Big 95 Music News: Van Morrison, Elvis Presley

VAN MORRISON:  37th studio album is out this week

Van Morrison didn't set out to make what turned into his 37th studio album, Roll With the Punches, which is out this week. He says he went back to his roots to have a bit of fun, but before he knew it, it had turned into something more:

"In Cardiff [Wales] I started rehearsing with friends and it sort of evolved from there. They go, 'Well let's record this' kind of thing, you know. We were having fun at that time but then it turned into, you know, not so much fun later on when we got to like, 'What are we really doing,' you know?"

Roll With the Punches is a 15-song set that mixes five originals with 10 covers of rhythm and blues classics by Bo Diddley, Mose Allison, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sam Cooke, Lightnin' Hopkins and others.

Morrison adds, "From a very early age, I connected with the blues. The thing about the blues is you don't dissect it -- you just do it. I've never over-analyzed what I do; I just do it. Music has to be about just doing it and that's the way the blues works -- it's an attitude."

Among the musicians playing on the album are his longtime sidekick Georgie Fame, Jeff Beck and former Manfred Mann singer, harmonica player and BBC Radio 2 host Paul Jones.

ELVIS PRESLEY:  Classic songs inspires a children's book

Priscilla Presley has published a children's book based on one of Elvis's classic ballads. She tells People that Love Me Tender is "a feel-good story of love and accepting and a happy ending. Isn’t that what children want?"

Raising daughter Lisa Marie's eight-year-old twin girls for much of this year while their mother was caught up in a nasty divorce, Priscilla says, "The twins know much about their grandfather. How famous he is, his love of Graceland, his movies and his songs. They can hear one of his songs on the radio and right away know that’s his voice."

Love Me Tender, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers on November 13th.

ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME:  Who's gonna get in?

Next month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce the next group of nominees. Some will be repeat contenders, others will be considered for the first time. And some of those will be in their first year of eligibility. (An artist becomes eligible for consideration 25 years after the release of their first record. So nominees for the Class of 2018 have to have had a release in 1992 or earlier.)

In recent years, Green DayPearl Jam and Nirvana were honored as soon as they became eligible. But Michael Jackson and David Bowie were not. Cheap Trick and Chicago had to wait years to be recognized. 

Groups who emerged in 1992 and are thus newly eligible this year include Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, No Doubt and TLC. But do any of them have enough support to get on the ballot, or will they all have to wait as names from last year are returned to competition? Leftovers from the last ballot include The Cars, J. Geils Band, Depeche Mode, Janet Jackson and The Zombies.

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