November 21, 2016 by Amy Gold
During the week of November 13, 2016, fans bade a final farewell to famed singer-songwriter Leon Russell famous for "Tight Rope" (1972), "Lady Blue" (1975), and other hits.
Also that week, it was announced that Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross will be honored with this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom. The awards ceremonies take place November 22, 2016 at the White House.
Joe Walsh announced an upcoming series of concerts to take place in Las Vegas next January. Also that month, Don Henley will launch the U.S. leg of a new tour that will later also cover Australia and New Zealand. George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic announced their upcoming "Mardi Gras Madness" U.S. tour which begins next February. Jackson Browne announced a new North American trek dubbed "(Pretty Much) Somewhat Acoustic Tour" which starts next April. Also, Aerosmith will launch a mostly European tour next May dubbed "Aero-Vederci Baby."
Chaka Khan will join the lineup for the upcoming "VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night" TV special which airs on December 5, 2016. Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight are among those taking part in the TV special, "Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America," which premieres January 12, 2017 on ABC.
Also that week, it was announced that Steven Tyler of Aerosmith will be honored this December with the 2016 Hospitality Committee for United Nations Delegations' Humanitarian Award for his work with Janie's Fund. Also, Patti LaBelle and the songwriting and production duo, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, were recently honored with the 2016 Marian Anderson Award.
Finally, "Forever Words: The Unknown Poems," a collection of previously unpublished poems by Johnny Cash discovered shortly after his passing in 2003, was recently published.
(For more information about the above-listed news items, please see below for a list of sources with links and article summaries.)
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr discuss a turning point in the history of The Beatles when they stood up to George Martin, the band's longtime producer, and insisted on writing and recording their own original songs.
November 13, 2016: Leon Russell Passes Away
Famed singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and arranger Leon Russell died in his sleep on November 13, 2016 at age 74 at his home in Mt. Juliet, TN after a number of years of declining health. During the 1970s, he had two Top 40 hits with "Tight Rope" (1972) and "Lady Blue" (1975). Over his long career, he was a highly sought-after session musician who also wrote, produced and arranged numerous songs for other bands and artists.
Born Claude Russell Bridges in Lawton, OK and raised in Tulsa, he started playing piano at age four and began his career at 14 performing in local nightclubs with his band, the Starlighters. He got the name Leon from a friend who lent him a fake ID so that he could perform in clubs while underage. He moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and became a session musician, primarily a pianist/keyboardist, who recorded with hundreds of top acts as diverse as Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones. He was part of an elite group of L.A.-based musicians later known as The Wrecking Crew whose services were in high demand during its heyday in the 1960s-early 1970s.
In 1970, Russell launched his solo career with the release of his self-titled debut album while continuing to serve as a session musician, arranger, and songwriter for other bands and artists. He debuted on the Pop/Rock charts with "Roll Away The Stone" (1970) which was followed by a long string of hits through 1979 that also included "Tight Rope" (1972)," Lady Blue" (1975), and his final charting song, "Heartbreak Hotel" (1979, with Willie Nelson). Over his long career, he toured widely and recorded some 430 songs and over 30 albums. Among the many songs he penned over the years as made famous by other artists are "Delta Lady" by Joe Cocker, "Superstar" by the Carpenters, and the widely-covered "This Masquerade" and "A Song For You" which won Grammys for George Benson (1977) and Ray Charles (1993), respectively.
Russell's many honors and accolades included being inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. Elton John, who had once been Russell's opening act, cited him as his
biggest influence as a piano player, a singer and a songwriter. They recorded a duets album in 2010 titled "The Union" which earned a Grammy nomination and became the subject of a 2011 HBO documentary.
November 14, 2016: Aerosmith To Launch Possible 'Farewell' Tour In 2017
Aerosmith announced a 2017 tour dubbed "Aero-Vederci Baby!" to take place mainly in Europe/Eurasia. So far, 17 shows have been announced starting May 17, 2017 in Tel-Aviv, Israel and ending July 5 in Zurich, Switzerland, with stops in Denmark, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. At this stage, it is too soon to tell whether or not this tour will really be the band's final trek. For more info and tickets, visit Aerosmith.com.
November 15, 2016: Joe Walsh Announces Las Vegas Shows
Joe Walsh announced an upcoming series of concerts to take place in Las Vegas, NV at the House of Blues. This six-date set begins on January 11, 2017 and ends on January 21. Dubbed "An Evening With Joe Walsh At House Of Blues Las Vegas," the shows will feature songs from Walsh's solo career as well as classics from The Eagles and The James Gang.
November 15, 2016: Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & More Featured In Upcoming TV Special
Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Quincy Jones, and Herbie Hancock are among the many stars taking part in the upcoming TV special, "Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America," which premieres January 12, 2017 on ABC. This taped event, which celebrated the opening of the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., took place on September 23, 2016.
November 16, 2016: New Book Featuring Poems By Johnny Cash Published
A collection of previously unpublished poems by Johnny Cash discovered shortly after his passing in 2003 was published on November 15, 2016. Titled "Forever Words: The Unknown Poems," this collection includes 41 poems Cash penned throughout his life starting in 1944 when he was 12. The book also includes a forward by his son, John Carter Cash.
November 16, 2016: George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic Announce Tour
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic announced their upcoming U.S. tour dubbed "Mardi Gras Madness." This 10-date trek kicks off on February 16, 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA and ends on March 4 in Okeechobee, FL, with additional stops in Florida, as well as in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more info and tickets, visit georgeclinton.com.
November 16, 2016: Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross To Receive Presidential Medal Of Freedom
Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross are among those to be awarded this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom. The awards ceremonies will take place November 22, 2016 at the White House and President Barack Obama will present the medals. This event will be streamed live at WhiteHouse.gov.
November 16, 2016: Patti LaBelle, Gamble & Huff Receive 2016 Marian Anderson Awards
Patti LaBelle and the songwriting and production duo, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, were honored with this year's Marian Anderson Award. The awards ceremonies and tribute concert took place on November 15, 2016 at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Among the featured performers were Kathy Sledge, The Soul Survivors, and The Three Degrees.
November 17, 2016: Chaka Khan Joins 'VH1 Divas' Holiday Special Lineup
Chaka Khan is the latest addition to the lineup for the upcoming "VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night" TV special which airs on December 5, 2016. This event takes place December 2 at the King's Theater in Brooklyn and will be taped. Other featured performers include Patti LaBelle and Mariah Carey.
November 17, 2016: Jackson Browne Announces 2017 Tour
Jackson Browne announced a 2017 tour to take place in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. Dubbed the "(Pretty Much) Somewhat Acoustic Tour," this 14-date trek kicks off on April 5, 2017 in Hershey, PA and ends on April 27 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, with stops in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, plus the Canadian provinces, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
November 18, 2016: Don Henley Announces Early 2017 Concerts
Don Henley announced a new series of concerts for the first quarter of 2017 to take place in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. The U.S. leg kicks off on January 1, 2017 in Austin, TX and ends on January 25 in Hollywood, FL, with additional stops in Florida and Texas, as well as in Arkansas, Georgia, and Oklahoma. The Australian leg begins on March 5 in Perth and ends on March 18 in Surf Coast, with stops in Adelaide, Melbourne, Mount Cotton, and Sydney. The New Zealand shows begin on March 21 in Christchurch and end on March 25 in Wellington, with one stop in Auckland. Henley will perform songs from his latest album, "Cass County," plus other songs from his solo catalog, as well as Eagles classics. For more info and tickets, visit DonHenley.com.
November 18, 2016: Steven Tyler To Receive Humanitarian Award
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith will be honored with this year's Hospitality Committee for United Nations Delegations' Humanitarian Award for his work with Janie's Fund, a charity he recently founded dedicated to helping children and young women who have been victims of physical and sexual abuse. The awards ceremonies will take place December 3, 2016 at the organization's 2016 Ambassadors' Ball in New York City.