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.
FLASHBACK photo: Deborah Harry of the rock band Blondie visits David Bowie backstage at the Booth Theater where he is starring in The Elephant Man, Nov. 1980. (AP Photo/Nancy Kaye)
THE FAB FOUR had barely left Ed Sullivan’s stage before their songs were being covered like mad across the entire planet. You’d be hard pressed to find a single artist from the mid-sixties to mid-seventies who didn’t have at least one cover in their repertoire. Then royalty rates went up, and it naturally became harder to include a Lennon/McCartney track on an album…. and finally, in July 1978, The Bee Gees famously ruined the idea altogether.
Herein are fifteen from the Golden Age of Beatles Covers – when everyone from Deep Purple to Peter Sellers had a Beatles song to make their own. Enjoy.
NOSTALGIA is a wonderful thing, regardless of what idiots say. 90s kids remember the times they were thin, first started drinking, bought their first pair of flared cords, smoking fags in clubs and kissing people ill-advisedly who wore velvet blazers. Marvellous times, just like everyone’s teenage years.
2013 really was Kanye West’s year. He was brilliant, divisive, outspoken, produced a host of great tracks for other artists, self aggrandised, made a bafflingly good album, argued, made crazy videos, showed off his super hot wife, had a baby, tackled the idea of race head-on and generally gave the world world a shot of energy simply by being.
RECORD collector, artist and New York-based Beatles fan Rutherford Chang has collected 918 first-pressings of 1968’s The White Album, the band’s least butchered album in which George Harrison came into his own.
LETTERS of the Day: In The Daily Express, P. Norman from Liverpool ‘riffs’ on Justin Bieber:
The Sixties – when all Daily Express reader started to buy the paper…
HAYLEY Cropper was dying. Hayley Cropper is not a real person. She’s the work of dramatists at Coronation Street. And she’s dead. No. She’s alive. Hang on… No, Dead. But she could return for a retrospective or Christmas special. That’s the thing with people who aren’t real, they can do things the rest of us can’t. Sherlock can be made to live in today’s London, Tony Blair can be Prime Minister and Hayley can commit suicide rather than die slowly from cancer. It’s something to do with six-month contracts and a prior booking.
The Daily Mail’s paparazzo has “The Last Picture”. But no need to rush out and buy the newspaper because it’s not real news and, in any case, Hayley death is a primetime snuff movie.
THE funny thing about Justin Bieber is just how according-to-type he is. He started off life as a gyrating foetus and slowly turned himself into an enfant-terrible. We could all see it coming. He couldn’t. Gradually, he went from wholesome to brat, eventually landing at ‘troubled’.
In a week where David Cassidy got pulled by cops for drink-driving, AGAIN, Justin Bieber charges down that same path, being the archetypal boy pin-up who lost his way. Once a cutey Christian, Bieber spat and swore until now, where we find ourselves looking at the weirdest bit of criminal damage in pop history.
WITH cinema a feeble force in today’s world of Grab What You Want, When You Want It media, it seems those in charge are determined to make it all even weaker.
Cinema’s make you leave the house, sell you lousy food, half deafen you with badly mixed bass tracks on films, stink up your nostrils with bleach and, worst of all, force you to watch films with dreadful chattering strangers. All for a million pound per viewing.
MEREDITH Hunter. He was the 18-year-old stabbed to death by a Hell’s Angel at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont Free Concert on December 6 1969.
The show took place just four months after Woodstock. This time peace and love did not win out. But it might have done.
Michael Azerrad sets the pre-show scene:
…a scene at a helipad on a pier on San Francisco Bay. The Grateful Dead are there, cavorting in zonked-out hippie fashion, waiting for an overdue helicopter. Jagger comes sweeping in, surveys the unruly scene. and says with amused disbelief to no one in particular, “What is going on?” He gets the lay of the land from a chuckling and ultra-mellow Jerry Garcia, attired in an outtasite lavender wool poncho, and chats warmly with Ian Stewart. The vibe is sweet and playful.
The chopper won’t arrive until 2:00. “Right, film people, let’s do something!” Jagger proclaims. “We’ve got ten minutes.” He pulls some hippie chick aside and imperiously directs the cameraman (probably Albert Maysles) to go “Tighter tighter tighter tighter tighter tighter” on her face, adorned with a groovy beaded headband and massive square shades. He plants a kiss on her forehead and steps away. Then he orders Charlie, poor, long-suffering Charlie, “Do the same thing as I did. Kiss the young lady, please.”
Watts demurs. “Love is much more of a deeper thing than that,” he replies, with mock hauteur, although he clearly kind of means it too. “It’s not flippant, to be thrown away on celluloid. No.”
Jagger laughs at his disobedient drummer. “OK,” he says sheepishly, straight to camera, “we cut.”
And then they headed off to Altamont.
Golden Globes 2014 Highlights: Elisabeth Moss’s Finger Cam, Tina Fey Rocks Clooney And Bono Disses Diddy
THE Golden Globes 2014. Here are the highlights from last night’s Hollywood AGM:
Hats off to Amy Poehler, winner of Best Actress in a Comedy TV Series.
Two hats off to Tina Fey for her Gravity joke that George Clooney would “rather float in space than spend a minute with a woman his own age”. And a big cap off to her for her line: “Like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio!”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus looking devilishly bitter puffing on her e-cigarette.
As Hitler’s Boxer Said To The Actress: Silent Anny Ondra Was Hitchcock’s Star Of Britain’s First ‘Talkie’
IN1929 almost everyone in the British film industry was convinced that the newfangled talking films would be nothing but a flash in the pan. But as the director Michael Powell once said of that time, “some flash, some pan”. Hitchcock knew before most that the era of silent films was over – “nobody wants ‘em,” he said to the aforementioned Powell, “they’re a dead duck”. So Hitchcock borrowed some German equipment and halfway through directing Blackmail he started to make a sound version of the same film and this, subsequently, became Britain’s first ‘talkie’.
ROBERTA Ashley’s 1967 Singers and Swingers in the Kitchen is the “scene-makers cookbook”. The cook book features “The Scene Makers Cookbook Dozens of Nutty Turned On Easy-To-Prepare Recipes From The Grooviest Gourmets Happening”. Ready for “hip, mod, delicious recipes”.
Theses cats were the original celebrity master chefs. With recipes from The Rolling Stones, Leonard Nimoy, The Byrds, Leonard Nimoy, Omar Sharif (Southern Fried Chicken), Barbra Streisand, Peter Tork, Liza Minelli, Simon & Garfunkel, the Mamas & Papas, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Paul Anka, Party Spaghetti and The Buckinghams (if you have to ask, you just weren’t there).
As Roberta noted: “Give it a try, the recipes are mostly easy ones and remember a year ago, Barbra Streisand couldn’t cook at all”.
Not all stars are into Extreme Dieting, like The Who’s Keith Moon was.
THIS animated interview with late great 1970s singing love walrus Barry White, throbbing growler of such bedroom-of-kitchen-sofa- you-name it-friendly hits as Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Baby, You’re the First, the Last, My Everything, It’s Only Love Doing It’s Thing, Love Theme and the puntastic Love Making Music is a soothing appeal to our loving souls. Says Barry: “When a man is making love, the last thing he thinks about is war! The last thing he thinks about is ‘how can I blow up a nation?’.”
ELIZABETH Cotten wrote Freight Train, the song for which she is best remembered, in her early teens. Libba” Cotten (January 5, 1893 – June 29, 1987) was an American blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter.
A self-taught left-handed guitarist, Cotten developed her own original style. Her approach involved using a right-handed guitar (usually in standard tuning), not re-strung for left-handed playing, essentially, holding a right-handed guitar upside down. This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. Her signature alternating bass style has become known as “Cotten picking”.
ON January 11 1992, Paul Simon kicked off his South Africa tour. He’d visited the country before, back in 1985 in defiance of the UN-sponsored cultural boycott against apartheid. On 2 December 1968, The UN General Assembly requested all States and organisations “to suspend cultural, educational, sporting and other exchanges with the racist regime and with organisations or institutions in South Africa which practice apartheid”. Sportsmen and music acts were encouraged not to play in South Africa.
The ANC and Artists Against Apartheid were outraged. Why hadn’t Simon consulted them before arriving?
Said Simon: “You went to South Africa but you didn’t ask us. You need to ask the ANC. So that’s the kind of government you’re going to be? Check our lyrics? F*** the artists like all kinds of governments have done in the past?”
Simon’s foresight introduced much of the world to the music of black South Africa. That first trip led to his groundbreaking Graceland album, featuring South African musicians Hugh Masekela, Simon and Miriam Makeba and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Joe Berlinger followed Simon on his trip. In his documentary Under African Skies, we hear Dali Tambo, founder of Artists Against Apartheid and son of the late African National Congress (ANC) president Oliver Tambo. He says: “At that moment in time, it was not helpful. We were fighting for our land, for our identity. We had a job to do, and it was a serious job. And we saw Paul Simon coming as a threat because it was not sanctioned by the liberation movement.”
Simon found it absurd that artists should be viewed in the light and shadows cast by politicians. Art, said Simon, would endure.
In 1987, Simon performed his Under African Skies Concert in Harare:
When Simon returned in 1992, that boycott has been lifted. This time the ANC backed him.
Of the show in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium, The New York Times noted, “Most black South Africans could not afford to pay up to $30 for a ticket, or, lacking cars, to travel to Johannesburg from the outlying black townships.”
Entertainment Weekly surveyed the scene:
While Simon opened his two-week South Africa tour with such gentle songs as ”The Obvious Child,” ”Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and ”The Sounds of Silence,” armored police vehicles, bomb-sniffing canines, and even a surveillance helicopter patrolled the stadium. Outside, clusters of angry black protesters, representing leftist fringe groups that ferociously oppose the lifting of international sanctions against South Africa, were handing out leaflets, waving anti-Simon signs, and threatening to disrupt his concert with violence.
Not everyone could make it. One month earlier, Ladysmith Black Mambazo co-founder Headman Tshabalala had been shot dead by a white security guard. The guard had been arrested. He’d been released on $300 bail.
The day he arrived, two hand grenades exploded outside the offices of a Johannesburg company that helped arrange the tour. Complaints were also aimed at Whoopi Goldberg and the production of Sarafina!, which she is filming in South Africa.
The Baltimore Sun reviewed the show:
A small group of black activists, as many as 100 at one point, marched outside the entrance of Ellis Park Stadium in east Johannesburg with signs that said the singer had come at the wrong time with his “Born at the Right Time” tour.
The hand-lettered placards read: “Simon Go Home,” “Yankee Go Home,” “Don’t Delay Our Freedom,” and “Liberation First, Entertainment After.”
Members of a radical black group known as the Azanian Youth Organization had threatened to disrupt the concert with violence, saying that the American pop star was wrong to come to South Africa before the country’s political problems were solved.
“Artists should come after we have a democratic government,” said Kgomotse Modiselle, a 20-year-old high school student who described himself as a spokesman for the left-wing youth group. “Right now is not the right time for sanctions to be lifted.”
He said that only whites were attending the concert because blacks were opposed to Mr. Simon’s presence in South Africa. “The stadium is filled with white people,” he proclaimed.
Violence was never far away.
About a half-dozen tanks painted in camouflage colors sat near the front of the stadium.
CHERYL Cole has ago but role of “nation’s sweetheart”. But now thank to Max Clifford Solution, you can hark back to those halcyon days of Princess Diana and Jade Goody in “Together Forever” – features “two Princesses from opposite side of the track, joined forever in happiness in the hereafter.
“From the authentic matchplay-grade table tennis table, to the bats backed with genuine dimpled rubber, to the intricately sculpted angel wings, every details of this collectors’ heirloom figurine is designed to give you joy”
TOM Mix – January 6, 1880 – October 12, 1940 – was an American silent film actor who starred in hundreds of films.
* In all, he made 336 feature films, produced 88, wrote 71 and directed 117. Tom made only 9 sound feature films and the 15-chapter serial “Miracle Rider.”
AT a time when even the most obscure vintage track is just a few clicks away, it’s very hard to create a list of “underplayed” songs. Many recordings swept under the rug have now returned to the light via music blogs, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, etc.
The list before you is to help insert some new blood into your playlists. I’m always appreciative of a recommendation, so I figured some of you would be as well.
Note: There’s a tendency in many music lists to impress the rock snobs. Nothing is ever too unknown or clever for them. I’ve tried to avoid the temptation to plumb the depths of obscurity just to show off. We’ll keep things off the beaten path, but no so deep as to unleash the Balrog.
- 1941 – Harry Nilsson
Autobiographical ditty which got him noticed by the Beatles. Legendary debauchery by Harry and Mr. Ono soon followed.
- 2000 Light Years from Home – Rolling Stones – The Stones shoot for Strawberry Fields and actually nail it. They’d be moving on to bluesier stuff in a hurry.
- A Minah Menina – Os Mutantes
Brazilian psychedelia unbelievably used in a 2008 McDonald’s commercial. It deserved the attention.
- Any Major Dude – Steely Dan
Why this wasn’t a top ten hit will forever be one of history’s greatest mysteries.
- Ballad of Danny Bailey – Elton John
With so many hits being churned out by Elton, I suppose this one got trampled and lost underfoot.
- Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – The Carpenters
Much more palatable than the original Klaatu version. Yes, it’s cheesy and insane – but that’s not always a bad thing.
- Chevy Van – Sammy Johns
Like “Afternoon Delight”, the innocent veneer masks an extremely dirty song (about having sex with a hitchhiker)
- Circle Round the Sun – B.J. Thomas
Beautiful, damn near transcendent song that apparently was too good for radio.
- Cthlu Thlu – Caravan
Guitar noodling goes on a bit long in the second half, but HP Lovecraft still would be proud.
- Daily Nightly – The Monkees
Moog infused psychedelia that, of course, gets no respect because it’s from the Monkees.
- Disadvantages of You – The Brass Ring
Elevator music at its finest.
- Fundamentally Yours – Stackridge
Sounds more like Badfinger than Badfinger, but you cannot deny it’s a flat-perfect pop melody.
- Ghetto Child – The Spinners
May sound silly to those raised on hip-hop, but this is where talent, soul, melody and message come together.
- Hard Times – Kiss
The circus often overshadowed their talent for simple quality rock. One wonders how their music would be viewed had they had just dressed like Foghat.
- Hello Little Lover – Mahogany Rush
These Canadians can rock hard. Great music to exceed speed limits to.
- Home Is Where the Hatred Is – Esther Williams
Esther lays it all out on the table. You’ll be exhausted by the time she’s through with you.
- Houdini Said – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Well crafted, creative, melodic… the adjectives keep on coming, yet I can’t put it into a coherent description.
- I See the Rain – Marmalade
Hendrix loved the guitars – you’ll get no better endorsement than that.
- I’m Mandy, Fly Me – 10cc
The band was always wandering off the beaten path; here they take an obvious pop nugget and make it interesting.
- In the First Place – Remo Four
From the Wonderwall film; a brilliant instrumental with George Harrison as its creator.
- I’ve Got to Be Going – Peppermint Trolley Co.
The group is more known for the original Brady Bunch theme than anything else, which is a crying shame because they could craft some great bubblegum pop.
- Ladies and Gentlemen – Clouds
In a perfect world, complex tunes like this go platinum. Instead, it was lost without a trace, and can’t even be found on Spotify.
- Land of the Few – Love Sculpture
If ever there was a song begging to added to a playlist, this is it. Do it for Dave Edmunds.
- Leave It – Mike McGear and Paul McCartney
Silly and nonsensical, but McCartney’s ability to come up with a brilliant melody on a dime is unnerving.
- Life Has Just Begun – Spirit
The whole Sardonicus LP is woefully under-appreciated. The songs were just a bit too odd to become a part of classic rock mainstream.
- Lord Grenville – Al Stewart
Transcendental tune about a 17th century naval captain which circles upwards like cannabis vapors to the Heavens. “Our time is just a point along a line that runs forever with no end.” Heavy, man.
- Love Alive – Heart
The ladies did their best to be Led Zeppelin in the early days. Here’s where they came the closest.
- Man of 1000 Faces – Gene Simmons
When all four members of Kiss simultaneously released solo albums, we sensed they’d be jumping the shark soon. This one is just too interesting to ignore.
- Mary Skeffington – Gerry Rafferty
It’s about Gerry’s own mother who once was full of promise, now dodges her drunk husband’s punches. It’s simultaneously depressing and beautiful.
- Mother Freedom – Bread
Not as pillowy soft as we’re accustomed with this band, but still has that signature triumphant hook.
- My White Bicycle – Tomorrow
Best bicycle song there is: beats both Queen and Floyd.
- Nice, Nice, Very Nice – Ambrosia
One of the few prog rock bands that recognized the importance of melody. Even Vonnegut couldn’t help but sing its praises; it’s not easy to adapt Bokononism for the radio.
- Open Sesame (Groove with the Genie) – Kool & the Gang
Back when funk bands had 20 members and a horn section; this is the very definition of back porch, booger nosed funk. Can ya dig?
- Psychic Vampire – Space Opera
More complicated than a song has a right to be; yet still pleasing to the ear. I could listen to this on a loop for the rest of my life.
- Red Telephone – Love
Easily one of the greatest albums of all time, Forever Changes was widely unknown until it started popping up on “best of” lists. I’ll add my voice to the chorus.
- Rose for Emily, A – The Zombies
It wants to be Eleanor Rigby, and comes damned close. Titled based on a Faulkner novel about necrophilia.
- Satellite of Love – Lou Reed
I’ve heard this song 900 times over thirty years and I still don’t know why I like it. It’s a rock snob favorite, so I want to hate it, but can’t.
- Searchin’ So Long – Chicago
One of the great codas in rock history. Coda hall of fame: “Hey Jude”, “Atlantis” by Donovan, “Aquarius” by the Fifth Dimension, and “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears “… and this is my foooour leaf clover.”
- Seven Island Suite – Gordon Lightfoot
Epic dirge to escape the rat race. Rarely are songs this exultant.
- She Was Naked – Supersister
Speaking of codas: this one starts off worrisome, then ends with a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus.
- Some Gospel According to Matthew – Roberta Flack
Before American Idol infected the world with melisma, and before autotune turned the singers of a generation into synthetic ventriloquist dummies – there was Roberta.
- Song of the Viking – Todd Rundgren
Playful on the surface, but bizarrely beautiful. Obviously written by a mad genius.
- Summer of ’71 – Helen Reddy
Hearing Helen sing about getting high on mescaline is reward enough. The fact that it’s a great song is the cherry on top.
- Theme One – The George Martin Orchestra
The Van Der Graf Generator did a respectable cover, but nothing tops the original sonic grandeur composed for Radio One.
- Vacuum Cleaner – Tintern Abbey
If you’re not pleasantly surprised by this oft overlooked psychedelic gem, you’re just being stubborn
Over to you…
THE Topps Company didn’t just make baseball cards with a stick of chewing gum in each packet. They made cards for non-sporting endeavours. Collect them. Trade them. The Garbage Pail kids cards sold well. So too Pokemon. But what about these?
In 2013 Topps created Lollapalooza Trading Cards.
But before that, they made these.
The Bay City Rollers
The girls will go wild for the Scots rockers. Back in the 1970s, it was Rollermania as Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir and drummer Derek Longmuir emerged from Edinburgh to make tartan cool.
DISNEY are a problematic bunch at the best of times, and unfortunately for them, they’ve been very successful and for a long, long time, which means they’re subject to the kind of scrutiny that not many other organisations are.
THE Coachella Festival is back, announcing the 2014 line-up, much to the excitement of people on Tumblr who are hipster enough to fawn over it, but alas, too poor to actually afford to attend.
The big news is that the festival will have a recently reformed Outkast headlining, which is good news for all. Also topping the bill are Muse and Arcade Fire (Queen 2.0 and Music For Dads, respectively).
In a post on Twitter, the festival revealed the line up for the April event, with the message “Share it like a polaroid picture”. You can see that here.
MUSICIANS aren’t known for telling the truth very often. When they break up bands, they cite ‘musical differences’ rather than ‘we all pretty much hate each other now and couldn’t convince the record label to let us have a break, so we’re going to argue about music until we can’t look each other in the eye’.
When they nearly kill themselves with drugs and booze, they pretend they’ve got ‘nervous exhaustion’. When they refuse to do promotional work for new records, they know that that, in itself, is promotional work and it works very well thank you very much.
IT’S UNFORGIVABLE to squander excellent source material in favour of garbage. Anyone who read World War Z and saw the film can vouch for that. Well, the same sad fact is true for most DVD covers. An excellent movie poster exists, but the distributor opts for a poor substitute thrown together and Photoshopped in two minutes.
Before anyone points out that movie posters have an edge via larger canvas size – I’ll acknowledge that. But there’s plenty of awesome paperback artwork – the smaller canvas didn’t seem to handicap Frank Frazetta or Robert McGinnis. So, I’m not going to give DVD covers a pass.
No excuses. And to prove my point I’m going to show you some side by side comparisons (DVD abominations are always on the right). Young children may want to shield their eyes.