Music News: Epic holiday lights display honors Prince


Staudt family Prince tribute
A Prince tribute in Christmas lights (Lights on Pascolo)

A Chaska family are paying tribute to Prince this holiday season with an epic display of over 10,000 purple lights that blink along with "Purple Rain." Mike Staudt says that "a few people have even mention[ed] it made them teary-eyed." The family has even created a special Facebook page for the display, which features "Purple Rain" as an intermission between performances of a 14-minute medley of music including the Star Wars theme and a Snoop Dogg Christmas song, all broadcast on a dedicated radio frequency. (Star Tribune)

Another potential heir has emerged as Prince's estate continues to go through probate court. This one, though, seems unlikely: a New Zealand man named Max Stacey McCormack claims he was fathered by Prince. "We must admit that we are somewhat skeptical of your claim," writes an attorney for the estate in a letter to McCormack, "given our understanding that Prince Rogers Nelson was completing high school in Minnesota in 1976, as opposed to living in New Zealand for several months." (Star Tribune)

Mpls.St.Paul magazine has uncovered the identity of the formerly unknown fan who painted Prince's First Avenue star gold overnight. It's Minneapolis graffiti artist Peyton Scott Russell, a Prince superfan who used to be a regular at Glam Slam and Paisley Park.

Oakland fire toll rises

36 have now been confirmed dead in a tragic fire that struck a party and concert in Oakland, Calif. on Friday. Among the deceased: Cash Askew, a member of the dream pop band Them Are Us Too. She was 22. Another musician, Joey Casio, was at the party and remains unaccounted for. (Pitchfork)

Duran Duran lose copyright battle

Duran Duran say they are "outraged and saddened" after losing a court battle to gain control over the copyrights for the songs on their first three albums. An American law permits artists to reclaim copyrights 35 years after assigning them to a third party, but Duran Duran signed their contract in the U.K. — where a court has now determined that the band's British contract overrules the American law. (Complete Music Update)

Artists wary of Trump

Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot is warning Americans that our country under president-elect Donald Trump could go the way that Russia has under President Vladimir Putin, with free expression being repressed.

"It is a common phrase right now that 'America has institutions,'" Tolokonnikova told the New York Times. "It does. But a president has power to change institutions and a president moreover has power to change public perception of what is normal, which could lead to changing institutions."

Madonna, similarly, has concerns about the forthcoming Trump Administration. She puts it a little more directly, though: "I haven't really had a good night's sleep since he has been elected," she tells Billboard. "We're f--ed."

BBC Music British Artist of the Year shortlist revealed

David Bowie is on the shortlist for the BBC Music British Artist of the Year award. Also on the list of contenders: Adele, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, and Jess Glynne. The awards will be presented on Dec. 12 in London. (Billboard)

Today's cover news

What are the rest of Trampled by Turtles up to while Dave Simonett works on Dead Man Winter material? They're all keeping busy. One member, Erik Berry, has teamed with Marc Gartman of Two Many Banjos to form a duo called Lazylightning420. On Wednesday night at Bent Paddle Brewing in Duluth, the duo will play the entire Grateful Dead show from Sept. 18, 1987 at Madison Square Garden. (Duluth News Tribune)

At Cyndi Lauper’s annual Home for the Holidays benefit show Saturday night, Billy Corgan joined Lauper for a cover of the Crystals’ "There's No Other (Like My Baby)." Other guests at the New York concert included Sharon Van Etten, Aloe Blacc, and America's Got Talent breakout star Grace VanderWaal — who joined Lauper for "True Colors." (Rolling Stone)

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