Music News Digest: Week Of July 5, 2020

July 12, 2020 by Amy Gold

During the week of July 5, 2020, fans bade a final farewell to three music icons: Southern rock legend Charlie Daniels (October 28, 1936 - July 6, 2020), famed jazz percussionist Joe Porcaro (April 29, 1930 - July 6, 2020), and celebrated film music composer Ennio Morricone (November 10, 1928 - July 6, 2020).

Charlie Daniels, who died from a hemorrhagic stroke, was a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist whose wizardry on the fiddle can be heard in the 1979 smash, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," which topped the Country charts and made the Pop/Rock Top 5. The Charlie Daniels Band's long string of hits also included "In America" (1980), "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye" (1986), and "Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues" (1988). Daniels was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Joe Porcaro was a veteran and highly acclaimed session jazz drummer/percussionist who can be heard on numerous recordings by such bands and artists as Natalie Cole, Stan Getz, Gladys Knight, The Monkees, Pink Floyd, and Frank and Nancy Sinatra. He was the father of three members of Toto and co-wrote the band's chart-topping "Africa" (1982) in which he played the marimba solo.

Italian-born Ennio Morricone, who passed away after complications from a fall in which he broke his femur, was a prolific film music composer who wrote over 500 soundtracks to movies from a wide variety of genres that famously included many Spaghetti Westerns from the 1960s. His score to "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" (1966), considered to be one of the most influential soundtracks of all time, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009. Morricone's numerous honors also included three Grammys, an Academy Award in 2016 for his score to Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," and an Academy Honorary Award in 2007 for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.

A new weekly podcast titled "The Good Ol' Grateful Deadcast" was launched on July 9, 2020. The first episode focused on "Uncle John's Band," a song from The Grateful Dead's 1970 album, "Workingman's Dead," and Episodes 2-8 will be dedicated to other songs from this classic recording. Fans are invited to share their experiences with the band at for possible use in future episodes.

On July 25, 2020, Grammy-winning jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis will perform The Beatles Songbook on his newly-launched "Saturday Salon" live stream series hosted on StageIt. During the late 1960s, Lewis had hits on the Pop/Rock charts with his instrumental renditions of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" (1966), "Day Tripper" (1966), and "Julia" (1969).

Also that week, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced that its 2020 induction ceremony, originally scheduled to take place May 2 but postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, will be replaced by a TV special to air November 7 on HBO. This show will honor The Doobie Brothers, T. Rex, and other 2020 inductees with stories of their contributions to pop music and their influence on later generations of performing artists.

Finally, Sir Elton John was honored in the U.K. by the Royal Mint with an official commemorative coin as part of this government agency's Music Legends series. Designed by Bradley Morgan Johnson, this coin features him wearing his iconic music note glasses and straw boater's hat.

New & Upcoming Releases:
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Canceled & Postponed Events:
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(For more information about the above news items, please see below for a list of sources with links.)