Music News Digest: Week Of September 20, 2020

September 28, 2020 by Amy Gold

During the week of September 20, 2020, fans bade a final farewell to four oldies music icons - Pamela Hutchinson of The Emotions (ca. 1958 - September 18, 2020), original Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito (June 19, 1928 - September 21, 2020), 1960s singer Roy Head (January 9, 1941 - September 21, 2020) of "Treat Her Right" fame, and Johnny Cash drummer W. S. "Fluke" Holland (April 22, 1935 - September 23, 2020).

Pamela Hutchinson was the youngest member of The Emotions, a veteran R&B/soul family group from Chicago that also included, at various times, sisters Jeanette, Wanda, and Sheila Hutchinson and cousin Theresa Davis. Their long string of hits included the Grammy-winning 1977 disco smash, "Best Of My Love," which topped both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts. Although the exact cause of her passing has not yet been disclosed, the group's official Facebook page states that Hutchinson succumbed to health challenges that she'd been battling for several years.

Veteran pop/rock singer and Four Seasons co-founder Tommy DeVito passed away at age 92 after being hospitalized for COVID-19. His ties with this iconic band date back to the early 1950s when he formed the Variety Trio whose members also included his brother Nick. In 1954, the group expanded to a quartet with the addition of Frankie Valli and by 1960, after a number of personnel changes, had become known as The Four Seasons. DeVito served as the group's lead guitarist and backing baritone through 1971. He was later inducted along with The Four Seasons into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

Roy Head, a veteran pop, soul, and country singer known for his dynamic stage persona, began during the late 1950s while still in high school as a member of The Traits. His fame took off in 1965 with the Top 5 smash, "Treat Her Right," followed by a series of hits on the Pop/Rock charts through 1971 that also included "Just A Little Bit" and "Apple Of My Eye" which both made the Top 40 that year. Head switched to country in the mid 1970s and had a long string of hits on the Country charts through 1985. He passed away following a heart attack after several years of poor health. Roy Head & The Traits were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2007.

Famed drummer W.S. "Fluke" Holland began his career in the mid 1950s playing with Carl Perkins and was a part of the celebrated "Million Dollar Quartet" sessions at Sun Studios along with Perkins, Elvis Presley, and other top artists. Holland is best known for his longtime collaboration with Johnny Cash as a member of the country legend's backing bands, The Tennessee Three, The Great Eighties Eight, and The Johnny Cash Show Band. He died at his home in Jackson, TN after a short illness.

Also that week, Rolling Stone announced its newly updated list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. At the top spot is Marvin Gaye's 1971 album, "What's Going On," which includes such era-defining social commentary classics as "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" in addition to the title song. Other albums by veteran bands and artists that made this prestigious list's Top 20 include The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" (#2), Joni Mitchell's "Blue" (#3), Stevie Wonder's "Songs In The Key Of Life" (#4), The Beatles' "Abbey Road" (#5), Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" (#7), Prince's "Purple Rain" (#8), Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" (#9), The Beatles' "Revolver" (#11), Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (#12), Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You" (#13), and The Rolling Stones' "Exile On Main Street" (#14).

Jimmy Buffett and the late B.B. King were among those inducted into this year's Mississippi Songwriters Hall Of Fame. The awards ceremonies, which took place on September 17, 2020, were held online due to COVID-19 concerns.

Cher will be honored with the Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award given each year to an individual who embodies the bold spirit, fierce independence and distinctive character of the award's namesake. The multi-faceted entertainer and pop icon, who has long cited Hepburn as an inspiration, is being recognized not only for her work in TV, film, music, and Broadway, but also for her humanitarian efforts. The awards ceremonies will take place October 3, 2020 at the Center's annual gala and held virtually per current COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.

Linda Ronstadt will be honored with the Legend Award at the 33rd annual Hispanic Heritage Awards to air October 6, 2020 on PBS. She also co-stars with Jackson Browne in the upcoming "Linda And The Mockingbirds," a new documentary that captures Ronstadt revisiting her Mexican roots as she and Browne travel to Mexico by bus with the students of Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy. This movie will be released on October 20 both digitally and on demand.

"Stardust," a new David Bowie biopic that focuses on the events behind the rock legend's creation of his Ziggy Stardust persona, will premiere November 25, 2020 in theaters and on demand. Set in 1971, this film stars Johnny Flynn as a 24-year-old Bowie struggling with the promotion of his then-latest album, "The Man Who Sold The World," to U.S. audiences.

"The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart," a new documentary about the disco/pop legends, will make its TV premiere sometime later this year on HBO and HBO Max. This movie covers the history of the band and the Gibb brothers' rise to international superstardom.

Also that week, NBC announced the upcoming 2020 Billboard Music Awards to air live on October 14. Among this year's nominees are The Rolling Stones and Elton John who are both contenders for the Top Rock Tour and the Top Touring Artist prizes.

Finally, Alice Cooper recently came out with a new line of hot sauces of varying strengths, each one named after a classic hit. "Welcome To My Nightmare" is mild, "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is medium, and "Poison" will have you calling the fire department. All three mouth-watering condiments are available at and at select stores.

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.)