John Legend to deliver MLK lecture at UPenn on 1/16

Nationally-renowned R&B / soul singer (and University of Pennsylvania graduate) John Legend will return to his alma mater on Wednesday, January 16, to deliver the university’s 12th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture in Social Justice. While studying English and African-American Literature at Penn, Legend (offstage name: John Roger Stephens) became active in the university’s a cappella scene, and also began building his name performing at downtown blues venues.

For his appearance, Legend will be interviewed by Penn professor Camille Z. Charles at Irvine Auditorium; tickets are free and available at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts box office at 3680 Walnut Street on a first-come, first-serve basis. Go here for more information. Below, watch Legend performing “How I Got Over” from his collaboration with The Roots at Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.


John Legend announces Fall tour with XPN Artist To Watch Lianne La Havas opening; playing Tower Theatre in November

John Legend has announced a Fall tour that comes to the Tower Theatre on Thursday, November 1st. Legend is releasing a new album called Love in The Future and was co-Executive Produced with Legend, Kanye West and Dave Tozer. You can listen to a snippet of “Caught Up,” co-written by Legend and West here. Opening the show is the new British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas who is WXPN’s Artist To Watch. Tickets to the show go on sale this Friday. Go here to purchase tickets. Below, watch Legend and The Roots perform Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.”


Tonight’s Concerts, June 19th: Gypsy Death And You, Eat Your Birthday Cake, Sade w/John Legend, + more

Philly’s Gypsy Death And You & Eat Your Birthday Cake perform at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $8)

Ugly Radio Rebellion with Ike Willis: A Tribute To Frank Zappa at The North Star Bar at 8PM. Tickets to the 21 + show are $10-$130.00.

“Do the Evolution”: a 20th Anniversary Tribute Celebration of the music of Pearl Jam at World Cafe Live at 7PM. Tickets are $15–$20. In addition to the ticket price, there is a $10 per person food and beverage minimum for all reserved seating at this show. There is no minimum for General Admission tickets.

Sade with special guest John Legend perform at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30PM. Ticket information here


Stream the New John Legend And The Roots album, Wake Up!

Can’t wait for the new John Legend And The Roots album, Wake Up!, to be released next Tuesday? Our friends over at NPR Music are streaming the album in its entirety at this very moment. You can listen here. Featuring covers of topical songs from the 1960s and 1970s—including tracks such as “Compared To What,” “Hard Times,” “Little Ghetto Boy” and “I Can’t Write Left Handed”—Wake Up! is quickly becoming one of our favorite new releases of 2010. The album will be streaming until its release date on September 21st.


John Legend and The Roots offer two new songs for free

Less than two weeks remain until the September 21st release of Wake Up!, the new album from John Legend & The Roots. All but one of the songs are covers of classic ’60s and ’70s R&B songs—including Donny Hathaway’s “Little Ghetto Boy,” Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “Wake Up Everybody,” the Les McCann/Eddie Harris jazz-funk classic “Compared To What,” Bill Withers’ “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” and Baby Huey’s “Hard Times.” One original song, “Shine,” was written by Legend for the documentary, Waiting For Superman. The folks at Okay Player have already released “Shine” and “Hard Times,” which you can download for free here.

For those not familiar with the work of Chicago-based R&B and soul singer Baby Huey, listen to the original version of “Hard Times” in the video below.