On Sep. 8 last year, 28-year-old Hawaiian singer and multi-instrumentalist Bruno Mars was named as the 2014 Super Bowl headline performer. Mars invited The Red Hot Chili Peppers, to join him during the 12-minute show, announced Fox, which will carry the game on Feb. 2 from the 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Red Hot Chili Peppers will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
Others performing during various Super Bowl festivities include Cyndi Lauper, The O'Jays, The Foo Fighters with Imagine Dragons, John Legend, Zac Brown Band, The Black Keys, Band of Horses, Robin Thicke, The Kings of Leon, The Roots with Run-DMC. Fall Out Boy and country music singer-guitarist Jake Owen will play the pre-game show.
U2 played an unannounced surprise three-song set at Sean Penn's third annual Help Haiti benefit in Hollywood during Golden Globes weekend, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The set before 300 guests including Bette Midler at the Montage Hotel was its first all-band performance since July 2011. The Dublin-based quartet began its electric set with its first hit, 1980's “I Will Follow,” followed by 1988's “Desire” and wrapping with 2004's “Vertigo.” The benefit raised $6 million for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
Neil Young will perform at the 2014 Musician's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 28 at the 9,700-seat Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Other performers include Brenda Lee, The Oak Ridge Boys, twanging guitar king Duane Eddy, hotshot guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and bearded ZZ Top singer-guitarist Billy Gibbons as they help induct Peter Frampton, Barbara Mandrell, Buddy Guy and record company exec Mike Curb. Being inducted posthumously are Roy Orbison, Young's longtime pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (the band are still alive).
In recent years, jazz-pop-rockers Chicago undertook successful co-headlining tours with The Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys and Earth, Wind and Fire. Now, it's REO Speedwagon's turn. Chicago has 21 Top 10 hits, including three that hit No. 1, including, “If You Leave Me Now” in 1976, while REO has four Top 10 biggies, including a pair that made it to the top, including “Keep On Loving You” in 1980.
The bands will spend August marauding around America starting on August 2 at Phoenix's 5,000-seat Comerica Theatre and wrapping it up 15 shows later on Aug. 31 at the 20,111-seat Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas.
Hard rocking psychedelic Long Island outfit Vanilla Fudge, whose pre-metal metal take on The Supremes' 1966 biggie “You Keep Me Hangin' On” the following year was its biggest hit, reaching No. 4 on Billboard's Hot 100 pop singles chart, will spend most of March touring Europe. The 12-gig tour kicks off Mar. 13 in Zoetermaar, Netherlands, and wraps on March 27 in Turin, Italy. The band features the original lineup from its 1966-1970 hit-making days, drummer Carmine Appice, singer-keyboardist Mark Stein, and lead guitarist Vince Martell, with the exception of bassist Tim Bogert, who retired from The Fudge in 2011.
Guitarist Mick Jones and the U.S.-U.K. rock band he formed in 1976 in NYC, Foreigner, will launch their 44-date 2014 tour of North America, Britain and Europe, on Jan. 31 at the 4,500-seat Open Sky Theatre at Harrah's Rincon hotel and Casino in Valley Center, north of San Diego. The band with more than 80 million albums sold worldwide then plays the 18,000-seat Morongo Events Center at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, northwest of Palm Springs. The nearly year-long tour ends on Nov. 4 at the Admiralspalast Theater in Berlin.
Engelbert Humperdinck keeps working on his upcoming album of duets, this time recording “Never, Never, Never,” a smash in the UK, Australia, South Africa and numerous other countries in 1972 for Shirley Bassey with Olivia Newton-John.
The album, “Engelbert Calling,” which also features the 77-year-old 60's heartthrob teaming on tunes with the likes of Elton John, Lulu, Smokey Robinson, Neil Sedaka, Willie Nelson and even Kiss' Gene Simmons, will be released March 17.
Paul McCartney finally aired his thoughts about his idol, Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers, who died two weeks ago in Burbank at 74. In a Facebook post, the 71-year-old who paid tribute to the via the inclusion of “Phil and Don” in the lyrics of “Let ‘Em In,” his million-selling hit single with Wings in 1976, wrote that Everly was, “one of my great heroes…they were great influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don. Years later, when I finally met Phil, I was completely star-struck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul. I will always love him for giving me some of the sweetest musical memories of my life.”
After the brothers experienced a terrible breakup onstage at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park in 1973, they reunited a decade later, in 1983, with a sold-out reunion concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. McCartney (who was at the concert) and Dave Edmunds got the pair into Abbey Road to record a song McCartney wrote and gave them “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” that returned them to the U.S. and U.K. pop charts after an absence of 16 years.
In a Top 10 list just released noting the value of autographs from living people by News-antiques.com, McCartney came in second with Prince William at $3,275 behind Fidel Castro, whose signature is worth $5,732. Bob Dylan is fourth at $3,200, while Ringo Starr is in ninth place in the vicinity of $1,750. Madonna brings up the rear with an autograph value of $1,630. Anything signed by all four Beatles can net something in the realm of $44,500.
Ringo will receive the David Lynch Foundation's Lifetime of Peace and Love Award at a ceremony and concert on Jan. 20 at the El Rey Theatre in L.A.'s Miracle Mile. Performers will include the drummer's brother-in-law Joe Walsh of The Eagles (in the midst of his band's six-night stand at the renovated Inglewood Forum), Dave Stewart (he and Eurythmics partner Annie Lennox will reunite after nine years at the Jan. 27 taping at the Los Angeles Convention Center for “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles” that will air on CBS on Feb. 9), Ben Folds, Ben Harper and Bettye LeVette.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week that runs online in two parts on Wednesdays and Fridays. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.