FLORENCE’S DANCE FEVER — (Via Rock Cellar) On May 13, Florence + the Machine returned with a powerful new album, Dance Fever.
SiriusXM already distributes several Team Coco podcasts, including Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, via its Stitcher division’s Earwolfcomedy podcast network.“When I started in television my ultimate goal was to work my way up to radio,” O’Brien joked in a statement. “This new deal with SiriusXM builds on the great relationship that began several years ago with a team that is the standout in their field.”
“We are thrilled that Conan remains committed to producing his incredibly successful podcast and will now expand his role into executive producing an exclusive Team Coco radio channel for SiriusXM,” added the satellite radio’s spokesperson. “Conan has built an amazing brand and organization and team with a proven track record of finding and launching compelling and addictive podcasts. We look forward to continuing to grow the Team Coco brand.”
SHORT TAKES — Jazzheads’ Ann Kittredge this Thursday night at the Laurie Beecham Theatre in NYC … We erred last time in giving you the correct link to new music from The Oxfords. Here it is: https://tinyurl.com/3br9usyh You’ll find “The Promise” and “When The Morning Comes” …
Micky Dolenz’s “Some Of Shelley’s Blues” -off the 7a Records EP Dolenz Sings Nesmith– is currently #3 this week on the U.K.’s Heritage Chart lorded over by Mike Read. Congrats. Speaking Of Dolenz, he just spoke to ABC.com’s Matt Frielander …
After watching the trailer to Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick last week and today the trailer to his next Mission Impossible flick, titled Dead Reckoning, I must confess that Cruise does literally amp up everything around him. Many critics are already calling the new Top Gun sequel the movie of the year and Cruise just might be responsible for bringing the crowds back into the theaters. Bravo to him …
And, CBS’ Bull with Michael Weatherly exits this week with Part 2 of a really terrific episode. This show got beat up for sure, then canceled. Weatherly was pretty great. Adios!
The Glorious Corner
TREE LIKE ME — Monday morning, gossip-sites were ablaze with this missive from one Tree Paine – Taylor Swift’s publicist – about swirling rumors about the singer’s love life: Travis Kelce’s sister-in-law, Kylie Kelce, subtly supported Taylor Swift after the “Anti-Hero” singer’s publicist clapped back at rumors about her love life. Eagled-eyed fans noticed that Kylie “liked” a post from the Today Show about Tree Paine slamming celebrity gossip blog DeuxMoi for spreading “fabricated lies” about Swift’s relationship with ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn.
Ms. Paine’s PR-firm is called Premium PR and by all accounts, the Nashville-based mistress has had a great ride with Swift. As we go to press, Time Magazine just named her their person of the year.
Back in the day, ZZ Top and Michael Jackson had Howard Bloom; Debbie Gibson and Run DMC had David Salidor; Elton and the Rolling Stones have Fran Curtis; and Billy and Alexa Joel and Christie Brinkley have Claire Mecuri … all stars in our book, but Ms. Paine has Swift.
BRENDA LEE — (from People) Brenda Lee has a reason to celebrate the holidays early this year.
On Monday, the singer’s 1958 classic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, 65 years following its debut.
In claiming the top spot, Lee broke many records — including those held by Mariah Carey and her mega hit “All I Want for Christmas is You” — as her hit became the third holiday No. 1 ever to be featured on the Hot 100, per a press release.
This marks Lee’s third No. 1 hit in her career. She earned her first No. 1 with her 1960 single “I’m Sorry.”
Lee was just 13 years old when she recorded the Johnny Marks-penned hit debut, and at 78, she’s now the oldest woman to top the Hot 100, surpassing previous record-holders Cher for “Believe” when she was 52 and Carey for “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at 53.
In a press release statement, Lee called the song’s latest achievement “amazing. “I cannot believe that ‘Rockin’’ has hit No. 1 65 years after it was released, this is just so special!” she said. “Thank you to the team at UMG/UMe who worked so hard to celebrate the song’s anniversary this year. But most importantly, thank you to the fans who keep listening.”
Lee continued: “The song came out when I was a young teenager and now to know that it has resonated with multiple generations and continues to resonate — it is one of the best gifts I have ever received. Keep on Rockin’ and Merry Christmas!”
Last month, Lee released the first-ever music video for her Christmas classic, which features cameos from Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood. Here’s the link:
In addition to the music video, she shared the EP, A Rockin’ Christmas with Brenda Lee, in November featuring “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and other holiday favorites including “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock” “A Marshmallow World” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” reimagined by Filous.
For record aficionados: The song was originally released on Decca Records in 1958. Dub Allbritten became Lee’s personal manager in 1956 and remained in that position throughout her formative years. In May 1956, Lee signed with Decca and two months later had her first recording session, supervised by Paul Cohen with the assistance of Owen Bradley
SHORT TAKES — RIP Denny Laine – best remembered from The Moody Blues (“Go Now”) and Paul McCartney’s Wings – and their best album Band On The Run. I loved “Go Now” btw. Here’s Roger Friedman’s take via SHOWBIZ 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/12/05/rip-denny-laine-79-original-member-of-wings-and-the-moody-blues-wrote-the-hit-go-now …
I didn’t see any reviews from Debbie Gibson’s 2 shows last week at NYC’s Gramercy Theater but Yahoo did run a headline that she had 5 costume changes! They were in support of her 2022 holiday Winterlicious album …The Kennedy Center Honors had their event this past weekend. Congrats all. Can’t wait to see the show next week. Here’s Deadline’s take: https://deadline.com/2023/12/kennedy-center-honors-joe-biden-robert-de-niro-billy-crystal-1235650306/ …
Here’s celebrity-biographer Mark Bego’s interview with NEWHD’s Zach Martin: https://www.spreaker.com/user/bigfatamerican/mark-bego-copy … RIP Norman Lear; Happy Bday Anthony Noto … On the mend: Jerry Lembo!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kimberly Cornell; Joe Lynch; Victor Kastel; Peter Shendell; Eppy; Kent Kotal; Roy Trakin; Melinda Newman; Tyson Terror; Vincent D’Onofrio; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Sasha Peres; Jacqueline Boyd; Cairo; Tanya Tenor; Jonathan Wolfson; Brad LeBeau; Wayne Rosso; Thomas Silverman; and ZIGGY!
The Glorious Corner
CHRIS CARTER — (Via Maz Digital) Chris Carter was 7 years old when his mother bought him Rubber Soul, the Beatles’ sixth studio album, at a ShopRite market in Wayne, New Jersey. Fifty-seven years later, he’s the ultimate Beatles expert as host for 22 years of Breakfast With the Beatles, a radio show carried each weekday on SiriusXM’s Beatles channel and Sundays on Los Angeles’ KLOS-FM. The show is celebrating its 40th anniversary, at the same time that music fans are marking the 60th anniversary of Beatlemania.
We talked with Carter about his unique position: He’s a musician too. Carter played bass in alternative rock band Dramarama in the 1980’s and 90’s. “I loved Paul’s bass playing, but I got into wanting to play the bass from listening to Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper records. That really hooked me in.”He was in the right place when he got the job. Carter follows original host Deirdre O’Donoghue, who died in 2001.
The job offer call came just before he went to a Ringo Starr concert. “I knew once I got the job, I would be there ’til I died. This is one of those long-term things and I’m not going anywhere. “Prep keeps it fresh. “I have to handpick 60 Beatles songs a day, or solo Beatles songs, and have them pertain to that day—say, an anniversary or ‘today in Beatles history.’ There’s always something in Beatles history.” On Wednesdays, he spins a wheel to develop a topic for the show, such as “fifth Beatles” or “violins.” “I have to instantly put a set of songs together that matches that category.”
And news events also play a role. When Robbie Robertson of The Band passed recently, Carter made sure to note that by discussing and playing Ringo Starr’s “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond),” on which Robertson and other members of The Band played. “It never gets old. If they handed me a playlist, like they do for so many DJs, and said ‘Chris, play them,’ I would have no passion for that.” He was in the right place when he got the job.
Carter loves to provide tidbits about the songs he plays, so that listeners can experience them with fresh ears. “You’re dealing with 50- to 60-year-old music. If it’s not served up properly, you know, how many times can you hear ‘Hey Jude’? But if you put it in context, like this song was No. 1 for nine weeks. It was the first single over seven minutes long. And it was the first release on their own label. Most Beatles fans, they think they know a lot about the Beatles, but when you give them some information they might not know, then they’ll come back to you and listen again.” He broadcasts in front of a crowd. The satellite radio shows are put together in Carter’s home studio. But many of the shows for L.A. radio are broadcast live from one of three area venues. “I find it fun because in radio you never see your audience. Typically, you’re sitting in a room by yourself with a microphone. You could have maybe millions of people listening, but you don’t know who they are.
“The Beatles are fans. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have each called into the show for interviews, but Carter doesn’t have his head in the clouds about it. “They’ve got to sell a solo record. You’re on the radio. They need you for publicity. They know you’re there for them. Even though they’re the gods of the world, they still need you to sell their records.”SHORT TAKES — (Via Deadline) The meteoric political rise of George Santos and the web of fabulist tales it was built on are getting a movie treatment. HBO Films has optioned the rights to Mark Chiusano’s new book The Fabulist: The Lying, Hustling, Grifting, Stealing, and Very American Legend of George Santos, which was published on November 28, 2023. My only comment is, why? If this ever gets made, it will not be a hit. Exploitative? Definitely and not needed at all …
I’ve watched the two episodes of Hulu’s Fargo so far this season and though somehow intriguing, but didn’t I just see this show on Netflix – Who Is Erin Carter? Fargo’s creator Noah Hawley must have been transfixed by Carter. Odd for sure …
Also, just for the record, why was there so much Russian-dialogue in episode 4 of Apple TV+’s For All Mankind without any sub-titles? Clearly this show has suffered some major budget-cuts, but that was a huge error for sure. Ronald D. Moore’s creation started out brilliantly, but has become something like a space-age soap-opera. Sad for sure.
This show was among my favorites … I loved Chuck Lorre’s Big Bang Theory, so I was anxious to see his Bookie on MAX. Sebastian Maniscalco – who I don’t really get at all – left me somewhat underwhelmed. The show’s about a bookie – funny? Somehow it wasn’t. Even a cameo by Charlie Sheen w/o tiger blood was a letdown.
Very disappointed … Joe Cocker-scribe Mark Bego speaks to Zach Martin Wednesday for his NEWHD outpost …
HAPPY BDAY Randy Newman and RIP one of the most adventurous, creative and intriguing women I’ve ever known, Mica Ertegun.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kent and Laura Denmark; Steve Leeds; Ira Robbins; Richard Branciforte; Eppy; Barry Fisch; Frank Patz; Bobby Bank; Roger Clark; Edmond O’ Brien; Jonathan Clyde; Richard Johnson; James Edstrom; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Bob Kaus; and BELLA!
The Glorious Corner
TAP 2 — (Via Rock Cellar) Doubling down after a May 2022 report that indicated everything was a go for a sequel to 1984’s classic comedy/music industry satire This Is Spinal Tap, filmmaker Rob Reiner has now confirmed that plans are taking shape in a big way.
Not only is the sequel on tap (pun intended) to begin filming in early 2024, but Reiner recently told comedian/podcast host Richard Herring that “everybody’s back” for the sequel. This no doubt refers to principal cast members Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest, though Tony Hendra (who portrayed the band’s manager, Ian Faith, passed away in 2021).
The U.K.’s Guardian notes that the plot will reportedly center on Faith’s death, after which his widow inherits a contract that requires the band to do one last concert. Reiner is also due to return in the character of film-maker Marty DiBergi, a figure supposedly based on Martin Scorsese, who had directed celebrated music documentary The Last Waltz in 1976.
What’s more, Reiner also spilled the beans that appearances from Sirs Paul McCartney and Elton John and Garth Brooks are in the works too, among what one must assume will be a million other amusing cameos. After all, a film as beloved and influential as the original This Is Spinal Tap counts pretty much every living musician as a fan (give or take), so you know the sequel will hold nothing back when it comes to the entertainment factor.
In the podcast, Reiner also talked about This Is Spinal Tap’s remarkable afterlife, culminating in selection for the National Film Registry in 2002, after its initially unfavourable reception on its first release. “To wind up in the National Film Registry, that’s bizarre,” Reiner said. “We previewed it in a theatre in Dallas, Texas, and the people didn’t know what the heck they were looking at. They came up to me afterwards and said, ‘I don’t understand, why would you make a movie about a band that no one has ever heard of, and they are so bad? Why would you ever do that? Why don’t you make a movie about the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?’ I would say, ‘It’s satire,’ and I tried to explain. But over the years people got it, and started to like it.”
Personally, I found the 1984 original movie just hilarious. Aside from a great send-up of the music biz, the cameos were just fascinating: Paul Shaffer as PR-man Artie Fufkin; Dana Carvey and Billy Crystal as ‘mime’ waiters; Fred Willard; Anjelica Houston; Russ Kunkel; Danny Kortchmar and Fran Drescher as promo-gal Bobbi Fleckman … all just inspired.
Reiner’s on a roll – his Albert Brooks doc Defending My Life is sensational. A must-see.
Maybe an update of The Monkees’ HEAD next?
SHORT TAKES — Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker tome hit #4 on theAmazon charts this week. Here’s a great review from Goldmine on the book by their Lee Zimmerman: https://l.messenger.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goldminemag.com%2Freviews%2Fjoe-cocker-book-shines-light-on-unfortunate-undercurrents-of-a-stars-career&h=AT2zaG2QKuxuHdpJO1nPHKaiO7IWkbAHCBRAeq3m4-J45axSc_wBott7ABve8Wcd7GpQC13gybDWb2Hale6D809pTdtqqmpDoxC4u6FLA7SNNJ2jHbVKKpSaH1kxX4Ide1AyXDJXSZL2idNWvOch4A
… Micky Dolenz sang “Silly Love Songs” at Monday’s Troubadour benefit for Denny Laine and our spy said he really rocked it. Maybe a Dolenz Sings McCartney album is next? … So, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is authentic? Interesting choice for sure …
Writer and reporter Pablo Guzman passed this last weekend. An original member of The Young Lords, Guzman was a fierce fighter and brilliant writer. On Fox 5/Good Day NY for decades, he most recently was a reporter at WCBS. Here’s the Daily News take: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12799071/Legendary-NYC-news-anchor-Pablo-Guzman-dies-aged-73-Big-Apple-veteran-reporter-dubbed-son-Bronx-founded-Puerto-Rican-activist-group-Young-Lords-journalist.html …
And it’s official, the NY-launch for the Mark Bego Joe Cocker book will be Tuesday, January 9 at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sara Gore; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Daryl Estrea; Tony King; Ace Shortly; Kjersti and Jeremy Long; Debbie Gibson; Van Dean; Liz Skollar; Maude Adams; Robert Vaughn; Steve McQueen; Zach Martin; Coati Mundi; Avery Sharp; Steve Walter; Gary Gershoff; Jane Blunkell; Kimberly Cornell; Paul Iorio; Lee Jeske; MArt Ostrow; Peter Shendell; Sharon White; and ZIGGY!
The Glorious Corner
A CHER STEAL — This year’s 97th edition of the Macy’s Day Parade was a rather underwhelming one, save for Chicago – inexplicably singing “Your My Inspiration” – and the always, indefatigable Cher, singing a track “DJ Play a Christmas Song” off her new holiday-themed album. The first few bars will terribly auto-tuned, but that seemed to disappear and Cher’s vocals rang full and bold.
She was, typically, a pro. Mixing effortlessly and emotionally with the dancers in a terrific set. Some pundits reported the clip was shot days earlier, but she was live and, just sensational. I wish more of today’s performers possessed her vigor and skills. That’s why most of the current acts, here today, will be gone tomorrow.
As we went to press, we learned that this parade was Macy’s most-watched edition ever! Congrats.
HALL VS. OATES — Some terrible news appeared in Wednesday’s media that Daryl Hall had taken out a TRO against partner-John Oates. I’ve loved what these two have done for decades and I loved Hall’s solo albums; especially the one he did with Robert Fripp in 1977 Sacred Songs. His record company at the time (RCA) hated it so much, they held up its release for three years.
I also well remember them in the 80’s when it seemed you could’t turn on a radio without hearing their music. 29 of their 33 singles were major chart hits on Billboard. But I do go back to them even in the 70’s, with their terrific “She’s Gone” which basically launched them. And, my favorite album of their War Babies, produced by Todd Rundgren. Quick note: That album sounds as good and relevant as it did when it came out in 1974.
The problem seems to arise from Oates wanting to sell his portion of certain songs to Primary Wave Artists – which ironically owns several of their songs already. It’s a small point, but that seems to be the issue. In all actuality, it’s another case of a classic-rocker selling his music.
In Oates’ book several years ago (Change of Seasons: A Memoir), he hardly mentioned Hall and regrettably that animus has apparently reared its angry head. They’re Philly boys, I’m from Philly and it’s just an awful coda to what was one of music’s major success stories. Sad all around.
SHORT TAKES — Terrific article in this week’s Closer on Micky Dolenz. Check it out here: https://www.closerweekly.com/posts/micky-dolenz-on-telling-stories-on-stage-and-in-his-book/
btw: Dolenz tapes KTLA’s Countdown To 2024 this week in LA …
I first met Phil Quartararo in the lobby of the old Mondrian Hotel in LA with John Sykes and we struck up a friendship that lasted until he passed last week. He was at Virgin for a time and worked with the artists there including The Spice Girls and Paul Abdul. In these fast-changing-times in the music business, he remained somewhat behind the scenes of late, but admitted he missed working with the artists. Phil was a guy you never ever heard a bad word about. Huge loss. Here’s Billboard’s take on Phil:
… As you’ve not doubt read, there is trouble in the Marvel-comic kingdom. The latest Captain Marvel movie (The Marvels) didn’t perform nearly as well as everyone hoped for and their newest star, Jonathan Majors as Kang, is tied up in several court matters.
So, we hear that Kang is out and Doctor Doom is in. Stay tuned …
And Forbes’ James M. Clash has released Amplified; culled from his terrific interviews with the icons of rock ‘n roll; including Grace Slick; Art Garfunkel; Ginger Baker; Micky Dolenz; and Roger Daltry. Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNJZYW2J?ref_=cm_sw_r_apan_dp_WKCSH7AC0ZTK18RZF4ED&language=en-US NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Leeds; Kate Hyman; Bono; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Bobby Bank; Dina Pitenis; Frank DiLella; Donnie Kehr; Steve Leber; Don Wardell; Anne Adams; Billy Smith; John Boulos; Kimberly Cornell; Sam Rubin; Nexstar; and ZIGGY!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Michael Urie and Ethan Slater
With the holidays, my caricature of Spamalot is taking time, so I decided to highlight the two performers who for me stood out.
I have drawn Michael Urie several times, but I love this picture with him and my drawing of him in Buyer and Seller. Urie as Sir Robin, shows a new side of him that is truly funny.
Ethan Slater should have won a Tony for Sponge Bob Square Pants. My guess is he will be nominated again for his multiple roles in Spamalot.
Up next my caricature of Spamalot
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Entre Institute Review – Is Jeff Lerner’s Program a Scam?
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