THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE...
... with THE FAB FOUR'S Royal Variety Performance from 1963: "From Me To You," "'Til There Was You" and "Twist & Shout." Those in the cheaper seats, clap your hands. NEW YEAR'S EVE BONUS: "Shout" twice with The Isley Brothers and Otis Day & the Knights.
JAMES BROWN: A white, horse-drawn carriage carried the body of music legend James Brown through the streets of Harlem on Thursday to the Apollo Theater, where a sea of people waited to say farewell to the "Godfather of Soul." Friends and fans walked behind the caisson in the street, singing the chorus of Brown's anthem, "Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud." The Rev. Al Sharpton raced through the night in a van with the late singer's casket, arriving in New York about three hours late a day after leaving Georgia. Even in death, former Pres. Ford just cannot catch a break.
SEASON of the LIST: As 2006 runs down, I refer you to Largehearted Boy's master list of 2006 online music lists. These go beyond the type that were my focus here, so if you're looking for lists of Best Metal, Jazz, Country, Rap, or cool Family albums, you can find them there, and then some!
THE HOLD STEADY: You can stream or download a performance and interview from The Interface via AOL. The site notes: "The band came into the Interface studio armed with a bottle of Jaegermaister."
SUPERCHUNK guitarist-vocalist Mac McCaughan shuffled his iPod for the A.V. Club and ended up talking about Bruce Springsteen, Jenny Lewis and more.
BAND OF HORSES: Heather Browne is streaming the band's demos. You can also jukebox 'em with some of the band's Sub Pop stuff via the HM.
THE ROLLING STONES: Ms. Browne is also streaming choice Stones outtakes. Again, you can jukebox 'em from the HM if you prefer.
SEEN YOUR VIDEO: Hardcore Pate fans will understand that I could not let 2006 pass without hooking you up with the Rick James classic, "Super Freak."
THE STATE OF THE MUSIC BIZ might be summed up by two facts reported in the New York Post: (1) The top-selling album of the year was Walt Disney's High School Musical; and (2) It sold fewer than four million copies -- the lowest-achieving chart topper since 1991.
DOC WATSON: Creative Loafing profiles the 83-year-old bluegrass legend, who has some sage advice: "Flash has no place in playing. It might impress the kids, but it's great songs that endure." In that vein, Watson talks about his cover of "Nights in White Satin." There does not seem to be video of it floating around, but he kills on "Summertime."
CULT of the iPod: Did iTunes sales soar or plummet? It depends on how you count them. FWIW, put me in the camp that prefers year-over-year comparisons, given the cyclcal nature of the biz.
WOXY: Since the internet radio station's rescue by the LaLa media group, Each Note Secure has become hooked on LaLa's other services which include CD trading and personal radio playlists.
THE CUTOUT BIN: This Friday's fortutitous finds from the HM for year's end include: Hoodoo Gurus - I Want You Back; Badfinger - No Matter What; The Who - I Need You; The Clash - Spanish Bombs; The Libertines - Up The Bracket; Sex Pistols - Holidays In The Sun; The Police - When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What's Still Around; They Might Be Giants - New York City; The Raveonettes - Love In A Trashcan; My Morning Jacket - Rocket Man; Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Honey Child What Can I Do; Dusty Springfield - Breakfast In Bed; Yo La Tengo - Mr. Tough; James Brown - (Get Up, I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Pt. 1; Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Pick It Up, Lay It In The Cut; Ella Fitzgerald - Sunshine Of Your Love; Cobra Starship - Snakes on a Plane (Bring It); Guns N Roses - Welcome to the Jungle; Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls; and The Flaming Lips - Bohemian Rhapsody.
BRITNEY SPEARS is ditched by her biggest fansite as Star magazine examines the evidence that the pop tart has become a bloated sexaholic. No wonder she's thinking of adopting a tsunami orphan.
NOW SHOWING: There are no new wide releases this Friday, but Dreamgirls, currently scoring 77 percent on the Tomatometer, and Black Christmas, scoring a whopping 16 percent, opened Monday. As it's the last weekend of the year, it's worth a look back at the Best-Reviewed Movies of 2006 via Metacritic, and the Top-Grossing Movies of 2006, via Box Office Mojo. It looks like the only two films prominent on both lists are The Departed and Borat.
CASINO ROYALE has become the most successful James Bond film at the box office, generating 454 million dollars in cinemas worldwide so far.
MORE MISS NEVADA MISCONDUCT: Last week, the lawyer for ex-Miss Nevada Katie Rees said the racy photos that got her dethroned were of "an isolated incident." TMZ has found that it was maybe not so isolated. Borderline NSFW pic at the link.
ROSIE O'DONNELL: Speaking of the Miss USA pageant, The View "moderator" continued her feud with Donald Trump on her blog, writing in her trademark free verse: "beauty pageants/ where women were paraded around/ judged valuable or not/ by old white men/ it is always old white men..." Except it was not true of the Miss USA pageant in 2006. Indeed, it has not been true for decades. There are any number of valid criticisms to be had of beauty pageants like Miss USA, but leave it to O'Donnell to pick one of the few that does not hold up.
CARMEN ELECTRA and DAVE NAVARRO BREAK-UPDATE: The super-relaible National Enquirer claims that the couple "have apparently both gone gay since pulling the plug on their two-and-a-half-year marriage earlier this year." NTTAWWT, if true. But iirc, Navarro was already on record as bisexual. The kicker is that in November, Electra was caught canoodling with Joan Jett backstage at The Music Box theater in Hollywood. But maybe that was just to fuel interest for Carmen's cameo in Jett's cover of The Sweet's "A.C.D.C."
PAM ANDERSON, Electra's former co-Baywatch babe, was reportedly not impressed by the smooth talk of wealthy playboy Steve Bing. A source told Us Weekly that Anderson "likes guys who are a little rough with her." Bing -- and "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss, who set up the date -- may be the only two people in America who don't remember Tommy Lee and Kid Rock.
TIM BURTON is being sued for fraud by ex-gf Lisa Marie, who claims the quirky director owes her palimony from their 10-year relationship, and that after their split she'd settled for a lesser amount under false pretenses.
JAKE and MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL escaped a fire at the hotel where their family was vacationing early Wednesday morning.
LINDSAY LOHAN jumped onstage at Scores West to do a wild bump-and-grind Wednesday night, then ushered topless dancers into the bathroom to apologize for recently calling them all "whores." Of course, she reportedly called strippers worse than that. But more interesting is why she ushered them into the bathroom. At least she got better reviews from the strippers for her dancing than Britney Spears did at the Forty Deuce.
GO FUG YOURSELF: I don't usually cover the fashion beat (nttawwt), but celebs who can't even dress themselves are fairly amusing.
THE TOP 50 YOU TUBE VIDEOS of 2006, according to Spinner. I've posted a numbe of them here throught the year, but it's quite a timewaster.
DANNY BONADUCE is not a figure who generally inspires sympathy. But since he stood up to 9/11 conspiracy theorists, his family started receiving death threats, and some of those compassionate progressives sent abusive messages and images of maimed Iraqi children to his 12-year-old daughter's MySpace page. It is hard to imagine someone could be threatened by the viewpoint of Danny Partridge, or so cowardly as to use his daughter as a target.
THE TOP FIVE NANOTECH BREAK-THROUGHS of 2006 are listed by Forbes magazine.
A PARASITE that makes men act dumb and women act like sex kittens has reportedly infected about 40 per cent of the world's population. So how is it that I've only run into the infected men?
SOMALIA: Islamists fled Mogadishu as government and Ethiopian forces retook the Somali capital. Analysts warned that the force's apparent collapse could be followed by an Iraq-style insurgency that would keep the impoverished country unstable through a mix of assassinations, car bombs and political action. No word on whether analysts think a Taliban-style government in Somalia -- led by al Qaeda associates and establishing a network of terrorist training camps -- would be a better outcome for Somalia or civilization in the long run.
IRAQ: NBC reports that Saddam will be hanged by Sunday, though Reuters quotes officials as saying he may not hang within a month. Either the gov't would like some operational security here, or there are concerns about killing him before the end of his second trial for genocide. Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, commanding general of Camp Pendleton's I Marine Expeditionary Force and commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, reviews the status of the Marines' deployment in Anbar province. Tony Perry of the L.A. Times reports on sniper attacks along Route Mobile in Anbar, noting a new tactic of planting fake IEDs as bait. Bill Roggio blogged from Route Mobile earlier this month. Iraqi special forces backed by US advisers captured an AQ cell leader believed to be behind the June kidnapping of two US soldiers later found tortured and killed. The head of an Iranian opposition group claims that two Iranians detained by US forces in Iraq were senior members of the elite Revolutionary Guards and had coordinated attacks against coalition troops and Iraqi civilians.
AFGHANISTAN: A British Army interpreter is to stand trial next month accused of passing secret information to Iran.
IRAN: There is a growing interest by NATO in intelligence collected worldwide on Iran's nuclear program, according to Israeli defense officials.
EXOTIC ANIMALS may be exotic, but increasingly common in Britain, thus ensuring a steady supply of wacky animal stories for this site in the years to come.
BLACK-FOOTED FERRETS and BOLSON TORTOISES are among the endangered species wintering at Ted Turner's ranch in New Mexico. Besides, I'm a sucker for any story datelined to "Truth or Consequences."
KITTY saves a family of four from a house fire in Cairns, Queensland.
GIANT PANDAS are finicky eaters.
SNAKES can predict earthquakes? At least one province in southern China thinks so...
EXPLODING TOADS UPDATE: In 2005, German toad experts were baffled by an acute outbreak of exploding toad syndrome, but the mystery has been solved. And crows stare unamazed at the answer.