Charlie Daniels funeral service to take place Friday

Credit: Erick Anderson Charlie Daniels will be laid to rest on Friday.

According to the Tennesean, a funeral service for the country and Southern rock icon will be held at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Friday at 11 a.m. CT, preceded by an open visitation at Sellars Funeral Home in his hometown of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. 

Fans will also be able to pay their respects with a special memorial service tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT outside of Sellars Funeral Home. The event will feature appearances by Charlie's country music peers and friends Trace Adkins, Darryl Worley and Tracy Lawrence, along with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. There will also be a military flyover and 21-gun salute. 

In lieu of flowers, Daniels' family has asked that fans make a donation to The Journey Home Project, a nonprofit co-founded by Charlie in 2014 that supports veterans returning from war and connects donors to various veteran organizations. 

Charlie passed away on July 6 at the age of 83 from a hemorrhagic stroke.  

The trailblazing star became a Southern rock pioneer when he formed the Charlie Daniels Band in 1972. The band is known for such hits as the Grammy-winning "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "In America," "Simple Man" and "Long Haired Country Boy."  He's a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry.

By Cillea Houghton
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Southern rock legend Charlie Daniels dies suddenly at the age of 83

Erick AndersonCountry Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died unexpectedly Monday morning, according to his publicist. The 83-year-old suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, according to doctors at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Born in 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina, the multi-instrumentalist was best known for his monster crossover hit from 1979, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." It made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and won Daniels the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance. The next year, it was included in the iconic John Travolta film, Urban Cowboy, with Charlie making an appearance onscreen as well.

The legend found his first success in 1964, writing the song "It Hurts Me," which was recorded by Elvis Presley, and was soon in demand as a session musician, working on projects by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Marshall Tucker Band.

Charlie released his first solo album in 1971, and by 1973, had taken the track "Uneasy Rider" to number 9 on Billboard's pop chart. In 1974, Charlie launched the first of what would become his legendary Volunteer Jam, a star-studded tradition that was still set to continue in February of next year.

Charlie's chart run continued into the '80s, as hits like "In America," "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye," "Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues" and "Simple Man" found a home on the country chart. "In America" also reached number 11 reached on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, while "Still in Saigon" peaked at #22 in 1982.

Outspoken about his conservative political views, Daniels was also a passionate supporter of America's military. In 2014, he founded The Journey Home Project, and worked tirelessly to raise money for the nonprofit which helps veterans transition back into life at home.

Two of Charlie's biggest accolades came later in life. In 2008, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and in 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Daniels continued to tour and raise money for his charitable causes even into his eighties. He's survived by his wife, Hazel, and their son, Charlie Daniels Jr. Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

By Stephen Hubbard
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Little Richard, founding father of rock ‘n roll, dead at 87

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Little Richard, the flamboyant, envelope-pushing musician whose wild performance style and appearance helped set the blueprint for rock and roll, has died, ABC News has confirmed via his agent. He was 87.

Rolling Stone was the first to report the death, via Richard's son, Danny Penniman.  No cause of death was given.

His string of hits, starting with 1956's "Tutti Frutti," included "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up, "Slippin' and Slidin'," "Lucille," and "Good Golly Miss Molly." Featuring pumping piano and lyrics often filled with sexual innuendo, Little Richard's songs were a massive influence on future legends like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and The Beatles, and have been covered by countless artists through the years.

For a time, Richard's backing band in the early sixties, The Upsetters, featured a left-handed guitarist named James Marshall Hendrix.  Hendrix also recorded a single with Richard in 1965 called "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)."  It peaked at #92 -- but Hendrix, later known as "Jimi," soon went on to bigger and better things.

Little Richard's gender-bending onstage appearance -- including makeup, huge pompadours and showy outfits -- earned him screaming fans, and roles in early rock 'n roll movies like "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Don't Knock the Rock."  Prince is one artist who was taking notes -- in fact, Richard himself called Prince "the Little Richard of his generation."

While Richard once said his flamboyant appearance was designed to make him appear "less threatening" to white audiences, the sad truth is that white singer Pat Boone's much-criticized anodyne covers of "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" were more appealing to the mainstream, doing better or as well as Richard's did on the charts.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932 in Macon, Georgia, Richard was one of 12 children and left home at age 13.  He borrowed much of his musical style and appearance from Esquerita, a pompadoured singer and pianist from South Carolina.  Little Richard got his first record deal in 1951, but didn't experience any success.

In 1956, while working as a dishwasher at a bus station, Richard sent a tape of the racy song "Tutti Frutti" to a record label in Chicago. As the legend goes, he came up with song's signature lines -- "a wop bop a lu bop a wop bam boom" -- while washing dishes.  He was signed to the label, and a tamer version of the song became his first hit.

In 1957, Little Richard gave up music and became ordained as a minister. When he returned to music, it was gospel. However, he switched back to rock 'n roll in 1964 and, as Rolling Stone notes, when he played Hamburg, Germany in 1964, The Beatles opened for him.

In the '70s, Little Richard worked the oldies circuit, but in the '80s, he became a pop culture fixture, appearing in movies and TV shows, including Miami Vice.  In 1986, he was one of the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Dolly Parton sums up the quarantine mood in a hilarious poem dedicated to COVID-19

ABC/Image Group LADolly Parton is bringing her signature blend of honesty, keen observation and a healthy dose of humor to the COVID-19 pandemic. The superstar offered a goofy new poem dedicated to all those going stir crazy while cooped up in quarantine. 

Dolly kicks things off by yelling at someone off camera: “Can you hold it down in there? I’m trying to do a video in the studio!” 

“What? My accountant’s calling?” she continues, exasperated. “Well, tell him to kiss my assets goodbye, because they’re dwindling to nothing.”

It’s a familiar scene for many families, who suddenly find themselves in uncomfortably close quarters with no means to get a break from each other and no end to the quarantine in sight. Fortunately, Dolly is here to ease the cooped-up blues with an original poem she penned about the virus. 

“This too shall pass, as all things will / If the virus don’t kill us, the stay-at-home will,” she begins. “The kids are bored and restless, they scream and yell and squawk / And the teens and tweens, they’re just plain mean, they’ll bite your bleeping head off!”

Dolly is famous for steering clear of politics, but she did poke a little light-hearted fun at the country’s top politicians in her poem.

“And all those loving couples that were once so sweet and cozy / Now they’re fightin’ like cats and dogs, like Donald [Trump] and [Nancy] Pelosi,” she quipped. 

In addition to her thorny new poem about the plight of those stuck at home, Dolly is easing the quarantine blues with an upcoming bedtime stories read-aloud video series. Launching April 2 at 8PM ET, the series will be called Goodnight with Dolly, and feature children’s classics like The Little Engine That Could.

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John Prine, influential singer-songwriter, dead at 73 due to COVID-19 complications

Paul Natkin/Getty ImagesInfluential Grammy-winning singer/songerwriter John Prine has died at 73, ABC Audio has confirmed.  Known for folk/country songs that often featured humor and social commentary, Prine influenced giants like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

His rep confirmed on behalf of Prine's family that his death was due to complications due to COVID-19.

In late March, Prine's family announced that he'd been hospitalized in critical condition due to COVID-19 and was on a ventilator.

Prine weathered several health issues over the past few decades. In the late 1990s, he announced that doctors detected squamous cell cancer in his neck.  Following radiation and surgery, he was able resume his career, albeit with a deepened voice. In 2013, he announced he had an operable “non-small cell carcinoma,” in his left lung and took time off to heal. 

An Illinois-born Army veteran, Prine was a part of Chicago's 1960s folk revival scene. After being championed by Kris Kristofferson, he released his debut album in 1971.  It included some of Prine's signature songs, including "Paradise," "Illegal Smile," "Hello in There," "Sam Stone" and "Angel from Montgomery," the latter famously covered by Bonnie Raitt.

Prine released albums at a steady clip throughout the '70s and his songs were covered by other artists: David Allen Coe's version of "You Never Even Called Me By My Name," written by Prine and his friend Steve Goodman, was a top-10 country hit.

In 1981, Prine co-founded an independent label called Oh Boy Records to release his work.  Other artists continued to cover his songs: Don Williams took "Love Is on a Roll" to number one on the country chart in 1983 and in 1985, and the country supergroup The Highwaymen -- featuring Cash, Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson -- cut Prine's song "The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over."

In the '90s, Prine won his first Grammy and released several albums produced by Howie Epstein of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.  In 1999, Prine released In Spite of Ourselves, an album of country cover versions of his songs featuring duets with Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Lucinda Williams, Connie Smith and other country and Americana vocalists. A 2016 sequel, For Better, or Worse, featured duets with Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea and Alison Krauss.

Prine's most recent album, 2018's The Tree of Forgiveness, debuted at number five, his highest chart ranking ever. It featured collaborations with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Jason Isbell, and Brandi Carlile, all of whom claimed Prine as an influence.

Prine was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. In January of 2020, he was a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and Bonnie Raitt performed "Angel from Montgomery" in his honor.

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Elton John, Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish and others raise nearly $8 million on Fox’s ‘Living Room Concert for America’


Elton John, Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish and other major music stars gathered together for the Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America on Sunday, and raised nearly $8 million to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and salute the strength and resilience of the U.S. people during the health crisis.

Highlights included Demi Lovato performing her hit "Skyscaper"; Eilish and her brother Finneas teaming up for an acoustic rendition of "bad guy"; Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes joining forces for her song "My Oh My"; and Mariah belting out her hit, "Always Be My Baby.”

Elton, who hosted the event from his home, closed out the evening with a special performance of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."

Other performers included Backstreet Boys, Dave Grohl, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw.

The hour-long special drew more than 8.7 million viewers across multiple networks, who were encouraged to donate to two of the many charitable organizations that are helping COVID-19 victims and front line workers, such as health care professionals: Feeding America and First Responders Children's Foundation.

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John Prine now stable following COVID-19 diagnosis

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach Influential singer and songwriter John Prine's condition has improved following the announcement that he'd been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

John's wife, Fiona Whealan Prine, turned to Twitter Monday to update fans that John, who's 73, is in stable condition.

"We are humbled by the outpouring of love for me and John and our precious family. He is stabile," she shares in her message. "Please continue to send your amazing Love and prayers. Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you." 

The news comes one day after John's team released a statement that he was experiencing a "sudden onset" of COVID-19 symptoms and was admitted to the hospital on March 26. He was intubated two days later and by Sunday, his situation was described as "critical." 

Fiona was previously diagnosed with the coronavirus but has since recovered.

Prine has built a storied career in folk music with 18 studio albums, including the Grammy-winning Fair & Square and his latest release, The Tree of Forgiveness, which reached the top five on the Billboard 200 in 2018.

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Kenny Rogers streams surge in the days following his death

Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty ImagesAfter hearing the sad news that Kenny Rogers had passed away on Saturday, fans turned to streaming and other music outlets in huge numbers to remember the country icon. 

According to Nielsen Music/MRC initial reports, Billboard explains, streams of Kenny’s music jumped 1,687% from the previous two days on March 21 and 22. The singer’s death was first announced on March 21. The surge amounts to a total of 18 million streams on those days, as opposed to one million on the two days before the news broke. 

Kenny’s mega-hit “The Gambler” was among the highest-gaining songs of his catalogue. Digital sales of the track leapt 12,671%, and on-demand U.S. streams of the tune jumped from 253,000 to 3.7 million, up 1,377%. 

Overall, digital sales of the star’s catalogue surged, too. Sales of his albums jumped 7,709% with a total of 15,000 copies sold on the three days after his death was announced, according to initial reports. 

Billboard reports that Kenny’s surge in popularity likely won’t stop there, explaining that industry forecasters predict that his 2018 greatest hits album, The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years, might even notch 25,000 equivalent album units for the week of March 26. That could place his project at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart. It would be the singer’s first time hitting the top spot on that list since 1985, when he debuted at No. 1 with The Heart of the Matter

Kenny passed away of natural causes on March 20 while in hospice care and surrounded by his family. He was 81.

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AXS TV to re-broadcast Kenny Rogers interview in wake of his passing

Doug McKenzie/Getty ImagesKenny Rogers' memory will live on as AXS TV re-airs Dan Rather's interview with the music icon, who passed away on Friday.

The country legend sat down for an in-depth interview with the renowned journalist on his show, The Big Interview, that originally aired in 2014. The hour-long chat explores Kenny's illustrious career and his upbringing in Texas, including his participation in his high school's doo-wop group and the many other bands he was a part of before going solo.

Fans will also get to learn more about Kenny's legendary 1978 hit "The Gambler," along with his timeless collaborations such as 1983's "Islands in the Stream" with Dolly Parton, and 1980's "Lady," co-written by Lionel Richie

The interview was recorded at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville before the opening of the former exhibit, Kenny Rogers: Through the Years.  

The special will air Monday at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET and Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.  

Rogers passed away on March 20 at the age of 81. His family shared in a tweet that he passed "peacefully" from natural causes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will host a small, private service for Rogers for now, but hope to hold a public celebration of his life when it's safe to do so.

Many country music stars shared their condolences online in the wake of Kenny's passing, including his longtime friend Dolly, as well as Reba McEntireBlake SheltonKelsea Ballerini and others.

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Report: Concert promoter Live Nation to pause all concert tours worldwide through end of March

iStock/Cesare FerrariFor several weeks, artists have been announcing concert tour cancellations.  But now, all the tours are being canceled for all the artists.  Well -- almost all artists.

Live Nation, one of the world's biggest concert promoters, plans to press pause on all of the tours it's currently promoting, both foreign and domestic, through the end of March, Billboard has learned

According to Billboard, Live Nation told employees that while a few shows will continue on Thursday or Friday, any shows starting this weekend will be postponed.  Billboard reports company executives told employees that March is generally a slow month anyway. Live Nation plans to re-evaluate in April, with an eye towards getting artists back out on the road in May or June.

The tours affected span all musical genres: Just some of them, Billboard notes, include Billie Eilish, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band, Cher, Kiss, Post Malone, Tool, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shania Twain's Las Vegas residency, Chris Stapleton and more.

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