Music News: Strawberry Field to open as tourist attraction

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The gates of Strawberry Field in Liverpool.
The gates of Strawberry Field in Liverpool. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Strawberry Field to open for tourists; J-Lo to get Video Vanguard Award; Dave Grohl to release 23-minute song
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Above, hear a pilot episode of The Current's new Music News podcast, which will soon be available every weekday wherever you get your podcasts. We'd love your feedback! Leave a comment below, or write to musicnews@thecurrent.org.


The location that inspired John Lennon to write the Beatles classic "Strawberry Fields Forever" is opening to the public. At least, that's the plan if a £1 million ($1.3 million) crowdfunding campaign succeeds. The site, in Liverpool, used to be a children's home that closed in 2005; Lennon would play on the grounds when he was growing up.

The Salvation Army now wants to open the site as a tourist attraction and as a training and work placement hub for kids with learning disabilities. "As custodians of the site for the people of Liverpool and Beatles fans the world over," said a Salvation Army representative, "we want to transform Strawberry Field and reopen it for the good of young people in the North West who would benefit from access to support, as well as encourage more similar projects across the UK." (NME)

Many fans are familiar with Strawberry Fields in Central Park, which is a memorial to Lennon.

Today's new-release news

Dave Grohl is planning to release a two-part documentary called Play that will climax with the Foo Fighters leader playing every instrument on a 23-minute original, instrumental song. The documentary, which will be released digitally next Friday, is meant to encourage music learning and creativity; footage of Grohl will be intercut with footage of young musicians practicing their own instruments to show that learning is a worthy, lifelong endeavor. (Rolling Stone)

Jack Antonoff (Bleachers, Fun.) has reached the summit of pop-producer stardom — collaborating recently with Taylor Swift, Lorde, Pink, and St. Vincent. Is his next project a new Dixie Chicks album? Natalie Maines just shared a photo of Antonoff in a recording studio playing violin, using the hashtag #dcx2018. What could it mean? She's been using the hashtag a lot lately, and it's been over 12 years since the band's most recent album Taking the Long Way. (Billboard)

Fiddle face. @jackantonoff #dcx2018

A post shared by @ 1nataliemaines on

The Rolling Stones are curating a new two-CD compilation called Confessin' the Blues, intended as an introduction to the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley. "If you don't know the blues," says Keith Richards, "there's no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music." A portion of sales from the album, which comes out Nov. 9, will go to Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation. (Rolling Stone)

J-Lo to receive MTV Video Vanguard Award

Jennifer Lopez has been named the next recipient of MTV's annual Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. J-Lo will receive the award at the Video Music Awards, held on Aug. 20. The award's three most recent recipients have been Pink, Rihanna, and Kanye West. (Rolling Stone)

Aug. 1 marks the 37th anniversary of MTV's launch.

Billboard confronts internal culture

Billboard is promising employees that it will improve its internal culture after the departure of former top executive John Amato, who left amid accusations of sexual harassment and editorial interference, allegedly killing stories about a friend in the industry who was accused of sexual misconduct.

The New York Times reports that the music industry trade publication is pledging to make its workforce more diverse, and to change practices that have made it difficult for women to advance.

As the Times notes, the changes are taking place in a media landscape that sees Billboard struggling to maintain its traditional cultural dominance as it faces increasing competition both from other news-reporting outlets and from streaming services, which are introducing their own charts and playlists to cut into the cachet of Billboard's charts.

Nicki Minaj pushes album back amidst rights clearance challenge

Nicki Minaj has pushed the release date of her album Queen back a week, from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17, as she apparently struggles with getting the rights to include a Tracy Chapman sample. It's unknown exactly what song is in question, but at one point Minaj actually tweeted at Chapman asking her to "please hit me," presumably in the sense of contacting her.

The delay will mean that Minaj's album will drop on the same day as the much-anticipated Ariana Grande album Sweetener, but it's a friendly competition: Grande appears on "Bed," a track on Minaj's album. (Billboard, Spin)


Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BB SA 4.0)
Dave Grohl: "Play"
David Szesztay: "Smiling Cars" (CC BY NC 3.0)
Muddy Waters: "Rollin' Stone"
The Beatles: "Strawberry Fields Forever"
BoxCat Games: "Mt Fox Shop" (CC BY 3.0)
Jesse Spillane: "Ruffling Feathers" (CC BY SA 4.0)
Nicki Minaj ft. Ariana Grande: "Bed"


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