June’s Biggest Classic Rock Stories: 2017 in Review
In June 2017, we saw one of the biggest classic rock bands ever nearly come to a split, while another continued to repair the bonds with a former member. Elsewhere, a legend finally gained the rights to his songs, one group solidified under a new singer and a pair of reality television stars tried to equate themselves with rock royalty.
Journey Members Feud Goes Public
Two months after their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a rift threatened to split up Journey. Founding guitarist Neal Schon and long-time keyboardist Jonathan Cain have been feuding since Cain married Paula White-Cain, a minister who delivered the invocation at President Donald Trump's inauguration, and Cain began work on solo faith-influenced music on the side. Schon has long refused to mix politics and religion in his music, and took a my-way-or-the-highway attitude, saying: "If anyone is unhappy they are not running my band, then they should leave." But although Schon seemed to hint at forming a new version of Journey, by August, Cain was saying there was "no way" they were breaking up.
Paul McCartney vs. Sony
Paul McCartney settled with Sony out of court in a lawsuit to reclaim rights to some of his earliest Beatles songs. Famously, his friend Michael Jackson outbid McCartney and Yoko Ono on the sale of the rights in 1985. Jackson later sold half of his share to Sony, and his estate sold the other half to Sony in 2016. McCartney has been trying to regain the rights ever since. Details of the settlement are unknown, but it looks like McCartney would begin to regain ownership next year, as rights to songs written before 1978 revert back to the composer after 56 years, according to the Copyright Act.
Queen + Adam Lambert Begin North American Tour
For only the second time since recruiting Adam Lambert in 2012, Queen mounted a North American tour, playing 25 cities in six weeks, beginning with a June 23 stop in Glendale, Ariz. Our review of their Cleveland date said that the band sounded fantastic and that Lambert was more than up to the task, while at the same time paying proper respect to Freddie Mercury. The production was equally spectacular, with a stage was designed to look like Brian May's famous Red Special guitar and an animated version of Frank, the robot featured on the cover of News of the World.
Jenners Sell Unauthorized T-Shirts
Reality stars Kendall and Kylie Jenner caused a bit of controversy when they launched a line of t-shirts where they placed their faces atop images of classic rock and hip-hop stars like the Doors, Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. They immediately faced a backlash, not just over the notion of comparing themselves to the icons – Sharon Osbourne wrote, "Stick to what you know … lip gloss” – but also over unauthorized usage of the images. Almost as soon as word got out, the sisters pulled the apparel from their website and apologized. In response, Arcade Fire created a t-shirt in which the logo from their album Everything Now was superimposed over their faces. The band pledged all proceeds to the non-profit healthcare organization Partners in Health.
Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley Collaborate
When Ace Frehley releases his next album, it's likely to contain material co-written with Gene Simmons. Both men reported that the former Kiss bandmates came up with two songs in three hours at Frehley's place in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. In September, Frehley sat in with Simmons' solo band at a benefit concert in St Paul, Minn. It was the first time they had performed together since 2001. However, there remain no plans in place for Frehley to rejoin Kiss.