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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SHEERAN-CRITICALLY SPEAKING — (Via NME) Ed Sheeran has said that he doesn’t see the point in music critics.

According to Rolling Stone,  the singer-songwriter was referring to the age of streaming and how music is now more accessible than ever. Sheeran suggested that critics are no longer needed to guide listeners or help them engage. “Why do you need to read a review? Listen to it. It’s freely available! he told the publication. “Make up your own mind. I would never read an album review and go, ‘I’m not gonna listen to that now.’”Sheeran’s comments were met with mixed reaction by people online. One person wrote: “ok except music critics aren’t just there for ppl to decide what to listen to?? taking a deeper look at music thru a deeper critical lense, both positive and negative, is a celebration of music as a whole if anything.”

Another said: “80% of the time I’d agree. But the best reviewers also help me learn how to interpret music in a new way. They also help me learn about the history of music. There’s a lot about music that goes beyond just how it sounds to my ear (in my humble opinion).”

Sheeran’s comments about music criticism were shared by Rolling Stone in supplementary material that was omitted from the March cover interview with the star.

Among that was the revelation that Jay-Z “respectfully passed on featuring on the singer’s hit single ‘Shape Of You.’  ‘Shape Of You’ was released at the start of 2017 and went five times platinum in its first year, becoming one of the biggest UK singles of all time on streaming services.

Sheeran told Rolling Stone that he was “in touch” with the legendary New York rapper’s team about a collaboration, but that it was turned down on Jay-Z’s side.

“We were in touch,” Sheeran said. “I sent him the song, and he said, ‘I don’t think the song needs a rap verse.’ He was probably right. He’s got a very, very good ear. He usually gets things right. It was a very natural, respectful pass.”

First off, Sheeran doesn’t need the critics anymore, but if you’re a new act, building awarness, a great review from a critics can only help. I loved the “Shape Of You,” but these comments are totally baseless and senseless. He actually should be  ashamed of himself as he’s hurting the “new” artists on their way up.

Jan Wenner

Speaking of Rolling Stone, I just finished the 600-pager Jann Wenner book Like A Rolling Stone and just loved it. Wenner’s writing style is totally off the charts and you can quickly see why Rolling Stone was such a generational hit for decades. I urge you to read it.

Matt Lauer

SHORT TAKES — On Wednesday’s 70th salute to The Today Show, they actually showed for a mere moment of shot of Katie Couric with Matt Lauer. Missing completely was Ann Curry. Say what you will, but Lauer was an integral part of this show for years and while his off-screen antics weren’t right, he deserved more than he got on the salute. The show has still not recovered from his leaving …

Little Big Town

On that same Today Show, Little Big Town performed their version of The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” Was pretty spectacular …

Brad LeBeau

Brad LeBeau, one of the country’s top music-gunslingers, celebrates his firm’s (Pro Motion) 40th anniversary in July. Congrats … Boy, haven’t heard about Amber Heard in quite sometime. I guess she really was Depp-sixed after all …

Ian Shrager, empresario. Foto de Eduardo Muñoz

Studio 54’s Ian Schrager has certainly re-created himself as a hotelier of the highest order. In NYC, Public is his and he just bought the old Standard Hotel in LA on Sunset. He also bought the Hotel Bossert in Brooklyn Heights … Micky Dolenz brings his Monkees Celebration tour to Long Island’s Paramount next Tuesday  (4/11) and the fabulous Ridegfield Playhouse next Friday (4/14). Dolenz also spoke to Detroit’s Oakland Press Gary Graff Thursday … Leo D. Sullivan whose animation of a chugging train graced the opening of television dance party Soul Train for decades, died March 25 in Los Angeles. He was 82. For those of a certain age -and mindset- Soul Train was one of the best. Here’s Bowie doing “Fame” from the show in 1975:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy80bUKt54I   And, Apple TV’s Ted Lasso continues to dazzle. Beautifully written with a hint of sadness, it’s just a terrific show. This  week’s episode (“Big Week”) ended with a dazzlingversion of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think twice It’s All Right” by Peter, Paul and Mary and last week played “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen. Just terrific music choices. Bravo!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Bobby Bank; Jeff Smith; Michael Leon; Randy Alexander; Chuck Darrow; Seymour Stein; Harrison Jordan; Terry Jastrow; Brad Balfour; Morris Chestnut; Heather Moore; Melissa Davis; Anthony Noto; Anderson Cooper; Cody Gaier; Harrison Jordan; Peter Shendell; Dave Davidson; Barry Fisch; Tom Jay; Mark Biggs; Joe Bonadonna ; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; William Schill; 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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Mark Bego: The Prince Of Pop Biographies Gets Political With Yorkshire Publishing’s Campaigning For President

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What is the best-selling rock & roll biographer in the show business realm doing, writing a book on politics with “Campaigning For President?” asks author Mark Bego, “One of the reasons why this is a viable transition into another literary genre for me, is that political campaigns are 90% show business, and the act of finding an audience and playing to it—just like the music business.”

Mark Bego

Bego, whose last two books— “Band of Gold” with Freda Payne, and “Joe Cocker:  With A LOT of Help from His Friends”—both from Yorkshire Publishing—electrified the charts and further solidified his position as “the Prince of Pop Biographies” (a title given to him by Publisher’s Weekly).  On the heels of the Cocker biography, Bego was approached about reviving and updating the popular 2008 book: “Campaigning For President.”  According to him, “I am always up for a new literary adventure—and this seemed like a fun and historically relevant one to be involved with!”

Jordan M. Wright was the owner of the world’s most extensive collection of U.S. Presidential campaign memorabilia when he published the original 2008 book, “Campaigning For President.”  Only months later Wright tragically died, and his collection eventually found a permanent home at Long Island University. Since that time there have been five new presidential campaigns to write about, including the current 2024 Trump vs. Biden battle.  Bego was approached by Wright’s widow, Pamala Wright, about writing five new chapters, a new beginning, and re-imagining the original coffee table book.  “It intrigued me, and I was up for the challenge,” proclaims Bego.

According to Mark, “The five political campaigns that I have written about for this book have undoubtedly been the most dramatic ones ever mounted. And, the best part of this assignment is the fact that the book does not take political sides.  It is all about the memorabilia that is created for a presidential campaign, not the politics of it.  You can be a Republican, an Independent, or a Democrat, and still find everything in this book to be fascinating and of historical significance.”

“In my mind, a political rally can unfold the same way as a rock concert,” says Bego. “People can walk away from such an event with a Donald Trump ‘MAGA’ hat, or an ‘I’m With Hillary’ bumper sticker, or any number of catchy marketing items.  While I have spent my time collecting PEZ dispensers, and memorabilia on The Supremes and The Beatles, the original author of this book—Jordan M. Wright—was busy collecting political campaign items from George Washington in the 1780’s, up to George W. Bush in the 2000’s.  It is basically the same act, just a different arena.”

This new and fully updated version of the lavishly illustrated book “Campaigning For President,” with all new Bego material, is due to be released on June 4 from Yorkshire Publishing.  It represents Mark’s 69th published book.

Bego explains, “There is flattering memorabilia in this book about every candidate, and there are also some unflattering memorabilia about many of them too.  My task here is to present both sides of the coins, and to view the items in this book for their cleverness, their bitchiness, their ideals, their humor, and—ultimately—their effectiveness in the political outcome.”

Mark Bego’s next literary effort will undoubtedly return him to his musical wheelhouse. “I have several titles in my head; and in fact, have already begun writing one of them,” confirms the author.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Douglas J Cohen, Stephen Cole ,Alison Louise Hubbard and David Spencer, musical theatre writers, who all have books out.

We are so proud because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

I am so grateful to my guests Douglas J Cohen How To Survive A Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy on the Road to Broadway, Stephen Cole Mary & Ethel… and Mikey Who?, Alison Louise Hubbard The Kelsey Outrage, The Crime of the Century A historical true crime novel and David Spencer The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

We hope to see you there on April 24th. We will be announcing our guests tomorrow.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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I am so pleased to announce our guest for next Wednesday’s show on April 17th are four award-winning musical theatre writers who turned to writing books.

For a veteran musical theatre dramatist, getting a new musical on is rarely easy, even at the healthiest of times. But when a pandemic stops everything cold—and a restless creative spirit is driven to both keep writing and reach an audience—what can be done? Well, four musical dramatists independently decided to meet the challenge head on with the same answer: Write a book! But their creative paths to near- simultaneous publication would be as unique as the rave-reviewed books themselves. And when they realized that their musical theatre backgrounds cast them as an equally unique quartet…they decided to come full circle back to the theatre community …to tell that story…the story of how their incredible books came to be…which in its way is also a universal story; a story for our time. A story of taking stock, taking a deep breath, taking new steps…and turning the page. Here are our writers:

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David Spencer is an award-winning musical dramatist, author, critic and musical theatre teacher, whose work has been produced in the US, Canada and England. His most well-known credits as lyricist-librettist are two musicals in collaboration with composer Alan Menken: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, based on the novel by Moredecai Richler (original cast album on Ghostlight Records) and Weird Romance (co-librettist: Alan Brennert; original cast album digital-on-demand from Columbia Masterworks). He made his professional debut writing the acclaimed colloquial English-language adaptation of La Bohème for the Public Theatre; and as composer-lyricist wrote scores and orchestrations for Theatreworks/USA’s young audience versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables (librettist-director for both: Rob Barron). His published books are The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide (Heinemann), the acting edition of Weird Romance (Samuel French)—and, pulpsmith proud, Passing Fancy, an original novel based on the TV series Alien Nation (PocketBooks). He recently completed a draft of his first straight play, Spirit Run (story by him and Jerry James).

David is an ex officio steering committee and faculty member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he taught for over 25 years, and has also taught at HB Studio, Workshop Studio Theater in New York; and Goldsmith’s College and BML in London.

His book is The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

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 Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical with Matthew Ward, After The Fair, was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The Night Of The Hunter won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco, where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The award-winning 1998 concept CD features Ron Raines, Sally Mayes, and Dorothy Loudon. Saturday Night At Grossinger’s has had successful runs in Texas (starring Gavin MacLeod), Los Angeles, and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in Casper, and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of Dodsworth. In 2005, Stephen was commissioned to write Aspire, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. This experience resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road To Qatar!, produced to rave reviews and awards Off-Broadway, in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering a Best Musical nomination. Among his other produced shows are Rock Odyssey, which played to hundreds of thousands of kids for ten seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, and Merman’s Apprentice, presented in concert at Birdland in New York City, followed by an all-star cast album on Jay Records, and an acclaimed premiere production in Sonoma, CA in 2019. Stephen’s latest critically acclaimed musical is Goin’ Hollywood. Stephen’s published books include That Book About That Girl and I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, currently in development as a feature film from Amazon. Stephen has also written several published stories and his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin resulted in this, his first novel. Visit www.stephencolewriter.org.