Music News Digest: May 15, 2017

“There’s nothing about Donald Trump” on the next album, Bruce Cockburn tells Ottawa Star online. “I’d feel dirty if I did something like that.”

While he doesn’t sing specifically about Trump, he said some might interpret a cover of gospel song “12 Gates to the City” to be a reference to Trump’s Mexican border wall.

“There’s a gate for everyone,” Cockburn chuckles.

— Following up the Oct. 2016 DVD release of Bryan Adams’ 1996 Wembley concert, Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing a 2-CD and digital version of the show, with the release of Wembley Live 1996 on June 30. The singer will launch a North American tour on May 20 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. 

— The late theatre, television and film actor Leo McKern, who played the evil swami Clang in the Beatles' second feature-length film, shot the 8mm film while on the set of Help!  The newly discovered 10-minute reel has an asking price of approximately $45K, Reuters reports.

— Much is being made about the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper this year, but let’s not overlook an equally important R&R album. It was 40 years ago this Oct. that the Sex Pistols turned the music world upside-down with Never Mind the Bollocks. The Chris Thomas-produced punk hallmark was the subject of legal controversy over the use of “bollocks” in the title, then considered an offensive word that Johnny Rotten dismissed as a working-class expression meaning to “stop talking rubbish.”

The fracas caused some record shops to refuse to carry the LP, but Richard Branson’s Virgin Records chain did and it led to an obscenity charge being laid against the manager of the chain’s Nottingham store after being warned to cover up the word "bollocks" in a window poster.

The case went to court, but was dismissed with the magistrate stating that as much as he “deplored the vulgar exploitation of the worst instincts of human nature for the purchases of commercial profits,” he “reluctantly find you not guilty.”

Justin Bieber is caught between cooing and crowing over Madison Beer and has sealed a deal for her with Island Records, the same label he is under contract with. Presumably now working on a debut album, here’s she puts her best features forward on the smouldering mid-tempo dance romp, “All For Love” featuring Jack & Jack.

Meantime, Justin Bieber was all but booed for his highly-touted Mumbai concert on May 10.

The India Express pointedly posted: “Although Bieber wowed a lot of fans by getting adorable little children to perform with him on stage as he performed his song ‘Children’, people’s anger knew no bounds as they took to Twitter to call his act out. While many were dismayed they shelled out so much money to see him lip sync, many suggested him to ‘at least attempt 2 sync your lips’” in a variety of tweets.

— Peggi Young, Neil’s ex, released an album earlier this year that made headlines but largely got lost in the shuffle, or pushed aside as it’s song stack is both personal and out of sync with the dance beat times. Here’s the EPK for her solo adventure with her band The Survivors. The album is simply titled Raw, no doubt reflecting the candour she put into the verses.

U2’s Joshua Tree anniversary tour kick-off at BC Place in Vancouver this past weekend earned a drubbing over line-ups to get in, but the hysteria was palpable, with The Sun reporting diehard fans arriving at the venue four days in front and some hailing from as far away as Chile and Australia. Among those cheering the Irish band was Canada’s poet laureate, George Elliott Clarke. U2 has selected two of his poems to scroll across screens as concertgoers enter venues on their The Joshua Tree At Thirty tour. 

Below, the poet with Ron Davis’ SymphRONica and vocalist Shelley Hamilton in a performance of Clarke's poem "Everything Is Free".

— The Americana Music Association has selected Van Morrison to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting.

Petula Clark of “Don’t Sleep In the Subway” fame has been in Montreal scouting songs by francophones in the province to include on a new album. The seven-decade strong singer has a special connection to the city that includes having joined in the chorus of “Give Peace A Chance” when John and Yoko staged a bed-in at the Queen Elizabeth hotel all those years ago. Ian McGillis at The Gazette has the story.

— The Offspring’s frontman Dexter Holland is now a doctor after graduating with a PhD in Molecular Biology.

Lady Gaga is taking advantage of the emoji craze by launching her own collection of quirky graphics.

The hype about a Led Zeppelin reunion appears to be just that. A viral web story last week suggested Robert Plant was willing to take the plunge with his former mates again and the high-roller boomer Desert Trip shindig was the stage to do it. Dubbed by some as Oldchella, it now turns out there is no repeat of the six-day old-geezer event at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. At least, not this year.

SiriusXM Canada has launched 150 for 150, the “ultimate search for the 150 greatest Canadian songs of all time, as chosen by Canadians and a panel of industry experts.” To participate, link here. The panel of experts is not disclosed.

Port McNeill-born saxophonist Eli Bennett (and the first-born son of Powder Blues Band drummer Daryl Bennett) arrived unannounced at a recent Rosemary Siemens concert, played “Can’t Help Falling In Love” from the stage and then produced a diamond ring from his instrument’s bell. The couple wed Aug. 20 in the Manitoba town that gave violinist-singing sensation Siemens her latest album title: Plum Coulee My Home.

And here’s the magic moment…

And following the proposal…

And here’s Siemens showing her own stuff… at the Vatican.


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