Music News: Bob Dylan goes to the circus

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Bob Dylan and Jimmy Fallon attend the Big Apple Circus.
Bob Dylan and Jimmy Fallon attend the Big Apple Circus. (NBC)
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Bob Dylan doesn't make a lot of late-night TV appearances, and when he does...it's weird. On the Thanksgiving episode of The Tonight Show, Dylan made a brief and wordless appearance attending the Big Apple Circus, alone under an empty tent with only host Jimmy Fallon and a bottle of his new Heaven's Door whiskey to keep him company. Then, at the end of the segment, Dylan mysteriously disappears. Dylan's voice wasn't even heard on the soundtrack, which didn't use any of his songs but rather Erik Satie's meditative piano music. It was Dylan's first late-night TV appearance since the last days of David Letterman on The Late Show. (Rolling Stone)

Marvin Gaye to adorn postage stamp

Next year, the late Marvin Gaye will adorn a postage stamp, the U.S. Postal Service has announced last week. Gaye's stamp will be the latest in the Music Icons series, which has previously featured the likes of Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, and Sarah Vaughn. The Postal Service also announced a forthcoming stamp featuring dancer and actor Gregory Hines. (Good Black News)

Dr. John was wrong about his own birthday

Last week, New Orleans legend Dr. John celebrated his 78th birthday, and he got what might be the best birthday gift of all: he found out that it was actually his 77th birthday. Plus, he learned, he was a day off. Instead of Dr. John's 78th birthday being on Tuesday, he learned that his birthday was actually last Wednesday and he was only turning 77.

After looking into some seeming discrepancies, Dr. John's publicist reminded the man born Malcolm John Rebennack that he added a year to his age when he was a teenager, so he could play in more clubs. Apparently he then asked whether he'd have to have an event to celebrate his 77th birthday, but his publicist said no, he already did that last year. His response: "Yeah, you right." (Spin)

Man Who Fell to Earth director Nicolas Roeg dies at 90

Movie director Nicolas Roeg has died at age 90. The British filmmaker had a cult following for his many acclaimed movies, but he's best-known to music fans as the director of The Man Who Fell to Earth, the 1976 science fiction film starring David Bowie as an alien who comes to earth in search of water to save his dying planet. Additionally, Roeg directed films starring Mick Jagger and Art Garfunkel.

The Man Who Fell to Earth became an iconic Bowie role, although the movie didn't actually feature "Space Oddity" or any Bowie music at all. There were plans for a Bowie score, but contractual issues meant that John Phillips (the Mamas and the Papas) stepped in to do the honors instead.

The movie meant so much to Bowie that one of his final projects, the stage musical Lazarus, was a sequel to The Man Who Fell to Earth, catching up with Bowie's character years after the movie's events. (Billboard)

Paisley Park partners with Minneapolis Public Schools

Paisley Park — the museum and music venue that was formerly Prince's personal studio complex in Chanhassen, Minnesota — is partnering with Minneapolis Public Schools to launch a new arts education program. The program will entail some Minneapolis students having access to free Paisley Park tours, and "other music education experiences," reports Rolling Stone.

Thanksgiving parade music recap

On Thanksgiving, Aretha Franklin was recognized at a parade in Detroit. Despite temperatures that fell below freezing, thousands turned out for Detroit's 92nd annual Thanksgiving parade, which honored the late Queen of Soul by putting her family members in Ford Mustangs, an Aretha Franklin pom-pom routine, and having a high school marching band play Franklin's hits.

"We were honored to be invited to be a part of a Detroit tradition," said Franklin's niece Sabrina Owens. "Aretha loved the holiday season, so it was great for the family to be able to represent her." (Billboard)

Meanwhile, in New York, a cavalcade of music stars appeared in the nationally-televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. There are always a couple of lipsync slips in that parade, but this year featured at least two major malfunctions.

Rita Ora's performance was way out of sync, leading the video director to search for creative angles to minimize the awkwardness. When the mishap went abuzz on social media, John Legend — who also sang at the parade, without incident — tweeted, "Fun fact. We all have to lip sync on this parade because the floats don't have the capacity to handle the sound requirements for a live performance." Ora thanked Legend for the note, clarifying that all her actual shows are "100% live always have been!" (Billboard)

The parade's musical headliner was Diana Ross, who appeared just before Santa Claus, high atop a float that also contained numerous Ross family members. Her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross, star of the show black-ish, seemed as amused as anyone in the audience when the Supremes leader lipsynced very roughly in time with her recording of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," not even bothering to hold a mic.

In a tweet, Macy's apologized for the snafu. "During today's NBC broadcast of the #MacysParade several recording artists experienced technical difficulties that negatively impacted their performance. We apologize and want fans to know these issues were out of the artist's control."


Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Sophia Anne Caruso: "Life On Mars"
Prince: "Paisley Park"
Diana Ross: "Wonderful Christmastime"
Erik Satie: "Gymnopedie No. 1"
The Tonight Show: Jimmy takes Bob Dylan to the circus


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