Stevie Wonder has apparently bowed to outside pressure and pulled out of an L.A. fundraiser for a group that supports the Israeli military. Stevie was scheduled to perform at the December 6th event in Los Angeles, which benefits Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that he's no longer planning to take part. The agency cites a pair of petitions currently circulating online calling on Wonder to withdraw from the show.
More rock 'n roll birthdays include Rob Grill, the lead singer for The Grass Roots. Rob was born on November 30, 1944. He passed away in July of 2011. The Grass Roots scored several huge hits in the late 60s and early 70s, including Temptation Eyes and Sooner or Later.
The Rolling Stones did their second show this week in London and the second of five of the 50th anniversary shows through December. Among the special guests on-hand with the Stones this week was none other than Eric Clapton. The new Stones album Grrr! continues to sell very well. The Rolling Stones first got together in 1962.
Rock 'n roll birthdays this week include Denny Doherty of The Mamas & The Papas. Denny teamed up with John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and Mama Cass Elliott to form one of the most iconic groups of the 60s. The Mamas & The Papas first hit it big with California Dreamin', followed by the #1 hit Monday, Monday. They break up after a tumultuous run in the late 60s and Mama Cass went on to a solo career before she passed away in 1974.
Chuck Mangione has a birthday this week. Chuck's distinctive sound dominated by his playing of the flugelhorn helped propel him to a great career in the 70s with big hits like Feels So Good and Give It All You Got. More recently, he was a recurring character on the Fox-TV animated hit King of the Hill. He was the guy who lived in Mega-Lo Mart in Arlen on that show. Happy 72nd birthday to Chuck Mangione.
Happy birthday this week also to Felix Cavaliere, lead singer of the 60s group The Rascals. Felix turns 69 this week. The group started off as The Young Rascals with their hit Good Lovin'. They continue to tour in 2012.
A two-hour tribute special to the late Dick Clark will lead off ABC's annual New Year's Rockin' Eve special. It will air from 7pm to 9pm on December 31st on ABC. The network calls it a "celebration" of Clark's four decades hosting the show that introduced rock and contemporary music to New Year's Eve TV audiences. The mantle will officially be passed to Ryan Seacrest, whose handled most of the hosting duties on the show since Dick Clark suffered a stroke.
Paul McCartney will be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on December 15th. Martin Short will be the host that week. It's Sir Paul's fourth time as a musical guest on the NBC show, the last time was December 2010. He and his band will be in New York that week to perform at the 12-12-12: A Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden.
Fleetwood Mac is set to release two new songs early next year just ahead of their tour from early April through mid-June. Stevie Nicks indicated that Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie recorded the backup tracks earlier this year, and two weeks ago she went to Buckingham's L.A.-area home to lay down her vocals. "They came out great," says Stevie. "They sound totally like really great Fleetwood Mac songs." The songs are Miss Fantasy and Sad Angel. Stevie and Lindsey also recorded a third song, which may be released next year as part of a possible 40th anniversary edition of the Buckingham-Nicks album. Of course, missing in the reunion tour and recording sessions is former Mac member Christine McVie, who apparently will not participate.
Steve Winwood has been busy this fall. The former member of The Spencer Davis Group and Traffic is wrapping up his fall tour with shows in San Antonio and Houston this week. Steve hit as a solo artist with While You See A Chance, Roll With It and several other hits back in the 80s.
Burton Cummings has stirred up controversy. The Guess Who's front-man omitted "God keep our land, glorious and free" from his rendition of "O Canada" at Sunday night's Grey Cup football game in Toronto (the CFL's version of our Super Bowl). That led Toronto's Globe and Mail to accuse him of doing it with "a lounge-crooner aura." Cummings posted on his Facebook page, "I honestly thought I was innocently singing O Canada more like a song and trying not to make it an obligatory two minutes that bores or annoys people."
Rod Stewart is a busy guy this month. He's putting the finishing touches in his first new album in a decade set for release in 2013. He's also got a Christmas special set to air on PBS in the coming weeks, and he's also set to perform on NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center this Wednesday.
Todd Rundgren will celebrate his 65th birthday by staging another edition of Toddstock. The "fantasy-type" camp event runs June 17th through the 22nd ad the historic Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, Louisiana. Toddstock will feature nightly jam sessins, golf outings, side trips to historic sites in nearby New Orleans and Baton Rouge and the opportunity for plantation and riverboat tours.
Eddie Money may be a native New Yorker, but the Oakland Raiders are his favorite football team. The rock 'n roller spoke recently to CBSSports.com after performing for tailgaters before a recent Raiders home game. He simply loves the atmosphere outside the stadium nicknamed the Black Hole in Oakland. "Everybody gets really dressed up and every Sunday to us is like the most important day of the week."
Happy birthday to legendary rock 'n roll star Tina Turner. The pop-soul diva turns 73 today. Tina first rose to fame in the 60s as a duo with husband Ike Turner. Ike & Tina notched several big hits including their version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit Proud Mary. After the duo divorced, Tina later hit it big in the 80s with hits like What's Love Got To Do With It. Tina is retired and living a quiet life with her family.