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G.H. HARDING

JIM SEALS PASSES — (from Variety) Jim Seals, who as part of the duo Seals and Crofts crafted memorably wistful 1970’s hits like “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl,” died Monday at age 80. No cause of death was immediately given.

Several friends and relatives confirmed the death. “I just learned that James ‘Jimmy’ Seals has passed,” announced his cousin, Brady Seals, a former member of the country band Little Texas, Monday night. “My heart just breaks for his wife Ruby and their children. Please keep them in your prayers. What an incredible legacy he leaves behind.”

 Wrote John Ford Coley, “This is a hard one on so many levels as this is a musical era passing for me. And it will never pass this way again, as his song said,” he added, referring to the Seals and Croft hit “We May Never Pass This Way (Again).” Coley was a member of another hit duo of the era, England Dan and John Ford Coley, with Jim Seals’ younger brother, the late Dan Seals.

“You and Dan finally get reunited again,” Coley wrote. “Tell him and your sweet momma hi for me.”

With Jim Seals as the primary lead vocalist of the harmonizing duo, Seals and Crofts came to be the very emblem of “soft rock” with a run of hits that lasted for only about six years. Although none of the pair’s hits ever reached No. 1 on the Hot 100, their biggest songs were for a time as ubiquitous as any that did top the chart. “Summer Breeze” in 1972 and “Diamond Girl” in 1973 both reached No. 6, as did a more upbeat song in 1976, “Get Closer,” sung with Carolyn Willis.

Besides those three songs that reached the top 10 on the Hot 100, four more made it to the adult contemporary chart’s top 10: “We May Never Pass This Way (Again)” in ’73, “I’ll Play for You” in ’75, “Goodbye Old Buddies” in ’77 and “You’re the Love” in ’78.

Critic Robert Christgau called the duo “folk-schlock,” but Seals and Crofts had the last laugh — or would have, if crowing with vindication was part of the Baha’i way. Both members of the duo were deeply embedded in that peace-loving faith from the late ’60’s forward.

The duo broke up in 1980, followed by a couple of very fleeting reunions in the early ’90s and early 2000s, which generated only one album after their original run, the little-noticed “Traces” in 2004, They never reembarked together on the kind of nostalgia-stoking package tours that would have seemed a natural for an act with so many well-remembered hits. But neither member showed a particularly heavy interest in chasing the limelight after the 1970’s.

John Ford Coley shared his thoughts at length in a Facebook post. “I spent a large portion of my musical life with this man,” he wrote. “He was Dan’s older brother, (and) it was Jimmy that gave Dan and me our stage name. He taught me how to juggle, made me laugh, pissed me off, encouraged me, showed me amazing worlds and different understandings on life, especially on a philosophical level; showed me how expensive golf was and how to never hit a golf ball because next came the total annihilation of a perfectly good golf club, and the list goes on and on. We didn’t always see eye to eye, especially as musicians, but we always got along and I thought he was a bona fide, dyed-in the-wool musical genius and a very deep and contemplative man. He was an enigma and I always had regard for his “I listened to him and I learned from him,” Coley continued. “We didn’t always agree and it wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fun but it definitely was always entertaining for sure. Dan adored his older brother and it was because of Jimmy opening doors for us that we came to Los Angeles to record and meet the right people. … He belonged to a group that was one of a kind. I am very sad over this but I have some of the best memories of all of us together.”

For several years in the late ’50s and early ’60s, both Seals and Dash Crofts — who survives his partner — were members of a group that bore little stylistic similarity to their later act: the Champs, although they joined after that band had recorded its signature hit, “Tequila.” Seals played sax in that group and Crofts was on drums.

James Eugene Seals was born in 1942 to an oilman, Wayland Seals, and his wife Cora. ““There were oil rigs as far as you could see,” Seals told an interviewer of his upbringing in Iraan, Texas. “And the stench was so bad you couldn’t breathe.” Jim became transfixed by a visiting fiddler and his father ordered him an instrument from the Sears catalog when he was 5 or 6. In a 1952 contest in west Texas, Jim won the fiddle division while his father triumphed in the guitar category. His little brother, Dan, later to be a pop star himself, took up the stand-up bass.

Jim took up sax at age 13 and began playing with a local band, the Crew Cats, when rock ‘n’ roll broke out in 1955. The shy musician joined up with the more outgoing Darrell “Dash” Crofts, who was two years older and grew up the son of a Texas cattle rancher, inviting his friend to join the Crew Cats as well. In 1958, the offer came to join the Champs, who’d recently had a No. 1 smash with “Tequila.” They stayed with that band till quitting in 1965.

The pair moved to L.A. and joined a group called the Dawnbreakers, also playing for a time behind Glen Campbell, just before he broke out as a major star. Their manager, Marcia Day, was a member of the Baha’i faith, and the house they shared on Sunset Blvd. was full of adherents as well as secular members of the local rock scene; in 1967, five years before having their first hit, both Seals and Crofts converted.

“She and her family were Bahai, and they’d have these fireside gatherings at their house on Friday night,” Seals recalled in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “There were street people, doctors, university teachers and everybody there. And the things they talked about, I couldn’t even ask the question let alone give the answer: the difference between soul, mind and spirit, life after death. We’d discuss things sometimes until 3 in the morning.

 “It was the only thing I’d heard that made sense to me, so I responded to it,” he continued. “That began to spawn some ideas to write songs that might help people to understand, or help ones who maybe couldn’t feel anything or were cynical or cold. Lyrically, I think music can convey things that are hard sometimes for people to say to each other. But through a song, through someone else’s eyes, they can see it and it’s not so much a confrontation.”

Abandoning their former instruments for something more folk-rock-friendly, Seals took up the guitar and Crofts learned the mandolin. Their first three albums as a duo, between 1969-71, had a sweet sound but went little-noticed. They tried cutting “Summer Breeze” earlier but didn’t come up with a version they liked until their third album in 1972, which they named after the track. It caught on at radio, region by region. Seals was quoted in Texas Monthly as having noted the sudden shift when they arrived for a gig in Ohio: “There were kids waiting for us at the airport. That night we had a record crowd, maybe 40,000 people. And I remember people throwing their hats and coats in the air as far as you could see, against the moon. Prettiest thing you’ve ever seen.”

After several more major and minor hits followed, including “Diamond Girl,” wrote Texas Monthly, the duo had their own private jet yet “would come out and sit at the edge of the stage and hold firesides about the Baha’i faith with curious fans. In 1974 they played the California jam, along with Deep Purple and the Eagles, in front of hundreds of thousands. When Jim pulled out his fiddle for a hoedown on ‘Fiddle in the Sky,’ throngs of  sunbaked hippies clapped along.”

The duo stirred controversy in 1974 by recording an anti-abortion song, “Unborn Child,” as their album’s track in 1974 in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision. The belief that abortion was wrong came out of their shared Baha’i beliefs, and they released it over the objections of their label, Warner Bros.

The divisive song “was really just asking a question: What about the child?” Seals told the L.A. Times years later. “We were trying to say, ‘This is an important issue,’ that life is precious and that we don’t know enough about these things yet to make a judgment. It was our ignorance that we didn’t know that kind of thing was seething and boiling as a social issue. On one hand we had people sending us thousands of roses, but on the other people were literally throwing rocks at us. If we’d known it was going to cause such disunity, we might have thought twice about doing it. At the time it overshadowed all the other things we were trying to say in our music.”

In 1977, the duo contributed to the soundtrack for a basketball-based film, “One on One,” starring Robbie Benson. They didn’t write the songs — Paul Williams and Charles Fox did — but were prominently billed on the soundtrack album as the song score’s performers.

By the time they broke up in 1980, their brand of music was finding far less of a place in disco-fied top 40 stations. Seals moved to Costa Rica with his wife, Ruby, where they were reported to have run a coffee farm as they raised their three children, and Crofts and his family moved to Mexico and eventually Australia.

In 1991, when Seals and Crofts made a stab at a reunion, they talked about their breakup with the L.A. Times. “Around 1980,” Seals told the newspaper, “we were still drawing 10,000 to 12,000 people at concerts. But we could see, with this change coming where everybody wanted dance music, that those days were numbered. We just decided that it was a good time, after a long run at it, to lie back and not totally commit ourselves to that kind of thing because we were like (fish) out of water.”

Seals, who later moved to Nashville, was considered to have been retired from a music career even before he suffered a stroke in 2017 that put a halt to his playing.

But he did occasionally return to music in the intervening years, as when he toured with his brother Dan (aka England Dan) as Seals and Seals.

The Seals name has a legacy in music that goes beyond just Jim’s, as multiple generations in the family tree have taken up performing or songwriting. Besides Dan’s tenure with England Dan and John Ford Coley and cousin Brady Seals’ success with Little Texas, another cousin, Troy Seals, is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member responsible for such hits as “Seven Spanish Angels,” and in the 50’s his uncle Charles “Chuck” Seals co-wrote the Ray Price classic “Crazy Arms.”Seals is survived by Ruby and by their children Joshua, Juliette and Sutherland.

For people of a certain age, “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl” were generational signature songs. They’re the type of songs that work anywhere. In fact, what with all the talk about Kate Bush’s resurgence – I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see either one of these songs used as a soundtrack and become huge hits again. Terrific remembrance byVariety’s Chris Willman. Kudos!

Part of my musical education for sure. SHORT TAKES — With the flurry of attention on Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” I took a look at her accompanying 1985 video and was pleased to see that not only has it held up, but it’s really quite inventive. Certainly one of the best videos of the times back then. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp43OdtAAkM

Bobby Sanabria

Jazzheads’ Bobby Sanabria and his MultiverseBIGg Band appears at Dizzy’s in NYC June 17-19 … More big news from England’s 7a Records regarding Micky Dolenz. Stay tuned … And, yes that was the Monkee-man dining at NY’s Carmine’s post-show last week; included in the table was Comedy Is Hard-writer Mike Reiss (The Simpsons) who wrote the play that Dolenz starred in back in 2014 with Joyce DeWitt …

Johnny Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez

Johnny Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez Johnny Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez was just made a partner at her law firm. I’d have to say, deservedly so, right? …

Chris Gilman and Debbie Gibson 

We tried to check in to see how Debbie Gibson’s first-tour in ages is going -she’s at Long Island’s Patchogue Theatre Saturday night- but we didn’t hear back. Would love to see a review … Here’s a great interview with her from the Houston Press: https://www.houstonpress.com/houston/Print?oid=13524260

Brian Wilson

Jones Beach, Friday, July 15 Chicago and Brian Wilson. Now, that’s a show! … I see where Q1043’s Jonathan Clarke just did an interview with the utterly brilliant Mike Scott of The Waterboys. I’m a huge fan and I just found on YouTube a live version of his “Bring ‘Em All In” from his first solo-album. Here it is:


This Saturday is the memorial for Mark Lacob at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room … SIGHTING: Writer Terry Jastrow (The Trial Of George W. Bush) and wife Anne Archer lunching at NYC’s Crosby Street Hotel

Micky Dolenz joins FabFest 2022 at The Knights Theater in Uptown Charlotte, NC July 22-23 … and HAPPY BDAY Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tony King; Kent Denmark; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow;  Rudy Schur; CW Hanes; Tony Seidel; Debbie Campbell; Chris Boneau; Cindy Adams; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Claudia Cohen; Lush Ice; Allen Klein; Fred Goodman; Paul Iorio; Marty Ostrow; Jann Wenner; Bob Austin; Frank Conway; Steve Leeds; and, CHIP!

 

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.

Celebrity

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G.H. Harding

ALEC BALDWIN — I’ve had my own issues with Alec Baldwin for years; then, literally on a dime, it all turned around and I found him to be pretty compassionate, intelligent and a nice guy. What happened in Santa Fe on the Rust set was an unspeakable tragedy, and his trial was halted yesterday and the case was dismissed due to evidence not being given to the Baldwin-team. The Santa Fe prosecutor Kari Morrisey seemingly told two different stories on the stand and outside the court room. She is, without a doubt, toast.

Baldwin is still liable for civil suits, but this case is gone and he cannot be tried again. A win for sure, but the questions still remain: who brought live ammo onto the Rust-set. Clearly that may never, ever be determined.

Baldwin’s a good guy with a short fuse, but this situation, once and for all, is done.

Mirage

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe the Las Vegas Mirage is closing … after 35 years. Opened in 1983 it was a great hotel and hosted The Beatles’ Love show. I have stayed there numerous times and loved it. The new owner will build a Hard Rock hotel there, with a HUGE guitar in front. Yet again changing the skyline of that town. It’ll open in 2027 …

Lyndsey Parker

Lyndsey Parker is a terrific writer. Her new site, Lyndsanity just posted a great interview with Micky Dolenz about his direction of the video “Love Is Dangerous” from Noel – masterminded by the Mael Brothers in 1979. Great piece, check it out here:  https://www.lyndsanity.com/music/micky-dolenz-on-directing-long-lost-dancing-is-dangerous-video-for-sparks-protege-noel-its-pretty-weird-huh/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2W-9c0OfpLdT3WVy52ZWliQu7XTVoVjaYREbiUMSAUcdgJatcsL547X8c_aem_8St7LVBDI_U5Qp-ZJ5lxQA

… Hard to believe there are only 8 episodes left of CBS’ Blue Bloods. Salary concerns killed this show and it’s a shame as it was really superb for 15 years. Bad move on CBS’ part …

Zach Martin

Veteran-broadcaster Denny Somach joins Zach Martin’s NEW HD radio – https://newhdmedia.com/rock-and-roll-for-grownups-debut-denny-somach/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR1j_BeyvWnRksk6pRN7IUtWK-kzu5G35zKqcjBUjVJOJ3w_b4IVFjDE6UI_aem_hW0aEBIVaHEwpJXVTItulA

Benny Harrison

Whatever happened to Benny Harrison’s album Pages? It was a great one. Heard an early advance and loved it …And, (via Deadline)

Stevie Nicks

There are special guest stars, and then there’s extra-special guest stars. Which is what Harry Styles what is as he joined Stevie Nicks at her July 12 concert in the UK for versions of her hits “Stop Draggin’ My heart Around” and “Landslide.” Styles played guitar on stage and held up on the Tom Petty/Lindsey Buckingham vocal parts. It was familiar turf, as Styles has joined Nicks on stage several times in the past. Nicks was appearing at the BST Hyde Park concert series on Friday. Nicks told the audience in London that she asked Styles to help her in commemorating what would have been her late Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie’s 81st birthday … RIP Dr. Ruth!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Nancy Ruth; Mark Bego; Freda Payne; Jerry Brandt; Kent & Laura Denmark; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Kramer; Terry Jastrow; Steve Immerman; Jordan Immerman; Tony Seidl; Roy Trakin; Markos Papadatos; Sparks; Pat Prince; Cindy Adams; Tony LoBianco; Tone Scott; David Adelson; Joel Denver; Pat Prince; and SADIE!

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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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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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Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

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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