Music News: Elvis's 1968 comeback special headed to theaters for 50th anniversary


A guitar played by Elvis Presley in 1968.
A Gibson J200 guitar played by Elvis Presley in his 1968 TV special is displayed in a 2014 London exhibit. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Dec. 3 will mark the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s 1968 "comeback" special. In celebration, the special will play in selected movie theaters...but oddly, the theatrical screenings will take place on the 41st anniversary of Presley's death, Aug. 16, then repeat on Aug. 20.

As Rolling Stone notes, "Presley's comeback special came at a time when the King had been appearing in movies rather than recording music or performing live. It opened with footage of him dressed in a slick, black leather jumpsuit-curling his lip the way his fans remembered-and included a loose, 'sit-down' set where he played his early hits with members from his backing band in the Fifties."

Spotify reverses "hateful conduct" policy

Spotify has reversed the "hateful conduct" policy that saw music by R. Kelly and XXXTentacion pulled from company-curated playlists. "While Spotify says it remains committed to removing what it called hate content — music meant to incite hatred or violence, like neo-Nazi songs," reports the New York Times, "the company said it was 'moving away' from the second part of its policy, which addressed the behavior of artists beyond what they sing or rap about."

XXXTentacion's music has now returned to the popular Rap Caviar playlist. The policy was criticized for its potential to disproportionately affect hip-hop artists — although some feminist advocates like Shaunna Thomas, whose group Ultraviolet called for action against artists like Chris Brown as well, said they were disappointed by the reversal.

YouTube pulls drill videos

YouTube has removed over 30 music videos featuring drill music, "a bleak, nihilistic style of rap music that is thriving in British cities, especially among young people in London's social housing projects," reports the New York Times.

The takedowns came at the request of London police, who argue that the genre's very specific descriptions and threats of violence against named individuals inspire real-world crimes. Free speech advocates including Amnesty International, however, have argued that the focus on drill music unfairly targets young black men and that the music is more a reflection of dire conditions than a cause of them.

Prince estate sues Oklahoma man over Vanity 6 videos

Prince’s estate has sued an Oklahoma man named Phil Shadid who posted Vanity 6 videos on the site TuneCore without permission. Prince owned the content, the estate notes, having put the band together and written their music and lyrics. The videos have been taken down, but the lawsuit says TuneCore could repost them if not stopped by court order. (Billboard)

Remembering Eddy Clearwater

Bluesman Eddy Clearwater has died of heart failure at age 83. The Mississippi native made his name in Chicago in the 1950s as a guitar ace and reliable live performer, and continued performing for decades — in recent years, signed to Alligator Records. His LP Rock 'N' Roll City (2003) was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. (Billboard)

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