U2: "Pride" and "MLK." Crushingly obvious. Have a dream.
PHIL SPECTOR, convicted murderer and one of the most influential and successful record producers in rock ’n’ roll, who generated a string of hits in the early 1960s defined by the lavish instrumental treatment known as the wall of sound, died of COVID complications on Saturday. He was 81. My recollection is that in the 80s -- outside of The Ramones and (indirectly) Springsteen -- Spector was quite out of fashion; I had to pick up a single-LP compilation of his greatest productions as an import. He eventually got back into the critical lexicon after the release of the Back to Mono box set. But in that NYT obit, perhaps the most telling quote comes from Jimmy Iovine: “Making dark records and pop records are separate things. When you can combine the two worlds, you’ve achieved greatness. He not only achieved it, he basically invented it.” Spector could occasionally be ebullient (“Da Doo Ron Ron”), but the darkness was never far away, even in the undertone of desperation in songs like “Be My Baby,” “Walking in the Rain” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” His trademark Wall of Sound embodied drama and romance, but also loneliness and isolation. That Spector would produce "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss" before quickly pulling it off shelves certainly hinted at the person apparently rightly savaged in ex-wife Ronnie Spector's memoirs. And few people generate internet listicles about the artists he held at gunpoint, all of which happened before he killed actress Lana Clarkson (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). I would say that Spector's legacy in pop musis is not entirely unlike O.J. Simpson's legacy in pro football, except that canceling Spector would also partially cancel the artistry of so many others, including Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, Tina Turner, John Lennon, The Ramones, and perhaps most of all the Wrecking Crew, none of whom deserve it. BONUS: Here's Darlene Love on Spector at length. And Ronnie Spector's statement.
SYLVAIN SYLVAIN, a key member of the New York Dolls, the influential though short-lived proto-punk band whose outrageous shows at Max’s Kansas City and other venues paved the way for the era of the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, died on Wednesday of cancer at his home in Nashville. He was 69.
DAVID BOWIE's career from Let's Dance through Blackstar gets over three hours of discussion and analysis in Part 3 on Political Beats with guest Damon Linker. It should drop this morning, though I heard and greatly enjoyed it last week through Patreon. UPDATE: Apparently, the holiday has delayed it a day on other platforms.
CHRIS FRANZ (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club) has stories and songs for World Cafe.
BEACH BUNNY streams their Blame Game EP.
ARIEL PINK's ex-girlfriend has made claims of physical and sexual abuse as part of a court case in Los Angeles.
THE NUMBER ONES looks at "Human," the flukey late-career dance-pop hit that the Human League recorded with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
DION: A vintage performance of "Abraham, Martin & John."
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE? The Marksman tops the chart with a 3.2MM debut. Croods: A New Age places with 2MM an a 13 percent increase. Wonder Woman 1984 shows with 2.6MM on a 13 percent drop.
GODZILLA vs KONG is moving up to premiere on screen and HBOMax on March 26 instead of May 21.
JUSTICE LEAGUE as a four-hour movie instead of a mini-series?
MGM IS FOR SALE (Again)?
WHO KILLED HOLLYWOOD (Again)?
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD: What was originally crafted as a paean to late-1960s Hollywood now serves as an elegy for pre-2020 America.
BETTY WHITE turns 99.
NICOLAS CAGE is in Willy’s Wonderland.
JAMIE LYNN SPEARS Implicates Elon Musk in the Death of Her Cats.
THE SQUIRREL THREAT takes up a knife.
ELECTRIC EELS Hunt in Packs, Shocking Prey and Scientists.
BALI'S THIEVING MONKEYS can spot high-value items to ransom.