Local Current Blog

Today’s Music News: Bob Johnston, producer for Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, dies at 83

Examples of Bob Johnston's recorded legacy.

Record producer Bob Johnston has died, at age 83, in a Nashville hospice. Johnston worked on some of the most acclaimed albums of the rock era, including Bob Dylan‘s Blonde on BlondeJohnny Cash‘s At Folsom Prison, and Simon and Garfunkel‘s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. It was Johnston to whom Dylan was speaking when he said, “Is it rolling, Bob?” at the beginning of the Nashville Skyline track “To Be Alone With You.” (Rolling Stone)

The music world is also mourning artist manager Jazz Summers, who has died of lung cancer at age 71. Summers helped to steer the careers of artists including Wham!La Roux, Badly Drawn BoySnow Patrol, and The Verve. (Billboard)

The N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton has turned out to be an instant hit, dominating the box office on its opening weekend with grosses of $56.1 million—nearly equal to what Marvel superhero movie Ant-Man pulled in on its opening weekend earlier this summer. The difference? Ant-Man cost $130 million to make, while Straight Outta Compton was produced for just $29 million. Read Jay Gabler’s review, and listen to Euan Kerr discuss the film on The Current’s Morning Show.

Barack Obama has shared two summer playlists on Spotify. One, music for a summer day, features artists including Bob Dylan (“Tombstone Blues”), Brandi Carlile (“Wherever Is Your Heart”), and the Rolling Stones (“Gimme Shelter”). The second, music for a summer night, includes tracks by Lianne La Havas (“Is Your Love Big Enough?”), the Lumineers (“Summer Love”), and Nina Simone (“Feeling Good”). (Rolling Stone)

The newest musician to join Taylor Swift‘s squad is 74-year-old folk legend Joan Baez. During a performance of the song “Style” on Saturday night in Santa Clara, Calif., Swift danced onstage with Baez and actress Julia Roberts. “These two women are my heroes,” Swift later wrote. “What an honor.” (People)

A six-year-legal battle between two of Jimi Hendrix‘s siblings has been resolved. Janie Hendrix, the guitarist’s sister who operates his estate, has settled a lawsuit against Hendrix Licensing, a company run by the artist’s brother Leon Hendrix. According to the terms of the settlement, Hendrix Licensing will no longer be able to sell items bearing Jimi Hendrix’s likeness. (Rolling Stone)

One Direction dominated Sunday night’s Teen Choice Awards, winning eight awards. Taylor Swift and Fifth Harmony also won multiple prizes, and Britney Spears was presented with the Style Icon award. (CNN)

Drake has issued a statement commenting on the shooting deaths of two people at an Aug. 4 afterparty for the artist’s OVO Festival in his native Toronto. “I pray for better times and better understanding,” writes Drake. “I send my condolences to all of the families that have lost loved ones to the senseless violence that has and continues to occur in our city.” (Pitchfork)

New music news: there’s now a release date for Lana Del Rey‘s much-anticipated album Honeymoon, which will come out on Sept. 18. (Billboard) Also, Billboard reports that Adele is working with producer Danger Mouse on her next album.

Meryl Streep spent six months learning how to play guitar for her role as a veteran rocker in the new movie Ricki and the Flash. One of her teachers was none other than Neil Young. (Rolling Stone)

Flea has a new hobby: beekeeping. The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist owns an estimated 200,000 bees, which he refers to as “Flea’s bees.” (Billboard)