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BOWIE QUEEN CREAM— (Via UCR) Queen drummer Roger Taylor revealed that the band had jammed  on some Cream covers with David Bowie during their 1981 studio sessions together.

In 2017, guitarist Brian May said there was probably more to be heard from the brief collaborative period that resulted in the release of the Queen and Bowie hit “Under Pressure.” In a recent interview with Record Collector, Taylor hinted at what might remain in the vaults.

“If we look to the archives, there’s probably stuff,” he said, noting that they’d played “all sorts of old songs … whatever came into our head. … We would do the odd thing like covering old Cream songs. I remember we did ’N.S.U.’ and ‘I Feel Free,’ just for a laugh really, and then we decided, ‘Let’s write one for ourselves.’”

May recalled that the sessions – which came about simply because Bowie and Queen happened to be in Switzerland at the same time – found focus once “Under Pressure” began to take shape. “That became very much the priority,” the guitarist said. “So there are only little sketches apart from that.” One of those became “I Go Crazy,” a 1984 B-side, but May said it turned out “very different to the version that we started off when David was around.”

Four years ago, he said the session experience “wasn’t easy, because we were all precocious boys and David was very … forceful.” He recalled how Bowie and Freddie Mercury “locked horns” in “subtle ways, like who would arrive last at the studio. So, it was sort of wonderful and terrible. But in my mind, I remember the wonderful now, more than the terrible. … But those are the things that happen in a studio, that’s when the sparks fly, and that’s why it turned out so great.”

For the record, “Under Pressure” is a great track and has held up for sure over the years.

GRAMMYS DOWN AGAIN —(Via Variety) The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Trevor Noah and boasting powerhouse performers Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, BTS, Billie Eilish, Post Malone and Megan Thee Stallion, drew a scant audience for CBS. This year’s telecast was the lowest-rated in Grammys history in the early numbers.

Per Nielsen Live+Same Day official national numbers, Music’s Biggest Night delivered an average of 8.8 million viewers for the network during the ceremony’s broadcast on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET with a 2.1 rating in the key, adults ages 18-49 demographic.

In comparison, the time-zone adjusted fast national charts for 2020’s Grammy Awards drew a 5.4 rating in the key demo and 18.7 million viewers. The 2019 Grammy Awards drew a 5.6 rating and 19.9 million viewers. The least-watched Grammys was the host-less awards ceremony in 2006, which snagged 17 million viewers.

Nevertheless, this year’s telecast was still the highest-rated broadcast of the night, and it was the most-streamed Grammy show ever with 83% more live streams compared to 2020. In addition to cable, the show could be accessed on the CBS website and app as well as the network’s recently re-branded and debuted video-on-demand and over-the-top media streaming service Paramount Plus. The ceremony was also one of the most engaging programs on social this year, with over 77 billion impressions. Conversations related to performers, presenters and the special dominated social media with #Grammys trending in the top ten for 18 hours and peaking at #1.

The primetime ceremony had an impressive lineup featuring over 22 musicians, including Bad Bunny, Black Pumas, Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, Mickey Guyton, Haim, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Lil Baby, Chris Martin, John Mayer, Maren Morris and Roddy Ricch. The stars performed throughout the night in a mix of live and pre-recorded sets taking place from four stages surrounded by the ceremony’s talent, nominees and guests. A fifth stage was used by the show’s presenters, many of whom were independent music venue personnel from the Apollo in New York, the Station Inn in Nashville and the Troubadour and Hotel Café in Los Angeles.

Originally set for Jan. 31 to kick off awards season, the 2021 Grammy Awards were rescheduled due to the fraught state of Los Angeles at the time as the city and county contended with an unprecedented COVID-19 winter case count surge.

I hate to say it: but, it wasn’t your parent’s Grammy’s for sure. New producer; new director (Hamish Hamilton); and, mostly new acts. It was certainly a welcomed change, but also somewhat alarming for sure. The whole “WAP” performance was something maybe for a bit later in the evening. And, damn, what do the Me Too stalwarts say about this song? Haven’t heard from them and that does seem odd.

My biggest criticism was the 15-second Eddie Van Halen-tribute … hey, the guy deserved much, much better to my mind. Outgoing-director Ken Ehrlich would NEVER had let that happen.

But, for me, the biggest surprise was Ringo Starr, looking more like a 40-year old, than an 80-year old. Sure, it was for his new EP-CD (or, whatever!) called Zoom In; a somewhat lackluster effort for sure. I mean, Ringo singing a Diane Warren song … please!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9704582b) Ringo Starr Ringo Starr European Tour press conference in Paris, France – 06 Jun 2018 British musician Ringo Starr attends a press conference with his band prior to his European tour in Paris, France, 06 June 2018. His European tour will start in Paris on 06 Jne.

For me, his 1992 album Time Takes Time was his best effort since his Ringo album in 1973. Check out the song “Weight of the World” (with Jellyfish on vocals) from 1992. Just brilliant! 

Go Ringo!

SHORT TAKES — Celebrity-scribe Mark Bego attended Monday’s Mary Wilson funeral in LA with Freda Payne … Brit-writer Neil Watson penning book on Harry Nilsson His music just better be in the new season of Russian Dolls!)  Dolls!) …

Tom Silverman

Seen: PR-pasha David Salidor and Tommy Boy’s Tom Silverman lunching at NYC’s Eataly  … Robert Englund, 73, best known for playing Freddy Krueger, will join season four of Netflix’s Stranger Things as a murderer imprisoned in a mental hospital; the show is now filming in Georgia. No date has yet been set for the premiere of S4 …

Eppy, David Salidor and Robert Miller (photo by John Wisdom)

Eppy from the legendary My Father’s Place joins Robert Miller Wednesday on his Follow Your Dream podcast … My favorite new word of the week: chatterati! … Just announced: The 4th season of AMC’s sumptuous Killing Eve will be its last … Watched Netflix’s I Care A Lot, from writer/director J.Blakeson, starring Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage. It’s a rather frightening tale of the health-care system gone wrong. It won an award at last year’s TIFF; and, a Golden Globe for Pike. Highly recommended … And, RIP Yaphet Kotto (Midnight Run; Alien and, TV’s Homicide).

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Cory Robbins; Evan Levy; Glenn Gretlund; Matt Friedlander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Richard Perry; Marsha Stern; Sharon White; Vic Kastel; Merry Clayton; Steve Leeds; Nick Ware; Ed Steinberg; Randy Alexander; Coati Mundi; August Darnell; Eva Tudor; Jeff Vogel; Brad LeBeau; and, ZIGGY!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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Kjersti Long (David Kaptein)

G.H. Harding

GO LONG —- We’ve spoken before of 17-year-old Kjersti Long – on Origin Entertainment/ModSquad (ADA) Records. Her latest single “Sad Song” has become a digital-hit and a new album (her second) is in the works.

She’ll also be in NYC for June’s Tribeca Festival and a prominent agency is stepping up to rep her and her play Relative Space is prepping for an opening in the West End.

Said NEW HD’s Zach Martin: “Kjersti Long, at just 17, stands as a beacon of talent and ambition in the music industry. Her journey from a prodigious debut at the tender age of 11 with the album “Stronger Than You Think I Am” on Broadway Records to becoming a significant influencer on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Kjersti’s career trajectory is nothing short of remarkable​​. Her engagement with her fans and the music community through platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where she has garnered over 50 million views and more than 160,000 new followers, underscores her magnetic appeal and the resonant connection she forges through her music​​.”

She also has a song on the new Vanessa Williams album, “Legs.” Williams’ official video will be out April 26, but here’s an update on her from LifeMinute TV:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD-Okb_T8CM

www.kjerstilong.com


RASCAL-ING AROUND —
(Via Forgotten Hits) Look for a new Rascals box set coming out May 31st.

The 7-disc set encompasses their entire recorded output with Atlantic Records, 1965 – 1971, including mono and stereo copies of their albums, special singles mixes and some previously unreleased tracks.  (I remember shelling out big bucks for an earlier CD edition of this set … but I’ve gotta tell you, this one has got the COOLEST looking cover!!!).

“The Rascals:  It’s Wonderful: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings features 152 remastered songs, including 14 previously unreleased tracks. The first four albums are presented in both stereo and mono, along with significant single edits and foreign language versions. The collection includes a 60-page booklet with detailed notes and rare illustrations from The Rascals archives.

Amazon’s got it for $69.99 (I paid 2 ½ times that much way back when for the original!) so pre-order now.  This is quite the collection!

Interesting that this box set is from the UK-based Cherry Red Records. Founded by Iain McNay in 1978, Cherry Red Records has continued to uphold the same fiercely independent values since day one. Check them out here: https://www.cherryred.co.uk/about

And don’t forget about Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish and The Rascals at SONY Hall on May 17.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Atlantic-Recordings-Rascals/dp/B0CZ3NHLGG?crid=3S8UG8TZCIC3M&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.fcz-QxVsrVNGCoS-EbSPkg.htVhtZLFLUN8n9NrR1H-6rJi5fsjLvQexjIPS6c2Ges&dib_tag=se&keywords=B0CZ3NHLGG&qid=1712320481&s=music&

Micky Dolenz at Troubadour (Stevo Rood)

SHORT TAKES — Check out Tone Scott’s review of Micky Dolenz at LA’s Troubadour in Goldmine: https://www.goldminemag.com/columns/micky-dolenz-songs-and-stories-raises-the-roof-off-the-troubadour-all-for-make-a-wish#gid=ci02dac725a00025c5&pid=thumbnail-3

RIP Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola at 87. Years ago, I was at a screening of Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind Of Charles Swan with Charlie Sheen. I loved the movie and at a post-screening event, I met Francis Ford Coppola, who could not have been more approachable.

He invited me to sit at his table with his wife Eleanor. Both were terrific. She’ll be much-missed by the film community as well. From Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/eleanor-coppola-dead-hearts-of-darkness-francis-coppola-wife-1235883537/Happy Bday Brit Brashear.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Melinda Newman; Barry Fisch; Toby Rasmussen; Roy Trakin; Joel Diamond; Fred Armisen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Richie Kaczor; Jim Burgess; Tom Scott; Steve Walter; Dan Zelinski; Herb Alpert; Hubert Laws; Eppy; Craig Newman; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Lora Evans; Andrew Sandoval; Chris Carter; Wen Fernandez; and ZIGGY!

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G.H. Harding

OJ DOA — Perhaps the Drudge Report (yes, the Drudge Report) had the most fitting headline: Cancer Murders OJ.

Yesterday’s news came as a huge surprise at 11:00 AM. For me, firstly, I couldn’t quite believe it was almost 30 years since that trial. When the verdict came in, I was at The Conservatory restaurant in the long-gone, much missed Mayflower Hotel. It was packed and when the verdict was announced there was a minute or two of dead-silence, then gasps. One of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced.

I wasn’t a huge sports fan -never have been- but I knew a lot about OJ. Face it, he was an icon And when the murders happened; the Bronco-chase; and trial … it was just extraordinary. His rise and fall was an amazing tale. It was also a major story for all the entertainment outlets. Journalists essentially moved to LA for the 9-month trial. It was, to my mind, the first trial of its kind.

CNN showed some of the reactions from then: then audience reaction at the Oprah Winfrey show was a mixed bag. Some cheered as Winfrey stood stone-faced. The reaction of OJ’s lawyers were interesting too; Robert Khardashian looked shell-shocked, while Cochran and Robert Shapiro  hugged OJ.

As Wolf Bltizer just said: these are moments one will never forget.

We think we know what happened … but now, we’ll never know for sure. An american tragedy for sure.

YES Photo by Gottlieb Bros

YES’ PURPLE — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Deep Purple and Yes will team up for a North American summer tour.

The trek begins on Aug. 14 in Hollywood, Florida, and concludes on Sept. 8 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday.

Deep Purple is in the midst of their 1 More Time tour and simultaneously celebrating 50 years of “Smoke on the Water” (52 years now, to be exact). The band recently released a super deluxe edition of its landmark album Machine Head, which includes classics such as “Smoke on the Water,” “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin’.”

Yes, meanwhile, will deliver a career-spanning set comprising material through their latest album, 2023’s Mirror to the Sky. The prog legends are also releasing an expanded anniversary box set of their 1994 album Talk next month.

52 years of “Smoke On The Water.” A classic if there ever was one. Every time I hear it on the radio, I start singing along. Talk about staying power! I saw Yes years ago and it was quite the show; with Chris Squire too.

There are a slew of legacy artists out for the summer and deservedly so. They may not generate the ink of a Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, but their impact is still there.

Hubert Laws

SHORT TAKES — CTI Records. Remember them? It was producer Creed Taylor’s boutique label which released some of the most dynamic and interesting jazz-records in the 70’s and 80’s (SONY owns them now). From Airto to Milt Jackson; Deodato; Bob James; Jim Hall and Hubert Laws, the music was just terrific. Originally distributed by Herb Alpert’s A&M Records, they went independent and continued with some of the best jazz recordings ever. Even before you listened to the music, all the albums had a deluxe-cover; with some startling images. Check this piece out about their album covers from Medium: https://medium.com/@slishpogodi/cti-records-the-best-album-covers-cdac2e16c534 … 50 years of People Magazine. Rumors spread last year that the weekly was on its last legs.

Mia Farrow

Their first issue was in 1974 with Mia Farrow on the cover …

David Kramer

Director David Kramer won for ‘Best Documentary’ at last week’s NYFF event for his Jimi Hendrix: The Documentary. Congratulations

Coopstock

Coopstock is this weekend in Mesa, Arizona. Guests include Micky Dolenz; REO’s Kevin Cronin; Orianthi; Patrick Warburton; and of course, Alice Cooper himself … Hard to believe that director Todd Phillips, who directed The Hangover, did the first Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix. It was just startling in every way and now the follow-up is about to come out with Phoenix and Lady Gaga; introduced as Harley Quinn. One trade already termed it a jukebox musical. Stylish for sure it looks just sensational and is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in quite some time. Here’s it is: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/joker-2-trailer-joaquin-phoenix-lady-gaga-1235957692/
… Here’s the trailer of Disney+’s Beach Boys doc.  Directed by Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Rspu3Xoi4 …  And, this week’s New York Magazine cover heralds the history of NYC through its restaurants. I was ready to see Tortilla Flats; La Cote Basque; Schraffts; Mortimers; Trader Vic’s; and Fontana Di Trevi. Turns out, it’s memories from people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who worked at The Coffee Shop and Keith McNally, who shucked oysters at One Fifth. Honestly, I expected a bit more depth. Great idea; lousy execution.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Toni Basil; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Mitch Dolan; Barry Nolan; Robert Lamm; Jacqueline Boyd; Wayne Avers; Tyorne Biljan; Michelle Toscas; Fred Zarr; Abbe Rosenfeld; Shep Pettibone; Tony Darrow; Robert Funaro; Angel Mastrogiorgio; Ellen Smith; Howard Bloom; Jane Berk; Jack Cunningham; and CHIP.

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G.H. Harding

RINGO’S COUNTRY — (Via Forbes) Ringo Starr had a very busy 2023. He released a new EP, toured, and even reunited with Paul McCartney to produce one last Beatles single, “Now and Then.” One might assume that after so much activity, the 83-year-old might take some time off, but according to the musician himself, he’s still hard at work–and trying something new.

In a video he posted to X (formerly Twitter), Starr shared some very exciting news for his fans. It seems that he’s back in the studio working on new music. That would be enough to tantalize his still-massive following, but the kind of music he’s making is what caught the attention of many.

Starr shared in his video that he was “gonna do a country EP, but as things are unfolding, it’s probably going to be like a real CD—ten tracks.” He then laughed a bit to himself, adding, “Can you believe it? I haven’t done one of them in a long time.”

The beloved drummer last released a full-length album of original material in 2019 when What’s My Name arrived. That set was a minor commercial success, peaking at No. 99 in his home country of the U.K. and No. 127 in the U.S., where he remains very popular to this day.

Since his last album, Starr has been on a streak, releasing a number of EPs, or shorter collections. In the five years since What’s My Name, the drummer has dropped four EPs, as well as a number of singles, live collections, and more. He most recently returned with Rewind Forward, which even saw him collaborating with McCartney again.

For the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a timetable for when fans may get to hear Starr’s take on country. While he may be working on the material, there’s no telling what exactly it will sound like or when he’ll decide to release something.

In addition to a country collection, Starr also detailed yet another project he’s working on. The former Beatle and songwriter and producer Linda Perry have collaborated on another EP, titled Crooked Boy. That set seems to be his focus at the moment, and it will likely be released before any country tunes. About his friend and producer, Starr commented, “She wrote the songs for me. She produced them. She’s a beauty, so musical,” and said that she “has a great vibe.”

Jackie Chan

CHAN ALERT — (Via Deadline) Jackie Chan has reassured fans that he is in good health after a picture of him with gray hair and a beard sparked concerns for his well-being.

The Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, and Tuxedo star turned 70 over the weekend and marked the occasion with a post on Instagram in which he addressed health fears.

“Not so long ago, a lot of friends saw some recent photos of me on the internet, and they were all concerned about my health,” Chan said.

“I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know, don’t worry! It’s just a character appearance for my latest movie. The character requires me to have white hair, white beard and look old.”

The viral photos were from an event where Chan was on stage with a microphone. He was wearing glasses and clutching papers.

Last November, Chan was cast in a new Karate Kid movie. He will play Mr. Han, the kung fu master who helped Jaden Smith fend off bullies in Sony’s 2010 Karate Kid remake.

In his Instagram message, the Hong Kong actor said he has cherished every moment of his 62 years in the entertainment industry. “All I can say is: I love making movies and I love you all,” Chan said.

SHORT TAKES — Last week were several top-secret screenings for the new Francis Ford Coppola movie Megalopolis. Per an article in yesterday’s Hollywood Reporter, many attendees found it impossible to position. I haven’t seen it, but how can you deny the director’s importance? That said, I knew one person who went to one of the screenings and he has yet to render an opinion on it. Check out the Reporter piece: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/megalopolis-francis-ford-coppola-challenges-distribution-1235867556/

Benson Boone

Just caught Benson Boone on Tuesday’s Today Show, performing his song “Beautiful Things.” The 21-year-old reminded me of Tony Manero (Saturday Night Fever) during the short interview with Savannah, Hoda and Carson, but the song was pretty good. He gained prominence through his work on Tik Tok and Dan Reynolds’s acknowledgement – from Imagine Dragons. Check him out here: https://www.bensonboone.com/

Micky Dolenz at the Troubadour

Here’s one more great shot of Micky Dolenz’s from his triumphant show at LA’s Troubadour

People of a certain age will well recall John Hughes’ 1985 masterpiece The Breakfast Club. Certain things age well … others don’t. Check out Molly Ringwald’s take on that movie now from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2024/04/molly-ringwald-the-breakfast-club-elements-havent-aged-well-judd-nelson-character-1235877597/comment-page-2/#comments  … Anybody out there remember Lou O’Neill at the NewYork Post back in the day? …

Savannah Sellers

Can’t see to find Chloe Melas on Today anymore. Sad, but she clearly not the right move.; their Savannah Sellers is a much, much better fit …

Watched the Gershwin Awards honoring Elton John and Bernie Taupin on PBS. Brandi Carlisle performing “Madman Across The Water” is just amazing. Great show. Congratulations … More Sly Stallone news. All I can say is, I am NOT surprised: https://deadline.com/2024/04/tulsa-king-casting-director-quits-sylvester-stallone-accused-criticizing-background-actors-1235878860/ … Here’s the trailer for the biopic on Amy Winehouse from Focus Features. Looks pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYzIOBwyhIU  … Happy Bday Robin Platzer!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Terry Jastrow; Dina Pitenis; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Roy Trakin; Len Berman; Felix Cavaliere; Jane Blunkell; Pete Bennett; May Pang; Ken Dashow; Craig Newman; Jeffrey Sherman; Stu Fine; Mitch Kanner; Eppy; Al Steckler; Dan Richter; Tony King; Derek Taylor; Tyrone Bijan; Michelle Toscas; and ZIGGY!

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Micky Dolenz and band onstage (photo by Tyrone Biljan)

G.H. Harding

DOLENZ AT THE TROUBADOUR — Doug Weston’s Troubadour club in LA is a most storied venue. Back in the day, that was the club to be at and to play at on Santa Monica Blvd. Elton John’s US debut occurred at the club in 1970 when he was a mere 23. Other acts such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Joni Mitchell, Poco, Neil Young, James Taylor, Eagles, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Waylon Jennings, Tom Waits and so many more appeared at the club.

Troubadour (photo by Alison Martino)

Somehow The Monkees never played the club (though Micky Dolenz was in the audience for Elton’s debut back then). They hung out there and Mike Nesmith actually played there under the name of Mike Blessing during his Monkee-auditions.

That all changed Friday night when Micky Dolenz and his 6-piece band with his sister Coco, performed there. It was sold-out (a benefit for Make-A-Wish) and it was indeed history in the making.

The evening began with Dolenz’s sister Coco (it was her birthday) doing a short set with the band. Dolenz entered the stage and began with “That Was Then, This Is Now” and “Last Train To Clarksville.” Dolenz peppered the show with many personal reminiscences and his crack-band shined; especially guitarist Wayne Avers, drummer Rich Dart and bassist John Billings. Dolenz’s voice remains as strong as ever; it’s been said that his is a cross between Freddie Mercury and Roy Orbison, which is a spot-on description.

Dolenz and crew then did “Good Morning, Good Morning” and “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which was preceded by Dolenz’s memories about his time with The Beatles. “Johnny B. Goode” (his Monkees-audition song) and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” followed with the crowd singing along.

Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Elton’s “Your Song” followed, again peppered with Dolenz’s poignant memories.

Make no mistake, The Monkees had just terrific material to work with; songwriters like Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Sedaka, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, but the synthesis of the four of them was pure magic. Dolenz is carrying on that spirit in fine fashion.

Dolenz and band encored with “Gimme Some Lovin’,”No Time” and “I’m A Believer.”

Just a terrific show from start to finish. Bravo!

Seen in the SRO crowd, Alison Martino; Goldmine’s Ken Sharp and Tone Scott; Breakfast with The Beatles’ Chris Carter; Craig Newman from Paladin Artists; Art Rutter; Michelle Grant; Jane Blunkell; Micky’s daughter Ami Dolenz; and Roy Trakin from Variety.

Mario Van Peebles

HOLLY-DAY IS HERE  — (Via Variety) Mario Van Peebles has been tapped to direct “That’ll Be the Day,” the story of how Buddy Holly and other musicians of the late 50’s helped give birth to rock ‘n’ roll and influence the wider societal and cultural landscape, including the civil rights movement.

Music has been central to much of Van Peebles’ work, from his 1991 gangster movie “New Jack City” to his work on “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” which he co-executive produced for Hulu. Van Peebles is currently writing a musical stage tribute to his father Melvin Van Peebles, to be performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center later this year.

“America’s tumultuous cultural melting pot has produced transcendent musical talent, including Buddy Holly, who was our first bad ass rock ’n’ roll nerd,” Van Peebles said in a statement.

His 2003 docudrama “Baadasssss!” pays homage to his father’s groundbreaking film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” His latest film, “Outlaw Posse” – a Western starring Edward James Olmos, Whoopi Goldberg, Cedric the Entertainer and John Caroll Lynch – which Van Peebles wrote, directed and starred in – is out now in theaters.

The screenplay was written by Patrick Shanahan and Matthew Benjamin, with additional material written by Van Peebles. The script is based on a story by French and Stephen Easley, general counsel to the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation.

Mario has certainly established himself as a creative force, but still, this seems an odd choice. But so was Taylor Hackford for Ray and that was a masterpiece.

SHORT TAKES — Woody Allen says in Graydon Carter’s Airmail: “The whole business has changed, and not in an appealing way. All the romance of film-making is gone.” Sad if his next film Coup de Chance, his 50th feature, is his last. Mired in personal tribulations, Allen was indeed canceled. Me, I wasn’t there and still haven’t made up my mind. But, boy, what a filmmaker. Sad news for sure …

Steve Kmetko

Remember Steve Kmetko? One of the first major entertainment journalists. He was on E and Entertainment Tonight and then unceremoniously dropped. On a podcast (Still Here Hollywood) with Amy Yasbeck, he reveals all. I knew Steve and his canceling was not done the right way at all. Check it out here: https://podtail.com/en/podcast/still-here-hollywood/ … And, Colin Farrell’s new Apple TV+ show

Sugar

Sugar is a visual delight. The logline begins with “an enigmatic detective” Hey, aren’t they all? It’s a bit of Chinatown and Mad Men. Light on story, but a heavenly look.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Wayne Avers; Tyrone Bijan; Jane Blunkell; Tone Scott; Chris Carter; Barry Fisch; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jules Asner; Amanda Naylor; Michael DesBarres; Jacqueline Boyd; Jim Kerr; Maria Milito; Dan Zelinski; Eppy; Ken Kohl; Kent and Laura Denmark; Mitchell Coleman; Lush Ice; Barry Schiff; Tony King; Jodi Ritzen; and ZIGGY!

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G.H. Harding

JIM GORDON — Jim Gordon was a name that appeared on numerous album covers, liner notes and media in the 70’s and 80’s. He was in Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, as well a George Harrison’s triumphant All Things Must Pass masterpiece and a member of Eric Clapton’s Derek and the Dominoes.

I think his story, at least what he went to prison for, has been documented enough where I won’t go into it again as it was so tragic. He was the ‘drummer’ to go to back in the day.

He appears on records by the Everly Brothers; Ike & Tina Turner; Chad & Jeremy; The Monkees; Beau Brummel; Beach Boys; Bobby Darin; Tiny Tim; Delaney & Bonnie; Traffic; Nilsson; Donovan; The Byrds; Seals & Crofts; Albert Hammond; Dave Mason; Leon Russell; Joe Cocker; B.B. King; Helen Reddy; Steely Dan; Jackson Browne; Minnie Riperton; Mike Post; The Carpenters; Burton Cummings; Maria Muldaur; and dozens more.

Producers Lenny Waronker and Russ Titleman knew his presence only in the studio would turn a mediocre track into something special; he turned a session with them and Gordon Lightfoot into what would become “Sundown,” a monster hit for the artist.

Writer Joel Selvin, who I was not at all familiar with, does a thorough job in detailing Gordon’s life, his records and personal life. Who knew he had a torrid affair with Mama Cass Elliot? Certainly, the incident with Rita Coolidge has been well documented and it again appears here.

Back in those days, medical diagnoses were few and far between and research was just beginning into areas like dementia and delusional hierarchy. Gordon clearly had problems, but the help necessary really hadn’t yet been created. Its a sad story for sure, especially after ready his musical exploits, which were just superb.

This book comes on the heels of the Joe Cocker biography (With a Lot of Help from His Friends) from writer Mark Bego and ties in ever so nicely with it.

QUAKE IN NYC — Friday’s news was all about the 4.8 quake in NYC. Having lived and worked in LA, I’ve sadly become all too used to them. To be honest, it felt like a over-sized truck rumbling by in my neighborhood. Still, caution should be the word to use. After shocks are a reality too.

SHORT TAKES — Patti Boyd sold the original painting that went onto be the cover for the Layla album (titled La Jeune Fille au Bouquet and created by Emile Theodore Frandsen in the mid 50’s) for $2.5 million? Amazing. Its a great cover, but, $2.5 million? Wonder who the buyer who … Not to be snarky, but all this chatter about Monday’s Solar Eclipse, reminds me of Y2K. Remember that? It all seems a bit excessive …

Apple TV’s Constellationwas one hell of a ride. I can’t say I understood it all, but the craftsman that went into it was truly spectacular. I guess the message of the show was that you can go up into space, but when you come back, things can be much, much different. Can one exist in two different worlds was another message too.Apple’s Invasion fared much, much better in my book as such I think Constellation won’t be back for a round-two. Compelling yes, but way confusing … And, RIP John Sinclair. Iggy Pop says that Bowie “Wrote Panic In Detroit” about him. Superb track, still to this day. Give a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM3fCUmSheY … With the relative failure of J’Lo’s new album, her forthcoming tour has been re-tooled as a greatest hits one. Check out Deadline’s story: https://deadline.com/2024/04/jlo-rebrands-this-is-me-now-into-a-greatest-hits-tour-1235875649/And, Roger Friedman (in his brilliant Showbiz 411) said that with JLo’s failure and Justin Timberlake’s new album having gone stone-cold after a matter of weeks, a new era of quality music might just be on the horizon. Things change for sure. Check it out here: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/04/04/the-awful-truth-justin-timberlake-now-an-adult-artist-new-album-is-a-dud-with-just-130000-copies-sold

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Lee Jeske; Chuck Pulin; Andy Skurow; Steve Leeds; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Shannon Goode; Richard Johnson; Ian Mohr; David Kramer; Dan Zelinski; Vanilla Coke; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; William Schill; Jeffrey Sherman; Jane Blunkell; Barry Fisch; Felix Cavaliere; Jerry Lembo; Dan Zelinski; and SADIE!

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