ARETHA FRANKLIN: Queen of soul reportedly gravely ill
Aretha Franklin is reportedly gravely ill -- and in words that often indicate that death may be near, her family has been gathering at her home, while asking fans for prayers.
Now 76, the Queen of Soul announced in 2017 that she planned to stop touring and concentrate on recording another album and look into opening a nightclub in her hometown of Detroit.
Franklin has survived several health crises over the past decade. And while there's been speculation that she has been treated for either stomach or pancreatic cancer, Aretha has been tight-lipped on the subject. Three of her siblings have died from various forms of cancer.
She last performed last November at Elton John's annual AIDS Foundation gala in New York. But in recent months, Aretha hasn't been seen in public.
The 20-time Grammy winner was the first woman ever inducted into the Rock and roll Hall of Fame. (Daily Mail)
MORE BIG 95 KBGO MUSIC NEWS: Monday, August 13th
ROGER DALTREY: Rock legend recruits Van Morrison and Ed Sheeran
Roger Daltrey has recruited Van Morrison and Ed Sheeran to perform with him this week in Los Angeles at a private concert to benefit UCLA Health and Teen Cancer America (TCA), a charity founded by Daltrey and Pete Townshend.
The date for the invitation-only event is not being announced, but, looking at their concert schedules, it's either tomorrow (Monday) or Friday, as Sheeran is performing in Poland tonight (Sunday).
Movie and TV producer Judd Apatow will serve as MC, and game show host Howie Mandel will be the auctioneer for music memorabilia and art that will be sold at the event. One of the items up for bids is a guitar signed by Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Brian May, Paul McCartney, Donovan, Brian Wilson, Keith Richards, Dion, Peter Frampton, Graham Nash, Don Everly and Elvis Costello. It's expected to raise more than $250,000 for the charity.
Another item on the block is a refurbished Bally Pinball Wizard Machine built in 1975 to coincide with Tommy movie. It's been autographed by most of the film's principals, including Daltrey, Townshend, Elton John, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson and Ann-Margret.
KANSAS: New album has been delayed
Kansas are working on a new album -- but it's been delayed.
Bassist Billy Greer says they'd hoped to start recording it in January -- but their last tour was more successful than expected and kept them on the road.
He tells Hagerstown, Maryland's Herald-Mail, "We didn’t have the time to write the material. It’s been pushed back, but we’re writing. As far as the tour, no end in sight."
A Kansas member since 1985, Greer sounds a bit conflicted about the band's tour commitments. He enjoys "that time we’re playing and watching the crowd get into the music, but I hate the travel. Yesterday we got stuck in Atlanta for six hours." He then drops the line repeated by countless rock, pop and country legends: "We play for free, we get paid to travel.”
LIONEL RICHIE: Sees no need for gimmicks at his shows
Lionel Richie doesn't feel the need to load up his live shows with gimmicks.
Promoting his seven Planet Hollywood dates this month, he tells Las Vegas Magazine, "I’m in that blessed category because I don’t need the dancers and all the stuff in-between, I just need the next song."
His biggest worry might be not having enough time to perform everyone's personal favorites. "It’s guaranteed someone is going to leave saying, ‘I can’t believe they didn’t play [something].’ There was a point in my life when all we had to do was worry if we had enough music to play one hour of our songs only. If you’ve got that, you’ve got yourself an opportunity to have a career."
But he recalls that Motown was unhappy there were only eight songs on his Can't Slow Down album. "When I turned [it] in, the record company said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Here’s the joke -- seven of the eight were hits."
Lionel Richie kicks off his August residency at Planet Hollywood next Wednesday.
DIANA ROSS: Makes chart history again
Diana Ross has made music history with her new remix “I'm Coming Out / Upside Down 2018." It ranked number-one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs for the week ending August 4th, 2018.
In a nice coincidence: The original versions of both songs stood atop on the same chart during the same week in 1980. "Upside Down” also topped the pop and R&B charts during 1980.
This follows the earlier-in-the-year success of Ross's "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough" remix -- another onetime pop number-one that topped the dance chart in 2018.
ZZ TOP: Celebrate their 50th anniversary with a tour next year
ZZ Top will mark their 50th anniversary next year, and Billy Gibbons says they'll celebrate the milestone with a tour.
He tells Billboard, "It's such a rarity to find this, the same three guys playing the same three chords, and you look up and say, 'Gee, it's 50 years!' That's pretty wild and I think it's cause for celebration. We'll certainly pull out all the stops. Furthermore, it gives us a good excuse to go back and relearn some of the stuff we're supposed to already know."
Gibbons says there may also be some new music, as bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard have been working on what he calls "starter pieces."