When the biggest stories in music news each week revolve around people whose actual involvement in music is questionable--does the name Lindsay Lohan ring a bell?--really big events become that much more stunning.
And so it was this week, when the news bordered on the truly historic on at least two occasions--one sad, and one joyful.
The first, of course, came via the conclusion of the trial of mega-producer Phil Spector in Los Angeles. Spector, perhaps the most famous producer in the history of rock 'n' roll, was on Monday found guilty of second degree murder for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson. It was the second trial for Spector after the first, held in 2007, ended in a deadlocked jury, and as verdicts go, it was something of a doozy: the 69-year-old producer may face life in prison when sentencing takes place on May 29th. Spector's been a part of some of the biggest recordings in the history of pop music, and controversy for him has been nothing new. Check out these fascinating accounts of the producer's involvement with both the Ramones and Leonard Cohen during the '70s--well past his commercial peak--for some eye-opening details.
That was the sad news. But even this week's happy news was bittersweet, since ex-Beatle George Harrison was not around to see the famous well-wishers in attendance at the unveiling of his posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on Tuesday. Planted directly in front of the Capitol Records tower--home of the Beatles and Harrison's American record label--the star was surrounded by an impressive array of well-wishers, including fellow ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, T-Bone Burnett, actor Tom Hanks, and Monty Python's Eric Idle. Both Idle and Hanks delivered some heartwarming testimonials to Harrison's importance as a friend, musician, and human being, and the massive crowd gathered for the event whooped in appreciation as the smell of incense wafted throughout the area.
"He was a beautiful, mystical man living in a material world," said Harrison's widow, Olivia, with their son Dhani by her side. The latter--whose resemblance to his father borders on the eerie--uttered the sole words "Hare Krishna" into the microphone and thus said his piece.
Harrison's former partner McCartney (at right with Olivia Harrison), in attendance with current girlfriend Nancy Shevell, was similarly supportive and, as the only living Beatle in attendance, had to walk the fine line between being a center of attention--the papparazzi were having a field day, shouting his name and snapping photos--and showing respect for his longtime friend and his family.
The same day, Capitol announced they'd be releasing a new Harrison compilation this June, which in three months will be followed by the release of the Beatles' remastered catalog and the upcoming The Beatles: Rock Band video game. Not a bad year for Beatle fans by any stretch.
While we're at it--in the spirit of a week dominated by music news about people who rose to fame in the '60s--word came this week that two bands from that era were reuniting for special one-time-only performances: Poco, who'll be performing at the Stagecoach festival in Indio, California on April 26th, and the original Amboy Dukes, featuring Ted Nugent, who were scheduled to play at the annual Detroit Music Awards on Friday, April 17th. The latter band rose to fame via the colorful 1968 hit "Journey To The Center Of The Mind," taken from the album of the same name, and one which also featured--to put Nugent's entire career in its proper perspective--the probing epic, "Why Is A Carrot More Orange Than An Orange." Guess that proves all the good songs have already been written!
And finally, back on Planet Earth, there's always room for "regular" news--and what could more timely than a Miley Cyrus story? This week's drama featured Jamie Foxx apologizing for a radio routine he'd done in which he suggested the young starlet should "make a sex tape and grow up" after her much-publicized "feud" with Radiohead. Foxx apologized on Tuesday night's Tonight show, adding that he "didn't mean it maliciously." "Sometimes," he told Jay Leno, " as comedians, we go too far." Smart move, Jamie---the poor girl's only 16. Just wait a few years!
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Phil Spector Found Guilty Of Murder - Four new walls of sound?
2) George Harrison Gets Hollywood Star - McCartney, famous folk pay tribute to their fallen comrade.
3) Jamie Foxx Offers Miley Apology - Implies he merely got carried away!
4) Nate Dogg's Stalking Charges Dropped - Alleged victim keeping mum.
5) Ted Nugent, Amboy Dukes Reunite - Back, empty-handed, from center of the mind!
6) Poco Reunite For Stagecoach Festival - "Stagecoach" actual festival name, not mode of conveyance here!
7) AC/DC Denies It Will Play Romanian Festival - OK, then we won't either!
8) Iron Maiden Flying High? Metal band's singer also an airline pilot.
9) Music Downloading Case Forbidden To Be Streamed Online - Like, who would want it?
10) LeAnn Rimes To Sing National Anthem At Kentucky Derby - Neighsayers being forcefed oats!