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National Music News: Metallica takes its show on the road, Jackson Browne takes John McCain to court, and more

By Niki D’Andrea

While I took the weekend off to run away to Sedona and celebrate my birthday, several stories unfolded in national music news. Read on for the skinny about Metallica’s upcoming Phoenix concert, Jackson Browne’s lawsuit against presidential hopeful John McCain, and more.

Metallica Announces Phoenix Concert Metallica’s first studio album in five years, the Rick Rubin-produced Death Magnetic, will be released on September 12. The band announced an extensive North American tour in support of the album, and the band’s very first stop will be Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona on October 21. Texas retro metal band The Sword will be the opening act. Ticket prices for the Glendale show on the Web site ticketnetwork.com range from $127 for second level seats to $530 for seats in the 100-level sections. However, neither the Ticketmaster site nor Metallica’s official Web site have tickets available yet, and an official on-sale date has yet to be announced.

Jackson Browne Sues John McCain Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne will be performing in the Valley on November 3 at Dodge Theatre. In the meantime, Browne has filed a lawsuit against Arizona Senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. McCain had used Browne’s 1978 hit “Running on Empty” in a campaign ad that mocks Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s suggestion that the nation conserve gas through proper tire inflation. The lawsuit, filed Thursday, August 14, claims copyright infringement and alleges that McCain failed to obtain a publishing license for use of the song in a commercial. In addition to unspecified “damages,” Browne is seeking a permanent injunction that would bar McCain from using “Running on Empty” (or any other Browne composition) in the future. The suit also alleges that McCain’s use of Browne’s song in a campaign ad violates the United States Lanham Act by suggesting that Browne is associated with or endorses McCain’s campaign. This is not the first time a music artist has taken offense to a political candidate’s use of their songs -- Bruce Springsteen objected when Ronald Reagan used his song “Born in the U.S.A.” during his re-election campaign in 1984, and Sam & Dave blasted Bob Dole for changing their song “Soul Man” to “Dole Man” during his 1996 presidential campaign. "We are confident that Jackson Browne will prevail in this lawsuit,” said Lawrence Iser of the Santa Monica, California law firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert. “Not only have Senator McCain and his agents plainly infringed Mr. Browne's copyright in ‘Running On Empty,’ but the Federal Courts have long held that the unauthorized use of a famous singer's voice in a commercial constitutes a false endorsement and a violation of the singer's right of publicity. In light of Jackson Browne's lifelong commitment to Democratic ideals and political candidates, the misappropriation of Jackson Browne's endorsement is entirely reprehensible, and I have no doubt that a jury will agree.”

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Influential Music Producer Jerry Wexler Dies While the music world continues to mourn the death of Isaac Hayes, the “great gig in the sky” has claimed another music legend. Jerry Wexler, who began his career as a music journalist for Billboard Magazine and coined the term “rhythm and blues,” died of congestive heart failure at his home in Sarasota, Florida on Friday, August 15. He was 91 years-old. Wexler became a partner and producer for Atlantic Records in 1953, and over the course of his fifty-plus-year career, he recorded albums for such legends as Ray Charles, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Dusty Springfield. He also signed Led Zeppelin to the Atlantic label in 1968. Wexler moved on to Warner Bros. Records in 1975, where he produced Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming album, as well as some early ‘80s recordings of George Michael. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and retired from the music business near the end of the 1990s.

Brian Eno and David Byrne release their first collaboration in more than 30 years online. Legendary producer/techno guru Brian Eno and enigmatic Talking Heads co-founder David Byrne have recorded 11 tracks together for an album titled Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Eno had been working on the songs for eight years when he ran into Byrne and suggested Byrne write some lyrics and do some vocals. The album is available as an online download starting today, and we’ve also embedded the entire album below. For more information, and to purchase the album, visit www.everythingthathappens.com.

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