Music News Digest: Week Of December 2, 2018

December 10, 2018 by Amy Gold

During the week of December 2, 2018, Cher was among those presented with the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. This event will be televised December 26 on CBS.

Also that week, several holiday oldies classics made a return to the Billboard Hot 100: Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)," Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock," Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas," Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," and Andy Williams' "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year. ASCAP also released its list of the Top 25 Holiday Songs for 2018 which includes such old favorites as "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano and "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney.

The Recording Academy announced its list of nominees for the 61st Grammy Awards which will air February 10, 2019 on CBS. Among the veteran artists in this list are Joan Baez (Best Folk Album), Elvin Bishop (Best Traditional Blues Album), Alice Cooper (Best Musical Theater Album), Buddy Guy (Best Traditional Blues Album), Maria Muldaur (Best Traditional Blues Album), Alan Parsons (Best Immersive Audio Album), Boz Scaggs (Best Contemporary Blues Album), and Barbra Streisand (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album). In addition, documentaries about Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and Quincy Jones will be competing for Best Music Film, and archival box sets by Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead have been nominated in the categories of Best Album Notes and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package, respectively.

Ronnie Spector and her group, The Ronettes, recently launched a holiday tour in Rockville Center, NY which will continue through December 23, 2018, covering many states across the country. The girl group legends will then head to the U.K. and Ireland in January before returning to the U.S. for more concerts next spring.

The Marshall Tucker Band will launch a 29-date U.S. tour in 2019 dubbed Through Hell & High Water...and Back which kicks off on January 4 in Clearwater, FL and wraps up on June 29 in Webster, MA, covering many states across the U.S. The band will also take part in the 2019 Southern Rock Cruise which sets sails from Tampa, FL on January 6.

Gordon Lightfoot announced a North American tour for 2019 with an 11-date U.S. leg to begin March 4 in Sacramento, CA and end March 17 in Phoenix, AZ, covering Las Vegas, NV and many cities in California. Todd Rundgren will launch a hybrid concert/book tour next year in support of his new memoir, "The Individualist: Digressions, Dreams & Dissertations." This trek will kick off in Europe before Rundgren begins a North American leg that will run from April 10-11 in Atlanta, GA through May 12-13 in San Francisco, CA, with stops in several U.S. states and Ontario, Canada. Also, Queen will embark on a North American tour in 2019 beginning July 10 in Vancouver, BC, Canada and ending August 23 in Charlotte, NC, with stops in many states as well as Ontario, Canada. Original Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor will be joined by Adam Lambert for this 23-date trek.

Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band added five new 2019 concert dates to their final trek, originally dubbed the Travelin' Man Tour but now renamed the Roll Me Away Tour. These shows will take place in Saginaw, MI (January 3), Las Vegas, NV (March 2), Bossier City, AL (March 12), Tampa, FL (March 15), and Sunrise, FL (March 17). Paul McCartney also announced four new U.S. concerts for his 2019 Freshen Up Tour beginning June 8 in Green Bay, WI at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, with stops in Arlington, TX (June 14), San Diego, CA (June 22), and Los Angeles, CA at Dodgers Stadium (July 13).

The O'Jays are among the featured performers at the upcoming 14th annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Fest. This two-day event will take place March 9-10, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL.

The hugely popular 1989 Lynyrd Skynyrd compilation, "Skynyrd's Innyrds: Their Greatest Hits," was recently reissued on vinyl. This 10-track collection includes such top hits as "Sweet Home Alabama," "What's Your Name," and an extended version of "Free Bird." Other recent oldies reissues include Bruce Springsteen's live album, "The Roxy 1975," which is available as a digital download from

Also that week, ABC announced an upcoming special, "The Year In Memoriam 2018," which will air on December 17, 2018. Among those to be paid tribute will be the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Finally, John Fogerty was honored by Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture (a.k.a. MoPop) with its Founders Award which recognizes artists who have made outstanding contributions to popular music. The awards ceremonies took place on December 5, 2018 during the museum's annual fundraising gala.

(For more information about the above news items, please see below for a list of sources with links.)

Elton John performs his classic holiday single, "Step Into Christmas," in a recently-rediscovered clip from a December 22, 1973 appearance on "Gilbert O'Sullivan: Welcome To My Show" which was broadcast on the U.K.'s ITV network.