Music News Digest: Week Of December 30, 2018

January 7, 2019 by Amy Gold

During the week of December 30, 2018, fans bade a final farewell to three 1970s pop-rock icons: Daryl Dragon (August 27, 1942 - January 2, 2019), Dean Ford (September 5, 1946 - December 31, 2018), and Ray Sawyer (February 1, 1937 - December 31, 2018). Dragon was one half of the immensely popular duo, Captain & Tennille, with then-wife Toni Tennille. Ford (born Thomas McAleese) was the lead vocalist and frontman for the Scottish pop group, The Marmalade, best known for "Reflections Of My Life" (1970). Sawyer was a co-founder of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show and sang the lead on such hits as "The Cover Of Rolling Stone" (1972).

Also that week, Elvis Presley scored his highest-charting Billboard Hot 100 hit since 1981 with the 1957 holiday classic, "Blue Christmas," which debuted at #40. Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" made a return to this chart at #45, and Frank Sinatra's "Jingle Bells" debuted at #49. In addition, three other oldies holiday classics made the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 for the first time: Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" (1957), Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" (1958), and Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas" (1964).

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues announced a solo tour in the U.S. starting February 16, 2019 in Delray Beach, FL and ending March 3 in Durham, NC, with additional stops in Florida and North Carolina as well as Georgia and Tennessee. Also, Billy Joel will give a concert at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park on May 24 which will make him the first artist to perform a record-breaking six consecutive years at this venue.

A home video edition of the 2018 Queen biopic, "Bohemian Rhapsody," will be coming out February 12, 2019 on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD disc. This movie, which features a full-length recreation of the band's 1985 Live Aid performance at London's Wembley Stadium, will also be released digitally on January 22.

Also that week, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music as part of the U.K. monarch's annual New Year's Honours list.

Finally, a Seattle post office was renamed in honor of Jimi Hendrix, making it one of several sites in this city that pay tribute to the late guitar legend. Local officials recently passed a bill to change the name of the Renton Highlands Post Office to the James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix Post Office.

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

On New Year's Eve, Brian May of Queen released "New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix)," a new single that celebrates the ongoing mission of NASA's New Horizons space probe. This song made its premiere just after midnight EDT at the New Horizons Mission Operations Center timed to coincide with the probe's most distant spacecraft flyby in history. May, who has a doctorate in astrophysics and has been involved in the New Horizons project for years, was in attendance.