Music News Digest: Week Of June 7, 2020

June 15, 2020 by Amy Gold

During the week of June 7, 2020, fans bade a final farewell to Bonnie Pointer (July 11, 1950 - June 8, 2020) of The Pointer Sisters and early 1960s rocker Bobby Lewis (February 9, 1925 - April 28, 2020).

Along with her sisters June and Anita, Bonnie Pointer founded The Pointer Sisters in 1970, and the Grammy-winning R&B family act went on to have a long string of hits that included "Yes We Can Can" (1973), "Fire" (1978), "He's So Shy" (1980), and "I'm So Excited" (1982). After leaving the group in 1977, Pointer went solo and had a Top 20 hit in 1979 with her disco cover of The Elgins' "Heaven Must Have Sent You."

Bobby Lewis is famous for "Tossin' and Turnin'" (1961), which topped both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts and soon after went gold. This oldies classic was named the #1 single on the Billboard chart for 1961 after spending a whopping seven consecutive weeks at the top and was later ranked by Billboard magazine in 2008 as the 27th all-time biggest song. Lewis died in late April at age 95 after contracting pneumonia, but the news was not widely circulated until now when relatives of the rock & roll legend recently confirmed his passing on Facebook and elsewhere.

Also that week, Jimmy Buffett's latest album, "Life On The Flip Side," made its debut on the Billboard 200 at #2 and topped the Country charts. Buffett is also set to make his debut at the Grand Ole Opry on June 27, 2020, where he will perform alongside country star Brad Paisley and Mac McAnally, one of the album's producers. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Saturday Night Opry Show has returned to its original format as a live broadcast without a live audience. Fans can access the program via live stream or WSM Radio.

Other veteran artists to make a return to the charts that week included Barry Manilow who had a Top 20 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart with "When The Good Times Come Again," a song he had written back in 1989 that is included on his self-titled album from the same year. A fan made a lyric video of the song when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Manilow posted it on his Facebook page in late April, which led to airplay on a number of radio stations.

Bob Dylan gave a rare interview with The New York Times (published on June 12, 2020) in which he discussed mortality, deriving inspiration from the past, and his upcoming album, "Rough And Rowdy Ways," which is due out on June 19. The album's tracks, which were finally revealed in a video posted on Dylan's Facebook and Instagram pages, include the three songs released to date, "Murder Most Foul," "I Contain Multitudes," and "False Prophet," plus "Black Rider," "Goodbye Jimmy Reed," "Mother of Muses," and several others.

Todd Rundgren announced a new bi-weekly virtual live television series titled "The Todd's Honest Truth" to be streamed at This pay-per-episode program will premiere on June 22, 2020, Rundgren's 72nd birthday.

"The Beatles: Get Back," a new documentary about the Fab Four which was originally set to premiere September 4, 2020, has been moved to August 27, 2021. Directed by Peter Jackson of "Lord Of The Rings" fame, this movie takes a new look at the recording sessions for the band's final studio album, "Let It Be" (1970), drawing from 55 hours of unseen footage from early 1969 plus 140 hours of mostly-unheard audio recordings from the sessions.

Universal Music Enterprises and SOFA Entertainment announced the premiere of a new series of videos from the classic variety series, "The Ed Sullivan Show," spanning its 23-year history on CBS. The first installment, which features performances by The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, and The Temptations, is set to be unveiled on June 12, 2020, with more installments to follow daily. These videos can all be viewed on the program's official website, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.

Also that week, it was announced that Carlos Santana will give a keynote speech at this year's commencement for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music taking place June 19, 2020. The ceremonies, to be held online, will also feature performances by students and student groups, including one by attendees of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.

Finally, two veteran oldies artists celebrated their 80th birthdays: Tom Jones (b. June 7, 1940) and Nancy Sinatra (b. June 8, 1940). Tom Jones had his first big hit in 1965 with "It's Not Unusual," which topped the U.K. charts and made the U.S. Top 10. Nancy Sinatra, the daughter of Frank Sinatra, is best known for the 1966 smash, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'."

Newly-Announced Recordings:
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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.)