Attention Toronto-area Billy Joel fans






Springsteen on CBS’ “The Good Wife”? Well, sort of. Read on.

bruce-largeYeah, I did a double-take when I heard this too. One of my fave artists on of my fave prime-time dramas? Here’s the scoop from CBS:

Bruce Springsteen’s latest full-length album, High Hopes, will be available exclusively on for streaming prior to its release date, marking the first time that the Network website has been the host for an album debut. Following the Sunday, Jan. 5 broadcast of THE GOOD WIFE (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT), a special preview for the following week’s episode will feature music from the forthcoming album and will prompt viewers to visit to listen to the new album in its entirety on the site. The album will be available on after the broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 5 through Monday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 PM, ET.

In addition, three songs from the album, the title track “High Hopes,” “Hunter of Invisible Game” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” will be featured in THE GOOD WIFE  on Sunday, Jan. 12 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT). In the episode, “We, the Juries,” Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Will (Josh Charles) each represent one-half of a couple accused of smuggling drugs, but the courtroom becomes mired in confusion and legal technicalities when they insist on separate juries for each client.

“We love using music in THE GOOD WIFE, and we always have the music inform the action and the cutting,” said Robert King and Michelle King, executive producers and creators of THE GOOD WIFE. “So when the Bruce Springsteen songs became available, we couldn’t believe our luck. We wished we could use the whole album.”

High Hopes, Bruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album, is set for a Jan. 14, 2014 release on Columbia Records. The album, which was recorded in multiple settings in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Australia and New York City, features Springsteen with members of the E Street Band and guitarist Tom Morello, among others. “This is music I always felt needed to be released,” writes Springsteen about High Hopes. “From the gangsters of ‘Harry’s Place,’ the ill-prepared roomies on ‘Frankie Fell In Love’ (shades of Steve and I bumming together in our Asbury Park apartment), the travelers in the wasteland of ‘Hunter Of Invisible Game,’ to the soldier and his visiting friend in ‘The Wall,’ I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing.”

If you haven’t heard the title track yet, check it out:

Aretha returning to Toronto (with Ott/Mtl a possibility). And a new album on the way too.

aretha-franklin-live-2013-650-430The legend, the Queen of Soul is making a return appearance to Toronto just over a year after her last concert in these parts, and at the same venue. Aretha (who will be 72 in March) will be at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday April 25th 2014 with tickets going on sale tomorrow, Saturday December 21st. Prices range from $59.50-$199.50. If you’re willing to shell out for the top-tier tickets, more power to you but be warned: at her well-received but brief 2013 Toronto show she only managed thirteen (!) songs over 80 minutes. Not exactly great value for the dollar but if you’re a fan, you probably don’t care.

According to, make-up dates for cancelled shows in Ottawa and Montreal are also on the horizon but those dates haven’t been announced yet. And she’s got a new album of covers on the way for the 2nd quarter of 2014. Barbra Streisand’s “People” and Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” are among the tracks she’s covering, so don’t be surprised to hear those in her upcoming Toronto show.

Some classic Aretha for your Friday:

Calling Dr. Love! 2014 RNRHOF Inductees Announced

2014-Inductees-Rotator_1Yep, so KISS finally made it. And the E Street Band! Should make for one helluva ceremony.  Read all about the inductees here.

From USA Today:

The 29th annual induction ceremony will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 10, and will be open to the public (as it has for recent ceremonies in Los Angeles and Cleveland). The event will air as an HBO special in May.

“We know that engaging the fans is a huge opportunity,” says Joel Peresman, president/CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “It gives them a chance to be a part of the ceremony, but it also adds a palpable energy to the event. Once we decided to open the ceremony to the public in New York, that had a huge impact on the decision to have it at Barclays Center.”

Chosen by more than 700 voters (artists, historians and music industry professionals) of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, the 2014 honorees will also receive an exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland in conjunction with the ceremony. Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording.

For a second year, the Rock Hall implemented fan voting in choosing this year’s inductees, which was available on its official site, Rolling Stone and USA TODAY, and generated nearly 1.4 million votes this year. The five artists with the highest number of votes (three of whom will be inducted) made up a fans’ ballot, which counted as a single vote in choosing this year’s honorees.

Among fans, Kiss (239,000 votes) and Nirvana (218,000) enjoyed easy victories. Two artists that failed to receive induction despite swells of public support were Yes (151,000) and Deep Purple (166,000), beaten out in the overall balloting by Hall & Oates (113,000), Peter Gabriel (111,000), Linda Ronstadt (85,000) and Cat Stevens (75,000).

Aside from Kiss and Stevens — who received Rock Hall nominations in 2010 and 2006, respectively — the Class of 2014 is made up of first-time nominees. And although fans may believe that many of the 16 artists put to the vote are long overdue for induction, Peresman assures that no artist is ever considered a “natural,” shoo-in choice.

“All of the 2014 inductees introduced us to something new,” Peresman says. “They might have drawn from their predecessors or built on what came before them, but they all took something from their roots, transformed it, made it their own and brought it to the world at the right time.”

Additional honors will be given to late Beatles manager Brian Epstein and former Rolling Stones manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham, who picked up Ahmet Ertegun lifetime achievement awards for their work behind the scenes in the music industry. The award for musical excellence (formerly known as the sidemen category) was given to Bruce Springsteen’s longtime backing group, the E Street Band.

Tickets go on sale in January, with an exact date to be announced.

This guy turns 70 on December 18th

AR-AE491_Keith_GS_20131211131019I always knew Keith Richards and I had something in common (besides our good looks). One of my all-time fave Stones cuts is “Street Fighting Man”. Turn out it’s one of Keith’s too. You need to check out this great Wall Street Journal article wherein Keith talks about the creation of this rock n roll classic. And make sure to take a listen to “”Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?” at the end of the  article. Never heard of it? You have, actually. Sort of.

If you’re a Louis C.K. fan, check out this one-hit wonder (at least for one-group) from 1973.


Released in 1973, “Brother Louie” is a song about an interracial love affair that was initially a Top 10 hit in the UK for the group Hot Chocolate, who went onto have even more success with songs like “You Sexy Thing” and “Everyone’s A Winner“.

About six months after the Hot Chocolate version, the American band Stories, who had little or no success with four previous singles, released their version of the song and it went to number one on the Billboard charts. It stayed there for two weeks. Several more singles followed, including “Mammy Blue” (another cover song) which only made it number 50 on the Billboard charts, before the band broke up shortly thereafter in 1974.

“Brother Louie” got a new lease in life when comedian Louis C.K. chose it as the theme for hist sitcom.

“Louie Louie Louie, Louie…” Now it’ll be stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome.

Check out Stories on The Midnight Special:

Sacha Baron Cohen out, Ben Winshaw in as Freddie Mercury

Ben WinshawDid you see the last James Bond flick, Skyfall? Remember the guy who played Q? Now picture him as Freddie Mercury. The Queen frontman, whose biopic is supposed to shoot next year, originally had Sacha Baron Cohen cast in the role of the late singer.  But not anymore.  “What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that he’s made – The DictatorLes Misérables and Hugo – in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances,” guitarist Brian May said. “And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie, you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t think that could really happen with Sacha.”

In addition to appearing in Skyfall, Ben Winshaw was also seen in Cloud Atlas as well as I’m Not There. The biopic is to be directed by actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill).

What do you think? Is Winshaw a better choice? I think he is; I’m not a fan of Cohen and agree with May that he would have been a distraction. Remains to be seen who will be cast as the other members of Queen.

I was fortunate enough to see Queen in 1982 in Montreal on their “Hot Space” tour (and even got to meet drummer Roger Taylor). It was a great show.

This is one of my favourite Queen tracks, taken from the Queen Rock Montreal DVD: