Music News Digest: Week Of June 15, 2014

June 23, 2014 by Amy Gold

During the week of June 15, 2014, the world mourned the passing of two cultural icons: Casey Kasem and Gerry Goffin. Known for his warm, velvety voice, Kasem became a household name as the host of the hugely popular "American Top 40." Goffin was one half of one of the most renowned songwriting duos of the latter half of the 20th century. With then-wife, Carole King, he penned many of the best known oldies classics from the 1960s, including "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "The Loco-Motion."

Later this month, Ray Stevens will be publishing his memoir titled "Ray Stevens' Nashville" covering his 50+ years in the music business. This August, the Allman Brothers will be co-headlining the upcoming 2014 Peach Music Festival in Scranton, PA. In September, David Bowie will be releasing a vinyl single of his version of Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" and his own song, "Rock 'n' Roll With Me." Also, "The Beatles In Mono" box set will be re-released on vinyl, and "Queen: Live At The Rainbow '74" will be released in various formats.

Also that week, it was announced that Kool & the Gang will be receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Finally, Billy "The Piano Man" Joel made a statement urging people to stop using ivory from elephant tusks in the making of keyboards. To help put an end to the slaughtering of these gentle giants, the big-hearted entertainer is advocating a proposed new law in New York that would further restrict the sales of ivory in that state.

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

Here is a preview of the upcoming Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young box set, "CSNY1974" (to be released July 8, 2014):

June 15, 2014: Legendary DJ And Voice-Over Actor Casey Kasem Passes Away

On June 15, 2014, legendary DJ Casey Kasem died at age 82 in a hospital in Gig Harbor, WA after battling Lewy body dementia. Kasem's warm, velvety voice made him one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in broadcasting. He became famous as the host of the hugely popular "American Top 40," and he also lent his trademark voice to numerous other roles on TV and radio.

He was born Kemal Amin Kasem in Detroit, MI to Lebanese Druze parents. He got his start in radio covering sports for his high school radio club, and then did voice-over work on such radio programs as "The Lone Ranger" while attending Wayne State University. In 1952, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Korea where he worked as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio in Korea. After the war, he worked at numerous jobs through the 1950s-1960s as a DJ, actor, host, and voice-over actor on radio and TV. In 1969, he began his most famous voice-over role as Shaggy in the long-running cartoon series, "Scooby-Doo," and continued to provide the voice for this character through 1997, and again from 2002-2009.

In 1970, he co-founded "American Top 40," one of the country's most popular syndicated pop music radio programs, which he hosted through late 1988. From 1989-1998, he hosted "Casey's Top 40," "Casey's Hot 20," and "Casey's Countdown" before returning to host the revised version of "American Top 40" from 1998-2004. From 1998-2009, he also hosted two adult contemporary spin-offs, "American Top 20" and "American Top 10." In his shows, he presented a countdown of the nation's top Billboard chart hits, along with song trivia and dedications. He famously ended each show with Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

Kasem's many honors included receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981 and being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1985 and 1992, respectively. In 1997, he was honored with the Radio Hall of Fame's first Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2003, he received the Radio Icon award at the Radio Music Awards ceremonies.

Casey Kasem is survived by his wife, Jean, their daughter, Liberty, three children from a previous marriage, Kerri, Julie, and Michael, a brother, Mouner, and four grandchildren.

Source: Casey Kasem, An Iconic Voice Of American Radio : The Record : NPR

June 15, 2014: David Bowie To Release Another Single This September

On September 22, 2014, David Bowie will be releasing a live version of Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" plus his own song, "Rock 'n' Roll With Me," in seven-inch vinyl picture disc format. Both songs first appeared on his 1974 album, "David Live." The versions on Bowie's upcoming single are 2005 remixes by Tony Visconti.

Source: New David Bowie Picture Disc Featuring Live 1974 Version of "Knock on Wood" to Be Released in September

June 16, 2014: 'The Beatles In Mono' To Be Released On Vinyl

On September 9, 2014, "The Beatles In Mono" box set, first released five years ago on CD, is set to be re-released on 180-gram vinyl. This massive limited-edition collection includes the Fab Four's first nine U.K. albums plus "Magical Mystery Tour," "Mono Masters," and a 108-page hardbound book. Individual LPs can also be purchased separately.

Source: 'The Beatles in Mono' to Get Lavish Vinyl Release This Fall

June 16, 2014: Queen To Release Live Album Of 1974 Concerts

On September 9, 2014, an album by Queen from past live performances is set to be released in various formats. Titled "Queen: Live At The Rainbow '74," this collection includes songs from two shows the band gave at the Rainbow in London in March and November, 1974. The deluxe edition includes bonus tracks, plus rare photos and other memorabilia.

Source: Queen Concerts From 1974 to Be Released as Live Album

June 18, 2014: Ray Stevens To Publish Memoir

On June 22, 2014, Ray Stevens will be publishing his memoir. Titled "Ray Stevens' Nashville," this book covers Stevens' 50+ years in the music business as a session musician, producer, director, and Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter of country, pop, and novelty hits.

Source: Versatile Ray Stevens adds 'author' to Nashville resume

June 18, 2014: Allman Brothers To Co-Headline Upcoming Peach Music Festival

The Allman Brothers will be co-headlining the upcoming 2014 Peach Music Festival which takes place August 14-17 in Scranton, PA. This music festival is an annual event which the Allman Brothers started in 2012. This year, the Allman Brothers will be performing their 1973 album, "Eat A Peach," in its entirety. Bob Weir, George Clinton, and Parliament Funkadelic will also be co-headlining this event.

Source: Daily Lineup for Allman Brothers Band's 2014 Peach Music Festival Unveiled

June 19, 2014: Billy Joel Urges People To Stop Killing Elephants For Ivory

Billy Joel made a statement urging people to stop using ivory in the making of keyboards since it entails the slaughtering of elephants. He is advocating a proposed New York state law that would further restrict ivory sales in that state. As Joel so eloquently put it, There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced. Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life - not an instrument of death.

Source: Billy Joel Urges People To Stop Killing Elephants To Make Piano Keys

June 19, 2014: Famed Lyricist Gerry Goffin Passes Away

On June 19, 2014, famed lyricist Gerry Goffin died at age 75 in Los Angeles. Throughout his long career, Goffin co-wrote 59 Top 40 hits, 7 of which topped the charts. He is most famous for co-writing some of the most beloved songs of the early-mid 1960s with then-wife Carole King, including "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "The Loco-Motion," and "One Fine Day."

Goffin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Queens. After graduating high school, he spent one year at the U.S. Naval Academy before enrolling at Queens College to study chemistry. There, he met his songwriting partner and wife-to-be, Carole King, and the two began their long collaboration. They married in 1959 when he was 20 and King 17. Soon after, the pair began working under Don Kirshner at Aldon Music in Manhattan, and throughout the 1960s, they penned a string of hit songs, many of which became oldies classics.

In 1968, Goffin and King divorced but continued working together for several years afterwards. Goffin also collaborated with other songwriters both before and after his split with King that included Barry Mann, Jack Keller, Russ Titelman, Barry Goldberg, and Michael Masser. With Masser, he won an Academy Award nomination for "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)", the title song of the film in which Diana Ross starred and performed.

Goffin's many honors and accolades include being inducted with Carole King into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He is survived by his wife Michelle, five children, and six grandchildren.

Source: Gerry Goffin, Songwriter and Carole King's Ex-Husband, Dead at 75

June 20, 2014: Kool & The Gang To Receive Star On Hollywood Walk of Fame

It was announced that Kool & the Gang will soon be receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Formed in 1964, the famed R&B group had a long string of disco and other hits during the 1970s-1980s and in 1980, topped the charts with "Celebration." Other upcoming Hollywood Walk of Fame honorees include film music composer Ennio Morricone.

Source: Kool & the Gang to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame