Elton John may have a lot of money, but he has no problem giving it away to causes that are important to him. In case you missed it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was just named the Most Generous Celebrity in the UK, according to the “Sunday Times” Giving List. Elton shelled out about $38 million last year, mostly to Aids foundations both in the U.S and abroad. Other musicians making the Top Ten include Ringo Starr, who donated $8.5 million, Coldplay, who donated $2.4 million and One Direction and Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor who both donated $1.6 mil.
Scientists have confirmed what we’ve known since the 70s, Freddie Mercury has an unparalleled voice. A group of Austrian, Czech, and Swedish researchers examined the Queen frontman’s voice and found that the late rocker had multiple unique qualities that set him apart. First off, he was more likely a baritone than a tenor, a finding they based on interviews and his speaking voice. Mercury also was able to use what’s called “ventricular folds” along with his vocal folds to produce those famous growls and vibrato. According to the study, most humans don’t use their ventricular folds at all. Beyond that, the iconic frontman’s vocal chords simply moved faster than other people’s. You can read the complete “Freddie Mercury—acoustic analysis of speaking fundamental frequency, vibrato, and subharmonics” BY CLICKING HERE.
Brian Johnson is finally speaking out about the hearing problems that have caused him to pull out of AC/DC. First off, he says he’s “personally crushed” that he’s let fans of the band down, but says doctors tell him he’s risking “total deafness” if he continues performing live. “Being part of AC/DC, making records and performing for the millions of devoted fans this past 36 years has been my life’s work,” Johnson explains. “I cannot imagine going forward without being part of that, but for now I have no choice.” He goes on to make it clear that his bandmates have been nothing, but supportive and have not tried to push him out, as was rumored. Maybe most importantly, Johnson tells fans he isn’t retiring, just figuring out a new way to work. “Doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that,” Johnson adds. “For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing. I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances. While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic. Only time will tell.” Get well soon, Brian!
In story from Rolling Stone…..Just hours after Pearl Jam announced they were canceling their Raleigh, North Carolina show (originally scheduled for tonight) because of the state’s anti-LGBTQ HB2 law, the band took the stage in Hamilton, Virginia and explained their decision to their fans. “We thought we could take the money and give it to them and still play the show, but the reality is there is nothing like the immense power of boycotting and putting a strain,” Vedder said, “and it’s a shame because people are going to affected that don’t deserve it but it could be the way that ultimately is gonna affect change, so again, we just couldn’t find it in ourselves in good conscience to cross a picket line when there was a movement.” At one point fans in the crowd were heard booing at the mention of the HB2 law, at which point Eddie noted, “I can’t tell from here if you are booing North Carolina, if you’re booing us for having to decide that we are not gonna play there. I would understand that, too.” Check out video of his speech to the right.
- ONE MORE THING! If you don’t think these cancellations are making much of a difference, you’d be wrong. According to The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau in the past week their financial losses have quadrupled, coming out to about $2.4-million. Meanwhile, Billboard reports that both the Pearl Jam show and the canceled Bruce Springsteen show would have made about $3 million, of which North Carolina has now lost 7.5% in taxes. In addition, with an audience of over 30,000 for both shows, things like concessions, parking and more would have generated over $500,000.
From Rolling Stone.….Simon and Garfunkel reunited back in 2010, but it looks like that really was the last time fans would have the chance to see the duo perform together. Last year, Art Garfunkel called Paul Simon an “idiot” and a “jerk” and added that he “created a monster” when he befriended Simon in grade school. That seems to have put a nail in their relationship coffin. Simon now says another reunion is “out of the question” and that they don’t speak at all. Simon is going on a summer tour, however, and with his former partner out of the picture, his main concern is crafting his setlist that appeals to both the younger demographic and his older fans. “The problem I have with concerts is that they’re too cluttered [and] hard to hear with so much stuff going on,” Simon explains. “I’m constantly saying to the band, ‘Take that out. Too many notes. Don’t do that. Give me space here.’ Everybody doesn’t have to play all the time even though they’re all very good musicians.”
- Head to Paul Simon’s official website to check out tour dates and ticket info.
For anyone who likes a little classic rock music on the high seas, there’s now a cruise for you. The “Rock & Romance Cruise” will feature five nights of music from seventies artists including Peter Frampton, America, Little River Band, The Orchestra (starring former members of ELO), Christopher Cross, Stephen Bishop, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night and more, hosted by Barry Williams. The trip will set sail through the Caribbean on the Celebrity Summit from March 11th to 16th, 2017. In addition to performances, guests will have a chance to take part in several special events including wine tastings, a live gourmet cooking demonstration, behind the music Q&As, panel discussions and theme parties.
Click here for information on how to book your trip.
Brian May of Queen has just put out a book on an oddball subject: Victorian underskirts. What’s more, it’s in 3D. May collaborated with Denis Pellerin for the book “Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster.” The book comes with May’s patented 3D viewer. May and Pellerin say crinolines became all the rage in the mid-19th century, right when stereoscopic photos were trendy as well. They decided to reunite the two fads. May says he’s been interested in stereoscope images ever since he found 3-D cards in his Weetabix cereal in the 1950s. The “Crinoline” book is available at select bookstores and at LondonStereo-dot-com.
Kansas will have to do some practicing before their next concert tour. They plan to do their “Leftoverture” album in its entirety and guitarist Richard Williams says they’ve never played the song “Questions of My Childhood” live before. Kansas is marking the 40th anniversary of “Leftoverture,” which featured the hit “Carry On Wayward Son.” They are also planning a new album called “The Prelude Implicit” that comes out in September. The Kansas tour begins September 30th in Pittsburgh.