Monday, March 10, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Cousin Brucie With Micky Dolenz

THE HOOK MAN --- For more than 25 years, songwriter Rick Nowels has written some of the most memorable hooks in pop music. From Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" (1987) to Madonna's "The Power of Goodbye" (1998), New Radicals' "You Get What You Give" (1999), Santana's "The Game of Love" (featuring Michelle Branch) (2002), Dido's "White Flag" (2004) and John Legend's "Green Light" (featuring Andree 3000) (2008), Nowels' songs have become radio constants.

Nowels was most recently back on the Hot 100 as co-writer (and co-producer) with Lana Del Rey on "Summertime Sadness." Aided by its Cedric Gervais dance remix, the song marks her first entry on the Pop Songs airplay tally. The pair also co-penned "Young and Beautiful," which became Del Rey's first top 40 Hot 100 hit in June.

He recently said to Billboard magazine, “I met Lana in summer 2011. I had heard some of her songs on YouTube and I loved what she was doing. When we wrote it, I realized that she was a brilliant songwriter and a magical artist. She writes the kind of music I want to listen to.”

And about his craft, “I grew up on great records and always absorbed everything I heard. I could hear the chords to songs from a young age, so I would always figure out how to play songs that I liked. I'm just trying to do work that is as good as the music that I love.”

“I started writing songs when I was 13. By the time I was 15, I strongly identified as a songwriter. I went to Berkeley, where I studied music, and then moved to San Francisco and had two original bands during my early and middle 20's."

"Both bands became popular and we played a million club gigs. But, I ended up leaving each group. I moved to New York and never got a band together again. I was writing and recording my songs and, very luckily, Stevie Nicks heard "I Can't Wait” in 1986."

"I was also extremely lucky to be mentored by Jimmy Iovine for the first five years of my record-producing life. I learned so much from Jimmy and got to work in great studios and met so many legendary artists, producers and engineers. It made me really up my game.”

ONE TERM BILL --- Seems Mayor Bill de Blasio can't catch a break. That Liam Neeson event over the weekend, where he hosted a dozen City Council members Sunday at the stables that house Central Park carriage horses showed some unbridled anger at de Blasio’s absence. “He should have manned up and come," Neeson said about the Mayor. "I'm disappointed he's not here."

The Non-Stop actor invited all 51 council members to the stables to show the horses are treated humanely in a bid to derail the Mayor's planned ban on the industry. "These horses are well cared for," said Neeson, who has become the carriage drivers' highest-profile ally, at the Clinton Park Stables on W. 52nd St., where 78 carriage horses bed down.

"It's a connection with our past, it's a connection with our history," he said. "And it has to be said — the great white elephant in the room, four prime locations on the West Side of New York that realtor's must be salivating to get their hands on."

De Blasio said Sunday he does plan to visit the stables. "I'm firm about the fact that we have to make this move," said de Blasio, who skipped the tour, owing to other plans. Seems to me, had Bill attended it would have helped his dwindling approval numbers, which as of last Friday, it was at his lowest point ever.

He did say, "I want to visit the stables and will do it when the schedule allows, because we want to work with the folks who operate those horse carriages and get them new opportunities in other types of related work," he continued. "We want to make sure we're listening to their concerns as we do it, but I'm clear about where we need to go." During the tour, the Irish actor made hay with de Blasio’s electric car idea.

"The Mayor wants to replace them with electric cars. That's exactly what New York needs, more cars. This experiment has been tried with electric cars in San Francisco — failed abysmally," he said.

"The horses clearly seem calm and like it's their home," he said. "If there are legitimate concerns regarding the safety of the animals, then let's bring them out and have a conversation about a compromise plan."

Advocacy group NYCLASS, which has been the force behind the ban, said the stables’ conditions aren't the primary reason to ban the carriages.

"It’s the inhumanity of horses working in dangerous midtown traffic. Horses are easily spooked, and forcing them to work in loud, congested Lincoln Tunnel traffic is cruel and unsafe," the group said in a statement.

To be honest, the only time I’ve ever seen a horse spooked is when he was eating. This is part of NY-history and to see it banished would indeed be a shame. Another part of history is being torn down.

De Blasio … like Al Roker predicted …. one term for sure. What a disappointment!

CLOSING NOTES --- Monkee-Micky Dolenz, who celebrated his birthday over the weekend, called into Sirius/XM’s Cousin Brucie to tub-thump next weekend’s Monkees Convention 2014 in New Jersey. We'll be there as the group gets inducted into the American Pop Music Hall of Fame on Saturday. Visit their page HERE

Billboard has confirmed with multiple sources, that U2 has postponed the release of their new album & tour until 2015. The band has recently scheduled additional sessions with producers Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth (Danger Mouse remains on board as the project's central producer). While an Interscope/Island Records representative maintains that with a release date never announced the album shouldn't be considered delayed, Billboard has learned that the tour, initially on track for a mid-March announcement and September start date, will now begin in summer 2015.

"It seems to be taking longer for them to finish an album as they get older, but the great thing about U2 is that the whole of a record is always better than the sum of its parts," says a source close to the project. "That magic that the band always seems to capture ... they have yet to capture it" ...

It’s been a while since we've seen Coldplay dominating the world, but it looks like Coldplay-less music charts will soon to be a thing of the past. The British rock group announced that its sixth album, a follow-up to 2011′s Mylo Xyloto, will be a nine-track record called Ghost Stories and will hit stores on May 19. The band promptly shot to No. 2 on the U.K.’s iTunes list.

Just last week, Coldplay released a new track from the album called “Midnight,” which is a haunting, Bon Iver-esque pivot from their usual sound. Check out the brilliant video here on YOUTUBE.

Photo Courtesy Of: David Salidor

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