February 29, 2016 by Amy Gold
During the week of February 21, 2016, fans bade a final farewell to Lennie Baker of Sha Na Na and country-pop great Sonny James famous for the oldies classic, "Young Love" (1957).
Aretha Franklin, Kool & the Gang, and The Average White Band will be among those to take part in this year's Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival in Miami Gardens, FL this March. Steely Dan announced its upcoming "The Dan Who Knew Too Much" U.S. tour that begins in April. Also that month, Paul Simon will be launching a North American tour, The Doobie Brothers will play a special concert at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN, and Peter Wolf of The J. Geils Band will be releasing a new album titled "A Cure For Loneliness" and starting a U.S. tour. The Isley Brothers are among those to be performing at the 16th Annual Soul Beach Music Festival this May in Aruba. Also that month, the Boston Pops will pay tribute in concert to John Williams, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey. Also, Jackson Browne announced two new series of U.S. shows beginning in June and August, respectively.
Also that week, Elton John scored his 71st hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts with "Looking Up" from his latest album, "Wonderful Crazy Night." Also, it was announced that two Neil Young movies, "Human Highway" (1982) and "Rust Never Sleeps" (1979), will be coming out this April on DVD.
Finally, it was announced that The Who will appear March 4, 2016 on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."
(For more information about the above-listed news items, please see below for a list of sources with links and article summaries.)
Below are some rare vintage video clips from the documentary, "Fats Domino And The Birth Of Rock N' Roll," which aired on PBS February 26, 2016.
February 21, 2016: Boston Pops To Pay Tribute To John Williams, David Bowie, Glenn Frey
This spring, the Boston Pops will pay tribute in concert to three pop music icons: famed film music composer John Williams, and rock legends David Bowie and Glenn Frey. The tributes to John Williams will begin on May 12-13, 2016 with Williams, who is a former Boston Pops conductor, to lead a performance of some of his music from the "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones," and "Harry Potter" series of films. Also, on June 4, the current Boston Pops conductor, Keith Lockhart, will lead a performance of Williams' score from "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." On May 10-11, the Pops will pay tribute to the late David Bowie and Glenn Frey of The Eagles who both passed away in January.
February 22, 2016: Country-Pop Legend Sonny James Passes Away
Famed country-pop singer-songwriter Sonny James died on February 22, 2016 at age 87 at Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN. He became famous for his 1957 hit, "Young Love," which topped both the Pop and Country charts, then went on to become an award-winning country music icon known as the "Southern Gentleman."
Born James Hugh Loden in Hackleburg, AL, he was nicknamed "Sonny Boy" and got an early start in music playing the mandolin at age 3. By age 5, he was performing as part of his family's musical group on a weekly Muscle Shoals radio program. After serving in the Korean War as a member of the National Guard, he headed to Nashville in the early 1950s to begin his solo music career at Capitol Records and became known professionally as Sonny James. In 1953, he had his first hit with "That's Me Without You," which made the Top 10 on the Country charts. This was followed by a long string of hits through 1983, with over twenty of them topping the Country charts, that also included "Young Love" (1957), "You're The Only World I Know" (1965), "Running Bear" (1969), and "Is It Wrong (For Loving You) (1974). An astounding sixteen of James chart-toppers made up an unbroken streak that lasted from 1967-1971. In addition, twenty-one of his albums made the Country Top 10 from 1964-1976.
In 1962, James joined the Grand Ole Opry and, in 1967, he co-hosted with Bobbi Gentry the first Country Music Awards (CMA) Show. His many awards and accolades over the years included being given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1961 and being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
February 22, 2016: Steely Dan Announces U.S. Tour
Steely Dan announced its upcoming "The Dan Who Knew Too Much" tour that will take the band to various states in the U.S. This 30-date trek begins on April 18, 2016 in Port Chester, NY and ends on July 13 in Virginia Beach, VA, with additional stops in New York and Virginia, as well as in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. Steely Dan will headline some of the April shows, and Steve Winwood of Traffic will join the band as a special guest for some of the shows in June and July. For more info, visit SteelyDan.com.
February 22, 2016: Paul Simon Announces North American Tour
Paul Simon announced an upcoming tour that will cover many states in the U.S. and parts of Canada. This 35-trek begins on April 29, 2016 in New Orleans, LA and ends on June 30 in New York City, with stops in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington State, as well as in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada. Simon is also working on a new album titled "Stranger To Stranger" which is expected out sometime this spring. For more info, visit PaulSimon.com.
February 22, 2016: Doobie Brothers To Play Pre-Race Concert At Food City 500
The Doobie Brothers will play a special concert at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN prior to the Food City 500 auto race. These events are set to take place on April 17, 2016. For more info and tickets, go to BristolTix.com.
February 23, 2016: Neil Young Movies To Be Released On DVD
Two Neil Young movies, "Human Highway" (1982) and "Rust Never Sleeps" (1979), will be coming out April 22, 2016 on DVD. These movies will be shown in theaters across the country on February 29 for one night only. Recorded October 22, 1978, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, "Rust Never Sleeps" features such Neil Young classics as "I Am A Child," "Cinnamon Girl," "Like A Hurricane," and "Hey Hey, My My."
February 23, 2016: Elton John Scores Hit On Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts
Elton John recently scored a hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts with "Looking Up," the first single from his latest album, "Wonderful Crazy Night." This song makes it his 71st entry to date.
February 24, 2016: Aretha Franklin, Kool & the Gang To Play Jazz In The Gardens Fest
Aretha Franklin, Kool & the Gang, and The Average White Band are among those to take part in this year's Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival in Miami Gardens, FL. This event will take place March 19 and 20, 2016 at Sun Life Stadium. For info and tickets, visit JazzintheGardens.com.
February 24, 2016: Isley Brothers To Perform At 16th Annual Soul Beach Music Festival
The Isley Brothers are among those who will be performing at the 16th Annual Soul Beach Music Festival. This event is set to take place May 25-30, 2016 on the island of Aruba.
February 25, 2016: J. Geils Band Singer Peter Wolf To Release New Solo Album And Launch U.S. Tour
Peter Wolf of The J. Geils Band will be releasing his new solo album, "A Cure For Loneliness," on April 8, 2016. Highlights of this 12-track collection include "Wasting Time" which is currently streaming at RollingStone.com. Wolf also has a series of U.S. show dates lined up that start on April 29 in Hartford, CT and end on May 21 in Chicago, IL, with additional stops in Connecticut, as well as in Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, and New York.
February 25, 2016: Jackson Browne Announces New 2016 Show Dates
Jackson Browne added two new series of U.S. show dates to his 2016 itinerary to take place primarily on the East and West Coasts. The first set begins June 3 in Pittsburgh, PA and ends June 28 in Interlochen, MI, with additional stops in Pennsylvania, as well as in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. The second set begins August 9 in Bend OR and ends August 30 in San Diego, CA, with additional stops in California and Oregon, as well as in Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. For more info and tickets, visit JacksonBrowne.com.
February 26, 2016: The Who To Perform On 'The Tonight Show'
On March 4, 2016, The Who will make a special appearance and perform on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." This will make it the first time the band has performed on a late night talk show since its historic appearance on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.
February 26, 2016: Lennie Baker Of Sha Na Na Passes Away
Famed singer and saxophonist Lennie Baker died on February 24, 2016 at age 69 in Weymouth, MA after having been hospitalized with an infection. He was a longtime member of Sha Na Na, a pop-rock/doo-wop group formed in 1969 famous for reviving and parodying classic rock and roll music from the 1950s. He had toured with Sha Na Na and was a regular in the group's self-titled TV variety and comedy show which aired from 1978-1981. He had also made several movie appearances with Sha Na Na over the years, including one in "Grease" (1978) in which he sang the lead in "Blue Moon" with the group who performed as Johnny Casino And The Gamblers.
Prior to joining Sha Na Na in 1970, Baker had been a member of Danny And The Juniors who became famous for the chart-topping "At The Hop" (1958).