April 11, 2016 by Amy Gold
During the week of April 3, 2016, fans bade a final farewell to country legend Merle Haggard and famed R&B singer Leon Haywood famous for the 1975 hit, "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You."
The Beatles' three long-awaited "Anthology" compilations, first released on CD in the mid 1990s, can now be accessed from various streaming websites. A new "Vinyl" soundtrack EP featuring songs from the late 1960s-early 1970s is now available as a digital download at iTunes. The soundtrack to the upcoming movie, "Demolition," also featuring songs from the 1960s-1970s, will be coming out on April 8, 2016 as a digital download, the same day that the film makes its theatrical premiere. This May, Bob Dylan will release a second Frank Sinatra tribute album titled "Fallen Angels." A new Paul Simon album titled "Stranger To Stranger" will be coming out in June. Also, a new, as-yet-untitled album by Jeff Beck is due out in July.
Paul McCartney announced two more show dates (in Milwaukee, WI and St. Louis, MO) to be added to his upcoming "One On One" tour which begins later this month. Kiss is set to launch its "Freedom To Rock" U.S. tour this July. Also that month, Don Henley will begin his North American solo tour. Gregg Allman and ZZ Top announced a joint U.S. tour beginning in August. Also that month, Donovan will launch a North American tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of "Sunshine Superman." Also, Kool & The Gang, Chaka Khan, and Chic are among the many featured performers in the upcoming 2017 Soul Train Cruise which sets sail next March.
Also that week, it was announced that Elton John will guest star and perform in the May 18, 2016 episode of the ABC TV series, "Nashville."
Finally, "Exhibitionism," a new large-scale Rolling Stones exhibit covering over five decades of the band's history, was unveiled at London's Saatchi Gallery.
(For more information about the above-listed news items, please see below for a list of sources with links and article summaries.)
Watch Parliament-Funkadelic perform the 1978 hit, "Flash Light," on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (April 4, 2016).
April 3, 2016: New 'Vinyl' Soundtrack EP Released
A new "Vinyl" soundtrack EP of songs from the late 1960s-early 1970s is now available as a digital download at iTunes. Highlights include "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver, "Hocus Pocus" by Focus, and "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" by Isaac Hayes. "Vinyl" is a new TV show on HBO co-produced by Mick Jagger about the music industry set in 1970s New York City.
April 4, 2016: Beatles' 'Anthology' Compilations Now Available For Streaming
The Beatles' three long-awaited "Anthology" compilations can now be accessed from various streaming websites. First released on CD in the mid 1990s, Anthology 1, 2 and 3 all topped the Billboard 200. Anthology 1 covers The Beatles' early years from 1958, when they started out as The Quarrymen, through 1964. Anthology 2 covers 1965-1968, and Anthology 3 covers the band's final years from 1968-1970. For more info, visit TheBeatles.com.
April 4, 2016: Soundtrack To 'Demolition' Released
The soundtrack to the upcoming movie, "Demolition," featuring assorted songs from the 1960s-1970s will be coming out on April 8, 2016 as a digital download, the same day that the film makes its theatrical premiere. Highlights include the hits, "Crazy on You" (1976) by Heart and "When I Was Young" (1967) by Eric Burdon & The Animals, plus some lesser known songs, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" by The Chocolate Watchband and "Mr. Big" (Live at Sunderland/1970) by Free.
April 4, 2016: Elton John To Guest Star On 'Nashville'
Elton John is set to guest star in the May 18, 2016 episode of the ABC country music TV drama, "Nashville." He will play himself and also perform.
April 4, 2016: Jeff Beck To Release New Album
A new, as-yet-untitled album by Jeff Beck will be coming out on July 15, 2016. Beck also announced the addition of several new show dates in August to his upcoming joint tour with Buddy Guy.
April 5, 2016: Massive Rolling Stones Exhibit Unveiled In London
A new large-scale Rolling Stones exhibit covering some 20,000 square feet opens April 6, 2016 at London's Saatchi Gallery and will run through September 4. Titled "Exhibitionism," highlights of this five-decade tribute to the band include a life-size reproduction of the dingy Chelsea apartment the band members shared in 1962-63 during their early days.
April 5, 2016: Don Henley Announces North American Tour
Don Henley announced an upcoming solo tour that will take him to various parts of the U.S. and Canada. This 25-date trek begins on July 13, 2016 in Penticton, BC, Canada and ends on September 21 in Brooklyn, NY, with additional stops in New York, as well as in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington state, plus Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada. Henley will perform both solo and classic Eagles hits, plus songs from his 2015 album, "Cass County." For more info and tickets, visit DonHenley.com.
April 5, 2016: Gregg Allman And ZZ Top To Launch Joint Tour
Gregg Allman and ZZ Top announced a joint tour that will take them to various states in the U.S. This 18-date trek begins on August 16, 2016 in Huber Heights, OH and ends on October 7 in Las Vegas, NV, with stops in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
April 6, 2016: Leon Haywood Passes Away
Famed R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Leon Haywood died in his sleep on April 5, 2016 at age 74. He had a string of R&B chart hits, many of which crossed over to the pop charts, that included the song for which he is most famous, "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You."
Born Otha Leon Haywood in Houston, TX, he began playing piano at age 3 and, in his teens, he performed with a local group and was an accompanist to blues guitarist Guitar Slim. He relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1960s where he worked with R&B saxophonist Big Jay McNeely. He then joined Sam Cooke's band as a keyboardist and worked with him until his death in 1964.
In 1965, Haywood debuted on the R&B charts with "She's With Her Other Love" (erroneously credited to Leon Hayward). This song was followed by a string of hits through 1984 that also included "It's Got To Be Mellow" (1967), "Keep It In The Family" (1974), and the risque "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You" (1975), a Top 10 R&B hit which made the Top 20 on the Billboard Pop/Rock charts. Although it was "Don't Push It Don't Force It" (1980), which peaked at #2 on the R&B charts, that was his all-time top charting hit, it is mainly "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You," which has been sampled by Dr. Dre and many other rappers over the years, for which Haywood is best remembered.
Haywood also co-wrote and produced Carl Carlton's 1981 hit, "She's A Bad Mama Jama." He later produced for such blues artists as Jimmy McCracklin, Clay Hammond, Ronnie Lovejoy, and Buddy Ace on his own Evejim Records label.
April 6, 2016: Merle Haggard Passes Away
Famed country singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Merle Haggard died at his home in Palo Cedro, California on April 6, 2016, his 79th birthday, after having suffered pneumonia. With over 100 hits on the Country Charts from 1963-2015, Haggard scored 38 chart-toppers that included such pop-country crossover favorites as "Okie From Muskogee" (1969) and "If We Make It Through December" (1973).
Haggard was born in Oildale, California near Bakersfield. His family, who had migrated from Oklahoma during the Great Depression, struggled financially and his father died unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage when Merle was 9 years old. Soon thereafter, he became rebellious and turned to petty crime while also working as a truck driver and other odd jobs throughout his teens. Despite his troubled youth, he got an early start in music teaching himself to play the guitar at age 12. He developed a lifelong love of performing that began at age 14 when he attended a Lefty Frizzell concert and was invited by the country star to perform with him onstage after hearing him sing along with him backstage. In 1958, after attending a Johnny Cash concert at San Quentin where he was serving a sentence for burglary, Haggard famously turned his life around and began his music career playing for the prison's country music band. He was released from San Quentin in 1960, and, in 1972, pardoned by then-California governor Ronald Reagan for all his past crimes.
Haggard began recording with Tally Records after his release from San Quentin and made his debut on the Country Charts in 1963 with "Sing A Sad Song." In 1966, he had the first of a long string of #1 hits with "The Fugitive." With his band, The Strangers, Haggard helped create the Bakersfield sound, a rougher-edged country music genre that makes use of traditional country steel guitars and newer vocal harmony styles. Later on, he became a major figure in the Outlaw Country movement that advocated a more hardcore style as a reaction to the slick, strings-laden Nashville sound that had been in vogue. He continued to release many successful albums throughout his long career and toured until his death.
Haggard's many awards and accolades included several CMA Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor (2010), a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), a BMI Icon Award (2006), and being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977), Country Music Hall of Fame (1994), and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame (1997).
April 6, 2016: Donovan To Launch North American Tour
Donovan will soon be launching a tour in North America to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his chart-topping "Sunshine Superman." With 16 shows confirmed so far, this trek is currently set to begin on August 30, 2016 in East Hampton, NY and end on October 20 in Toronto, ON, Canada, with additional stops in New York and Canada, as well as in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and Washington state. Prior to that, the folk-rock legend will give a series of shows in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. For more info and tickets, visit Donovan.ie.
April 6, 2016: Paul McCartney Adds More Show Dates
Paul McCartney announced two more show dates to be added to his upcoming "One On One" tour which begins April 13, 2016. These shows will take place in Milwaukee, WI (July 8, 2016) and St. Louis, MO (August 13). For more info and tickets, visit PaulMcCartney.com.
April 7, 2016: 2017 Soul Train Cruise Announces Lineup
Kool & The Gang, Chaka Khan, Chic, Billy Paul, and The Intruders are among the many featured performers in next year's Soul Train Cruise which sets sail March 4, 2017 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tony Cornelius, the son of the late Soul Train emcee, Don Cornelius, will host the cruise, and the original Soul Train Dancers will also perform. For more info and tickets, visit SoulTrainCruise.com.
April 7, 2016: Paul Simon To Release New Album
A new album by Paul Simon titled "Stranger To Stranger" will be coming out June 3, 2016. Highlights include this album's first single, "Wristband," which can be heard right here. Simon will be supporting the album on tour this year in the U.S. and Canada.
April 8, 2016: Kiss To Launch U.S. Tour
Kiss will be launching a summer tour that will take the band to various states across the U.S. This 35-date trek, dubbed "Freedom To Rock," begins on July 7, 2016 in Boise, ID and ends on September 10 in Huntington, WV, with stops in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Afterwards, the band will set sail in November on its Kiss Kruise VI.
April 8, 2016: Bob Dylan To Release Second Frank Sinatra Tribute Album
On May 20, 2016, Bob Dylan will release a second Frank Sinatra tribute album titled "Fallen Angels." Highlights of this 12-song collection include such pop standards as "Young At Heart," "It Had To Be You," and "That Old Black Magic." Other tracks include "Melancholy Mood" which is available as a free download at iTunes for those who pre-order the album. "Fallen Angels" will also be available on CD and vinyl. Dylan's first Sinatra tribute album, "Shadows In The Night," was released in 2015.