BIG Music News: Elvis Presley, Lionel Richie

ELVIS PRESLEY:  "Elvis Week" is underway

The 9-day celebration of the life and legacy of Elvis Presley is underway.  Here's a look at some of the activities planned this week in and around Memphis:

  • The candlelight vigil in which Elvis fans walk up the Graceland driveway to his gravesite begins at 8:00 pm on Tuesday. The vigil will be streamed worldwide via the Graceland website.
  • A 40th anniversary production of Elvis: Live in Concert with a live orchestra and backup vocalists is set for Wednesday night at the FedEx Forum. Priscilla Presley will appear.
  • Conversations on Elvis: Elvis in the Movies will feature Presley co-stars Marlyn Mason (from The Trouble With Girls), Pat Priest (Easy Come, Easy Go), Laurel Goodwin (Girls! Girls! Girls!), Gary Lockwood (It Happened at the World's Fair) and Randy Starr -- who wrote 12 songs used in Elvis's movies.
  • A pair of concerts starring Elvis Tribute Artists (the word impersonator is strongly shunned) are set for Graceland Soundstage A. A reunion is set for this  Friday of past Tribute Artist Contest champs. The finals of the 2017 competition will be held on August 19th.

Mighty John "The Record Guy" Marshall will be on the Big Morning Show this morning (Monday) to tell us this year's top 10 list of Most Valuable Elvis Records to be on the look out for at garage sales, flea markets and yard sales.  You can reach him at  

LIONEL RICHIE:  New music on the way after his summer tour

Lionel Richie is focusing on his '80s and '70s classics on this summer's tour with Mariah Carey. But you can look for new music from the pop-soul legend later this year.

Lionel admits that the decline of the record business has changed the balance of his career priorities:

"Time's flipped a little bit, there used to a moment in time where they used to beg you to go out on the road because you couldn't come out of the studio because all of the money was made... you're making all this money in the studio. Now, it's the opposite. We don't spend that much time in the studio because we spend most of the time now on the road because that's where all the money is."

Lionel says while he doesn't record as much, he's never lost his love for writing music:

"I've got a couple of things coming out right after this tour ends. You'll be surprised. We're always writing -- I mean, I'm going to tell you right now, if once a writer, always a writer. I must say, happily enough, the music will be coming out shortly."

While he's not ready to share details, Lionel will be joined by guest stars. Given the way music is now sold, it's likely he'll focus on singles rather than an album:

"I like a little bit of a surprise, I'm almost there. I can't reveal it quite yet because I want it to be the sonic boom surprise. But I can tell you there will be some guest spots or guest people on this little... a couple of three songs. But you'll love it."

LEON RUSSELL:  Final album is due out in September

The final album recorded by Leon Russell will come out on September 22nd.

On a Distant Shore features remakes of three classic songs, with the rest being new originals backed by strings and horns. That's according to, which is previewing a song from it called "Love My Way."

Russell died last November 13th at age 74.


Jersey Boys will return to New York. The Four Seasons musical, which wrapped up a long Broadway run last winter, will reopen in November at the smaller New World Stages, according to the New York Post. No word yet on casting. Frankie Valli’s reaction: “Like the Energizer bunny, it lives on and on and on…”

Cindy Blackman Santana will release the song "Fun, Party, Splash" on August 25th. The track features her husband, Carlos Santana.

Pat Benatar’s husband and musical partner Neil Giraldo is mourning the death of Glen Campbell. He says, “We played golf together. Other than a guitar in his hands, a golf club was his next best friend… He gave the world great music and great personality… Strum on, my friend, and tee it up. Rest in gentle peace.”

Stevie Van Zandt wants people to know he will not be playing with Bruce Springsteen during the Boss’s eight-week one-man-show run on Broadway this fall. But he promises that “it will be wonderful.”

Le Studio in Quebec, where Rush, The Bee Gees, Cat Stevens, Chicago, The Police, David Bowie and many others recorded, went up in flames early Friday morning. It ceased being a studio in 2008 and the building was on the market.

The follow-up to Johnny Rogan’s exhaustive 1981 Byrds biography, Requiem for the Timeless, Volume One (originally titled Timeless Flight) has just been published. Volume Two tells the stories of the band’s six deceased members -- Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Gram Parsons, Clarence White, Skip Battin and Kevin Kelly.  Monday is the 76th birthday of former Byrd David Crosby.

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