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Category Archives: Music
The New Year is still relatively fresh, but 2016 has thus far been deadly for music icons.
To date, we have lost David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister and now founding Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey, who died Monday from complications related to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pneumonia. He was 67 years old.
Frey burst onto the music scene in 1971 when he, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon formed The Eagles, a band known for producing radio-saturating hits like “Hotel California”, “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Desperado”. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Like many music lovers of my generation, I grew up listening to The Eagles on AM and FM radio—long before I ever knew the names of the band members. In fact, I first learned who Glenn Frey was in the 1980s when he released “The Heat is On” as part of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. I always recognized the talent, though, and I assure you that he will be missed.
Enjoy that peaceful, easy feeling, my man. Always.
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today…
“Space Oddity” (1969)
Growing up in America during the 1970s and 80s was an experience that I will never forget. And memories of those eras are as fresh in my mind today as they were when I was a child and teenager living through them. Of course, nothing takes me back there more than the music I love and the artists who created it. And one of my favorite artists of the era was none other than David Robert Jones, otherwise known as David Bowie.
Unfortunately, Bowie passed yesterday after battling cancer for the last 18 months. He was 69 years old.
The first David Bowie song I remember hearing is the same one I quoted at the beginning of this post: Space Oddity. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I heard it for the first time, but I know it was on the radio of my mother’s station wagon when I was a “wee lad” of only six or seven years. I eventually heard many of his other 1970s hits—like Young Americans, Rebel Rebel, Jean Genie and, of course, Golden Years—but my love for Bowie really took hold in the 80s.
During a decade famous for hair metal, teased bangs, friendship bracelets and denim coats, Bowie truly found his place in pop culture. And thanks to MTV—a cable station that once focused on playing music videos, if you can believe that—Bowie and his songs quickly became part of the zeitgeist. I still remember seeing the video for Blue Jean for the first time, slow dancing to Let’s Dance at a teenybopper birthday party and driving my first car down the highway with Modern Love blasting from the cassette player. Those certainly were the days.
Sadly, I lost track of David Bowie a little during college and beyond—at least in terms of his newer material—but my love for the man and his music never waned. In fact, I was excited to hear he was releasing a new album, Blackstar, and plan to purchase it later today. I’m sure it will be awesome, but there’s one thing that would make it better, and that’s having its creator around to enjoy it with his fans. That obviously isn’t going to happen—at least not in the physical realm—but I know Bowie will always be with us in spirit. And for fans like me, he will always have a special place in our hearts and minds.
Farewell, my friend. And thanks for making weirdness and eccentricity hurt so good…
I just heard that one of my favorite singers from my youth—Stone Temple Pilots’ front man Scott Weiland—passed away at the age of 48… just four years older than I am right now.
The news is depressing, to say the least, since I equate so many happy memories with STP songs like Plush, Vasoline and Interstate Love Song. Sure, I knew that Weiland was a pretty serious drug abuser, having been in and out of rehab over the years. It seemed as if he had turned a corner, though, as he sang with Velvet Revolver and his newest band, Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts. And maybe he had, but it was likely too late. The damage of drugs and a rock & roll lifestyle had already taken its toll.
Based on reports from TMZ, Weiland died in his sleep on Thursday and was found dead on the tour bus outside his next show in Minnesota. A cause of death has not yet been determined, but Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown died of a drug overdose in March, so it’s possible that drugs played a role in Weiland’s ultimate demise, as well.
Basically, this sucks, so please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers since he was a talent lost far too soon. Farewell, Scott—and thanks for the memories.
Calling Kanye West special is an understatement, to be sure. Constantly inviting him to music awards shows so he can wreak havoc? Now that’s just crazy.
In his latest spectacle—this time during last night’s 2015 Grammy Awards broadcast—West nearly repeated his 2009 MTV Video Music Awards performance, when he stormed on-stage and cut off Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video. West felt the award should have been given to Beyoncé and made sure the whole world knew it.
Unfortunately, it looked as if West was going to do the same thing when Beck won Album of the Year over Beyoncé last night. He stepped onto the stage, then suddenly turned around and returned to his seat. Most viewers thought it was a joke, but interviews with West after the show proved otherwise.
“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us,” West told Vanity Fair later. “We ain’t going to play with them no more. ‘Flawless,’ Beyoncé’s video. And Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé.”
I’m sorry, but is Kanye West in love with Beyoncé or something? It seems like something is going on.
The good news is that Beck didn’t take offense to West’s outburst. When asked later about the near intrusion, he said, “You can’t please everybody, man. I still love him and think he’s a genius. I aspire to do what he does.” What a good sport.
Of course, West should probably do a little research before trying to steer another Grammy towards Beyoncé and away from other performers. To date, Beyoncé has collected twenty Grammy awards; Beck has only five, despite his career stretching back to the early 1990s.
In other words, Kanye should probably focus more energy on keeping his wife’s frumpy, amorphous booty off tabloid magazine covers than questioning a system that provided him with more than twenty Grammy awards himself! Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, punk!
In 2004, a pine tree was planted in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park to honor legendary Beatles guitarist and avid gardener George Harrison, who died in 2001. The sapling was planted near the Griffith Observatory with a plaque commemorating the famous musician.
Sadly, the plaque is all that remains thanks to an insect infestation… of beetles!
Yes, in an ironic turn of events, beetles actually killed the tree planted for a Beatle—a fact many feel would have been appreciated by the famous musician for whom it was planted.
“Except for the loss of tree life, Harrison likely would have been amused at the irony,” LA Times reporter Randy Lewis wrote recently. “He once said his biggest break in life was getting into the Beatles; his second biggest was getting out.”
The good news is that plans to replant the tree are underway—and it should last as long as “The Beetles” don’t stage a reunion anytime soon!
Once again, it appears that the legendary rock group Led Zeppelin is under fire for musical plagiarism, a charge not uncommon for the quartet—especially for guitarist Jimmy Page, who many considered a craftsman when it came to “lifting riffs” from other artists and incorporating them into Zeppelin tunes.
This time, however, the charges involve arguably Zeppelin’s most notable—and most overplayed—hit song, “Stairway to Heaven.” More specifically, they involve the opening guitar riff, which blatantly rips off the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus.”
The band Spirit toured with Led Zeppelin in 1969—a year after releasing “Taurus” on their debut album—and could have sued after the release of “Stairway to Heaven” in 1970, but didn’t. Spirit guitarist Randy California went public with his claims in 1997, but again never sued… at least not until recently.
According to Francis Malofiy, an attorney representing a trust for California—who drowned in 1997 after saving his 12-year-old son from a rip current while swimming in the ocean—the lawsuit has been “a long time coming.” In fact, it may not have happened at all if Led Zeppelin wasn’t planning to issue remastered versions of their studio albums, including Led Zeppelin IV, where “Stairway” appears.
“The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” Malofiy said recently. And since a 2008 estimate calculated that the hit song generated more than $562 million for Led Zeppelin, California’s trust is likely seeking some financial compensation, as well.
As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t the first time Led Zeppelin has been accused of stealing music and songs. A host of their hits allegedly “sample” other artists, including “Whole Lotta Love”—the lyrics of which come from the Willie Dixon blues song “You Need Love”—and “Dazed and Confused”—a song originally written for The Yardbirds by Jake Holmes.
Holmes sued Jimmy Page in 2010 for copyright infringement, but the case was dismissed, presumably because the parties settled out of court. I’m sure Zeppelin paid a hefty price for that one.
Granted, this may not seem like big news to people familiar with all the past allegations of plagiarism against Led Zeppelin, but it sure opened my eyes. And sadly, my opinion of one of my previously favorite bands of all time has forever changed… and not for the better, either. What a shame.
To say that bratty pop star Justin Bieber has worn out his welcome with me—and countless others—would be an understatement. No matter what he does, where he goes, what he says or what he posts online, the media simply cannot get enough of him and, unfortunately, this means we all have to suffer as a result.
Thanks to Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes for taking a break from the spotlight, by the way. All I’ve heard recently is that Lohan will appear as a guest star on the April 14th episode of CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, while Bynes seems to be getting her life back together. And trust me… this is all I need to know given their excessive media saturation these last few years.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for Justin.
Bieber’s latest ego-driven exploits involve some images he recently posted to his Instagram account. The first shows him in a white t-shirt with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth as he gazes off into the distance—his rather large and presumably expensive watch in the forefront.
The second image—which Bieber obviously emulated in his own photo—is of actor and cult icon James Dean. And in his own photo’s caption, Bieber makes his intentions very clear: “This is James Dean inspired. Don’t ask me if I smoke ciggys cuz I don’t.”
Maybe not, but you smoke weed like it’s going out of style and have been known to toss eggs at neighbors’ homes. And don’t even get me started on all the jackass behavior in the deposition video leaked by TMZ earlier this month—the one where he was asked about one of his bodyguards allegedly beating up a photographer. That made it crystal clear just how arrogant, disrespectful and entitled “Biebs” really is… even though it seems to have had little effect on his fan base (i.e. prepubescent tweens who likely don’t know any better).
Of course, there could be a connection between Justin Bieber and James Dean later. I know this sounds terrible, but Dean died tragically in an automobile accident at the age of 24. And if Bieber doesn’t shape up soon, there is always a chance he could go down the same road, in a manner of speaking. If this happens, though, I know one thing that will be different: Bieber will never be a cult icon like James Dean.
After all—and as they say in the Highlander film franchise—“there can be only one.” And that “one” ain’t you, Justin. I can promise you that.
Is it just me, or does it seem as if pop star Justin Bieber is becoming more of an ass with each passing day?
Last week in Toronto, the Canadian singer—who lives in the United States under a work visa—was arrested on accusations that he assaulted his limousine driver in December. Bieber also faces past charges that include drunk driving, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest—charges that were dropped on him last month in Miami, Florida.
Of course, the spoiled little shit may also be charged with felony vandalism after egging his neighbor’s house in January and causing nearly $20,000 in damages, too.
Well, today brought yet another Bieber-related issue to light. Apparently, he and his father were traveling from Canada to New Jersey last Friday and “blazing weed” the whole time. From what I understand, pot smoke filled the cabin and when pilots asked for Bieber to stop, he and his dad became “verbally abusive.” Things got so bad that the flight crew eventually put on oxygen masks so they wouldn’t test positive for marijuana during their next drug screening!
Fortunately for Bieber, a search of the chartered plane didn’t reveal any drugs, so he and his entourage were granted re-entry into the U.S. after he was detained for questioning for several hours. And no charges will likely result from this incident, even though it does illustrate my point of Bieber being a jackass… as if it needed further illustration.
On a related note was a recent story about Bieber’s ex-girlfriend, the lovely and talented Selena Gomez. Apparently, Gomez did a two-week stint in rehab last month for a combination of problems, including alcohol, marijuana and addiction to the prescription sleep aid Ambien. According to numerous sources, Gomez blamed her need for rehab on “that crazy boy”—namely Justin Bieber—after being exposed to the excesses enjoyed by him and his buddies… likely the same buddies who were arrested for drug possession a few weeks ago at Bieber’s home.
In other words, Bieber isn’t just being an ass and causing problems for himself; he’s dragging others down with him. And since his pattern of bad behavior seems to be growing, I can’t imagine things getting better for him anytime soon. However, I do have a recommendation that would likely solve everyone’s problems: ship his spoiled little ass back to Canada!
Just be sure to alert Canadian law enforcement before this happens so they can prepare for what’s coming. We all know that it won’t be pretty!
In March, one of pop singer Justin Bieber’s neighbors accused him of spitting in his face during a heated argument about the loud parties often held at the young man’s home.
Last week, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a felony search warrant for Bieber’s estate on vandalism charges. His neighbor alleges that Bieber assaulted him with eggs—which he tossed over a fence onto the house next door—and caused more than $20,000 to his home. The investigation is ongoing.
This week, another police department in the Miami area began to follow up on reports that some of its officers escorted Bieber and his entourage between several different strip clubs. This is obviously a no-no, especially without prior approval and authorization.
Now it seems that the spoiled, 19-year-old teenybopper is in even more trouble, this time for drunken driving, resisting arrest, driving without a valid license and maybe even illegal street racing!
Bieber was arrested early Thursday morning after police saw him driving a yellow Lamborghini and apparently racing a red Ferrari through a Miami neighborhood. When he was pulled over and confronted by officers, Bieber “was a little belligerent” and used some “choice words questioning why he was being stopped and why the officer was even questioning him.” The officers smelled alcohol and when they subjected Bieber to a field sobriety test, he failed miserably and was immediately taken to jail.
Is there no end to what this arrogant little prick will do? Better yet, does Lindsay Lohan know that Justin Bieber is trying to steal the celebrity basket case title from her?
He certainly seems to be gaining ground on her!