With top notch artists like Glenn Frey, David Bowie and Prince having passed away, 2016 may well go down as one of the worst recent years in music. In my last musing for this year, I’m taking a look at some of the things that are coming up in 2017.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction
The 2017 inductees include Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra and Pearl Jam, among others. Perhaps the biggest question is whether Steve Perry will show and possibly even reunite with Journey for a performance. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the band’s guitarist Neal Schon seemed to extend an invitation. Asked about Don’t Stop Believin’ as the jam when all inductees come on stage to perform together, he said, “You think so? [Laughs] I’m hoping that Steve Perry will get up and do something with us. We’ll have to see.” While Perry can no longer hit some of the high notes and Arnel Pineda does an amazing job keeping his legacy alive, an induction ceremony without Perry simply wouldn’t feel right. I just hope we won’t see a repeat of the Chicago snafu at this year’s festivities when Peter Cetera reportedly refused to perform with his former mates after the band had declined lowering the key for 25 or 6 to 4 from A to E – admittedly a significant drop, but still, what a shame!
Dylan Nobel Prize Lecture?
After not showing up in Stockholm to accept his Nobel prize in literature, is Bob Dylan going to give a lecture in 2017? Technically, it’s a requirement for the prize, but who knows what will happen. After all, who thought the great music poet would receive the prize in the first place? But, as he said it himself more than 50 years ago, The Times They Are a-Changin’.
Fortunately, not only Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and The Who are living proof rockers don’t need to hope to die before they get old. There are some great concert tours from “old hands” in store for 2017 – thank goodness! Following are some I’d love to see.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will go on a 40th anniversary tour. Things will kick off on April 20 in Oklahoma City and conclude with two gigs in Forest Hills, Queens (NY) on July 26 and 27. Citing age and a desire to spend more time with his granddaughter, Petty noted this may be the band’s last “big tour”, to which guitarist Mike Campbell said Petty has made similar statements over the past 10 years. We’ll see!
Sting announced a big North American tour to support his fantastic new album 57th and 9th. Between February 1 (Vancouver, Canada) and March 14 (New York City), the schedule is packed with 24 gigs!
Roger Waters will conduct Us + Them, an extended North American tour, which will get underway in Kansas City on May 26 and end on October 28 in Vancouver, Canada. Waters, who announced his plans following his gig at Desert Trip, told Rolling Stone the show will combine Pink Floyd tunes with old and new songs from his solo career.
Eric Clapton has revealed seven dates for 2017, including two in New York, two in LA and three at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He repeatedly has raised retirement, except he has done so for the past 50 years. But things may be changing. During an interview with Rolling Stone in May, Clapton mentioned back issues and a “tricky” neurological problem that impacts his hands.
When I looked at Billboard’s 40 most anticipated albums for 2017, it was quite revealing that in most cases I either had not heard of the artists or, if I had, generally don’t listen to their music. Strangely and perhaps tellingly, the following were missing altogether:
Bruce Springsteen: While admittedly there isn’t much information out there, the Boss told Rolling Stone in September he had finished a new album, which he hoped to release in 2017. He explained, “It’s a solo record, more of a singer-songwriter kind of record.”
Deep Purple: Titled inFinite, this will be the band’s 20th studio album. Granted, the days of Smoke On the Water and Highway Star may be over, but it’s still amazing these guys keep rocking. Here’s a clip of one of the tunes from the new album, Time For Bedlam, which was released on YouTube a couple of weeks ago.
U2: According to NME, Bono told Spanish fan page U2 en España back in August that the band will release a new album expected to be titled Songs of Experience and tour in 2017. It would be U2’s 14th studio album.
Chuck Berry: What would rock & roll have been without this guitar pioneer? Berry who turned 90 in October celebrated his birthday by announcing Chuck, his first new album in 38 years. According to a press release on Berry’s web site, the album mostly includes new, original songs and is dedicated to Thelmetta Berry, his wife of 68 years – just amazing!
Happy New Year to all artists who keep rock & roll alive and folks who happen to come across this post!