Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
NOT so long ago we covered the most depressing songs ever recorded, but there’s a big difference between depressing and sappy. A depressing song can actually be quite good; the artist intends to elicit sadness and it works. “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan is a fine example, as is Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle”. Things turn sappy when it becomes excessively sentimental. Maybe the lyrics are transparently gooey, or the notes are sung to exaggerate the emotion. Take, for instance, the Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt song “I Don’t Know Much”:
I don’t know much
But I know I love you
That may be
All I need…. to know, whoaohohohah
You all know this misty-eyed classic. You half expect Linda to break down into convulsive sobs at song’s end. Yet, it still doesn’t rise to the level of sap needed for a spot on this list. The reason: We can’t go calling every romantic ballad “sappy”. Just as depressing songs have their place, so do overtly romantic songs. Perhaps, the best way to illustrate sap at its worst is by example. So, here we go…
10. “All Out Of Love” by Air Supply (1980)
They may be all out of love, but there’s still plenty of cheese to go around. Indeed, Air Supply made quite a successful career smothering the early eighties in saccharine sincerity. Their tracks were perfect for couples skating at the roller rink, but that’s where their usefulness ended. To listen to an Air Supply album the whole way through is like passing through a cloud of schmaltz.
9. “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie (1984)
Lionel Ritchie (or as I like to call him, Sappy McSapperstein) left his funk roots behind when he departed from the Commodores in favor of a solo career drenched in sentimental slush. No doubt, Ritchie could craft a beautiful melody, but they are dripping with sap. It’s a shame he couldn’t add even a little unvarnished edge to his 80s schmaltzfests.
8. “Clair” by Gilbert O’Sullivan (1972)
This song is just so precious it’s impossible to criticize. It’s like a warm buttery blanket of sentimental lovey-dovey-ness. Gilbert wrote the song for his manager’s daughter, whom he babysat. How can I complain about such an innocent lullaby…. yet, it’s saccharine levels are so high, listeners are in danger of developing Type II Diabetes. You have been duly warned.
7. “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro (1968)
There’s nothing wrong with sad songs. “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian and “Ode to Billy Joe” by Bobbie Gentry are perfect examples of songs that had sad stories to tell, but they were also meaningful and even profound on some level. In stark contrast, “Honey” has nothing to say except just how sh***y it was that his wife died.
And speaking of songs about dead wives…
6. “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphy (1975)
My apologies to those who hold this song dear, but this is just dreadful. “Wildfire” is 4 minutes and 47 seconds of weepy drivel. Michael Martin Murphy makes Barry Manilow seem edgy and cynical.
And if you just can’t get enough of dead spouse music, I recommend “Daisy a Day” by Judd Strunk (1973).
5. “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond (1982)
There’s been just so many sappy songs over the years, it’s difficult to cherry pick; I could have made this a Top 100 list and still not scratch the surface. “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone, “Careless Whisper” by Wham, and “Send in the Clowns” by Judy Collins would all qualify. Then I remembered the saptastic “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Streisand and Neil Diamond, which led me to the frighteningly cheesy “Heartlight” – a song literally inspired by the movie E.T. It simply doesn’t get much sappier than this, folks.
4. “Don’t Give Up On Us” by David Soul (1976)
When Soul wasn’t starring in gritty TV crime dramas (Starsky & Hutch) or gritty cinematic crime dramas (Magnum Force), David Soul was dishing up one of the sappiest tracks ever recorded. Scientific studies have demonstrated that bees are actually attracted to the saccharine tones of this song. Indeed, chemical analysis of the 12” vinyl single of “Don’t Give Up On Us” was found to contain trace quantities of fructose. Sounds crazy, but it’s all true.
3. “There Will Be Sad Songs” by Billy Ocean (1986)
This one gets bonus points for being a sappy song about sappy songs. But, now I’m faced with a question: which decade excelled in sappiness the most? I would say the 1980s were the Golden Age of Sap. In the 1970s, soft rock flourished, but it only rarely had the sugary outer-coating that 80s artists dripped on their songs so lovingly. In other words, 70s soft rock was about getting high and introspective and taking it down a notch; whereas, 80s pop was a damn schmaltzapalooza.
2. Every Power Ballad Ever Recorded by Hair Metal Bands
I use “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” by Tuff to illustrate, but this could just as well be any hair metal power ballad. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison, “When the Children Cry” by White Lion, “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” by Cinderella, “I Remember You” by Skid Row… the list could go on forever. There was something very un-metal about these hair metal bands. Not only did they look like androgynous hookers, their music was more akin to Streisand than it was Maiden.
1. “Feelings” by Morris Albert (1975)
Is it any surprise that the Grand Poobah of sappy love songs makes an appearance on this list? “Feelings” combined the traditional cheeseball ballad with the corny flakiness of the lounge act and created a monster. Children of the Seventies well remember the horror of hearing this come on the car radio. Despite urgent pleas to turn it off, our parents would sing along instead. Oh, the humanity!
And on that note, I think the perfect ending for this list has to be “Feelings” as sung by The Bionic Woman. Enjoy.
THE Ultimate Warrior has died at the age of 54, WWE has sadly confirmed. Born James Brian Hellwig, Warrior electrified kids and adults alike during his time as a fearsome wrestler of the WWE (formerly WWF). His wild antics, shock of crazy hair and charged entrance made him a hit with those who are fans of professional wrestling.
For those who sniff ‘oooooh, it’s just all acting!’, The Ultimate Warrior took it wrestling to a high octane, monster truck level of theatre. He was bigger, bolder and weirder than his counterparts and everyone who watched him, immediately got excited when he appeared.
FOUR movies strong, and spanning three decades (the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s), the cinematic Alien saga — consisting of Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) — is renowned for its titular creature, one of the most terrifying silver screen boogeymen of all time.
Given the nature of this franchise’s hostile (and perfect?) monster, it’s no surprise that the death scenes featured throughout the saga are frequently terrifying, bloody, and brilliantly-orchestrated.
Yet the truly memorable death scenes possess another quality as well. They’re shocking. These scenes strike with a combination of terror, disgust, sorrow, and surprise, leaving a permanent imprint on the viewer’s mind.
For a death scene to be considered shocking, it must be one that the audience can’t see coming. In other words, we expect that Colonial Marines fighting aliens by the pack are going to die, or that confused convicts running from a monster in a dark corridor will come to a bad end.
WRITING on Peaches Geldof in the Guardian, Hadley Freeman says ‘The Geldofs were Britain’s first celebrity family”. The article is called:
‘Beyond pain’: Peaches Geldof, Paula Yates and one family’s epic suffering”
Epic suffering? We don’t know the family any more than Freeman does, but we imagine their suffering at untimely deaths of loved ones – Peaches’ mother Paula Yates, her partner Michael Hutchence (whose orphaned daughter has been raised by Bob Geldof) and now the second oldest daughter of three – though terrible for the nearest and dearest are no more epic than what many families have endured. But it’s this family’s fame that attracts the hyperbole and acres of news coverage, not the individuals.
WHEN Jessie J burst onto the pop scene, it briefly felt like we were going to have our own Lady GaGa, making jagged, wonky pop that was wise to the pirate radio station playlists.
However, she quickly turned into Natasha Bedingfield by retaining a lot of fans, but leaving many to shrug with a meh.
Amongst all this, there has been talk of her sexuality. She said she’d dated men and women, so the press said “HEY! YOU’RE BI!” and no-one really had the inclination to correct or refute that. There’s nothing wrong with being bisexual, right?
FACES of the day:
Tabatha Bundesen and her cat, Grumpy Cat,whose real name is Tardar Sauce, pose for a photograph on Friday April 4, 2014 in New York. Bundesen says that Grumpy Cat’s permanently grumpy-looking face is due to feline dwarfism.
HERE are four albums which serve as starting points to murder stories. They range from factual to dodgy at best, but they are all interesting. The four stories include: (1) A Sonny Bono wannabe turned nurse killer, (2) an ex-stripper ventriloquist who witnesses the JFK assassination, (3) a fairy tale turned horror story, and (4) an urban legend of a screaming nude cover model that just won’t go away. Enjoy!
THE JON & ROBIN ELASTIC EVENT (1967)
Jon & Robin were your standard pop duo of the late Sixties, specializing in groovy bubblegum psychedelia. Jon’s dad owned the record label, Abnak Records; so, naturally, his son was first in line to a recording contract (big mistake). I suppose dear-old-dad wanted them to be the next Sonny & Cher, but, alas, it was not meant to be. “Do it Again a Little Bit Slower” (1967) reached #18 in the US, but proved to be their only whiff of success.
The duo split up shortly thereafter, and poor Jon tried to continue his music career resulting in one failure after another. This ultimately contributed to his mental breakdown and he was checked into Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. This is where fact and fiction intermingle, but the story goes that Jon starting getting it on with a psychiatric nurse. After he was released, they moved in together and started a new chapter in Jon’s life. Unfortunately, that new chapter is entitled “The Prison Years” because Jon murdered her.
.. so, there’s that information. Onward to the next murder.
ERICK & BEVERLY MASSEGEE – AMEN! (1974)
This Beverly Massegee LP has become something of an all-star in the world of bad album covers, but the biggest oddity surrounding this album is not the strangeness of the record, but Beverly herself. Many believe she is actually the Babushka Lady – the woman who filmed JFK up close at the very moment he was assassinated!
Beverly Oliver (maiden name) was once a friend of Jack Ruby, the man who shot Lee Harvey Oswald. Beverly was a singer (and possibly a stripper) at Ruby’s Carousel Club and the adjacent Colony Club. According to her own account, Beverly claims she accompanied Jack Ruby to New Orleans where she met Mafia bosses and was introduced to Lee Harvey Oswald, a friend of Ruby’s (!).
Beverly states that she was the infamous and mysterious Babushka Lady, the closest witnesses to the fatal shot that killed President Kennedy. Further, she claims that she filmed the event, but three days later two men who identified themselves as government agents confiscated her film and never returned it. Here’s an old video of Beverly breaking it down for us…
Unfortunately, much of this is considered nonsense by JFK assassination “experts”. However, it should be noted that Beverly married a pastor and found Jesus, which means all of this must be true, right?
CLAUDINE LONGET – THE LOOK OF LOVE (1967)
Claudine’s early years read like a fairy tale. She was a Vegas showgirl working for Barbara Walters’ father. One day, her car breaks down and she’s picked up by none other than Andy Williams. Marriage, wealth, a family, a recording contract, and an acting career soon followed. It would seem. Claudine Longet had everything a woman could ever want.
The couple were even good friends with Bobby Kennedy. In fact, they were supposed to go to a disco with him the night he was killed. Senator Kennedy told Andy and Claudine that he would make a “little hand gesture” at the end of his televised primary victory speech to let them know he could make it to the disco. The couple watched Kennedy’s speech from their Bel Air home, and when the gesture was made the two hopped out of bed to get ready to head to the disco…. then they heard the shots ring out. Three days later, Andy was singing at his friend’s funeral. The couple would name their 3rd child “Bobby”.
That was 1968…. by 1970 they were legally separated. Claudine and the three kids moved in with the famous Olympic skier, “Spider” Sabich. He was handsome, talented, and had become quite a popular figure. Robert Redford even played him in a movie (Downhill Racer). But this is where the fairy tale ends. The relationship became tumultuous and in 1975, Spider was fatally shot in the abdomen by Claudine.
Claudine claimed the gun discharged accidentally, and was charged with only negligent homicide. The fact that she was high on cocaine never made it into the trial, nor was the fact that their relationship had become hostile. Subsequently, Claudine spent only 30 days in jail.
THE OHIO PLAYERS – HONEY (1975)
The 70s funk band, The Ohio Players, weren’t exactly known for their family-friendly album covers. Their most notorious is the Honey album which featured a completely naked model (visible when you fold open the cover) shown from the side on the outside cover, and in a much more explicit position in the interior. Legend goes that this girl was brutally murdered and her screams can be heard in their song “Love Rollercoaster”.
Of course, urban legend debunkers have proved this to be complete bullshit. However, it’s a lot more fun to speculate, and you never really know, do you? As to exactly how she was killed and how the screams ever got recorded depends on who’s telling the story. One thing is for certain, the scream sounds completely out of place. It’s blood curdling – not something you’d expect to hear in the background of a lively funk song. The cherry-on-top to this urban legend is that the photography for the album cover was conducted by Richard Fegley, who had also photographed Sharon Tate (insert dramatic music)
One variation of the story goes like this:
The Ohio Players spot a runaway on the street corner and use her for on their album Honey. The album cover depicts the model nude and kneeling in glass while drizzling honey all over herself. The glass was actually fiberglass, and when it mixed with the honey caused the fiberglass to be bonded to the girl’s legs. She tried tearing it off of her legs, but only succeeded in tearing the skin off. She runs into the studio where the band was recording “Love Rollercoaster”. She was screaming at them, claiming she would sue them for everything they were worth. The band’s manager then dragged her outside the studio, and murdered her. Her screaming was audible, even outside the studio, and the band left the sound there as “a sick tribute”.
Sure, this is obviously bologna, but it’s a lot more interesting the much more probable claim that the screams are by the band’s bassist and the model is Ester Cordet. Cordet was a stewardess at the time and the October 1974 Playmate of the Month. Today, she is happily married to a smarmy motivational speaker and self-help author, Robert Ringer. Yuck. Sometimes reality is such a bummer.
WITH Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) shattering box office records this weekend, it is an opportune time to recall that this iconic Marvel superhero — and symbol of non-ironic Americana — has not always been treated very well by Hollywood.
In particular, the 1970s and 1980s proved a difficult span for the patriotic Cap, who had made a career in his Marvel comic-book of smashing Nazis and communists.
But first, the 1944 Republic serial, Captain America, created a new character and origin for the superhero.
THE isolated track of Merry Clayton’s vocal from The Rolling Stones’ 1969 hit Gimme Shelter is something else:
FLASHBACK to Glastonbury 20–24 June 1971.
Before Glastonbury became a corporate BBC-sponsored event – and how Aunty Beeb kills the cool with her patronage – it was free and fun.
The Glastonbury Fayre of 1971 was instigated by Andrew Kerr after being found and introduced to Michael Eavis by David Trippas and organised with help from Arabella Churchill, Thomas Crimble,Bill Harkin, Gilberto Gil, Mark Irons, and Jytte Klamer. The 1971 festival featured the first incarnation of the “Pyramid Stage”. Conceived by Bill Harkin the stage was a one-tenth replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza built from scaffolding and metal sheeting and positioned over a blind spring which was found by dowsing.
Performers included David Bowie, Traffic, Fairport Convention, Quintessence, Hawkwind, Skin Alley, The Worthy Farm Windfuckers and Melanie. It was paid for by its supporters and advocates of its ideal, and embraced a mediaeval tradition of music, dance, poetry, theatre, lights and spontaneous entertainment. The 1971 festival was filmed by Nicolas Roeg and David Puttnam and was released as a film called simply Glastonbury Fayre.
FOR people who don’t like hippies, festival-goers, indie music, ridiculous gig flags, wankers in bucket hats, posh girls in bindhis, heritage rock bands and wacky BBC presenters, the blanket coverage of the Glastonbury Festival is worse than a million Royal Weddings.
The bad news for Glastohaters is that the event has just had its license renewed for another decade.
And Glastonbury gaffer Emily Eavis – she took it over from her dad, Michael - has promised that ‘the best is yet to come’.
OK, so there’s being good looking and stupid, not an unknown combination, and then there’s being freakish looking and being a blind bloody idiot. Which is what seems to have happened to this real life Barbie Doll of ours:
‘Human Barbie’ Valeria Lukyanova has claimed that interracial couples are making the human race uglier and sparking a rise in plastic surgery.
The cosmetically-enhanced model, 28, who is from the Ukraine, told GQ magazine: ‘Ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that.
‘Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this. A Russian marries an Armenian, they have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad’s nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it’s all good.’
WU TANG CLAN have never been more popular, mainly because people who don’t really like hip hop really like wearing their t-shirts, throwing up ironic ‘Wu’ handsigns in photographs and smoking weed now and then. For real fans of The Wu, they know how arduous it is trying to follow everything they do.
What that actually means is that, when you factor in all the solo albums, collabs and guest spots, there’s an amazing amount of dreck released under the Wu banner. There’s gold in them thar Wu Hills, but by god, you have to dig deep to find it these days.
WHAT’S the worst movie title of all time? Freddy Got Fingered (2001) and Stop! Or my Mom will Shoot (1992) are often cited as contenders. One that nearly earned a victory for worst is Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters (2007) – an immensely serious film which very nearly is The Master Debaters. Close but no cigar. The unpronounceable film The Rural Juror could have walked away with an easy victory. Alas, it’s a fictitious film from the TV show 30 Rock. Disqualified.
Perhaps, it’s best to look back a few decades. It may not be possible to scientifically lay out the all-time worst, but we can certainly make like Freddy and Finger a few candidates.
10. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973)
Sometimes a title is just trying to be get our attention by its ridiculousness [i.e. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990). For low budget films without a lot of financial resources for promotion, the best way to lure audiences is via a sensational title. So, I understand the rationale, and am sure it served its purpose; however, the title is still horrible. Functional, but horrible.
WHEN police announced that Peaches Geldof had died the newspapers rushed to shout “first”. Her death at 25 is a shocks. To her husband and two young children it is a tragedy. To the media it’s a result.
The celebrity death is heralded by people on social media shouting “FIRSTS!” and the “ker-ching” of big media’s cash register. Who can be first to dash out a few hundred words of speculation veering between the mawkish an the insulting about the dead person they never knew?
WANT to wok for Beyonce Knowles, the minter pop goddess? Well, here’s is your big chance to live the dream – to get paid in selfies:
PEACHES Geldof has died. The vivacious, fun, entertaining and smart daughter of the late Paul Yates and Bob Geldof has died aged 25. She leaves behind a husband and two young sons.
So. How does the Metro newspaper report on the death of a young woman and her bereft family?
What mind thought that was a good front page?
NOSTALGIA is a wonderful thing, provided you keep it where it is. 30somethings who have gone back to watch old cartoons they loved as kids are often found sobbing, depressed lumps sat in waterless baths, feeling cheated and hurt, like they’d summoned up a repressed abuse at the hands of school bullies.
Of course, some things stand the test of time, if you don’t pick at it. The Mysterious Cities of Gold is still oddly deep and perfect, but a redux of it would be like taking a great shit on the one meal that reminds you of the glory of your childhood.
And now, the director of The Goonies, Richard Donner, has said a sequel to The Goonies is in the works.
PEACHES Geldof has died aged 25. Peaches Geldof, the daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, has died at the age of 25.
That is tragic.
She was vivacious, funny and a good journalist.
Speaking to Elle Magazine in 2013, Peaches said:
“I remember the day my mother died, and it’s still hard to talk about it. I just blocked it out. I went to school the next day because my father’s mentality was ‘keep calm and carry on. So we all went to school and tried to act as if nothing had happened. But it had happened. I didn’t grieve. I didn’t cry at her funeral. I couldn’t express anything because I was just numb to it all. I didn’t start grieving for my mother properly until I was maybe 16.”
She was married to musician Thomas Cohen, with whom she had two sons, Astala, one, and Phaedra, who will turn one on 24 April.
FLASHBACK to 1978: Spiderman’s Celebrity Party
January 1978 cover of Marvel’s Pizzazz magazine. The magazine only lasted 16 issues.
Can you name them all?
KURT Cobain left a long hand-written suicide note. It included the words of Neil Young from the song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue): “Better to burn out / than to fade away,” Neil Young is 68 years old. Cobain was just 27 when he ended his life 20 years ago this weekend.
Neil Young referenced Cobain’s death in his autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace.
On 8 April 1994, the heroin-addicted, shy Nirvana front man was found dead in his Seattle home – three day after he’d died.
He left behind a wife Courtney Love and his one-year-old daughter, Frances Bean.
Many worshipped Cobain, leader of the death cult. Even in death, his celebrity was all.
But not for everyone. In my house, my mother said one thing: “He took the coward’s way out.” I can’t but feel that’s more like the kind of thing he needed in his life. Forget the adulation and the fans who want a piece of you. Get someone you love to tell you to refocus, mature and see the bigger picture.
JON Ham aged well. In the mid 1990s, Ham appeared on the TV dating show The Big Date, hosted by Mark Walberg.The man who would knock them bandy as Mad Men’s Don Draper strikes out.
James Franco On Cloud 17: Conspiracy Theories And 1970s-Style Honest-To-Goodness Perviness For Teenage Girl
AS you’re probably aware, arch-hipster James Franco has been rumbled online, trying to tap off with a 17 year old Scottish girl. A variety of messages were batted back and forth, with Franco being a little persistent in trying to get his end away.
Now, there’s something of a conspiracy theory, which sees some people saying that this is a sly publicity stunt for his new film – Palo Alto – where plays a football coach who seduces his 14-year-old baby sitter.
Either way, something very interesting and troubling happened in the immediate fallout – the press, initially, were rather amused by it. The tone was “Whoopsie! Caught with your pants down! Arf!”