Music News Digest: Week Of January 21, 2018

January 29, 2018 by Amy Gold

During the week of January 21, 2018, fans bade a final farewell to jazz legend Hugh Masekela (April 4, 1939 - January 23, 2018) who topped the charts in 1968 with his instrumental version of "Grazing In The Grass."

Also that week, two pop/rock icons announced their upcoming farewell tours. Elton John's final trek, dubbed "Farewell Yellow Brick Road," is set to kick off September 8, 2018 in Allentown, PA and will include some 300 shows covering North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australasia before wrapping up in 2021. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour begins on May 4 in West Palm Beach, FL, with the first leg mapped through September 1 in Atlanta, GA. Pop legend Neil Diamond also announced his retirement from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease but plans to continue writing and recording.

Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan are among those to perform at the 13th Annual Jazz in the Gardens Music Fest to take place March 17-18, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. ZZ top announced a five-date Las Vegas residency beginning April 20 at the city's Venetian Theatre. This year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will take place April 27-May 6 at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, and among those to take part are Aerosmith, George Benson, Jimmy Buffett, Aretha Franklin, Steve Miller Band, Aaron Neville, Smokey Robinson, and Irma Thomas.

Daryl Hall and John Oates will team up with Train for a summer tour that gets underway May 1, 2018 in Sacramento, CA. James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt have added eight new show dates to their joint tour that begin on May 15 in Charleston, SC. Roger Daltrey of The Who will team up with the Boston Pops to perform the band's 1969 rock opera, "Tommy," on June 15 at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. Also, Billy Joel announced two ballpark-themed shows for later this year to take place at Boston's Fenway Park (August 10) and Chicago's Wrigley Field (September 7).

Five classic David Bowie albums - "Low" (1977), "Heroes" (1977), "Lodger" (1979), "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" (1980), and "Stage" (1978) - will each be reissued on February 23, 2018 in various formats. These recordings were included in the 2017 box set, "A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)." Coming out on March 23 are a new archival box set titled "The Best Of The Grateful Dead Live" and a reissue of Led Zeppelin's archival live album, "How The West Was Won."

A documentary about the making of the 2003 album, "Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs Of Bob Dylan," will be coming out February 9, 2018 on DVD and as a digital video. Also, a new concert video and album titled "Days Of Future Passed Live" featuring The Moody Blues performing their classic 1967 concept album with orchestral accompaniment will be released March 23 on DVD, Blu-ray and as a two-CD set. This concert took place last summer in Toronto during the first leg of the band's tour celebrating this album's 50th anniversary.

Finally, Diana Ross topped the Billboard Dance Club Song chart (dated January 20, 2018) with a 2017 remix of her 1970 smash hit, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" which is included on her album, "Diamond Diana: The Legacy Collection."

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

Elton John discusses his 50-year collaboration with songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, in this excerpt from the January 27, 2018 REELZ TV special, "Elton John: The Nation's Favorite Song."