Music News: 'Drift Away' songwriter Mentor Williams dies at 70


Dobie Gray's album 'Drift Away'
Dobie Gray's album 'Drift Away' (Decca/MCA)

Songwriter Mentor Williams has died at age 70. Williams is best-remembered for writing "Drift Away," which became a hit first in 1973, for Dobie Gray, and then again in 2003 when Uncle Kracker covered the song with a guest vocal by Gray. (Rolling Stone)

ATCQ to tour

Q-Tip says that A Tribe Called Quest plan to mount a world tour in support of their acclaimed new album We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service. That will be the end of it, though: "This is our last record," says the rapper. In the interview with Billboard, Q-Tip also assailed the "homophobic, racist, sexist, myopic principles" that fueled the campaign of president-elect Donald Trump.

Last Waltz tribute tour planned

A tribute to the Band’s Last Waltz, featuring Don Was and guitarist Warren Haynes, will hit the road. The 11-date tour, which begins Jan. 21 in Hollywood, Fla., will feature to-be-announced special guests. The genesis of the tour was a 40th anniversary tribute concert staged in New Orleans in April. (Rolling Stone)

Smokey Robinson receives Gershwin Prize

On Wednesday night, music legend Smokey Robinson was presented this year's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, an award given by the Library of Congress. "Gershwin music was always on in our house," said Robinson. "So for me to be even mentioned in the same breath as the Gershwins is just unbelievable." Performers at the DAR Constitution Hall ceremony included Cee-Lo, JoJo, and Robinson himself. (Billboard)

Bon Jovi slate vinyl box set

Bon Jovi completists rejoice: on Feb. 10, the band are releasing a 25-LP vinyl box set compiling every one of the band's albums — from 1984's self-titled album to this year's This House Is Not For Sale. The set will also include Jon Bon Jovi’s solo releases and a disc of rarities. The whole shebang will set you back around $439.99. (Billboard)

Phoenix are back

Phoenix have announced their first show in three years. Next July they'll play the Bilbao BBK Live festival, which will also feature a comeback performance by Fleet Foxes. Both bands have been teasing new albums. (Pitchfork)

American Idiot TV movie update

Billie Joe Armstrong says that an HBO movie inspired by Green Day’s album American Idiot is "going good." The film will be a departure from the Broadway adaptation, though: "I think it's going to be a lot different from the musical," he says. "It's kind of more surreal, but I think there's going to be parts of it that might offend people — which is good. I think it's a great time to offend people. I think there's just going to be a lot of imagery that we couldn't pull off in the musical in the stage version. You know, I don't want to give away too much, but I think it will be shocking in a way which makes you think." (NME)

Adele goes batty

Adele was a little freaked out when a bat flew through her Mexico City concert on Tuesday. (Billboard)

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