Ben Gibson, © HST Global Limited, courtesy of Rocket EntertainmentElton John is always willing to advise young, up-and-coming artists like Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi.  But back when he was first starting out, he received some very valuable advice that's served him well throughout his career.

As part of Spotify's video series "The Best Advice I Ever Got," Elton reveals the words of wisdom that have stuck with him the most over the years came from his U.S. booking agent, Howard Rose: "Don't put yourself in a position where you're playing somewhere big too soon."

Elton explains that early on, "I got the headlines pretty quick, and I could have played bigger venues than I was playing at the start of my career. But Howard said, 'No, you have to go out and play second on the bill to great artists...in areas where you are not so popular.  And you have to get the experience of playing to another audience that isn't your audience.'"

Elton says Rose also told him early on in his career, "We're gonna put you in smaller venues and create a ticket craziness, so you sell out straightaway and no one can get a ticket. That means the next time you come round, you're gonna sell out a bigger venue." 

That way, Rose told Elton, "When you do play big venues, you will really relish it and you will be ready for it."

Elton says now, 50 years on, he can vouch for the fact that "Playing somewhere...[when] you're not ready is a disaster waiting to happen." 

"Just take it easy, know what you can do and then build up to play something special," Elton cautions. "But don't do it straightaway."

 Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Credit: Michelle DayThe anonymous billionaire who won the auction for Olivia Newton-John's iconic leather jacket from Grease had a plan when he placed the winning bid. The mysterious buyer, who is a physician and media tech entrepreneur, not only returned it to her, but also made a hefty donation to her cancer charity.

According to Julien's Auctions, the bidder, who is the self-professed "No. 1 fan" of the singer, donated the $243,000 he originally spent on the jacket to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia.

In a heartwarming video provided by Julien's Auctions, who auctioned off several items belonging to the four-time Grammy Award winning singer, Newton-John has her eyes closed as the faceless buyer approaches her with a hot pink-wrapped present.

"Oh, hello!" she cheerfully says upon opening her eyes as she her fan, warmly gripping his arm while shaking his hand. She also sheepishly admits that, while she recognizes his face, she cannot recall his name or how they met.

The buyer begins presenting the gift by sweetly telling her, "The odds of beating a recurring cancer using the newest emerging therapies is 1,000-fold greater than someone appearing out of the blue, buying your most famous and cherished icon, and returning it to you."

Newton-John's eyes go wide in shock as is immediately moved to tears. "Are you serious?" she exclaims before giving him a long hug.

"[This jacket] should not sit in a billionaire's closet for country club bragging rights," the anonymous billionaire declares, as he too struggles to maintain his composure. "Godspeed for a quick recovery."

Newton-John, who is battling breast cancer, was ecstatic to be reunited with her leather jacket and was all smiles as she clutched it against her and shimmied excitedly.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Amazon MusicChristmas is a few weeks away, and Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has already reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100.  But it's number one on another, equally significant chart.

For the second holiday season in a row, according to Billboard, the song has topped the Streaming Songs chart.  In the past tracking week, it racked up more than 35 million streams and jumped from number 11 to number one.

This is the earliest Mariah's song has reached number one on that chart, and the first time a holiday song has done so before the season has ended.

If you want to learn the story behind the song, you can now watch Amazon Music's mini-documentary Mariah Carey is Christmas: The Story of “All I Want for Christmas Is You."  It features interviews with Randy Jackson -- who worked at Mariah's record label at the time -- as well as her former backup singer Trey Lorenz and several industry experts.

In the doc, Mariah explains that making a Christmas song that reflected what the holiday means to her was very important because as a kid, her "incredibly dysfunctional family" would "ruin" Christmas "every year." 

She recalls vowing that, "When I grow up, I'm gonna make Christmas perfect every year." 

Well, mission accomplished, thanks to the song.

"It's grown in popularity over the years," Mariah marvels. "And that's the thing that's amazing to me."

Mariah also says her favorite line in the song is "I won't even wish for snow."  Why?  Because, she says, "I always wish for snow. I always want it to be, like, a special festive winter wonderland. I always have."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sami DrasinTaylor Swift has been named Billboard's Woman of the Decade, and in a cover story for the publication, she admits she wouldn't have any advice for the Taylor of 10 years ago.

"I would have done everything exactly the same way," she tells Billboard. "Because even the really tough things I’ve gone through taught me things that I never would have learned any other way."

"I really appreciate my experience, the ups and downs," she adds. "And maybe that seems ridiculously Zen, but … I’ve got my friends, who like me for the right reasons. I’ve got my family. I’ve got my boyfriend. I’ve got my fans. I’ve got my cats."

Taylor also discusses her plans to re-record all her albums starting next year. It's an attempt to devalue her original albums, now owned by her alleged enemy, Scooter Braun.

"The reason I’m rerecording my music...is because I do want my music to live on," she explains. "I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it."

"[The rerecording is] going to be fun, because it’ll feel like regaining a freedom and taking back what’s mine," she says, explaining, "Going back in and knowing that [these songs] meant something to people is actually a really beautiful way to celebrate what the fans have done for my music."

Taylor also reveals the reason she's not doing a regular tour next year.

"This is a year where I have to be there for my family -- there’s a lot of question marks throughout the next year, so I wanted to make sure that I could go home,” she says.  Billboard notes she's likely referring to her mom's ongoing cancer battle.

Read the full story now at Billboard.com.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mark SurridgeCongratulations to Ed Sheeran: He's just been named the U.K.'s number-one artist of the past 10 years.

Ever since his 2011 debut hit, "The A Team," Ed's pretty much dominated the decade, especially in his home country, which is why Britain's Official Charts Company has given him its Official Chart Record Breaker Award.  In the past decade, he's scored the most number-ones across the singles and albums charts, a total of 12, and spent the most weeks at number one across both those charts: 79 weeks in all.

Ed's only the third artist to receive the Official Record Breaker award, but the previous winners are both friends of his. Justin Bieber won it in 2016 when he became the first act ever to occupy the top three positions on the U.K. singles chart simultaneously, and Paul McCartney also got one in 2016 for being the biggest albums act of all time on the British charts, with 22 number-one releases.

In a statement, Ed says, "Thank you to everyone who’s supported me over the past 10 years, especially my amazing fans."

Some of Ed's other milestones:  He's scored the most top-five, top-10 and top-20 hits this decade, and spent the most time in the top 40.  He's also spent more than 1,000 weeks in the top 75, which is something only four other artists have done: Elvis Presley, Rihanna, and U.K. music icon Cliff Richard.

In a video, Ed -- sporting a new, shorter haircut -- says, "I didn't really expect to have a career past five years, so to be able to have done it for a decade and to be the number-one artist of the decade is pretty nuts. ...[T]hank you so much, and here's to the next 10 years!  Nice one!"

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alexandra GavilletWhile Lewis Capaldi has a great voice, that talent apparently applies only to his songs.  While doing a Song Association video for ELLE magazine, he managed to butcher hits by artists from Katy Perry and Adele, to the Beatles and Elton John.

The idea of the game is that Lewis is given various random words, and he has 10 seconds to come up with a song that mentions that word. His first word is "funny," and he immediately chooses "Teenage Dream" by Katy -- specifically the line, "You think I'm funny/when I tell the punchline wrong."  But instead of just singing that one line, he continues to sing the entire chorus of the song, and it ain't pretty.

When he gets to the end, he sings, "We'll be young forever" -- and then notes, "Statistically NOT possible."

As the game proceeds, Lewis does a great job of coming up with songs for the words "hand," "stranger," "first," "hello," "love," "hell" and "sun," among others.  Unfortunately he sounds terrible singing all the songs, which include Adele's "Hello," The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love,"  "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith, "Kiss On My List" by Hall & Oates and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John.

When Lewis is given the word "one," he excitedly reveals that he himself has a song called "One" -- but even that sounds pretty bad.  We'll just have to assume he wasn't trying very hard.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Lou RoccoEven celebrities say there's something special about New York City at Christmas time.  Pink revealed on Tuesday that she took "nyc by storm" by taking her daughter, Willow, and two of her friends to see Hamilton.

"I’ve been waiting years to see Hamilton, my daughter owns the vinyl and knows every single word, and this past weekend we finally got to take it in," the three-time Grammy Award winner gushed on Instagram.  

The photo depicts Pink along with her three young guests posing backstage with some of the cast.  While the main cast and young girls grin happily for the photo op, Pink was completely unsuccessful in hiding her inner fangirl as seen by her expression, a wide-eyed and open-mouthed goofy grin. 

She is also holding what appears to be a cup of wine in her left hand.

Pink raved in the caption, " IT WAS SO GOOD. What a way to learn and be entertained. These performers are AMAZING."

The "What about Us" singer also revealed that seeing Hamilton was only a fraction of the girls' day in the big apple.  "We also saw Radio City Music Christmas Spectacular (for the third time) and my heart is full," she revealed.

She then happily concludes, "I love NYC at Xmas." 

 Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rhino Records

Chicago's latest album Chicago Christmas is the band's fourth collection of holiday tunes and features their new hit version of "Sleigh Ride."  But as founding member Lee Loughnane explains, the band never actually planned to make another Christmas album -- it just kinda happened.

"Initially, it was going to be just a couple of bonus tracks to go along with, with Rhino [Records] re-releasing our previous Christmas stuff, which perennially does well for them," Lee tells ABC Audio. "And when I asked the guys if they had [any material], they came in with 11 songs, eight of which were originals. So we just took one song at a time. And in three months, we had a record."

This is actually the second time the band's recorded "Sleigh Ride"; they also cut it in 2003.  But with so many Christmas songs to choose from, why do it again?

"Our manager Peter...he kept asking me to do [it]," Lee says.  It seems Peter has fond memories of The Ronettes' version of "Sleigh Ride" that appears on Phil Spector's iconic holiday album A Christmas Gift for You.  Specifically, he wanted Chicago to do what the Ronettes did and sing "ring a ling a ling, ding dong ding."

"When I listened to it...they only did one portion of the song. They didn't even do the bridge or anything else. They just did the verses," Lee points out.

He laughs, "So I wanted to change it up a little bit and still give Peter his ring a ling a ling ding dong ding,  so that's how we formed it."

As a result, both versions of "Sleigh Ride" are completely different.  But if you're looking to stream the current one, there's one difference: The new version is called "Sleigh Ride 2019."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Randy HolmesWith Elton John having quite the moment thanks to the movie Rocketman, his sold-out farewell tour and his best-selling autobiography, it's no wonder there's lots of call for Elton memorabilia at auction.

The original handwritten lyrics to "Your Song," scrawled by Bernie Taupin, sold at Bonhams auction house Monday for just under $237,600. The lyrics were the first and only draft -- as fans know, Bernie handed the lyrics to Elton, who wrote the music for the song in about 10 minutes.

If you own a copy of Elton's 1975 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Copy, a picture of this very same lyric sheet appears in the insert material.

At the same sale, the original handwritten lyrics to "Bennie & the Jets" sold for just under $87,600, and the lyrics to "Border Song," with annotations by Elton, went for more than $31,000. That lyric sheet was a rare example of Elton and Bernie actually writing a song together: As fans know, it's extremely rare for Elton to ever write lyrics.

The lyric sheets were all sold by Maxine Taupin, Bernie's ex-wife, who inspired many of his songs, including "Tiny Dancer." She also suggested the titles of the songs "Harmony," "Love Lies Bleeding" and, most famously, "The Bitch Is Back."

Recalling the origin of the latter tune's title, Maxine told The Hollywood Reporter, "When Elton came back from one particular tour, Bernie and I went over to visit him. He was telling us about what went on, how exhausted he was and this happened and this didn't and just on and on and on."

"I looked over at Bernie and rolled my eyes and said, 'Oh, the bitch is back.' And we all just started laughing hysterically."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImageWhen Sam Smith changed their pronouns to "they/them" in September, it made a huge impact -- and not just for journalists who have to write stories about them.  Merriam-Webster dictionary has chosen "They" as its Word of the Year, in part because of the attention Sam focused on it. 

In its announcement, the company says, "Lookups for they increased by 313% in 2019 over the previous year," because, it says, of the word's new use as a way to "refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary."

The company's announcement goes on to say, "Nonbinary they was also prominent in the news in 2019...singer Sam Smith announced in September that they now use they and them as pronouns....it is increasingly common to see they and them as a person’s preferred pronouns in Twitter bios, email signatures, and conference nametags."

Sam evidently approves: They retweeted a Billboard article reporting on the announcement.

Speaking to the November issue of Out magazine, Sam explained, "In changing my pronouns, I felt incredible freedom. It’s like a brick was lifted off my chest...My art has become truer and more honest after coming to peace with being nonbinary."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sheryl Crow: Dove Shore; Usher: Jordan Taylor Wright/dick clark productions Sheryl Crow and Usher will be ushering in 2020 by performing live in the Big Easy.

On December 31, both artists will perform in New Orleans as part of the Allstate Fan Fest, which takes place ahead of the Sugar Bowl.  Their performances will air on ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

Pose star Billy Porter will also be on hand to countdown to 2020 in the Central Time Zone -- which is marked by the drop of -- not a ball, but a "fleur de lis," the symbol of New Orleans.

As previously reported, Ryan Seacrest will hold things down live in New York's Times Square with co-host Lucy Hale, and on the West Coast, Ciara will host performances by Paula Abdul, Kelsea Ballerini, Blanco Brown, Dan Shay, Green Day, Dua Lipa, Ava Max, Salt-N-Pepa, SHAED and more.  The show gets underway at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Jeff Hundley said in a statement, “With performances by Sheryl Crow and Usher, fans in town for the Allstate Sugar Bowl are going to be treated to a New Year’s experience second to none. It’s going to be fun to be a part of it all.”

More artists will be announced shortly.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ben Gibson, © HST Global Limited, courtesy of Rocket EntertainmentArtists in their teens and twenties may dominate the pop charts, but on the road, it's the older stars who are raking in the dough.

StubHub, the secondary market ticket sale website, has announced that Elton John's farewell tour was the number-one best-selling live music tour of 2019, followed by The Rolling Stones' most recent tour.  Coming in at number three was another veteran act, Queen, followed by yet another Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Billy Joel.

At number five, Ariana Grande was the biggest-selling current act of 2019 at StubHub.  The only other current acts are country music's biggest new star, Luke Combs, at number nine, and Justin Timberlake at number 10.  The rest of the top 10 is made of up more veteran acts: Bob Seger, Paul McCartney and Garth Brooks.

A StubHub exec notes in a statement, "It's unusual that so few pop and contemporary acts hit the list this year...but we do see a stronger presence if we expand our analysis to the top 15 acts, where [K-pop superstars] BTS, [country duo] Florida Georgia Line and Lady Gaga show high demand."

If you're interested, the number-one top-selling overall event on StubHub in 2019 was the 2019 World Series, featuring the Nationals vs. the Astros.  In fact, every one of the website's top-10-selling events were sports events, except for one: the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Walt Disney Television/Paula LoboTaylor Swift, London and Christmas are all coming together.

First off, Taylor gave her new holiday song, "Christmas Tree Farm," its live concert debut Sunday in London, at Capital FM’s Jingle Bell Ball.  She donned a Santa hat and performed in a white romper and boots, as digital snowflakes drifted down the video screens behind her.  The song's video, which features footage of her as a child, also played behind her.

According to People, Taylor also performed the Lover tracks "London Boy" -- naturally -- plus "You Need to Calm Down," "ME!" and the Grammy-nominated title track, plus older hits like "Blank Space," "22" and "Shake It Off."

Meanwhile, Madame Tussauds London has revealed its special Christmas gift to tourists: It's putting the first-ever permanent wax figure of Taylor on display starting December 13, which also happens to be her 30th birthday.

Finally, Taylor is teasing the imminent release of her upcoming movie CATS by posting a photo of her first day on set.  The singer, who plays a cat named Bombalurina, is pictured on a giant-sized set designed to make people seem tiny by comparison, standing by a huge door and stretching up to reach a doorknob.

She writes in the caption, "Throwback to my first day on the set of @catsmovie. Basically, Bombalurina is one of those really mischievous cats you see in internet videos who has figured out how to open human doors."

CATS is in theaters December 20.  Taylor received a Golden Globe nomination on Monday for "Beautiful Ghosts," the original song she co-wrote for the movie with CATS creator Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Throwback to my first day on the set of @catsmovie. Basically, Bombalurina is one of those really mischievous cats you see in internet videos who has figured out how to open human doors 🚪 pic.twitter.com/pBo11uCN40

— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) December 10, 2019

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kevin Kane/Getty Images for the Rainforest FundA day after Sting hosted his star-studded benefit concert in New York City to benefit his Rainforest Fund foundation, he's just been announced as the winner of a prize honoring his environmental efforts over the years.

The Global Citizen organization will give the former Police frontman its Artist of the Year Prize, which honors a creative individual or group using their platform and their work to create change -- not only through conversation but also through meaningful impact. 

Specifically, Sting is being honored for using his fame to raise awareness of the plight of the rainforests, and using his Rainforest Fund to preserve more than 33 million acres since 1989.

The award comes with a $150,000 prize, which Sting will donate to the Fund.

Sting will accept the prize at a December 13 ceremony in London hosted by John Legend, where both artists will perform.  Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay's Chris Martin, British stars Jorja Smith and Stormzy, and R&B stars H.E.R. and Raphael Saadiq are also on the bill for the event at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Game of Thrones stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey are among the presenters, alone with actors Kal Penn, Connie Britton and Catherine Tate.

Filmmaker Richard Curtis of Love Actually fame will be named Global Citizen of the Year at the ceremony.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Marie Fredriksson, Per Gessle; Phil Dent/Redferns

Singer Marie Fredriksson, who with Per Gessle was one-half of the hitmaking pop duo Roxette, has died at age 61.

"It is with great sadness we have to announce that Marie Fredriksson of Roxette has passed away in the morning of December 9, following a 17-year long battle with cancer," reads a statement from Fredriksson's management company. 

The statement goes on to say Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002, which was successfully treated, resulting in a return to performing in 2009.  "But by 2016, the show was finally over when Marie's doctors advised her to stop touring and focus on her health," the statement says.

"Thank you, Marie, thanks for everything," says Per Gessle, in the same statement.  "You were an outstanding musician, a master of the voice, an amazing performer...You were the most wonderful friend for over 40 years. I'm proud, honoured and happy to have been able to share so much of your time, talent, warmth, generosity and sense of humour. All my love goes out to you and your family. Things will never be the same."

Formed in 1986 in their native Sweden, Roxette scored a series of international hits in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, including four Billboard #1 singles: 1987's "It Must Have Been Love," 1988's "Listen to Your Heart," 1989's "The Look" and 1991's "Joyride."

Even as their popularity waned, Roxette continued to tour and record with occasional breaks, including during Fredriksson's initial cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Their most recent album, Good Karma, was released in 2016.

Fredriksson leaves behind a husband and two children.  "The funeral will take place in silence with only Marie's closest family present," the statement reports.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


Trae Patton/NBCThe Voice kicked off its semifinals on Monday, with the top eight artists competing for America’s votes, and a spot in next week’s finale.  Along the way, they were advised by their coaches Blake SheltonGwen StefaniKelly Clarkson and John Legend.

Each artist performed twice: a new song on his or her own and a duet on a 1980s song with another contestant.

Here are the highlights of Monday night's show:

On the suggestion of her coach John Legend, Katie Kadan got things started with Labelle's "Lady Marmalade," because, as he explained, Katie needed to sing "one more powerhouse song," and if she got to the finals, "a grand ballad."  Stefani called it Kadan's best performance so far, simply for her ability to "work the room."  John called her a "superstar."

Team Blake's 18-year-old indie pop singer, Kat Hammock, picked Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," explaining that, quoting a line from the song, her semifinals performance “could be the end of everything” as far as her time on The Voice was concerned.  Kelly said Kat had a voice that "touches" people.  Her coach called it her most powerful performance so far in the competition, assuring Hammond that regardless of her outcome on the show, "I'm not going anywhere.  I'm going to see this through with you.  You need to be making records."

Team Blake's Ricky Duran and Will Breman from Legend's team kicked off the duets, singing -- and trading guitar licks -- on The Outfield's "Your Love."

Marybeth Byrd, representing Team Legend stepped up for her solo performance, showing off her tougher side on Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats."  The song also returned the country artist to the genre that brought her to the competition in the first place.  Legend told the audience that Byrd, whom they saved last week, came back with her best performance yet.

Team Kelly's duo, Hello Sunday, consisting of 14-year-old duo Chelsea and Myla, tackled Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," and they showed off some nifty dance moves as well.  The performances delighted the fans and all four coaches, including Kelly, who declared the girls brought their "'A' game."

Byrd returned, this time with Team Blake's Jake Hoot for a duet on Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes' 80s hit, "Up Where We Belong."

Duran followed with a song he personally picked for his solo performance, The Beatles' "Let It Be," which has become a family anthem following the loss of both his parents, most recently, his mother, to breast cancer.  Ricky, started off the song on piano and moved to the guitar, before finishing the song standing in front of the microphone, as pictures of his parents appeared on a large screen behind him.  Duran's coach, Blake Shelton dubbed it "the vocal performance of [Ricky's] life."

Breman then took center stage on Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" -- his coach, John Legend's pick, because it was "a good hybrid of pop and rock" the audience would love.  Following Will's live performance, Legend praised his artist for an "electric and magnetic" stage performance, coupled with a "strong voice."

The duets continued with Madonna's "Express Yourself," performed by Kadan and Team Gwen's Rose Short, followed by Hammock teaming up with Hello Sunday for Pat Benatar's "We Belong."

Next, Short -- who is Stefani's last remaining artist -- belted out Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is," and dedicated the performance to her parents for having enjoyed a long and lasting love.  Gwen praised Rose for having the guts to venture into a "more vulnerable place."  Barely able to keep her composure, Stefani said she was honored to work with Rose, before breaking down in tears.  Kelly followed.

Hoot, who told his coach Kelly during rehearsals that he was one of six children, closed out the show with one of his mother's favorite songs, "Desperado," by the Eagles.  Legend noted Jake's voice "feels like home."  Kelly hailed the performance as "eloquently delivered" and "perfect."

The Voice returns Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Columbia RecordsAfter John Legend and Kelly Clarkson recorded a new version of the holiday standard "Baby It's Cold Outside" with updated lyrics, they've been attacked for daring to mess with the original, despite people regarding the old lyrics as out-of-date and problematic. Now, John's defending the new version, saying it wasn't meant to be some big political statement.

As previously reported, the new version addresses concerns that male singer in the original song was pressuring the female singer to stay with him against her will, and may have even slipped something into her drink. Now, John tells the U.K. paper The Guardian, "The song was supposed to be silly!”

“It wasn’t supposed to be preachy at all. I never disparaged the old version," he adds. "And, by the way, the original writer, or his family, gets paid for my version, too.”

John says the song has become emblematic of the backlash towards the #MeToo movement.

"It’s interesting...people thinking we’ve gone too far speaking up for a woman’s right to not get raped or sexually harassed, when some would argue we’ve not gone far enough," John tells the paper.

"People think that because some people have lost their jobs, or have been expelled from Hollywood, like [Harvey] Weinstein, that we’ve gone too far," he adds. "I don’t agree. But people wanted the 'Baby It’s Cold Outside' war to be a proxy war for all that.”

If you don't like the song, John's holiday album A Legendary Christmas includes plenty of other seasonal tunes to enjoy, including a duet with Stevie Wonder on Stevie's song "What Christmas Means to Me," plus new takes on "This Christmas," "Please Come Home for Christmas," "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Silver Bells."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rainforest FundMonday night in New York City, Sting and some of his famous pals staged the 30th anniversary edition of his Rainforest Fund charity concert, which he and his wife Trudie Styler have been hosting on and off since 1989.  On the red carpet, Sting told ABC Audio that, sadly, trying to save the rainforest seems to be a never-ending task.

"We've won a lot of battles in the struggle to save our planet, but, you know, we can't be complacent. We may well be losing the war because our politicians aren't addressing it," Sting said. "And some of them are saying it's a hoax. Some of them are actively pursuing the destruction of the planet."

He added, "So, you know, I think you have to be optimistic, but at the same time, it's getting harder and harder."

This year's show, dubbed We'll Be Together after the Sting song of the same name, featured even more of a star-studded lineup than usual: It was hosted by Robert Downey Jr. and, in addition to Sting, it featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Bob Geldof, Shaggy, Ricky Martin, Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC and a reunited Eurythmics.  The duo of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart haven't performed together since 2014.

"This is an interesting thing to do from both of our perspectives," Dave Stewart told ABC Audio. "About two years ago, we were just messing about and making little films and playing. And this is the first real opportunity of somebody directly going, 'Guys, will you play as Eurythmics?' And we're like, 'Oh, well, go on then!'" 

Sting said of the event, "We're creating community, and everybody who comes and joins us in this family is part of us. And my friends come...and everyone, if we hadn't met before, becomes our friend, so it's a lovely feeling. It really is."

What makes it even more special, Sting noted, is that in 30 years, these concerts have never been released on record or on video.

"One of the lovely things about this concert, which attracts people, is we don't record it," he said. "You know, it's a one-off and there's no cameras flying everywhere. It's the relationship between the artist and the audience. And that's what people like."

So that means that only a lucky few got to see an amazing lineup of performers and songs.  Here's who sang what:

Robert Downey Jr. & Pose star MJ Rodriguez: "Addicted to Love"
Sting & Shaggy: "Englishman in New York"
James Taylor: "Your Smiling Face" and "Up on the Roof" (Drifters cover)
Bob Geldof: "I Don't Like Mondays" and "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding" (Elvis Costello cover)
Shaggy with Sting: "Electric Avenue" (Eddy Grant cover)
Joe Sumner (Sting's son): "Ashes to Ashes" (David Bowie cover)
Italian singer Zucchero: "Misere"
Debbie Harry: Medley of "Call Me" and "Rapture"
DMC: "Walk This Way"
James Taylor: "Never Die Young"
Sting: "We'll Be Together"
Ricky Martin: "Cup of Life" and "Livin' La Vida Loca"
Sting: "Sledgehammer" (Peter Gabriel cover)
Adrienne Warren, star of the Tina Turner Broadway musical Tina: "The Best"
John Mellencamp: "Jack and Diane"
John Mellencamp & Bruce Springsteen: "Pink Houses"
Eurythmics: "Would I Lie to You," "Here Comes the Rain Again" and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
Bruce Springsteen: "I'm On Fire"
Bruce Springsteen & John Mellencamp: "Glory Days"
Bruce Springsteen: "Dancing in the Dark"
Finale with everyone: "Don't Stop Believing" (Journey cover)

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Harrison Cooney/Walt Disney World ResortSting is one of the many musicians who are mourning the passing of rapper Juice WRLD, who died over the weekend at age 21 after suffering a "medical emergency" shortly after landing at a Chicago airport.  In case you're wondering why a 68-year-old British rock icon even knows who Juice WRLD is, well, there's a strong connection between them.

Juice's number-two hit "Lucid Dreams" was based around a sample of Sting's 1993 song "Shape of My Heart." The former Police frontman tells Billboard, "This is such a tragic loss for the world of music, a young life with so much potential and a unique and precious talent."

Sting adds, "'Lucid Dreams' was my favorite of all the many interpolations of 'Shape of My Heart,' it will resonate for many years to come. My sincere condolences to the family."

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer said via a spokesperson that reports that he was suing Juice over the song are "simply untrue."

Juice WRLD, born Jarad Anthony Higgins, had just celebrated his 21st birthday on December 2. After suffering a seizure, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Stars who've expressed their sadness at the rapper's passing include Drake, Halsey, Ellie Goulding, "Old Town Road" rapper Lil Nas X and many more.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Republic RecordsThe Christmas season is fully underway on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart: The Jonas Brothers have just hit number one with their holiday single.

The original tune "Like It's Christmas" jumped from number seven to number one, becoming the reunited trio's second number-one hit on the chart, after their comeback single, "Sucker."

Billboard also notes that "Like It's Christmas" is the 24th number-one Christmas song on this chart since 2000, which reflects the fact that many radio stations in the past decade have started playing nothing but holiday music between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift's new holiday song, "Christmas Tree Farm" -- about her experience growing up on, yes, a Christmas tree farm -- debuts on the Billboard AC chart at #25, after only three days of eligibility. 

It may not be long before we witness both Taylor and one of her ex-boyfriends -- in this case, Joe Jonas -- hitting number one with holiday singles in the same year.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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