Credit: Arnie GoodmanThe Yardbirds‘ current incarnation is preparing to launch a new series of U.S. tour dates next month with a March 4 show in Melbourne, Florida. The legendary British Invasion group’s itinerary features a total of 14 dates stretching through a July 7 concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and including a run of West Coast performances in late May and early June.

In advance of the trek, the band will be taking part in the 2017 Flower Power Cruise, which runs from February 27 to March 4. Other artists who will be performing on the cruise include The MonkeesMicky Dolenz, Eric Burdon and The Animals, Chad & Jeremy, The Fifth Dimension, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Rare Earth, Spencer Davis and Three Dog Night.

The Yardbirds continue to be led by founding drummer and backing singer Jim McCarty, while the lineup also features four American musicians — singer/guitarist John Idan, lead guitarist Johnny A, bassist Kenny Aaronson and harmonica player/backing vocalist Myke Scavone.

You can check out a recent video of the current Yardbirds performing a variety of songs, including “Heart Full of Soul,” “Drinking Muddy Water,” “Train Kept a-Rollin'” and “I’m a Man,” at Vimeo.com.

Here are all of The Yardbirds’ confirmed U.S. tour dates:

3/4 — Melbourne, FL, King Center
3/5 — St. Petersburg, FL, Palladium
3/7 — Coral Springs, FL, Coral Springs Center for the Arts
3/9 — The Villages, FL, Savannah Centre
5/27 — Simi Valley, CA, Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest
5/28 — Oroville, CA, Feather Falls Casino
5/30 — Oakland, CA, Yoshi’s
5/31 — Oakland, CA, Yoshi’s
6/3 — Lake Tahoe, NV, Harrah’s Casino
6/4 — Seattle, WA, Triple Door
6/7 — Del Mar, CA, San Diego County Fair
6/10 — Indio, CA, Fantasy Springs Casino
6/16 — Chattanooga, TN, River Bend Festival
7/7 — Atlantic City, NJ, Resorts Casino

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Credit: Michael HelmsFormer Eagles guitarist Don Felder is working on a new solo album that he’s hoping to release to coincide with a planned summer tour. Felder tells ABC Radio that like his previous studio effort, 2012’s Road to Forever, the new one will feature a variety of guest musicians.

“I’m writing in a lot of different areas, and I’m including a lot of other artists that are gonna be working with me on it,” he reports. “At this point, I don’t want to name drop until I have everything finished and sweetened up.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who turns 70 in September, also reveals that he’s considering issuing the new material in an interesting way.

“I may record 18, 20 songs, and I’m gonna put out an EP of probably five or six songs, and then…another EP out of that batch,” Felder explains, “then, eventually, [I’ll release] a combination of those two [as] one CD.”

Don says of the special guests who will be contributing their talents to the recordings, “It’s gonna be a lot of fun to have these people play with me, as I have already had some of the people come in and work with me and co-write with me and play guitar on some things with me.” He adds, “That’s what it’s all about for me…making music and having fun in the process.”

Road to Forever featured guest appearances by such well-known musicians as Styx‘s Tommy Shaw, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Toto members Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro.

Meanwhile, Felder currently has one confirmed performance on his schedule — a set at a fundraising event called the Boundless Celebration on May 3 in Philadelphia. The show will raise money for Liguori Academy High School in Kensington, Pennsylvania.

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Jimmy Nicol with The Beatles in 1964 (Keystone/Getty Images)The Beatle Who Vanished, a 2013 book about the life of drummer Jimmy Nicol, who briefly toured with The Beatles in 1964 after Ringo Starr fell ill, may be making its way to the big screen soon.

Billboard reports that the film rights to the book have been secured by the late Roy Orbison‘s son Alex on behalf of his family’s production company Roy’s Boys Films and 449 Productions, which is owned by Ashley Hamilton — son of actor George Hamilton and actress Alana Stewart.

Nicol filled in for Starr for 13 days after Ringo came down with tonsillitis and pharyngitis. During his short time with The Beatles, the drummer played concerts in Denmark, Holland, Hong Kong and Australia, and appeared with the band at press conferences. When Starr recovered, Nicol received a check for 500 pounds and a watch and was given a ride to the airport. The book, which was written by Jim Berkenstadt, also includes details of Nicol’s life and music career before and after his stint with the Fab Four.

Alex Orbison told Billboard that among the things that fascinated him about Nicol’s story was “[t]he arc of Jimmy Nicol as a person and the overall ride of his intersection with that historic high point of what seemed to be the beginnings of Beatlemania.”

Alex also said his dad’s connection with The Beatles also fueled his interest in the story.

“The fact that my dad toured with The Beatles and had become friends with them was always dear to me,” he noted. Roy and The Beatles toured the U.K. together in 1963.

Alex Orbison, Hamilton and Berkenstadt will serve as executive producers for the film version of The Beatle Who Vanished.

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Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The WhoThe Who‘s Pete Townshend has joined the lineup of a U.K. charity event called Symfunny No. 2, which raises money for the Parkinson’s UK organization.

The show, which will take place April 19 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, will feature a mix of music and comedy performances while raising awareness of and money to aid the battle against Parkinson’s disease.

Symfunny No. 2 is the second installment of an event that premiered in 2014, and is the brainchild of British conductor and composer James Morgan, who was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s in 2012. Morgan collaborated with Townshend on the Who legend’s Classic Quadrophenia album, and the two are planning to perform “Love Reign O’er Me” at the show.

Townshend has a personal connection to fundraiser, since his late father-in-law Edwin “Ted” Astley died in 1998 from a Parkinson’s-related illness. Astley was a composer whom Pete credits with helping him “break into orchestral arrangements for some of my songs in the ’80s.” “Street in the City,” a song on the album Rough Mix — Pete’s collaboration with the late Ronnie Lane — features arrangements by Astley.

Townshend adds that Astley co-wrote a number of pieces with him, including “a very silly fugue” called “Football Fugue” that he will perform at the charity event.

Tickets for Symfunny No. 2 are available at RoyalAlbertHall.com.

As previously reported, Townshend also will be performing at the Royal Albert Hall on March 30 and April 1 with The Who as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s 2017 series of benefit concerts. The band will be playing acoustic shows that will include a full performance of the 1969 rock opera Tommy.

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The End Records/BMGMike + the Mechanics, the band led by founding Genesis guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford, will release their first new studio album in six years, Let Me Fly, on April 7. The record is a follow-up to 2011’s The Road and features the same lineup that recorded that album — Rutherford, singers Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar, keyboardist Luke Juby, drummer Gary Wallis and guitarist Anthony Drennan.

Rutherford co-wrote a number of songs on Let Me Fly with former Johnny Hates Jazz singer Clark Datchler.

“We sat down together and from day one it worked,” says Mike. “Clark’s a proper writer and he brought something new. I’d send him lines and he’d bring them to life. We never had a slow day.”

The album also includes collaborations with British pop songwriters Fraser T. Smith and Ed Drewett, as well as contributions from Roachford and Howar.

Rutherford says he feels Let Me Fly features a much stronger collection of songs than The Road, which he notes was recorded not long after the current Mike + the Mechanics lineup came together.

“We’ve learned to play together now,” he maintains. “For me, it’s about proving I can write a good song, but the older you get, the less you let yourself off with ‘it’s not bad,’ the less you pretend and the tougher you are on yourself.”

The first single from the album, “Don’t Know What Came Over Me,” will hit stores on February 28.

Meanwhile, Mike + the Mechanics launched a U.K. tour this past Saturday in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that runs through March 28 in Salisbury. Interestingly, the band also will be opening for Rutherford’s old band mate Phil Collins on June 30 at the Barclaycard British Summer Time concert in London.

Here’s the full track list of Let Me Fly:

“Let Me Fly”
“Are You Ready?”
“Wonder”
“The Best Is Yet to Come”
“Save the World”
“High Life”
“Don’t Know What Came Over Me”
“The Letter”
“Not Out of Love”
“Love Left Over”
“I’ll Be There for You”
“Save My Soul”

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Credit: Alexander ThompsonLast week, Blondie released a song called “Fun. ” the first single from its forthcoming studio album, Pollinator. Now, an official video for the tune has premiered on the influential New Wave band’s VEVO YouTube channel.

The clip was directed by Dikayl Rimmasch, one of the filmmakers behind Beyonce‘s visual album Lemonade. The video features black-and-white footage of Blondie performing the electronica-flavored dance track, interspersed with scenes of an androgynous astronaut taking a trip into outer space. Along the way, the interplanetary traveler speeds through various kaleidoscopic scenes, before ending up at a wild dance party on Mars. Some of the images featured in the clip reflect New York City’s 1970s club and music scene documented in the photography of Blondie guitarist Chris Stein.

“The band was really welcoming and open,” says Rimmasch of working with Blondie. “[Singer] Debbie [Harry] is beautiful and beautifully enigmatic. It was amazing to be on the other side of the glass from her when those ‘Debbie moments’ happened it felt like I had stepped into a parallel dimension.”

As previously reported, Pollinator is Blondie’s 11th studio album and will be released on May 5. The record features a variety of guest artists, including Joan Jett, who performs on “Doom or Destiny,” and avant-garde musician Laurie Anderson, who appears on a special CD-only hidden track called “Tonight.”

Other collaborators on Pollinator include pop artists Sia and Charli XCX, ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Nick Valensi of The Strokes, and Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio. You can pre-order the album now at Blondie’s online store.

Blondie will support Pollinator by heading out on a joint summer trek with Garbage dubbed the Rage and Rapture Tour. The outing runs from a July 5 show in Saratoga, California, through an August 12 concert in Dallas.

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Rounder RecordsGregg Allman has shared a brief update about his upcoming solo album, Southern Blood, which he recorded with his current backing group at the historic FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. A post on the founding Allman Brothers Band frontman’s website reveals that he’s “putting the finishing touches” on the record, which now is available for pre-order at his online store.

Southern Blood is being produced by Don Was and will be released on Rounder Records. Allman has posted a trailer for the album on his official YouTube channel that features a brief instrumental audio snippet, as well as some footage from the sessions. The clip also includes a note reporting that a release date for Southern Blood will be announced soon, plus a message from Gregg that reads, “Fans: Thank you for your support. We’ll see you on the road this summer.”

As previously reported, Allman recently has battled some health issues that forced him to cancel or postpone a series of tour dates in 2016 and early 2017. He’s scheduled to get back in action with a four-show stand at The Grand Opera House in Macon, Georgia, that begins June 2. His itinerary also includes a nine-show residency this July at City Winery in New York City, which originally was to have taken place this past fall.

Here are all of Allman’s confirmed 2017 tour dates:

6/2-3, 5-6 — Macon, GA, The Grand Opera House
6/9 — Chattanooga, TN, Tivoli Theatre
6/10 — Robinsonville, MS, Horseshoe Tunica Hotel
6/13-14 — Athens, GA, Georgia Theatre
6/16-17 — Savannah, GA, Lucas Theatre for the Arts
7/2, 5-6, 9-10, 12-13, 16-17 — New York, NY, City Winery
10/18-19 — Birmingham, AL, Iron City

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Credit: Kamal AsarBoston is planning to return to the road in a big way in 2017. The veteran rockers have announced that they will embark on a 48-date North American trek, dubbed the Hyper Space Tour, that will kick off April 14 with a concert in Hollywood, Florida.

So far, only 10 shows have been confirmed for the outing, which currently is mapped out through an April 26 performance in Little Rock, Arkansas. Among the other cities Boston will visit are St. Augustine, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; and Shreveport, Louisiana. Tickets are available now via Ticketmaster.com.

Boston continues to be led by founding lead guitarist and songwriter Tom Scholz. The band’s most recent album, Life, Love & Hope, was released in December 2013.

Here are all of Boston’s confirmed tour dates:

4/14 — Hollywood, FL, Seminole Hard Rock
4/15 — Estero, FL, Germain Arena
4/17 — Sarasota, FL, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
4/18 — Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall
4/20 — St. Augustine, FL, St. Augustine Amphitheatre
4/21 — Mobile, AL, Saenger Theatre
4/22 — Lake Charles, LA, Golden Nugget
4/23 — Shreveport, LA, Municipal Auditorium
4/25 — Rogers, AR, The Wal-Mart Amphitheatre
4/26 — Little Rock, AR, Verizon Arena

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The End Records/BMGSimon Kirke is best-known as the founding drummer of Bad Company and Free, but he also is an accomplished singer and songwriter. Kirke has just released a new solo album titled All Because of You on which he not only displays his vocal and drumming talents, but also plays guitar, keyboards and even ukulele.

Kirke collaborated on the 11-track collection with a young Chicago-based rock ‘n’ roll band named The Empty Pockets.

“I finally got a chance to record some of my best songs with a superb band — The Empty Pockets,” Simon says of All Because of You. “This CD has become one of the highlights of my career.”

The album includes an interesting acoustic cover of Bad Company’s 1975 hit “Feel Like Making Love,” that features Kirke playing ukulele. The record also boasts a guest appearance by former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes on the song “Trouble Road.”

To support All Because of You, Simon has lined up a handful of U.S. concerts running from a March 15 show in Kent, Ohio, through an April 1 performance in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He will be backed by The Empty Pockets at the gigs.

Here is Kirke’s full list of tour dates:

3/15 — Kent, OH, Kent Stage
3/16 — St. Charles, IL, Arcada Theatre
3/19 — Milwaukee, WI, Shank Hall
3/30 — Fairfield, CT, StageOne
4/1 — Londonderry, NH, Tupelo Music Hall

And here is the track list to All Because of You:

“All Because of You”
“Warm Gulf Water”
“Feel Like Making Love”
“Melting on Madison”
“Maria”
“Wind and the Rain”
“Into the Light”
“Friends in the Woods”
“Lie with You”
“Trouble Road”
“Stay with Me”

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Legacy RecordingsIn November, Pink Floyd released a massive 27-disc multimedia box set titled The Early Years — 1965-1972 that features a treasure trove of rare and previously unreleased audio and video from the initial part of the legendary British band’s career. The package was divided into several sections, each one focusing on a specific year or multi-year period, and now those sections will be made available for purchase as individual collections on March 24.

Six individual volumes from The Early Years box set will be released: CAMBRIDGE ST/ATION, which covers the years 1965 to 1967, when singer guitarist Syd Barrett led the band; GERMIN/ATION, which focuses on 1968; DRAMATIS/ATION, which looks at 1969; DEVI/ATION, which features music and footage from 1970; REVERBER/ATION, which covers 1971; and OBFUSC/ATION, which focuses on 1972.

Each package is a book-bound collection that features at least one CD, one DVD and one Blu-ray disc. The various volumes contain remastered studio recordings, television and concert performances, film soundtracks, BBC sessions, outtakes, demos, interviews and more.

You can check out details about what each volume contains by visiting Pink Floyd’s online store.

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ISO/Columbia RecordsThe late David Bowie and his final studio album, Blackstar, won five trophies this past Sunday at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, and now comes word that record has been certified gold for sales of more than 500,000 copies in the U.S.

Before Blackstar, Bowie’s last studio effort to receive a gold certification was 1987’s Never Let You Down.

Blackstar, Bowie’s 28th studio album, was released on January 8, 2016, the influential artist’s 69th birthday. David died of cancer two days later. At this year’s Grammys, Blackstar won the Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical awards, while the title track claimed the Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance prizes.

Meanwhile, Bowie will be competing for the British Male Solo Artist award and Blackstar is in the running for the British Album of the Year honor at the 2017 Brit Awards, which will be held Friday in London.

In other news, Bowie’s widow, the supermodel Iman, sent out a touching Valentine’s Day message to her late husband’s today via her Twitter feed. She posted a vintage black-and-white photo of her and Bowie kissing, along with the caption, “My forever Valentine.”

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Credit: Clay Patrick McBrideFor eight years, Lynyrd Skynyrd hosted their own themed cruise called the Simple Man Cruise, and now the legendary rock band have joined the 2018 lineup of another seagoing music extravaganza, the Southern Rock Cruise. Skynyrd will play a special headlining show in Montego Bay, Jamaica, during the second day of the cruise, which runs from January 20 to January 25.

The 2018 Southern Rock Cruise also will feature performances by 38 Special, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Wet Willie and founding Allman Brothers Band drummer Jaimoe‘s current group Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, among many other acts.

The nautical festival will embark from Tampa, Florida and stop in Jamaica and Georgetown, Grand Cayman, before heading back to port on January 25, 2018.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s concert will take place on land on January 22, and also will feature a tailgating party offering Jamaican BBQ, tropical cocktails and a reggae band. The cruise also will offer Q&A events, panel discussions and musical demonstrations, as well as such activities as trivia contests, karaoke, movie screenings and pool parties.

To find out more info about the cruise or book a cabin, visit SouthernRockCruise.com.

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Michael Putland/Getty ImagesWe got a little preview of it on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, but today, the upcoming special Stayin’ Alive: A GRAMMY Salute to the Music of The Bee Gees will be taped at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The special will feature some of today’s biggest names all paying tribute to the legendary group, and also will include an appearance by the last surviving Bee Gees member, Barry Gibb.

“I’m floating,” Gibb told reporters over the weekend when asked about the tribute. “Y’know, [we’ve had] many, many years of sort of being up and down and up and down…this is wonderful.” Gibb was referring to the anti-disco backlash that the group faced following Saturday Night Fever.

I get to be amongst the people I love,” he continued, noting all the stars who’ll be participating. “Ed Sheeran and Celine Dion and John Legend and Demi Lovato, that’s great. And they’re celebrating records that were real records, y’know? And I think whether it’s us, or The Beatles, or other groups, it was real. You had to play.”

The special’s executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, explains that the event will celebrate two major 2017 milestones.

“The big reason, and what we’ve kinda hooked the show on, is it’s the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever,” says Ehrlich. “Saturday Night Fever really changed our culture: our film culture, our music culture, it made a star out of John Travolta, who’ll be with us to celebrate. And it’s also the 50th anniversary of The Bee Gees, of their first hit.”

Ehrlich adds with regard to The Bee Gees’ decades of hits. “Those songs are so wonderful. And we’ve got a number of contemporary acts that will be with us to celebrate: Keith Urban, Tori Kelly, Demi Lovato, Celine… it’s a pretty great list of people, and the show will air sometime in March or April.”

On the Grammys, you saw country group Little Big Town, Kelly, Lovato and R&B singer Andra Day belting out classics like “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “Tragedy.” Other stars on the tribute’s bill include Pentatonix and DNCE.

The Bee Gees have sold more than 200 million records worldwide, and won five Grammys. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

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Credit: Tina KorhonenFresh off his appearance on Yes‘ 2017 Cruise to the Edge, ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett is set to launch a brief North American tour with a two-night stand at City Winery in Nashville that begins this evening. During the trek, which has been dubbed “Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett,” the virtuoso musician will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his old band’s album Wind & Wuthering, which was released in December 1976.

Hackett tells ABC Radio that he was “hugely proud of” Wind & Wuthering, which was the final album he made with Genesis. He also reveals that founding Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, who’d left the band in 1975, “liked the album at the time,” as did Gabriel’s then-collaborator Robert Fripp of King Crimson.

Steve says that in addition to playing several songs from Wind & Wuthering, his set also will include “Inside and Out,” a rarity recorded during the same sessions, as well as “a whole bunch of things” from his solo catalog that fans have requested. (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

The 66-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also tells ABC Radio that he will be performing three songs from his forthcoming studio album, The Night Siren, at his North American concerts. The album, which will be released on March 24, features Hackett delving into a variety of musical genres from around the world and collaborating with musicians from across the globe.

He says that although he’d like to play more of the new tunes at his shows, he understands that he’d be disappointing promoters, agents and fans alike if he didn’t focus mainly on older material.

Hackett will close out the trek with a special symphonic concert on March 3 that will feature accompaniment by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Here are all of Hackett’s upcoming North American concerts:

2/14 — Nashville, TN, City Winery
2/15 — Nashville, TN, City Winery
2/17 — Newark, NJ, Victoria Theater
2/18 — Ithaca, NY, State Theatre
2/22 — Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse
2/23 — Westbury, NY, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
2/24 — Reading, PA, Santander PAC
2/25 — New York, NY, PlayStation Theater
2/26 — Boston, MA, Wilbur Theatre
2/28 — Grand Rapids, MI, 20 Monroe Live
3/1 — Royal Oak, MI, Royal Oak Music Theatre
3/2 — Oakville, ON, Canada, The Oakville Centre
3/3 — Buffalo, NY, Kleinhans Music Hall – BPO Rocks

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Credit: Myrna SuarezPaul Simon announced his first U.S. concert appearances of 2017, a pair of performances at the Eaux Claires Festival on June 16 and 17 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The folk-rock legend with be performing at the two-day event with yMusic, a neo-classical and pop collective co-founded by horn player CJ Camerieri, who also is a member of Simon’s touring band.

Camerieri is featured on Paul’s latest studio album, 2016’s Stranger to Stranger, as is another member of yMusic, flute player Alex Sopp. CJ has brought together a number of artists to create special arrangements of Simon’s compositions for the fest.

The Eaux Claires Festival lineup also includes John Prine, Chance the Rapper, Feist, Wilco and a number of Wilco side projects, including The Autumn Defense and Tweedy. Tickets for the event are available at EauxClaires.com.

Simon’s last U.S. concert took place on July 1, 2016, in Forest Hills, New York.

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