Country music legend Willie Nelson has been the focus of prayers, as an undisclosed illness has forced the entertainer to cancel a handful of concerts in various states. While embarking on his Willie Nelson and Family Tour, Nelson’s health came into question, said to have been the direct effect of cancelled shows and heartbroken fans.

However, the singer seems to be making a strong comeback from what has been identified as a common cold, ready to get back “on the road again”. Nelson’s son, Lukas, posted on social media during a Valentine’s Day hiatus of couple-y posts and gushing photos of affection, informing fans of his father’s current condition.

“Happy to report this Valentine’s Day that dad is feeling great and will be back on the road.. Music and Love are a healing combination,” the son wrote. Fans were elated to hear the news, sending the family their warmest thoughts and promising to keep the singer in their prayers.

Nelson’s rep recently spoke out, informing fans of the same hopeful news and assurance of the country outlaw’s health, along with his determination to pick up and continue with the tour!

You can show your support for Nelson in the comments below!

October on limited edition cream vinyl and Pop on limited edition orange double vinyl.

Island Records and UMC have announced the latest in a series of  limited edition vinyl releases from the band’s back catalogue.

Pressed on 180gsm LP coloured vinyl, October (1981) and Pop (1997) will be released on 11 October 2019.

For one week only from today, in advance of other retailers, you can pre-order these special releases of October and Pop exclusively from


October, the second studio album from U2 was released on 12 October 1981 on Island Records. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, the album featured two singles ‘Gloria’ and ‘Fire’. The video for ‘Gloria’ – the first of the band’s videos to receive heavy rotation on MTV – was filmed in October 1981 on a barge in Grand Canal Basin in Dublin near Windmill Lane.

– Pressed on 180gsm coloured vinyl
– Includes the singles ‘Gloria’ and ‘Fire’
– Vinyl reissue includes a 16 page booklet with lyrics.

October tracklisting:

Side 1

– Gloria
– I Fall Down
– I Threw A Brick Through A Window
– Rejoice
– Fire

Side 2

– Tomorrow
– October
– With A Shout
– Stranger In A Strange Land
– Scarlet
– Is That All?


The ninth studio album from U2, Pop was released on 3 March 1997 on Island Records with lead single ‘Discothèque’ reaching #1 in the UK, Ireland and the US to name a few.

Produced by Nellee Hooper, Flood, Howie B and Steve Osborne, Pop topped the album charts in 27 countries around the world, including the UK and US Billboard Top 200.

– Pressed on 180gsm coloured vinyl.
– Includes the singles ‘Discothèque’, ‘Staring At The Sun’, ‘Last Night On Earth’, ‘Please’, ‘If God Will Send His Angels’ & ‘Mofo’
– Vinyl reissue includes a lyric sheet.

Pop tracklisting:

Side 1

– Discothèque
– Do You Feel Loved
– Mofo

Side 2

– If God Will Send His Angels
– Staring At The Sun
– Last Night On Earth

Side 3

– Gone
– Miami
– The Playboy Mansion

Side 4

– If You Wear That Velvet Dress
– Please
– Wake Up Dead Man

He transformed his field by presenting unflinching portraits of his subjects

DA Pennebaker ensured his place in film and rock history by capturing both Bob Dylan and David Bowie at the moment intense fame crystallised around these young but ambitious singers.

Pennebaker, who has died at the age of 94, can claim to have pioneered the cinema verite tradition in the US, bringing the raw, unmanipulated aesthetic of French new wave directors of the 1950s to bear on American subjects. It was a hugely influential move on US and UK documentary-making, encouraging directors to study their subjects with an unflinching gaze.

He will be best remembered for his 1965 documentary Dont Look Back, in which he follows Bob Dylan on what would prove to be his final acoustic tour of the UK. No feature documentary had ever shadowed a musician so closely before and Dylan, acerbic and arrogant as he hides behind black sunglasses and an unruly mop of hair, made for a scorching subject. Many rock documentaries have since tried to emulate Dont Look Back but none have ever had such a fierce yet controlling star as their focus. They also lack Pennebaker’s cool, intelligent eye and striking ability to compose scenes.

Donn Alan Pennebaker was born in Evanston, Illinois, to John and Lucille Pennebaker. An only child, his parents divorced when he was one and he largely grew up with his father who worked as a commercial photographer. He studied mechanical engineering at Yale – the war interrupted this and he served as an engineer in the US air force – then returned to Yale and completed his degree. He started his own company, Electronics Engineering, then sold it, determined to work in the arts. In 1953 he directed Daybreak Express, a documentary short where New York City is seen from an elevated subway train.

Pennebaker moved into directing documentaries for different organisations, making his name with 1960’s Primary, a feature that followed John F Kennedy as he campaigned and won the nomination for president. Making use of his engineering background, he integrated a microphone into a 16mm portable camera, which proved to be a great service for documentary filmmakers, who previously needed sound recorded separately.

Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman admired Pennebaker’s work and invited him to follow his charge on the 1965 UK tour – emphasising that the director had to pay his own costs. At the same time, Pennebaker directed a promo clip for Dylan’s single “Subterranean Homesick Blues” – this featured the singer holding up snippets of lyrics on flash cards. This pop promo both helped invent what would become the pop video and gave Dylan an even more insouciant image.

When released in 1967, Dont Look Back enjoyed a large youth audience and presaged the new Hollywood directors. That year Lou Adler, the promoter of the Monterey Pop Festival, invited Pennebaker to film the first of the big, outdoor rock festivals. His resulting 1968 feature Monterey Pop, with its footage of Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar and the beautiful people in awe of Ravi Shankar, captured the new hippie/rock star elite at their freshest.

His promo film for Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ helped invent the music video (Kobal/Rex)

Pennebaker then worked as cinematographer on Norman Mailer’s three feature films. These were unsuccessful financially and critically but Pennebaker would capture Mailer in a feisty 1971 town hall debate with Germaine Greer (released in 1979 as Town Bloody Hall). In 1968 he began co-directing with the French new wave director Jean-Luc Godard a documentary to be called “One AM” about youth revolt in the US. Godard abandoned the project midway and Pennebaker would eventually release it as One PM.

In 1973, RCA hired Pennebaker to shoot 20 minutes of David Bowie performing at the Hammersmith Odeon. Impressed by Bowie’s stage persona, Pennebaker decided to film the entire concert. This turned out to be Bowie’s last performance as Ziggy Stardust: the resulting concert feature, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, wasn’t released until 1979 and is hollow compared with Pennebaker’s earlier music features.

The filmmaker (second from left) was awarded an honorary Oscar for his lifetime’s work (Invision/AP)

Pennebaker made many other films, varying from 1981’s DeLorean, a fly-on-the-wall observation of the maverick car manufacturer John DeLorean as his empire crumbled, to 1993’s The War Room, a backroom view of Bill Clinton’s run for president. The latter won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. He didn’t win but in 2013 was presented with an honorary Oscar for his lifetime’s work as a documentary director.

He is survived by his third wife, experimental filmmaker Chris Hegedus – with whom he frequently collaborated – and eight children.

DA Pennebaker, filmmaker, born 15 July 1925, died 1 August 2019

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame formed in 1983, plenty of industry gate-keepers insisted hip-hop was merely a flash-in-the-pan trend. Even when the Hall began inducting rock n’ roll icons in 1986, rap was still seen as a curiosity – there was only one album, Run-D.M.C.‘s Raising Hell, that had gone platinum.

Fast forward to 2007. Despite some myopic protests, the Rock Hall inducted Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, whose inventive DJ techniques and socio-political messaging elevated the genre to new creative heights in the ’80s.

Since then, the Rock Hall has inducted four additional hip-hop groups into its ranks — Run-D.M.C. (2009), Beastie Boys (2012), Public Enemy (2013) and N.W.A (2016) – and one solo rapper, 2Pac, in 2017. On Tuesday (Oct. 15), the Notorious B.I.G. was shortlisted for the Class of 2020; if he gets in, the late Brooklyn icon will be just the seventh rap act in the Rock Hall.

Thankfully, in the 12 years that followed the first induction of a hip-hop artist into the RRHOF, the tired ‘But it’s the Rock Hall’ wailing has died down as critics and fans adjust to our genre agnostic era, where ‘rock’ is more an attitude than a strictly defined sound.

And it’s about time — even in its early days, the Rock Hall was never exclusionary based on a strict definition of rock music. A great many of the earliest acts inducted into the Rock Hall were primarily R&B, blues, soul or country artists whose attitude and performance style impacted rock (and no, not just in the ‘early influences’ category: B.B. King, Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin were understandable shoo-ins to the Rock Hall, and you’re lying if you say ‘rock’ is the main genre they belong to).

So considering that artists whose music indelibly impacted rock music (and pop culture in general) have been inducted since the ’80s, it was only a matter of time before a hip-hop artist entered the Hall.

After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rocker who started in the ’90s that hasn’t been influenced by rap music, be it the hard-hitting rhythms of Run-D.M.C., the pummeling sonic attack of Public Enemy or the magnetic, poetic charisma of Tupac Shakur. Yeah, N.W.A caught some flack when they were inducted, but it seemingly had less to do with them not being ‘rock’ enough in ‘tude than it did conservative listeners angry that the “Fuck tha Police” dudes were in the same club as Elvis Presley.

Regardless of whether Biggie Smalls enters the hallowed Hall in 2020, there’s plenty more hip-hop icons eligible for future consideration – including a few names who have been up for the honor before without securing entry. Zulu Nation pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, whose inventive turntable techniques changed rap and electronic music, was nominated for the 2008 class. However, he hasn’t been seen on a ballot since, and given the accusations against him in recent years — which he has denied — it seems unlikely he’ll be seeing a groundswell of support for reconsideration.

Eric B. and Rakim, the DJ/MC duo who pushed hip-hop to a new golden standard of lyricism and sonic detail, were nominated for the Class of 2012, but haven’t been up for it a second time (they’re a strong contender for reconsideration). LL Cool J has been nominated for the honor five times. So far, no dice – which is unfortunate, given that LL was one of the genre’s first superstars, and along with Run-D.M.C., established hip-hop as a serious creative force in delivering full-length classic albums.

If we’re talking about hip-hop artists who deserve a nomination but haven’t yet seen one, well, you could spend hours debating who should get in, but obvious choices abound who have been eligible for some time: Ice-T, A Tribe Called Quest, EPMD, Boogie Down Productions, Kool Moe Dee, Queen Latifah, Gang Starr, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane come to mind.

As the list of classic rock acts not in the Hall gets shorter and the number of culture-shifting rappers who released an album that is at least 25 years old grows, one thing is for sure: Rap’s voice in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is only going to get louder.