March 1, 2015 by Amy Gold
During the week of February 22, 2015, the world bade a final farewell to beloved actor and cultural icon Leonard Nimoy who, along with fellow Star Trek co-star, William Shatner, made a splash in pop music during the late 1960s with several mostly-spoken songs that became cult classics. Fans also bade a final farewell to acclaimed singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Bobby Emmons who was a member of Bill Black's Combo during the early 1960s and a longtime session player.
Eleven albums by Pete Townshend were recently re-released as digital downloads on iTunes starting with his 1972 solo debut album, "Who Came First" through his 1994 album, "Scoop 3." This March, a box set of Bee Gees recordings titled "Bee Gees: 1974-1979" is set for release. Also that month, Steve Howe, the former lead guitarist for Yes and Asia, will be releasing a solo career-spanning collection titled "Anthology," and Olivia Newton-John will be releasing a new live album of performances from her Las Vegas show which opened in April, 2014 at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino titled "Summer Nights - Live in Las Vegas." This April, newly remastered editions of Bad Company's first two albums, "Bad Company" (1974) and "Straight Shooter" (1975), are set to be released under the original album names as CD and vinyl sets. Also, John Lodge of the Moody Blues will be releasing a new solo album this May titled "10,000 Light Years Ago."
The Doobie Brothers will be performing this April at the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and the band has expanded its 2015 tour schedule to include other new shows. This June, Paul McCartney will be headlining the upcoming Firefly Music Festival, making this his first U.S. performance for this year. Aerosmith announced its upcoming "Blue Army" North American tour which also kicks off that same month. Gregg Allman and other former members of the Allman Brothers Band are among those who will be performing at the upcoming Gathering Of The Vibes music festival which begins in late July. Also, the 2016 Flower Power Cruise is set to depart next February from Fort Lauderdale, FL, and it will include the Turtles, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Herman's Hermits among its many featured bands and artists.
Also that week, it was announced that Aretha Franklin will be a guest mentor on two upcoming episodes of "American Idol" which air March 4 and 5, 2015 on FOX. On March 15, Styx and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder will appear on AXS TV in back-to-back concert specials. Also, the documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me," will be making its TV premiere on CNN sometime this June.
Finally, an almost year-long tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late and great Frank Sinatra will be kicking off this March at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Also, a new Elvis Presley exhibition will be opening in Las Vegas this April.
(For more information about the above-listed news items, please see below for a list of sources with links and article summaries.)
Below is a preview of the upcoming Brian Wilson biopic, "Love & Mercy," which opens in theaters June 5, 2015.
February 22, 2015: Yes Guitarist Steve Howe To Release Solo Career Spanning 2-CD Collection
On March 10, Steve Howe, the former lead guitarist for Yes and Asia, will be releasing a solo career-spanning collection as a 2-CD box set and as a digital download. Titled "Anthology," highlights include solo songs going back to 1975, new symphonic versions of Yes songs, and some Bob Dylan covers. Howe will be touring the U.K. this April in support of this new release.
February 22, 2015: Glen Campbell Documentary To Premiere On CNN
Sometime this June, the documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me," will be making its TV premiere on CNN. This film, which tells the story of Campbell's brave battle with Alzheimer's in recent years, features live performances, interviews, and video highlights of the country legend's long career. Two songs from the soundtrack won Grammys: a cover of "Gentle On My Mind" by The Band Perry, and a new song co-written and performed by Campbell titled "I'm Not Gonna Miss You."
February 24, 2015: Olivia Newton-John To Release Live Album And Begin New Las Vegas Residency
On March 3, 2015, Olivia Newton-John will be releasing a new live album of performances from her Las Vegas show which opened in April, 2014 at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Titled "Summer Nights - Live In Las Vegas," highlights of this 22-track collection include the album title song and other numbers from "Grease," plus other familiar favorites such as "I Honestly Love You," "Have You Never Been Mellow," and "Physical." She is also set to begin a new residency that same day at this famous venue which will run through mid-September. For more info and to purchase this album, go to OliviaNewton-John.com.
February 24, 2015: The Turtles, Micky Dolenz To Take Part In 2016 Flower Power Cruise
Next year's Flower Power Cruise will be departing on February 29, 2016 from Fort Lauderdale, FL and will stop at Cozumel, Mexico, and Key West, FL before returning on March 5. Featured bands and artists of this late 1960s music-themed cruise will include the Turtles, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders, Herman's Hermits, and Felix Cavaliere's Rascals, plus the current lineups for Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Guess Who, the Grass Roots, and Jefferson Starship.
February 24, 2015: Bee Gees Box Set To Be Released
On March 24, 2015, a box set of Bee Gees recordings made during the height of the brothers' fame in the 1970s is set for release. Titled "Bee Gees: 1974-1979," this 5-CD collection includes the albums, "Mr. Natural" (1974), "Main Course," (1975), "Children Of The World" (1976), and "Spirits Have Flown" (1979), plus a bonus disc of selections from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack and some B-sides.
February 24, 2015: Frank Sinatra Centennial Celebration Planned For 2015
An almost year-long tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late and great Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915) is currently in the works. Among the many events planned for this celebration, dubbed "Sinatra 100," are museum exhibits, film screenings, multimedia events, and album reissues. "Sinatra 100" kicks off on March 4, 2015 with an exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
February 24, 2015: Bobby Emmons Passes Away
Acclaimed singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Bobby Emmons died on February 23, 2015 at age 72 in a Nashville hospital. He was a member of Bill Black's Combo during the early 1960s and a longtime member of the Hi Records and American Studios house bands. He played the piano, organ, and other keyboard instruments, and he can be heard on many recordings by such big name artists as Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Dusty Springfield, Roy Orbison, Wilson Pickett, Townes Van Zandt, and Garth Brooks. As a songwriter, Emmons many works included Waylon Jennings' "Luckenbach, Texas," George Strait's "So Much Like My Dad," and Tanya Tucker's "Love Me Like You Used To."
February 24, 2015: Styx, Don Felder To Appear On AXS TV Concert Specials
On March 15, 2015, Styx and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder will appear on AXS TV in back-to-back concert specials. The Styx segment will show the band performing "Come Sail Away" and other classic hits at a 2014 show at the Las Vegas Orleans Arena. The Don Felder segment will show him performing, at the same show, various Eagles hits and solo songs from his 2012 album, "Return To Forever."
February 25, 2015: Bad Company's First Two Albums To Be Re-released
On April 7, 2015, newly-remastered editions of Bad Company's first two albums, "Bad Company" (1974) and "Straight Shooter" (1975), plus some bonus tracks, will be released under the original album names as CD and vinyl sets. "Bad Company" and "Straight Shooter," both of which include many of the band's classic hits, soared to the top of the Billboard 200 during the years they were released, peaking at #1 and #3, respectively.
February 25, 2015: Paul McCartney To Headline Firefly Music Festival
Paul McCartney is set to headline the upcoming Firefly Music Festival, making this his first U.S. performance for this year. This event will be held June 18-21, 2015 at the Woodlands in Dover, DE. For more info and tickets, go to FireflyFestival.com.
February 25, 2015: Pete Townshend Solo Albums Re-released As Digital Downloads
Eleven albums by Pete Townshend were recently re-released as digital downloads on iTunes. These offerings span his 1972 solo debut album, "Who Came First," through his 1994 album, "Scoop 3." More digital re-releases from Townshend's catalog are set to take place from now through 2016.
February 25, 2015: 2015 Vibes Lineup Features Gregg Allman, Allman Brothers Band Past Members
Gregg Allman and other former members of the Allman Brothers Band are among those who will be performing at the upcoming Gathering Of The Vibes music festival. This event is set to take place July 30-August 2, 2015 in Bridgeport, CT at Seaside Park. Other performers will include Bill Kreutzmann of The Grateful Dead and New Riders Of The Purple Sage.
February 26, 2015: John Lodge Of The Moody Blues To Release New Solo Album
On May 5, 2015, John Lodge of the Moody Blues will be releasing a new solo album, "10,000 Light Years Ago." Highlights include the title track, which is set to be released as a digital download this April, and the song, "Simple Magic," which features guest artists Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues.
February 26, 2015: Aretha Franklin To Mentor Contestants On 'American Idol'
Aretha Franklin is slated to be a guest mentor on two upcoming episodes of "American Idol" which air March 4 and 5, 2015 on FOX. Would-be hopefuls will perform Motown classics, and the Queen of Soul will be performing as well.
February 27, 2015: New Elvis Presley Exhibition To Open in Las Vegas
A new Elvis Presley exhibition is set to open in Las Vegas on April 23, 2015. Dubbed "Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition - The Show - The Experience," this new exhibition will be housed in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino where Presley gave over 600 shows from 1969-1976 back when it was known as the International Hotel. Also opening that day will be a nearby wedding chapel named after the King.
February 27, 2015: Doobie Brothers Join Tortuga Music Festival Lineup And Expand 2015 Itinerary
The Doobie Brothers will be joining the lineup of performers at this year's Tortuga Music Festival which takes place April 11-12, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. (For more info and tickets, go to TortugaMusicFestival.com). The band has also added some new shows to its 2015 tour, which begins on February 27 in St. Augustine, FL and is currently set to end on September 19 in Ocean, City, MD, with additional stops in Florida as well as in California, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Don Felder of the Eagles will be opening some of the April and May shows.
February 27, 2015: Aerosmith Announces Upcoming Tour
Aerosmith recently announced its upcoming "Blue Army" North American tour. This trek kicks off on June 24, 2015 in Evansville, IN and ends on July 22 in Cheyenne, WY, with additional stops in California, Oklahoma, and Nevada, plus British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. More shows are expected to be announced soon.
February 27, 2015: Billboard Looks Back On Late Leonard Nimoy's Chart History
Famed actor and cultural icon Leonard Nimoy died at age 83 on February 27, 2015 at his home in Los Angeles from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Best known for his role as Mr. Spock in "Star Trek," Nimoy recorded two mostly-spoken albums that made the Billboard 200 in the 1960s: "Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space" (1967, #83) and "Two Sides Of Leonard Nimoy" (1968, #97). He also recorded three other albums: "The Way I Feel" (1968), "The Touch Of Leonard Nimoy" (1969), and "The New World Of Leonard Nimoy" (1970).
Nimoy can be heard on Information Society's "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" which topped the Dance Club Songs chart and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988. A new mix recharted in 2001. Along with his Star Trek co-star, William ("Captain Kirk") Shatner, a number of his songs became cult classics. Among Nimoy's most popular numbers are "Highly Illogical" which first appeared on "Two Sides Of Leonard Nimoy," and "A Visit To A Sad Planet" which was a minor hit in 1967, peaking at #121 that year on the Billboard charts.