicles Campbell's battle with Alzheimer's while he was completing his final tour. The soundtrack features two versions of the poignant "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," Glen Campbell's final song before his retirement, which has received Oscar and Grammy nominations.