Big 95 Music News: David Bowie, Moody Blues

DAVID BOWIE:  New documentary premieres on HBO this week

The David Bowie documentary The Last Five Years debuts this week on HBO. But, as Rolling Stone points out, the story began more than a decade ago, during what became his final tour in 2004.

A heart attack not long after the final show at Germany's Hurricane Festival nearly drove him to retirement. And when he began the album The Next Day, he became increasingly secretive -- to the point of having his musicians sign non-disclosure agreements. 

Here's a look at the trailer for The Last Five Years.

THE MOODY BLUES:  Founding member Ray Thomas has died

Ray Thomas, the original flute player and occasional singer in The Moody Blues, whose election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was announced last month, has died. He had just turned 76 and had been suffering from prostate cancer for a number of years.

Thomas was a co-founder of the group and the composer of many of its songs. He also released several solo albums in the 1970s.

His label issued a statement saying, "It is with profound sorrow and sadness that Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings regret to announce that Ray Thomas, founder member, flautist and vocalist of the Moody Blues, passed away suddenly at his home in Surrey on Thursday 4th January. We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humour and kindness. It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife Lee at this sad time."

Thomas retired from the band in 2002 for health reasons.  

The Moody Blues will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.

Bandmate John Lodge, upon learning the news, told us, "Ray and I have been on this magical journey through life together since we were 14...two young kids from Birmingham who reached for the stars...and we made it together. El Riot you will always be by my side." 

In 2002, John Lodge and Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues commented on the retirement of Ray Thomas:  

"Ray and I have worked together since I was 14. We've grown up doing everything together. It's more than just being on stage, it's a whole life. But you know you have to respect Ray's decision, and because he's made that decision, to be honest, it makes it easier for us to be able to accept someone else on stage playing. And of course you do miss him. You miss what he does and who Ray is. You know he's an integral part of my life and Graeme's life. Strange to think he'll never play 'Legend of a Mind' again."

MADONNA:  Important New Year's resolution

Madonna has made a really big New Year's resolution -- to spend millions of dollars helping kids in the African nation of Malawi get better educations.

The Material Mom logged onto Instagram to ask followers to pitch in, saying, "Let's start 2018 off right! I'm challenging you all to stand up, come together and BE the CHANGE you want to SEE in the World! This year we'll begin by building four brand-new schools in the Kasungu District of #Malawi with @RaisingMalawi and @buildOn! That's 14 schools in total that will help thousands of kids get the education they so rightfully deserve!"

Madonna has also helped build hospitals and medical clinics in the country -- where she adopted three of her children.

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