Music News: Queen musical 'We Will Rock You' coming to America this year


Queen musical 'We Will Rock You'
Ben Elton, the writer/director, and music supervisors Roger Taylor and Brian May, together with cast members speak with media during a media call for the Queen musical "We Will Rock You" at the Regent Theatre on August 7, 2003 in Melbourne, Australia. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Music News: Queen musical 'We Will Rock You' coming to America this year
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It's the second day of April 2019, and an interesting survey of top-charting tunes from 2018 reveals that most pop songs are not written by (or at least solely by) the performing artist. Plus, riding the wave of Bohemian Rhapsody's popularity, a 2002 musical inspired by and consulted on by Queen will come to theaters in North America later this year.

Elvis Costello and Blondie to go on tour together

Elvis Costello and Blondie — friends who rode the New Wave tide together — are teaming up for a tour this summer. The 13-stop tour begins July 20 in Bethel, N.Y., and it wraps up on Aug. 10 in Seattle.

Costello and Debbie Harry have teamed up before on a duet for The Jazz Passengers in the late '90s, and they have toured together previously. This tour celebrates the 40th anniversary of Blondie's Parallel Lines and Costello's Armed Forces, as well as their new albums, Blondie's Pollinator which came out in 2017, and Costello's 2018 release, Look Now. (Consequence of Sound)

Queen musical We Will Rock You coming to North America this year

Queen's resurgence in pop culture 2019 continues with a touring musical. The show, We Will Rock You, tells a futuristic story centered on Queen hits like "We Are The Champions," "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You."

The show, with a book by acclaimed film and television writer Ben Elton, debuted in London's West End in 2002, and enjoyed a run in Australia two years later. The North American tour will hit New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas this fall. (Billboard)

Loretta Lynn enjoys a big birthday celebration in Nashville

Loretta Lynn knows how to celebrate her birthday. To ring in her 87th year, Lynne brought together some of her favorite musicians and friends for a huge concert at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Monday night. On hand for the celebration: Kacey Musgraves, the Pistol Annies, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Alan Jackson and many other luminaries. Plus, Jack White (who produced Lynn's 2004 album, Van Lear Rose) duetted with Margo Price on "Portland, Oregon." (Pitchfork)

Pop stars not writing their own songs

Do you ever think about who is writing the pop songs that you love? In many cases it's not one "who," it's actually a committee of people. The last time that a single-songwriter song went to number one was in March of 2014 (five years ago!) when Pharrell's "Happy" went to the top of the charts.

This is a trend that's been nearly a decade in the making. As Rolling Stone notes, the average number of people credited as "songwriters" on Top 10 streaming hits in 2018 was 9.1. This has something to do with hip hop becoming a dominant player in the pop scene and the need to credit samples, producers and multiple lyricists. The growing popularity of collaborations and "featurings" in songs has added to this trend.

The article quotes Noel Gallagher, who, since leaving Oasis, is a solo songwriter. He said, "I think as a solo artist it's important that it's coming from you, otherwise what is it? … It's someone else's melodies and someone else's words. If that's what you're doing, then fine, make a living — but don't have a big mouth about it."

But maybe there's room for change in 2019. Noted buzzworthy artist Sam Fender (who recently won the BRIT Critics Choice Award and was BBC Music's Sound of 2018 artist) is a "100 percent songwriter" and is making his way toward the top of the pop charts. We'll have to wait and see if anything changes, but it's worth checking out the liner notes of some of your favorite songs from the last few years to see if you love songs created by committee. (Rolling Stone)

Viral: Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst sing "Shallow"

On their Better Oblivion Community Center tour, Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers have made a habit of busting out some truly fun covers. They've covered Death Cab For Cutie's "License and Registration," The Killers' "Human" and The Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait," but in New York last night, Oberst introduced their latest cover by saying, "I can't believe I'm doing this. I must really like Phoebe." With guest guitarist Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Oberst and Bridgers belted out the Oscar-winning song "Shallow" (originally performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born). (Brooklyn Vegan)

Music sampled in podcast:
Jahzzar - "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games - "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Jack White & Margo Price - "Portland, Oregon"
Sam Fender - "That Sound"
Better Oblivion Community Center - "Shallow"

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