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New Carpenters album, featuring orchestrally enhanced versions of hits, due out in December

UMe1970s pop legends The Carpenters are the latest artists to have their classic music augmented with newly recorded symphonic arrangements performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a new album.

Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a 18-track collection that will be released on CD and digitally on December 7, and as a two-LP 180-gram vinyl set on February 8, 2019.

Original Carpenters keyboardist, songwriter, arranger, backing singer and producer Richard Carpenter created and conducted the new orchestral arrangements at London's famed Abbey Road Studios, which were combined with existing instrumentation and the late Karen Carpenter's original vocals.

Among the group's memorable hits enhanced for the new project are "Yesterday Once More," "Hurting Each Other," "For All We Know," "(They Long to Be) Close to You," "Superstar," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "Top of the World," and "We've Only Just Begun."

Reflecting on having the chance to revisit his group's famous tunes, Richard says, "There have been more than a few times when I have thought, 'I wish I could have a second crack at that'…And there were places where things could be augmented without overdoing it. That's the trick."

He adds, "These refreshed tracks more than ever showcase Karen's remarkable voice…And that to me was reason number one for undertaking the project."

Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is available for pre-order now. Purchase the album online and you'll receive three of the tracks as instant downloads -- "Yesterday Once More," "Merry Christmas, Darling," and the group's cover of The Beatles' "Ticket to Ride."

Check out a behind-the-scenes video about the project at The Carpenters' official VEVO YouTube channel.

Here's the album's full track list:

"Overture"
"Yesterday Once More"
"Hurting Each Other"
"I Need to Be In Love"
"For All We Know"
"Touch Me When We're Dancing"
"I Believe You"
"I Just Fall In Love Again"
"Merry Christmas, Darling"
"Baby It's You"
"(They Long to Be) Close to You"
"Superstar"
"Rainy Days and Mondays"
"This Masquerade"
"Ticket to Ride"
"Goodbye to Love"
"Top of the World"
"We've Only Just Begun"

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Taron Egerton reveals the "incredible gift" Elton John gave him before shooting "Rocketman"

Paramount PicturesHow do you go about portraying a larger-than-life music icon like Elton John on screen?  In actor Taron Egerton's case, you become friends with the pop-rock legend himself.

Egerton stars as Elton in the upcoming biopic Rocketman, which is described as being "based on a true fantasy." Taron tells ABC Radio that Elton -- with whom he appeared in the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle -- readily welcomed him into his life.

"The thing he did was allow my access to him and he allowed us to become friends and I mean, I can't speak for him, but [I] say that with sincerity, I genuinely think of him as a friend now,” Egerton tells ABC Radio. "He's a wonderfully kind, supportive, gentle, soulful human being and he's been incredibly encouraging of me."

Egerton says Elton invited him to his house to spend time with his family and adds that they "hung out a lot" over the course of the production. They became so close, in fact, that Elton gifted him something quite personal.

"He gave me this incredible gift of his first-ever diamond earring before we started shooting and I actually wear it in the film at some key moments," Egerton reveals. "So I feel quite close to him, actually, having lived something of his life over the past few months and spent some time with him."

Rocketman hits theaters May 31, 2019.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Bono, Snoop, others gather on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" for his fourth-annual (RED) benefit show

ABCJimmy Kimmel Live! aired its fourth annual (RED) benefit show on Monday, November 19, in honor of World AIDS Day on December 1st.

Guests for the evening's show included U2's Bono, Brad Paisley, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Kristen Bell, Channing Tatum, Snoop Dogg, Mila Kunis, Pharrell and more. As always, the show featured a Home Shopping Network-like Shopathon segment, in which celebrities inform people what products they can buy that benefit the charity founded by Bono.

The U2 frontman sang a torch song-style cover of The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" with Pharrell, and also announced that he'd be collaborating with Lady Gaga for a contest that would have the two stars creating a song named after the winner -- with all the proceeds benefiting the HIV/AIDS charity.

More information can be found at the charity's website.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Todd Rundgren to publish first-ever memoir, "The Individualist," in December

Cleopatra BooksOver the last 50 years, Todd Rundgren has enjoyed an impressively diverse and prolific career as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and technological innovator.  Now, the 70-year-old artist can add "book author" to his resume: His autobiography, The Individualist: Digressions, Dreams & Dissertations, will be published on December 21.

In the 240-page volume, Todd examines his wide-ranging career and his dramatic personal life. He also shares recollections about his experiences and interactions with fellow music legends like Janis Joplin, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Patti Smith, The New York Dolls, Meat Loaf and many others.

The Individualist is broken up into easily digestible three-paragraph chapters, and boasts a variety of previously unseen photos. You can pre-order the memoir now at CleoRecs.com.

The book will arrive shortly after Rundgren discovers whether or not he'll be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. After recently being nominated for the honor for the first time this year, Todd currently sits at #3 -- after Def Leppard and Stevie Nicks -- in the fan poll hosted by the Rock Hall's official website.

The five nominated artists receiving the most votes in the poll will make up a "fans' ballot" that will be included with the other ballots. Voting closes at December 9 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2019 inductees will be announced later that month.

Meanwhile, Rundgren will wrap up the latest U.S. leg of his Unpredictable tour this weekend with a November 24-25 stand in Honolulu.

Here's are all the remaining dates on his 2018 trek:

11/20 -- San Juan Capistrano, CA, The Coach House
11/21 -- San Juan Capistrano, CA, The Coach House
11/24 -- Honolulu, HI, Blue Note Hawaii
11/25 -- Honolulu, HI, Blue Note Hawaii

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


The Monkees' Dolenz and Nesmith announce 2019 tour, including new dates for postponed 2018 shows

Courtesy of Rhino EntertainmentEarlier this year, The Monkees' Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith were forced to cut short their U.S. duo tour, dubbed "The Monkees Present: The Mike and Micky Show," after Nesmith suffered congestive heart failure and had to undergo open-heart surgery. Now, the longtime band mates have scheduled a 2019 stateside trek that includes makeup dates for the four concerts they postponed at the end of the previous outing.

The 12-date tour gets underway on March 1 in Medford, Massachusetts, and currently runs through a March 16 show in St. Charles, Missouri. The rescheduled concerts take place March 5 in Red Band, New Jersey; March 6 in Glenside, Pennsylvania; March 8 in Huntington, New York; and March 9 in New York City.

The new trek is being billed as "Monkees Featuring Mike Nesmith & Micky Dolenz: A Very Musical Journey from 'Last Train to Clarksville' to 'Me & Magdalena.'" Tickets are on sale now.

Last month, The Monkees released their first-ever holiday album, Christmas Party, which featured new contributions from surviving members Dolenz, Nesmith and Peter Tork, as well as archival vocals from the late Davy Jones.

In other news, Tork recently addressed rumors that he has been experiencing health issues that have kept him from taking part in recent Monkees-related tours.

"[W]hile it is true that my health has required a little more attention these days, I'm feeling pretty good," Peter wrote on his official Facebook page last month. "I'm also cherishing this time with family and friends, and making music."

He added, "Keep your eyes open for some possible web concerts with friends and other musicians…this is a private time and I won't be posting updates."

Here's the full list of Nesmith and Dolenz's 2019 tour dates:

3/1 -- Medford, MA, Chevalier Theatre
3/2 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Ocean Resort Casino
3/3 -- Lancaster, PA, American Music Theatre
3/5 -- Red Bank, NJ, Count Basie Center for the Arts
3/6 -- Glenside, PA, The Keswick Theatre
3/8 -- Huntington, NY, The Paramount
3/9 -- New York, NY, The Beacon Theatre
3/10 -- Albany, NY, Palace Theatre
3/12 -- Royal Oak, MI, Royal Oak Music Theatre
3/14 -- Prior Lake. MN, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
3/15 -- New Buffalo, MI, Four Winds Casino
3/16 -- St Charles, MO, Family Arena

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Cher tells "Elle" about her amazing career: "One day we were poor...three days later, we were famous”

Credit: Machado CicalaCoinciding with The Cher Show, the new Broadway musical based on her life, Cher is featured in the new issue of Elle magazine, talking about life, love and fame.

Recalling the day she met Sonny Bono, her future husband and musical partner, Cher tells Elle, "I swear, it was like the Maria and Tony scene [in West Side Story]. Everyone just disappeared. He was the most unusual person I'd ever seen. He had longish hair, and he had the most beautiful suit on, and beautiful long fingers, and Beatle boots."

Cher recalls that her duo act with Sonny wasn't an immediate hit. "Kids liked it, but adults just hated us. I mean, really hated us. Fistfights, hate," she says.  But after Sonny & Cher released "I Got You Babe," things changed.

"Everything happened so fast. I didn't even know where I was," Cher explains. "One day we were poor. Two days, three days later, we were famous."

These experiences and more are featured in The Cher Show, which the star spent years perfecting.

"I'm fussy 'cause it's my story," Cher says. "I want it to be honest and right and funny and sad, like my life."

She adds, "I've had huge failures in my life. Huge dips and 'Oh, you're over. You're over.' This one guy once said, 'You're over,' every year for I don't know how many years. And I just said to him, 'You know what? I will be here when you're not doing what you do anymore.'"

Cher admits, "I had no idea if I was right or wrong [at the time]. I was just tired of hearing him say it."

The Cher Show is currently in previews on Broadway and opens December 3.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger introduces new song celebrating the band's forthcoming US tour

Credit: Dave HoganThere hasn't been any word lately about the status of The Rolling Stones' next studio album, but Mick Jagger has introduced what appears to be a new original Stones tune on his official Facebook page: It's a song that celebrates the band's just-announced 2019 U.S. tour.

In the clip, Jagger is shown lip-syncing to the tune as he strums an electric guitar. The lyrics are as follows: "I just found out today that we're going to the U.S.A/ Where the hell we gonna live?/Where the hell we gonna play?"

Jagger then runs down the various cities where the band will be performing: "There's Miami, Florida/ Jacksonville and Houston/ New Orleans and Glendale/ Pasadena, Santa Clara/ …to Seattle/ Denver, Colorado/ Right across America/ Philadelphia, PA/ Boston, Massachusetts/ Don't forget New Jersey/ Stoppin' in Chicago/ Hope you're gonna see a show/ Hope you're gonna go, go, go."

It's worth noting that New Orleans wasn't on the initial list of cities included in the announcement of The Rolling Stones' 2019 No Filter Tour of the U.S., which kicks off April 20 in Miami Gardens, Florida. However, rumors have circulated that The Stones will be among the headlining acts at this year's edition of the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which is scheduled to take place April 25-28 and May 2-5.

Interestingly, The Stones have no concerts scheduled between April 28 and May 7. The festival's official lineup will be announced in December.

The tour currently features 13 dates, and is mapped out through a June 21 show in Chicago.

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