There are some weeks when several stories battle for the #1 spot on the top 10 list below. Which will come out as the week's top headline? Amy Winehouse's latest booze bender? Britney Spears's most recent court no-show? The latest secret-wedding or baby-bump tabloid rumor? The mind boggles...
But then there are weeks when it's abundantly clear what the top story will be. And this week, the top story became obvious as early as Monday, when rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley passed away from heart failure. He was 79.
While some people reading this might be too young to be aware of Bo's influence, there's a chance many of the modern-day rock stars that regularly appear in this column wouldn't be around if it weren't for this legendary Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer. Everyone from Buddy Holly to the Rolling Stones to the Who to Bruce Springsteen to Elvis Costello have cited Bo as an inspiration, and Hall Of Fame assistant curator Howard Kramer once declared Bo's Chess Records releases as "among the best singular recordings of the 20th century."
Bo had suffered a heart attack in August 2007, and a stroke three months before that--but in true rocker style, he toured and recorded almost until the very end. "Seventy ain't nothing but a damn number," he told the AP nine years ago. "I'm writing and creating new stuff and putting together new different things. Trying to stay out there and roll with the punches. I ain't quit yet."
But now, sadly, he has quit, his heart finally giving out after a septuple-decade career. He will be missed.
Moving on to other matters, the aforementioned Amy Winehouse was of course back in the news this week. And she was back in court, too, although this time she wasn't the one in the hot seat. No, she was just there to show support for her hanger-on husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, aka the man forever immortalized in her slurry Grammy acceptance speech as "My Blake Incarcerated!" Blake is still in jail facing charges of assault and witness tampering, so this week Amy reared her beehived head at his hearing at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court. According to reports, she sat in the front row and repeatedly mouthed the words "I love you" and "Come and sit here next to me" during the proceedings, blew him kisses, and then dug out a heart brooch bearing the word "Blake" from her purse and waved it at him. She also reportedly enlisted the services of a lawyer to pass a love note to her beloved Blake Incarcerated. Outside the courthouse (see photo at right), when reporters asked her how Blake was looking these days, Amy retorted, "As gorgeous as f**k!"
Aw, how sweet. Perhaps true love will conquer all for the Winehouse-Fielder-Civils. And what love can't or won't conquer, booze and pills probably will...
In other court news, R. Kelly's trial continued this week, and the plot thickened when Chicago Sun-Times music critic (and occasional Yahoo! Music scribe) Jim DeRogatis refused to testify in the case. Jim (pictured right) is the reporter who allegedly first received the videotape that got R. Kelly in trouble in the first place, but when Jim was subpoenaed, he initially refused to show up at the court. Eventually, after some arm-twisting by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Vincent Gaughan, Jim turned up and took the witness stand for 10 minutes, but he declined to answer questions from either side. Instead he repeatedly read a statement off a cue card in response to more than a dozen defense question--among them whether he copied the tape before passing it on to authorities (a criminal offense). "I respectfully decline to answer that question on the advice of counsel on the grounds that to do so would contravene the reporter privilege, the special witness doctrine and my rights under the Illinois Constitution as well as the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution," is all Jim had to say.
Another celebrity who found himself facing a little bit of legal trouble this week was American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, when AmIdol producers stopped him from putting on a Utah charity concert titled "Back Home With David Archuleta." Archie, who just officially signed his own airtight record contract with BMG, is apparently contractually forbidden to perform at any non-Idol-sanctioned gigs. Utah-dwelling fans of David A. will just have to wait for the "American Idols Live!" tour to come to their state, like everyone else.
Meanwhile, BMG label signing Tori Amos cut her ties with Sony/BMG this week after six years, stating on her wesite: "There will be many ways in the present and in the future for artists to cross what has become the new unchartered Music Frontier...It is time for us as artists to stop being dependent, dependent on any system that has become undependable." So now Tori is free to play wherever and whenever she wants.
By the way, recently-released-from-prison Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty, aka the male Amy Winehouse, may now be free to play any concert of his choosing, but much like Amy, that doesn't mean he'll actually show up. However, this time the famous flaker's failure to make his Paris concert can be blamed on a delayed Eurostar train, not on his usual drug-related excuses. Pete's train was due in Paris at 9:20pm but arrived at 2:13am due to a technical problem, leaving Parisian Pete fans crying out, "Sacrebleu!" as they were informed by employees of the Grand Rex Theatre that his concert was in fact cancelled.
And finally, Pete and Archie aren't the only musicians cancelling concerts this week. Legendary prog-rockers Yes just said "no" to their 40th anniversary tour (their first trek in four years), which was supposed to kick off in July, after doctors prescribed singer Jon Anderson six months' rest to fully recuperate from a severe asthma attack. Now neither Jon nor Yes fans will breathe easy until 2009, when the 40th anniversary tour is hopefully rescheduled.
So, thus concludes another week of headspinning headlines. Come back next Friday for more music news, and until then, goodnight and good music.
Rest in peace, Bo...
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Bo Diddley Dies - The rock 'n' roll legend was 79.
2) Disorder In The Court - A reporter refuses to testify in the R. Kelly trial.
3) More Disorder In The Court - Amy Winehouse makes quite an impression at her husband's hearing.
4) Archuletdown - Little David's charity concert is cancelled by Idol authorities.
5) A Little Rascal - Rascal Flatts' guitarist Joe Don Rooney and his wife welcome their first child.
6) Avril Lavigne Smells - The punkette is coming out with her own perfume.
7) Tori Takes Off - Amos is leaving her label after six years.
8) Better Late Than Never - Country legend George Jones recovers a guitar stolen 46 long years ago.
9) Yes Say No To Touring - Their 40th anniversary tour is postponed due to illness.
10) Train In Vain - A late Eurostar train causes the already unreliable Pete Doherty to miss yet another gig.