2017 BET Awards
Billboard Bits: Country Hall of Fame, Elvis, Gun Club
News on Country Hall of Fame, Elvis, Gun ClubPorter Wagoner and Bill Carlisle are the newest inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The announcement was made over the weekend during the Dixie Chicks' performance at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. The pair will be formally inducted Nov. 6 during the 36th annual Country Music Association (CMA) awards, to be broadcast live on CBS.
Wagoner was a featured performer on Red Foley's "Ozark Jubilee" television show in the early '50s before moving to the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. He hosted his own "Porter Wagoner" show from 1961-1981, all the while hitting the country charts with such tracks as "Green, Green Grass of Home" and "The Cold Hard Facts of Life." Wagoner is credited with discovering Dolly Parton and recorded a series of hits duets with her in the late '60s and early '70s. He will release a new album, "Unplugged," on Sept. 10.
Carlisle, now 93, grew to prominence with radio performances during the Great Depression, often in tandem with his brother Cliff. By the '50s, he'd notched such hits as "Knothole," "Shake-a-Leg," and "Honey Love," joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1953. There, he earned the nickname "Jumpin' Bill" for his excitable on-stage demeanor. Carlisle continues to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, where he is the oldest living member.
"The Hall of Fame is welcoming two of Country Music's most dynamic entertainers whose careers demonstrate the characteristics of uniqueness and longevity that so define and shape our business," CMA executive director Ed Benson in a statement.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Marking the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, Trans World Entertainment's FYE chain is co-sponsoring a roving exhibit of Elvis memorabilia, "Mobile Graceland," Billboard Bulletin reports. The collection, which features artifacts never before displayed outside of Presley's Memphis home, is housed in an 18-wheel truck that will travel to 31 cities, appearing exclusively at 21 FYE stores and 22 Harrah's casinos. The exhibit was unveiled Saturday in Memphis as the start of a 10-day Presley celebration.
"Mobile Graceland" is a marketing effort between Elvis Presley Enterprises, Harrah's, FYE, and RCA. The exhibit includes an FYE retail area where fans can pre-order the "ELV1S 30 #1 HITS" CD prior to its Sept. 24 release from RCA. Also up for sale are limited-edition "ELV1S" merchandise, music, movies, and Elvis Presley Enterprises-licensed products.
-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.
Frank Black, Ryan Adams, Henry Rollins, and John Doe are among the special guests expected to head a tribute to seminal 1980s roots-punk outfit the Gun Club, as part of Los Angeles' free Sunset Junction Festival Street Fair. The tribute is scheduled for Aug. 25, the second and final day of the event.
Anchored by original Gun Club guitarist Ward Dotson and Possum Dixon alums Rob Zabrecky and Byron Reynolds, the performance will focus on material from the group's 1981 debut, "Fire of Love," and its 1982 follow-up "Miami." Concrete Blonde frontwoman Johnette Napolitano and Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris -- who was a close friend to late Gun Club frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce and actually conjured up the band's name -- are also slated to celebrate the influential group's early 1980s heyday.
The Sunset Junction Festival will be held on the east end of Sunset Blvd. in L.A., and boasts sets from the likes of Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, Arlo, Radar Bros, the Warlocks, Pansy Division, Chaka Khan, Mary Wilson, and Sleater-Kinney. Admission is free but a $6 donation is encouraged.
-- John D. Luerssen, N.Y.