Showing posts with label ELTON JOHN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ELTON JOHN. Show all posts

Monday, June 23, 2014



Story By: G.H. Harding
Elton John

ELTON’S PIANO --- On July 1, 2014, Eagle Rock will release The Million Dollar Piano by the inimitable Elton John. This amazing show was filmed in high definition and will be simultaneously released on Blu-ray and DVD.

Million Dollar Piano is packed with John classics including: “I’m Still Standing,” “Rocket Man,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Your Song,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Circle Of Life,” “Blue Eyes,” “Bennie And The Jets,” “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” “Crocodile Rock,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” and many more. 

Also included is the track “Indian Sunset,” (from John's brilliant 1971 Madman Across The Water album) performed by John with percussionist Ray Cooper. Cooper, who did the so-called two-man show with John in Russia all those years ago, is stand-out spectacular. It is, without a doubt, a major highlight in the package.

The Million Dollar Piano was filmed over multiple nights in 2013 at John’s residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The show has been running since September 2011, with the most recent leg spanning 16 shows between March 29 and April 26, 2014. The concerts are the culmination of Elton’s decades long partnership with Yamaha pianos (the 1st one being titled The Red Piano). 

The multimedia staging is phenomenal with vast screens behind the stage illustrating the songs and the piano itself acting as a screen for graphics and animations. 

As well as the 19 song full set from the show, the DVD includes as a bonus The Making Of The Million Dollar Piano, a feature which tells the story behind the concerts; including several behind-the-scenes comments from John-creative director Tony King. For tech-heads, as well as true-blue EJ fans, it is an extraordinary behind-the-scenes tale; from the development of the idea, on a cocktail napkin, to the actual design and execution; and the first time John sees it onstage. Priceless! 

In addition, there are four extra tracks filmed in Kiev in 2012: "Candle In The Wind," "Sacrifice," "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" and "Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me." 

Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, is one of the most highly acclaimed and successful solo artists of all time. He has achieved 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, has sold more than 250 million records worldwide, and holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time. Over the five decades since his career began in 1969, Elton has played almost 4000 concerts worldwide. He has been awarded numerous accolades including five Grammy's, twelve Ivor Novello Awards, an Oscar, a Tony, the BRITs Icon Award, induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Kennedy Center Honor. He is the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts, behind only Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

RINGO’S BEACON STAND --- Seems like quite the show last week as Ringo Starr and his All-Starr band headlined The Beacon Theatre. Oddly enough, the marquee on the theatre read Star … not Starr.

Guests like Steve Van Zandt, Judy Collins, Billy Squier, and Mark Rivera, joined the band at the end; which included Toto’s Steve Lukather and Todd Rundgren. Lukather reportedly is producing Starr’s next album.

By all accounts the concert was superb. Go Ringo!

CLOSING NOTES --- Disney’s Newsies shutters in August …

Monkee-Micky Dolenz is interviewed today in L. A. for Oprah Winfrey’s Where Are They Now series. The episode will air in mid-August on the OWN Network. And, don't forget Dolenz appears at NYC’s B. B. King’s July 30 …

The international trailer for Fox Searchlight‘s September 12 crime drama The Drop has been released on the web. The Brooklyn-set feature stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late actor James Gandolfini, who passed away a year ago Saturday. 

The film centers around Hardy’s Bob Saginowski, an ex-con turned bartender who finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry, which sends a ripple effect through the neighborhood to his friends, family, and the gangsters on the block. Gandolfini plays Marv, another ex-con who is trying to go legit. 

Directed by Michael R. Roskam; The Drop is based on the short story Animal Rescue from author Dennis Lehane, who wrote Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone.

It looks terrific. Check it out: HERE...

Friday night at the U. N. were the second-annual G.O.D. Awards where actress/singer Rebecca Holden (with Tony LeBron) performed their new single, “Dreams Come True.” It was the first time we had seen Holden perform and was astounded. What a voice! Lebron was the perfect accompaniment to her. Producer Joel Diamond -who was the MC of the night – watched proudly. Also seen in the audience were PR-pasha David Salidor and writers Marcy MacDonald and Mark Bego. A great night ...

This year's New Music Seminar apparently went off without so much as a whisper. Did you hear about it? Did you read about it? Other than generating a terrific profit for the current operators, it seems to have been a total bust ... even the music press virtually ignored it.

Let's retire it again!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Elton John And David Furnish

The Band Perry

Quincy Jones

David Spade

Britt Eckland With Sharon Osborne And Kelly Osborne

Britt Eckland along with Sharon Osborne, Kelly Osborne, David Spade, Quincy Jones, The Band Perry,  Elton John and David Furnish, were snapped arriving at The FIZZ Grand Opening at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada last night.

Friday, March 28, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING

Great Ratings For Scott Shannon NYC Return

GABRIEL BACK TO FRONT --- On Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., Fathom Events, More2Screen, Eagle Rock Entertainment and Real World will take U.S. moviegoers on a VIP experience for an exclusive concert event, Peter Gabriel: Back to Front. Pre-recorded in October 2013 at London’s O2, the show celebrates one of the most pioneering and innovative artists of modern times, who will be honored with an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this April. Directed by BAFTA winning director Hamish Hamilton, Peter Gabriel: Back to Front reunites Gabriel’s original touring ban (including David Rhodes, Tony Levin and David Sancious) from 1986 to mark the 25th anniversary of the landmark album So (released in 1986). The concert includes hits like, “Solsbury Hill,” “Digging in the Dirt,” “Sledgehammer,” “Mercy Street” and “Don't Give Up.” Gabriel continues to be at the vanguard of the audio-visual experience by using the latest technology and a 5.1 surround sound mix to deliver a one-of-a-kind cinema event.

Tickets for Peter Gabriel: Back to Front are available at participating theater box offices and online at The event will be presented in more than 400 select movie theaters around the country through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations and prices, visit the Fathom Events web site.

“It has been wonderful working with Hamish Hamilton again and his very talented team. I feel they have really caught what was unique about the Back to Front tour, both visually and emotionally. My own sound crew has also done a brilliant job,” said Gabriel.

Back to Front offers a visual and narrative feast that brings the viewer to the heart of the concert experience. The show opens with a stark insight into the song-writing process with Gabriel, house lights on, trying to find the lyrical companions to a beautiful piano melody. Who else would start a concert with a song they've not yet finished? The creative journey is explored throughout the film and culminates with a celebratory run through of the album So, what Gabriel calls his ‘pop star moment.’ Previously unreleased and re-imagined songs sit effortlessly beside classic hits to reflect Gabriel’s status as a multi-dimensional artist.

The album So, was indeed a pivotal moment for Gabriel as his massive, global hit “Sledgehammer” came from the album, as did ”Red Rain,” “Mercy Street,” “Don’t Give Up” with Kate Bush, and “Big Time,” which would follow as the next single from the album. It was an amazing time for Gabriel; commercial success the likes of which which would be hard, even impossible, to repeat. “Sledgehammer” was aided by a brilliant video directed by Stephen R. Johnson and featured stop-motion claymation techniques. It swept the MTV video music awards in 1987 and is consistently cited as one of the best music videos ever.

I had occasion this week to review some of Gabriel’s early work with his band Genesis (Selling England By The Pound/1973) and found it just fascinating; certainly foreshadowing the path that he would take. Young, lean, dressed up in outrageous costumes, he was absolutely stunning. An artist of exceptional range and talent, every time I've seen him in concert, it was a standalone moment. Gabriel is, just exceptional.

YO MARCUS --- Marcus Goldhaber debuts at NYC’s Blue Note on April 12 in which he will preview songs from his new album, A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening. The show will benefit Samaritans, the suicide prevention charity he is supporting with his sister, Michelle, when they run together in the Boston Marathon. Marcus, who’s been training for the marathon for months, is honoring the memory of his best friend, who took his own life a year ago.

Also, he is prepping his Come Home America tour, springing from a song he wrote and recorded to honor our troops at home and abroad. He released the song on Veterans Day and is currently planning a concert tour, partnering in his efforts with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the USO.

And, Marcus recently joined Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks (Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire) on stage in NYC as a guest vocalist - here’s a video clip of this memorable moment:

OCULUS RISING --- Varèse Sarabande Records will release the Oculus Original Motion Picture Soundtrack available digitally on April 8, 2014 and on CD April 15, 2014. The film, directed by Mike Flanagan, features an original score by The Newton Brothers, Taylor and Andy.

“Oculus will freak you out and take you on an emotional roller coaster. Even our score--lullabies, distorted broken glass, a children's choir,” said Newton brother Taylor.

“An interesting part of the scoring process was paying attention to the moments where there needed to be a void of score. Specific scenes of the movie depend on you being taken by surprise surrounded by moments of chaos,” explained Andy. “The trick was to musically land the plane gently so you feel a sense of natural calm and then to hit with textures and sounds that are jarring and discomforting.”

Film and TV-composers The Newton Brothers have been making music since they were kids. Both raised on opera, radio, concerts and movies, The Newton Brothers find influence from greats such as Puccini, Debussy, Elmer Bernstein, Kraftwerk, NIN, The Beatles, Bernard Herrmann, Hall & Oates and Erich Korngold.

Their credits include Wayne Kramer’s dark comedy Pawn Shop Chronicles (starring Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Elijah Wood and Brendan Fraser) and Tony Kaye's acclaimed dramatic feature Detachment (starring Adrien Brody, Lucy Liu, Christina Hendricks, and James Caan). The Newton Brothers have scored and written songs for feature films such as Setup (directed by Mike Gunther), Revolution (directed by Rodrigo Garcia), and The Mothman Prophecies (directed by Mark Pellington). This past year, they had three films at the Toronto International Film Festival: Life Of Crime, Proxy, and Oculus. Currently the brothers are working on Somnia which they are co-scoring with Danny Elfman.

CLOSING NOTES --- The numbers are in for the first weeks of Scott Shannon’s CBS-FM drive-time morning show … and, they are huge. Congrats Scott …

We've been catching up on the last few episodes of NBC’s The Blacklist with James Spader. Just terrific shows. The plots are intricate, well-written and beautifully performed. We predict Spader will clean up at the next Emmy Awards show. There’s no one better on TV right now …

We just finished the terrific excerpt in Vanity Fair of R. J. Wagner’s new tome, You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood’s Golden Age (Penguin). The latest book from the 84-year old actor is just splendid. Recalling a time in Hollywood that will never, ever be repeated, the more we read, the more we loved it. I'm awaiting the book in full. Good, good read. Highly recommended …

Elton John

Our good friend Tony King in the U. K. is sending is the new re-issue of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ("Harmony", "All The Girls Love Alice"). In retrospect, one of EJ’s best efforts ever. We'll have a full review next week …

Meanwhile via Kent Kotal’s Forgotten Hits, have you heard who's touring as the new lead vocalist of Blood, Sweat and Tears?

Call it idol gossip if you like, but American Idol runner-up Bo Bice (who did that great version of The Ides Of March’s "Vehicle" on the show the year he lost to Carrie Underwood) is now serving that honor ... so this, too, may be a show you'd like to see when it hits your area. (Check out this video clip of Bice performing the hit “And When I Die” ... he's cleaned-up nicely, hasn't he?!?! And he sounds pretty damn good, too!!!) 

What have we been listening to? Zucchero’s La Sesion Cubana. Just terrific. Produced by Don Was; we cannot stop listening to the tracks “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” and “Love Is All Around.” So far, the album of the year.

 Shannon Photo Courtesy Of CBS/Scott Shannon

Friday, February 14, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Cyndi Lauper

FOR A SONG --- The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced the five artists and writers to be inducted on June 12.

Making the cut are: Ray Davies (The Kinks - "Lola," "Waterloo Sunset," "You Really Got Me"); Donovan ("Hurdy Gurdy Man," "Catch The Wind"); Graham Gouldman ("For Your Love," "Bus Stop"); Jim Weatherly ("Midnight Train To Georgia") and, Mark James ("Hooked On A Feeling," "Suspicious Minds").

Jimmy Webb, chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, said "Each of our 2014 inductees has been responsible for captivating the world with their creativity for decades, serving up a rich variety of songs for our global soundtrack. We are looking forward to celebrating their contributions at our Annual Awards Gala."

The gala will be held on Thursday, June 12 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.

The artists who did were nominated for induction but did not make the cut were Harry Wayne Casey, Vince Gill, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, John Mellencamp, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Linda Perry, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Sade, Cat Stevens, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Hugo and Luigi, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, Tony MacAulay, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldman, Don Robertson and William "Mickey" Stevens.

ELTON --- Sir Elton John puts electronic music on in the mornings. The legendary musician has collaborated with a number of acts in the past, including rock band Queens of the Stone Age.

"I adore electronic music. I get up in the morning and put on electronic music," he gushed to Clash magazine. "I did a track with Timbaland. I hope to do something with Pharrell (Williams). I've done a track with Bright Light Bright Light, a guy called Rod Thomas, and it's brilliant. I like exploring other avenues."

Pharrell's son Rocket was rumored to be named after Elton's hit Rocket Man and the 40-year-old has also expressed an interest in teaming up with Elton; however, it looks like the 66-year-old could use a few lessons in electronic music before he signs up to anything.

"I don't know how to record electronic music," he admitted. "As a piano player I tend to overdo things, and electronic music is about simplicity. I had lunch with James Blake the other day, and listening to his album is so simple and beautiful.”

"I would be tempted to do so much more, and he has the ability to be so minimalistic and I love it. They're like paintings, not songs."

Other collaborations included a turn with rapper Kanye West.

"Playing on the Kanye West record, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which is genius from start to finish, was a f**king honor. It was like: 'Wow, I'm on this f**king record!' And it was different. You can always learn," Elton said.

"By pooh-poohing dance music, rap or anything, you just lose so much, because if you get into the studio with these guys you realize they're onto something completely different to what you do.

"By you saying its rubbish it's completely wrong, because what they do is something you don't understand but it's completely relevant and it's very exciting."

CLOSING NOTES --- Designer Cynthia Rowley’s Wednesday night show at the Diamond Horseshoe club was terrifically splendid. The designer felt, that rather than a runway show this year, she’d just have a fabulous event. The club, located under the regal Paramount Hotel in midtown NY was last used for Andy Warhol’s funeral years back. An amazing space. Seen among the crowd, actors Alan Cumming and Jess Weixler, from The Good Wife; Law & Order’s Jill Hennessey; pr-pasha David Salidor and Zosia Mamet …

How about TV’s Al Roker getting into a twitter-war with new Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Roker, in a lather over the snow and DeBlasio not closing his daughter’s school said, My prediction: one term! Nasty! For the record: Roker did an on-air apology this morning …

Excellent interview in the new Hollywood Reporter, by Hal Espen, on U2 and their new in-the-works album. Says Bono,"We don't want to ever be a heritage act ... it might happen, but we'll go kicking and screaming into that mode. We feel the place for us to be is part of the conversation and contemporary culture of music and film and everything else, and we don't see the reason we can't." Espen also relates how manager Paul McGuinness persuaded U2 to embrace an even four-way split from the start of their careers. Says Espen, "The philosophy and values he devised in collaboration with U2 systematically subtracted the pressures that tend to break up acts and impede emotional intelligent growth."

It obviously worked as the band in worth something in the neighborhood of $852 million. Great reading for sure. The group will perform their Mandela song ("Ordinary Love") once only - at next month's Academy Awards show ...

Deposed-WPLJ morning man Scott Shannon, in an interview with The Daily News' David Hinckley, reports he could be back on the air very shortly. That would be very nice indeed ...

Are you a Bob Dylan fan ... and, really, who isn't? Check out this clip from the forthcoming DVD of the famed Dylan 30th Anniversary show, recorded back in October of 1992. Classic indeed and look at that band!

Friday, December 06, 2013




Elton John

ELTON’s 64th AT THE GARDEN --- I’ve seen Elton John many, many times over the years; I was there when Andy Warhol dropped by and, there when he brought out Debbie Gibson and Billy Joel to sing “Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds.” Last night, I saw him again at NYC’s Madison Square Garden, his 64th show there, and I think it was the best show I've ever seen him do. His latest album The Diving Board has been pretty much overlooked by rock radio, although there are some tremendous tracks there, including “Home Again” –which he did perform last night- “Oscar Wilde Gets Out” and the title track which sadly were not. That said, the entire show was clearly a look back at his career with special emphasis on his ground-breaking 1973 album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – which is due for a special re-issue next year.

Opening as usual with “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”, he also did one of my favorites, the sapphic anthem “All The Girls Love Alice” and “Grey Seal,” both from GYBR. I was also delighted that he performed “The One” and “Believe,” two tracks that I feel perfectly epitomizes John’s superlative writing, along with partner Bernie Taupin for 46 years.

His band, which features new members Kim Bullard and Matt Bissonette were superb; anchored perfectly by guitarist Davey Johnstone, who’s been with him for years, as well as drummer Nigel Olsson. Johnstone, dressed in a black suit and skinny tie, little by little stripped down to just his white shirt. Johnston (and I do very well remember his great bands Magna Carta and Warpipes) was just stunning; spot on perfect. He also had an amazing array of guitars, including the shortest flying-V guitar I've ever seen for “Saturday Night Alright For Fighting.” It was amazing yet again, to hear Johnstone and Olsson do those amazing signature backup harmonies in John’s classic songs. It was very much like hearing them again for the first time.

John said at one point, “If the mood tonight has been a little reflective with some of the song choices, then so be it,” he said. “Because I'm at the stage in my life where it’s nice to reflect.” The SRO-crowd was totally in line with that sentiment as well. As a John-observer from afar, he’s earned the right to play exactly what he wants, and while songs like “Crocodile Rock,” may well be past their shelf-date … they're still excellent to listen to and review them once again. He'll be in Russia in two days and joked that he might wind up in a gulag if he’s not careful because of his human right’s initiatives. A tremendous artist in every way. Definitely one of the best shows this year.

SPADER SHINING --- We've loved James Spader for years; be it his roles in Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989), or Pretty In Pink (1986), or even his terrific run in the TV series Boston Legal, the Boston-native has been just outstanding. I never really became a devotee of Legal, but when I did watch scenes between him and co-star William Shatner, he just nailed each and every moment.

His TV show The Blacklist, debuting this past September, ended its fall-run at the top. I believe I read somewhere that the ratings were higher than any NBC show in 19 years! And, deservedly so, in my opinion. His line readings are just superb and when he’s onscreen, you cannot take your eyes off him. I do believe he is the best actor on TV right now.

CLOSING NOTES --- Martial-artist master Paul Mormando is finessing up his new movie Double Fist. Stay tuned here for more details …

Just watched the Paul McCartney appearance on NBC’s Jimmy Fallon from last month; Macca was just terrific and the song “Save Me,” from his new album New smoked from start to finish and the encore “Lady Madonna” with The Roots was none too shabby. I have yet to enjoy the album in full, but, face it, the kid’s still got it…

Movie-mogul Robert Evans (he produced The Godfather and Love Story, among other masterpieces) has his follow up memoir to The Kid Stays In The Picture, The Fat Lady Sings, out this week. Evans is a raconteur of the first order and his exploits with Jack Nicholson and Roman Polanski are the stuff of dreams. The debut book was just sensational. Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter produced a movie on it. Can’t wait to read it…

The Rascals have canceled their upcoming run on Broadway of their concert/multimedia event Once Upon a Dream. The show played earlier this year and was scheduled for a second run from December 16 to January 5. The show's producers issued a statement saying: Due to scheduling conflicts with director, writer, and producer Stevie Van Zandt, the New York run for Once Upon A Dream Starring The Rascals has been canceled at this time.

The producers hope to reschedule when Van Zandt's schedule, which involves balancing the filming of the third season of his Netflix show Lilyhammer, and touring with Bruce Springsteen among other things, stabilizes. We regrettably missed the first run and was looking forward to this second presentation. We hope it gets rescheduled soon...

I never fully understood what Nelson Mandela accomplished until I visited his prison cell in South Africa. Then it became abundantly clear what a spiritual and political leader he was … and, still is. He was incarcerated there for 27 years. His passing yesterday was somewhat expected, but still, when the news came across the wire, you still held your breath for a minute or two. Ironically, the terrific new movie, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (with Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, and, Robert Hobbs) opens today. RIP Nelson!

Thursday, November 07, 2013



By: G. H. Harding

Lance Armstrong

THE ARMSTRONG LIE --- Last night we caught a special sneak at the Sony screening room of Alex Gibney’s much anticipated and talked about new movie, The Armstrong Lie. In 2008, filmmaker Gibney set out to make a documentary about Lance Armstrong’s comeback to the world of competitive cycling. Armstrong had brought global attention to cycling as the man who had triumphed over cancer and went on to win bicycling’s greatest race, the Tour de France, a record seven consecutive times. More than just an athlete, Armstrong had come to embody nothing short of the possibilities of the human spirit itself. 

In 2013, Armstrong had admitted to using performance enhancing drugs and an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency effectively stripped Armstrong of all seven of his previous titles and banned him from all sport for life). Setting out to chronicle his comeback, The Armstrong Lie (opening Friday) instead emerges as a riveting insider’s view, chronicling the collapse of one of the greatest legends of our time. As Armstrong tells the camera: “I didn't live a lot of lies, but I lived one big one.” One of the film’s producers, Frank Marshall, was an Armstrong supporter when the film started production said, “We all drank the kool aid.” 

As the main narrator of the movie, Gibney very clearly began the movie as a both a tribute and an homage to the man. The film paints Armstrong as terrifically passionate; very controlling; and, amazingly focused. With his steeled-eyed glaze, he literally compels almost everyone to do his bidding. As the film (which drags on and on … a good edit would help) continues, Gibney has many of his acolytes, who finally turned on Armstrong, re-appear and air their complaints. It’s worth noting that each of these now-turned Armstrong devotees began as supporters. Even Gibney himself admits that the film he first envisioned was not the film he ended up with. 

Even as Armstrong participates in his last Tour de France, and it becomes clear that he is not going to win, Gibney himself even admits that he was cheering and rooting for Armstrong.

The look of the film is superb and the access that Gibney had rather extraordinary; from sudden drugs tests when Armstrong was training in Aspen; to post-event reflections in his hotel room one-on-one. You do feel as if you're there right with Armstrong.

Is Armstrong a sociopath? Who knows? The film begins with his confession at the altar of Oprah … but, even then, he adamantly states that he was racing drug-free in 2009. I found myself drawn between both ends; there is no question he inspired leadership and you wanted to believe; but, as I have found time and time again ... those are the most dangerous people of all.

It’s a fascinating film; I came away in some ways even more mystified by the specter of Armstrong. To be fair; Armstrong, a compelling personality, amassed millions for his charity and brought a focus to cycling that had never ever existed before. He was the sport; but, his downfall has been nothing short of catastrophic. In America, we love to build them up, bring them down ... and, build them up again! Stay tuned.

CLOSING NOTES --- Congrats to Bill DeBlasio on his win in yesterday’s mayoral election; though I have to say that as the campaign continued, I personally found myself leaning more and more to Joe Lhota. I've become a bit tired of DeBlasio's Tale of Two Cities refrain; this is New York, not Charles Dickens-land. I look forward to seeing what he does … Speaking of the elections: I have never seen my designated voting place is such disarray as I did yesterday. The volunteer workers were more confused than anyone. It’s ironic that all the candidates spend so much money on campaigning and then there’s mass confusion the actual day of voting. A sad state of affairs for sure… 

In the history of superstar act touring together, this has to be one of the biggest. Paul Simon and Sting will go on the road starting February 8 with the Paul Simon and Sting: On Stage Together Tour. While the official announcement and dates will not be made until tomorrow, it is known that the tour will include a March 4 date at Madison Square Garden in New York. The initial announcement is expected to include eighteen dates with more possible. Billboard reports that the tour will be much like that of Elton John and Billy Joel where each artist will play a solo set and then will duet on each other's music at the end of the show. Each will be performing their sets with their own bands ... 

Mary Hopkin is best known as one of the first artists to sign with the Beatles' Apple label and for her hit “Those Were The Days,” but she has stayed very active in music over the years, especially over the last ten years. Hopkin will release her sixth album in the last eight years in early-2014, Painting By Numbers. The set features "stripped down and bare arrangements of Mary's own songs." The majority of the songs were written by Mary while two were co-written with Brian Willoughby, who has worked with The Strawbs and Nanci Griffith, and Benny Gallagher of Gallagher and Lyle ...

And, finally, XM's Brett Winterble guests this Friday on WOR-talk. Winterble's been on a terrific run of guests, including photographer-Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who produced the stunning PBS documentary on Lou Reed; which the station has been running; chef Robert Blakeslee and The Armstrong Lie-producer, the legendary Frank Marshall - who helped start Amblin with Steven Spielberg.

Thursday, October 10, 2013



By: G.H. Harding

Elton John

ELTON’S DIVING BOARD --- We just received the latest CD from Elton John, The Diving Board, and love it. It’s his first solo album in six years and first recording since EJ’s stirring collaboration with Leon Russell and T. Bone Burnett (The Union) in 2006; T. Bone arguably the producer of the moment, along with England’s Paul Epworth.

The first single “Home Again” immediately won me over with its stark lyrics and mood of reflection and renewal. The video, if you've not seen it, is just dazzling. It certainly harks back, as does the whole album to his early Tumbleweed Connection days. It immediately ranks with John and Bernie Taupin’s best works.

We also instantly loved “Oscar Wild Gets Out” with its whimsical and dynamic piano work. People may forget, but EJ is a first-class musician, and two instrumentals here (including the stellar “Quicksand”), more than prove that. “Can't Stay Alone Tonight” is perhaps the album’s hidden gem. Gorgeous, perfect; it’s more than a reminder of the great songs the John/Taupin cannon has produced, with the lyrics spot on perfect: “You're the last chance on the highway/I'm that open stretch of road/You're the diner in my rear-view/A cup of coffee getting cold." We also loved “Mexican Vacation.”

Said John to the NY Times, “These are serious songs for adults, not radio-ready pop hits.”

“We are not having to write to cater to a certain trend,” Taupin said. “We're past that.” It’s a telling quote as this album, more than anything, presents John … as John. He sounds more stable, more relaxed than ever before; something I first began to notice on The Union.

It’s funny, I just heard some new Paul McCartney music on Q/104.3 here … but, I have yet to hear any of John’s new work there. It’s a funny dynamic; labels rarely want legacy artists to record any new material; for fear it won't get played. Classic rock radio usually plays only the classics hits … over and over. Sad, but true.

This is a stunning, revelatory album from John. Certainly one of his best ever!

FLASH HARRY --- While we're talking classic rock (something we love to do) we'd be remiss in not mentioning we had the honor of listening to the last album ever from Harry Nilsson, Flash Harry (his 16th solo album); finally released on Varese Sarabande Records. I always loved Harry; be it his classic recording of “Without You” (that Badfinger’s Pete Ham and Tom Evans wrote) or his terrific Son of Schmilson album, with the likes of George Harrison and Ringo Starr playing along. The track “You’re Breaking My Heart So F_ck You” becoming an instant classic.

One classic-Harry story is that when he was about to re-negotiate his contract with RCA, he took along none-other than John Lennon (who he became fast-friends with, as well as recording the classic Nilsson/Pussycats album). RCA stunned that Lennon was in their company (and, maybe even hoping Lennon would sign with them) literally gave Harry (and, John) whatever he wanted. An even better story is that when Harry wrote a big song for The Monkees (“Cuddly Toy”), his music publisher told him he could quite his bank job!

When Flash Harry was originally slated for release Harry was in the midst of a crisis of confidence. His voice had been damaged and his was being besieged by an accountant who had made off with much of his fortune. RCA has finally let him go and he was about to embark on a new recording career with a new label. It never came out and only ramped up his troubles.

Listening to it now, produced by Steve Cropper, of all people, it’s not bad at all and actually quite splendid. Starting off with “Harry” sung by Eric Idle (Monty Python) it more than sets the mood for the tone of the album.The album features Nilsson's own recording of "Old Dirt Road", co-written and performed with Lennon on Lennon's album Walls and Bridges (1974); Lennon's last album of original songs before his six-year hiatus.

We also really loved “It So Easy,” which Harry wrote with Paul Stallworth, who would later go onto success with a group recording for Harrison’s Dark Horse Records, called Attitudes. FYI: Attitudes featured a keyboard-wizard/writer named David Foster.

Shortly after the release of this album, Nilsson retired from recording. Though he would subsequently reverse his decision and record various songs for film soundtracks in the 1980's and 1990's, he never issued another full album. (Literally hours before his 1994 death, Nilsson finished recording the final vocal tracks for a planned 'comeback' album, but it has yet to be released.)

Nilsson is certainly an acquired taste. Haphazard, whimsical, downright maddening … if you liked him … you really liked him! Amazing highs and terrific lows. His first big hit was with the song “Everybody’s Talkin”” written by Fred Neil, from the film 1969 Midnight Cowboy. We love this album … we miss you Harry!

STUDIO DREAMS --- Producers Joel Diamond and Rudy Perez recently completed sessions for the just-released single “Dreams Come True,” by Rebecca Holden and Abraham McDonald. They shoot the video 14 days from today in Nashville. A full album will be released in December.

CLOSING NOTES --- Elton John plays NYC's Madison Square Garden in December. We can't wait ... To say rock-group Boston takes their time recording their albums is an understatement. Since their debut in 1976, they have only released five studio albums with a sixth on the horizon. According to, their sixth album, Life, Love and Hope, will be released by Frontiers Records on December 3, eleven years after their last, Corporate America and six years after the suicide of lead singer Brad Delp. Little more is known about the upcoming release. At one point, Tom Scholz had said that the group had been working on new material and some had been recorded before Delp's death. It is possible that some of that material may make it on the album. More likely is that there will be music with new lead singer Tommy DeCarlo who joined the band in 2008 ... More Micky: Micky Dolenz will host the industry’s 2013 Parnelli Awards in Las Vegas on November 23, executive producer Terry Lowe announced. “We are thrilled to have this consummate entertainer hosting our 13th annual award show,” said Lowe, publisher of FRONT of HOUSE and PLSN magazines. “His long career as a top performer and his great sense of humor will make for a memorable night. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

“Ever since I was a child actor, I was usually more interested in what was going on backstage than onstage,” Dolenz said. “That interest still exists to this day, and I am forever grateful to the men and women who contribute so much to a live performance but, often, do not receive the props that they are due.”

This year, the live event industry’s highest honors will take place at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Nov. 23. All other awards are yet to be determined, and the nominations period ends Friday, Sept. 27. Go HERE.

Thursday, June 27, 2013




Elton John

ELTON’S 30th --- Next month, Elton’s John’s 30th album will be released. This one’s called The Diving Board and features just a delicious album cover; which we received via Rocket’s Tony King. It’s his first solo album since his The Captain & the Kid, which came out in September of 2006. 

John says, “This is the most exciting solo record I've done in a long, long time, it was written in two days.” As quick as that might sound, it’s been par for the course for him and writing partner Bernie Taupin; they've worked together for four decades.

Adds producer T-Bone Burnett, “I saw Elton at the Troubadour in 1970, in a legendary week of shows. Those shows never left me. A three-piece band -- piano, bass and drums, like one enormous instrument -- just killing it. So we started from there. I wanted to be able to superimpose this recording over my memory of the sound and the wild intelligence of those shows. From that perspective, forty years down the road, The Diving Board is an album of music by a master at the peak of his artistic powers.”

We heard just a snippet of the first single from the album, “Home Again,” and instantly loved it. It’s vintage-Elton per Tumbleweed Connection … divine!

RAY DONOVAN -- We caught the much heralded Showtime premiere of Live Schreiber’s Ray Donovan … and, was terribly disappointed. With a terrific cast, including Jon Voight, within the first hour, the script referenced everything from Calabasas, California (currently the West Coast-go too locale) to TMZ … making, not only this writer smirk, but dropping the level of believability to an embarrassing low. 

I had such high hopes too. Donovan is a mister-fix-it of sorts in Hollywood; in fact, the opening case had a star athletic waking up in bed next to a dead hooker; geese, have you heard that one before? The other cast members, Katherine Moennig, Dash Mihok, Elliot Gould, the terrific Peter Jacobson (from House) and Pooch Ha, were most serviceable, but the writing just embarrassing.

You know, many of these cable-net series have been pretty terrific: Homeland; Perception; The Closer, Mad Men, The Sopranos … but, with 12-episodes in the can so far, Ray Donovan might just be a one-shot wonder. Catch it while you can.

RIP JIMMY --- The passing of James Gandolfini has just been one very sad chapter. He was the Brando of TV for sure. I had occasion to meet him through Robert Funaro, who worked on the show for several seasons, and although at my first meeting with him, I had a creeping sense of dread … he was just a huge and warm presence; a teddy bear if you will. I was a fan of his before I met him, (loved him in The Castle with Robert Redford) but his work on the HBO Show The Sopranos, pure lightning in a bottle. His work in the re-boot of The Taking of Pelham 123 and Zero Dark Thirty, just exceptionally compelling. 

Watching the many tributes on TV, I saw his work again in Get Shorty (with John Travolta) … and, had forgotten how good he was in 2001’s The Mexican, with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. 

After news of his passing came, I flipped on an episode of The Sopranos in tribute … and, he leaped off the screen. A terrible moment this year. RIP Jimmy. 

IMAGINE DRAGONS – You can appreciate the fact that if a song has as its main lyric: Welcome to the New Age … Welcome to the New Age … it might make me a bit dubious, but a new alt-rock band, Imagine Dragons, from Las Vegas of all places, has delivered one of the most impressive debuts this year with a CD entitled Night Visions. “Radioactive” with its New Age-mantra and all are part Pet Shop Boys and part-REM and sound superb on the radio. We also loved “Bleeding Out” and “Nothing Left To Say,” from their debut effort.

Sure, it’s a bit goth-ish and all, but lead singer Dan Reynolds and Berklee-graduate Wayne “Wing” Sermon have concocted a terrifically entertaining album here. Prior to this latest CD, they released three EPs which cultivated interest from the major labels; they eventually signed with Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope label.

Interestingly enough, they recorded two of their earlier albums at Battle Born Studios; home of another Vegas-band The Killers. Tasty, sonically captivating, check out the Imagine Dragons.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Rebecca Wang

Elton John has garnered support from some of the world's most philanthropic icons in the entertainment industry and with the recent endorsement Rebecca Wang, she continues to add to that distinguished list. A key benefactor at the 19th Annual Oscar Viewing Party, Rebecca Wang resumed her position again for a second-straight year this year as benefactor of the Elton John AIDS Foundation Viewing Party. This annual Oscar Viewing Party has taken place since 1992 and has been a showcase of elegance and generosity for two decades as Hollywood's most iconic stars gather during the Academy Awards to donate their time and money to fight the epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Following Elton's viewing party, Rebecca Wang attended the exclusive Vanity Fair party as guest of the magazine's long time editor Graydon Carter.

Rebecca Wang, based out of London and Los Angeles, is an executive producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Her first Hollywood film, PASSION PLAY, features renowned actors including Academy Award Nominees Mickey Rourke (THE WRESTLER) and Bill Murray (LOST IN TRANSLATION), accompanied by actress Megan Fox (TRANSFORMERS). Her previous charitable efforts have spanned health, humanitarian aid, and education in the arts, making her a perfect fit with Elton's crusade. Ms. Wang, an avid supporter of organizations such as the International Red Cross, British Red Cross, and the Prince's Drawing School, is delighted to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation for a second year. Wang is also a devoted patron of the arts. A patron of the Royal Academy of Arts, the National Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Tate Modern, which collectively contain some of the most prized art in world, featuring works from Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, and Andy Warhol.

Photo Courtesy Of: WireImage

Friday, November 25, 2011



Katy Perry

AMAs – I watched last weekend’s AMAs and rather enjoyed it; fortunately this time around I knew most of the acts performing and presenting. Maroon 5 (currently riding the tops of the charts with their “Moves Like Jagger”) were just terrific. Since this band first hit big in 2005, they've been delivering some simply delicious music; sort of a pastiche of pure pop music and Stevie Wonder; and, Adam Levine has a voice that was made for TV and radio. When I first heard “Jagger” I knew it'd quickly become a massive hit. Sure enough, guest-vocalist Christina Aguilera showed up; looking a bit of a mess, if I can say. Amid all the rumors of tensions between her and Levine (they're both judges on NBC’s The Voice and have clashed repeatedly on the show!), when they finished the song, she stormed off … not even acknowledging Levine. Staged? Hard to tell, but it was noticed by almost every critic and certainly didn't do anything to change her somewhat-declining public image. Something is definitely not right in her camp; and, it’s a shame because her voice is really that good. Also, Jennifer Lopez was just sensational; performing two numbers (and, wearing some pretty fantastic Versace), including her scintillating “On The Floor.” The song is currently featured in her commercial for Fiat … and, don't you know … the car was featured in the stage presentation. To tell you the truth, I don’t ever remember a car being a part of a stage performance; but, these are indeed strange times. When she won, she thanked her manager Benny Medina … nice touch! And, she looked rather fab overall … terrific for a 43-year old. Taylor Swift won several awards, including Artist of the Year (besting Katy Perry, Adele and Lady Gaga), and though she’s great, her over-enthusiastic mode is running a bit dry for my taste. Nicki Minaj (who I haven't yet gotten!), Justin Bieber, The Band Perry and Kelly Clarkson all appeared as well. It certainly wasn't vintage-AMA (although AMA-stalwart Lionel Richie was sitting front-and-center) ... I fear those days are long gone … but, it was a fun show. Katy Perry did receive an achievement award for getting five No. 1 singles from her album Teenage Dream. She's the first female artist to reach that milestone from a single album. Pretty amazing … and, I think the current single, “The one That Got Away” is her strongest yet. Congrats Katy!


DOORS -- Fans of iconic rock band The Doors are in for something special. The group's final album - 1971's L.A. WOMAN, with the signature hits “L.A. Woman,” “Love Her Madly,” and “Riders On The Storm” - is being celebrated with a special two-CD release from Rhino Records and a behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment. The L.A. WOMAN 40th anniversary edition features a never-before-heard song, “She Smells So Nice,” which captures the band--organist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore and late singer Jim Morrison -joyfully barreling through a full-throttle original before segueing into the blues standard “Rock Me.” As the song closes, Morrison can be heard chanting, “Mr. Mojo Risin’”- an anagram of his name that was made famous during the bridge of “L.A. Woman.” Recently discovered by producer Bruce Botnick while reviewing the L.A. WOMAN session tapes, a teaser clip of “She Smells So Nice” can be heard here: In addition to “She Smells So Nice,” the second disc of the L.A. WOMAN reissue includes eight never-before-heard versions of songs from the album. Alternate takes of “L.A. Woman,” “Love Her Madly” and “Riders On The Storm” offer a fresh view on this landmark album, which was the group's sixth straight Top 10. The studio chatter between the songs is a revelation too, transporting listeners to The Doors Workshop: the West Hollywood rehearsal space where they recorded the album with Botnick. One segment in particular captures a fascinating moment of inspiration when Morrison suggests they add the now-iconic thunderstorm sound effects to the beginning of “Riders On The Storm.” Rhino will also release L.A. Woman: The Workshop Sessions, L.A., a double LP featuring all of the previously unreleased material found on the CD collection on three sides of vinyl, with the fourth side featuring a laser etching of the original “Electric Woman” art originally included with the L.A. WOMAN album. Also, “Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story of L.A. Woman” is told through new interviews with the band, as well as Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, original manager Bill Siddons, engineer/co-producer Botnick and others. The high-definition video also features live and studio performances as well as rare archival photos. This fascinating documentary contains rare footage of the in the studio and on stage. L.A. WOMAN marked The Doors' swan song, as Morrison would pass away a few months after its release. At the time, Rolling Stone's Robert Meltzer called it “The Doors; greatest album ... a landmark worthy of dancing in the streets (5/27/71).” The Doors were the first band to release eight consecutive platinum albums and they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.



CHICAGO ON CALL – Musicians On Call (MOC), a nonprofit organization that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, has announced a special live performance by the legendary rock band Chicago, Monday night (11-28) at B.B. Kings. The event, which will benefit MOC, includes hors d'oeuvres, open bar, and exclusive meet-and-greets for top sponsors. An auction running from October 27-November 17 on Charity Buzz ( will support MOC’s fundraising efforts, and includes a chance to bid on two front row seats to a Chicago concert and a chance to sing the hit song, “If You Leave Me Now” on stage with the band. The MOC event looks to be a very special and intimate experience for fans of the band, as they will be performing its most beloved songs--the multi-platinum and award-winning band boasts 21 Top 10 singles, 5 consecutive Number One albums, and 11 Number One singles. Chicago will also perform songs from their new Christmas album, O Christmas Three, which features special guests Dolly Parton, America, Steve Cropper, and BeBe Winans, and was produced by veteran producer Phil Ramone. Tickets can be purchased at We'll be there for a full re-cap.


RAPPER SHANNON -- When I heard WPLJ’s Scott “Super” Shannon rap the intro to the legendary song “Rapper’s Delight” the other morning … I just had to smile. That’s why he’s still #1 … we love him!


Lady Gaga

JOHN JOINS GAGA -- Elton John will reportedly join up with Lady Gaga for her next album. Gaga , who performed a duet with him on the soundtrack album to the animated opus Gnomeo and Juliet , said she is eager for another pass with the legendary piano man, "My next duet, I believe, will be with Elton. I'm already working on my next album, and I played him a song that I wrote and he really loved it." The pair performed at last year's Grammy Awards to much acclaim and she is the godmother to John and David Furnish’s son Zachary. The singer said last year that he no longer wanted to compete with new pop stars, claiming he was no longer able to pen pop songs himself: "I'm at that stage where I don't think I can write pop music anymore. I can't sit down and do a proper rock song. I like to do my little side-projects like Scissor Sisters and have fun, but I don't think Elton John will be putting any pop singles out!"


Kirk Douglas

DOUGLAS & DOUGLAS -- We had the pleasure of attending Monday’s night Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl event at Chelsea Piers, where they were honoring 95-year old screen legend Kirk Douglas. Add to that, the fact that it was going to be presented by his son, Michael Douglas. After a thoroughly engaging introduction (and, film clips), Kirk walked on to be embraced by his son. Moving … to say the least! And, both of them looked great; it was a treasured moment. Honored as well, was actress Elle Fanning (almost 14!), who gave a warmly, passionate speech. We've been entranced by the actress ever since we caught her in the film by Sofia Coppola, Somewhere … and, her recent role in Super 8. She is tremendous and reported to be fantastic in the forthcoming We Bought A Zoo, with Matt Damon. Also seen at the stellar event, were: actor Jon Voight; Rita Cosby and Tomazcek Bednarek; PR-maven David Salidor; Leah Adler (Steven Spielberg's mother); and, of course, Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Photos By: James Edstrom/RD/GDP Photos/Orchon/Sara De Boer/Retna

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Elton John Rocks Las Vegas

Sir Elton John

Elton John returned to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and premiered his new show, The Million Dollar Piano, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo By: RD / Kabik / Retna Digital