Local Current Blog

Music News: Merle Haggard laid to rest with ceremony officiated by Marty Stuart

Merle Haggard performs in 2015 (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Big Barrel)

“Outlaw country” legend Merle Haggard was laid to rest on Saturday at Haggard’s Shasta County, California ranch. Per the request of Haggard himself, the private funeral service was officiated by country singer Marty Stuart. Stuart sang Haggard’s “Silver Wings” in a duet with Connie Smith, and Haggard’s friend and tourmate Kris Kristofferson also sang three songs. At the close of the ceremony, Haggard’s three sons joined together for a performance of “Today I Started Loving You Again.” (Rolling Stone)

“Stairway to Heaven” headed to trial

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have been scheduled to go before a jury on May 10 in Los Angeles to argue that they did not in fact plagiarize the opening notes of “Stairway to Heaven” from the song “Taurus” by Spirit. The trustee of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe brought the suit, and a U.S. District judge has now ruled that the plaintiff has presented enough circumstantial evidence that the Led Zeppelin leaders may have heard “Taurus” that the suit should proceed. The suit was previously blocked by a statute of limitations, but when “Stairway” was remastered and re-released in 2014, litigation was allowed to proceed. (Billboard)

Jay Electronica honors Phife Dawg

Rapper Jay Electronica paid tribute to the late Phife Dawg Sunday night at the Cabooze in Minneapolis. Local hip-hop star Metasota joined Jay Electronica for an extended freestyle that opened with the A Tribe Called Quest signature cry, “Can I kick it?” (Complex)

Brian Wilson announces memoir

Brian Wilson has announced an autobiography called I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir. The 320-page book, written in collaboration with journalist Ben Greenberg, will be published Oct. 11 as Wilson wraps up his world tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds. The tour stops at Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theatre on Oct. 2. (Pitchfork)

Lou Reed tribute planned for July

Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival has announced a daylong celebration of Lou Reed, scheduled for July 30. Reed’s widow Laurie Anderson will curate the event along with Reed’s longtime producer Hal Willner; the event will feature readings, film screenings, live music, and more. (Pitchfork)

Rihanna ties a Beatles record

Rihanna has tied the Beatles for the second-most weeks spent at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. As Rihanna’s Drake collaboration “Work” holds tight at number one for an eighth consecutive week, Rihanna has logged a grand total of 59 weeks atop the singles chart. The all-time leader? Mariah Carey, who’s ruled the Hot 100 for a total of 79 weeks. (Billboard)

Remembering a roadie

Roadie Tim “Skully” Quinlan has died of a heart attack at age 51. Quinlan worked with Pearl Jam for what Eddie Vedder calls “the first half, the tougher half” of that band’s career; he went on to work with Hootie & the Blowfish among other bands. On Friday, the night after Quinlan’s death, Pearl Jam paid tribute to their friend with a special performance of “Light Years.” (News & Observer)

Gorillaz roar into the studio

Animator Jamie Hewlett has shared video of Gorillaz in the studio working on a new album. One of the clips features Kanye West collaborator Anthony “Twilite Tone” Khan. (Billboard)


A video posted by hewll (@hewll) on

Afrika Bambaataa accused of sexual abuse

Hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa has been accused of sexual abuse by activist Ronald Savage, who says Bambaataa abused him in 1980 when Savage was 15 years old. Savage says he’s going public in hopes of extending New York’s statue of limitations for child abuse, which presently blocks charges being brought after victims turn 23. Bambaataa’s attorney says the allegations are false. (Pitchfork)

Ramones museum exhibit opens in New York

Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!: Ramones and the Birth of Punk opened Sunday at the Queens Museum. “The exhibit traces the Ramones’ ascent out of the pages of a Forest Hills High yearbook, to the emergence of Ramones socks — and frisbees, and aviators, and swim trunks, all encased under glass,” reports Pitchfork, which says the show is “like the Ramones-song version of an artist retrospective—it’s compact, just three rooms of photos, lyric sheets, set lists, and scribbles.”

Steven Tyler talks to Skittles — again

If you liked Steven Tyler’s Super Bowl ad for Skittles, you…might also like this new one, in which Tyler and his Skittles likeness duet on Tyler’s new country song “Red, White and You.” (Billboard)