We'll return to this in greater depth later but: the record industry want Europe to widen anti-terror laws to include illegal downloaders of music.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
We've been meaning to cough politely and draw your attention to the somewhat wonderful concept that is Smash Hits 7, which is a monthly clubnight in London, Middlesex dedicated to the music from the first years of Smash Hits life. (1978 to 1985, to save you having to research.)
It's on at the Nambucca on Holloway Road this Wednesday - 30th November - from 7pm, kicking off with a showing of Gregory's Girl. Admission is free, and five per cent of the bar take goes to Save The Children. (We think that means the charity, rather than funding a project to round up kids who buy Avril Lavigne records and re-educate them in some sort of camp pumping Altered Images at them.)
If you're not in London, you'll have to make your own entertainment
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Ah, the troubles of being the coolest man (officially) on the planet of pop and having a number one - all the girls you've loved before come knocking round upon your door. Or, at least, Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys keeps getting texts from girls he used to date back before he was briefly famous. Guitrist Jamie Cook blabs:
“Another one rang the day we went to number one.”
“She went to school with me and Alex. We all lost contact completely after school, and then she pretended she didn’t recognise us in a queue for a club a year later.”
“That influenced a song we’ve got now...But when we had a hit, she got Alex’s number from someone a few weeks ago.”
“So she phones one day and says congratulations and ‘text me your number, we’ll have to get together and go out sometime.”
“Yeah – right luv, I’m never even going to text you.”
We're not quite sure how you can text someone to ask them what their phone number is, but then we don't really understand all this newfangled technology.
How can Robbie be gay, when he's got the hots for one of the Cheeky Girls?
A source told us: "Robbie kept telling Gaby that she’s sexy and beautiful. Then he asked how she kept her figure and she explained she had a gym and a swimming pool at her pad in Regent’s Park. She invited him to come for a workout with her, so Robbie asked Gabrielle for her address.
"Gabrielle has vowed not to date anyone until she has seen Robbie. She is really smitten and would love to see what could happen between them. She remembers having a Take That poster book back in Transylvania.
"It’s incredibly exciting that she’s even met him, and now he’s asked her out."
The Cheeky Girls? Really? The band have gone into a decline of late, although we believe their cheesey old pop tunes are still incredibly popular in some gay clubs. The band were, of course, most popular for wearing tiny little hotpants and pointing their arses at the camera, but we've no way of telling if that was what Robbie liked best about them.
* - of course, everyone expected the Take That reunion, what we mean is nobody drew the precise day and time in the sweepstake we ran back in 1996 to predict the reunion. The prize will be rolled over for the Spice Girls reunion announcement.
Those lovely 3am Girls do have more than the look of Forrest Gump about them, and that might explain why they're keen to back project themselves into every event in history. Apparently, you see, it's the 3Am campaign which persuaded the boys to reunite rather than the millions of quid thrown onto the table. We know that Howard was thinking "well... the opportunity to eat for the first time since Diana's funeral is tempting, but I'm not signing anything unless I get a sign from the Daily Mirror", and we know that for a fact.
Meanwhile, Mike Griffiths brings Robbie's alternative plans to our attention - apparently, he's so excited by his roommate Jonathan Wilkes getting a role in panto, he's going to get involved too. Robbie will appear on video tape doing some stuff with Ant and Dec:
An insider told the Daily Mirror: "It is an extremely funny video clip which lasts a few minutes."
"Robbie's part is absolutely integral to the story and it's very, very funny," he continued, "He might put on a daft dress, he could be a dame or even pop up as a fairy. Whatever he does it will be worth watching."
We're not entirely sure how this insider can say that it's a funny clip if he doesn't actually know what Williams will be doing in it. But let's just look more closely at the heart of that quote:
"He might put on a daft dress, he could be a dame or even pop up as a fairy."
It just writes itself, doesn't it?
Those Take That dates in full, then:
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena - April 24th
Birmingham NEC - April 27th & 28th
Glasgow SECC - April 30th
Sheffield Hallam FM Arena - May 2nd
Manchester MEN Arena - May 5th & 6th
London Wembley Arena - May 8th & 9th
Dublin The Point - May 23rd
Belfast Odyssey - May 24th
In other stuff from that exciting press conference yesterday, Gary Barlow gave the impression that the reunion has been stirred by a Consumer Association style rage at the lack of value for money on other topline tours:
"We've watched a lot of other pop band's tours over the past couple of years and I don't think people get value for money out of them."
Jason added: "Madonna and Robbie Williams are the only two great entertainers out there."
Bless little Jason - we bet that Madonna shows do look really great when you're watching them on a 12" black and white telly eating cold baked beans.
Since it's clear that Take That reuniting is perhaps the most important cultural event since, ooh, the last Girls Aloud appearance on CD:UK, we'll track all the coverage here:
Take That: Back For Good Money index
16-11-05 Robbie Williams will come to no good, reckons manager
18-11-05 Mark Owen is everyone's favourite
25-11-05 Victoria Newton - It was the Sun wot done it
26-11-05 3AM: It was the Mirror wot done it [This page]
27-11-05 It's Lulu
03-12-05 The 30 minute sellout
13-12-05 Williams sniffs round the boys
17-12-05 Lulu: the shocking truth
18-12-05 Nigel Martin-Smith makes a tactical withdrawal
04-01-06 Mark Owen seeks boy to be his butt
17-01-06 Will Young offers to take Robbie's slot
11-03-06 Howard suggests there's more to come
26-03-06 Don't throw your back out for good, Gary
Wembley Milton Keynes
14-04-06 The Sun promises Robbie for Manchester
24-04-06 First Night: Newcastle
25-04-06 Robbie's repeated comebacks
09-05-06 And now it's an album
19-06-06 People wind up in hospital
Funnily enough, you can still get hold of the original greatest hits package for a lot less money than the broadly similar new one - although Amazon are listing it as "not yet published." Hmm...
You're not meant, by Yorkshire tradition, to put your decorations up before Christmas Eve otherwise it brings bad luck. Britney's already got hers up. We guess, though, that having got married to Kevin Federline and had his child, and then watched him place an order for LA Lapdance Monthly, you might think there's not much more bad luck you can bring on yourself.
We love this wonderful front cover of People magazine, which depicts Britney, Kevin and - what did they call it in the end, Oldham or something? - together as a warm loving family. Isn't Photoshop marvellous?
Friday, November 25, 2005
We've never quite understood why Richard Branson's reputation is quite as strong as it is - a close inspection of his record shows an awful lot of businesses launched with a major fanfare that don't really go anywhere at all. Many of his successful ventures tend to actually cease to be anything to do with him - so Virgin Records aren't actually part of his group anymore, and now the label he does run, V2, has pulled out of the US. It's being pitched as some sort of glorious reorganisation, but the effective outcome is Sheridan Square Entertainment has taken over the whole shop.
While the American leg of Sony-BMG are trying to remove the egg from their face and manage the slew of legal actions coming from the botched copy protection they'd been using, their Australian sister company have announced plans to introduce... yes, copy protected CDs:
The company's general manager for business and HR, Emmanuel Candi,told the Age newspaper the Australian protection software had not been chosen. "Obviously, we would be avoiding the candidates which have caused problems," he said.
Since there's not actually been a copy protection system which has yet not caused problems, we're fascinated to see what they have lined up. Perhaps every CD comes with a Sony employee who sits by your side and makes sure you're not stealing their stuff.
Having gone to all the trouble of buying their own CD off Ebay in order to stop the tracks leaking onto the internet, The Darkness have now slapped their entire album onto MySpace where you can lift the tracks without the need to make any bids on Ebay at all. We're sure it all makes sense to someone.
Take down the bunting, and cancel the order for the marquee - apparently Kelly Osbourne has decided she's not retiring at all:
Speaking to NME.COM last night she said: "I don't know where the rumours came from, I've just recorded a version of 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' with Cyndi Lauper."
Well, for a start, recording a cover version of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun with Cyndi Lauper sounds to us like the move of a woman whose career is pretty much over and done with...
When 2006 arrives, mewling and crying and - yes, we're sure - puking just a little too, what do we have to offer the baby? Hope, joy, the prospect of peace and laughter? Not really: it's going to be a new Moby single called Slipping Away from the largely underperforming Hotel album from last spring; and Sorry from Madonna in February. It's not a real apology - she doesn't mean a word of it.
Unless someone can think of a plausible reason to stop them, it's looking increasingly grimly likely that there will be a new Pink Floyd tour, as Roger waters indicates he'd quite like to spend some time hanging out with the old gang:
"I'd be very up for doing a lot more," he explained. "It was such fun. We went in and did some rehearsals, and the moment we plugged in for the first rehearsal, it was like putting on an old shoe."
Old shoes tend to be a bit leaky, and soggy to wear out the house, and often have nasty spiders lurking just out of sight. Might be a more apt metaphor than Waters realises.
He's taken his time, but George Best has finally died, bringing to an end a curious week which has seen everyone basically talking about him as if he was dead even although he wasn't. So far had the gun been jumped he was lucky they hadn't buried him before he breathed his last.
It's a commonplace observation that Best was the first Rock & Roll footballer - marking the end of the time when professional footballers feared matches running into extra time as it made it difficult for them to get back to the mill for the late shift, and the start of the modern era where footballers are afraid of extra time because they might miss the happy hour at China Whites. In addition, though, Best proved an inspiration for a slew of novelty records - Her's Georgie You've Broken My Heart, Georgie by Lucy and even I Wish I Could Play Like Georgie Best, amongst others. While other sports stars have generated the odd cash-in single (Thank You Very Much, Mr. Eastwood), nobody has had quite so many songs recorded with one eye on their honour and another on the Woolworths till.
During the craze for relasing football-related compilations, the Exotica label pulled together some of them, along with a couple of more recent tributes and some spoken word material to create Georgie: The Best Album.
In addition, of course, there was the mighty Wedding Present debut album named after him.
How the Sun reports the This Is Fake DIY interview with McFly this morning:
McFLY star Danny Jones says all he wants for Christmas is sex.
According to ThisisfakeDIY.com, the heartthrob said that while everyone else is digging into turkey and all the trimmings, he can't wait to get down and dirty in the bedroom.
What they actually said:
What's the one thing you'd each like to open on Christmas Day this year?
Danny: [no hesitation] A fit girl's legs.
Harry: Danny! There are three women in the room none of whom you've met before, you can't say that!
Danny: Don't start!
Harry: What would you like to open at Christmas? [in blokey voice] 'Girls legs'... 'uh, and a can of beer'... fucking hell.
Mind you, Harry McFly thinks that the Pink album is the most embarrassing thing in his record collection, which means he can't have his own album yet.
We can understand some of the confusion at radio One's decision to not play the singalong John Peel tribute cover of the Buzzcocks - but, seriously, a mass charidee record featuring Elton John, Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey is hardly the sort of thing Radio One is there to be playing, and much more to the point, is the sort of record that Peel's own programme wouldn't have gone near even if all his other records had been stolen and it was wrapped together with the last request of a dying nun to hear it. Really, Radio One's decision to not inflict the single on its listeners is probably the closest the station has come to the spirit of Peel in the last year.
Busily working on his best of album ("hit anthology", he's calling it), Bryan Adams has had a really good idea: he's dumped Mel C from the When You're Gone duet and replaced her with, erm, Pamela Anderson:
"For my new anthology album I wanted to replace the song I did with Mel C as it wasn't a hit in America. So I asked Pamela if she could sing and she said no, and I said, 'Perfect!'
"We recorded it in LA a couple of months ago. After a few glasses of champagne she was away."
It makes perfect sense, albeit in a "who cares if the finished product is shit, it's the only chance I've got of getting onto Entertainment Tonight in 2005" way.
Our understanding is that much of Adams' solo work also failed to hit in the States - perhaps he should step down from those himself and employ a roster of dim celebs to do the vocals - Jessica Simpson has time on her hands, and Anna Nicole Smith has been known to wrap her mouth around some fairly old and grisly stuff in her time.
We bet the original is worth squillions now. Okay, a quid or two.
It's not exactly going to come as a surprise, really, but Take That are signing up for a hobble round the country. The really good news, of course, is that Robbie Williams isn't going to be part of the deal.
Victoria Newton's Sun coverage of the reunion is a bit of a hoot:
I hinted last year that they would stage a string of gigs to mark the tenth anniversary of their 1996 split — now it seems I was RIGHT.
But it's not really much of a prediction if all you do is drop a vague hint, is it? It's not like Gordon Brown's pre-budget report is going to say "nobody count chickens" and then next June when the economy collapses he'd be able to go round saying "well, I tried to warn you."
I reckon there is plenty of nostalgia for a hit tour.
Nostalgia for something that hasn't happened yet?
And I have been flooded with calls from fans asking when the lads will gig again. Well, now I’ll be interested to see if next year’s crowds are still full of screaming girls — or mumsy former fans.
But why would a former fan go to see a band they were no longer a fan of? Also, since a lot of Take That fans weren't even past puberty, many of the people who loved them back in the early 90s are going to be younger than you, Vicki, rather than the Manilow-esque parade of 'mumsies' you predict.
But I imagine their stage shows will be different from the spectaculars of old.
You think? You think that being ten years older and not actually having to do this might mean they might not try breakdancing?
And it has to be a worry that the lads will miss their biggest showman — Robbie.
No it's not - in fact, the presence of Britain's Most Self-Obssesed Man on the stage would have ruined everything, surely, turning the That Reunion into a 'Robbie and old pals' act.
He has a tour of his own to worry about — but after snubbing his ex-bandmates at their greatest hits launch, it would be nice for him to join his old pals for a one-off show.
Only if they warn people. Can you imagine turning up, excited, to see Take That for the first time in a decade, only to discover that you couldn't see the band because Robbie Williams' ego was between you and the stage?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Out of respect for their respective parents, Elton John and mypartnerdavidfurnish will have a lowkey wedding at the end of December. Although quiet how low-key a wedding can be when you drop details to Attitude magazine is slightly debatebale.
David Furnish is very excited:
Canadian-born film-maker Furnish said the act was "hugely significant" for society.
"It is one of the defining issues of our times," he said.
"And I applaud Britain for embracing the diversity of our society."
We're not quite sure what he means by that, although we think we know what he was trying to get at.
Casting about for an explanation for the French riots, French MP Francois Grosdidier has reached for the handy catch-all explanation: It's all the fault of the rappers. Somebody's even got up a petition.
According to a ticker on MSNBC - which confusingly is filling the gap left by the absence of US trading on CNBC, leading to a mess of tickerage - Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have thrown in the towel and put an end to their farrago of a marriage. We thought you'd want to know quickly.
Adding his name to a campaign to rid Glasgow of knives (from the streets, obviously, they'd still be in restaurants and licensed butchers) is Paul Thompson, drummer with Franz Ferdinand:
"I would have no hesitation in supporting an anti-knife campaign. I've been assaulted before and it's pretty terrifying. Somebody threw a brick in my face outside my house.
"That was a bit hairy, I was too terrified to leave the house.
It sounds to us a little bit like he should be campaigning against bricks, but we guess its a case of one weapon at a time.
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If Gary Glitter was hoping for a quick resolution to the allegations that he was teaching something other than English to those girls who he believed were in their twenties, he's going to be having a disappointing day. Vietnam police have announced they intend to keep Gadd in detention for at least four months while they investigate the claims.
At the moment, Glitter is being held without charge - in Vietnam, police have nine days to decide if there is enough evidence to charge a suspect, but they are able to request a longer period of detention. Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Duc Trinh doesn't sound like he expects to be turned down:
Trinh said police have gathered enough evidence in the last five days to request an order that would formalize and extend the ex-rocker's current detention outside Vung Tau.
Police have obtained statements from five girls about their sexual involvement with Glitter, including a 12-year-old girl, and compiled medical evidence of potential abuse, Trinh said.
During questioning sessions, Glitter "admitted he had intercourse with a lot of Vietnamese women," Trinh said.
As the London radio market continues to bubble like an overpicked zit, the still fairly newly merged Capital and GWR group have announced huge changes to Capital Radio and some of their other stations.
Most notably - and surpisingly - from December 12th the number of adverts on Capital FM will be cut by half, and a new rule barring the playing of more than two adverts back to back. Then, after the New Year bank holiday, Capital will get a makeover including a "new music position" (i.e. a different playlist) - we suspect this will be less radical than the advertising change, as there's not much you can do with a Top 40 station to make it distinctive from all the other Top 40 stations without ceasing to be a Top 40 station. We have the words "rolling showtunes network" being muttered, but we suspect the new position will actually turn out to be something like Tomorrow's Most Mixed Music or something.
Elsewhere, Glasgow's Beat 106 will finally bow to the inevitable and be reborn as XFM, as will the digital Storm network; and sluggish oldies digital network Life will be merged with Capital Gold, an AM network which has already rolled over most of the south of England despite the confusing concept of having a local station called Capital broadcasting to, say, the Bournemouth metro area.
There is a slight sense of panic setting in, as GCap's six month figures weren't quite what they were hoping for.
Pearl Spam from Powder (sorry, Pearl Lowe - old habits die hard) and partner Danny Goffey from Supergrass have added another another child to their family, with the birth of Betty. Somehow our photo seems to have got Sadie Frost wedged inside it, which is pretty much par for the course as we understand it.
Astonishingly, Powder's album MCMXCV is still available, which scares us because we thought we'd just imagined it.
Saturday night's invitation to Mark E Smith to read the scores on the BBCi version of Final Score passed off... well, more successfully than his appearance on Newsnight that time, although it provided compelling evidence of why football pundits should steer clear of talking about music and musicians should avoid talking about football. The whole thing is available on video from Mogblog, or, if you just want it for your iPod:
Right click and save the mp3
With the frightening nugget buried deep in the story that Paris Hilton's sidekick Nicole Richie is planning to release a record sometime soon, her dad Lionel (who played the clay head which came to life in the Hello video back in the 1980s) has insisted that far from being some screw-up with a chronic eating disorder, Nicole's just "stressed":
“I know what's happening with her right now, she's a nervous wreck,” Richie told “Access Hollywood.” “She's like her father, you can either blow up or you can shrink away.”
Lionel, man, open your eyes - nobody's that stressed. Gary Glitter, sitting in his Vietnamese cell and wondering if he left those magazines out, even he's not that stressed. Pete Doherty's dealer, waiting to see if his entire financial predictions for 2006 are in tatters, he's not that stressed. If stress led to that much weightloss, inner-city social services departments would be able to boost their recuritment rates by renaming themselves FatFighters.
Even amongst supporters of the death penalty there's some disquiet over Clear Channel's KFI 640AM carrying a daily show called the Kill Tookie Hour until former Crips gang leader Stanley Williams is executed:
“One of the speakers [at a public protest in LA about the show], an elderly woman named Ms Herod, spoke. She is an advocate for the victims of gang violence. She spoke about the fact that a lot of people in South Central are not in favor of clemency for Tookie, however, she and many others, were disturbed by the circus-like atmosphere and party-like vibe created by Clear Channel regarding Tookie. She broke it down and reminded folks how things were in the days of lynching. She talked about how people celebrated the lynching of Black men and for these guys to go on the radio and act like they were concerned for the ‘hood and victims of gang violence was crazy.”
Williams has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize for his work from his death row cell trying to steer kids away from gangs and a campaign calling for clemecy has been supported by Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg amongst others. Clear Channel is supposedly a responsible business.
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While Pete flees the UK, Geri Halliwell is returning. No, we hadn't realised she'd left to start a new life and a new phase of her career in America, either, and we suspect very few Americans had. It seems she didn't want to raise her child alone in America - probably because she couldn't stand the thought of people saying to the kid "Your mother's jammy who?"
Americans will spend today celebrating the news by throwing parties to celebrate that they have been delivered from their horrible fate, so we wish all our American readers a very happy Thanksgiving Day.
Because there are no drugs in America, Kate Moss has (and we're using "has" in the sense of "according to some 'close pal'" here) persuaded Pete they can all live together happily ever after if Doherty relocates to the US away from that constant source of temptation, "his druggy mates."
Philip Michels has apparently spoken to Pete at the Arizona health farm where he's detoxing (Pete's Uncle Pip, apparently):
“Kate has been calling Pete nearly every night to check that he’s OK. She’s allowed to talk to him because she’s been through it.
“He told me he needs to get away from Wolfman and the rest of his mates who he used to score drugs with if he’s ever going to get clean. I want him to move away if that means he’ll never take drugs again.
“Kate will only have him back if he’s clean. He sounded so much better and said he’s sticking to the programme — I hope he does.
“I don’t want him to die from drugs. I want him to be healthy and happy with Kate.”
We love the idea that you can tell from talking to someone 4,000 miles away if they're cleaned up or not.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
In no way launching a stunt campaign to draw attention to himself and get photographed thinking of the children, Junior Canadian Foreign Minister Dan McTeague has called for 50 Cent to be banned from Canada on account of his love of guns and criminal record:
"I do want the laws of Canada to apply to anybody who is a criminal, an admitted criminal, as Mr Curtis Jackson -- known as 50 Cent -- is. Under our laws ... he would be deemed criminally inadmissible," he told CBC television.
Canadian law dictates that anyone with a criminal record needs a special permit from the office of Immigration Minister Joe Volpe to enter the country. McTeague has written to Volpe urging him not to grant the permit.
McTeague criticised 50 Cent for "the message at this time that he brings, one of glorifying gun violence, often (the) denigration of women" and said the last time he gave a concert in Toronto in 2003, one person was killed outside the theater.
The recent shooting of a bloke at a 50 Cent film performance, and the gunporn posters haven't really helped his case much. But with Cent due to be touring Canada in a matter of days, surely the paperwork must already have been sorted out?
On the other hand:
The rapper told Reuters on Tuesday that parents should buy their children his new video game and use it as a teaching tool. In the game, 50 Cent is depicted making his way through New York's underworld with armed guards and guns blazing.
... maybe this junior minister of whatever has some sort of point.
More from No Rock on 50 cent
He can't keep himself out of trouble, can he? Ten years after he released a song with the lyric "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me, kick me, kike me" (apparently, this was meant to be an anti-racism message), Michael Jackson has been taped trailing out a load of anti-Semitic claptrap:
On Tuesday, ABC's "Good Morning America" aired portions of a 2003 voice message that Jackson allegedly left for a former adviser, Dieter Wiesner, in which he allegedly accused Jews of leaving performers penniless.
The message was among about a dozen released by attorney Howard King, who represents Wiesner and another former adviser who are suing Jackson.
A transcript of the message provided Wednesday by King's office quotes Jackson as saying: "They suck them like leeches ... I'm so tired of it. I'm so tired of it.
"They start out the most popular person in the world, make a lot of money, big house, cars and everything and end up penniless. It's a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose."
The Anti-Defamation League has asked Michael if he might like to think again about the comments.
As 2005 starts to draw to its end, Take Your Medicine's Mike has pulled together the votes of several top British based music bloggers (and us) and podcasters to produce a Top 40 of current UK acts. The winners, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, are Girls Aloud, inching ahead of the Go Team, Radiohead and Bloc Party.
It's the sort of cussed, unexpected result and mix of bands which probably relfects more warmly on British music blogs than British music itself - it's a glorious mixture of styles, the hugely successful and the less well known, and a refreshing change from the usual year-end lists which you could, to be honest, probably draw up for yourself according to where they'll appear. Let's hope it becomes an annual event.
More from No Rock on bloc party
Trouble at Massachusetts, where Poison singer Bret Michaels was sat on his tour bus, minding his own business and preparing for his invitation-only acoustic show when somebody shot through the window. Michael was hit by broken glass, but unabashed:
"It is going to take more then a cowardice act like this to make me stop performing or stop my tour.
"I plan on staying out and finishing the shows as scheduled. I want to thank all of my fans in the Chicopee area for staying out last night, and I will be back.
"Hopefully, with the help of many people, we will catch the person who did this and they will be brought to justice."
Michaels seems to think he was being targeted personally; local police disagree - although they would, wouldn't they? If they thought he was being singled out, they'd have had to pull in all music lovers in the area.
Although yesterday Pete was clambering onto a plane to fly off to rehab, today he's been spotted working on a solo record. Presumably because he's run out of people to either let down or let him down.
For what other reason - apart from trying to steal a march in a now very overcrowded market - could there be for announcing the Isle of Wight festival headline act, The Prodigy, so soon?
Funny - they've made the announcement for a festival next year, but the headliner seems to have come from about 2001.
With the album stalled at number 28, Rachel Stevens is forced to take some sort of desperate action to keep her pop dreams alive. She's going to have to go out on tour, albeit one of Student Unions:
November 27 - Stirling
November 29 - Exeter
December 4 - Surrey
December 6 - Liverpool
December 8 - Bangor
December 10 - Sheffield
December 11 - Strathclyde
December 13 - Portsmouth
December 15 - Keele
December 16 - Essex
December 17 - Southampton
They're not exactly saying "catch her while you can...", but it's clearly implied...
You wouldn't wear your dog is the, erm, not entirely obvious plea from Tegan and Sara in their PETA campaign against fur.
“We just have no idea why anyone would want to wear fur,” said Tegan. “I've never thought, ‘I want to wear an animal around my shoulders.’ I don’t think fur looks very good on people. … I think it’s really unattractive, and it’s ridiculous.
“I don’t think the fur industry has a chance. I have the feeling that young people today are intelligent enough.”
It would be lovely to think that people are now smart enough to make wise clothing choices, but a glance at any gathering of more than four people might crush that hope before it has a chance to grow.
The annual Plug Independent music awards are up and running and waiting for you to skew the poll for best music website in favour of Largehearted Boy. You might be surprised how little Arcade Fire made it to the shortlists, mind.
More from No Rock on arcade fire
Last night was the glittery American Music Awards (slogan: less impressive than a Grammy, less cool than an MTV Moonman) and almost as soon as it started, Mariah Carey was handing out excuses: apparently her poor singing in a rubbish dress for the opening number was down to a mixture of technical difficulties and dress difficulties, neither of which, you know, she could take responsibility for.
She had been expecting to take home so many awards she'd have had to hire a small lorry, but in the end she only got one - Best soul or R&B artist.
Glitterati liveblogged the whole affair - from Missy Elliot turning up with her foot in a cast (aping Kelly Osbourne's look at last week's children in need, of course) to Coldplay winning something but only getting a tiny smidgen of screen time.
The winners in full:
POP / ROCK
Favorite Male Artist:
Has Will Smith had an especially strong year without us noticing?
Favorite Female Artist:
Favorite Band, Duo or Group:
The Black Eyed Peas
American Idiot (Green Day)
SOUL / RHYTHM & BLUES
Favorite Male Artist:
Gary Glitter must be pondering how it is that some people can be accused of shagging kids and win awards, while others get threatened with the firing squad.
Favorite Female Artist:
She'd turned up and sung, they had to give her something
Favorite Band, Duo or Group:
Destiny Fulfilled (Destiny's Child)
Favorite Male Artist:
Even marrying - however fraudulently - Renee Zellwegger couldn't swing this for Kenny Chesney
Favorite Female Artist:
Favorite Band, Duo or Group:
Brooks & Dunn
Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw)
Favorite Male Artist:
Favorite Female Artist:
Lil'Kim was nominated here, which held out the possibility of a great "I'm sorry I can't be with you, but I'm a criminal" acceptance video
Favorite Band, Duo or Group:
The Black Eyed Peas
The Massacre (50 Cent)
They must love that there's a latin artist that everyone's heard of now...
If Coldplay are the alternative, you shudder to think what they're an alternative to, don't you...
The "Jesus is my pal" one, not the lead singer with Gaye Bykers on Acid, sadly.
Favorite New Artist (All Genres):
Nope, us, neither.
Early press reports carrying an Associated Press byline suggest Green Day won two awards, but they seem to have missed that Coldplay beat them in the Alternative category. Still, being voted Best Pop Album by the AMAs probably shows more conclusively than most of the evdience that Green Day's attempts to reposition themselves as sardonic outsiders chronicling the decline of American political and social life has been beaten by everyone else's view of them as being cute little pretty boys singing funny songs.
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KT Tunstall was apparently on Top of the Pops at the weekend, and was so excited she played some different chords in the bridge so people could tell she was playing live.
On the other hand, she could have just abandoned the song halfway through and apologised, so people could tell she was aware of the horror she inflicts.
Is there no end to Mick Jagger's talents? He's now added Marje Proops style agony aunting to his portfolio, as it emerges he told Joss Stone to dump Beau Dozier.
We love the idea of someone seeking romantic advice from Mick Jagger - it's like asking Douglas Bader for things to do on a trip to Germany.
Michael Jackson's rotten run of "luck" continues with yet another multi-million dollar lawsuit being filed against him in the States. His former adviser Dieter Wiesner claims in the filing that Jackson sold him merchandise rights. Trouble was, he'd already sold most of the rights once already; for those that he had the rights to still sell, Jackson was less than co-operative with when Wiesner attempted to make some money with.
Of course, it didn't help that Wiesner was dumped by Jackson during the trial and, he claims, he never got paid for his advice, either.
Mind you, what sort of idiot would have paid anything for rights to Jackson's likeness in 2002?
Not quite understanding what the word means, Cheryl Tweedy announces she's proud to be chav:
"I'm proud to be a chav, if by chav you mean working class made good.
"I'm proud I grew up on a council estate and made good of myself."
Oh good lord, she sounds like David Davis.
"I get letters from young girls who say they are inspired by me.
"I'm glad I'm encouraging them."
Oddly enough, as I'm writing this I'm listening to a piece about the current national panic, the boogerman of binge drinking which feels oddly coincidental.
It's interesting to see that Cheryl is following in the footsteps of Julie Burchill, taking a break from trotting down to Coutts to use the cashpoint to proclaim how proud they are of being a chav. Chav is such a simple concept, you have to be wonderfully short-minded to not be able to understand that it is, by its very nature, an insult and saying "If by this you mean that, I'm proud to be a chav" is on a par with saying "if by ugly you mean 'unique looking', then I'm proud to be ugly..."
After his - what was it? - heavy meal of potatoes bringing on an accident, Brian Harvey has started walking again. We imagine he drew strength from the rumours of a Take That reunion tour. Doubtless the comeback single is only a shuffle away now.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Tour manager Daniel L Harrison has been killed.
Harrison, who managed tours for Paul Simon and Billy Joel, died at the New York University Medical Center from multiple stab wounds. His girlfriend Kathleen Connors has been arrested and charged with second degree murder.
His former wife, Eileen Cavallaro, told Newsday that Harrison had experienced a range of personal and professional problems across the last ten years.
Although we tend to disagree with everything Yoko Ono says or does, we have to admit to some sympathy with her when she complains about NBC airing an interview with Mark Chapman 25 years to the day after he made a saint of Lennon. Of course, her spokesperson goes and overstates the case:
The timing of this is macabre, Ono's spokesman, Elliot Mintz, told Monday's New York Daily News. She thinks it's outrageous.
Mintz said Mark David Chapman already had been interviewed by numerous journalists including Barbara Walters and Larry King so there was nothing new to learn from him.
NBC granted an assassin's wish, Mintz said. It sends out a message to other disturbed people that killing is a way to fame.
Well, yes. But then, of course, so does all the news coverage, and coverage of the trial and ongoing reportage. And Ono might not like it, but part of keeping alive the memory of Lennon's murder by its very nature has to mean she's also helping stoke the flames of Chapman's fame as well.
A second major label has admitted that it was involved in making illegal payoffs to close out smaller competitors from radio airplay. Warners has followed Sony in coming to a multimillion dollar settlement to close down the investigation by Eliot Spitzer. Warner will pay out five million to go some way to making up for its breaking of US federal and state law.
Lead singer with A Noh Rodeo and avant-garde soloist Chris Whitley has died from complications connected to lung cancer.
Whitley's career spanned an encyclopedia of genres, from the pop of the Belgian A Noh Rodeo, through rock and jazz to the rocky version of country blues for which he was best known. In an all-too short life he also managed a four-year gap of druggy introspection and a period busking in New York; his latest album, Reiter In, is due for a US release next month.
Trouble at the all-new Newcastle Academy, where the first big test of the venue, Ian Brown, was pulled off stage after twenty minutes because the floor gave way.
It seems four or five of the joists under the main floor came out of their springs. Academy spokesperson Steve Foster (not the Brighton and Hove Albion 1983 captain) said:
"Whilst nobody was in any danger, there was a possibility there would be some movement of the main floor.
"So we had to make the decision to pull the show and that's what we did.
"We are speaking to Ian Brown to see if the gig can be rescheduled at the back end of their tour.
"If so, people will be given the opportunity to keep their tickets and go to the next concert, but if they can't, or if we can't rearrange it, they will definitely get their money back."
The sense of sagging isn't entirely unknown around a half-hour into an Ian Brown gig, but it's usually the music rather than the building which wobbles.
More from No Rock on ian brown
Still smarting about his expulsion from the court of Noel Gallagher - where he played the role of percussive butt-monkey in Oasis - Tony McCarroll is suing his former lawyers for failing to win him enough compensation for this descent from paradise.
This is the second time McCarroll has attempted to sue his former lawyers. It's not clear if he intends to sue the lawyers who brought the previous, failed attempt.
Christina Aguilera's people are unlikely to be breaking in to her honeymoon to break the news to her that Mary J Blige thinks she's too rude to work with:
Recalling their first meeting, Mary said that upon greeting each other, Aguilera extended her hand to Mary as though she wanted her to kiss it, which was taken as an extreme insult by Blige.
To be honest, Mary, you're lucky to get to meet this generation's successful artists at all - you shouldn't be surprised if they present a totally different part of their body for kissing.
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Of course there was a logical explanation as to what Gary Glitter was doing with all those teenage and preteen girls in his Vietnamese house - he was educating them. Glitter claims that, far from having sex with the girls (something which could lead to his execution), he was actually teaching them English:
"When they met me, they all told me that they were older than 20," the official Thanh Nien newspaper quoted the 61-year-old rocker, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, as saying.
Glitter, who said he came to the southern resort town of Vung Tau looking for tourism investment opportunities, said he was helping girls with their English, the paper said.
Like everyone else, Glitter is entitled to be treated as innocent until proven guilty again, but this is straining it a bit - although maybe a man who thought we'd not guess it was a wig isn't very good on the judgement calls. And who's to say that Glitter isn't taking on a role as Mr. Chips in his later years?
Struggling megaindie Sanctuary appears to have been keeping itself afloat by not doing all its homework - a decision which has turned round to bite it in the butt.
Back in 2003, the label signed a deal with the 5.1 entertainment group , promising to release its albums in tatty new dualdisc format. Only it's so far not got around to putting anything out on the double-sided discs, and so 5.1 is now suing Sanctuary for breach of contract:
"To date, Sanctuary has failed and refused to deliver to 5.1 for release on DualDiscs ... any of the top-line albums in its catalog, including those of Journey,
Alison Moyet, Morrissey, Robert Plant, Meat Loaf, Black Sabbath, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Eric Clapton, among others," 5.1 said.
"Sanctuary, for its own financial reasons, including but not limited to the reporting of its financial results and/or conditions to its shareholders, intentionally defrauded" 5.1 by making the promises and representations set forth in the complaint, 5.1 claimed.
The 5.1 group claims that Sanctuary sealed the 2003 deal, under which 5.1 agreed to pay 6.1 million dollars for use of all albums in Sanctuary's vast catalog, with the intention of never fulfilling it.
But as 5.1 prepared to roll out albums in the new DualDisc format nine months after the deal was sealed, "Sanctuary had not made available to 5.1 a single album for release in DualDisc format," 5.1 claimed in a statement.
Sanctuary are keeping quiet at the moment.
Those of you with long memories might recall the 365 Days project a couple of years back which served up a quirky, lost song every day. Next year, something similar but different will be happening from the pretty things over at Indieish, who are organising a Creative Commons song-a-day throughout 2006.
The not-really-thought-through profit protection software Sony-BMG introduced onto computers continues to cost the company more than it saved, with the news that the Texas attorney general is set to sure the company:
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott accused Sony BMG of surreptitiously installing spyware because XCP masks files that it installs. This “cloaking” component can leave computers vulnerable to viruses and other security problems, Abbott said, echoing the findings of computer security researchers.
“People buy these CDs to listen to music,” Abbott said. “What they don’t bargain for is the computer invasion that is unleashed by Sony BMG.”
Angus Zorkmundsson - who sent us the link - pointed out this:
i particularly like this quote:
"Officials for the New York-based label would not comment Monday, saying the company does not discuss pending litigation."
unless, of course, that litigation is against teenage girls and unknowing parents.
Chelsea FC - an offshoot of a business set up to steal natural resources from the people of the former Soviet Union - has elected to move into the music industry, too. Rather than getting the footballers to sing - we know where that ends - they're putting together a compilation album featuring the music the team likes. Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross and - yes - Europe doing the Final Countdown. Even the usually hyperactively positively Gennaro Castaldo finds it hard to keep a straight face:
"I cannot see it setting the world alight. I think Madonna and Westlife can rest easy.
"I expect it to make a nice present for fans, but I cannot see Arsenal or Manchester United fans rushing out to grab a copy.
"Funnily enough, we are expecting it to sell well in our Manchester and Liverpool stores where lots of youngsters are becoming Chelsea fans.
"Players like Frank Lampard have become big heroes and that attracts the attention of lots of youngsters."
... note, though, he does pull it round to sounding almost bullish about its chances by the end.
While we can imagine it raising money, we're not sure quite what it says about her memory that the Justice For Kirsty campaign is setting about arranging a re-recording of Fairytale of New York with Shane McGowan and, erm, Kate Moss.
Kate, of course, will be able to play the part of a lush caught in a destructive relationship with a whacked-out substance abuser. Talking of whom, apparently Pete Doherty has flown out to do rehab at the same "clinic" as Kate in a bid to show how much he loves publicity ("loves her").
Since Doherty has been offered and flunked fairly intense rehab before - running away from the monks, for example - we're not entirely convinced this is more than a hollow gesture. Especially since this clinic's approach to rehab seems to be helping you draft your "I made mistakes; I have beaten my demons" statement while waiting for the press to lose interest. And Pete more or less had to be carried onto the plane to fly out there. Still, you never know, do you?
Who would have believed that The Darkness could boil their songs down to a very simple formula? Oh, you? And you? And all of them over there, apparently. Anyway, Justin has revealed the secret to a successful Darkness tune:
"It's piano-led and the piano you listen to is the same one that was played on Bohemian Rhapsody by Freddie. I play all the synthesisers and it's got my favourite guitar solo. And it's got a really good knob joke in the first verse!"
Funnily enough, that's exactly the same mixture of elements Bach would strive for.
What do you do when your money really does outweigh your sense? Actually, in Robbie's case, we imagine when he first reached the point where he had more money than sense he said "Ten pounds? Thanks, gran!", but now he's really shown how empty his life is: he's spent eight million pounds on a luxury yacht. The boast, sorry, boat, is called MyRW.
Another famous rich idiot called Rob who had a yacht was Robert Maxwell. Fingers crossed, then.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Amongst the "here, let's give rich people even more stuff" insults known as the American Music Awards gift bags will be certificates promising ownership of an acre of the moon.
This means that Missy Elliott, Will Smith and Lindsay Lohan are just three of the stars getting given a bit of the moon - they'll presumably be angry, as their type usually demands the moon be given to them on a stick.
Apparently the bags contain just under twenty grand's worth of stuff, which is lucky for Will, who had been in danger of having to spend some of his own money soon if he'd not been given this.
The death has been announced of Link Wray, inventor of the power chord.
Considered by many to be the missing link between the blues and rock, Wray stumbled upon the power chord on his 1958 hit Rumble, setting the blueprint for all rock guitar, ever. He'd taken up guitar playing seriously after the aftermath of tuberculosis made it difficult for him to sing with his brother band Lucky Wray and the Palomino Ranch Hands. When the band relocated from their birthplace of North Carolina to DC, Wray started to develop his keynote style which came together on Rumble. The song made the top 20, but not without causing some upset - despite having no vocals, it was interpreted as being about gang violence (some things, it seems, never change) and got itself banned from several radio stations. The Wray brother's label, Cadence, wanted to distance themselves from such allegations, and asked the boys to abandon their leather-and-shades look. The boys refused, and moved on to Epic.
Ironically, despite having signed them up because of their edge, and despite the band delivering another top 30 hit with Rawhide, Epic started to panic. Link was redirected to recording orchestral songs, the sort of Danny Boy bilge which would keep Max Bygraves and Daniel O'Donnell in business.
Frustrated, the Wrays founded their own label, Rumble Records, which managed to produce the Jack the Ripper hit before they fell into the arms of Swan Records - an early example of a US act being signed to a UK label as their primary contract. Swan understood the band better than most, although that meant they gave them space to produce some records best forgotten.
Wray released a solo album in 1971 which set a pattern for 'well received by the critics; poorly received by the general public' which would haunt him for the rest of his career.
In 1978, Wray married a Dane, Olive Julie Povlsen, and relocated to Denmark to raise a son. Around the same time, he was tempted out of semi-retirement by Robert Gordon, former singer with The Tuff Darts for a couple of rock revival projects. He carried on recording into his 70s.
Wray died of a "tired heart" on November 5th. Hie is survived by Olive and his son, Oliver.
In what she probably imagines is a cute little sidenote, Madonna has announced that Guy Ritchie hates her new album (although he will, presumably, be happy to eat the good soup it will earn the couple):
"Guy thought it was shit. He prefers Irish folk music."
We're half in agreement with Guy - we prefer Irish folk music to Cameltoe on the Dancefloor. But we also prefer the sound of fingernails on polystyrene, frightened squirrels being consumed alive by slobbering old men, and the noise orphans make when their big day out at the mincemeat factory coincides with day the floors got overpolished and someone forgot to put the safety guards on the machine.
As if the dire predictions of the future awaiting our children, and our children's children, and Michael Jackson's children aren't bad enough, now Bono is predicting that his music will be around for 100 years. Admittedly, this is only one-tenth the time Adolf predicted his reich would last, but both seem to have been driven by a matching sense of certainty of history flowing their way:
A dedicated lobbyist for the world's poor and AIDS-stricken, the U2 frontman told CBS' "60 Minutes" that "I think my work - the activism - will be forgotten.
"And I hope it will. Because I hope those problems will have gone away," he said in an interview that aired Sunday.
Since 1999, Bono has helped persuade Republicans and Democrats, presidents and lawmakers, to provide millions to help end the scourge of AIDS, eliminate poverty in Africa and forgive Third World debt.
The Irish rocker also predicted that his music will still be around in 100 years, explaining that his songs occupy "an emotional terrain that didn't exist before our group did."
Sometimes, when we suggest that Bono has the kind of self-regard visible from space, people tell us we're being unfair. We kind of think our point might have been proven here. There's little you can say about this claim - that Bono has invented a whole new set of emotions for rock - apart from "bollocks." Even Sting had had a wander over that bombastic-but-introverted style of rock a good decade before Bono had bought his first pair of Snoopy Sunglasses.
And Bono said he has no intention of slowing down. He noted that people in rock 'n roll burn out at age 40, and said he wanted to see if his band could continue making "extraordinary" music.
Yes, people burn out at the age of 40, Bono. Paul McCartney being the exception. Along with The Rolling Stones. And Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Mick Jones and Siouxsie. And...
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Disguised as an unbranded "Gift-o-matic", EMi have constructed a machine that, supposedly, picks the perfect gift for a person based on a series of questions.
If our friends and family followed the machine's advice for us, we'd be spending Christmas with the Live8 DVD, an Abbey Road keyring, Chas and Dave's greatest hits and a Coldplay tshirt. We'd then spend Boxing Day not talking to anyone.
We know that Michael Caine will happily turn up and do any sort of film providing the money is right and the location is warm, but we raise a curious eyebrow that he's going to work with Bowie on a new movie about Nikola Tesla.
Bowie, of course, has quite a shaky record in the movies - his work on the Twin Peaks spin-off was so poor his part was reduced to being trapped in a time stasis stuck on a CCTV screen; it was such a disaster he was almost single-handedly responsible for the wrecking of the plans to turn Twin Peaks into a movie franchise.
But then, he was alright in this:
After all the speculation, Kylie has finally confirmed when she'll be taking up the hotpants of pop again. The Australian showgirl tour dates will happen at the end of 2006, it's been announced. This news almost makes up for Madonna clogging the top of the UK charts.
Who would have thought it? The Sugababes were a bunch of "moody young cows" when they started out. Of course, that in itself is hardly news, but the band themselves fessing up to it is a development:
"If a reporter asked us a question we didn't know how to answer, we would just finish the interview.
"We were full of angst. But as we've got older, it's not that we've learned to play the game, it's more that we've learned how to be comfortable with the media."
Of course, what this means is that they just think they've got better at hiding it. However, to adapt Wodehouse slightly, you'd still never confuse the Sugababes with three rays of sunshine.
It's like we've fallen into a timewarp of some sort - Rachel Stevens talking up her chances of a Doctor Who sidekick role all over again. This time, she reckons she could be in with a shot of standing alongside Captain Jack in Torchwood, the Who spin off.
Of course, last time round Billie beat her to the Rose Tyler role - but since then Rachel has fattened up her showreel with a role in Deuce Bigelow European Gigolo. Apparently it was a real movie, and not, as we'd assumed, just a poster campaign designed as tax write-off. Unfortunately, Rachel didn't have a speaking part in it, partly because her onscreen time was shorter than any English sentence, but it all helps.
Phew, after a sleepness couple of nights worrying that Will Young might be tempted to run off to Hollywood leaving a massive gap in the 'Pleasant Enough' section of the local record shop. He's promised that even if he's cast in hundreds of movies, he'll still keep the song and dance act going on the side:
"I can’t envisage a day when I’ll give up singing or songwriting.
"Maybe one day I’ll get absolutely fed up of the pop industry and leave that behind – but I could never stop doing the musical side of things.
"I enjoy it too much."
He's like a latter-day Dean Martin, isn't he?
It's just he's never taken a woman back to have sex in his trendy confirmed bachelor's pad in LA because it would, erm, contaminate the place.
“I didn’t have sex for a long, long time. In my house in Los Angeles it has never been important to me.
“I love my house and my bedroom and don’t want to have anyone back there.”
But the heart-throb added: “When I travel I go to the other extreme. I offer myself far and wide to all the known universe.”
You offer yourself wide, do you Robbie?
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The next generation, then: The Times has signed up Peel's sons, Williams and Tom, to file regular reports on what's happening in new music. The hope, obviously, is that there's something between ear and spine which is encoded into the DNA, and that the decision to hire them can be justified by genetics rather than nepotism. And nobody would want to deny Tom or William their chance to write for the leading title in the middle-market, but the whole thing feels really unsatisfactory. Whatever their merits - they are charming writers, and at least have more clue than, say, Emma Forrest did when she was picked up by the paper - they know, and we know, their hiring has come off the back of this strange two months canonisation of their father. Indeed, to continue the feeling that there's more than a smack of the Shakespearean-style succession here, it appears the kingdom has been split into two; Lord Thomas of London dealing with the South, and Earl William of Northumberland taking duties for anywhere north of a line running from the Hoseasons offices on the Broads throught the Blue Boar Service stations on the M1.
To be fair, when Justin Hawkins told Kerrang he'd like to see Chris Martin burn in hell, it was after he'd been asked who he'd like to see burn in hell, but it does seem odd taking an underworld furnace to melt a snowman.
The current Elle has a photoshoot featuring Victoria Beckham and her "fantasy man", although our understanding is that these days, pictures of her and husband depcit Posh and a man she could only dream of having a long and happy life with.
Last week's NME was, apparently, the 3,000th issue - although you only knew this if you bought it in a shop, where it came with a special folder trumpeting the milestone; if you were a subscriber, you'd not know. That's why we forgot to send a card, alright? There was a small gift to mark the occasion - the 75 essential songs that you should download from iTunes, sponsored by iTunes (yes, making a week when the NME carried sponsorship from iTunes, Virgin downloads and HMV downloads.)
75 Essential tunes - this is, of course, a very Q magazine sort of thing to do (or, rather, the early version of Q from back when CDs were so new they were like the eyes of God twinkling music into our faces). So, what do we need, then? The Smiths How Soon Is Now is there - illustrated with a chunk of Danny Kelly interviewing Morrissey, when Kelly told him to stop blustering and answer the bloody question: don't you wish you loved people, and people loved you? ("His eyes fix on a spot oon the ceiling. 'Yes. Yes, I do'.")
Then we need Debaser by the Pixies; Love Spreads by the Stone Roses (eh? that's barely essential if you're compiling a Stone Roses box set, never mind the best songs of all time) and Don't Stop Till You Get Enough by Michael Jackson.
And, sticking the old, old lie that The Doors are in anyway important or interesting, we're instructed to put People Are Strange on our iPods. It does give a chance for a shaking down of a meeting between Nick Logan and Jim Morrison, though: "The sex thing has been picked out because that's one of the things that sells papers. They just jump on that", complains Jim.
He's half right, as the 3001st NME cover (remember - never, never let the NME forget - that they once gave Andrew WK two covers in the same week because he was so... uh, what was it?) has Meg White in a gorgeous corsetted red dress. Unfortunately, she's accompanied by some sort of Victorian melodrama escapee. Surely that's not really the once-fabulous Jack White, is it?
White complains about a lack of energy in American audiences - indeed, he seems positively affronted, complaining he put on face paint, wore a bowler hat, played an organ and did 20 minutes rock meltdown and still the Rhode Island audience didn't seem impressed. Have you never heard the dictum, Jack, that nobody likes a show-off?
Richard Ashcroft shares his plans for touring - smaller venues this time, so he can "blow the roof off". And, of course, not have awkward spaces towards the back of a room.
Peter Robinson met Eddie Argos. Oddly, Argos says that he's "obviously" not going to like Bloc Party because he likes Helen Love and Hefner, but that's a little bit like saying "I'm really fond of cheesecake, so why on earth would you assume I'd enjoy drinking wine?"
Forward Russia were the Radar band, which is excellent, even if their habit of naming songs with sequential numbers is less constructivist artifice and makes them seem more like they're churning toasters or something.
At some point, the ghost of NME future will visit the 1970s editorial team, and show them what the future holds: "An interview with Debbie Harry, and it gets a single page? Not even a mention on the cover? And it's headline 'The Strokes - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Madonna : You've got this woman to thank?' Why do you want people to hate her as well?"
Balancing that out, though, there's tales from the NME archive which reaches back all the way to August 1994, and Woodstock's descent into disaster. "Green Day start a riot" is how this slight reworking of history is pitched.
Track of the week last week was The Futureheads' Area - "rock examining its own backyard."
Now controversially sporting a newsagent's definitive, The Word comes slapped with a wonderful CD this month - Guillemots, XTC, and Calexico amongst others. The insides are pretty good, too, including a celebrity magazine decoder - "Fun loving - give you a clue, it starts with a 'c''; "comes clean - admits rumours were true."
There are two pages of Sharon Osbourne, which is two parts self-justification (Does she blame herself for Kelly and Jack's fucked-up lives? gets a "how do you stop kids experimenting?") to three parts tired old bile ("You can't be one day in Horse and Hound and the next in Dyke Weekly" she chides Madonna, seemingly forgetting her own attempts to be simultaneously a hard-drinking, sweary old rock matriarch and a family loving Wal-Mart spokesperson). And she seems to think she's the only person who has anything bad to say about Mother Teresa. Although, to be fair, Christopher Hitchen's dismantling of the Calcuta myth was much more considered than Osbourne's "ugly old cunt in sandals."
Craig Brown, meanwhile, reveals that Elton John enjoyed his parody diary for Private Eye - "You do feel you've failed a bit if they like it."
Back to the NME, and number 3,001 - it's a Gigs of the Year special (i.e. a cut and shunt job to fill a quiet week when they could have done one of their cool lists but, erm, that's next week's.) Still, it's a way of getting Billie Joe Armstrong on the cover without actually having to interview the sod, which is a result.
Farnkie Poullain gets his chance to review the Darkness single. It's insulting, apparently. Interestingly, his big falling out with Justin came when he employed his own accountant.
The NME decides that France's gig of the year would have been the riot-defying Editors, Arctic Monkeys and Devendra Banhart event - although we suspect that the French might have other ideas.
Are we the only people who see Sufjan Stevens' name and read it as Suffering Stevens? Yes? Oh well. Peter Robinson meets up with him gets his name right and asks if his pension scheme is in order.
Radar band is The Maccabees, a lousily named outfit with hoods from Brighton. Surprisingly, there's also a Christian Rock band with the same name. Surely nobody would fight them for it?
So, the Gigs of the Year turn out to include Green Day at the Milton Keynes bowl - a day we remember because there was scant parking at the Toby Carvery; Oasis at the V festival and... surely you're joking? Pete Doherty at Live8? "Live8's one moment of off-the-rails danger and excitement" apparently - although, equally, it could have been just another moment of half-arsed grandstanding amongst many. Mind you, The White Stripes at Glastonbury get a thumbs-up, too, despite them having sounded terrible.
Who are these young men standing with facepaint and waving baseball bats in a threatening manner? Guess, go on. It's fun. No, not Korn. Nor Marilyn manson and chums. No, not SOAD. Or... oh, stop it. It's My Chemical Romance. Hey, they reckon "if you come to a My Chemical Romance gig, you're probably a little fucked-up." Well, certainly your taste is.
The Hot Puppies - London Water Rats - "Hot like brimstone"
mystery jets - Glasgow King Tuts - "marry Pink Floyd to the Flaming Lips"
cut copy - london ulu - "multi-limbed dance action"
limp bizkit - greatest hits - "oily McMetal", 0
bearsuit - team ping pong - "rollerskating pandas", 6
totw - clap your hands say yeah - is this love? - "weird love"
field music - if only the moon were up - "a log fire for spiritual feet"
And finally, thanks to Aaron S for bringing Geordan Murphy's diary in The Times to our attention. Besides playing rugby for Leicester and Ireland, Geordan is dating Lucie Silvas, and uses his column to defend his girlfriend against bad reviews:
"Like, after a recent concert in London, someone wrote something like: “Doesn’t have the power of Mariah Carey — as pretty as Jessica Simpson but not as good as Kylie Minogue.” It was all over the place.
She prides herself on knowing her music. Ask her who her idols were and you wouldn’t get anything poppy. Mariah Carey would be one, Aretha Franklin — serious singers with soul.
She wouldn’t want to be mentioned in the same sentence as Kylie. She can play and writes all her own stuff. Anyway, there I am, off on my high horse again. The bus is leaving at seven and everyone’s welcome."
She knows her music, but thinks Mariah Carey is a "serious singer with soul"? Sounds like she knows about as much about music as we know about rugby.