BILLBOARD CELEBRATES MADONNA'S 25TH FOR 'VOGUE'
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
SHEP’S BACK --- To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Madonna’s “Vogue” reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the venerable music magazine has reached out to the song’s co-producer and co-writer, dance legend Shep Pettibone, for—amazingly—his first interview in twenty years.
Back in the day, Shep was the go-to guy for all-things-remix, and his candid responses throughout this new interview are all terrific. He explains to Billboard that he has successfully stepped away from the business for a host of other projects—but for most, myself included, he remains a sorely-missed craftsman.
A man still of impeccable taste and gentle persuasion, his new interview makes for a very good read. Interesting fact: Pop artists, like Madonna, all loved working with him.
EXTRA-EXTRAORDINARY ---20th Century Fox is rebooting its 2003 historical-fantasy film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—a graphic novel of the same name that centers on Victorian-era literary characters such as Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde teaming up to fight a common enemy.
The feature film starred Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain; it was the actor’s final live-action movie role before he retired from acting. The plan was for League to become a franchise, but the worldwide gross reached only $180 million and was considered something of a flop.
Me, I loved it and think it remains a classic example of how best to turn a graphic novel into a successful movie. The director, Stephen Norrington, did a wonderful job and the film featured some startling special effects.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series launched in 1999.
SUMMER’s HERE --- With Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, U2 and other superstars launching U. S. tours this month, the summer concert season offers music fans a wealth of options.
Last year, Pollstar—a trade publication covering the concert industry—estimated the size of the North American concert business at $6.2 billion. That number could likely grow in 2015.
"What's on sale is doing well," says Pollstar's editor-in-chief, Gary Bongiovanni. "It may well lead to a record year for tour revenues."
At least a dozen acts are playing stadiums—including the Stones, Swift, AC/DC, One Direction and Foo Fighters, among others—and the forecast looks promising, given that 2014 was the biggest year for stadium shows since 1994, according to Billboard Magazine’s director Ray Waddell.
"This year is supposed to be just as big," he says. "I think people have missed stadiums."
The cost of attending these mega-shows will vary greatly, from the Foo Fighters tour (where tickets rarely cost more than $75) to the Stones, who set the top ticket price for their fourteen U. S. shows at around $400.
"The Rolling Stones are probably going to be the highest average ticket price on tour," Bongiovanni says. "They may not work as many dates, but certainly on a per-date basis, there probably won't be anybody that comes close to them."
Country music touring also appears strong this summer. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and the Zac Brown Band have stadium shows booked. Florida Georgia Line has already started taking its first major headlining tour into arenas and amphitheaters.
"Country is developing more headliners than any genre, and it is crushing it out there," Waddell said.
CLOSING NOTES --- The 2015 Book Expo began yesterday in NYC at The Javits Center . . .
San Andreas, featuring Dwayne Johnson, screens tonight in NYC. Look for my review this Friday . . .
Micky and daughter Georgia Dolenz will attend this weekend’s “Dwell On Design” 2015 conference. . .
Terrific review for David Duchovny’s Aquarius; which premieres tomorrow on NBC …
Frank Shiner returns to The Cutting Room on July 25.