The Glorious Corner
ONE DOWN FOR HBO’S THE UNDOING — I watched Sunday’s penultimate episode of their The Undoing, and even though Hugh Grant’s character Jonathan (now on trial for murder) never revealed his thoughts on the murder (which he had promised to do in the previous episode) it was a good episode. Per usual, another tantalizing clue was revealed in the final moments of the show, but with all the cloak-and-dagger machinations, the whole story’s just one big whodunit. Frustratingly watchable for sure. HBO’s guilty pleasure until Succession comes back if you ask me.
Reading some viewer’s posts, it seems that now, anybody in the cast could have done it. We’ll see next Sunday.
Donald Sutherland, so brilliant in last week’s episode, was just seen once or twice and wasn’t even given any dialogue in this EP. Kind of odd if you ask me considering his bravura performance only a week ago.
GRAMMY BLUES — The Weekend was totally snubbed by the Grammys. No nominations at all for his album, After Hours, or any of the hits on it. And, nada for Bob Dylan too. His Rough and Rowdy Ways album was IMO, a classic.
Every prognosticator of the Grammys predicted The Weekend would win Best Album and be nominated in many categories. He didn’t even get R&B nominations. After Hours omission is a scandal. The album sold 1.8 million copies including streaming, nearly 500,000 CDS and downloads.
Also, Alicia Keyes was omitted too.
The Weekend performed at last week’s terrible AMA music awards show, so, that definitely didn’t help.
Lady Gaga’s Chromatica album picked up a few nods but not Album of the Year.
Coldplay, whose 2020 album sold poorly and quickly disappeared from the charts, got an Album of the Year nod.
A pivotal winner in the nominations is Brittany Howard, from the terrific group Alabama Shakes. Her solo debut album, a sales flop, had several nods and deservedly so.
Adds colleague Roger Friedman of Showbiz 411, “The rock category is a total embarrassment. Rock has been so diminished that the nominees barely matter. Many of the “lesser” categories are from people never heard of. It’s quite amazing. If the Recording Academy was going for diversity they also delved into the unknown.”
The Grammys are now a joke. Once, they were a true honor – now, not so much.
And, by the way: whatever became of Deborah Dugan?
IS IT ANY WONDER? — Veteran acts such as Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Marley are outselling most of the pop acts currently in the USA.
Queen’s Greatest Hits Vol 1 with 24,755 sales, Fleetwood Mac Rumours with 17,319 sales, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits with 15,030 sales and Bob Marley’s Legend with 16,370 sales sold more copies than Top 10 pop acts Future & Lil Uzi Vert’s 4,254, Ariana Grande’s 10,896, Harry Styles’ 10,557, Juice WRLD’s 1,560 and Pop Smoke’s 410.
The two biggest physical releases in the USA last week were AC/DC’s Power Up with 114,445 physical sales and Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over with 75,076 physical sales.
Next to no-one is actually buying albums by Future & Lil Uzi Vert, Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD, The Kid Laroi, Lil Baby, King Von and 2 Chainz. They are listening but not buying meaning there is no fan base development.
Christmas albums are also selling more than pop albums right now. Dolly Parton’s A Holly Dolly Christmas moved 18,505 copies, Michael Buble’s Christmas sold 6,083 copies last week in the USA, Pentatonix We Need A Little Christmas sold 17,110 copies and Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas sold 5,346 copies. The number don’t lie. Physical still sells in the USA but for heritage acts mainly. Hip Hop, R&B, and most Pop releases sales are “phoned in”, quite literally via streaming.
Don Henley said it best eons ago … most of the people making music aren’t musicians. And, he’s right; they’re one-hit wonders …. gone in a flash.
Veteran PR-man David Salidor explains: “In years past, record companies had departments devoted to artist development. That’s why artists like Fleetwood Mac, Creedence, The Doobie Brothers, and Bob Marley are still selling. I think these days, it’s a trickier dynamic between artists and record companies; the companies are a tad too eager for that one-hit wonder and honestly, the companies are not adequately equipped to really develop an artist. Times have changed.”
SHORT TAKES — Monday was the 15th anniversary of the film Rent. Still to me, one of the greatest events ever to hit Broadway. Just extraordinary … As predicted, Jeopardy-winner Ken Jennings will be the first-guest host for the late Alex Trebek. Congrats …
Three wealthy patrons of the infamous Astor Place Haircutters, have stepped forward to fund their moving forward. They will not close. I don’t know who the patrons are, but this is terrific news. Bravo! … Much chatter about the City Winery’s new policy: A $50.00 COVID test prior to entering the establishment. Apparently, the test will take a half-hour for the results. Interesting tactic … but, is it prudent long haul? I’m quite certain that liquor and food prices will skyrocket as well … and, I’m not against that, but is it realistic? And, how will the performers be protected?
Still many questions … Can it really be 29 year’s since Freddie Mercury passed? His work with Queen is more popular than ever … RIP David Dinkins.
NAMES IN THE NEWS —Vinny Rich; Evan Levy; Tom& Lisa Cuddy; Melissa Davis; Anthony Noto; Donnie Kehr; Keith Girard;Adam Pascal; Lee Jeske; JB Carmicle; Andrew Krystal; Jonathan Larson; Deb Caponetta; and, CHIP!
FAMILY’S A BITCH-THE END OF SUCCESSION — Sunday’s finale of Succession (HBO) was a mixed bag. I’ll be honest: At first I thought the finale was totally underwhelming, but after some additional thought and reading some other excellent reviews, I’ve come to the point where I now believe it was, pure and simple, how it had to end.
None more so than Joss Stone on “I Put A Spell On You.” What a voice. I’m amazed she’s not bigger; very Janis Joplin.
Also, Gary Clark delivered a blistering, amazing performance on Stevie Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers.” No question that he’s the next guitar-wizard. Here they both are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvO2_noxaXQ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO2BLAXveVo …
I watched all 9 seasons of the CW’s The Flash and the first 5 were pretty terrific. The remaining ones got poorer and poorer as the original cast disappeared one by one. Grant Gustin, The Flash, was there the whole time, but their finale last week was terribly confusing – save for a song by Tony Award winner Jesse L. Martin (for Rent) – a key member of the original cast. The last two seasons had a myriad of costumed villains, some from the comic, some not, but just wildly messed up. The CW was sold to Nexstar last year and big changes are in their future. Sad … and, CNN is reporting that Universal Music is close to snapping up the rights to the Queen-catalog for $1 billion-plus. Good for them.
Disney had it previously, but Queen’s music is more popular than ever before. It’s a real shame Freddie is not her to share in it. If you wondered the record for the biggest previously was for Bruce Springsteen’s catalog at $500 million.
The Mayor of Motivation interviews Ramon Hervey, Manager & Publicist to the Famous
Ramon Hervey has earned global recognition as a highly regarded entertainment manager, brand consultant & publicist who has represented Richard Pryor, Bette Midler, Paul McCartney, the Bee Gees, Muhammad Ali, Caitlyn Jenner, Quincy Jones, Vanessa Williams, The Commodores with Lionel Richie, the Jacksons with Michael Jackson and a whole lot more A Listers. He is the author of the book…The Fame Game: An Insider’s Playbook for Earning Your 15 minutes.
After having invested 4 decades in playing the fame game, Ramon and I sat down to talk on The Motivation Show podcast.
Ramon, why do you call fame a “game” and why did you choose that word for your book title? “Fame is unpredictable, just as are the results in a game. Everyone has failures. You hope to win, but it is not guaranteed. Only .0065% of over 7 billion people in the world are famous. There are a lot of successful people in the world that never become famous. Fame and success don’t come with a warranty.”
What does Ramon feel about luck playing a role in success and fame? “I think there is a certain amount of luck in what I do. A lot of it is timing. Timing is a form of luck.” One example Ramon gives is when Starbucks started to introduce music in it’s cafes. The first one was Ray Charles, who died shortly thereafter, which skyrocketed sales of his music. That sales surge is what Ramon attributed to luck.
The pursuit of fame…is it mostly a positive goal? “Most people don’t know what fame is til they already become famous. A lot of stars change their mind about what they thought fame was going to be. A lot of people don’t like all the baggage that comes with being famous. The lack of privacy. In my time on the planet, it has definitely changed dramatically over the past ten years.” Ramon points to Social Media and it’s impact on more people having an opportunity to become famous in different ways than were available previously.
Why did Richard Pryor, at the height of his fame, attempt suicide & what was the famous incident which almost killed him that he later confessed to as a suicide attempt? “I managed all of Richard’s missteps. He was probably the #1 black entertainer in the world at that time. It’s not my fame. It’s their fame. I think Richard always felt guilty about his fame. He didn’t think he could live up to the level of fame that he achieved. That created an albatross around his neck. It made him rely on more substances to sedate him and calm himself. He reached the point that he did not want to become that person anymore. For the longest time he said that he didn’t (try to commit suicide), he said it was an accident. Richard always found a way to market his vulnerability. All of his comedy focused on all of his missteps. He had shot all four tires on his Mercedes and told his wife during a fight that you are not going to leave in that car. He put that into his comedy. He did it the exact opposite way of what we would advise which would be to put the incidences behind you. I don’t know anyone else that was as successful as him in marketing all of the things he did wrong.”
When asking Ramon about what type of confident personality one has to have to become famous he says, “I do believe you have to have a big ego and a certain amount of self confidence to be successful. Every famous person I met took a different path to get it and they all loss some level of fame at some point.”
Can you give us an example of someone you managed very well? “I am very proud of my relationship with Bette Midler. She helped to blossom my career. I was never her manager, but I was her publicist. I did work in a management capacity…she didn’t have a manager. I have a great appreciation and fondness for her. Also, working with my ex-wife Vanessa Williams on her crisis management. I did not know her at the time she was embroiled in the Miss America controversy. She resigned here title and I am glad she did. We got married and had three kids together and I managed her career. It took ten years for her to get her life back after she resigned from the Miss America pageant where she was just called Vanessa Williams without alluding to any prior controversy.”
In discussing his earlier years, Ramon shares two musical giants that helped shape his career. “In my book, I try to enlighten people about the trajectory of my own fame. My first client I got to work with was Paul McCartney. My initial task was to put together a press kit. That shaped my next 4 or 5 years when I got an opportunity to work with Quincy Jones who is the first client I brought to Rogers & Cowan who I was working with at the time. He was someone I treasured to be in his presence because he had so many great stories and so much great insight.”
Ramon muses in his book about fame, that the more you get, the harder it is to manage. I asked him if there are any other examples like that. “Probably the worst case scenario was Rick James. He had a very troubled childhood. For him, fame meant he put himself above people. He created a lot of bad blood. The way that he treated people. A lot of people did not want him to win. He always had a great fan base, but I think his fame was toxic for him. He self-destructed. He was obsessed with fame and all the hoopla and perks. He loved being the king of everything. He was very demanding. He did not know how to manage his fame.”
In closing, I ask Ramon, what he is most proud of. “I am proud of my reputation. I have never been sued. I’ve always approached business with a great deal of integrity. I’ve always worked really hard. I’ve always tried to be honest with my clients. Authentic and transparent. I think that is much better than being a yes man.”
So when I think of fame, I think of getting the best table in the best restaurants. I think about people idolizing me. I also think about people interrupting my conversation and my meal for photos and autographs. Do I really want that…or do I just want a nice, quiet, peaceful meal. Hmmm…some food for thought. How about you? Do you want to be part of the Fame Game?
You can listen to Eli’s podcast The Motivation Show on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/show/3NVmTDAvGbzooN8TCW7tuN. To contact Eli or to have him speak at your event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LASSO’S MOM CITY — I believe that the best ever episode of Ted Lasso was dropped this week, entitled Mom City. It started off innocently enough with Ted leaving for work and walking right past his mother! He realized it and turned back to her. Turns out she had been in London for a week and was just now seeing Ted.
Also, Harry Nilsson’s “Puppy Song” was a key musical moment in the EP. Harry, we love you!
SHORT TAKES — The #1 iTunes song currently is Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do with It.” Much deserved … Producer Joel Diamond used to live at 220 Central Park South in NYC. His building was torn down and re-built. It is now part of what they call Billionaire’s Road. WSJ-reporter Katherine Clarke’s new book is about just that.. Via Random House, Billionaire’s Row is out on June 13 …
We dropped the name of new Latino-artist Sasha Prendes last time; we just saw a teaser clip for her new video “Shake This.” Check it out here: https://www.sashaprendes.com/video … Micky Dolenz headlined at this week’s Abbey Road On The River and delivered his usual high-octane performance.
He leaves for England this week for the James Burton & Friends/One Night Only event June 4 at London’s Palladium … Terry Jastrow interviewed by Brad Balfour for his podcast this week …
ENDQUOTE: Via Deadline: The View’s Whoopi Goldberg Claims ‘American Idol’ Led To The Downfall of Society. Ouch! Check it out here: https://deadline.com/2023/05/the-view-cohost-whoopi-goldberg-claims-american-idol-led-to-downfall-society-1235380500/ … Happy Bday Buddy Blanch and Bobby Shaw!
TINA TURNER — Talk about a voice of a generation … my generation for sure. I think one of the first records I ever listened too was one from Ike & Tina Turner and Tina immediately caught my ear and eye. 1973’s “Nutbush City Limits” and later “Proud Mary.” Tina was simply dazzling. She passed Wednesday in Switzerland after a lengthy illness and surviving a stroke.
12 Grammys; 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards; a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; the first Black artist and the first female to be on the cover of Rolling Stone; and, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. And she had her biggest hit when she was in her 40’s. Tina was a ground-breaker in every sense of the word.
From “Nutbush City Limits” to her stunning album, Private Dancer, she was a fierce innovator.
Author Mark Bego who did two tomes on Tina said: “The passing of rock legend Tina Turner is truly tragic. She was an amazing force of nature as a singer, performer, actress, and international inspiration. Having started out with ex-husband Ike Turner, as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the 1960’s, Tina broke free from an abusive marriage with Ike, and became a solo legend on her own. I was privileged to tell her story in the books Tina Turner: Break Every Rule in 2003, and a German language update in 2009 called Tina Turner: Die Biografie. Her story, her legend, and her timeless music will live on.”
For those in the know: British-singer John Miles (“Slow Down”) toured with Tina in 1987. I knew Miles … great, great talent. Here she is with WOR’s Tom Cuddy, back when he was running WPLJ.
SIMON OF THE TIMES — (Via Deadline) Singer-songwriter Paul Simon, who at 81 has just released his 15th studio album, titled Seven Psalms, has revealed a recent hearing loss in his left ear and says the condition has left him doubting he’ll tour again.
In an interview with UK’s The Times, Simon said the hearing loss struck while he was writing the new album. “Quite suddenly, I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it,” he told the publication. “So everything became more difficult.”
The Graceland singer said he was more frustrated and annoyed than angered by the hearing loss “because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself.” The condition, however, has not improved, and he now has doubts that he’ll perform live again, a decision reinforced by both a 2020 bout with Covid and his lack of enthusiasm for singing some of his old songs.
“The songs of mine that I don’t want to sing live, I don’t sing them,” he told The Times. “Sometimes there are songs that I like and then at a certain point in a tour, I’ll say, ‘What the f*ck are you doing, Paul?’ Quite often that would come during ‘You Can Call Me Al.’ I’d think, ‘What are you doing? You’re like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road, go home.’”
Simon, who lives on a large Texas ranch with wife Edie Brickell, reflected on the recent losses of Gordon Lightfoot and Jeff Beck, noting, “It’s just the age we’re at…My generation’s time is up.”
SHORT TAKES — Brutal review of HBO’s The Idol in Roger Friedman’s always prescient Showbiz 411. Friedman goes to great length to say that the machinations of the music business are not accurately portrayed in the show at all. Truth be told: They’ve never been accurately portrayed. To me, the closest they even came was in Martin Scorsese’s brilliant Vinyl. Euphoria’s Sam Levinson is the force behind this one and I didn’t have any desire to watch it. After reading Roger’s take on it, I probably never will. Check it out here: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/05/22/cannes-hbo-unveils-the-idol-starring-the-weeknd-abel-tesfaye-and-lily-rose-depp-in-vulgar-gross-outsiders-take-on-pop-life…
Q1043 in NYC giving away DVDs of the recent Neil Bogart-inspired movie Spinning Gold. Sadly, when Justin Timberlake stepped away from portraying Bogart, this movie was DOA. It came out with nary a whisper, terrible reviews and was literally over in three days. I knew Bogart and this could have been a great, great movie. Sad for sure
We wondered about Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam (seen here with Eppy from My Father’s Place and PR-pasha David Salidor) and emailed him? No response so far. We’ll keep you posted … NBC just announced that The Blacklist finale will air -two hours- on Thursday, July 13. Suffice to say, it was a sensational show …
Happy BDay to Bob Dylan; Mike Myers; Cillian Murphy; and Frank Oz.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tony King; Mark Bego; Michael Leon; Adriana Kaegi; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mark Knopfler; Daryl Easlea; Russ Titleman; Donnie Kehr; Cori Gardner; Benny Harrison; Steve Walter; Jeff Smith; Vinnie Zuffante; Marion Curtis; Angela Tarantino; Michael Fuchs; Sasha Prendes; and ZIGGY!
GABRIEL’S GOLD — I first met Peter Gabriel eons ago at a Prince’s Trust event in London. He was sitting with the actress Rosanna Arquette, and I just formed an immediate connection with him. I was with another client, but we just clicked and ended up talking for several hours. I’ve followed his music before and certainly after and he latest album, I believe his first in 21 years, i/owill be out shortly and he’s been releasing tracks one by one – believe it not, whenever there’s been a full moon.
CHURCH AND STATE — Sunday’s penultimate episode of Succession was as brutal and emotional as ever. The three siblings, joined by their mother at Logan’s funeral, were awash in emotion, but not enough to dissuade them from further business angling. Roman ultimately broke down while he was delivering an eulogy and ended the show wandering aimlessly in a protest taking place. Logan’s brother Ewan, essayed by James Crowell, delivered a blistering indictment of Logan … on point for sure. And, Cromwell knocked it out of the park for sure.
Kendall and Shiv pursued their own affairs and it was clear by the episode’s end, that both brothers knew, she was siding with Lukas Matsson. Tom was barely in the episode at all and even missed Roy’s funeral; although he claimed to be the last one with Logan when he died.
The episode was written be creator Jesse Armstrong and was as powerful as ever, Truly a great show and one that I will miss. Get ready for next week 90-minute finale. It should be nothing short of stunning.
GUESS WHO DON’T SUE — What major 80’s blue-eyed soul singer was about to pact with a English-based label for his new album, when at the last minute he (and his manager) changed their mind and released it themselves on their own label?
The album is 3 weeks old with nary a review nor any major airplay.
Anyone can release their own album these days; but, the key is the support staff and street team … much needed these days with social media. I remember back in the day when a major ad agency took a two-page ad out themselves: the first page said, this is what happens when you don’t advertise. The second page: totally blank.
It does take a village indeed!
SHORT TAKES — The long-talked about Dave Mason autobiography, Only You And I Know, will now be out on November 14. It was originally supposed to be out this week. I wonder what caused the delay? Maybe he remembered more stories about The Moke or Teddy Slatus? …
David Zaslav (Zaz The Butcher) was met with boos and angry chants from students after taking the stage at Boston University on Sunday to accept his honorary degree and give the 2023 commencement speech. Those cries began as early as the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO’s introduction by BU President Robert A. Brown during the 150th commencement exercises at Nickerson Field. As Brown spoke to Zaslav’s “passion for documenting and sharing the human story on a global scale,” the chants and booing immediately picked up, followed by what would become a constant ebb and flow of calls throughout his 20-minute speech. A plane even flew by with a banner proclaiming Pay Your Writers. Face it, this guy’s a joke for sure …
Micky Dolenz’s solo show in Davenport, Iowa this weekend, apparently was off the charts. Our spy reports that SRO-crowd was terrifically energetic; especially on a terrific version of The Beatles’ “Get Back.” Thanks to Jane Blunkell for the attached shot. Dolenz is at Abbey Road On The River this week and Louisville Public Media did a nice interview with him. Check it out here: https://www.lpm.org/music/2023-05-22/shines-catchup-with-micky-dolenz-of-the-monkees … I caught the Bob Clearmountain interview on Inside Power Station on NYC Life Channel this weekend and it was pretty good. Stephen Webber, Director of BerkleeNYC was not the best interviewer I’ve ever seen, but he held up. To tell you the truth, I’d never heard of this channel or show, but frankly, it was pretty well done.
The Power Station, for those that don’t know, was one of the premiere studios in NYC before going through a series of management changes and now Berklee School of Music owns it. As the interview with Clearmountain abruptly ended, they showed a video and interview from a current student there; so it’s as much a promo move from Berklee as anything else. I wonder what actual artists were interviewed for the show. I’d love to see Springsteen interviewed or even Duran Duran. These behind-the-scenes docs are gaining prominence for sure. Latino-artist Thalia announced one last week and there’s a slew coming. Stay tuned …
And, the new Indiana Jones movie debuted at Cannes last week and received not the best reviews and much chatter was about its director James Mangold and whether he was a good choice. I’ll see it for sure as I’m a fan of the series, but Sunday I caught the tail-end of Ford vs. Ferrari, which I loved the first time I saw it and loved it again. I had forgotten that Mangold directed that one too and to me, did just a brilliant job. Bravo! … Happy Bday Bernie Taupin!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Race Taylor; Tony King; Rob Dickins; Daryl Easlea; Glenn Gretlund; Ian Lee; Mikael Wood; Robert Evans; Roger Friedman; Angela Tarantino; Robert Funarto; Michael Fuchs; Brian Cox; Kit Lambert; Chris Stamp; Decca Records; Lifehouse; Benny Harrison; and CHIP!
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