Music News: Here's your first look at Elton John biopic 'Rocketman'

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Taron Egerton as Elton John in 'Rocketman.'
Taron Egerton as Elton John in 'Rocketman.' (Paramount Pictures)
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Remembering Otis Rush and Marty Balin
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail.


Paramount has released a first promo photo and teaser trailer for Rocket Man, a forthcoming Elton John biopic. Taron Egerton plays John in the film, which promises an "uncensored human story of Sir Elton John's breakthrough years" and is slated to hit theaters on May 31, 2019. (Consequence of Sound)

Led Zep headed back to court over "Stairway to Heaven"

Led Zeppelin are headed back to court, once again, to defend themselves against accusations that they stole "Stairway to Heaven" from the band Spirit. The British rock legends thought they were off the hook in 2016, when a federal court jury cleared Led Zep of wrongdoing. Now, though, a federal appeals court has ordered a new trial on the basis that the previous judge "wrongly instructed the jury to disregard any similarities between standard musical elements — like a rising scale or a chord progression — that cannot be copyrighted because they are so commonplace," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Representatives of Spirit say that Led Zepplin, who sometimes opened for Spirit, took key elements of what would become their signature song from Spirit's song "Taurus."

Sigur Rós drummer resigns after rape accusation

Sigur Rós drummer Orri Páll Dýrason has left the band after a woman accused him of raping her. "In the wake of the extremely serious and personal allegations made against him in recent days, we have today accepted the resignation of our bandmate," said the band's Jónsi and Goggi in a statement, "to allow him to deal with this privately."

Los Angeles artist Meagan Boyd stated on Instagram that Dýrason raped her in 2013. The drummer was been a member of Sigur Rós since 1999. Boyd said that Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh inspired her to come forward. (Rolling Stone)

Kanye makes a statement on SNL

Kanye West was the musical guest on this past weekend's Saturday Night Live season premiere, and in addition to playing three songs — including his Lil Pump collaboration "I Love It," dressed like a giant bottle of sparkling water — he ended the episode with a speech defending his support for President Donald Trump.

"They screamed at me," he said while wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap. "They bully me. They bullied me backstage. They said don't go out there with that hat on."

The president promptly tweeted his support, but artists including Questlove and Lana Del Rey criticized West. Producer Swizz Beats said in a video that Trump is "blatantly hurting our people" and that West should withdraw his support. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, West's new album Yandhi, which was supposedly dropping on Saturday, is now expected Nov. 23. (Consequence of Sound)

Remembering Otis Rush

Chicago blues legend Otis Rush has died at age 84, due to complications from a stroke. Rush was revered by blues musicians like "Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn, who named his band after Rush's late 1950s hit 'Double Trouble,'" notes NPR, although Rush never became a household name like B.B. King. Rush's song "I Can't Quit You Baby" was widely covered, including by Led Zeppelin on their 1969 debut.

Remembering Marty Balin

Jefferson Airplane co-founder Marty Balin has died of undisclosed causes at age 76. Balin's accessible pop sensibility complemented the strong voice of frontwoman Grace Slick and the conceptual ambition of Paul Kantner, forming an integral part of classic albums like Surrealistic Pillow (1967) and thus becoming foundational to the psychedelic sound of San Francisco circa the Summer of Love.

Balin was with the Airplane for their seminal Monterey Pop gig and was knocked unconscious by Hell's Angels at the infamous Altamont Free Concert, and left the Airplane in 1971. He returned, though, when they reconfigured for a string of hits as Jefferson Starship. After that group became simply Starship, Balin went back to his solo career and ultimately turned to painting. Along with the rest of Jefferson Airplane, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

During the Jefferson Starship era, Balin earned a unique and indelible place in pop-culture lore: he led the band for "Light the Sky on Fire," a song performed for an Imperial officer in the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978). (The Current)


Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Kanye West and Lil Pump: "I Love It" (live on Saturday Night Live)
Kanye West SNL commentary
BoxCat Games: "Epic Song" (CC BY 3.0)
Otis Rush: "I Can't Quit You Baby"
Jefferson Airplane: "Light the Sky On Fire"
Rocketman teaser clip


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