Music News Digest: Week Of December 27, 2020

January 3, 2021 by Amy Gold

During the week of December 27, 2020, Paul McCartney's latest release, "McCartney III," topped Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart and landed at no. 2 on the Billboard 200 in the wake of its recent debut at no. 1 on the U.K. Official Albums Chart.

Also that week, in an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, McCartney revealed his unexpected first choice as his all-time favorite Beatles song: "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)." Released in 1970, this song is the zany B-side of "Let It Be." But there's a lot of songs that I love of The Beatles, McCartney added. I think "Strawberry Fields" is a great song; I think "Hey Jude" worked out great. I've got a lot of favorite songs: "Blackbird" I love, "Eleanor Rigby" I love.

Former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr rang in the New Year with an uplifting video in which he looks back on 2020 and expresses his hopes for a better future. This video kicks off with the eternally youthful Starr at his drum kit striking a cymbal and wishing everyone "Peace and love."

Also that week, it was announced that the new documentary, "Rock Camp, The Movie," will be coming to virtual cinemas across North America beginning January 15, 2021 before premiering in actual theaters on January 22 in Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, San Diego, and Salina, KS. This movie, which covers the history of Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp since its founding in 1996, features such rock legends as Jeff Beck, Roger Daltrey, Sammy Hagar, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, and Nancy Wilson of Heart.

Finally, fans bade a final farewell to Phyllis McGuire (February 14, 1931 - December 29, 2020), Eugene Wright (May 29, 1923 - December 30, 2020), and Alto Reed (May 16, 1948 - December 30, 2020).

The youngest of The McGuire Sisters and the last surviving member, Phyllis McGuire was discovered along with her sisters in 1952 at a talent show hosted by Arthur Godfrey. The trio began in 1935 singing in church when Phyllis was only four years old and by the late 1940s, had branched out to other venues. The McGuire Sisters topped the charts with "Sincerely" (1955) and the chirpy "Sugartime" (1957), and they made numerous appearances on Ed Sullivan and other top TV variety shows.

Wright was a highly acclaimed and veteran jazz bassist (a.k.a. "The Senator") and the last surviving member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which he joined in 1958. This group is famous for such jazz standards as "Blue Rondo A La Turk" and "Take Five," the latter of which became a Top 40 hit in 1961. Wright later played with other well known jazz ensembles and headed the jazz department at the University of Cincinnati and the International Society of Bassists.

Born Thomas Neal Cartmell in Detroit, MI, Reed was a highly acclaimed and veteran saxophonist and a longtime member of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band since its founding in 1974. He had also previously played with Seger on his "Back In '72' album and can be heard on such classics as "Turn The Page" and "Old Time Rock And Roll." Reed also had his own band, The Blues Entourage, and over his long career, performed with many other acts that included The Blues Brothers, Spencer Davis, Foghat, Robin Gibb, Grand Funk Railroad, Little Feat, Dave Mason, and The Ventures. He passed away after a battle with colon cancer.

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