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G.H. HARDING

ABBA DO— Sure, there have been some terrific revivals this year, but topping them off must be the fact that after 40 years, ABBA is back. Here’s the official news via Variety:

It’s hard to think of any group of performers that got back together after 40 years apart, and ABBA has not half-stepped the announcement of its return. 

While it was first announced rather vaguely three and a half years ago, they waited until the time was ripe to do it officially: Via a global livestream that was also aired at special fan events all over the world (including one in New York just hours after record-breaking rainfall and flooding), we got two brand-new songs — the first new material from the group in nearly four decades — news of an album due on Nov. 5, and what seems to be a completely groundbreaking virtual concert that will premiere in a specially built London arena next May.

The center of the hour-long livestream was a long interview with the group’s songwriters, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, where they talked about the new songs, the album and the concert, which will feature avatars (if the official name isn’t “ABBAtars,” it should be) of the four members — Andersson, Ulvaeus and singers Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — that were painstakingly created by more than 100 digital artists and technicians from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic special-effects company.

Of the album’s creation, Andersson said simply, “First it was just two songs, and then we said, ‘Maybe we should do, I don’t know, a few others? What do you say, girls?’ They said yes, then I said why don’t we just do a whole album.”

The lead song is the ballad “I Still Have Faith in You,” which actually has a similar feel to tracks from the group’s most recent album, “The Visitors” (odd as it seems to say that about an album released in 1981). Also like songs from that album, it’s about the members of ABBA and what they’ve meant to each other.

“When Benny played the melody, I just knew it had to be about us,” Ulvaeus said. “It’s about realizing that it’s inconceivable to be where we are [today] — no imagination could dream up that, to release a new album after 40 years, and still be the best of friends and still be enjoying each other’s company and have total loyalty. Who has experienced that?”

Asked what the album’s songs and their themes are like, Andersson said, “It’s a little mixture of everything, like it has been on our records throughout the years. We have a little Christmas tune, it’s called ‘Little Things,’ and there are a number of pop songs as well.”

Crucially, the two new songs also are age-appropriate for the septuagenarian members: They’re classic ABBA songs that don’t try to adopt new styles or even revive the more dance-oriented sounds of the group’s past.

“We’re not competing with Drake and all these other guys,” Andersson laughed. “We can’t, because I don’t understand the ingredients in the songs that work today, so it’s impossible to emulate. I don’t mind Drake, I just don’t know what modern pop artists are doing.”

Ulvaeus continued, “At our age, there’s a certain depth to the whole thing, musically and lyrically, and of course the way [Fältskog and Lyngstad] sing and the way they deliver. There’s a lot of experience and a lot of years in that that I hope people can feel.”

As for the show, ILM’s artists and technicians meticulously filmed the bandmembers performing a 22-song setlist over the course of five weeks — and then essentially reverse-aged them using digital technology.

Ben Morris of ILM said, “They got on a stage in front of 160 cameras and almost  as may genius [digital] artists, and performed every song in this show to perfection, capturing every mannerism, every emotion, the soul of their beings — so that becomes the great magic of this endeavor. It is not four people pretending to be ABBA: It is actually them.

The concept is essentially ABBA today performing as their younger selves, Morris continued. “We create Abba in their prime — 1979 — as digital characters that we will then use performance-capture techniques to animate and perform them and make them look real,” he said. “That [process] started with present-day ABBA: We did performance-capture with them, and that’s formed the basis of the whole project.”

“We have really infused ourselves into these avatars in so many ways,” Ulvaeus added.

As for the big question — the songs they will perform in the show — Andersson said, “It’s sort of a greatest hits, I’d say, but [also] we tried to play a couple of songs that were not great hits but that we like.

“‘Dancing Queen,’ is going to be in it,” he said to cheers from the audience, “It’s 22 songs, and hour and a half approximately, and also those two new songs we released today.

“We hadn’t recorded the other [new] songs when we [filmed] this motion thing,” he continued, “but we said maybe we should do a couple more because it was so joyful to be together in the studio again, the four of us. Hearing Agnetha and Frida go for it again — and not knowing, really, if it was still there.”

Ulvaeus expanded on that reunion to Apple Music in an interview released Thursday, “We’d see each other every now and then, but it was especially clear when we were in the studio for the first time for this album, together, because that was so strange and wonderful at the same time. Everything came rushing back, like it was yesterday.… I looked around and I looked into Agnetha’s eyes and Frida’s eyes and there was the same kind of feeling, the warmth and the friendship and the bonds, between us that, as you suddenly realize no one on earth has experienced this kind of relationship that we have because, thinking about it, it’s true, nobody else has. Sadly, people die and they don’t stay on friendly terms for their whole lives, but we have. And I’m so incredibly happy for that.”

Andersson added during the livestream, “Five minutes before they got to the studio I was thinking, ‘I should have asked if they can still sing!,’” he laughed. “But they could, and can, and have done so, and you’ll hear that.”

So, ready or not … here comes ABBA. There’s certainly no question that with the continued popularity of their music, Mama Mia (both the film and play) their notoriety has only grown. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan in the beginning … but, I am now. Abba Dadda Do indeed!

THE KILLERS PRESSURE MACHINE — I’ve been a devout fan of The Killers since they burst into the scene in 2004. Radio’s Tom Cuddy got me tickets for them at NYC’s Jones Beach and their show just blew me away. They did their entire first album (Hot Fuss), plus a terrific David Bowie cover and admitted that was all the material they had. Thunderous applause followed and they did a quick reprise of the Bowie number and the crowd went nuts. Brandon Flowers voice was spot-on every song. Awe-inspiring for sure.

Their first few albums were just sensational; their second Sam’s Town (released 15 years ago) had echoes of Springsteen and was really written about their hometown of Vegas. I mean, who is really from Vegas … but they really are.

After several additional works that were well received (Battle Born and Sam’s being my favorites), I think they’ve just released their masterpiece, Pressure Machine. Funnily enough, after all the pomp and circumstance, Machine most resembles Sam’s Town, which again was just exquisite. 

11 outstanding cuts, led by “Sleepwalkers,” “Quiet Town” and “Runaway Horses,” sung with Phoebe Bridgers … who I have also come to adore. “In Another Life” is another winner; vintage-Killers for sure.

The entire album is in a way a homage to Springsteen’s  brilliant Nebraska; raw and ready for sure.

Lead vocalist Flowers has the sweetest voice this side of Springsteen and brings to each song just a sensational delivery. He is one of the defining vocalists of our times. Sonically delightful.

The album is based on Flowers growing up in Nephi, Utah and each track begins and ends with snippets of recorded dialogue … I know it sounds a tad homespun,  but works terrifically well.

This album joins Dolenz Sings Nesmith in my Top 5 of the year. One of those albums that restores my faith in music. Just sensational.

Keith Urban

SHORT TAKES — Keith Urban, live on Friday’s Today Show, was a breath of fresh air. I like Urban; he writes great songs, no more than 4 minutes; has a guitar solo in each of them and effortlessly borders between country and rock. His current release “Wild Hearts” is pretty cool, but I have yet to hear it on radio. He’s got a great look (tats and soul patch) and that oh-so-wonderful Australian accent. But, I think he needs the right producer and right set of songs to bring him to the top … Jeff Lynne perhaps? …

Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson’s first album in 20 years landed on Billboard’s Top Albums chart this week. Congrats … Jimmy Fallon is launching a show later this year called Clash of the Cover Bands. Great idea and we hear that Philly’s own Romeo Delight (the #1 Van Halen Tribute Band) is in the running already. Fallon’s production company is titled Electric Hot Dog; love it! … Remember vocalist Ellen Foley? She worked with Meatloaf in addition to turning out some terrific solo work. She’s back, performing live. She’ll be at NYC’s Bowery Electric on 10-22 … The Monkees FarewellTour kicks off this Friday in Spokane, Washington, Good luck lads! … Celeb-author Mark Bego checked out a Chaka Khan/Shelia E. concert Friday night. Bego is living the glamorous life … A Leonard Cohen docu? Count me in. More and more I realize Cohen was a true significant factor in popular music. Called Hallelujah … check this out: https://deadline.com/video/hallelujah-leonard-cohen-journey-song-first-clip-venice-film-festival-doc/ …

No Time To Die

The next James Bond movie, No Time To Die, has been delayed three times and actually had to do some re-shoots as some of the tech displayed was already outdated. It’s locked for October n(so they say) and the studio just released their final trailer; here it is: https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/tv/3576337/james-bond-no-time-to-die-final-trailer/ …

George Harrison

The George Harrison “He’s So Fine” case has been well-documented for years. Harrison lost the case, but ex-manager Allen Klein bought the rights. Some story, right? Here’s a great piece from Far Out Magazine about it: https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/song-made-george-harrison-fall-out-of-love-with-music/ …RIP Willard Scott;  HAPPY BDAY Randy Lewis!


NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; DC LaRue; Lush Ice; Ben Stepley; Norman Nardini; Roy Trakin; Bobby Shaw; Wayne Avers; Joel Diamond; Robey; Perry Michael Simon; David Adelson; Roy Trakin; Carol Ruth Weber; Carol Geiser; Heather Moore; 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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G.H. Harding

JON BON HISTORY —- (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Bon Jovi’s new album Forever certainly didn’t live up to its name on the charts. As noted by Forbes, after debuting at No. 5 in its first week of release, the album fell all the way out of the Billboard 200 album sales chart the following week. Unless it returns in the future, Forever will be the first Bon Jovi studio album to only last one week in the Top 200.The band’s previous album, 2020’s pandemic-delayed 2020, only notched two weeks on the chart. It debuted at No. 19, then fell 126 spots the following week before departing for good.

With their touring future in doubt due to singer Jon Bon Jovi’s medical issues, the band promoted Forever with a multi-pronged media campaign that included the release of the documentary series Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi story. The series showed Bon Jovi being diagnosed with loose vocal cords after he was unable to perform up to his usual standards on the band’s most recent tour, then undergoing surgery and a rigorous recovery program.

Last month, Bon Jovi confirmed that he was still unable to mount a full-scale tour in support of Forever. “It’s a work in progress,” he told The Guardian. “There’s no miracle. I just wish there was a fucking light switch. I’m more than capable of singing again. The bar is now: can I do two and half hours a night, four nights a week? The answer is no.”

The band did play a surprise five-song set to celebrate the opening of their frontman’s new Nashville bar and restaurant JBJ’s on June 7, performing Forever’s debut single “Legendary” in addition to classics such as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Born to Be My Baby.”

With all the media on their Hulu-doc series, new album and almost incessant one-on-one interviews, the new album was either going to be a hit … or a miss. Sad for sure … I hope they don’t blame this on Richard Sambora!

Melrose Place

SHORT TAKES — 32 years since Melrose Place? I was never a fan but some of the original cast have reunited for – what else?

Micky Dolenz

A podcast … From Gold Radio in the UK:  https://www.goldradiouk.com/artists/the-monkees/micky-dolenz-age-wife-children-songs/ … Spent a few days in Waterbury, Connecticut and watched a lot of tennis. Beautiful up there. Stunning in fact …

Race

Congrats to radio-personality Race Taylor on inking a new contract-extension with WCBS-FM. Well deserved …

F1

Here’s the trailer for Brad Pitt’s next film F1


Looks good, but didn’t we just see this covered in James Mangold’s terrific Ford vs. Ferrari? It’ll be out in June 2025 …  

Billy Bob Thornton

Boy, I could have predicted this: Via Deadline – Paramount + has announced the premiere date for its latest Taylor Sheridan drama, Landman, starring Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, will premiere Sunday, November 17. The series will launch with two episodes, and subsequent episodes of the 10-episode long first season will be available weekly on Sundays. Set in the proverbial boomtowns of West Texas, – the show is a tale of fortune seeking in the world of oil rigs. Based on the 11-part podcast “Boomtown,” the series is an upstairs/downstairs story of roughnecks and wildcat billionaires fueling a boom so big, it’s reshaping our climate, our economy and our geopolitics … Finished watching The Veil on Hulu with Elizabeth Moss. Sort of an on-the-road mystery. Moss is great, but the plot is a tad murky. B + … And for all you Papaya King fans (me included) in NYC: https://gothamist.com/news/beloved-hot-dog-hotspot-papaya-king-reopens-on-upper-east-side … 

RIP Joe Egan from Stealers Wheel.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steven J. Immerman; Tony Seidl; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Pat Walsh; Mark Bego; Lamar Fike; Feda Payne; Kent & Laura Denmark; Nancy Ruth; The Church; Teresa Knox; Myles Smith; Chuck Scarborough; Joe Scarborough; Alison Steele; Carol Miller; Dan Ingram; Anthony Pomes; Brad Balfour; and ZIGGY!

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G.H. Harding

TOWNE GONE — A few months back I watched the Robert Towne-written movie Chinatown and had exactly the same reaction as when I first watched it in 1974 – simply the best movie of all-time. Well, I still feel that way, although there are a dozen or so other movies that I would now put in that hallowed category.

Version 1.0.0

Towne passed on Friday and leaves just a splendid treasury of his work. Be it Tequila Sunrise or Without Limits or The Firm or Days of Thunder, Towne’s unique perspective and writing-style was pretty awesome.

Robert Towne

Check out Deadline’s take on Towne: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/robert-towne-dead-chinatown-1236059676/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3I2OAHgnXtKBODQUzXpIr-YzCHJYvPFDW6wrOp6HdEJUx-PQ5JfntN-Hk_aem_Rb9xsnahLuGqZLfRjIpyzA

Dave Mason

SHORT TAKES — Interesting review of the long-delayed Dave Mason bio, Only You and I Know, by Goldmine’s Lee Zimmerman. Check it out here: https://www.goldminemag.com/reviews/dave-mason-memoir-reveals-a-talented-artist-with-a-strong-willed-personality Still wondering if Mason’s former-manager, and Svengali, Jason Cooper (aka The Moke) is discussed at all.

I well remember a show at Long Island’s Calderone Concert Hall, where Cooper passed around a jar of party favors – twice in the dressing room. It was indeed a great show which I watched from the side of the stage! He bolstered Mason’s career to it’s highest degree ever. Can’t wait to read this one … Biden will now not do any work after 8:00 PM? I don’t know, but this sounds a tad crazy, right? And desperate … Remember The Singhs? Randy Alexander did the PR for them. They played a bunch of NY-gigs and then sort of disappeared.

Next thing we heard; their new album Science Fiction was produced by Tony Visconti. Then, nada. Here’s a press release from 2013 formally announcing the album. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/science-fiction-the-new-tony-visconti-produced-album-from-boston-area-based-band-the-singhs-is-set-for-release-june-4-via-redstar-entertainment-206756061.html

They actually released a great album in 2008, Supersaturated. Bad management? Dunno, but they were a sensational band. Creative, inventive, it seemed they had it all …

Watched Apple’s Dark Matters and sort of loved it, although as it went on it got way too confusing. Based on the Blake Crouch book, it was really pretty spectacular. Australia’s Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly were fantastic. If you’re a sci-fi fan, I’d say  it’s a must see … Happy Bday Danny Goldberg; Ron Fleeger; and Perry Michael Simon.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Duchovny; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tone Scott; Paul Cooper; Tony Seidl; Brad Balfour; Matt Lauer; Harry Burton; Lainey Wilson; Lyndsey Parker; Tony King; Brett Summers; Jane Blunkell; Steven J. Immerman; Lora Evans; Dan Zelinski; Norena Barbella; Ken Dashow; Barry Fisch; Wayne Avers; Victor Kastel; and BELLA.

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ASIA CALLING — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Geoff Downes will lead a reformed lineup of Asia on a tour celebrating the group’s platinum 1982 debut. Also featured on the multi-act bill are Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash, Focus, Curved Air and emcee Roger Dean, the artist who created Asia’s album covers.

Geoff Downes

The Heat of the Moment Tour will hit 21 North American cities in July.

Downes says the idea for this tour emerged from the Extraordinary Life Memorial Concert, 2023’s tribute to his late Asia bandmate John Wetton. That “really reminded me how much Asia’s music belongs on the stage,” Downes said in an official statement. “The response to it all was literally spine-tingling.”

Among the featured musicians at the tribute show was guitarist John Mitchell, who worked with Wetton and Downes in Icon and the John Wetton Band. He’ll join Downes in a new Asia lineup that also includes drummer Virgil Donati and bassist and vocalist Harry Whitley. Donati was part of a memorable reunion of the prog-rock band UK with Wetton.

“With the addition of Virgil Donati and John Mitchell … this is almost going full circle bearing in mind their previous close collaborations with John,” Downes added. “Completing this circle is also the amazing Harry Whitley, who absolutely floored the audience with his incredible vocal interpretation of the Asia songs that John and I so lovingly wrote over the years.”

Focus is set to release a new album later this year. The band is still led by Thijs van Leer, and features ’70s-era drummer Pierre Van Der Linden. Sonja Kristina likewise remains with Curved Air, and will again be appearing with longtime guitarist Kirby Gregory. Turner has been touring as “Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash” for about a decade now.

Asia was co-founded by Downes, who’s appeared in every iteration of the group. Downes, Wetton and fellow original members Steve Howe and Carl Palmer were only initially together from 1981-83, when Wetton left. Howe departed a year later and the original four didn’t reunite until a final run between 2006-13.

Palmer now leads an Emerson Lake and Palmer offshoot band, while Howe has remained in Yes with Downes. Wetton died in 2017.

“I am convinced that John’s spirit is with us as we set out on this new adventure,” Downes said. “After all, it is the Year of the Dragon – just as it was in 1982, when we released our first Asia album. It’s as though it was meant to be.”

Prog-rock lives on for sure. Great music survives. Asia’s first album, in 1982, was an instant classic. I hope to catch this tour.

SHORT TAKES —- (via Deadline) Air Supply doc on its way – https://deadline.com/2024/07/air-supply-movie-all-out-of-love-1235998355/ … Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga did not have a great first weekend. It’ll go to Warners/MAX for sure … Wise words from today’s Showbiz 411/Roger Friedman: “It’s July 1st. The year is half over, and the Oscar prognosticators must be getting nervous. There is little on the docket so far that would qualify for Best Picture. So far, the only real nominee would be “Dune Part Two.” It’s a long shot, but Richard Linklater’s excellent “Hit Man” could well be be a qualifier. But “Challengers,” “Civil War,” “Fall Guy,” and so on are not the stuff of Best Picture. Think about: last year at this time, we knew about “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” at least. “Past Lives” was released on June 2, 2023. This summer brings a few maybe’s, but nothing anyone has raved about. A24 will make a push out of “Sing Sing,” but I’ve heard mixed things. July is otherwise a wasteland as we wait for “Deadpool vs. Wolverine” to be a financial hit. August isn’t much more promising, but I’m looking forward to Zoe Kravit’s “Blink Twice,” Nathan Silver’s “Between the Temples,” Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice,” Jon Watts’s “Wolfs,” and Ethan Berger’s “The Line.” But are these box office hits or actual Oscar movies? October 1st will kick off the big ten week period when we see what’s what. Those include Jesse Eisenberg’s well received Sundance film, “A Real Pain” and Sean Baker’s Cannes winner, “Anora.”

Megalopolis

On a larger scale, there’s the “Joker” sequel, and, of course, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis.” Everyone’s hoping for good things from “Gladiator II,” which has already started campaigning.

Tom hanks Here

Also already releasing PR materials: the major “Here,” reuniting “Forest Gump” players Tom Hanks, Robin Wright with director Robert Zemeckis.

Robert Zemeckis

And that’s when we make the turn into big studio films on the warpath for attention: “Wicked” is the front runner, as well as Best Actress possibilities with Nicole Kidman in “Babygirl” and Amy Adams in “Nightbitch.” And don’t count out June Squibb, very popular in “Thelma.” Any surprises coming? You never know. One studio publicist indicated to me that they had something up their sleeve. We can only hope! I’m curious about “Nickel Boys,” from Searchlight, and “The Piano Lesson,” and Cannes winner, “Emile Perez,” each from Netflix. What are hoping for? A Title hiding in plain sight that turns out to be a winner. Kate Winslet in “Lee”? An all star cast in “Concave,” directed by Edward Berger? Or maybe “The Apprentice” will get released and surprise everyone … And, we’re back in a week – HAPPY 4TH!

David Duchovny

ENQUOTE: On David Duchovny possibly discovering Angelina Jolie: David has one of the biggest egos in a profession with huge egos. Angela is the daughter of an Oscar-winning actor; everyone knew who she was. David thinks he’s a good singer too, BTW.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; D.C. LaRue; Mark Bego; Nancy Ruth; Dennis Wheeler; Jane Blunkell; John Billings; Wayne Avers; Tyrone Bijan;  Dan Zelinski; Carol Ross; Tommy James; Reid Scott; Elliot Mintz; Joe Loris; Don Wardell; Anne Adams; Billy Smith; Bruce Grakal; Harry Weinger; Andy Skurow; Ton Seidl; and SADIE!

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ALL THINGS BAT — Any regular reader of this column knows that we’re definitely into the world-of-all things Batman. In fact, in my office hangs a cover of one of the early editions. Neatly framed too. Not too keen on remembering where I got it, although I believe it was at a yard sale many, many years ago.

The Batman-films have been an odd journey for sure. The initial Keaton-one was great and surprisingly holds up very well considering it came out in 1989. I liked the Val Kilmer one and the George Clooney one was a bit too camp for me. Christian Bale’s run was excellent and the most recent one with Robert Pattinson, directed by Matt Reeves, was just sensational and a much-needed reset to what the original Batman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

Concurrent with most of the above films was a terrific animated series. Developed by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, and produced by Warner animation. It originally aired on Fox Kids from September 5, 1992, to September 15, 1995, with a total of 85 episodes.

As of November 2023, Batman: The Animated Series (1992) is available to stream on Netflix in the UK and Ireland. It can also be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, Max Amazon Channel, and Max, and is available on Apple TV and Roku. The Emmy-winning series is also available on Blu-ray. Interestingly, HBO rejected the series.

Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy who voiced Bruce Wayne and Batman (and Mark Hamill voiced the Joker) passed in 2022. This week a new trailer premiered with a new Batman/Bruce Wayne voiced by Hamish Linklater.

Here it is:

For me animation is a sometimes-mixed bag to me; sort of interesting, but the Batman series has been very compelling and I’ve always loved it. Enjoy!

SHORT TAKES — The latest iteration of Tommy on Broadway will close. I’m not so sure it was the production itself, but rather an early death-knell of the jukebox musical. Sure, Tommy had a story, but the music was the draw. Check out Deadline’s take on it: https://deadline.com/2024/06/the-whos-tommy-broadway-closing-date-1235983217/comment-page-2/#comments

Cher

… Check out this sensational article on the indomitable Cher. Just brilliant and so true: https://www.yahoo.com/news/cher-determination-inside-skill-scandal-050000870.html … A doc on the Average White Band? “Pick Up The Pieces” was a great track, then they sort of faded. Deadline had the exclusive: https://deadline.com/2024/06/average-white-band-feature-warner-music-entertainment-sky-1235982539/

Gracie Abrams

24-year old Gracie Abrams was Today’s Friday-music guest and amid an SRO crowd performed her music; including her “I Miss You, I’m Sorry.” Her music, like Taylor Swift’s, is more confessional than anything else. Truth be told Carly Simon’s been doing this type of music for decades. It was admirable, but sadly, nothing new. Still, the daughter of JJ Abrams, was impressive and ordered pizza for the early-morning denizens gathered on in the Plaza … Thursday’s debate was just brutal. Brutal and sad. It’ll be interesting to witness what the next 130 days will bring …

Keane

I’ve been a fan of the UK-band Keane for years. I remember a free-concert in the Time-Warner Bldg. on CPW. Great show. They’ve had their ups-and-downs, but are just a sensation outfit. Tom Keane has one of the sweetest voices I’ve ever heard. Here’s a great article from Mix on their live sound:
https://www.mixonline.com/live-sound/tours/keane-world-tour-thinks-big-with-macros?utm_term=2B400D4A-A644-43F4-980A-3A38D94AC1E6&utm_medium=email&utm_content=D52599B8-0845-4DE6-B840-1A9576C80E37&utm_source=SmartBrief

Sparks

Micky Dolenz was interviewed Friday by Lyndsey Parker on his long-ago directed video from Noel – a protégé of the Mael Brothers (Sparks). “Dancing Is Dangerous.” Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nmn_AQ6fE0 … Check out Kjersti Long’s updated web-site. very cool: www.kjerstilong.com

… Happy Bday Larry Flick and Michael Ellis RIP Martin Mull!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Ed Steinberg; Terry Jastrow; Steven Immerman; Richard Johnson;  Carl Betz;  Steve Walter; Ted Rothstein; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Ian Mohr; Tony Seidl; Chris Wallace; Eppy; Carol Bunzi; Chris Gilman; Chris Carter; Phil DiMauro; Radcliffe Joe; John Sippel; Melinda Newman; Mark Bego; Daryl Estrea; Dix Hills;  and BELLA!

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ROGER’S MOON — (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) The late Keith Moon has been at rest for 46 years now. But his Who mate Roger Daltry won’t rest until he’s made the biopic about the charismatic drummer that he’s been working on for years.

In fact, as Daltrey – who’s in the midst of a solo tour of North America – tells UCR, the Moon project is still top of mind and in motion. “We have a script,” the singer confirms. “We’re checking out directors, trying to get the best available director, ’cause all the good ones are always working. I’ve got to find good people with the time to make this film. I want to get that made when I’m still alive to promote it, so that’s taking up quite a lot of my time.”

Though Austin Powers and Wayne’s World star Mike Myers was attached to the movie some years ago, Daltrey says he does not have a star yet, adding that, “You can’t do that without a director, and I can’t do the final draft of the script, ’cause that’s something that gets worked out with the director so it fits together with his vision of how he’ll shoot it.

“So (the director) is what we’re waiting for, and we’ll move forward from there.” Daltrey has been watching other music biopics over the years, which he says have been instructive “about what I don’t want to do. I’ve seen some of the others. I’m not trying to make that kind of biopic; I’m making a film.”

Daltrey’s short solo tour wraps up June 29 in suburban Chicago. The shows have been loaded with Who favorites and some deep tracks, as well as surprising covers o Pete Townshend solo hits and Creedence Clearwater Revival songs. Daltrey is also conducting Q&As for fans who submit questions before the show.

He and Townshend have both equivocated about the Who’s future, however. “As far as I’m concerned, do we need another Who tour?” he told Billboard, but added that “I’ll do it if Pete wants to do it, really wants to do it properly…. I love him dearly. There’s something special there, but it needs us both to be on fire and both wanting to be there.”

Roger Daltrey in The Who’s “Tommy”
Ran on: 01-15-2006
&quo;Tommy&quo;: not a bad film by a rock group.

Ken Russell, who did the Tommy movie would be great – but he’s gone since 2011. Also, is the market for these so-called rock docs done and dusted? The Marley-doc was great because Rita Marley was a producer and had all the original music. Daltry’s presence will make the original music happen, so the right star is the key. Myers would have been great. It’s a great story with characters from Harry Nilsson to John Lennon, Ringo and Micky Dolenz all there. Stay tuned.

MTV GONE? — Troubling missive from Roger Friedman’s SHOWBIZ 411 this morning. Check it out here: MTV.com is gone. Kaput. Wiped off the face of the Earth.

Parent company Paramount, formerly Viacom, has tossed twenty plus years of news archives.

There’s no precedent for this, and no valid reason. Just cheapness and stupidity.

This follows the shutdown of MTV News on the channel last year. MTV is now just a graveyard for reality show crap. All of its substance has been desiccated over time.

Writer Kathy Iandoli posted: “MTV.com deleting all of our articles and replacing them with schedules for TV shows that can also no longer be streamed on their site is proof that no one has any idea of what the hell they are doing right now.”

She’s not alone. There is fury among MTV’s writers past and present who now see their histories erased, along with all the music and political reporting.

Patrick Hosken posted: “So, MTV no longer exists. Eight years of my life are gone without a trace. All because it didn’t fit some executives’ bottom lines. Infuriating is too small a word.”

Michell Clark wrote: “I don’t even have the words. I was just a freelancer but I put so much blood, sweat, and tears into telling stories that I cared about, the right way, on that platform. What a gut punch.”

The end of their archives is not unprecedented. When the former New York Observer was bought by Jared Kushner years ago, hundreds of articles disappeared.

As Paramount destroyed the library of articles, some writers managed to save a few for the WaybackMachine.com, which was just profiled for trying to hold onto evaporating information on the internet. But mostly the articles about pop culture will vanish now.

Paramount owner Shari Redstone has allowed something to happen here much worse than any of her recent fears about selling the company.

The greed of the company is obvious, as well as its lack of respect for journalism. But this is also a wake-up call for anyone though the internet was forever. Not having print copies of a writer’s work is a big mistake. A big lesson is learned here.

I must admit, I’ve been surprised by what’s on MTV of late. Sure, I’m watching another channel but the commercials for MTV’s shows are just ludicrous. Back in the day, MTV, located at 1515 Broadway, was just an amazing locale. You’d see all the MTV-VJs there as well as a glimpse of maybe George Michael, Hall & Oates, Bon Jovi or Tears For Fears.  Kurt Loder and John Norris (MTV News) were always scurrying about too. Paramount is in total disarray and what with Brian Robbins (Head of the Class) running it, who knows where its headed. Sad all around.

Sad and ironic that Carson Daly on his Pop Start segment on NBC’s Today didn’t mention this at all. Face it, his TRL was a staple on the station and made him a star.

SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz starts his summer tour this weekend. Micky Dolenz: An Evening of Songs and Stories. Check out Goldmine: https://www.goldminemag.com/music-news/micky-dolenz-kicks-off-his-songs-and-stories-performance-series-this-summer#gid=ci02e0ca404000259f&pid=featured-images-micky-dolenz-2024-1 … These trailers for the new Fly Me To The Moon, with Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum; didn’t they do this story of a fake moon landing before with Capricorn One in 1977? …

Saw a pretty great movie this weekend on Apple TV+, John Carney’s (Sing Street; Begin Again; Once) delightful Flora and Son; starring Eve Hewson – Bono’s daughter. She was terrific in Bad Sisters and sizzles here. The movie was a smash at Sundance in 2023. The plot is great, but fades somewhat as the movie closes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is here too, Check out what Variety said: https://variety.com/2023/film/reviews/flora-and-son-review-eve-hewson-john-carney-1235500674/ … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor at Brooklyn Heights’ Table 87

Lainey Wilson

Lainey Wilson positively electrified Tuesday’s Today show crowd with an intensity I don’t think I’ve seen since Ricky Martin stint there in 1999. Her “Hang Tight Honey”  are “Wildflowers and Wild Horses” are gems. Her band simply sensational too; how great to hear “live” music again. A breath of fresh air for sure … Happy Bday Mick Fleetwood; Mel Brooks;  and Alex Salzman.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Melinda Price; Steve Immerman; Tony Seidel; Bad Balfour; Ray Pinky Valesaquez; Shep Pettibone; Eddie O’Loughlin; Drea Daniels; Sam Schwartz; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Russell & Ron Mael; Noel; Vito Bruno; Lyndsey Parker; Ken Dashow; Jim Kerr; Scott Shannon; Joe Bonadonna; Ken Kohl; Eppy; Ultrasound Studios; Markos Papadatos; Lyndsey Parker; Tone Scott; and ZIGGY!

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