Music News Digest: Week Of December 20, 2020

December 27, 2020 by Amy Gold

During the week of December 20, 2020, the Recording Academy announced its list of 2021 inductees into the Grammy Hall of Fame that consists of recordings at least 25 years old considered to be of lasting qualitative or historical significance. Among the honorees are Irma Thomas' "Time Is On My Side," Betty Wright's "Clean Up Woman," The Village People's "Y.M.C.A.," and Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler." Other recordings to receive honors include albums by "Cannonball" Adderley, The Cars, Joe Cocker, Dr. John, Isaac Hayes, Linda Ronstadt, and Bruce Springsteen. The 63rd Grammy Awards will air January 31, 2021 on CBS.

Also that week, several Bee Gees disco classics had a resurgence in popularity on the charts in the wake of the recent release of the documentary, "The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart." The band's smash soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), which topped the Billboard 200 the year of its release and went on to become one of the top selling albums of all time, made a return to the Billboard Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart at #11. In addition, "Jive Talking," "More Than A Woman," "Night Fever," "Stayin' Alive," and "You Should Be Dancing" all resurfaced in the Top 25 of the Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales, Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs, and Hot Dance/Electronic Songs charts.

Paul McCartney topped the U.K's Official Albums Chart with his latest release, "McCartney III," making this his eighth #1 album on this tally to date. He last topped this chart in 1989 with "Flowers In The Dirt."

Eddie Van Halen was honored posthumously with the National Guitar Museum's 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious award is given to those performing or recording artists whose talents had an effect on guitar playing -- and whose careers inspired and influenced other guitar players.

Also that week, it was announced that the new documentary, "The Beatles: Get Back," will be coming to theaters August 27, 2021. A preview was recently released on the band's official YouTube channel that features previously unseen footage of the iconic foursome joking around during the making of "Let It Be."

Finally, fans bade a final farewell to two oldies music icons: Chad Stuart (December 10, 1941 - December 20, 2020) of Chad & Jeremy, and Mountain frontman Leslie West (October 22, 1945 - December 22, 2020).

Chad & Jeremy were a top British invasion act who scored their first hit on both sides of the Atlantic with "Yesterday's Gone," a catchy yet poignant ballad co-written by Chad Stuart which made the U.S. Top 40 in 1964. Other signature songs included "A Summer Song" (1964), "Willow Weep For Me" (1964), and "Distant Shores" (1966). The famed folk pop duo continued to perform and record over the years until Stuart's retirement in 2016. He died from pneumonia not related to COVID-19 after he was admitted to a hospital due to a fall.

Born Leslie Weinstein, West was a highly acclaimed and influential hard rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter who began in the mid 1960s as a member of The Vagrants, a New York-based garage band. In 1969, he co-founded Mountain and served as the band's lead singer and guitarist. Considered to be a forerunner to heavy metal, Mountain is best known for the scorching "Mississippi Queen" (1970), which West co-wrote. He passed away after suffering a heart attack from which he never regained consciousness.

New & Upcoming Releases:
(Band/Artist - Title - Format - Release Date)

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