Music News Digest: Week Of March 22, 2020

March 30, 2020 by Amy Gold

During the week of March 22, 2020, fans bade a final farewell to jazz and funk saxophonist Manu Dibango (December 12, 1933 - March 24, 2020) and bluegrass musician Eric Weissberg (August 16, 1939 - March 22, 2020). Best known for the 1973 disco smash, "Soul Makossa," Dibango died after contracting COVID-19. Weissberg, who passed away after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's, was best known for the instrumental hit, "Dueling Banjos," which was used as the theme to the 1972 movie, "Deliverance."

Also that week, the Library of Congress added to its National Recording Registry 25 new songs and albums considered to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Among this year's song entries are "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" by Allan Sherman (1963), "Make The World Go Away" by Eddy Arnold (1965), "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell (1968), and "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People (1978). Also included in the list are albums by Cheap Trick, Dusty Springfield, and Tina Turner.

John Lennon's "Imagine" made a return to the Billboard charts after a COVID-19-inspired video showing various celebrities singing this classic went viral. "Imagine" re-entered the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart at #15, making it this song's most recent appearance on this chart since February 2018 after its performance during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. "Imagine" originally became a hit in 1971 when it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced that its 2020 induction ceremony, originally set to take place May 2, has been moved to November 7 and will air live on HBO. Other events that have been rescheduled due to COVID-19 include the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, "Respect," starring Jennifer Hudson. This movie, originally set to open on October 9, will now make its premiere on Christmas Day with a wide theatrical release beginning January 15, 2021.

"Let's Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute To Prince" will air April 21, 2020 on CBS. This tribute special in honor of the late pop legend, which was taped earlier this year, will feature performances by Earth, Wind & Fire, Mavis Staples, and more.

Also that week, AXS TV announced the schedule for the upcoming spring season of "The Big Interview": Huey Lewis (April 15), Debbie Harry (April 22), Don Felder (April 29), Robbie Robertson (May 6), Ian Anderson (May 13), and Don McLean (May 20). In addition, Sammy Hagar's AXS TV reality series, "Rock & Roll Road Trip," will begin a new season on April 19, with guests to include Def Leppard, Brian May of Queen, Ted Nugent, and Joe Walsh.

Finally, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and James Taylor are among a growing number of music artists providing aid to those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with other New Jersey residents and natives, Springsteen and Bon Jovi recently launched the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund to aid citizens of the Garden State in need of medical, social, and economic assistance. Also, Boston native James Taylor and his wife Kim donated $1 million to Massachusetts General Hospital to assist in the battle against COVID-19.

Newly-Announced Recordings:
(Band/Artist - Title - Format - Release Date)

Cancelled & Postponed Events:
(Band/Artist - Event(s) - Location - Original Dates - Rescheduled Dates)

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