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R.E.M. reissuing debut 1982 EP 'Chronic Town' in honor of its 40th anniversary

IRS/UMe

R.E.M. released its debut EP, Chronic Town, 40 years ago this August, and to mark the milestone, the band will be reissuing the five-song collection on August 19 in multiple formats.

The EP will be made available for the first-time ever as a standalone CD, and also will be released on cassette and as a vinyl picture disc. Chronic Town's co-producer, Mitch Easter, has written new liner notes for the reissue.

Released on August 24, 1982, Chronic Town arrived about a year after R.E.M.'s debut single, "Radio Free Europe," and preceded the band's classic 1983 debut studio album, Murmur.

"One might fancifully say that Chronic Town was the sound of an expedition, ready for anything, setting forth," says Easter about the EP. "If R.E.M. 'Radio Free Europe' single was a signpost, the Chronic Town EP was the atlas."

The EP included the early gems "Wolves, Lower," "Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)" and "1,000,000," and features singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry coming together to create the jangly "College Rock" sound that has influenced so many other artists over the years.

You can preorder the Chronic Town reissue now. Here's the full track list:

"Wolves, Lower"
"Gardening at Night"
"Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)"
"1,000,000"
"Stumble"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant's debut solo album, 'Pictures at Eleven,' celebrates 40th anniversary

Es Paranza Records

Robert Plant opened the first chapter of his post-Led Zeppelin career 40 years ago today with the release of his debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven.

The eight-track collection peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200, while reaching #2 on the U.K. albums chart. Four of the tracks broke into the top 20 of Billboard's Mainstream Rock tally -- "Burning Down One Side," "Worse Than Detroit," "Pledge Pin" and "Slow Dancer."

"Burning Down One Side" was the most successful single released from the album, peaking at #3 on Mainstream Rock chart and at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Phil Collins played drums on six of the album's eight tracks, while journeyman rocker Cozy Powell was behind the kit for the other two songs. Other musicians featured on Pictures at Eleven included guitarist Robbie Blunt, keyboardist Jezz Woodroffe and bassist Paul Martinez. In addition, sax player Raphael Ravenscroft, best known for his memorable playing on Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," lent his talents to the song "Pledge Pin."

Plant co-wrote all of the tunes with Blunt, with Woodroffe also helping to write three songs -- "Burning Down One Side," "Fat Lip" and "Far Post."

Plant produced the album, which was recorded in Wales at Rockfield Studios, a famous facility where Queen worked on "Bohemian Rhapsody." Pictures at Eleven has been certified Platinum for sales of over 1 million copies in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Plant launched a European tour with his Raise the Roof collaborator Alison Krauss last Friday with a performance at England's Glastonbury Festival. The trek runs through a July 20 gig in Berlin and will be followed by a second 2022 U.S. leg that begins August 15 in San Diego.

Here's Pictures at Eleven's full track list:

"Burning Down One Side"
"Moonlight in Samosa"
"Pledge Pin"
"Slow Dancer"
"Worse Than Detroit"
"Fat Lip"
"Like I've Never Been Gone"
"Mystery Title"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Makeup-mania! Def Leppard launches limited-edition cosmetics line

© 2022 Bludgeon Riffola Limited. Under License to Epic Rights.

In celebration of Def Leppard's 45th anniversary, the band has partnered with Rock and Roll Beauty to launch a limited-edition line of themed beauty products.

The 19-piece collection includes a colorful eyeshadow palette designed to resemble Def Leppard's famed diamond-shaped logo, as well as eyeshadow sticks, lipsticks, highlighters, scented candles, makeup brushes and sponges, nail decals and accessories.

Among the items are blush-and-highlighter packs designed to look like backstage passes, and cosmetic bags featuring the Hysteria album cover art and replicating an old audio cassette. The line also features eyeshadow sticks named after four Def Leppard songs -- "Come Undone," "Gravity," "Let's Go" and "Your Touch."

The Def Leppard x Rock and Roll Beauty collection is available exclusively in Ulta Beauty stores across the U.S., and online at Ulta.com and RockandRollBeauty.com.

Def Leppard is currently co-headlining The Stadium Tour with Mötley Crüe. The next stop on the trek, which also features Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, takes place this Tuesday, June 28, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Def Leppard is promoting its recently released studio album, Diamond Star Halos.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The King reigns at the box office: 'Elvis' edged out 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Warner Bros. Pictures

It was a dogfight at the box office over the weekend, but in the end, Elvis downed Top Gun: Maverick.

Newly revised numbers quoted by Variety show that Baz Luhrmann's Elvis Presley biopic beat Tom Cruise's sequel by around a million bucks.

The trade reports that Elvis made $31.1 million in its first weekend in theaters, while Top Gun: Maverick brought in $29.6 million in its fifth weekend in theaters. Earlier estimates had the movies tied at $30.5 million apiece.

That said, don't feel bad for Tom: Maverick is the star's biggest hit of his long career and flew past the billion-dollar mark at the global box office after just a month.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Check out live version of ZZ Top's "Heard It on the X" from band's upcoming album, 'Raw'

Shelter Records/BMG

ZZ Top has released an updated live version of their 1975 gem "Heard It on the X" as the latest advance digital track from their upcoming album, Raw, which is due out July 22.

As previously reported, Raw was recorded in conjunction with the famed blues-rock trio's 2019 documentary, That Little Ol' Band from Texas. It's being released as a tribute to longtime bassist Dusty Hill, who died in July 2021 at age 72.

For the movie, ZZ Top's classic lineup of singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons, Hill and drummer Frank Beard played an intimate set of songs from their back catalog at historic Gruene Hall, known as "the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas," which was filmed and recorded. That "raw" performance serves as the basis for the new album.

"Heard It on the X" originally appeared on ZZ Top's fourth album, 1975's Fandango!, which also included the classic hit "Tush."

"Heard It on the X," which featured Gibbons and Hill trading lead vocal lines, was an homage to the famous "border blaster" high-wattage AM radio stations that would broadcast from Mexico and that featured the call letters that started with "X."

"Even though Dusty, Frank, and I grew up in different part of Texas we listened to the same stations, particularly the 'X' stations," Gibbons notes, "and, as a result, we gained a lot of the same musical and cultural points of reference."

You can check out a video of ZZ Top performing "Heard It on the X" at Gruene Hall at the band's YouTube channel.

Raw, which was produced by Gibbons, can be preordered now and will be available as a 180-gram vinyl LP, on CD and via digital formats.

Here's Raw's full track:

"Brown Sugar"
"Just Got Paid"
"Heard It on the X"
"La Grange"
"Tush"
"Thunderbird"
"I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide"
"Legs"
"Gimme All Your Lovin'"
"Blue Jean Blues"
"Certified Blues"
"Tube Snake Boogie"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Stevie Nicks weighs in on Supreme Court decision: "History is repeating itself"

Stevie Nicks has good news and bad news: She didn't get COVID during her recent run of tour dates -- but she is very upset about the Supreme Court's ruling last week.

In a letter posted to Twitter, the two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer writes, "Dear people, I got home from the tour late Wednesday night exhausted. It was great to be back in my world doing what I love for the first time in three years...AND I did not get COVID! We definitely proved that it can be done if you follow the rules. That is the good news."

Stevie continues, "The bad news is that our women's rights have been taken away."

The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman then says that before she comments further, she wants everyone to watch a documentary called The Janes. "It's a huge deja vu for me, as it is about my generation leading up to Roe v Wade," she writes. "Please watch it. It will blow your mind."

She signs off, "History is repeating itself...and it's even more frightening this time."

The Janes, available on HBO Max, tells the true story of seven women in Chicago in 1972 who were arrested for running an underground network for women who wanted to have safe, affordable abortions -- which at the time were illegal. The film features firsthand accounts from those women, some speaking on the record for the first time.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Depeche Mode member Andy Fletcher's cause of death revealed

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

The cause of death of Depeche Mode member Andy Fletcher has been revealed.

In an Instagram post penned by DM vocalist Dave Gahan and multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore, the "Enjoy the Silence" outfit shares that Fletcher died of aortic dissection, which occurs when there's a tear in the inner layer of the aorta artery.

"Even though it was far, far too soon, he passed naturally and without prolonged suffering," Depeche Mode says of Fletcher.

Fletcher, often referred to as "Fletch" by his friends, bandmates and family, passed on May 26. He was 60 years old. At the time, a source close to the band shared that he passed away from natural causes.

In addition to sharing the cause of death news, Depeche Mode's post also details a "celebration of Andy's life" that took place in London last week.

"[It] was a beautiful ceremony and gathering with a few tears, but filled with the great memories of who Andy was, stories of all of our times together, and some good laughs," the post reads. "Andy was celebrated in a room full of many of his friends and family, our immediate DM family, and so many people who have touched Andy's and our lives throughout the years. All being together was a very special way to remember Andy and see him off."

"Thank you for all of the love you've shown Andy and his family and friends over the last few weeks," Gahan and Gore conclude. "It honestly means the world to all of us. Andy, you'll be missed, but certainly not forgotten."

Fletcher was a founding member of Depeche Mode and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the band in 2020.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Styx, Loverboy, Tesla among many bands performing at RockIsland Fest 2023 in Key West, Florida

Courtesy of RokIsland Fest

The lineup has been unveiled for the star-studded 2023 edition of the RockIsland Fest, which will take place January 17-21 in Key West, Florida.

The artists on the bill include Styx, Loverboy, Tesla, 38 Special, Queensrÿche, Quiet Riot, Extreme, Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy, Stryper, ex-Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler, Enuff Z'Nuff, Honeymoon Suite and Autograph.

Pre-sale passes for the five-day rock extravaganza are available now, while tickets, passes and packages will go on sale to the general public on July 6 at 10 a.m. ET.

The main venue for the event is the 4,000-seat capacity Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, located on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

"The inaugural RokIsland Fest in early 2022 brought some of the biggest rock bands on the planet to the island of Key West for four days of epic performances and tropical bliss," says festival co-founder Dave Giencke in a statement posted by uDiscoverMusic.com. "After the overwhelming response from the artists and attendees who came in from all over the country and across the pond, we decided to add another day to RokIsland Fest 2023 with a lineup as equally stacked as year one. I'm fairly certain we've once again created the premier destination experience for rock fans around the world."

This year's inaugural RokIsland Fest included performances by Cheap Trick, Night Ranger, Poison's Bret Michaels, Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, Skid Row, Warrant, Winger, Dokken, Lita Ford, Enuff Z'Nuff and many others.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Cyndi Lauper releases updated version of abortion-rights song "Sally's Pigeons"

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment

Cyndi Lauper has released a new version of her 1993 abortion-rights anthem "Sally's Pigeons" after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 opinion that declared abortion a constitutional right.

"The Supreme Court's radical decision today makes the re-recording and re-release of 'Sally's Pigeons' more relevant than ever," Lauper wrote on Instagram. "In my childhood, women didn't have reproductive freedom and 50 years later we find ourselves in a time warp where one’s freedom to control their own body has been stripped away."

The two-time Grammy winner continued, "When I wrote this song with Mary Chapin Carpenter in 1991, we wrote about two little girls who dreamt of stretching their wings like the pigeons they watched that flew above them. They dreamt of being free. But freedom then for women and unfortunately now comes at a big price."

Cyndi added, "If we don't have control over our own bodies then we have no real freedom. We are second class citizens. We need to mobilize. We need to let our voices be heard."

"Sally's Pigeons" was inspired by Lauper's childhood friend who became pregnant and died after seeking a back-alley abortion. The heartbreaking track includes lyrics, "Some twenty one years back/ She left one night with just a nod/ Was lost from some back alley job/ I close my eyes and Sally's pigeons fly."

She has since changed the lyrics of the 2022 version of her song and says the events took place "some fifty-one years back."

The "Time After Time" singer is a staunch advocate for abortion rights.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Whitesnake canceled performance at Spanish festival Saturday; says drummer was ill but is "getting better"

Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Whitesnake canceled its appearance Saturday at the Rock Imperium Festival in Cartagena, Spain, and the rockers' decision to pull out of the event apparently upset the festival's organizers.

On Saturday, Whitesnake issued a statement apologizing to fans for canceling that read, in part, "Please know we are doing everything in our power to bring you the best high energy and exciting shows we possibly can. We always strive to deliver 100%, as Whitesnake fans always deserve that much, and never anything less."

The note adds, "We knew embarking on this tour could present many new obstacles and potential issues, which had been unknown to us on previous tours. Please know we are doing everything in our power to work through these unprecedented challenges."

Following Whitesnake's cancellation, festival organizers issued a lengthy statement complaining that the band had given little notice before pulling out of the gig and noting that much of the group's equipment already was set up on stage when they officially canceled.

The note explains, "At 1:23 [p.m.], we received a call from Whitesnake's agent indicating that the band's drummer, Tommy Aldridge, was very ill with a high fever and that they could not perform. We appealed to the band's sense of professionalism so as not to leave fans stranded, but their agent was blunt, stating that the show was '100% cancelled by the band.'"

You can read the festival organizers' full statement about the situation at RockImperiumFestival.es.

On Sunday, Whitesnake issued another statement that reads, "Tommy was under the weather, as we all can get, but is getting better: he never had, what was inaccurately described [by the Spanish promoter] as 'severe health problems' and can't wait to get back out there to perform for the fans!"

Whitesnake's next scheduled performance is Tuesday, June 28, in Milan, Italy.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Paul McCartney's historic Glastonbury Festival show included special guests from Dave Grohl, Springsteen

Harry Durrant/Getty Images

Paul McCartney played the U.K.'s famed Glastonbury Festival on Saturday, making history by becoming the oldest solo artist to headline the famous event.

Sir Paul, who turned 80 on Saturday, June 18, also thrilled the crowd by welcoming two surprise guests to the stage during his show -- Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.

Paul McCartney played the U.K.'s famed Glastonbury Festival on Saturday, making history by becoming the oldest solo artist to headline the famous event.

Sir Paul, who turned 80 on June 18, also thrilled the crowd by welcoming two surprise guests to the stage during his show -- Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.

Regarding Grohl, it was his first time returning to the stage since the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins in March.

As reported by NME, McCartney introduced Grohl as "your hero from the West Coast," and he and Dave then proceeded to play the early Beatles classic "I Saw Her Standing There" followed by the 1973 Wings hit "Band on the Run."

Paul also explained to the audience that Grohl "flew in especially to do this," noting that he had to overcome flight cancellations in Los Angeles to be able to play the show.

After Grohl exited the stage, McCartney introduced his second surprise guest, welcoming "from the East Coast of America," Springsteen.

Bruce, who had joined Paul at the final show of McCartney's Got Back Tour of the U.S. on June 16, played the same two songs that he did at the previous gig -- his own hit "Glory Days" and the early Beatles rave-up "I Wanna Be Your Man."

Grohl and Springsteen also came back out on stage for the finale of McCartney's Glastonbury show, jamming out with Paul and his band on a rendition of The Beatles' "The End."

McCartney's concert lasted about two-and-a-half hours and featured over 30 songs. You can check out some fan-shot highlights of the show at NME.com, while PaulMcCartney.com also has posted a recap of the event.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Billie Joe Armstrong tells UK crowd he's "renouncing" his American citizenship

Burak Cingi/Redferns

Billie Joe Armstrong has had enough of America.

Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday, the Green Day frontman said he's ready to leave the country -- and he didn't mince words.

"F*** America," Armstrong told the crowd at the Hella Mega tour stop in London over the weekend. "I'm f****** renouncing my citizenship. I'm f****** coming here."

"There's just too much f****** stupid in the world to go back to that miserable f****** excuse for a country," he continued as the crowd at London Stadium cheered.

And lest you think it's all talk, Armstrong assured the crowd he was "not kidding."

"You're going to get a lot of me in the coming days," he said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Doobie Brothers' Pat Simmons discusses band's "unique" new memoir he co-wrote with Tom Johnston

St. Martin's Press

Doobie Brothers co-founders members Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston teamed up to write a new memoir about their famous band titled Long Train Runnin': Our Story of The Doobie Brothers that's available now.

Simmons tells ABC Audio that having the book co-written by him and Tom gives fans the chance to learn about the band's history from the different perspectives of two guys who were there from the beginning.

"[I]t was kind of unique, because it's both Tom and myself telling a story," Simmons notes. "[I think that's] a little bit better all the way around, since…it's hard to remember…what was going on through the years. And it was nice to kind of reflect on aspects that somebody else might have seen a little differently from your own [recollection]."

Simmons says parts of the book that he thinks fans will find particularly interesting include how the band came together, details about how The Doobies made their records, and the successful period in the group's history when Michael McDonald became the frontman at a time that Johnston was experiencing serious health issues.

Regarding the making of The Doobies' music, Simmons notes, "[H]ow we put those songs together, how we wrote them, how we built them is kind of an interesting aspect that…I thought…was kind of unique in terms of the wide variety of ways that we approached songwriting and how songs were created."

As for McDonald joining the band and the resulting change in the sound of the group's music, Pat says, "[I]t was an arduous process. And it worked out, luckily."

Long Train Runnin' also features commentary from various other Doobie Brothers members, alums and associates, including McDonald, former bassist Tiran Porter, longtime multi-instrumentalist John McFee and producer Ted Templeman.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Elton John, Genesis, Eagles among artists with highest-grossing tours of 2022 so far

Elton John, Genesis and The Eagles are among the artists who are raking it in at the box office in 2022, according to the latest installment of Pollstar's annual midyear rankings.

In terms of worldwide tours, Genesis' The Last Domino? Tour -- the final outing for Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford -- earned $72 million globally, second only to Latin superstar Bad Bunny. Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour was next with $70 million.

Also making the top 10 was The Eagles' ongoing Hotel California trek, which was in seventh place with $55 million.

When it comes to North American tours, Elton lands at #2 behind, yes, Bad Bunny. The Eagles and Genesis also made the top 10, at #6 and #8, respectively.

Pollstar's midyear lists actually cover concert grosses from November 18, 2021, to May 18, 2022.

Here's the full top 10 of Pollstar's 2022 worldwide tours midyear list:

1. Bad Bunny, $120.1 million
2. Genesis, $72.0 million
3. Elton John, $70.0 million
4. BTS, $69.3 million
5. Morgan Wallen, $58.3 million
6. Eric Church, $56.3 million
7. Eagles, $55.0 million
8. John Mayer, $51.8 million
9. Coldplay, $44.7 million
10. Garth Brooks, $44.3 million

And here's the top 10 of Pollstar's North American tours 2022 midyear rankings:

1. Bad Bunny, $120.1 million
2. Elton John, $70.0 million
3. BTS, $69.3 million
4. Morgan Wallen, $58.3 million
5. Eric Church, $56.3 million
6. Eagles, $55.0 million
7. John Mayer, $51.8 million
8. Genesis, $46.5 million
9. Garth Brooks, $44.3 million
10. Dua Lipa, $40.1

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New collection featuring Phil Lynott documentary, 1978 Thin Lizzy concert film released Friday

Mercury Studios

The new Thin Lizzy-themed audio/video collection pairing the 2020 documentary Phil Lynott: Songs for While I'm Away with the archival concert film and album Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town Live at the Sydney Opera House October 1978 was released Friday.

The release is available now either as a two-DVD/CD set or a Blu-ray/DVD/CD set. A limited-edition version featuring a card autographed by longtime Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham can be purchased at NewburyComics.com.

Songs for While I'm Away presents a candid look at late Thin Lizzy singer/bassist Phil Lynott's life and music. It tells the story of how a Black boy raised during the 1950s by a working-class family in Dublin went on to become one of Ireland's biggest rock stars before he died in 1986 of drug-related health issues at age 36.

The movie features archival footage of conversations with Lynott, as well as recent interviews with Thin Lizzy members and/or alums Gorham, Eric Bell, Darren Wharton and Midge Ure, as well as with U2's Adam Clayton, Metallica's James Hetfield, Huey Lewis and Suzi Quatro.

The film also includes conversations with Lynott's wife, Caroline Taraskevics, and his daughters Sarah and Catherine Lynott.

Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town Live at the Sydney Opera House October 1978, which was originally released in 1988, features the band performing many of its classic songs at the famed Australian venue. The footage has been restored for the new DVD release, while a companion CD of the show is also included in the package.

Here's the The Boys Are Back in Town Live at the Sydney Opera House's CD track list:

"Jailbreak"
"Bad Reputation"
"Warriors"
"Don't Believe a Word"
"Waiting for an Alibi"
"Still In Love with You"
"Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed"
"Cowboy Song"
"The Boys Are Back in Town"
"Suicide"
"Are You Ready"
"Baby Drives Me Crazy"
"Me and the Boys "

And here's the track list for concert DVD:

"Jailbreak"
"Bad Reputation"
"Waiting for an Alibi"
"Cowboy Song"
"The Boys Are Back in Town"
"Are You Ready"
"Me and the Boys "
"Baby Drives Me Crazy"

Lost Sydney Performances
"Warriors"
"Don't Believe a Word"
"Still In Love with You"
"Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed"
"Suicide"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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