Crazy-Sex Friday! (That’s what Fridays are for)

Lady GagaHowdy out there,

Thanks, Gaga – you’ve made a slow news day into a kooky (or ‘gaga’) news day!

Lady Gaga’s prurience and her preoccupation with same-gender sexuality has caused an upwelling of protest in, no, not Saudi Arabia or Iran, but, South Korea, of all places.  The protestors’ term for the prurience and preoccupation: “pornography” and “homosexuality.”  These protestors belong to several Christian groups in a country with a devoted and faithful Evangelical Protestant demographic numbering around twelve million.  ‘The Christian Council of Korea’ does not want Gaga’s ‘homosexual’ attitudes polluting Korean culture.  Don’t blame the Koreans, the Christians, or anyone else – Gaga could generate controversy in Antarctica!

Perfect transition to Queen and Freddy Mercury, poster boys of the, er, shall we say ‘alternative lifestyle’.  Offbeat actor Sacha Baron Cohen decided that he wants to play Mercury in a biopic and took his idea to Brit-American producer Graham King.  King jumped at the chance to ‘do’ Queen and the movie is on!  Freddie Mercury was a larger-than-life character who was ‘out there’ so it will be interesting to see what angle the script will take on this polarizing singer.

To close out this sex-oriented blog post, we go to One Direction’s Harry Styles and The Bieb.

The Bieb has announced that he ain’t gonna marry Selena anytime soon and says he wants to “have a family” “in ten years.”  That gives some hope for all the dreamy-eyed Beliebers out there.  Any of you girls think you can displace Selena by 2022?

Young Master Styles has no interest in marriage; instead he has expressed his desire to bed a duo of Kates – Moss and Winslet – plus Ms. ‘Binbag’ Jolie.  There’s perhaps a tiny chance Master Styles may make one score but the hat-trick of his dreams?  Million-to-one odds!



Billboard, *Boring* Billboard!

musicHey all,

After the early demises of one-week wonders ‘The Hunger Games’ OST, Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’, and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Reloaded’, Lionel Richie’s ‘Tuskegee’ has surprised even me – who expected it to reach the apex – by clinging on to the top.  Part of the reason is a lack of competition but the other part is that this is a good album that’s at the top on merit.  It’s low on track overlaying, synthetic beats and the whole rest of it, and is heavy on real singing, which is becoming a rarity these days.

This is not an earth-shaking week on the Billboard charts otherwise.  Billboard, don’t be so boring!

No. 2 spot on the Albums Chart is occupied by Jason Mraz’s new album ‘Love is a Four Letter Word’ in its debut week and that has knocked down Adele’s ’21′ to no. 3.  Most noteworthy is Future’s debut studio album landing at no. 8 on its debut week.

Other than that, we have the usual suspects – Nicki Minaj’s ‘Reloaded’, One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’, and Gotye’s ‘Making Mirrors’ in . . . their usual positions! (or close enough).

Over on the Singles Hot 100 Chart, Gotye (‘Somebody that I used to Know’) and fun (‘We are Young’) remain in the top two positions per the long-term lease they’ve signed with Billboard (as I reported on earlier).  In fact these two singles have so caught listeners’ fancy that they have kept Maroon 5′s hotly-anticipated new single featuring Wiz Khalifa, ‘Payphone’ at no. 3.  That’s an interesting stat because ‘Payphone’ is the clear winner on the Digital Singles Charts.  Perhaps that’s a signal that Gotye or fun’s lease is about to expire in a week . . . .

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ is still in the Top Ten, but only just, being at no. 10 after eighteen weeks on the charts, a longevity statistic it shares with ‘We Are Young’

What with the stagnant singles charts, I wonder if Richie & Pals didn’t miss a trick: they could’ve put out extended play versions or alternate cuts of a couple of songs from ‘Tuskegee’; they might have livened things up on the Hot 100 and also the Digital Charts.

Oh well, live and learn!

Ta ta,


Of fame and shame, of Beyonce and Ted Nugent

Beyonce KnowlesHallo Music-Lovers,

You know it’s a slow news day in the music world when People Magazine’s choice of ‘Most Beautiful Woman’ gets all the coverage.  But wait— Beyonce is a music-biz person!  So Music-Lovers’ ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Thank Yous’ are very much in order to Beyonce for winning an ‘open’ award for the Music Biz, no?  That said, these days we have a bevy of lovely young lasses adorning the Music Biz, specially those in the Country Music genre, and I wonder if some jealous claws aren’t being unsheathed . . . .

Looks like we’re doing unusual news today so let’s continue on that track, going from fame to shame.  The exact, full story is too convoluted to go into here but suffice it to say that conservative (fundamentalist?) rocker Ted Nugent has pled guilty on a misdemeanour count, the wrongful acts being to have wounded one black bear in Alaska and then shot another.  He has been slapped with no less than five penalties, albeit all of them minor, ranging from (two) fines to a public service announcement.  I think Nugent and Lady Gaga would make for a *very* good couple . . . .

Do you like lost concerts or lost recordings?  Do you like The Beatles or Carole King?  Both?  Okay, ladies first.

Turns out that Carole King was a fantastic singer waaay before she proved it in 1971.  Some of King’s unreleased sessions were remastered and released recently and the thumbs all seem to be up.  ‘Legendary Demos’ ranges from 60s pop hits like ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ and ‘Crying in the Rain’ to originals, and from piano-comp tracks to full-band numbers.  Definitely sounds like a buy for Carole King fans.

Just as much a must-see for Beatles fans will be ‘The Beatles: The Lost Concert’.  Some film reels were found of the band’s first U.S. concert in Washington D.C. and, considering that ‘Twist and Shout’ was found on the reels, this is *exciting* news.  This heretofore lost concert was made into a movie, set to premiere in twelve days.  Those who have seen “A Hard Day’s Night” will not miss this, that’s for sure.

Have a Good Day and Fun Night,


Starring Taylor Swift, Miss America, and The Beach Boys

Taylor SwiftHi Music-Loving Kids,

You know who Taylor Swift is, of course, but how about Joni Mitchell?  Drawing a blank?  Hint: Ask your parents.  Joni Mitchell was a singer-songwriter-guitarist who descended from and was influenced by that great Hippy Movement.  Now, nice and wholesome Taylor Swift wants to play Mitchell in a movie called “Girls Like Us.”  I wonder if strong-minded Joni will nix this casting against type?

Your parents would definitely know about The Beach Boys too, the kings of 60s bubble-gum music.  Now these oldies are getting together again for their 50th anniversary.  They’ve got a new album coming out but what’s more, they’re going off on a ‘reunion tour’ which gets underway *today* and is booked through to mid-August.  Ya know, this thing about grampas wanting to do it one more time seems to be a contagious disease, doesn’t it?  I devoted a whole blog post to it and now we have these septuagenarian California boys wanting to raise a shindig in Japan!

From California to the Heartland of Nashville, and the CMT Music Awards nominees were announced yesterday.  The news is all about the women; Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, because they’ve got the noms.  But it’s a really crowded pack and I think either Kenny Chesney or Jason Aldean (or both) will spring an upset in one of the open categories.

Music Industry lawsuits – you know the royalties thing – have taken a new twist.  The widow of the composer who wrote the signature tune for the Miss America pageant has sued the Miss America Organization for failing to pay licensing fees.  Oh well, that tune was getting old anyway; time to get something new.  How about a vocal for a change – say a trio between Taylor, Carrie and Rihanna titled ‘Sweet, Sexy and Sleazy’?  Gets across the different facets of Miss America pretty well too . . .

Sweetly Yours,


Catch-up Music-News Monday

BillboardHello out there,

We had an upsurge of news late last week and there was the usual Billboard review, which has meant a news pile-up.  To catch up lets’s dive right in!

*  Too many female artistes are scripted in their statements and actions, either by themselves (think Mad-onna), or by handlers who want to maximize the gain from their cash cow (think Britney).  Or, they say and do bizarre, flaky things (think Gaga) or act vulgar and sleazy (think Rihanna).  Nicki Minaj is a refreshing change.  This Friday Nicki was irritated beyond measure at Twitter’s failure to stop unauthorized leaks of her songs.  As a sign of protest and while throwing a tantrum, Nicki deleted her Twitter account!  Though some may call this an over-reaction, it bespeaks a singer who is not scripted and is frank and authentic.

*  During a shoot for his ‘Boyfriend’ video Justin Bieber was spotted kissing a girl’s hand and getting cuddly with her.  As it happened, Selena happened to stop by.  Not a bad idea to be keeping tabs if your boyfriend’s Justin Bieber, eh?

*  Bee Gee Robin Gibb is out of his coma and able to communicate but now we are told that, after everything he has suffered, he has colorectal cancer.  Gibb surprised his doctors by emerging from his coma and I hope he surprises them by walking out from the hospital as well.

*  The Bob Marley ‘docu-drama’ ‘Marley’ is playing at about 50 theatres in the U.S.  But if you’re a reggae-lover in a small-town in the heartland, you can watch it as a VoD (Video-on-Demand) on your computer screen.

*  Deadheads should be just as happy as Marley-fans: They can now play an interactive game, ‘The Grateful Dead Game: The Epic Tour’.  Who wants the Jerry Garcia avatar?

*  In closing, Congratulations to Neil Diamond!  At three-score-and-ten he has become a husband for the third time.  Best Wishes to his wife, his manager Katie McNeil.

Till tomorrow,


‘Tuskegee’ ascends to Billboard’s peak

Lionel Richie TuskegeeHello

Because of the sad demise of Dick Clark yesterday, our weekly review of Billboard has been pushed back to today.

Well, blow me down!  Last week I reported that I had been half-right on my expectation from two weeks back, i.e. that Lionel Richie’s ‘Tuskegee’ would bump Mad-onna’s ‘MDNA’ from the peak on Billboard’s album charts.  Well, I was half-right last week and am half-right this week: ‘Tuskegee’ has indeed taken pole position!  The only surprise for me is that it didn’t happen earlier.  ‘Tuskegee’ is also no. 1 on Country Albums as well as Digital Albums.

Billboard attributes ‘Tuskegee’s climb to the CBS special “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie & Friends in Concert” airing on Friday and sparking a demand for Richie’s album.  However, the fact is that it is on hype and manufactured publicity that heavily-promoted artistes’ albums, such as ‘MDNA’, take top spot upon release and then plummet.  ‘Tuskegee’, on the other hand, rose over two weeks and such a rise must primarily be attributed to quality and merit.  Bravo!

‘Tuskegee’s rise bumps Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded’ to no. 3 with Adele’s ’21′ holding at no. 2, as does One Direction’s ‘Up All Night’ at no. 5.  ‘MDNA’?  Don’t know where it’s gone; can’t find it!  Worthy of note, country singer Bonnie Raitt’s new album ‘Slipstream’ has debuted at no. 6 on the (‘open’) album charts.

On the topic of Billboard, the nominees for the Billboard Music Awards on 20th May have been announced.  Adele is in ‘win’ with eighteen, followed by LMFAO in ‘place’ with just one fewer.  Rihanna, with thirteen, is in ‘show position’.  Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne will be vying with Adele and Rihanna for the Top Artist award.  This award ceremony will have plenty of star-power as Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber and LMFAO are already scheduled to perform.  As for the awards, I have a feeling that Adele will be feeling veeery happy one month from now.

Nothing of note on the still-static Singles Charts except that fun’s ‘We are Young’ and Gotye’s ‘Somebody that I used to Know’ have swapped places at the top.  Hmm, I wonder if I was on to something when I had blogged that fun and Gotye have taken out “a long-term lease” with Billboard . . . .



Dick Clark, R.I.P.

Dick ClarkHello Music Lovers,

Dick Clark has passed away aged 82.  Much of the news about Clark casts him as a television personality, for example Fox News calls him a ‘TV pioneer’ and Huffington Post refers to him as ‘TV legend’.  Clark was both a TV pioneer and legend all right, but TV was only his medium: for Dick Clark was all about *music* first and last.

More than music in general, Dick Clark was about *rock ‘n’ roll* – without Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand’, ABC’s hit programme, the future of rock ‘n’ roll may have been very different.  Here’s a clue: Yahoo News writes: “Everyone showed up on ‘American Bandstand,’ from Elvis Presley to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry to Chubby Checker.”  All four singers named are rock ‘n’ roll singers (the twist is a rock ‘n’ roll variant).

Also, it was on American Bandstand that Elvis broke out and first caused a nationwide sensation in  the 50s.  No Dick Clark, no Elvis?  Well, at least things wouldn’t have turned out quite the same, that’s for sure.

Clark is also well-known for his “Rockin’ Eve” show on New Year’s Eve, which got underway in the early 70s.  He also produced and hosted innumerable shows and specials and won equally innumerable awards.  He was very active in the business world and owned a stake in a slew of successful ventures, becoming wealthy in the process.

That said Dick Clark is best remembered for ‘Bandstand’ and for something else – his personality and personal integrity.  Most persons who knew him have nothing but praise for his sincerity and generosity.  His character is revealed by his attitude towards race-relations from the get-go as he looked disfavourably upon segregation.  His policy, back in the 50s, was one of racially-integrated audiences.  He also gave equal time to African-American performers.  Considering that he took his stance against segregation during the 1950s, before the Civil Rights Act, besides being generous Clark was also a fair-minded and courageous man.

In the era of the ‘cover version’ Dick Clark also supported black artistes by inviting them to perform their original songs.  I suppose the best known cover version – practically the symbol of the practice – is Pat Boone’s (pretty good) cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.”  (The least known?  I think the Diamonds’ grotesque cover of The Gladiolas thrilling ‘Little Darling’.)  Clark thereby gave overdue exposure to black artists, bringing them to the eyes and ears of white audiences.

Clark had been in poor health since 2004, being laid low by diabetes and a minor stroke which had affected his speech, and from which he had battled to recover.  He passed away while undergoing a heart procedure.

Dick Clark may be dead; his musical legacy is alive and well – you’re listening to it.


EMI in the Cross-hairs

EMIHello Readers,

On leap-year day I had blogged about Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony frothing at the mouth over EMI, mentioning that IMPALA, an European trade body, was putting up some resistance to the acquisitions.  Not so their American counterparts; to the contrary, in fact.  The American Federation of Musicians and SAG-AFTRA are actually gung-ho about the buyout.  These organizations’ pooh bahs have expressed much concern and solicitude about EMI’s future, and based on nothing but this oh-so selfless concern and solicitude they are endorsing the buyout.

Hmm, so let me get this straight: co-opted American groups that function akin to PACs care more than European trade bodies for the well-being of European music’s jewel in the crown?

SAG-AFTRA self-righteously wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): “It has been wrenching to watch EMI wither over the past decade.”  ‘Wrenching,’ eh?  So why didn’t we hear about it back then?  What did SAG-AFTRA ever say – let alone do – about it?  Were they just ‘wrenching’ in silence?  What’s ‘wrenching’ is to watch a mongrel like UMG chasing a purebred like EMI.

SAG-AFTRA also argued that “for EMI to be acquired and sold off in pieces by capital investment speculators with no appreciation for, or commitment to, artists who fuel the recording industry, would ill serve the industry.”  Ah, so is the only alternative to an UMG buyout a “[sell] off in pieces by capital investment speculators”?  Sounds like sophistry to me.  If EMI is indeed in a bit of trouble, then simply try to get for it what’s always on tap for irresponsible auto-makers and avaricious banks: a cash injection; a bailout.

Not that any such thing is needed.  Make no mistake: this is not about music, it’s about profiteering.  In the interest of music, EMI should remain proud and independent.

Music Forever,


Back in the News: Enrique Iglesias and J-Lo

Jennifer LopezHi Music-Lovers,

What a mixed bag of disparate news items we have today.  Let’s see if I can get some kind of ‘flow’ going . . .

Jennifer Lopez has been out of music-biz news lately.  Her recent, very minor claims to fame have been that she is a judge on ‘American Idol’ and that she and Marc Anthony are ‘untying’ the knot.  Now she’s done a smash-and-grab on the music news headlines: Lopez and her people have announced an honest-to-goodness “world tour” that will kick off in South America this June, and make its way around the globe for about *60 concerts*.  However, it’s not a J-Lo tour; actually it’s an equal-billing duo that will go on tour: Jennifer Lopez and *Enrique Iglesias*!  This pairing just about guarantees that the tour will be a money spinner – and will keep Enrique and Jennifer in the news.

Unlike J-Lo and Enrique, Adele has hogged the music news lately and here she comes again.  On our American shores ’21′ has been a massive hit, setting one or two records on the way.  But her album’s even more of a winner in her home country, the United Kingdom.  After 63 weeks in the U.K.’s ‘Official Albums Chart’, ’21′ has returned to the apex for a 22nd week at the top.  With ’21′s comeback, Adele has broken a record held jointly by David Bowie and Dire Straits for total number of weeks at the pinnacle of British album charts.  That record was 22 weeks, the same length of time ’21′ by itself has spent at the peak.  Add the one week Adele’s debut album ’19′ spent at the top, and Adele now rules the roost in the U.K. charts.

If a singer rules the roost on the police’s charts and blotters, it’s surely Bobby Brown.  About three weeks back I had written about his arrest in California on DUI charges.  Yesterday his lawyers entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the DUI charge and a driving on a suspended license charge.  If Brown is found guilty, hey, he could be on the way to setting a new record among singers for arrests and convictions.  Adele ain’t the only one setting records!



It’s a Bad News ‘Blue Monday’

LionelHiya Music-Lovers,

What a way to start the week – bad news, bad news and bad news!  Reminds me of the Fats Domino hit, ‘Blue Monday’.

Lionel Richie has made welcome and unwelcome news in one and the same month.  You know the welcome news if you’ve been reading this blog – it’s a hit album, ‘Tuskegee’.  The unwelcome news is that the country’s official Mob – er, I mean the IRS – say he owes them a cool million bucks and that they’ll start seizing his possessions if doesn’t cough up the extorted ransom – er, I mean the ‘owed taxes’.  Lucky for Richie he just scored a hit with ‘Tuskegee’; it should clear up his ‘misunderstanding’ with the extortionists and gangsters – er, I mean ‘the Feds’.

This past Saturday The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held a ceremony to induct this year’s honorees. What made the news were two notable absentees: Rod Stewart and Axl Rose.  They stayed away for extremely different reasons.

Stewart was, in his words, “devastated” to be unable to attend the induction as a member of the band ‘Faces’.  Not too big a deal since he has already been inducted as a solo artist a long time back.  Rod ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ Stewart could not attend because he is down with flu and if you’ve got a dripping nose, nobody thinks you’re ‘sexy’ . . .

Though all the other Guns ‘n’ Roses band members were present at the ceremony, erstwhile leader Axl Rose was absent.  He made good on his promise to give it a miss.  As with everything about that volatile, edgy band, Rose’s exact reasons are unknown – his confused statement did not shed much light on the ‘whys’.  Let’s just say he was put-out about something.

The worst news is about Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees.  I had mentioned that he was in a London hospital, suffering from pneumonia.  Now, he has taken a turn for the worse and is comatose with his wife and immediate family members keeping vigil by his bedside.  Gibb’s health has taken quite a battering, what with his cancer and tumour-removal operation, and now his current illness.  All one can do is what his son Robin-John is doing: “pray for him . . .” as the prognosis appears increasingly bleak.

It’s a ‘Blue Monday’ – Fats, take it away.

Till tomorrow,