Music News: Spike Lee directs Prince video

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A scene from Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman.'
Laura Harrier and John David Washington in Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman.' (David Lee / Focus Features)
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Mick and Carly collaboration discovered; remembering Don Cherry; Spike Lee directs Prince vid
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Above, hear today's episode of The Current's Music News podcast, which is now available wherever you get your podcasts.


Spike Lee has released a video for Prince's recording of "Mary Don't You Weep," which is featured in Lee's new film BlacKkKlansman. The video features images and footage from the movie, based on the true story of an African-American policeman who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Prince's solo recording of the traditional song was recorded at his Chanhassen home studio in 1983, and will be included on a full album of similar recordings, due out on Sept. 21. (Spin)

Nicki Minaj cancels tour

Nicki Minaj has pulled the plug on a planned North American tour with Future. Instead of launching Sept. 21 as scheduled, the tour has been pushed back to May 2019 and no specific dates have been announced for the rescheduled tour — which won't include Future. As is often the case when a tour of this scale is cancelled, organizers cite the need to "reevaluate elements of production," but rumors swirl about low ticket sales. Minaj's new album Queen is racking up big numbers, but not as big as she hoped, failing to eclipse chart-topper Travis Scott in its first week of release. (Rolling Stone)

Gretchen Wilson arrested

On Tuesday, country star Gretchen Wilson was arrested and charged with a breach of peace at an airport in Connecticut. The Grammy-winning "Redneck Woman" singer "became belligerent toward the troopers and caused a disturbance," said police. She was scheduled to perform a private show at the nearby Mohegan Sun casino. (Billboard)

J.J. Abrams launches label

Filmmaker and sometime musician J.J. Abrams has launched a new independent record label, Loud Robot. The label will work in tandem with Abrams's production company Bad Robot to place music in films, TV shows, and video games. (Rolling Stone)

Abrams's own music credentials include collaborating with Lin-Manuel Miranda on music for the cantina scene in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which Abrams directed.

Mick Jagger/Carly Simon duet surfaces...mostly

A 45-year-old duet between Mick Jagger and Carly Simon has been discovered...but not released. The song is called "Fragile" and is believed to be an original collaboration between the two, recorded at a piano with Jagger handling most of the singing. A Rolling Stones collector found the tape — he's not saying where — and sent a digital copy to Rolling Stone magazine, which promised to pass it on to Simon. "I'm not in it for the money," says Matt Lee. The recording hasn't been leaked or released to the public as of yet. (NME)

Jagger contributed uncredited backing vocals to Simon's signature hit, 1972's "You're So Vain." It was rumored to be about him, but Simon said it wasn't. She also dismissed the idea that it's about James Taylor, but confirmed that at least the second verse is about Warren Beatty. He's so vain, she added, he thinks the whole song is about him.

Remembering Don Cherry

Don Cherry, best known to music fans for singing the 1955 top ten hit "Band of Gold," has died in hospice care at 94. That Ray Conniff collaboration, which was heard in the first scene of the first episode of Mad Men and is not to be confused with the later Freda Payne hit, was just one of his many achievements.

He was a successful singer on multiple different platforms, was a popular Vegas draw, and a frequent guest on Dean Martin's TV variety show.

He was also a top amateur golfer who competed in numerous major tournaments and, in the 1960 U.S. Open, finished only four strokes behind Arnold Palmer. In 1953, the New York Times reports, he was called on the carpet by the chairman of Augusta National.

"We never had anyone play in the Masters and sing at a local nightclub at the same time," Mr. Roberts said, as Mr. Cherry recalled in his memoir.

"My reply, without being disrespectful and with a little Texas naivete, was 'Mr. Roberts, I have looked at the people playing in this tournament and can't see anyone else who can sing.' "

His best-paying gig, though, was as a voice in animated Mr. Clean TV commercials in the 1950s and '60s. For that work, he made nearly $800,000 over the years.


Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY SA 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
"Jabba Flow" from Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Carly Simon: "You're So Vain"
Don Cherry: "Band of Gold"
Mr. Clean commercial
Prince: "Mary Don't You Weep"


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