John Entwistle, legendary bass player for the British rock band The Who, has died at age 57. He was found dead June 27 at his hotel room in Las Vegas, where the band was scheduled to start a U.S. tour June 28. Mr. Entwistle was known for playing without expression or emotion while his bandmates - singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townsend, and The Who's late drummer Keith Moon - acted wild as possible on stage. Some performances ended with Mr. Entwistle's bass intact, but Mr. Townsend's guitar smashed into tiny pieces. The Associated Press quotes a local official who says Mr. Entwistle died of a heart attack, adding there was "nothing suspicious" about his death. Mr. Moon died of a drug overdose in 1978. But the band continued to tour with replacement drummers. The Who first broke through in the mid-1960s as part of the so-called British Invasion of rock music, led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The band was considered among the elite of British bands, scoring numerous hits that included the songs My Generation, I Can See For Miles, Magic Bus, Squeeze Box, and Who Are You. They had their biggest success with the 1969 rock opera, Tommy, which was later turned into a popular film and musical.
July 2, Capitol Records will release The Beach Boys Classics…Selected by Brian Wilson. The 20-track greatest hits compilation contains many of the group's hits, including Surfer Girl, I Get Around, Good Vibrations and California Girls. Brian re-recorded one previously unreleased track, California Feelin', which originally featured lead vocals by his late brother Carl Wilson.
A double CD retrospective by the 1970s and '80s rock band Kansas will be released on July 2. The Ultimate Kansas includes 26 songs from ten of the group's albums. Kansas kicked off a U.S. concert tour on June 28 in support of its latest studio album, Somewhere To Elsewhere. The set marks the first CD with all six original members in 20 years. Kansas is scheduled to stay out on the road through the end of the year.
53-year-old Billy Joel has finished a 10 day rehabilitation program at a Connecticut hospital and is reportedly making a full recovery and getting on with his life. Few details are available, but friends say he was depressed about a relationship that ended with "Inside Edition" co-anchor Trish Bergin. They broke up in 2000. Trish, who is 31 and pregnant, married New York lawyer Randi Weichbrodt on June 4. Joel will soon head to Chicago to oversee the production of a musical based on his songs. Choreographed by Twyla Tharp, Movin' Out will make its pre-Broadway premiere on July 19. His 2002 "Face To Face" tour with Elton John is expected to resume in September.
Opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti has announced that he'll retire on October 12, 2005. On that date, he'll celebrate his 70th birthday. During the past 40 years, Pavarotti has performed nearly 1,300 concerts and recitals in more than 60 countries.
Rhythm-and-blues star R. Kelly pleaded innocent to 21 counts of child pornography at his arraignment in Chicago last week. The 35-year-old musician faces fifteen years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted. R. Kelly will appear in court again on August 7.
Jennifer Lopez has signed on to star in and produce a motion picture based on the late Puerto Rican dancer Hector Lavoe. Lopez will play Lavoe's wife. Marc Anthony is currently in negotiations to play the leading role. Filming is scheduled to begin later this year.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES / JULY 2:
This year's Essence Music Festival will take place July 4 - 6 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Performers will include Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Luther Vandross, India.Arie, Al Green, Angie Stone and the Isley Brothers. In addition to the concerts, the festival will feature daily seminars with scholars and political, business, religious and social leaders.
India.Arie won her first major industry honor at the 2nd annual Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards, which took place in Hollywood on June 25. She was named Best Female R&B Artist, beating out the favored contender Alicia Keys. Other BET Award winners included Outkast, named Best Music Group; Usher, Best Male R&B Artist; Ja Rule, Best Male Hip-Hop Artist; Missy Elliott, Best Female Hip-Hop Artist; and Yolanda Adams, who was named Best Gospel Artist. Earth, Wind & Fire was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the group's 30-year career. The fan-voted Viewer's Choice Award went to R&B boy band B2K.
LOOK WHO'S GOING ON TOUR!
July 2 - Alicia Keys will kick off a North American summer concert tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She'll perform 37 shows at theaters and amphitheaters and also appear at several festivals and state fairs. Keys will wrap up the outing on September 2 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
July 5 - Neil Diamond will kick off a month-long British Isles tour in Dublin, Ireland. Touring in support of his 2001 album Three Chords and the Truth, he'll also perform in Glasgow, Scotland and Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield, England before wrapping up dates on July 27 in London.
John Mellencamp will begin a U.S. tour on July 3 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. The 2001 Billboard Century Award winner is scheduled to perform in 19 cities through August 3. He'll be promoting his latest album, Cuttin' Heads. Newcomer Shannon McNally will open shows for Mellencamp in support of her debut album, Jukebox Sparrows.
The U.S. leg of this year's Ozzfest tour will begin on July 6 in Bristow, Virginia. The 31-date trek is scheduled to end on September 8 in Dallas, Texas. Ozzfest's lineup will feature Ozzy Osbourne, System Of A Down, P.O.D., Rob Zombie, and others.
On July 6, Latin pop star Marc Anthony will embark on a North American concert tour. The outing, which begins in Boston, Massachusetts, will support his new album, Mended. Anthony is scheduled to wrap up the tour on September 20 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.