One of the inevitabilities of getting older is that it gets a lot harder to keep up with today’s music. Part of the reason for this is that the pop music charts historically have been determined by the tastes of younger listeners and that is by definition going to lead to a disconnect with an older demographic.
Martin Scorsese has always been fascinated by organized crime. Ironically, his latest crime saga, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, is free of bullets but he makes it clear that the world of white-collar crime can be of far higher economic stakes than that of the gangster world.
In 2012 the surviving Beach Boys put aside their longstanding differences to tour the country in honor of the 50th anniversary of their first Capitol singles, “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfer Girl.” The band had recorded those tunes a year earlier for a small label, Candix.
After hearing “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” and “The Holiday Season” probably more times than I would care to admit to, it hit me that the only time one can hear Andy Williams on the radio anymore is when FM stations such as “Lite FM” (and nearly every suburban music-playing station) switches to an all-Christmas format in November.
The movie business has always had trouble making quality sequels of successful films in any genre. Nearly 40 years later GODFATHER II still jumps out as one of the rare films that was as good, if not better, than the original film. The law of diminishing marginal returns has been especially true with respect to comedy sequels. Very few talk fondly about either GHOSTBUSTERS 2 or WAYNE’S WORLD 2, and you would be very hard-pressed to find anyone who had anything positive to say about this year’s HANGOVER III.
The holiday season is certainly a joyous time but it can be stressful when it comes to finding a gift for the special people in your life. Here are some last-minute gift ideas that will hopefully inspire.
Director and screenwriter David O. Russell, who was the mastermind behind last year’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, has brought a good deal of his repertory company back (Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro) for his new film, AMERICAN HUSTLE, which is inspired by some of the events from the late 1970s Abscam scandal. Abscam was an FBI sting operation that caught a number of Congressman taking bribes in return for questionable favors.
In 1990 a number of rock stars were given a chance to record their favorite Christmas songs for an album that would benefit the Special Olympics called “A Very Special Christmas.” Among the memorable tunes were U2’s brilliant take on the rousing Darlene Love classic, “Christmas (Please Come Home);” Madonna’s tribute to Eartha Kitt on “Santa Baby;” Whitney Houston’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and Bob Seger’s “Little Drummer Boy.” Also included was a RUN-D.M.C. original, “Christmas In Hollis.” Two years later a sequel album was released.
The attention that Lou Reed’s death generated surprised me because he was never a big-selling artist, although he was well known particularly around his native New York City. Rolling Stone Magazine put him on its cover last month and its publisher, Jann Wenner, doesn’t do that for just any performer.
Elton John was the biggest rock star of them all in the early to mid-1970s. As disco music started dominating the pop charts in the late 1970s, combined with the success of such bands as Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, Elton’s star dimmed. To his credit, he was able to rebound nicely in the mid 1980s and kept making hits through the 1990s.