NILSSON MEMORIES — You read about the imminent release of Harry & Me! from David Roberts and Neil Watson –via This Day In Music Books– next month. We’ve read It and it’s a deep dive into the man, the memories and the significantly wonderful music he’s left us. And, for the 50th anniversary of his epic Nilsson Schmilsson album, it’s just the perfect accompaniment.
When I started watching Netflix’s Russian Dolls, I couldn’t believe that the very first thing you hear is Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up.” And, you keep on hearing it. Also, “Spaceman” on Steve Carell’s Spaceforce is pretty sensational too.
And, don’t forget the seminal “Everyone’s Talking” (written by Fred Neil) from 1969’s Midnight Cowboy (directed by John Schlesinger). And, Harry’s “Without You” was a major, major hit for Apple’s Badfinger in 1971; the power-ballad of the year in fact.
My two favorite Nilsson tracks have always been “Jump Into The Fire” and “Spaceman.” And, it’s uncanny that in all the years I’ve listened to them, I haven’t grown tired of them at all. In fact, they keep sounding better and better all the time.
The book has some great comments, especially from Monkee-Micky Dolenz, whose exploits with him are legendary. Don’t forget that the first new Monkees album in 25 years, in 2016, had Harry’s “Good Times” as a track … and, the title of the album.
Its out next month and the first 1000 buyers will receive a special CD of Harry talking about his life … and, music. I’ve just heard them and they’re sensational.
We’ll have an interview with the authors very shortly – and, they’ve just been booked on Chris Carter’s phenomenal Breakfast With The Beatles in L.A.
For a true Nilsson fan, you couldn’t give them anything better. One of the best music books of the year!
MORE TWINS? — (Via Deadline) It only took 33 years, but director/producer Ivan Reitman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito have found a way to sequelize Twins.. They’ve enlisted Tracy Morgan to play a third and long lost sibling. Triplets will shoot January in Boston, as the two unlikely brothers Julian (Schwarzenegger) and Vincent (DeVito) find they are part of a trio. This immediately becomes a hot project in the Toronto Film Festival market, which like last year is mostly playing out in virtual fashion.
“Twins was quite successful, and some years after, this whole thing started with Arnold meeting Eddie Murphy, and the suggestion came from one of them,” Reitman told Deadline. “It was, ‘I should be a triplet that could be a very funny comedy.’ We started a script with Eddie, and after the success he had with Amazon Prime on Coming 2 America, he got himself booked up heavily. And we knew we were going to make it at the beginning of next year. I’d been good friends with Tracy Morgan for a long time and always thought he was one of the funniest men in the world. I thought he would make a terrific triplet, and we rewrote the whole script for him. Now, we’ll go out and try and put the money together and get it made.”
The original was a big hit for Universal — $216 million global gross — but Reitman said that the terms called for a reversion of rights if the sequel wasn’t made in a certain amount of time.
“We had this fabulous deal we made with Tom Pollock, who wound up being my partner at Montecito Pictures,” Reitman said. “It was his first picture as the chairman of Universal. He loved the script and really believed in it. We decided we would do this where there was very little money upfront. We made the movie for $15 million. But it came with a lot of gross and so we ended up doing very well. In terms of future rights, Universal had very restrictive secondary rights in terms of sequels. They had to act on it very quickly, which they didn’t, because we hadn’t really developed it.”
Here is the premise: “Secretly, there was a third baby born, a Black baby, who hasn’t been in touch with his siblings,” Reitman shared. “They don’t know each other and very early in the movie they meet and it’s how they achieve a bond together after all these years. It’s really a film about family and, no matter how different we all are, we have to learn to get along. These guys have great chemistry together, and you can see that in the reel, and how much energy they bring out in each other.”
Reitman said Boston looks like the perfect venue: “We need the winter and my guess is we probably shoot in Boston. It looks great and has mountains nearby, and has a good tax deal. We’re dealing with this as an independent, and we want to keep the costs low. It worked out very well for us in Twins, I see no reason not to do that here.”
While Reitman has been busy producing a reboot of his comedy classic Ghostbusters — son Jason Reitman took the helm of Ghostbusters: Afterlife that Sony Pictures bows November 19 — he was eager to get back behind the camera and replicate what he said was a most pleasant experience.
“I haven’t directed in a couple years, but Arnold kept saying, ‘c’mon, we had such a great time.’ I just called him in Budapest and he’s so excited to see how people respond to the reel as we send it out. The initial reaction has been very strong and how young Arnold and Danny look and how great the chemistry is with Tracy. I had a great time doing the first one, and this is going to be fun.”
What a surprise … right? The leading comments have been, if Murphy passed on it; how good can it be? I remember seeing the original and didn’t love the story, but seeing Arnold and Danny, side by side, was continually entertaining.
My guess is that this never happens. It’s just too old of an idea. We’ll see
CLAPTON BACK — Eric Clapton opened his first tour in seven years last week (September 13, 2021) in Fort Worth, Tex., amidst months of a sustained stance he’s taken against the U.K.’s lockdown policy. His 14-song set included such career highlights as “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Got to Get Better in a Little While.” Perhaps because the concert was in America, he chose not to play “This Has Gotta Stop,” the anti-lockdown protest song he released on Aug. 27.
Clapton performed only twice in the pre-pandemic days of 2020, including a tribute concert to Ginger Baker in London that he organized. His last full concerts were in September 2019–also in the U.S.–in the days leading up to his Crossroads Guitar Festival.
Before that, he’d criss-crossed the globe to play brief residencies at such venues as Tokyo’s Budokan and London’s Royal Albert Hall. His last sustained tour was in 2013-2014 when he played several dozen concerts across several continents.
Clapton’s band for the 2021 tour includes Doyle Bramhall II, Paul Carrack, Nathan East, Sonny Emory, Steve Gadd and Chris Stainton with Sharon White and Katie Kissoon on backing vocals. The shows feature Jimmie Vaughan as special guest.
Midway through his set, Clapton performed the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac track “Man of the World,” It’s featured on his newly announced The Lady in the Balcony:Lockdown Sessions recorded in lockdown that offers versions of songs that had a profound effect on his career.
Clapton turned 76 on March 30. He had previously announced that he’s done with extensive touring, preferring to do occasional performances without the rigors of full-length tours.
Think what you will about his ill-advised comments on the vaccination, Clapton is an exceptional musician. I can’t wait till I see him again.
SHORT TAKES — We hear that Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam ensemble will do a live, steaming concert in early-October. Details to follow. Meanwhile his, Follow Your Dream Handbook continues to be a bestseller on the book charts …
A new Rod Stewart album, on Rhino no less, has a terrific title: Tears Of Hercules. The first single (“One More Time)) is very, very pop oriented. I like it …
SIGHTING: Celeb-author Mark Bego at Sunday’s Monkees show at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Bego’s wrote (with Dolenz) the 1993-bio I’m A Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness … So, the Jeopardy-whirlwind has finally decided on Ken Jennings, Really, could there be any other choice? Honestly, I started loving the show after Alex Trebek’s tragic passing, but this soap-opera-like trial has lessened my interest in the show ten-fold. I wonder if they’ll ever be able to recover … Have you seen the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s re-imaging if West Side Story? Pretty epic, here it is:
Was Fleetwood Mac really at its creative height when Peter Green was there? His “Green Manalishi” is just stunning,. Check it out:
Still no new Debbie Gibson album; guess Shore Fire Media is off the meter. Too bad, as I hear it’s a winner. Celeb-biographer Mark Bego says “Runaway” – a track off the album- is terrific.
Maybe I should ring her original PR-man David Salidor. Now that would be interesting as he’d personally deliver it within the hour … Speaking of late-in-the-game players: what ever happened to Joanna Bonaro and her Good ‘n Screwed pilot? If you recall it featured Soprano-Robert Funaro in the lead. Too bad it fizzled as we watched the pilot and loved it. Certainly it could have been on Hulu or Netflix. Sad … 91-year old Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho opened this weekend to record numbers. His fans still adore him; we’re going to screen it this week … I was walking down 32 street in NYC and looked across the street at the Cutting Room; closed in the afternoon, but I spied something seemingly between the gate and door. I crossed the street and saw a standee of owner Chris Noth holding his brand new tequila, Ambhar, Hey Chris … we’d love to try some … And, Happy BDay Donnie Kehr; John Billings; Craig Newman; and Richard Branciforte.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Walter; Gus Rosendale; Gerry Galipault; Mark Kamins; Melissa Davis; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Andrew Sandoval; Tyrone Biljan; Ed Masley; Roman Gokhman; Mike Sigman; Lenny Beer; Bob Autsin; Marty Ostrow; Kent Kotal; Ruth Polsky; Henry Schissler; and, ZIGGY!