Once again, a farewell: Goodbye to Peter Tork. He’ll always be remembered as the sweet and simple bass player for the Monkees, but in real life he was a musician in the Greenwich Village folk scene long before the Monkees were ever conceived of, who played with and lived in Laurel Canyon with Stephen Stills and played on recordings by George Harrison was an articulate analyst of the Monkees, their history and their place in the larger scheme of things. He passed due to complications of adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of head and neck cancer, which he had been fighting for more than 10 years. Tork was 77 years old.
Also: Mark Hollis, founder and former front man of Talk Talk, passed away Monday at the age of 64 from a short illness. In their first few years, the band had a string of synth-pop hits, including “Talk Talk” from their first album, “The Party’s Over,” and the title track from “It’s My Life,” which was a also a hit for No Doubt in 2003. They then switched stylistic gears for 1985’s “The Colour of Spring,” adopting an art-rock style influenced by Roxy Music. The followup, “Spirit of Eden,” was a commercial disaster that prompted their label, EMI, to sue and ultimately drop them, but it stands today as a cornerstone of post-rock, of which Radiohead’s Philip Selway said, “it redefines how you listen to music.” Hollis retired from music in 1998 to devote his time to his family, but he leaves his philosophy of music as something worth thinking about: “You have to give it all your attention. You should never listen to music as background music. Ever.”
Another classic rock icon is saying farewell to performing: Peter Frampton has been diagnosed with the inflammatory muscle disease Inclusion-Body Myositis and will be on the road for his farewell tour of the U.S. this summer. He’s also recording as much as possible right now, before the disease progresses. If he’s able, he hopes to tour Europe on a more limited basis next spring. He says, “Right now, it’s progressing but I’m still at the top of my game. We decided to do a farewell tour now since I don’t want to go out and not be able to play well. If I’m going to do a farewell tour, I want to play good. I want to rock it. I know that this tour, I will be able to do everything I did last year and the year before. That’s the most important thing to me. I want to go out screaming as opposed to, “He can’t play anymore.”
Kate Bush will release a four-disc rarities collection on March 8; it includes 25 rare tracks and nine covers. Among the latter is Gershwin’s “The Man I Love,” and two Elton John songs (“Rocket Man” and “Candle in the Wind,” and Gershwin’s “The Man I Love.” She shared her video for the former Elton track, which she also directed. And as you might expect from Kate, it’s a little bit off the beaten path.
On Friday, March 29, Stevie Nicks will become the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and on that day she will release a career-spanning retrospective titled “Stand Back 1981-2017,” which will include hits, rarities and live tracks from her solo career along with a few Fleetwood Mac songs. It will be available as an 18-track CD or digital edition and a 50-track, 3-CD set. A six-LP vinyl collection will follow on June 28. A 10-inch vinyl disc of rare tracks from the “Bella Donna” and “Wild Heart” albums will be part of this year’s Record Store Day.
Annie Lennox will unveil an exhibition of her personal memorabilia, including belongings and items from her career on May 25 entitled “Now I Let You Go…” at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, MA. It will include hundreds of personal items in a site-specific installation consisting of an earthen berm stretching across two gallery spaces.
Lennox gives some background to the exhibit’s premise on the museum’s website: “The artefacts contained within the earthen mound — partially buried – partially excavated – have all played a part in my life.I have had a special connection to each item presented – a connection that has been hard to relinquish. In time, we will all disappear from this earth.This is our destiny.What will we leave behind? Who will remember us – and for how long?The mound is a glorious metaphor for the ultimate conclusion of all material manifestations.”
The exhibit will kick off with a special benefit event, ““An Afternoon of Conversation and Song with Annie Lennox,” with a reception and a special charity event to benefit The Annie Lennox Foundation’s philanthropic work, and MASS MoCA’s Fund for New Music, in support of emerging and mid-career musicians. Tickets for the special benefit, are on sale at www.massmoca.org/annie-lennox.