Alan Vega, singer in the seminal duo Suicide, has died of natural causes at age 78. The band’s 1977 self-titled debut album, with a dark and minimalist yet melodic sound, is widely considered one of the most influential releases of that decade. One of the band’s most ardent fans is Bruce Springsteen, whose classic Nebraska was influenced by Suicide and who later covered their song “Dream Baby Dream.” (Rolling Stone) Among the tributes shared since Vega’s death is a cover of “Dream Baby Dream” by Win Butler. (Noisey)
Country singer Bonnie Brown has died of lung cancer at age 77. The Browns — a sibling trio consisting of Brown, a brother, and a sister — were one of the most popular country acts of the late 1950s and early 1960s and were later inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. (Rolling Stone)
McCartney-Prince letter sells for $15,000
A two-page handwritten letter Paul McCartney wrote to Prince in the mid-1990s has sold at auction for almost $15,000. The letter, which begins “Dear Princely Person,” was a request for a donation to help found a performing arts school in McCartney’s native Liverpool. “One of these days you’ll have to come and teach a class some moves!” writes McCartney. (Rolling Stone)
Kanye-Taylor dispute roils
Via Snapchat, Kim Kardashian has shared video of her husband Kanye West having a phone conversation with Taylor Swift in which West reads a portion of the lyrics to his song “Famous” to Swift. In the video, Swift thanks West for letting her know about the lyrics, which include the phrase “it feels like me and Taylor might still have sex,” and agrees to their use, saying “it’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek.” The video release was seemingly in response to Swift’s denial, after the full song debuted, that she gave such permission. On social media, Swift posted a response to the video. (CNN)
Bono reportedly rescued by police in Nice
The Mirror is reporting that Bono was among diners who were evacuated from a Nice restaurant under guard of armed police after last week’s Bastille Day terror attack.
“Heartbreak Hotel” inspiration found
Rolling Stone has tracked down the identity of the man whose 1955 death likely inspired Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton to write “Heartbreak Hotel,” the song that became Elvis Presley’s breakout national hit. Alvin Krolik was a Chicago con who wrote about having walked a “lonely street” before he tried to clean up his act in 1953 and leave crime behind. His reformation didn’t last long, and Durden and Axton likely saw a news story about Krolik’s death by shooting during an attempted robbery.
Margo does Jimmy
Margo Price made her Tonight Show debut on Thursday night, singing “Four Years of Chances.” Watch the video at Rolling Stone. Price is headlining The Current’s sold-out United States of Americana anniversary show at the Turf Club on Oct. 27.
Afropunk and M.I.A. part ways
M.I.A. will not be headlining the Afropunk London festival as previously announced. “After discussing the situation with the artist and the community,” said the festival in a statement, “a decision was agreed upon by all involved that M.I.A will no longer headline AFROPUNK London.” Some potential attendees had threatened to boycott the festival over controversial remarks M.I.A. made in April, suggesting that some international human rights issues have been eclipsed in the U.S. by the Black Lives Matter movement. (Billboard)
Prophets of Rage hit the roof
Prophets of Rage — the supergroup featuring members of Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, and Cypress Hill — played a rooftop show in Los Angeles before heading to Cleveland with the stated intention to “cause a ruckus” during the Republican National Convention there. (Rolling Stone)
Guns N’ Roses detained at border
Onstage in Cincinnati, Axl Rose told the story of how Guns N’ Roses were recently detained at the Canadian border. The Canadian authorities found a gun, though a representative for the band clarified that the weapon didn’t belong to any member of Guns N’ Roses. (Billboard)
Ryan Adams covers Oasis
Ryan Adams has been covering Oasis for 15 years; a version of their “Wonderwall” appeared on the 2003 Adams EP Love is Hell, Pt. 1. In a recent Pittsburgh concert with Noel Gallagher opening, Adams covered two more Oasis songs for the first time: “Morning Glory” and “Supersonic.” On Twitter, Gallagher later wrote “I bet POTATO was mesmerized,” seemingly referring to his brother Liam Gallagher. (Rolling Stone)
Reality star’s hard rock dream comes true
82-year-old John Hetlinger lived his dream when he joined Drowning Pool onstage to sing their hit “Bodies.” Last month, a clip of Hetlinger singing the song on an America’s Got Talent audition went viral. (Rolling Stone)