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Billy Joel will be the sixth recipient of the prestigious Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress in November. The honor celebrates an artist's catalogue of work and is given annually "to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with George and Ira Gershwin." The annual recipient is selected by the Librarian of Congress "based upon recommendations from a board made up of scholars, producers, performers, music critics, songwriters and music specialists."
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington was quoted in the announcement saying, "Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order. There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music. When you listen to a Billy Joel song, you know about the people and the place and what happened there. And while there may be pain, despair and loss, there is ultimately a resilience to it that makes you want to go to these places again and again."
Fans are hoping that Keith Richards' enthusiasm for the Rolling Stones' recent road dates will lead to a new album. The Stones, who recently wrapped their European dates, are on hiatus until the fall when they hit the road to play a series of Down Under make up shows, which were postponed following the suicide in March of Mick Jagger's longtime girlfriend, L'Wren Scott.
Richards -- who is also working on a solo set -- spoke about the band's future in a "thank you" video, which served as a salute to the fans who caught this leg of the 14 On Fire tour, saying, "This band is really picking up steam now. There’s something in the air. . . Our strength lies in being together. There’s a certain chemistry. I can’t put my finger on it -- if I knew the answer I’d bottle it and sell it. . . It’s been a real buzz. I think I may keep this job on."
Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder says that "Hotel California" really should never have been the massive hit single it became. Felder, who co-wrote the tune, is currently out on the road opening for Styx and Foreigner, recalled the song to Utah’s Daily Herald, explaining, "‘Hotel California’ was exactly wrong on all formats. It was six-and-a-half minutes long, the introduction was a minute, you couldn’t dance to it, it stops in the middle, it breaks down with no drums and it’s got this two-minute guitar solo on the end of it. It’s completely wrong for AM radio."
He credits Don Henley for recognizing the song’s hit potential -- which he admits completely missed: "So when Don said, ‘That’s going to be our next single,’ I said, ‘You know, I think that’s wrong. That’s like an FM track, I don’t think that should be on AM radio. I think that’s not the right call.’ And he said, ‘Nope, that’s what we’re going to do.’ And I went, ‘OK, but I told you so.’ And I’ve never been so happy to have been so wrong in my life. He was right. He heard something in that that he believed in, so good for him."
Rob Zombie's guitarist, John Five, has revealed in an interview with a Canadian rock journalist that he has recorded a brand new album with Van Halen singer David Lee Roth, which he says is "incredible" and which he hopes to release at some point in the near future. Five told writer Mitch Lafon, "It's 11 of the greatest songs you'll ever hear, and it's just me and Dave, and we had Gregg Bissonette play drums on it. And it's unbelievable . . . just great, great songs. And hopefully sometime it'll see the light of day. But he's, of course, busy with Van Halen and all that stuff. But it's an incredible record."
Five added that he and Roth made the record "maybe a year and a half ago," saying, "I always go over to his house and we write music and things like that. It's a lot of fun. They're all original songs. I would just go over to his house during the day and write this music and then he would book the studio at night."
Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne has asked his fans to "help unscramble Ozzy's new cover art by using the hashtag #OzzyRules on Facebook and Twitter. The more you share the sooner it unlocks." It is unclear, however, what the cover art in question will be used for, although it could be for a new solo studio album. Ozzy's last studio effort on his own, Scream, came out in 2010.