Posted by Administrator on July 19th, 2014
Actor James Garner, best known for his starring role on the popular TV series Maverick and The Rockford Files, passed away of natural causes in his home in Los Angeles on July 19. He was 86. A smooth-talking "man's man" who never took himself too seriously, Mr. Garner's genial charm, sly humor and handsome looks made him a Hollywood fixture for more than 50 years. Born James Baumgarner on Apr. 7, 1928, in Norman, Okla., Mr. Garner joined the merchant marines at 16 after dropping out of high school. Later in the Army, he was wounded in the Korean War and awarded the Purple Heart. After being discharged, he briefly attended the University of Oklahoma and worked a variety of odd jobs, including gas station attendant, traveling salesman, carpet layer, and model of swim trunks. Mr. Garner chanced upon acting when boyhood friend Paul Gregory, who became a producer, offered him a nonspeaking role in the 1954 Broadway production of "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial." Thanks to his tall, rugged frame, extreme good looks, and genial personality, Mr. Garner soon began landing small parts on TV and films, which led to his big break in 1957, a starring role in the popular TV series Maverick. In 1958, he scored a screen test and a $200/week contract with Warner Bros. after impressing studio execs with his bit parts on the TV series Cheyenne. Mr. Garner went on to act alongside Marlon Brando in Sayonara, which led him to a supporting role in Darby's Rangers. Other roles followed, including Up Periscope (1959), Cash McCall (1960), Boys' Night Out (1962), The Great Escape, The Thrill of It All, The Wheeler Dealers, Move Over Darling (all 1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964), and by the mid-Sixties he was one of Hollywood's top-salaried leading men. Other notable films include Grand Prix (1966), How Sweet It Is (1968), Marlowe and Support Your Local Sheriff (1969). Mr. Garner started his own production company, Maverick, and parlayed his earnings into profitable investments in oil and real estate. Although his film roles declined in the early '70s, he maintained his popularity with the TV series Nichols and the 1974-80 detective series The Rockford Files, for which he won an Emmy in 1977. Mr. Garner continued to work consistently throughout the years, acting in the likes of Space Cowboys with Clint Eastwood in 2000, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with Sandra Bullock in 2002, and in The Notebook in 2004, in which he played the older version Ryan Gosling. A three-time Golden Globe winner, he also was honored with the Screen Actor's Guild Life Achievement Award in 2005, and in 2001 published his memoir, The Garner Files. News of Mr. Garner's death prompted online tributes from several of his former co-stars and friends, including Willam Shatner, Donny Osmond, John Stamos and Reese Witherspoon, who posted she was "Very privileged to work with this incredibly talented actor early in my career. He will be loved and missed forever." - E! Online/The Film Encyclopedia, 7/20/14.
Johnny Winter, an icon of Texas blues and rock who rose to fame in the late 1960s and '70s for his energetic performances and Grammy-winning musical collaborations with childhood hero Muddy Waters, died in a hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland, on July 16 while on tour in Europe. He was 70. One of the most popular live acts of the early 1970s, Winter's signature fast blues guitar solos attracted a wide following and his career received a big boost early on when Rolling Stone magazine singled him out in December 1968 as one of the best blues guitarists on the Texas scene. This helped secure the 23-year-old a substantial recording contract from Columbia Records and gave him a wide following among college students and young blues fans. Instantly recognizable for his long white hair, Winter worked with some of the greatest bluesmen, producing several albums for Waters and recording with John Lee Hooker. He paid homage to Waters on "Tribute to Muddy," a song from his 1969 release The Progressive Blues Experiment. His first release for Columbia in June of the following year, Johnny Winter, rose to Number 24 and featured his younger brother Edgar Winter on keyboards. He quickly released a follow-up in October, Second Winter. Both records featured a mix of originals and covers of songs by Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson and more. Between those two albums' release, Winter played an hour-long noon set on the last day of Woodstock, and he also teamed up with his brother Edgar for their 1976 live album Together. In 1973, after a two-year break to recover from a heroin habit, he released Still Alive and Well, a Rick Derringer-produced album that featured bassist Randy Jo Hobbs and drummer Richard Hughes which rose to Number 22. In his lifetime, the bluesman issued nearly 20 studio LPs. His most recent album, Roots, came out in 2011 and featured guests ranging from Warren Haynes to Edgar on songs by the likes of Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. A four-disc retrospective box set, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, was released in Feb. 2014. Winter's final album, Step Back, which features appearances by Eric Clapton, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, among others, is scheduled to come out on Sept. 2. Winter, along with his younger brother Edgar, turned heads both for their musicianship and stark-white hair, a result of the musicians' albinism. He had been on an extensive tour in 2014 that brought him to Europe, and his last performance came on July 12 at the Lovely Days Festival in Wiesen, Austria. "His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of one of the world's finest guitarists," a representative for Winter said in a statement. "An official statement with more details shall be issued at the appropriate time." - AP/Rolling Stone, 7/17/14.
A photo of a Nebraska teenager snapped by his friend of him standing in front of Paul McCartney and billionaire businessman Warren Buffet as the two men sat casually on a bench in the background became a viral hit on July 14. Reports surfaced the previous evening that the ex-Beatle was in town, having dinner, dessert and walking around Omaha's Dundee neighborhood with Buffet, who is based in the city. Plenty of awe-struck citizens took photos of the unexpected duo, but a shot of Omaha resident Tom White giving a thumbs up while McCartney and Buffet sit relaxing on a bench became a viral celeb hit on Twitter. "Chillin with my homies" said White's tweet, which linked to a copy of the image on Instagram. Jacob Murray, who snapped the pic, White and another boy took a series of photos with the two men, and the image was later re-tweeted by McCartney's Twitter handle on July 14. "Just hanging out with friends," @PaulMcCartney wrote. McCartney was in Nebraska for is "Out There" world tour, and played Lincoln on July 14. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Macca said he will step out of the limelight eventually but "not today" and added he likes to mix up old and new material to keep everyone happy. "So we mix it up occasionally, but mainly we hope we're pleasing the various facets in the audience," he commented. McCartney recently re-released five of his classic Wings and solo albums as apps. New versions of McCartney, Ram, Band On the Run, Wings Over America, and McCartney II have been released via the Apple store as apps for the iPad. The apps, released through the Concord Music Group, include the original albums and a host of special features and extra material, including remastered audio tracks, interviews, photos, artwork and rehearsal footage and documentary videos. The apps cost $7.99, less than the price of the albums on iTunes, which go for $9.99 or $12.99 for the deluxe editions. In other Beatles-related news, Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard has signed on to direct and produce an authorized, as-yet-untitled documentary about the touring years of the Fab Four's career (approx. 1960-1966), a period in which the Beatles crossed the globe, sparked Beatlemania and released several classic albums. For it, he will interview surviving members McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as talk with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison. "We are going to be able to take the Super 8 footage that we found, that was all shot silent. We'll not only be able to digitally repair a lot of that, but we've also been finding the original recordings," explains Howard. "We can now sync it up and create a concert experience so immersive and so engaging, I believe you're going to actually feel like you're somewhere in the Sixties, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it. And as a film director, that's a fantastic challenge." The documentary is scheduled for a tentative late-2015 release. - Billboard/Rolling Stone, 7/15/14.
After decades of litigation, some early Jimi Hendrix master recordings will go to Legacy Recordings, the catalog wing of Sony Music Entertainment. The deal was struck between Sony and Experience Hendrix LLC, the Hendrix family music company which owns and administers the Jimi Hendrix music rights. The recordings date from 1965-1967 and cover the two-year period when Hendrix was moonlighting as a session guitarist with New York-based R&B act Curtis Knight & The Squires. Having been introduced to Hendrix by Curtis Knight, in 1965 record producer and entrepreneur Ed Chalpin signed Jimi (then Jimmy") Hendrix and Curtis Knight & The Squires to a notorious three-year recording contract for the princely sum of $1.00 and a 1% royalty rate. Just before Hendrix went to England and became a global solo star, his manager, Chas Chandler, bought out every contract that his client had previously signed, with the exception of Hendrix's 1965 agreement with Chalpin's PPX International. It would prove a costly oversight and became the source of a long-running legal dispute which has now been settled, however terms were not disclosed. Hendrix's long-time sound engineer Eddie Kramer will oversee the reissues, which will be released by Legacy Recordings over the next three years. Meanwhile, a musician described by many as "the British Hendrix" is returning to the UK with a brand new studio album and a nationwide UK Tour in March 2015. Robin Trower, will play launch a 17-city tour beginning Mar. 26 in Lincoln, also visiting venues in Birmingham (3/28), Glasgow (4/4), York (4/8), Sheffield (4/9), London (4/11) and Exeter (4/15) before wrapping in Milton on Apr. 17. Trower will be touring behind his last album, 2013's critically acclaimed Roots and Branches, and tickets went on sale July 16 at ents24.com. - Billboard/Noble PR, 7/17/14.
David Bowie penned a statement in which he promised "more music soon" which was read on July 12 to guests at the 12 Bar in central London, for a low-key event to celebrate 50 years of Bowie's music and to raise funds for the Terrance Higgins Trust. "This city is even better than the one you were in last year, so remember to dance, dance, dance," the statement reads. "And then sit down for a minute, knit something, then get up and run all over the place. Do it. Love on ya. More music soon. David." It has been roughly 16 months since his 2013 album The Next Day rose toward the top of sales charts around the globe, an LP that was unexpectedly announced on his 66th birthday when he dropped a new single "Where Are We Now" and announced news of his first album since Reality ten years earlier. Recorded in secrecy, with long-time collaborator Tony Visconti assuming production duties, The Next Day arrived at No. 1 in 15 countries including the U.K. In the U.S., it opened at No. 2, his highest chart debut there. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of "Liza Jane" -- Bowie's first single released as Davie Jones with the King Bees (he adopted the name Bowie to avoid confusion with The Monkees' British frontman Davy Jones). - Billboard, 7/17/14.
Cher, who ended the first leg of her Dressed to Kill Tour on July 11, is on track to have the most successful trek of 2014. Cher's tour has grossed a reported $54.9 million through the end of its first leg on July 11. A total of 610,812 attendees went to the 49 shows -- all of which were sell-outs. The show is on a break until Sept. 11, when the diva launches the second leg in Albany, New York at the Times Union Center. The show will get some extra glitter from Emmy Award-winning fashion designer Bob Mackie, who will provide new costumes for Cher. Cher and Mackie have collaborated for decades, however he couldn't design outfits for the first leg of the new tour due to time constraints. The Dressed to Kill Tour is Cher's first tour since her lengthy Living Proof Farewell Tour, which played 325 shows around the globe from 2002 through 2005. Among the highlights in the current show are a campy vampiric take on her new album's song "Dressed to Kill," where she slinks around the stage before sinking her teeth into a dancer. Also crowd-pleasing is her medley of her three No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits from the 1970s: "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," "Dark Lady" and "Half-Breed." The show ends with Cher literally flying above the crowd, singing her top 20 Adult Contemporary chart hit, "I Hope You Find It." - Billboard, 7/15/14.
In a wide-ranging new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Eric Clapton admits he has trouble writing songs now; claims he is truly serious about retiring from the road; and confesses he doesn't listen to much new music. When asked "what has happened to your songwriting" (his recent album have been mostly covers), Clapton replied: "I'm just lazy. When I get to 'What am I going to do for that bit?' I stop and turn on the TV. I'm easily distracted. What I've done a lot is written songs, then forgotten them. I put them down as a voice memo, on my phone, then I lose the memo." Queried if he listens to rock much anymore, he said he didn't know what rock is now. "I'm not sure who's playing rock. Blake Mills [who has played with Conor Oberst and the Avett Brothers] is the last guitarist I heard that I thought was phenomenal. At Crossroads last year, I was playing with [jazz guitarist] Kurt Rosenwinkel, trying to keep up with him and wondering what I could steal." Asked if he'll do another Crossroad Festival benefit because "after each one, you swear that's it," the musician said: "No, I think this could be it. I don't want to work that hard, that much, anymore. The Breeze [his JJ Cale tribute LP] was a joy to do. I was planning to write and record another album for myself when JJ passed away. So that's the next thing I would do. Next year, I might do a couple of shows and say, 'Folks, that's it, I'm off.' Then I'll see what I make of that, whether I'm content to just go into the studio now and then and play at home for the family." And how often does he play at home? "Quite a lot. Maybe once a day or every two days, for a fair bit of time. I pick up an acoustic and try to work something out." "Do have new, original songs you haven't forgotten or lost?" "Yeah [laughs]. They're on my iPhone." - Rolling Stone, 7/17/14.
Rosalind Nyman, the mother of Billy Joel who inspired him to write "Rosalinda's Eyes," died in Long Island, N.Y., on July 13, a spokeswoman for the singer and songwriter announced on July 15. She was 92. "Rosalinda's Eyes," from Joel's 1978 album 52nd Street was a tribute to his mother, who raised him alone after divorcing his father, Howard Joel, in 1957. The lyrics include the words: "I've got music in my hands; The work is hard to find; But that don't get me down; Rosalinda understands." Rosalind Joel, born in Brooklyn to English immigrants, worked in a clerical capacity for various businesses near her home in Hicksville and supported a number of charities. She met her husband in 1942 at a City College musical production and married him three years later. Billy Joel was born in 1949. The couple later adopted Judy, the daughter of Rosalind's late sister Muriel. Billy Joel endowed the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts at City College in 1986. - ABC News, 7/15/14.
Actor Don Cheadle's fascination with Miles Davis began as a child, when the jazz icon's 1959 album Porgy and Bess was a staple in his family's music collection. Now the House of Lies star will make his feature-film directorial debut with a partially crowdfunded biopic focusing on the Bitches Brew mastermind's brief hiatus from music and his rocky relationship with his first wife Francis Taylor. "I'm not interested in all the things that a traditional biopic does," says Cheadle, who learned how to play trumpet for the film. "I want to tell a hot story that's full of his music, that feels impressionistic in that it finds a way to incorporate all his musical styles, influences and ideas." - Entertainment Weekly, 7/18/14.