Elton John to Be Honored at Human Rights Campaign's National Dinner This Month

    ABC/Lou Rocco Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, will be honored at the 18th Annual National Dinner of the Human Rights Council, a civil rights organization that work to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

    At the October 25 event in Washington, D.C., John and Furnish will receive the HRC's National Equality Award.  As one of the most high-profile gay couples in the world, they're being honored for "changing hearts and minds by living openly and honestly" and for their work with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised $300 million over the years to help end the disease.

    President Bill Clinton will deliver the evening's keynote address at the event.

    On October 28, Elton and David will appear at their own annual New York City charity event, An Enduring Vision.  CNN's Anderson Cooper will host for a seventh year, and John will perform a solo set at the gala, which raises funds for his AIDS Foundation.


    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

    Prince Joins Facebook, Hosts Bizarre Fan Q&A

    Vince Bucci/STARTRAKS PHOTO via ABCPrince is officially on the social media train.  The notoriously introverted singer created a verified Facebook account on Tuesday, the same day he released two new albums.

    In an effort to promote his dual projects, Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum, Prince announced to fans that he would participate in a live Q&A.  However, it took hours before he answered the first question, which proved to be an unexpected one: "Please address the importance of ALL music being tuned to 432hz [Hertz] sound frequencies??"

    The legendary musician responded by providing a link to an article.

    He opted not to answer any further questions.


    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

    Bryan Adams Journeys into the Past -- Musically -- with New Album "Tracks of My Years"

    Verve RecordsBryan Adams' new album, Tracks of My Years, his first studio effort in six years, is out this week, and it features the Canadian singer/songwriter taking a walk down memory lane to revisit some of the great songs of his youth.  He's also revisiting his youth via the album's seriously embarrassing cover photo, which shows a 16-year-old Adams sporting some unbelievably long, pure 1970s hair.

    "My hair is way down past my nipples," he laughs.  "I was really into hard rock back then.  I still am into hard rock, but particularly then, because it was the time, you know.  It was 1975.  I was into Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and a lot of other hard rock, of course, and I looked like one of the roadies that fell off one of the buses, you know?"

    While hard rock may be Bryan's preferred music genre from that era, Tracks of My Years mostly features pop and pop-rock hits from the '50s, '60s and '70s.  The concept came from one of the producers, David Foster, and at first, Adams didn't want to do it, because he was afraid he couldn't bring anything new to classics by legends like The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys.  But his other producer, Bob Rock, talked him into it.

    "He said, 'Look, you got a great opportunity to have a record deal in America again, and why don't you just do it and have some fun?  If it doesn't work out, don't put it out,'" recalls Bryan.  "[And so I said], 'That's a good idea.  So, let's just go have some fun.'  And that's what happened."

    Adams and his producers came up with about 40 songs that they then whittled down to the final track listing, which in addition to songs by the Fab Four, Dylan and The Beach Boys, but also The Association, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Manhattans and Chuck Berry

    "It was just a sort of process of just elimination, and you could tell almost instantly whether a song was working, within the first verse," Bryan says of the process, which took about three months, spread over two years.  "And generally what I would do was I'd go out and sit on a microphone...with a guitar, and I would just start playing the song and singing it.  And, if within that first few chords it started to sound like something, someone would come...and say, 'OK, that's good.  Let's do this!'"

    What he's ended up with, Adams says, is an album that isn't actually made up of songs that he was personally connected to.  Instead, it features tunes that mimic the genre-blurring that he experienced growing up listening to AM radio, where anything that was a hit was played, no matter what type of music it was.

    "AM radio was kind of king," he tells ABC News Radio.  "And I used to have a little transistor radio, which was kind of my escape [from] the world.  I would wait in anticipation for what the next song was gonna be on the radio.  It was really exciting.  So, doing this record, I kind of kept thinking about, 'It's OK to do a variety of different things here,' because even if these songs weren't songs that I were necessarily inspired by, they were around at the time when I decided music was what I wanted to do, and it's what AM radio was doing at the time too."

    Along with the cover versions, Tracks of My Years features one original new song, called "She Knows Me," which is the album's first single.  Why put a brand-new song in among the oldies?   Adams says, candidly, "Because, according to my manager and according to the record company, it's very difficult to get cover songs played.  So, better to give an original song to kick off the record.  And I'm quite happy with that."

    Bryan, who'll release a 30th anniversary edition of his breakthrough album, Reckless, later this year, says he's just hoping he doesn't catch too much flak for Tracks of My Years.

    "I hope that I've done justice to the tracks, because it was a leap of faith to put myself in this position, 'cause I know I'm opening myself up to rocket fire," he jokes.  "So, you know, I'm trying to keep my head down!"


    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

    Annie Lennox Says Touring's for Men, Not Women; Calls Beyonce "Feminism Lite"

    Credit: Mike OwenAnnie Lennox considers herself a feminist, and is a staunch advocate for women's rights, but she admits that men and women aren't equal when it comes to one particular aspect of a musician's job: touring.

    Speaking to Billboard, Lennox says, "I'm not being sexist when I say this, but it suits the man's life more.  When you're a woman and want to have a family...I never liked being away from my kids.  I don't think it's healthy.  I don't think I can hack that way of life like I used to."

    A comment like that, however, doesn't mean that the former Eurythmics fronwoman can't criticize other female artists for not truly understanding what it means to be a feminist.  Speaking to the website PrideSource, she dismisses Beyonce's claim to feminism -- the pop/R&B superstar performed at the MTV VMAs in front of a huge screen that read "FEMINIST," after all -- as "feminist lite."

    "I'm sorry.  It's tokenistic to me," Lennox explains.  "I mean, I think she's a phenomenal artist -- I just love her performances -- but I'd like to sit down [with her].  I think I'd like to sit down with quite a few artists and talk to them.  I'd like to listen to them; I'd like to hear what they truly think.  I see a lot of it as them taking the word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don't think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism."

    Annie adds, "I think for many it's very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it.  Of course I do.  I think it's a cheap shot."

    Lennox's new album Nostalgia arrived in stores on vinyl on Tuesday and will be released in all other formats on October 21.  Asked if this truly will be her final album, as she's hinted, Annie tells PrideSource she's not sure, but there certainly doesn't seem to be much place in our culture for a female pop singer who's nearly sixty.

    "I actually think that people are so powerful and interesting -- women, especially -- when they reach my age," she explains.  "We've got so much to say, but popular culture is so reductive that we just talk about whether we've got wrinkles, or whether we've put on weight or lost weight, or whether we've changed our hair style."

    She adds, "I just find that so shallow.  Because it's a shallow place, it's one of the reasons the music industry and the music scene is really not truly for me and never really has been."


    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

     

    U2's "The Unforgettable Fire" Turns 30 Today

    Image Courtesy of Island/Universal MusicOn October 1, 1984 -- 30 years ago today -- U2 released their fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire. The record was a huge commercial hit and would go on to receive triple platinum certification and peak at 12 on the Billboard 200.

    In recording a follow-up to 1983's much more rock-oriented War, U2 wanted to take an artier approach with The Unforgettable Fire.

    "We knew the world was ready to receive the heirs to The Who. All we had to do was to keep doing what we were doing and we would become the biggest band since Led Zeppelin, without a doubt. But something just didn't feel right," wrote Bono in the band's 2005 autobiography U2 By U2. "We felt we had more dimension than just the next big anything, we had something unique to offer. The innovation was what would suffer if we went down the standard rock route. We were looking for another feeling."

    In order to access that feeling, the band enlisted the help of producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, the latter of whom was known for his innovative ambient sound. Both would also return to produce U2's next album, 1987's legendary The Joshua Tree.

    The lead single from The Unforgettable Fire was "Pride (in the Name of Love)," which was a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. "Pride" was a massive hit, and it became the first U2 song to breach the top 40 of the Billboard 200. Today, the song remains a fan favorite and one of the band's most successful singles.

    U2 most recently released Songs of Innocence, which has quickly become infamous for automatically appearing for free in every iTunes account last month. The physical album will be released on CD and vinyl with updated cover art on October 13.


    Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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