Shakedown, Breakdown


Lingering back woes may spell the end of Bob Seger's night moves.

The 72-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer reports he's still recovering from spinal surgery last year, hoping for the best but admitting the end of his career may be at hand.

"The pain is down," Seger says. "I'd say it's one out of 10, but it's constant. It's nagging and, unfortunately, I can't sing or play or lift anything more than five pounds until it's gone."

Seger's back pain and subsequent surgery last fall forced him to cancel the final 19 shows of a 32-date tour promoting his latest album, "I Knew You When," which was released in November.

"I hope this pain goes away," he says. "If it doesn't, then I'm done…I think it's gonna be okay, I really do. But, God, it's taking a long time."

Photo by Scott Legato/WireImage

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack

The success of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song," which began its month-long run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly 45 years ago this week, is almost as fascinating as the story behind it.

Composer Charles Fox and lyricist Norman Gimbel, whose best-known work includes the themes for "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley," wrote the song.

Or did they?

In late 1971, the two were collaborating with a budding, 20-year-old singer-songwriter, Lori Lieberman. She claims "Killing Me Softly" sprang from a poem she wrote after seeing Don McLean perform at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. She was especially chilled by "Empty Chairs," a pensive ballad from the "American Pie" album.

But Gimbel says he got the idea for the song in the mid-'60s from a bar scene in Argentinean novelist Julio Cortazar's "Hopscotch." The protagonist listens quietly as the pianist tries to "kill us softly with some blues." Gimbel says that when he and Fox presented "Killing Me Softly" to then-girlfriend Lieberman for her 1972 debut album, she told them it reminded her of the night she saw McLean.

None of that really mattered to Flack. She heard Lieberman's version on an in-flight audio program and called Quincy Jones when she landed to see if he could arrange a meeting with the songwriters.

"Killing Me Softly," eventually bumped from No. 1 by the O'Jays "Love Train," recaptured the top spot for one more week on March 31, 1973.

It would go on to win the 1974 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, and Record of the Year, making Flack the first artist to win in that category two years in a row. (She won for "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in 1973.)

"Killing Me Softly" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Flying High Again


Ozzy Osbourne is taking another bite of reality. Black Sabbath's bat-eating frontman and his family will revisit their reality TV roots on "The Osbournes Podcast."

The weekly show will premiere March 5, the 16th anniversary of the debut of MTV's groundbreaking series, "The Osbournes." The podcast will offer a new episode every Monday for 10 weeks.

The show is the latest iteration of the amusing family saga that ran on MTV from 2002-2005. Osbourne, 69, will be joined by his wife Sharon and two of their children, Jack and Kelly. The family will look back at their MTV days and discuss whatever's happening in their lives today.

"There's been talk about bringing 'The Osbournes' back, but it would never work," says Jack Osbourne, who was a teenager when the show originally aired and is now a 32-year-old husband and father of a 5-year-old girl. "Well, this is probably the next best thing."

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation

By Kevin Haynes |

Across the Universe


"Danger, Will Robinson!" has never sounded so ominous.

The first trailer for Netflix's reboot of the classic sci-fi series "Lost in Space" intersperses photos of real-life disasters with dreamy shots of the pioneering Robinson family as they embark on their quest to live in an intergalactic colony. But flashes of a spacecraft explosion prompt a robotic warning that sounds more like Darth Vader than the lovable robot in the CBS series that ran from 1965 to 1968.

The Netflix adventure will start streaming its 10 episodes on April 13.

Toby Stephens and Molly Parker star as the adventurous Robinson parents. Maxwell Jenkins, who starred in the short-lived ABC series "Betrayal" in 2013, plays young Will Robinson, the role made famous by Bill Mumy.

The most intriguing casting choice: "Queen of the Indies" Parker Posey, now 49, plays Dr. Smith, the devious role originated by Jonathan Harris.

Photo: Netflix

By Kevin Haynes |

Monkee See, Monkee Duo


Hey, hey they're still Monkees, but drummer Micky Dolenz and guitarist Michael Nesmith are doing something they've never done before: They're heading out on tour as a duo.

"The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show" will stop in 16 cities nationwide, starting June 1 at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, Arizona. Tickets go on sale Friday.

"It will be very different than a Monkees show," Nesmith, 75, told Rolling Stone. "I mean, it'll be Monkees music, but there's no pretense there about Micky and I being the Monkees. We're not. We're the remnants."

The band's only other surviving member, Peter Tork, 76, reportedly decided not to participate because he's working on "Relax Your Mind," a tribute album to blues pioneer Lead Belly. Singer Davy Jones died of a heart attack in 2012 at 66.

The Mike & Micky set list will feature many of Nesmith's solo songs in addition to spanning the Monkees' half-century career, from their 1966 self-titled debut album to 2016's "Good Times!"

Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Rock of Ages


The Who are casting a golden glow on a memorable concert from their early days with "Live at the Fillmore East 1968," a 50th anniversary edition of the band's debut at the landmark venue made famous by promoter Bill Graham.

The two-CD and three-LP sets, coming April 20, capture the second night of The Who's two-night stand at the Fillmore on April 5-6, 1968.

Disc 1 opens with a cover of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and features 13 songs, including a couple of cuts from the just-released "The Who Sell Out" album, "Tattoo" and "Relax."

The second disc only has one track, but it's a good one: a 33-minute version of the Who's 1965 single, "My Generation," complete with "guitar-smashing and drum demolition."

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'Without You'


Everybody assumed Harry Nilsson wrote "Without You," but Nilsson thought it was a Beatles tune—also incorrect, though Paul McCartney once called it "the killer song of all time."

The wrenching ballad, which topped the charts this week in 1972, was actually the result of a serendipitous collaboration between Badfinger's Pete Ham and Tom Evans. The song was included on "No Dice," the British group's 1970 debut album on the Beatles' brand new Apple record label, which spawned the hits "No Matter What" and "Day After Day."

Ham had written a song called "If It's Love" that included the verse, "Well, I can't forget tomorrow, when I think of all my sorrow…" but he thought it all fell apart in the chorus. It just so happened a lovesick Evans was working on a new song that proclaimed, "I can't live if living is without you."

The rest is music history—for better and worse.

Nilsson, who wrote the Three Dog Night hit "One" as well as his own "Coconut," notched his first and only No. 1 single and won the 1973 Grammy Award for best pop vocal performance by a male. (Miscellaneous fun fact: The song's pianist was Gary Wright, who would score his own Top 10 hit in 1976 with "Dream Weaver.")

Songwriters Ham and Evans, however, suffered fates even sadder than their mournful hit. Besieged by financial woes that included royalty disputes over "Without You," Ham hanged himself in 1975, three days before his 28th birthday. Evans was 36 when he followed suit in 1983.

Nilsson, 52, died of heart failure on January 15, 1994—nine days before Mariah Carey released what Entertainment Weekly would call her "by-the-numbers remake" of Nilsson's 1972 recording. It peaked at No. 3.

By Kevin Haynes |

The Good Doctor


If you like green eggs and ham, you may want to feast on an upcoming movie about author and illustrator Theodor Geisel, better known to generations of young readers as Dr. Seuss.

"Seuss" will be directed by Stephen Chbosky, who recently helmed "Wonder," a heartwarming family drama starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

The biopic will chronicle the life and career of Geisel in the 1920s, long before he put a hat on a cat or heard a Who.

Dr. Seuss' first book, "And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street," was published in 1937. But 20 years would pass before he wrote two of his best-known books in 1957, "The Cat in the Hat" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." "Green Eggs and Ham" followed three years later.

Dr. Seuss wrote more than 60 children's books that have sold 600 million copies worldwide. He was 87 when he died of oral cancer in 1991.

Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Channeling Gregory Peck


Jeff Daniels just got an early birthday present: the starring role in this fall's Broadway production of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The veteran actor, who turns 63 on February 19, will play attorney Atticus Finch, the part made famous by Gregory Peck in a 1962 movie based on Harper Lee's enduring 1960 novel about racism in rural Alabama. Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

The drama, adapted for the stage by prolific playwright and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, will open December 13 at a yet-to-be-named Broadway theater. Previews begin November 1.

Daniels starred in Sorkin's HBO series "The Newsroom," which aired from 2012-2014.

No word yet on who will play Boo Radley, the mysterious neighbor portrayed by Robert Duvall in his movie debut.

But there is sure to be considerable head scratching over the decision to cast adults as the children central to the plot of "Mockingbird."

Celia Keenan-Bolger, 40, will play Finch's daughter Scout, the impish tomboy and 6-year-old narrator of the novel. Gideon Glick, 29, has been cast as Dill, the boy inspired by Lee's childhood friend Truman Capote.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Linda Ronstadt


A pioneer of alternative country music in the early 1970s, Linda Ronstadt changed her tune and became one of rock's first divas by uttering three little words that sent chills down the spines: "You're No Good."

The taut takedown—"Feeling better now that we're through/Feeling better 'cause I'm over you"— topped the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1975.

It was the then-28-year-old singer's first hit as a solo artist and would prove to be the only No. 1 single in a career that came to an end in 2011 when the 11-time Grammy Award winner was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. But the breakthrough smash established the template that would net Ronstadt another sweet 16 Top 40 singles over the next 15 years, all of them cover songs.

"You're No Good," written by Clint Ballard Jr., was originally recorded in 1963 by two different soul singers, Dee Dee Warwick and Betty Everett, whose version peaked at No. 51. (She fared even better with her next single, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)," which soared to No. 6 in the spring of 1964.)

Despite its success, Ronstadt made no secret of the fact that she didn't particularly like her rendition of "You're No Good," which kicked off her 1974 album "Heart Like a Wheel," the first of five consecutive platinum albums in the '70s.

"I didn't sing it very well," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1983. "As a song it was just an afterthought. It's not the kind of song I got a lot of satisfaction out of singing."

Hard to believe that when the perfectionist with a four-octave range was saying "You're No Good," she may have actually been talking to herself.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Let There Be Rock


Chris Rock has long been a one-man band on stage, but he's happy to be shaking things up on "Tamborine," the new stand-up special that started streaming today on Netflix.

"Sometimes you sing lead, and sometimes you're on tambourine," says the 53-year-old comedian and former member of "Saturday Night Live." "And if you're on tambourine, play it right.... No one wants to see a mad tambourine player."

Rock's jingle-jangle metaphor stems from his role in the breakup of his 18-year marriage in the wake of his infidelity and porn addiction. "It's my fault," Rock says. "I didn't listen. I wasn't kind. I had an attitude. I thought, 'I pay for everything, I can do what I want'.... I didn't play the tambourine."

Reality later hit him with the boom of a bass drum. "When guys cheat," says Rock, "it's like we want something new. But then you know what happens? Your woman finds out, and now she's new—she is never the same again. So now you have new, but you have a bad new."

And now fans have a new Rock and a bad-ass new special. "I brought this shit on myself," he confesses, "and you've got to learn some lessons. Some man lessons."

By Kevin Haynes |



Julia Louis-Dreyfus is giving breast cancer the middle finger and her health a thumbs-up today in her first post-operative report on social media.

"Hoorah!" the 56-year-old star of "Veep" and "Seinfeld" said in a Twitter post. "Great doctors, great results, feeling happy and ready to rock after surgery. Hey cancer, 'Fuck you!'"

Louis-Dreyfus has undergone two rounds of chemotherapy since she was diagnosed with breast cancer five months ago.

All systems are go for filming the seventh and final season of HBO's "Veep." The network told The Hollywood Reporter that the production schedule will be tailored to accommodate Louis-Dreyfus, who has won six consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

By Kevin Haynes |

They Love Rock 'n Roll


Get a load of this rock and roll odd couple coming soon to an amphitheater near you: Punk princess Joan Jett & the Blackhearts are heading out on tour this summer with Styx, the honeysuckle synth band famous for 1970s hits like "Come Sail Away" and "Babe."

The two very different acts will co-headline a summer tour that begins May 30 in Irvine, California, the first of 27 shows on the schedule. The curtain comes down July 15 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey.

Tickets for most shows go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. on Live Nation's website.

Jett, 59, broke out in the mid-'70s with the Runaways, a tough-as-leather teenage girl band best known for the 1976 single "Cherry Bomb." She later fronted her own band, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, whose hits include "I Love Rock 'n Roll," "Bad Reputation,' "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" and a Top 10 cover of "Crimson and Clover" in 1982.

Jett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Styx's progressive pop rock synthesized five consecutive Top 10 albums from 1977 to 1983, including the No. 1 "Paradise Theatre." The Chicago-based band, formed in 1972, had 16 Top 40 singles, from 1973's "Lady" to 1991's "Love at First Sight." Eight Styx songs reached the Top 10; "Babe" was No. 1 for two weeks in December 1979.

Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Remembering Marty Allen


Back in the day when comedians routinely worked in pairs, Marty Allen played off his straight man, singer Steve Rossi, with madcap energy and a signature greeting, "Hello dere!"

His eyes bugged out and rolled, his frazzled hair stood seemingly on end. But Allen, who died of pneumonia Monday at 95, generated enough laughs and electricity to light up a room and black-and-white TVs throughout the 1960s as the Lou Costello to Rossi's Bud Abbott, the Jerry Lewis to his partner's Dean Martin, the Tommy Smothers to brother Dick.

Allen & Rossi played Las Vegas and nightclubs nationwide, but they were most famous for their frequent appearances on talk shows and variety hours, especially "The Ed Sullivan Show." The duo had the unenviable task of appearing after the Beatles—twice—and pulled it off each time. Once, in September 1965, Allen careened throughout the studio audience as Rossi reworked an early Beatles hit into a sweet crowd pleaser, "We Love You." Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Allen & Rossi went their separate ways in 1968 but would reunite in 1983 and perform until the cusp of the '90s. Allen also popped up on game shows like "The Hollywood Squares" and acted in assorted TV movies, situation comedies and dramas ("The Big Valley"). He later put together a new lounge act with his second wife, singer Karon Kate Blackwell.

She survives him, but Rossi doesn't. He died of cancer in 2014 at 82.

Now, four years later, Allen and Rossi are reunited once again for the last time.

Goodbye dere.

Photo by CBS via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Shine On


Peter Frampton is coming alive again, this time with a little help from another 1970s hit machine, the Steve Miller Band.

The two guitarists will share the bill all summer long on a nationwide tour that kicks off June 12 in Evansville, Indiana. The 38-show odyssey wraps up August 25-26 in Woodinville, Washington.

Frampton and Miller will perform separate sets but jam together at some point in the show.

Frampton, 67, first gained attention for his work with Humble Pie in 1969, but he broke though in a big, big way as a solo artist with the 1976 double album "Frampton Comes Alive." It sold more than 11 million copies worldwide and spawned three hit singles, "Show Me the Way," "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "Do You Feel Like We Do."

Miller, 74, notched nine Top 40 hits from 1973-1982, including three No. 1 singles, "The Joker," "Rock'n Me" and "Abracadabra." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Remembering Vic Damone

Bob Hope Salutes the Ohio Jubilee

Vic Damone, one of the last smooth crooners of the post-World War II era, died of respiratory disease Sunday in Miami. He was 89.

The Brooklyn-born singer topped the charts only once—in 1949, with "You're Breaking My Heart"—but he enjoyed a long career as a recording artist, nightclub performer and occasional actor in movies and TV shows, including an episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Frank Sinatra once said Damone possessed "the best pipes in the business."

Damone earned similar praise from contemporaries like Tony Bennett, Perry Como and Dean Martin. His signature songs included 1956's "On the Street Where You Live" from the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady" and the theme from "An Affair to Remember," the classic 1957 movie starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

Damone almost became part of film lore in "The Godfather." He was initially offered the role of Johnny Fontane, the heartthrob singer who asks for his godfather's help in securing a key role in a war movie. But the role eventually went to another Italian-American crooner, Al Martino.

Damone was married five times, including to actress Diahann Carroll (they divorced in 1996 after nine years) and fashion designer Rena Rowan, who died in 2016. Survivors include three daughters with actress Judy Rawlins and six grandchildren.

Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Al Green


It took Al Green five minutes to write the lyrics to "Let's Stay Together" in the autumn of 1971—and mere seconds to decide he didn't want to record it.

For two days, the then 25-year-old soul singer butted heads with his producer, Willie Mitchell, who had written the music with drummer Al Jackson Jr. and was convinced there was something special about both the groove and the message, its resolve to hang in there, "whether times are good or bad, happy or sad."

Green eventually relented, but then hated what he dismissed as his "thin" falsetto. A fresh argument ensued over whether the song should even be released. "He thought 'Let's Stay Together' was not a hit," Mitchell later said, claiming the tune was responsible for "the only fight" he ever had with Green.

Rev. Al would later have to confess he was wrong—big-time. "Let's Stay Together," debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 100 in November 1971 and inched its way up to the top spot on February 12, 1972, ending "American Pie's" month-long stranglehold on No. 1. It also reigned over the R&B charts for nine weeks and, in 2011, was ranked No. 60 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Forty-six years after its heyday, "Let's Stay Together" remains the only No. 1 hit of Green's nearly 50-year career. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

News Flash

Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis and the breaking news: A musical based on the 1980s hit machine is being developed for the stage.

"Heart of Rock and Roll" will showcase many of the San Francisco band's 19 Top 10 hits, including "If This Is It," "The Power of Love" and, no doubt, "I Want a New Drug."

No word yet on the story line or when the show will premiere. The jukebox musical will be directed by Gordon Greenberg, who recently revived "Holiday Inn" at Studio 54 in New York.

Huey Lewis and the News are among a growing number of pop stars to inspire a stage show. Jimmy Buffet's "Escape to Margaritaville" opens March 15 at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway, where it will soon be joined by "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," "The Cher Show" and the Go-Go's tribute "Head Over Heels."

Also in the works are musicals based on the songs of the Bee Gees, Pet Benatar, Petula Clark, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Meat Loaf, Alanis Morissette, Diana Ross, the Temptations and Tina Turner.

If this is it, as Huey Lewis sang, please let me know.

Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns

By Kevin Haynes |

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Watch What Happens Live - Season 13

A Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion is "possible," says David Crosby, even though the contentious foursome is united these days only in their contempt of President Donald Trump.

"We don't like each other," Crosby, 76, says of his three former bandmates in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "but we like Trump a whole lot less."

The four Rock and Roll Hall of Famers haven't performed together since a 2013 benefit concert for the Bridge School, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Young's ex-wife, Pegi.

"We haven't gotten along for a while," admits Crosby, who released his seventh solo album, "Sky Trails," last fall. "They're all mad at me. But they all dislike Donald Trump very much, the same way I do. We dislike him intensely because he's a spoiled child who can't do his job. So a reunion is possible."

Crosby, who supported Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign in 2016, also has a message for any Trump supporters who may be interested in attending one of his solo shows or a potential CSN&Y concert: Stay home.

"I don't need them," he says.

By Kevin Haynes |

Making a New Plan, Stan


Before he sings his final farewell in London this summer, Paul Simon will say goodbye to audiences in the U.S. and Canada this spring.

"Homeward Bound—The Farewell Tour" will kick off May 16 in Vancouver, move down along the West Coast and then head east at a brisk pace, performing a total of 20 shows in 36 nights. The last stop: the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 20.

Tickets go on sale February 9 at 10 a.m. local time.

"I've often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I'd consider bringing my performing career to a natural end," Simon, 76, said in a statement on his website. "Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief."

"I love making music," he added, "my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly. I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts."

Ten days after saying goodbye in the U.S., Simon will tour Europe for two weeks. The final show on the overseas schedule, announced last week, is July 15 in London's Hyde Park with James Taylor & His All-Star Band, Bonnie Raitt and unannounced guests.

For the record, there's one glaring omission on Simon's itinerary: his hometown, New York.

Let the speculation begin about a grand finale at Madison Square Garden or one of the city's other high-profile venues.

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |