SPRINGSTEEN’S HIGH HOPES NETS BOSS 11TH NO. 1 ALBUM
Debuting as high as it can get, Bruce Springsteen’s High Hopes debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, selling 99,000 copies in its first week out. By entering the survey at No. 1, High Hopes hands the Boss his 11th chart-topping collection, pushing him past Elvis Presley for third place on the list of most No. 1 albums by an artist on the Billboard chart, behind only the Beatles (19) and rapper Jay Z (13). Bruce’s first chart-topper was 1980’s The River.
ANN WILSON EQUATES SEA WORLD’S TREATMENT OF ORCAS TO SLAVERY
Having recently cancelled their planned concert at Sea World in light of the revelations shown in the documentary Blackfish of how orcas are mistreated, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart are now explaining why they pulled the plug on their show. Ann told Rolling Stone, “Before seeing the movie, I always imagined the orcas got to live in a big extended oceanic area…but they live in a steel swimming pool and it basically drives them insane. What they do is slavery, plain and simple. It’s like people saying, ‘Okay, let’s go to Africa and bring a bunch of people back here.’ There’s never any way to make that okay. Granted, this is a different species, but it still has a lot of similarities.” Nancy added, “People think, ‘Oh, they’re just dumb animals.’ They really aren’t. I’ve had dogs and horses all my life. The connection we have with them is real.”
YOUNG TOUTS UPCOMING “LOW-TECH” ALBUM
A no-frills guy at heart, Neil Young has announced his next studio album, A Letter from Home, will be minimalist, to say the least. Always a man of few words, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told Rolling Stone, “It’s one of the lowest-tech experiences I’ve ever had.” What is known is that fellow low-tech devotee Jack White’s Third Man Records posted the following: “Third Man Records unearths NEIL YOUNG’s A LETTER HOME: an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever.” It is not known whether White produced the album.
YOUNG HONORED AT PRE-GRAMMY BASH
A good number of Grammy week events are taking place all around Los Angeles as precursors to the main event, the 56th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday. Earlier this week, Neil Young was honored at a gathering celebrating his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career, and famous friends on hand included Ringo Starr, Ann Wilson of Heart, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dave Matthews, who performed some of Young’s many hits. Known for his brevity, the publicity-shy Young thanked everyone for attending by saying, “You’re honoring me, you’re honoring yourself. It’s not me. It’s you.” The Grammys air on CBS Sunday at 8p.
JAGGER IN TALKS TO TURN DOCUMENTARY INTO MUSICAL, TV SERIES
Getting some satisfaction from the fact that the highly acclaimed documentary 20 Feet From Stardom earned an Oscar nomination, Mick Jagger, who didn’t have a hand in producing the film, but does appear in it, wants to turn the film into a one-hour scripted television series and a Broadway musical. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Rolling Stones frontman is in discussions to co-executive produce the possible series and musical with Victoria Pearman through their joint Jagger Films company.
REBORN BABYS DEBUT VIDEO FOR “NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE”
The rebirth of the Babys – Wally Stocker (guitar), Tony Brock (drums), John Bisaha (vocals, bass) and Joey Sykes (guitar) – continues with the christening of their new video for “Not Ready to Say Goodbye.” The single is available on iTunes now, and the band is wrapping work on their new as-yet untitled album, which will be available in early April.
JOHN PENS PROTEST OVER PUTIN’S ANTI-GAY LEGISLATION
In a scathing statement concerning Russia’s anti-gay laws, Elton John vilified Vladimir Putin, blasting the leader’s remarks tying homosexuality to pedophilia. John wrote that “vicious homophobia has been legitimized by this legislation and given extremists the cover to abuse people’s basic human rights.” He quoted a Russian lawmaker as saying, “We are seeing extremely negative consequences as a result of this law, with the growth of hate crimes.” John writes: “President Putin asserts that this was not the intention, but it is undoubtedly the effect that this law has had by promoting misunderstanding and ignorance.”