Matt Baron/ShutterstockEach year, the British department store chain John Lewis releases a splashy Christmas ad, usually featuring a cover version of a beloved pop hit. The ad is highly anticipated, and its release marks the official kickoff of the U.K. holiday season. This year, none other than Elton John is front and center in the ad, called “The Boy & the Piano.”

In the touching video, we see Elton sitting in a living room at an old upright piano, looking wistful. He begins to play his first big hit, “Your Song,” and as he does, we’re taken on a journey backward through time.

We see Elton performing the song in the present day in Las Vegas, then sitting in a dressing room circa 1990, onstage wearing a pink Mohawk wig in 1986, performing at a stadium in the mid ’70s, playing the piano on an airplane in the early ’70s, and singing “Your Song” during a British TV appearance in 1971.

After we see Elton recording the song in the studio in January 1970, we jump back even further. Elton’s a teenager, playing the piano at a family gathering in the ’60s while people dance around him. Then, he’s a kid in the ’50s, playing the piano at a recital, with his proud mom in the audience. And finally, we see him at the age of about three or four, running into the living room on Christmas morning to greet his mom and grandma, and unwrapping the same upright piano we see him playing in the beginning.

As we cut back to present-day Elton at the piano, he closes the lid, and we see these words: “Some gifts are more than just a gift.”


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Credit: Ross HalfinWith 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of ZZ Top‘s formation, the Texas blues-rock trio has announced plans to launch an extensive European tour this summer in celebration of the milestone.

The trek will launch in early June somewhere in Scandinavia and will wrap up in late July in the U.K. So far, only five shows have been confirmed — taking place June 19 at the Prague Rocks festival in Prague, Czech Republic; June 25 at Forest National in Brussels, Belgium; June 29 at Castle Clam in Linz, Austria; July 5 at the Barcelona Rock Fest in Barcelona, Span; and July 12 at the SSE Arena Wembley in London.

Regarding the band’s anniversary plans, frontman Billy Gibbons says, “It’s been 50 years, and I think we’re starting to get pretty good! We’re just as excited to play Barcelona this summer as we were to play Beaumont [Texas] back in ’69. The beards are, perhaps, a bit longer, but nothing much else has changed and we hope to keep it that way.”

As previously, reported, ZZ Top also has a Las Vegas residency and several concerts in California lined up for January and February, although these performances don’t appear to be part of the band’s 50th anniversary festivities. Check out the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers’ full itinerary at

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Credit: Anna WebberThis year, veteran Bay Area band Tower Power has been promoting its 25th studio album, Soul Side of Town, with an expansive tour that’s also commemorating the horn-driven outfit’s 50th anniversary.

Tower of Power co-founder and tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo tells ABC Radio that with the anniversary in mind, the group put its best effort into making a quality album, inspired by something one of the band’s old managers told him.

“He said, ‘This isn’t the time to just throw 12 songs together and put it out. You gotta make the best record of your career,'” Castillo recalls.

Emilio explains that the group set out to achieve this by using “the Michael Jackson method, where you record way more than you need and pick the best 12.” With help from producer Joe Vannelli, Tower of Power wound up with 28 finished tracks, 14 of which appear on Soul Side of Town.

“I’m very proud of it,” Castillo says of Soul Side of Town. “It is a very diverse record. It’s a radio-friendly record. It’s creative. We pushed the bar musically, production-wise, engineering-wise, lyrically…[on] every level.”

Released in June, Soul Side of Town debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Jazz Albums chart. Meanwhile, the band has been chosen to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the online soul-music resource SoulTracks, which will present the honor to the band as part of its Readers’ Choice Awards on December 10.

Tower of Power’s final series of 2018 tour dates is mapped from a show tonight in Madison, Wisconsin, through a New Year’s Eve performance in Las Vegas. The band’s 2019 U.S. itinerary is set to begin with a March 8-9 stand in Brooklyn, New York. Here are all of Tower of Power’s confirmed stateside shows:

11/15 — Madison, WI, Capitol Theater
11/16 — Fort Wayne, IN, The Clyde Theatre
11/17 — Findlay, OH, Marathon Center for the Performing Arts – Donnell Theater
11/29 — Honolulu, HI, Blue Note
11/30 — Honolulu, HI, Blue Note
12/1 — Honolulu, HI, Blue Note
12/2 — Honolulu, HI, Blue Note
12/8 — Robinsonville, MS, Horseshoe Casino’s Bluesville
12/14 — Monterey, CA, Golden State Theatre
12/15 — Napa, CA, The Uptown Theatre Napa
12/27 — Lincoln, CA, Thunder Valley Casino Resort
12/28 — Lincoln, CA, Thunder Valley Casino Resort
12/29 — Santa Clarita, CA, The Canyon
12/31 — Las Vegas, NV, South Point Casino Ballroom
3/8/19 — Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn Bowl
3/9 — Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn Bowl
3/12 — Hopewell, VA, The Beacon Theatre
3/15 — Nashville, TN, City Winery
3/16 — Nashville, TN, City Winery
4/6 — Naperville, IL, Pfeiffer Hall
4/18 — Irvine, CA, Irvine Barclay Theatre
4/19 — Pasadena, CA, The Rose

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Credit: Marylene EytierCarlos Santana and his band will launch a 2019 North American leg of its Global Consciousness Tour with a series of March and April shows in Mexico and the U.S.

The concerts will be bookended by previously announced Las Vegas engagements in January-February and May, as part of Santana‘s ongoing residency at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.

The tour kicks off March 17 in Mexico City, and currently is scheduled through an April 28 concert in Rogers, Arkansas. The outing will coincide with the 20th anniversary of Santana’s massively successful Supernatural album, as well as the 50th anniversary of the band’s performance at the historic Woodstock festival.

Visit to find out details about when tickets will be available for the shows.

As for the band’s Las Vegas performances, two eight-date stands have been lined up, running from January 23 through February 2 and May 15 through May 26.

Here are all of Santana’s confirmed 2019 concerts:

1/23, 25-27, 30-31 — Las Vegas, NV, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay
2/1-2 — Las Vegas, NV, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay
3/17 — Mexico City, Mexico, Vive Latino Festival 2019
3/19 — Puebla, Mexico, Acropolis Puebla
3/21 — Guadalajara, Mexico, Auditorio Telmex
4/18 — St. Petersburg, FL, Al Lang Stadium
4/19 — Hollywood, FL, Hard Rock Event Center
4/20 — Saint Augustine, FL, Saint Augustine Amphitheatre
4/22 — Nashville, TN, Grand Ole Opry House
4/24 — Alpharetta, GA, Verizon Amphitheatre
4/27 — Southaven, MS, Bank Plus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove
4/28 — Rogers, AR, The Walmart Amp
5/15, 17-19, 22, 24-26 — Las Vegas, NV, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay

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Credit: Zoren GoldTears for Fears is one of the many acts confirmed to perform at the 2019 edition of the Shaky Knees festival, scheduled to take place May 3-5 in Atlanta’s Central Park.

The three-day concert extravaganza also will include headline sets from Beck and Incubus, as well as performances by Gary Clark Jr., Liz Phair, The Dandy Warhols and Dashboard Confessional, among others.

For the full lineup and ticket info, visit

So far, the fest is the only North American date on Tears for Fears’ 2019 schedule. The band will mount a tour of U.K. and mainland Europe in January and February,

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The Prince Estate. Photographer Nancy Bundt

It’s been two-and-a-half years since Prince passed away, and for Brown Mark, the bass player of the band The Revolution, which recorded the Purple Rain soundtrack, Prince was the greatest musician of our time.

Mark was amazed by how Prince, best known as a guitarist and pianist, could play several instruments at the highest level.

“I’ve never seen anyone grab your instrument and show you how to do something. He had the ability to play everything, and if he wanted to tweak something, or whatever he wanted to do, he could come right over and he could show you what he’s hearing,” the 56-year-old musician says.

“‘Here, let me have that bass,’ and he would show me. He was a phenomenal musician,” Mark continues. “I don’t think since Mozart there’s ever gonna be anybody else. Not in our generation.”

Mark says that not only was Prince the consummate musician, he was also one of the most versatile vocalists.

“He could sing in two different styles,” Mark remembers. “He’d hit this falsetto like the old Smokey Robinson and Verdine White. He could hit that, but then he could go to this baritone and this real deep thing.”

In addition to recording Purple Rain and appearing with Prince in the film, The Revolution also recorded three more albums with Prince in the ’80s: 1999, Around the World in a Day and Parade. Along with Brown Mark on bass, The Revolution includes guitarist Wendy Melvoin, drummer Bobby Z, and two keyboard players — Lisa Coleman and Dr. Fink.

The Revolution recently wrapped up its fall tour, and will end the year with Texas shows in Austin, Houston and Dallas on December 29, 30 and 31.

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Credit: Danny NorthU2 was among the winners at the 2018 Billboard Live Music Awards ceremony, held Tuesday night in Beverly Hills, California. The Irish rockers received the Top Boxscore award — which honors the highest-grossing single engagement by an artist — for their four-show stand last month at the Estadio do Morumbi in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

The concerts were part of U2’s eXPERINCE + iNNOCENCE Tour in support of the group’s 2017 album, Songs of Experience. The band was the only rock act to take home a trophy at this year’s ceremony.

The big winner was British pop star Ed Sheeran, who nabbed the Top Tour, Top World Tour and Top Draw honors. The Top Tour prize is for the highest-grossing tour of the year, while the Top Draw award is for the year’s best-attended trek, meaning the one that sold the most actual tickets.

Also at the ceremony, pop-blues artist John Mayer, who’s also a member of the Grateful Dead spinoff group Dead & Company, received the prestigious Legend of Live Award for his extensive touring career. He said one of the secrets to his success is working with friends who eventually become his “family” on the road.

The Billboard Live Music Awards formerly was known as the Billboard Touring Awards.

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Myrna M. Suarez/Getty ImagesAerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has shared a little update about how he’s feeling after experiencing a health issue this past Saturday backstage following his performance with Billy Joel at New York City’s Madison Square Garden that landed him in a local hospital.

“Doing well, thanks for all the love and support!” Perry wrote in a message posted Tuesday on his social media sites.

Among those sending love and support to Joe was his band mate Steven Tyler, who tweeted a message Tuesday featuring a heart and two “praise” emojis, along with the phrase “MY BROTHER.”

According to a statement from Perry’s publicist, the 68-year-old musician “experienced shortness of breath and was treated backstage by paramedics who gave the guitarist oxygen and used a tracheal tube to clear his airway before taking him to a hospital.” The statement added that Perry was “alert and responsive” after the incident.

Perry had just finished performing the Aerosmith hit “Walk This Way” with Joel before his backstage collapse. Concert goers tell ABC Radio that Joe showed no noticeable signs of distress during his performance.

Perry previously collapsed onstage on July 10, 2016, during a show in Brooklyn, New York, with his side band, The Hollywood Vampires. It was believed then that he suffered cardiac arrest, from which he apparently made a full recovery.

Joe is scheduled to launch a series of 10 U.S. solo concerts on November 30 in Sioux City, Iowa. Perry’s backing band for the shows is slated to include his fellow Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford and Extreme singer Gary Cherone.

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Courtesy of ShowtimeStill On the Run: The Jeff Beck Story, a documentary focusing on the life and music of British rock-guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck that was released as a home video last May, will premiere on Showtime on December 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.

The film examines the influential musician’s innovative playing and long career, including his work with The Yardbirds, various Jeff Beck Group lineups and as a solo artist, as well as his collaborations with many famous musicians. The movie also delves into Beck’s lifelong passion for classic cars and his love of American B-movies.

The film features candid interviews with Beck filmed at his home and in his workshop. It also includes conversations with a variety of Jeff’s famous musical friends, associates and fans, among them Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, David Gilmour, Ronnie Wood, Joe Perry, Slash and Jan Hammer.

Page, who became friends with Beck as a teenager and later played with him in The Yardbirds, comments in the film, “He developed a style that’s unique, and that’s pretty magical.”

Stewart, meanwhile, who fronted the Jeff Beck Group’s first incarnation from 1967 to 1969, says Jeff “gets sounds that no other guitar player gets…he is still the most original.”

Still On the Run also will be available to view on demand for Showtime subscribers beginning on December 11.

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ABC/Adam TaylorU2 closed out their extensive eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour Tuesday and Berlin, and it would be hard to argue that the Irish rockers don’t deserve a break. However, that break might be an extended one.

During the Berlin show, Bono announced that the band is “going away now.”

“We’ve been on the road for quite some time now, just going on 40 years,” Bono says in footage posted by the U2gigs fan account.

“This last four years have been really something very special for us,” he continues. “We’re going away now.”

While that could mean a variety of things, some are fearing that the end is near for U2, while more optimistic fans are hoping the band simply needs some rest. Perhaps they just need a bit to dream it all up again once more.

Over the last four years, U2 released two albums: 2014’s Songs of Innocence and 2017’s Songs of Experience. In 2017, they also launched a tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their classic 1987 album The Joshua Tree.

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Courtesy of The Doobie BrothersThe Doobie Brothers are set to play a pair of historic concerts this Thursday and Friday at New York City’s famed Beacon Theatre. The classic-rock greats will perform their full second and third albums, 1972’s Toulouse Street and 1973’s The Captain and Me, at the shows, marking the first time the band has ever played any of its albums in its entirety live.

“I’m looking forward to it,” founding singer/guitarist Tom Johnston tells ABC Radio of the concerts. “I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”

While the two records feature such Doobie Brothers hits and concert staples as “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “China Grove” and “Long Train Runnin’,” Johnston notes that “some of these songs we’ve never played live, in the history of the band.”

He continues, “[W]e had to basically learn these as though they were somebody else’s tunes…even though we’d written them…And it’s interesting what you find out about all these tunes that you haven’t played before.”

Tom points out that he and his band mates have spent lots of time rehearsing for the concerts and he’s feeling confident that they’ll deliver a solid performance.

“We’ve got [the songs] pretty much where we want ’em,” he says. “They’re sounding very close to where they started. And then we’ve also embellished on a few, and lengthened them a little bit.”

Johnston reports that the band will include “a neat addition” at the concerts, a horn section that will be featured on six of the songs.

For fans who can’t make it to the shows, Tom reveals that both events will be filmed and recorded for upcoming video and album releases, although he doesn’t know when they will be available.

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Hollywood RecordsFirst, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody debuted at #1 on the U.S. box-office tally. Now the film’s soundtrack has soared to the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 chart. After bowing at #25 the previous week, the album moved up to #3 on the latest chart, a 187-percent surge.

According to, this marks the highest position for a Queen album on the Billboard tally in 38 years; in 1980, the band’s studio effort The Game spent five weeks at #1. The Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack also is #1 on Billboard‘s Top Rock Albums chart, while Queen’s classic song of the same name has topped the Rock Digital Song Sales tally, with six other tunes by the band also in the top 10.

In addition, the 2000 Queen compilation Greatest Hits I, II & III: The Platinum Collection leaped from #194 to #9 on the Billboard 200 this week.

The Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack features classic Queen studio tracks, updated renditions of some tunes, and a number of rare or previously unreleased concert performances, including songs from the band’s historic set at the 1985 Live Aid festival in London.

Bohemian Rhapsody dropped from #1 to #2 at the U.S. box office in its second week of release, and now has grossed more than $100 million in ticket sales in the States.

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© 2011 Mary McCartney; ABC/Richard CartwrightPaul McCartney is among the many celebrities paying tribute to legendary Marvel Comics writer, editor and publisher Stan Lee, who died Monday at the age of 95.

In a note on his official website, the former Beatles star bids a “fond farewell” to Lee, while noting that he “will be sadly missed.”

Sir Paul goes on to reveal that he was lucky enough to have met the Stan, with whom he chatted about comic books. McCartney says Lee, who’d created or co-created timeless superheroes including Black Panther, Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Mighty Thor, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk and Daredevil, discussed the possibility of making a new character inspired by the rock icon.

“[H]e was suggesting making a superhero who would wield a Hofner bass guitar,” McCartney writes. “The guitar would have super powers and we spent some time imaging what those could be. He had a great sense of humor and I must say the idea of becoming a guitar-wielding superhero in one of his comic books was very appealing.”

McCartney ends his homage by saying, “Sending love to his family and friends and always holding happy memories of this great man. Love ya, Stan!”

Meanwhile, one of the studio outtakes that will appear on the upcoming deluxe reissue of the 1973 Paul McCartney and Wings album Red Rose Speedway has been made available for purchase digitally. The track is a group-only version of the 1973 hit “Live and Let Die,” which served as the theme song to the James Bond movie of the same name.

As previously reported, McCartney will release expanded reissues of Red Rose Speedway and the 1971 Wings album Wild Life on December 7. Visit for full details about the reissues.

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Credit: Myrna SuarezJohn Mellencamp will give a special acoustic performance at the 40th anniversary Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center Benefit Celebration, scheduled for Friday, December 14, at Auer Hall at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

The 67-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer also will take part in a conversation with the Cultural Center’s director, Arjia Rinpoche.

Mellencamp has been friends with Arjia Rinpoche for more than a decade, and is a longtime supporter of the Cultural Center. The institution’s mission is to support the cultures of Tibet and Mongolia in Asia and the U.S., to provide Buddhist teachings in the Bloomington area, and to promote peace and harmony between all faiths.

The celebration will take place one week after Mellencamp releases his latest album, Other People’s Stuff, a collection of cover songs John has recorded over the years. The singer/songwriter will support the album with a 2019 North American trek dubbed “The John Mellencamp Show” that gets underway February 7 in South End, Indiana.

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Credit: RankinWhile it may seem that children of the rich and famous have a much easier time than most kids, it turns out that even having a parent who’s a global superstar can’t save you from being bullied.

Rod Stewart‘s wife Penny Lancaster tells The Times of London that their son, Alastair, who is 12, has been “through a little bit of bullying: silly things people say about his dad, which all of Rod’s kids have been through.” As a result, Alastair prefers not to be dropped off at school in a fancy, expensive car: He’d rather be driven in his nanny’s modest car.

Lancaster, who was bullied herself as a child, says she tells her son the same thing her parents told her: “Darling, the reason people bully is because they are not happy. You are tall, polite, handsome. You have got your arts scholarship. You are a brilliant sportsman. People always want to cut down the tallest poppy. They are jealous — rise above it.”

Rod’s wife also revealed that Alastair, like her, has dyslexia, but she and Rod encouraged him to boost his confidence by speaking at a charity event.

“He did not get stuck. I was so proud of him,” revealed Penny. “He does not have the fear I had because we have encouraged him so much to be more confident and embrace his qualities.”

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