Showing posts with label PAUL MCCARTNEY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PAUL MCCARTNEY. Show all posts

Monday, July 07, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Paul McCartney

MACCA'S BACK --- From Paul McCartney returned to a concert stage Saturday in Albany, New York, after being sidelined for two months because of a virus, spinning out songs from the Beatles, Wings and a solo career that has spanned more than 50 years of rock 'n' roll.

"It's great to be back," said McCartney, who turned 72 two weeks ago. He looked none the worse for wear, putting on a show of just under three hours with 38 songs before finishing with the three-song medley that ends the classic-Abbey Road album.

McCartney was briefly hospitalized in Tokyo in May because of the viral infection. The illness forced him to cancel a Japanese tour and a concert in South Korea and reschedule half a dozen June dates in the United States before resuming his Out There tour in Albany.

Before his illness, McCartney last performed May 1 in Costa Rica.

BUZZ IS BACK --- On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor. To commemorate the anniversary, Buzz is launching the #Apollo45 social media campaign on Tuesday, July 8 to remind people of the moon landing in order to get them to share their memories of this historic event or how Apollo 11 inspired them. We’ll be asking the public Where were you when Apollo 11 landed on the moon? or if they weren't born yet to share how Apollo inspired them and the world. Videos from the public can be shared through YouTube, or on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram. The special YouTube Channel url is

Some of the notable personalities who will be sharing their stories on the Special YouTube Apollo45 channel include Pharrell Williams, John Travolta, Stephen Colbert, Tim Allen, Jared Leto, Sir Richard Branson, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Patton Oswalt, Quincy Jones, Bryan Adams, David Copperfield, Sen. Marco Rubio, Austrian astronaut Franz Viehbock, HRH Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia and London Mayor Boris Johnson, with more to come. Buzz will be doing a countdown of celebrity videos leading up to the anniversary, releasing new videos every day starting from July 10 leading up to July 20.

ROBOCOP REDEUX ---We are huge fans of the original Robocop movie, starring the brilliant Peter Weller and Nancy Allen. That movie came out in 1987 and was directed by the visionary Dutch-director Paul Verhoeven.

The movie, written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, was a sly jab at commerce over art as a crime fighting robot was infused with the soul of a recently deceased cop, Alex Murphy; certainly the logical next step in crime fighting, right?

The movie was just as brilliant for its magnificent special effects, including several innovations we still use and see to this day.

Earlier this year came the remake, with Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Joel Kinnaman, from TV’s The Killing. Ironically, by the time I was ready to see it in the theaters, it had suddenly vanished. Seeing it this weekend, I marveled at how good it was and the performances by Oldman, Keaton, and Kinnaman, just spectacular. Abbie Cornish, as the wife, is marvelous too.

Opening with a monologue by Samuel L. Jackson, as the host of a Wolf Blitzer-like TV show (The Pat Novak Show), the movie took off from there and really didn't stop. The original, with hints from several of Philip K. Dick’s brilliant works (especially his Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep) it was a send up of current day politics while interweaving the brilliant love story between Murphy, now a robot, but with memories of his earlier life drifting in and out of his now robot-consciousness.

The new movie is smartly shot and the direction by Jose Padila, just exceptional. And, just for the record, Oldman is exceptional here as well as a sly-turn, from henchman Jackie Earle Haley.

I don't know why this wasn't a bigger hit; in fact, truth be told, I don't think it even registered, but let me pick this as my #1 must see, under appreciated movie of this year.

CLOSING NOTES --- Talking movies; the box office so far this year is down a staggering 20%. If it were a restaurant, it'd go out of business. Face it, not an exceptional summer by any means. This past weekend (usually the stellar weekend of the summer), the two big movies of Transformers 4 and Tammy from Melissa McCarthy. Slim pickings for sure ...

From Rex Reed at The Observer about this week’s Tammy movie: The good news is that Tammy is not a crappy remake of the 1957 Tammy movie with Debbie Reynolds that spawned three sequels and a TV comedy series. The bad news is that this one is much worse… It’s about as funny as a liver transplant ...

Just asking: What white table-cloth restaurant, around for decades, is suddenly on the chopping block. Known universally for their great steaks and fantastic fish; the family-owned business has finally had enough. Business is down, but not as bad as when they jettisoned their entire promo-staff. Sad for sure, as it was a great, great spot ...

Ringo Starr turns 74 today and there was a public celebration outside of L. A.'s Capital Records. 74! How's that happen? Happy B-day Mr. Starr.

Monday, January 27, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING
Ringo Starr

GRAMMY DEAREST --- It was another old school vs. new school night at The Grammy's - their 56th broadcast - last night. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sat front and center and were probably as bemused as most of the crowd, there and at home, by the rather bizarre performances from Katy Perry, Lorde (who did win Song of the Year), and even Pink; whose become known as much for her aerial abilities as for her singing. Dangling high above the cavernous Staples Center as she sang; I couldn't help but wonder what safety provisions were being employed. I mean, it’s commendable, but is it safe?

Teen-sensation Hunter Hayes was impressive, but seemed much too young and much too green to snare such a key-performance slot. Jay Z and wife Beyonce opened the show with the latter’s “Drunk In Love.” It was suggestive; somewhat repetitive; but, an opening act?

Director Ken Erhlich went with the staging where there’s a hub of so-called fans (hired?) surrounding the stage area. It’s been use by everyone and I'm kind of surprised he employed it again. Surely, there’s got to be something new by now.

A definite highlight was the combined talents of Chicago with Robin Thicke. Chicago’s professionalism was no match for Mr. Thicke; a close listen shows he was singing a bit off-key along with Chicago’s Robert (Skinny Boy) Lamm. Funnily enough, it was announced that the group’s very-first album Chicago Transit Authority (April 1969) has been elected to the Grammy’s Hall of Fame; not sure what that means, but the honor was long overdue.

New Zealand-sensation Lorde performed her “Royals,” which went on to win Song of the Year. Was her performance somewhat freakish, or was I missing something. Maybe this year’s Sinead O’Connor? Her real name is after all Ella Yelich O'Connor.

Nile Rodgers, who has been a pivotal force in the business for years (Chic, Sister Sledge, David Bowie), re-emerged this year with his work with the French-robots Daft Punk with Pharrel Williams. His Random Access Memory won for Album of the Year (“Get Lucky” won for Record of the Year) and the performance with Stevie Wonder (where "Lucky" segued seamlessly into Wonder’s “For You”) was without question the musical highlight of the year. It was the best use of Wonder I've ever seen and let me be the first to posit Rodgers doing an entire album with him. It would make perfect sense.

I've not heard their full album, but with talents like Giorgio Moroder and Paul Williams involved ... I really want to now.

Williams joked that "back when I was drinking, I would imagine things that weren't there and I'd get frightened. Then I got sober and two robots called and asked me to make an album."

"Captain Kirk uses the Enterprise. They sail on a ship called Generosity," Williams continued about the duo. "This is a labor of love and we are all so grateful."

That performance is what the Grammy’s should be about.

Ringo performed “Photograph” with an ad-hoc band led by bassist/producer Don Was and featuring guitarists Steve Lukather and Peter Frampton and drummer Kenny Arnoff. For the record: a great, great George Harrison song.

McCartney performed, with Ringo, “Queenie Eye” from the former’s recent New album. It’s a good song, not great and in retrospect a rather odd choice. Why not a Beatles' song?They came together at the end for the requisite hug. Unquestionably the emotional highlight of the show.

Sara Bareillis performed with Carole King. Another magical moment.

Actor of the moment Jared Leto appeared to give a tribute to the late-Lou Reed.

Also, Mackelmore & Lewis’ performance ("Same Love"), where 33 couples were married, by Queen Latifah and Madonna (looking more and more like Dolly Parton; cane and all!), another highlight. It was a good show, not the best I've ever seen, but a good one.

KING CAROLE --- Carole King was presented with the MusiCares Person of the Year Award on Friday in Los Angeles with a full night of her music performed from stars from all eras.

Among the many highlights of the night was Lady Gaga's performance of “You've Got a Friend” which Roger Friedman at Showbiz411 said "just blew everyone away with an intimate, throaty, bluesy version of King’s greatest song." Billboard also cited the pairings of Miguel and Kacey Musgraves on “Crying in the Rain” and Jakob Dylan and Louise Goffin's “Goin' Back” as being other highlights.

Also on hand were the four women that were the subject of the Academy Award nominated documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love. The four women performed "Way Over Yonder" from the Tapestry album. Overall, nine of the twelve tracks from that groundbreaking album were performed over the night with only the title song, “Smackwater Jack” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” omitted.

King, closed the night including a duet with James Taylor on a medley of “Sweet Seasons” and “Hey Girl.”

CLOSING NOTES --- Last night I took to Twitter to follow the Grammy's and enjoyed immensely the tweets from former L. A. Times journalist Ann Powers. She said at one point: Lorde will be 18 by the time this show is over! Hilarious …

How could NARAS' Neil Portnow have omitted The Monkees from Carole King's MusicCares dinner? We thought it was just Jann Wenner ... shameless! Micky Dolenz even put out an album of King's songs way four years back, called King For A Day ...

New York-nutritionist Sophia Aslanis told us that Super Bowl Sunday was the second biggest day of over-eating; second only to Thanksgiving ...

Congrats to our friend, the brilliant bassist Will Lee on being inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame. I've known Will since the days of The Brecker Brothers Band. Well-deserved for sure...

February 9 is 50th years since The Beatles arrived ...

Friday, January 24, 2014



Story By: G. H. HARDING

The Band - Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel,
Rick Danko, Garth Hudson And Levon Helm

CLASSIC BAND --- The euphoric response to iconic rock photographer Elliott Landy’s Kickstarter campaign has made his forthcoming book publication historic. And with pledges from over 700 supporters having surpassed the $150,000 mark – well more than double the original $65,000 goal – the countdown to bring Landy’s never-gathered-in-one-place art quality book of fine art photos of roots rock giants The Band to fans and photography collectors has now reached its final week. Already holding the title of second most funded photography campaign on the site, the Kickstarter campaign officially ends Tuesday, Jan. 28.

“This level of success has surprised me and invigorated my desire to keep publishing this body of work from the Sixties,” says Landy. “I am really happy for the freedom this gives me to create my book without being tethered by a lack of funds or controlled by others' ideas and tastes. This book will be mine and contain what I feel are the best photos I took of the The Band, printed with superb quality.”

Known for his seemingly unlimited access to artists like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and others from The Summer of Love, as well as the 1969 Woodstock Festival, Landy has gone into his archives to review, relive and focus on his time with one of his favorite subjects, The Band, as they were becoming one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world. This book captures what Landy feels is his best body of work from the period. He shot over 8,000 frames of film of the group, only about 30 of which have been widely published to date.

“During that period I was the only photographer they let take pictures of them,” says Landy. “They treated me like a friend and allowed me the freedom to hang out and take whatever pictures I wanted.”

The fine art book will be available in two hardcover versions: A Regular Edition and a Deluxe Limited Edition. Deluxe Limited Edition copies will come in a slipcase, signed and numbered and also will include an 8x10 print of "The Band with Hamlet" (image on campaign website). This image will only be printed in this size for this Deluxe Edition. The Deluxe Edition will be limited to a maximum of 500 copies. Both of these versions will be from the first edition printing of the book, which will be printed on heavyweight, fine art paper. The project is being personally supervised by Landy.

CLAPTON’S CROSSROADS --- The show happened last April; the DVD came out last month, but Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2013 has captivated us regally so far this month. This was the fourth incarnation of the guitar-slinger’s Crossroads Festival; all to be benefit his rehab-facility (also named Crossroads) in Antigua.

Clapton founded this center in 1998 to help people suffering from chemical dependency. Besides Clapton, features, among others, John Mayer, Jeff Beck, the Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, Keith Richards, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Steve Cropper, Robbie Robertson, and Vince Gill.

The album is just filled with splendid performances; my four favorites are “Bullet And A Target," from the combined talents of guitarist Doyle Brahmhall II and Citizen Cope (aka Clarence Greenwood). The Memphis-born Greenwood, as Cope, has been delivering such incredible and political music for quite some time now; especially on his album The Rainwater LP. Second: Clapton’s own "Got To Get Better In a Little While” and “Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad,” both tracks from his Derek & The Dominoes songbook, are just superb. Also amazing is how well these songs hold up today as they came out in 1970!

Third is The Beatles’“Don't Let Me Down” performed by Mayer and Keith Urban. Say what you will about Mayer, but his musical prowess is rather awe-inspiring. It’s no wonder that Clapton recruited him early on for his album with the late-great J. J. Cale; the excellent Road To Escondido.

Four: Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Released” performed by the wondrous Robbie Robertson with Clapton … just a great, great moment for sure.

Clapton also duets with Vince Gill on his own “Lay Down Sally” with excellent results. Surprisingly, the two blend quite well.

Also represented are guitarist Earl Klugh and Jimmi Vaughan, who proves himself right up there with his late brother Stevie-Ray Vaughan. Also on this album (and, accompanying DVD) is Keith Richards performing “Key To The Highway.”

This album made my day – thanks to Jason Elzy at Rhino for sending it our way.

Dominick Dipietrantonio

CLOSING NOTES --- Long Island-based singer Dominick Dipietrantonio working on new music for a forthcoming epic movie; we’ll keep you posted…

Neil Diamond turned 73 yesterday; and again, congratulations on his new recording deal with Capitol Records …

Plenty of Grammy activity this week in Hollywood. The show is on Sunday and we’ll have a full wrap-up come Monday. The top two top moments to look for on the show is the onstage reunion of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and the performance by Jay Z and Beyonce. Stay tuned …

PR-pasha David Salidor on the Justin Bieber brouhaha on Rich Stevens’ radio (850WFTL/Miami/West Palm Beach) show this morning: “The really disturbing aspect was the fact that his father was with him for the entire event; is he an enabler? Seems so.”

Loved Daily Variety’s early-tale on Aaron Eckhart’s new movie I, Frankenstein …A Monster Mess … ouch!

Bill Werde, Billboard Magazine's Editorial Director since 2008, has abruptly exited the music trade publication. Owners Guggenheim Partners have announced that Janice Min, who transformed their Hollywood Reporter from dull movie trade rag to glitzy glossy, will now add helmsman of Billboard to her portfolio.

No mention of Werde's exit was made when announcing Min's arrival, but Werde has since tweeted that he is "leaving" the magazine. "Mine has been an amazing seat from which to watch the entertainment business evolve,” he said.

Industry insiders are secretly applauding his departure as he had built a reputation as not-user-friendly presence at the magazine. I just saw him on NBC’s Today Show earlier and they billed him as entertainment reporter. I don't think he'll be back anytime soon …

The Band Photo Courtesy Of: Elliott Landy

Wednesday, October 02, 2013



By: G.H. Harding

Paul McCartney

BADFINGER --- The story of the week so far has got to be the great, late, Apple Records group Badfinger. Their song, “Baby Blue,” musically closed out the last episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad this past Sunday. The first line of the song said it all: I guess I got what I deserved. And, 10+ million viewers too!

The song was officially released in March 1972 on the Beatles’ Apple Records and was inspired by Badfinger frontman Pete Ham's ex-girlfriend Dixie Armstrong. "Baby Blue" became the group's final Top 20 single, peaking at Number 14 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. The song, which made an appearance in Martin Scorcese's 2006 film The Departed, was the second single off the band's third album, Straight Up (which Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke called one of Apple Records' Top Five Albums), following "Day After Day.”

Though dozens of writers have written about this incident, few got the facts about the group right at all. One noted TV writer hardly mentioned the group at all! First off: the group was formerly known as The Iveys, and were actually signed to the label by Paul McCartney. Macca then gave the group one his songs, “Come And Get It,” which they recorded and was used in the film The Magic Christian, starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers.

The song became a minor hit but served to fully introduce the group to thew world. Their third album, Straight Up, was a co-production of sorts by George Harrison and Todd Rundgren. Harrison had to leave with Ham, for his Bangladesh concert in 1971 (Ham played with Harrison on his song, “Here Comes The Sun”), so, the Runt finished up the production. That album was the group’s highlight for sure, as “Blue” was joined by “No Matter What” as well as “Day After Day” in becoming chart hits.

Despite their considerable success, Badfinger had management problems; by two men which we'll dub the Two Stans who withheld royalties from them (I know one of them!). Pete Ham hung himself; as did Tom Evans bringing an abrupt end to the band. There was a terrific documentary on the group in 1997 that presents a fascinating look at the band. 

Adds Tony King, who was at Apple during those halcyon days, "They were sweet guys. Pete Ham was very quiet and shy and the wrote one of the greatest songs ever 'Without You,' made famous by Harry Nilsson and later, of course by Mariah Carey. Todd Rundgren rescued the album which had this current song, Ringo gave them their gold record for 'Without You' in my office."

Joey Molland continues to tour as Badfinger to this day. A sad, sad story about a great, great band.

X-FILES ANNIVERSRAY --- BuySoundtrax Records is proud to announce the release of MUSIC FROM THE X-FILES: 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, available digitally and on CD on October 2, 2013. The album features music composed by Mark Snow and is produced and arranged by Dominik Hauser, Joohyun Park, and John Beal.

Twenty years ago viewers were transfixed by the weekly drama starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully – two FBI agents who investigated supernatural cases, knowing that the truth is indeed out there. Film and television veteran composer Mark Snow was brought in to lead the musical charge for this truth. From the opening notes, the eerie whistle of the main title theme, viewers were immediately engaged in the series, which would eventually boast over 200 episodes and two feature-length movies. 

While best known for his music for The X-Files and its close cousin Millennium (a personal favorite with the great Lance Henriksen in the title role as Frank Black), Snow’s compositional efforts have encompassed many other series (including the popular shows Smallville and The Ghost Whisperer, as well as X-Files creator Chris Carter’s short-lived series The Lone Gunmen and Harsh Realm. Snow has also scored numerous made-for-television movies as well as a handful of feature films, including several recent films for the legendary French director Alain Resnais. 

It’s interesting to note yet again how instrumental his music was in the show. The concept, the writing, the acting (and, great guest appearances by the likes of Peter Boyle and the late-Darren McGavin) made this show a huge hit … and, a huge hit for Fox as well.

A Brooklyn native, Snow has been making music since the 1950's. Following a start in the music industry as a popular recording artist with his band the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, Mark made the switch to composer for television and film in the 1970's. His other TV credits include One Tree Hill, Kojak, Pasadena, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, T. J. Hooker, Cagney and Lacey, Starsky and Hutch, Gemini Man, Family and Hart to Hart. Snow has been nominated 14 times for Emmy’s for his work on television series and television films including Helter Skelter, Children of the Dust, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and Something about Amelia.

WHERE’s MY LIMO --- 1973 was a landmark year. The ‘60s had finally died, allowing the ‘70s to begin. An altogether more cynical era took hold: peace, love, and understanding gave way to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Nowhere was this shift more apparent than as seen through three seminal rock albums and the tours that followed: The Who’s Quadrophenia; Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy; and, Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies.

These three unprecedented tours—and the albums that inspired them—forever changed the landscape of rock and roll: the economics, the privileges, and the very essence of the concert experience. Rock gods—and their entourages—were born, along with unimaginable overindulgence and legendary flameouts. Tour buses were traded for private jets, arenas replaced theaters, and performances transmogrified into over-the-top, operatic spectacles. 

With the 40TH anniversary ongoing of this unforgettable year in popular culture, What You Want Is In The Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born by acclaimed cultural journalist Michael Walker, released last month, is one hell of a book. It successfully crystallizes that historic and mind-bogglingly prolific year for rock and roll and cultural change. Though countless classics were also born in 1973 - from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Greetings from Asbury Park, N. J. to the opening of The Roxy and CBGB - it was, according to Walker, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper who emerged as the game changers. Walker takes us backstage with these legendary bands, examining the pinnacle of their commercial success and how 1973 left each band utterly changed; Alice Cooper broke up within months of the end of their tour; Led Zeppelin left the road for 18 months and spent the rest of the decade rebounding from calamities personal and professional; The Who never again revisited the creative ambitions of Quadrophenia.

I particularly loved one incident in the book: soon-to-be-megastar pr-woman Pat Kingsley visited with the Alice Cooper group band backstage and asked which one was Alice …. When no one said anything, she pointed to one (Alice!) and said, he was it.

Although it is indeed quite some time ago, I fully remember many of the incidents Walker speaks about. As a just-out of college-graduate and ambitiously beginning a writing career, Walker hits it right on the head with his descriptions of the times. 

I remember so many of the incidents so well, as I became bit-by-bit, an insider by virtue of working at a rock club on Long Island at the time (and, yes, they did exist). Privy to many of the salacious moments of the time. The whole book reminds me so much of the movie Spinal Tap; because, as incredulous as it may sound … it did all happen.

Honestly, he’s a great writer. His previously book, Laurel Canyon, I have not read, but will. His style is concise, ironic, and quite funny. A must-read!

CLOSING NOTES --- Big first week out for Rebecca Holden & Abraham McDonald’s"Dreams Come True" as it is already in the top adds re All Music Access (between Rod Stewart & Maroon 5)... and, it has already achieved over 7 Million YouTube views... see link HERE.

 The second episode of NBC’s new hit The Blacklist; starring James Spader, was as good, and maybe even better, than the first. I loved it. Spader himself has said he doesn’t even really know how it will all play out; but, he’s devilishly good. He starts shooting the second Avengers movie in May (The Age of Ultron); so we'll see what happens … 

Kent Kotal’s Forgotten Hits newsletter; specializing in legacy artist and records, last month published an unforgettable interview with Burton Cummings, of The Guess Who (“These Eyes”, “Share The Land,” “American Woman,” “No Sugar Tonight”). It is by far, one of the best interviews I’ve ever read. Check it out HERE

Best title of the year so far, martial-artist master Paul Mormando’s Double Fist. Filming gets underway shortly … That Fact or Fiction segment on Don Nash’s re-configured Today Show looks and feel positively creepy. Even Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie look very uncomfortable.

Neil Young is a “long, strange trip” according to Graham Nash in his memoir titled Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life this week and had interesting comments to make about the musician. “I love him to death. I’ll make music with him for the rest of my life, but he’s a very selfish man. Part of me admires the fact that he has the strength to follow his muse, but he doesn’t realize that there are other people involved in this world,” Nash says. David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash will reunite with Neil Young to perform at Neil’s annual charity Bridge School. Nash told Billboard that he expects that is Neil’s way of checking them out to see if they are up for another reunion next year. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young last performed on the Freedom of Speech tour together in 2008. Still hoping to hear that interview with Nash and XM’s Brett Winterble. 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013



Story By: G. H. HARDING

Emily Mortimer

RED TEAM III --- I finally got a moment watch last week’s edition of HBO’s The Newsroom, titled Red Team III, when the long gestating story the team had been working on (Genoa) was broadcast; and, then all hell broke loose as they discovered one producer had cooked the books.

It was the best episode so far this second season. The cast, including Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston and Emily Mortimer, have all grown totally at ease defining their characters. The first season may have been a tad too much for everyone to fully digest. This season the course has been much smoother ... and, much more rewarding.

This Aaron Sorkin show is as much as a mindful*k as all of his shows have been starting with Sports Night (1998) and continuing with The West Wing, The American President, and The Social Network. Sure, his scripts read and play out like Shakespeare, but if you're a fan, you can't get enough. The one thing that I really admired in this particular show was the way Mortimer’s character discovered how the tapes had been tampered with. The insider being interviewed was just in range of a football game and the play clock was in partial view; and, the numbers suddenly jumped out of sequence. It was the type of thing that everyone saw, but no one noticed. What made it even more delicious was the fact that Daniels’ character had just explained to her what a clock like that did. Terrifically written. 

Jane Fonda, as Leona Lansing (the owner of the network) gave a four-to-five minute performance that was the highlight of the show for sure. An Emmy nod is richly deserved.

Man, she’s was awesomely good! HBO hasn't yet renewed the show for a third season which is odd … I hope it come back. Devilishly good TV.

NEW MACCA --- We're absolutely in love with the new track from Paul McCartney, “New.” With echoes of “Penny Lane” and “My Brave Face,” the song is a last-minute delight from the summer of 2013. My only question is to producer Mark Ronson, who famously put together the Amy Winehouse album Back To Black: Having made his reputation with fashion-forward production and creativity, does he knew he’s basically crafted a song that The Beatles could have done? At first, I wondered if he even knew it; and, now, I'm betting that’s what he intended to do from the start. 

This song and “Get Lucky” are for me, the songs of the summer.

FROST R.I.P. --- Sir David Frost, the veteran broadcaster and writer, died of a suspected heart attack while traveling aboard the Queen Elizabeth where he was delivering a speech on Saturday night, according to the BBC. He was 74. 

For me, Frost represented what a writer and an interviewer could do. He ran the gamut of interviews subjects from Richard Nixon to Elton John … and, was a total professional in every outing. He conducted a series of televised sit-downs with Nixon in 1977, and they became the basis of a 2006 play by Peter Morgan, which was then adapted as Ron Howard’s 2008 film, Frost/Nixon. 

Michael Sheen played Frost and the film was nominated for five Oscars. 

In the early 1960’s, Frost hosted the satirical program That Was The Week That Was on the BBC and also featured on an American version for NBC from 1964-1965. In 1968, he helped launch London Weekend Television, which is now part of ITV. 

His other on-air TV credits included The Frost Report, The David Frost Show,Through The Keyhole, Breakfast With Frost , and, more recently, Frost Over The World for Al Jazeera. A tremendous loss.

CLOSING NOTES: I was at the gym this morning when Jose Cuervo’s new commercial aired – featuring Keifer Sutherland. It begins like a little outtake from his 24 show, with him packing a bag with guns and the phrase get ready for an adventure under it. I love Keifer … but, is he the best person for this ad promoting a tequila? I mean, there’s a video of him (positively inebriated) on YouTube ducking it out with a Xmas tree? Just saying! … Next Sunday, September 8, 10-year old Nicholas Lampaisi, performs his final show in Disney’s Newsies. They'll be a small-fete at Robert Earl’s Buca di Beppo prior to the show and though his future plans have not yet been announced; we hear he’s headed to Hollywood for film work. For the show biz veteran (he also had a stint in the play Billy Elliot) we wish only the best for him in his future … The Teen Idols 3 tour goes on in earnest, with David Cassidy, Micky Dolenz and Peter Noone. I can only imagine what’s in the rider for Cassidy’s dressing room ... Maverick-writer Marc Elliot's new book on Jack Nicholson (Nicholson via Crown) comes out next month ... Remember Rebecca Holden from Knight Rider? I hear there's a new song in the works from her ... and, producer Joel Diamond. Stay tuned ...Have you caught Regis Philbin on Fox's new Sports 1 cable-outlet (Crowd Goes Wild)? It's good to have the Reege back on ... even though I miss him on interview-duty. Face it: there's not to many others out there who have a encyclopedic knowledge of TV like the 82-year old master showman. Michael Davies, who worked with Reege for 1999's classic show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, is working on this project as well. With four partners, instead of just one, it's a little less Reege. But, so far, so good ...

Wednesday, June 05, 2013



By: G. H. Harding

 Paul McCartney

MACCA’S ROCKSHOW --- Last month the many Paul McCartney-fan sites were a-buzz with the news that his 1976 groundbreaking live album Wings Over America had been re-mastered and was due for imminent release. Also, the filmed DVD of the tour (dubbed Rockshow) was being released simultaneously as well by our friends at Eagle Vision. Both are out now and this past weekend we had a chance to view the DVD. First, as a major musical moment, this tour was the first major undertaking by McCartney and his new band … after The Beatles, dubbed Wings. Wings was always a calculated risk by McCartney; how do you replace The Beatles … and, could you? The main compliant by the other members of The Beatles was that McCartney would instruct them what to play … and, how to play it on his songs. 

In the Wings-ensemble, everyone was basically hired by McCartney, so his instruction was expected. Still, musically, it was interesting what he performed on this tour. Of the 28 songs, only 5 were from the Beatles’ era. Needless to say, they were pristine performed and the response properly adoring. The rest of the show was focused on his solo work and the early Wings album; particularly impressive were “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Listen To What The Man Said,” and “Band On The Run.” Interestingly, “Live And Let Die” (written expressly for the Bond movie of the same name), which many people drubbed McCartney as selling out when he wrote it, is as strong as ever. When he performs the song to this day, it’s still the same arrangement as back then; fireworks and all. A tad tacky perhaps, but it’s still a standout moment during his show. Now, the video-performance of the show is an interesting point as well, but for a different reason.

 The filmed passages of Paul and the band all seem like they were shot from the 7th or 8th row. The scenes are just so closely shot; that you just barely get the proper ratio of the band to the audience. It almost seems like it was shot in 200-seat club. Now, not to get too picky (this was 1976 after all) but, if nothing else, it just shows you how far we've come in the DVD-department. The one other thing that grabbed me was just how great a drummer, Joe English, was and is. Just a tremendous job. The other members of the band, Denny Laine and the late- Jimmy McCulllough were superb as well. Looking back, McCartney assembled a kick-ass band and it made me wonder (as well as many countless others), had The Beatles continued, what they would have come up with. If you're a fan … this is required viewing and listening.

 Matt Damon

DOUGLAS & DAMON --- I finally had the chance to catch HBO’s recent Behind The Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Before it aired two weeks back, the praise being lavished on this was rather amazing and I was eager to see if it indeed lived up to the hype … and, it does … to a point. The first thing I loved seeing was the old early-70’s HBO logo that started the broadcast. 

The very first scene featured Damon and Scott Bakula, who is tremendous throughout, as Liberace’s procurer of new, young men … all blond and none-too-smart. Damon and Douglas are outstanding too; Douglas gives a star performance as Liberace; and nailed his voice as well as mannerisms. I actually saw several of his shows in Vegas (as he once was the town’s highest-paid performer) and while the performance scenes are not blown up as perhaps they should have been (they were much more camp and all-encompassing in person), director Steven Soderbergh (and, writer Richard LaGravanese; based on a book from Scott Thorson) indeed captures the enthusiasm of the shows. Liberace was a closeted figure, yet when he stepped on stage, he gave 150% to his adoring performances. Dan Aykroyd, as Seymous Heller, Liberace’s manager, is just stellar. Dan Acykroyd … who knew? The movie does have its moments when it descends in sheer parody, but, I really enjoyed it. The final scene, when Liberace is dying, because of Douglas’ own drama, is chilling. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


Paul McCartney

Celebrate Paul McCartney’s 70th Birthday with Showbiz411

Paul McCartney, the “cute” Beatle, underrated for many reasons, turns 70 on Monday, June 18th. What are his 10 best songs? What your ten favorites? Please send lists and birthday greetings ASAP to We’ll post them all starting on Sunday night. And don’t forget to pick up the new “Ram” box set on amazon and other locations. Happy Birthhday, Paul!

Here’s a top 10 list from Showbiz411: 1. Another Day 2. All My Loving 3. Band on the Run 4. Daytime Nighttime Suffering 5. Can’t Buy Me Love 6. For No One 7. Eleanor Rigby 8. Oh Darling 9. My Brave Face 10. Hey Jude.

The best three lists–chosen subjectively–will win a remastered copy of “Ram” courtesy of Concord Records. Cut off is Monday, June 18th at 5pm Eastern.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Paul McCartney With His Star

Paul McCartney With Neil Young

Herbie Hancock

James McCartney

Paul McCartney was Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California yesterday.

Photos By: RD / Orchon / Retna Digital

Monday, October 10, 2011



Ben Stiller

A STILLER SNL -- This weekend's much heralded SNL, which featured Ben Stiller (who was briefly a writer for the show in the late 80's), was heavily anticipated per a quick cameo from former-SNL-er Eddie Murphy, who hadn't appeared on the show in almost 27 years (he left in 1984). The story goes that years ago, David Spade made some remark about a falling star … and, then held up a picture of Murphy, which apparently angered the star. Murphy is solidly talented, but stories of his ego reverberate like the nice weather in Hollywood. It's a shame as his presence would have definitely lifted the show, which despite an amusing cameo by Hugh Jackman, the writing for the most part was dreadful. The musical act, L. A.'s Foster The People was odd too. Their current hit “Pumped Up Kicks” is a nice radio hit, but seeing it performed live was somewhat reminiscent of a studio rehearsal. It's a great song .. but, someone at SNL should have insisted on a early look. The song success is somewhat akin to Adam Young/Owl City's “Fireflies.” So far this season, SNL has had some stellar guest hosts (Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy and, Stiller) but, that writing needs to be ramped up … a lot!


John Noble

FRINGE IS BACK --- Our personal TV fave here, Fox's Fringe roared back Friday night with one of their best episodes ever, entitled Alone In The World. The show was just terrifically written and the acting, with the show's John Noble, delivering one of his best performances ever. This is the show that has as it's antecedents The X Files and Millennium … and, though it would take more than a few minutes to explain everything, it's devilishly good fun. The show has developed it's own mythology which gives it an added texture. This is the show that J.J. Abrams created … after Lost, and it's a very, good ride indeed. Here's to hoping it stays on track!


Rosie O''Donnell

A ROSIE RETURN --- Rosie O'Donnell returns with a new talk show on OWN; the Oprah Winfrey channel. Around these parts, the show will be shown at 7:00PM at night. Now, is that an odd time for her … or, not? We all remember Rosie from her hilarious earlier talk shows … and, her well documented time on The View. Call me silly, but to me she's geared much more for the earlier hours …. not, right after Brian Williams! The show will be shot in Chicago, which begs the question how the comedian will do in that locale. I mean, if there was ever a NY-comedian … it's her. I believe the show kicks off this week … all the best to her!


Dayme With Bobby Watman

WATMAN RISES -- DAYME, who's album Fusion Sundae is being shopped as we speak, was a guest as last week's sensational re-opening of Bobby Watman's Culture Club now located on 39th street here in NYC. Originally located down on Varick Street, it looks ready to re-capture all it's former glory. Check it out for sure!


Steve Jobs

ISAD --- What can you say about the passing of Steve Jobs. He was most definitely a visionary and when you think about how many of his products are used on an hourly basis; it's positively amazing. I can't honestly think of another contemporary personality that had so much impact. I mean, he could have been one of The Beatles. Sony is planning a movie based on the new authorized biography of Jobs, and attention has focused anew on a film about the Apple-icon. Noah Wyle played him in a terrific 1999 TNT-TV movie called The Pirates Of Silicon Valley … which is set to be re-played soon. Here's what the actor told Fortune Magazine about the experience of portraying Jobs, "I had apprehensions of playing Jobs in Pirates Of Silicon Valley. TNT was really excited about me taking the part, but I had worries I usually didn't have as an actor. I knew something about him and I had the script, but I couldn't really get a beat on the guy until they sent me the documentary, Triumph Of The Nerds. Then it was 'Ohmigod! I've never seen anything like this. I have to play this guy.' I was so taken by his presence, his confidence, smugness, smartness, ego, and his story’s trajectory. He seemed to be the most Shakespearean figure in American culture in the last 50 years I could think of – the rise of, the fall of, and the return of. The truest definition of a tragic hero — but you get the ‘bonus round’ that F. Scott Fitzgerald said didn't exist. Jobs has had one hell of a second act." Rumors abound that the actor will reprise that role ... and, he should!


Sir Paul McCartney And Nancy Shevell

MACCA MARRIED --- Paul McCartney got married for the third time, to Jersey-born Nancy Shevell … Barbra Walter's third cousin --- so, I guess an interview on The View will be forthcoming. I like the fact that the marriage occurred on what would have been John Lennon’s 71st birthday. Ringo was there (with wife Barbara Bach); so, was Harrison's loyal widow Olivia, and the location was where Macca married Linda Eastman in 1969. The couple visited a nearby London synagogue on Saturday, so Nancy could get a rabbi's blessing. She, like Linda, is Jewish. Personally, I think the oddest fact of all is that Nancy's favorite Macca song is his “Let Me Roll It To You.” Now, that's a juicy tidbit. Paul was never my favorite Beatle … but, I must admit in the intervening years since Lennon and Harrison, left us, I have become intrigued. Let's face it, he's written some beautiful songs. God bless him!

Photos By: RD/Dziekan/Orchon/Sara De Boer/Retna

Dayme Photo By:by Vkastelstudios

Thursday, September 22, 2011



Story By: Edward Callaghan

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin Takes Heat for Schweddy Balls

Ice cream makers Ben and Jerry have always had a delightfully twisted sense of humor about their product. But this time they’ve brought on the ire of the conservative Christian Group, the I Million Moms who object strenuously to their latest creation, an homage to Alec Baldwin’s character on Saturday Night Live – Pete Schweddy.

Anna Gasteyer and Molly Shannon appear in a skit with Baldwin who is attempting to sell one of his holiday food products, which he refers to as his “Schweddy balls." The audience loved it.

So in a well timed manner, Ben and Jerry’s named their scrumptious combination of rum flavored ice cream and fudge covered malt balls “Schweddy Balls” right before the premiere of SNL’s 37th year anniversary to be hosted by Alec Baldwin on September 24.

The conservative Christian group, which is an offshoot of American Family Association, sent an email urging others to notify Ben and Jerry’s of their disgust.


Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell Back in the Talk Show Arena

Happily my one time Southampton housemate and former client Rosie O’Donnell is making her way back to the small screen with a new show on the Oprah Winfrey cable outlet OWN. Word is she has already purchased a home in the Lakeview area of Chicago where the show will be shot. “The Rosie Show” will begin airing October 10th and already advertisers are salivating to get a piece of the gal who has the ears of millions of young moms like herself.

The other BIG news in the O’Donnell is that now, after 3 years since her breakup with Kelli Carpenter and some semi-serious relationships, Rosie appears to have found Ms. Right in corporate headhunter Melissa Rounds whom she introduced to the public at her annual Rosie’s Theater Kids Gala in New York last week

We wish you all good things Rosie – you deserve them!


Steve Buscemi

Smashing Premiere of Season 2 of Golden Globe Winning Boardwalk Empire

Snagged a last minute invite from Martin Scorcese’s office to attend the HBO premiere of the second season of the widely – and justly – acclaimed “Boardwalk Empire”. So I joined the dynamic young actor-singer Jeremiah James and his charming wife actress Kelley Dorney for a little Busman’s holiday where for a change I didn’t have to work the ropes. The Ziegfeld Theater was packed to the rafters with the likes of “Boardwalk” stars Steve Buscemi, Gretchen Mol, Michael Kenneth Williams, writer Terence Winter, director Tim Patten and producers including Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg Also doing the red carpet were Hamptons friends like Aida Turtorro sans best gal pal Carol Anne and Inside the Actor’s Studio James Lipton and his lovely wife Kedakai.

Not having seen the previous season – on the reasoning that I had missed the first several episodes and felt I couldn’t catch up, I was pleasantly surprised that the new episode filled me in on everything I needed to know and was an exhilarating experience. The costumes and sets were more than evocative - one felt immediately transported to the Prohibition era. Performances were all spot on and certainly worth all the Emmy nods and the Golden Globe win.

Following the film, luxury buses transported some 1.600 guest to the Waldorf=Astoria where the Grand Ballroom had been transported to a casino circa 1930s complete with gambling tables and scantily clad showgirls.

Over dinner, we caught up with Jeremiah James who had just returned from a 10 month critically acclaimed run as the lead “Billy” in the great musical “Carousel” at London’s Savoy Theater. Next up for the powerful tenor (who is also a member of the gold selling Sony musical quartet “Teatro”) is his new solo album. James is currently in the studio recording with executive producer/composer Jonathan Brielle. New Yorkers will soon get a chance to catch this amazing young talent off-Broadway before the year’s end.


Sir Paul McCartney And Nancy Shevell

Sir Paul Goes Classical – Pens Score for New Ballet

Tonight balletomanes will have the chance to hear Sir Paul McCartney’s first ever score for the world of ballet when the New York City Ballet performs the world premiere of “Ocean’s Kingdom, a love story at the company’s fall gala. City Ballet’s ballet master in chief, Peter Martins choreographed the 50 minute piece with four acts and a cast of approximately 45 dancers. Keeping it all in the family, McCartney’s award winning designer daughter Stella McCartney has created the otherworldly costumes for the dance. On the romance front, Sir Paul is definitely moving ahead with a trip down the aisle with girlfriend Nancy Shevell. Much to the dismay of Hamptonites, the wedding will not take place in East Hampton where the couple met but in London. Sir Paul and his fiancĂ©e posted banns—an official notice that they plan to wed—at Westminster Register Office near central London. Insiders are saying they will marry in October—and that it will be a small affair.

Photos By: RD/Kabik/Dziekan/Orchon/Retna