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Al Sharpton on What Aretha Franklin Means to Activists: She Was ‘Dedicated to Uplifting her Community’

In the wake of Aretha Franklin’s death from pancreatic cancer at age 76 on Thursday (Aug. 16), longtime friend the Rev. Al Sharpton, the president and founder of the National Action Network (NAN), writes in an exclusive essay for Billboard about Franklin’s history of activism, her commitment to social justice causes and her relationship to the black church.  When most people hear the name Aretha Franklin, they automatically think of her remarkable career in music and entertainment: the 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins; performances at the inaugurations of Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; and countless hits like “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” that cut across all racial, economic and social barriers to resonate with audiences globally. B...

Lenny Kravitz on Aretha Franklin: ‘She Was Always Cracking Me Up’

Lenny Kravitz, a student, duet partner and friend of Aretha Franklin’s, reflects on losing the soul icon following her Aug. 16 death.  I love Aretha. I’ve loved Aretha since I was a child. Jackson 5 records, Aretha Franklin records, that was my education. The Queen of Soul says it all, and it’s absolutely true. She’s actually in my top three piano players, too, even if she didn’t open her mouth. I got to sing with her at Madison Square Garden. We did a duet together and got to hang out with her a bit and talk to her on the phone. She’d call me, I’d call her. (She’s) the greatest, the greatest, the greatest, the greatest. Just a sweet woman and she just felt like somebody in my family, like one of my aunts. She felt really familiar to me.  And...

Dirty Heads Release Phantasmal ‘Visions’ Video: Premiere

SoCal surf-rockers Dirty Heads are premiering the video for their single “Visions” exclusively via Billboard today (Aug. 16).  The infectious track was originally intended for the band’s 2017 album Swim Team before catching the attention of Adam Levine, who recorded his own version of the song for Maroon 5’s album Red Pill Blues. A year later, Dirty Heads is releasing their original take as a new official single with their own reggae spin and breezy sound. The lyrics “You’re a mirage, it’s all in my mind/This is just love playing tricks on my eyes” come to life, with images of human fire figures pirouetting through tranquil scenes before dissolving into each other. Chilean director and animator Esteban Bustos took on the creative concept, and shot ...

The Mowgli’s Release Glowing New EP ‘I Was Starting to Worry’: Exclusive

California natives The Mowgli’s are trying to spread positivity on their new EP I Was Starting to Wonder. The sunny alt-rockers have made it their mission to use music to combat the cynicism surrounding everyday life. With colorful tracks like “San Francisco” and “I’m Good,” they’ve built a worldwide audience and, in turn, given back to the community by partnering with various charities. It should come as no surprise then that the group was even approached by Disney to write and perform the title track for their brand new show Big City Greens. Building off the backs of their past releases Where’d Your Weekend Go?, Kids in Love, Waiting For the Dawn and Sound the Drum, the group has turned things up on their new EP, which is premiering here on...

Steve Perry Returns With ‘No Erasin’,’ First New Song in 20 Years

Ex-Journey lead singer will release “Traces” on Oct. 5 After hinting about his return on Tuesday (Aug. 14),  long-absent rock singer Steve Perry made good on the promise late Tuesday night as a video for “No Erasin,’ his first new song in 20 years, appeared without fanfare on YouTube.  The mid-tempo song begins, appropriately enough, with the line, “I know it’s been a long time coming,” before going into a tale of “love that won’t go.” The video features Perry performing the song in a studio with a band. Concurrently, the ex-Journey lead singer took to his website to explain his absence and announce his new album, Traces, set for release Oct. 5 on Fantasy/Concord.  “Years ago, I disappeared. There were many reasons, but mainly… my love for music had suddenly left me,” Perry wro...

Former Journey Member Steve Perry Is Teasing Something On Social Media

Former Journey frontman Steve Perry took to his social media platforms Monday (Aug. 13) to tease a comeback of sorts. On Perry’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube accounts, a short video loop was posted with nothing but the simple message “I Know It’s Been A Long Time Comin’ and a link to Perry’s personal website which features the same graphic. If Perry has music is in store, it would be his first new work since his 1994 album For the Love of Strange Medicine, and would come after his reunion with his former bandmates at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was also announced in July that Perry will appear on CBS This Morning on Oct. 7. Check out Perry’s teaser posts below. https://t.co/hWzJkeTxJ8 pic.twitter.com/9gzzn50JdM — Stev...

Pale Waves Drop Shimmering New Single ‘Black’: Listen

Pale Waves released their latest single “Black” on Tuesday (Aug. 14). Taken from their upcoming album, My Mind Makes Noises, the goth-pop jam has that bit of sunny-but-angsty magic, making for the perfect addition to any summer playlist. The band’s highly anticipated debut album is set to release Sept. 14 via Dirty Hit / Interscope Record. It’ll feature previous releases “There’s A Honey,” “Television Romance,” and “Eighteen.”  Following stops at Lollapalooza and Outside Lands, Pale Waves will return to North America for their headlining tour launching in October and wrapping up in early December. Tickets are available here.  Listen to “Black” below and see the list of tour dates after the jump. OCTOBER26 –...

Randy Newman Performs 28 Song Set At The Hollywood Bowl

Randy Newman is reliably enjoyable in doses large or small, but for him to perform 28 songs across two-plus hours with nicely melded accompaniment from the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, as he did on Sunday night, makes for a true career landmark. Those in the crowd who knew he canceled a string of dates in Europe earlier this year to undergo urgently needed knee surgery were happy just to see the 73-year-old ambulate (a bit froggishly, as he might say) across the sprawling Bowl stage to shake hands with the concert master and sit at the piano. His cousin David Newman had just opened the affair by conducting the orchestra with a powerful reading of Randy’s “Suite from The Natural,” a swelling pop-classical invocation, which, as Newman pointed out, is the same stage-setting music that crowds awa...

Jack White Announces Canada Dates For Boarding House Reach World Tour

Jack White has announced today (Aug. 13) that he will continue his Boarding House Reach world tour with the addition of a leg across Canada, starting Nov. 2. The rock star has been on the road since early August in support of his third studio album and will be performing in cities across the U.S. before heading off to Europe in October. After the overseas legs of his tour is complete, White plans to perform across Canada, starting in Edmonton, Alberta and finishing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Throughout the tour, White will be joined with openers Olivia Jean, William Tyler, and will be on the bill for festivals during the U.S. portion of his tour. Check out White’s remaining Boarding House Reach tour dates below. Aug. 13 — Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theater Aug. 15 — San Francisco, ...

Darren Jessee Steps Out From Behind the Drum Kit With ‘Letting You Go’: Video Premiere

We’re used to seeing Darren Jessee behind a drum kit, with Ben Folds Five, Sharon Van Etten, Hiss Golden Messenger, the War on Drugs and others. But his band Hotel Lights brought him out front, and with his upcoming first solo album The Jane Room 217, Jessee moves into another musical adventure. The quiet, stripped-down set — whose “Letting You Go” video premieres below, following last week’s “All But A Dream” — features Jessee and his acoustic guitar backed by piano and a string section arranged by Spacebomb’s Trey Pollard. “We did four albums with Hotel Lights, and I just felt really strongly that I wanted to start working on a solo career,” Jessee says. “I’ve always had a certain inclination for a type of song...

Pearl Jam Covers Chris Cornell’s ‘Missing’ at Seattle Stadium Concert: Watch

Pearl Jam paid tribute to late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell Friday night (Aug. 10) during the rock band’s second Home Show concert at Seattle’s Safeco Field. During their set, Pearl Jam covered Cornell’s little-known song “Missing,” from his rare 1992 Poncier EP, which features music from the classic Singles soundtrack. Watch below. For the encore, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, who wore a Cornell shirt, joined Pearl Jam for covers of MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams,” the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer.” The latter two also featured Mudhoney’s Mark Arm and Steve Turner, Rolling Stone reports. Pearl Jam’s first Home Show was held Wednesday at Safeco Field. The concert, the group’s first hometown performance in five years, re...

The Lemon Twigs On Writing Their Stephen Sondheim-Inspired Rock Musical ‘Go To School’

Brian and Michael D’Addario — the brothers behind the baroque rock project The Lemon Twigs — were, in a way, destined to make music. Not only did they attend the same Long Island high school as Billy Joel (Hicksville High School), but they were born into a musical household. Their father, Ronnie D’Addario, is a celebrated songwriter in his own right and their mother, Susan Hall, sings on their forthcoming album. As children, both of the brothers appeared in several Broadway performances, but later ditched the theatrics to form the band — a decision that paid off, based on the critical success of their studio debut, Do Hollywood. But now that The Lemon Twigs have proven they can tackle rock n’ roll, they’re stretching their creative abilities and going back to ...