Grammy Hall of Fame inductees include Elton John
Wednesday, November 28 2012
The original Broadway cast album of of Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, Frank Sinatra's single of the Kander and Ebb classic "New York, New York" and Elton John's self-titled 1970 album are among the recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame collection.
The collection recognizes "singles and album recordings of all genres at least 25 years old that exhibit qualitative or historical significance." The list, which is on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, added 27 new titles for 2013, bringing the total list to 933.
"With the Grammy Hall Of Fame celebrating 40 years, it's especially important to note that these entries continue the tradition of inducting a wide variety of recordings that have inspired and influenced both fans and music makers for generations," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, in a statement. "Memorable for being both culturally and historically significant, we are proud to add them to our growing catalog of outstanding recordings that have become part of our musical, social, and cultural history."
Elton dedicates Beijing show to Ai Weiwei
Tuesday, November 27 2012
Elton John publicly dedicated his only concert in Beijing to Chinese artist and political critic Ai Weiwei, sending a murmur of shock through an audience accustomed to tight censorship of entertainment.
Minutes into a more than two-hour show on November 25, 2012, Elton told the audience that the performance was dedicated "to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei," according to several audience members. They said the crowd rumbled in recognition that Ai remains a touchy subject for the Chinese government.
An internationally acclaimed sculptor and installation artist, Ai has used his art and his renown to draw attention to social injustice. He was detained for nearly three months last year, and he remains barred from leaving China. Ai and Elton met each other briefly before the concert. "I super like him," Ai said on his feed on Twitter, which is banned in China but on which he has 180,000 followers.
China-based online media sites reported on Elton's Beijing show, as they did on the performance in Shanghai the night before, but they did not report Elton's remark about Ai. The Chinese government exercises tight control of live performances, requiring artists to submit detailed lists of songs, casts and crew members before approval is given. Censors further tightened scrutiny after singer Bjork shouted "Tibet, Tibet" at the close of a song titled "Declare Independence" at a Shanghai performance in 2008.
What is Elton John's best song?
Saturday, November 24 2012
Elton John hasn't released a solo album in six years. That streak is going to break in 2013 with the release of "The Diving Board", a T-Bone Burnett-produced LP that was recorded with bassist Raphael Saadiq and drummer Jay Bellerose.
It's his first time working in a trio format since the early 1970s, and fan expectations are very high.
Now Rolling Stone has a question for you: What is your favorite Elton John song? He has a huge catalog, so please feel free to go beyond the obvious hits. We all love "Tiny Dancer" and "Your Song," but "Indian Sunset" and "My Father's Gun" are equally brilliant. His work in the 2000s is also underappreciated. Check out "Blues Never Fade Away" and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore". Vote for whatever song you want, but please only vote once and only for a single song.
UPDATE: "Tiny Dancer" charity single
Wednesday, November 21 2012
Over 200 Irish singers and musicians have got together to record a version of “Tiny Dancer” in aid of the Sunni Mae Trust, a charity inspired by a four year old girl, Lily-Mae Morrison, who has Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.
The charity was set up to fund research into neuroblastoma, and to help fund Lily-Mae’s care.
Four year old Lily-Mae Morrison from Claregalway is suffering from Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare and extremely aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system. She is the daughter of professional ballet dancers, Judith Sibley and Leighton Morrison. When she grows up, she wants to be a ballet dancer like her Mummy and Daddy but Neuroblastoma is not playing nicely, it wants to kill her.
The single will be launched on November 17, 2012, and will go on sale on iTunes worldwide on 23 November 2012.
Elton John among the Out 100
Friday, November 16 2012
Back in 2007, Anderson Cooper was still five years away from coming out publicly as a gay man. But that didn't stop the editors of Out Magazine from featuring his image on the cover of its annual Out 100 issue alongside an image of Jodie Foster who has remained virtually silent about her sexuality.
Cooper was featured on the list of 100 gays and lesbians in subsequent years as well. But this year, a year in which he came out publicly and is now one of the most famous openly gay persons in the US, he did not make the cut. But plenty of others did including Jane Lynch, Boy George, Andrew Rannells and Sharon Needles who are each featured on separate covers of the magazine which will be available on newsstands November 20, 2012.
The 100 honorees were chosen in various categories which include: British artist David Hockney (Lifetime Achievement); Elton John and David Furnish (Legend and Champion); Terrence McNalley and Jon Robin Baitz (Playwrights); Boy George (Legend); Jane Lynch (Entertainer of the Year); Andrew Rannells (The Ingenue); Sharon Needles (Stylemaker of the Year); Humberto Leon and Joseph Altuzarra (Designers); Adam Goldman (Web Star); Amanda Palmer (Musician); Michael Urie, Simon Callow and Matthew Wilkas (Actors); Patrick Abner and Thomas Roberts and Christine Quinn and Kim Catullo (Newlyweds); and Jonathan Liscecki and Ira Sachs (Filmmakers).
The covers and individual and group portraits inside the magazine of all on the list were shot by photographer M. Sharkey.
Elton sets milestone at Sydney Entertainment Centre
Friday, November 16 2012
Elton John made a new record at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on November 14, 2012. He is the only artist who has performed 45 times at the venue.
Expected to be torn down next year, it was a bitter sweet moment when the Rocket Man tour rolled in to Australia. Elton John has been busy in the land down under. Visiting stars and performing often, the fans even got the chance to watch the legend on television during X-Factor.
Keeping the momentum alive, Elton John had a high energy concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre for a sold out show. Playing hit after hit, the artist definitely was excited to be performing for fans.
Elton John and Alessandro Del Piero
Wednesday, November 14 2012
When Elton John met football hero Alessandro Del Piero, both were starstruck.
The Sydney FC star and his family met Elton before his X-Factor performance on November 13, 2012. "So great to meet you, you genius," Elton said as he greeted Del Piero with a hug. "I am such a fan," the footballer replied. "How he is able to write his songs in just a couple of days, that is so special. My whole family have always loved his music."
Elton then peppered his new friend with questions about Sydney FC's fortunes and updates on other European players in the Australian league. The entertainer happily received a personalised jersey but was ecstatic when Del Piero presented him with one for his son Zachary. "My little boy is 22 months old and loves soccer. He's already kicking the ball around," Elton said. "He will love this."
Del Piero said it was impossible to pick his favourite Elton John song. "One? No there are too many. I think he is the genius," the player said. Elton also caught up with Hugh Jackman before his The X-Factor performance, who took time out from the Wolverine shoot on a nearby Fox Studios soundstage.
Elton said he was looking forward to his set with Sydney duo Pnau, who helped put him back on the top of the British charts after 20 years with their collaboration Good Morning To The Night. "This will be only our second show together. The first one was in Ibiza and I don't think the 18 and 19-year-olds knew what was going on," he said. He complained about the lack of good record stores: "I hate that all the record stores and book stores are gone."
Elton vs. Pnau on X-Factor Australia
Wednesday, November 14 2012
Australian duo Pnau took to the stage with Elton John for the first of two exclusive performances during X-Factor Australia on November 13, 2012.
As usual Elton was in all his sparkling glory – and had only the most glowing of words to say for the home town boys Pnau! Pnau and Sir Elton John then returned to the stage to perform "Good Morning To The Night" – with Elton’s soaring voice sending the crowd into a near frenzy!
Elton's fundraising Winter Ball
Monday, November 12 2012
Firm friends Elizabeth Hurley, Shane Warne and David Furnish came together on November 10, 2012 for Elton John's AIDS foundation Grey Goose Winter Ball.
The group were reunited having recently celebrated David's 50th birthday together in LA back in October 2012. In a bronze dress, decorated with a combination leopard print and sequins, Elizabeth looked every inch the glamorous guest. As did her cricketer fiancé, Shane Warne, 43, who arrived at the ball in a dapper black dinner jacket.
Kevin Spacey hosted the event, which was held at Battersea Power Station. The 53-year-old actor entertained his audience first by donning an oversized pair of blue heart-shaped sunglasses and then with imperssions of former Presient Bill Clinton and actor Morgan Freeman. Kevin joked "the only problem with Morgan Freeman hosting this event is that it would roll on for three hours as everything he says is like poetry. He could read the instructions of a flat pack and make it sound like poetry."
Chat show host Graham Norton and his partner Trevor Patterson showed off their mutual fashion sense as they arrived, with Irish-born Graham wearing a black beaded jacket and Trevor sporting a bright floral bow tie and had a paisley handkerchief tucked in his breast pocket.
Musician of the moment, Emeli Sande, who recently won three MOBO awards, was also spotted enjoying a bright blue cocktail at the annual bash. Whilst heiress and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, singer Eliza Doolittle and JLS star Aston Merrygold were also on the guest list. Upon her arrival Tamara, who is the daughter of Formula 1 tycoon Bernie, turned heads in a striking, white, floor-length gown. And she attracted more attention during the evening's auction when she purchased an exclusive piece of Karun Kirac jewellery for £100,000 but then charitably donated it back to be resold. On its second sale, the piece was bought for £22,000 adding to the total fund which will go towards the Elton John Aids Foundation.
Elton and David are set to become parents for the second time, according to reports in The Sun.
They were overjoyed to welcome their son Zachary into the world on Christmas Day in 2010. And now: Another one on the way!
The paper reports the showbiz couple are expecting their newest addition to the family next year via a surrogate, thought to be the same one that gave birth to their 23-month old son. A source told The Sun: 'They are over the moon'.
And speaking about the surrogate they said: 'Elton and David love this lady like a sister and they feel indebted to her for life. Naturally she has been well rewarded. But her identity will never be revealed.'
A spokesperson for Elton was not available for comment. The singer has been vocal about his wish to give Zachary a sibling. Speaking to the Radio Times in August 2102 he said: 'We definitely will have another one. At what stage we don't know, but we definitely will. I don't want him to be an only child.’
In the interview Elton acknowledged that Zachary would have a difficult time growing up not just because of his father's fame but also because of their unconventional family set up. He noted: 'Being the child of someone famous is a huge ball and chain around your ankles. It's going to be very difficult. At school other children will say, “You don't have a mummy”. We've come a long way, but there's still homophobia and will be until a new generation of parents don't instill it in their children.’
To conceive their first son sperm from both men was mixed to fertilise the chosen egg – a process banned in the UK – and the child was carried by a surrogate.
Elton sings Celtic's praise
Friday, November 9 2012
Neil Lennon has revealed that Celtic’s famous victory over Barcelona on November 7, 2012 night prompted a surprise phone call from Elton John.
Celtic fan Rod Stewart was captured by the cameras crying in the stand after the Hoops had beaten the Catalan giants 2-1 in their Champions League Group G encounter at Parkhead. However, a result which reverberated around the world led to the Celtic boss being contacted by another pop icon.
“I had a lot of texts from people in the game which was fantastic but I got a call yesterday from left field from Sir Elton John believe it or not, congratulating me,” said the Northern Irishman. “I thought my missus was winding me up but it just shows you the interest it has generated among a lot of people. I don’t think he was as emotional as Rod but he did tell me when he was chairman of Watford and they got to the 1984 FA Cup final he was so emotional that he did cry before the game. He was very knowledgeable about the game and knew a lot about myself and it was great that he took time out to call me, as he is going to Australia on tour.”
Despite Stewart being arguably Celtic’s most famous supporter, Lennon admitted he had yet to meet him. “Do you know, I have never met Rod. I didn’t get the chance to see him after the game. He does e-mail me from time to time so I hope to get to meet him soon. He is a wonderful ambassador for the club, he loves the club and for someone who has such a status in life to be such an avid supporter is fantastic for our reputation as well.”
Spacey to co-host Sir Elton ball
Wednesday, November 7 2012
Kevin Spacey will take Elton's place and co-host his annual charity bash after the singer stepped in to perform a series of Australian tour dates originally planned by George Michael.
The actor, a double Oscar winner, will join David Furnish at his Winter Ball. Around 600 guests are expected for the event at Battersea Power Station, south London, on November 10, 2012, which will raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation and feature performances by Emeli Sande and Labrinth.
George cancelled the gigs in September 2012, saying he was wrong to think he could work through the "major anxiety that has plagued" him since his life-threatening battle with pneumonia. The singer, who nearly died late last year, was due to take his Symphonica tour down under in November and December 2012 but in a statement on his website said he had decided he could no longer go through with it. He said doctors told him he needed "complete rest" and "post-traumatic counselling".
George, 49, began his 64-date tour last year but was forced to pull out when he became dangerously ill after performing in Austria, spending around a month being treated in hospital there.
Gary Barlow lands top Industry Award
Tuesday, November 6 2012
Elton and Robbie Williams teamed up in London on November 5, 2012 to pay tribute to Gary Barlow as he accepted the prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award.
The Take That star followed in the footsteps of stars including Elton, Sir Tom Jones and Kylie Minogue by landing the honour, in recognition of his songwriting, his charity work and the star-studded Diamond Jubilee Concert he organised for Queen Elizabeth II in June 2012. And it was Elton himself who presented Barlow with the trophy at a glitzy gala in London.
Barlow told the audience, "I've been doing this for 22 years now, and the one thing that's more apparent to me than ever before is how much I love performing. To be able to do it, I feel really lucky, I never want to turn my back on it. It's so special when you get something like this, because it's recognised within the industry. I'm a lover of this industry, I'd do anything to protect it and when you're given something from that industry, I'm honoured."
Charles, Prince of Wales also paid tribute to Barlow's talent via video link, stating, "You have become one of the great stars of the British music industry and you are the very embodiment of that rare species, a national treasure." Barlow then took to the stage with his Take That bandmates to perform a string of their hits. Williams, who joined his former group at the event, wrote on his Twitter.com page, "There is nothing better than having the band back together for a moment."
UK's million-selling singles: the full list
Monday, November 5 2012
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the official singles chart, the Official Charts Company has ranked the top UK million-selling singles.
The most authoritative chart ever of the UK's million-selling singles, released on November 5, 2012, shows Elton John ranked highest for sales for his double A-side "Something About The Way You Look Tonight"/"Candle in the Wind".
Released after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, the song is at the top of the UK million-sellers chart with 4.9m copies sold. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid released in 1984 is in second place with 3.69m singles bought in the UK.
The list of 123 singles includes million-selling singles from artists such as Queen, The Beatles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Adele. Even the Teletubbies make an appearance with 1.11m copies of Teletubbies Say "Eh-Oh!" sold in the UK.
Appearing six times on the list, The Beatles boast by far the highest amount of singles on the UK million-selling singles chart. Rihanna appears on the list three times – for "Only Girl (In The World)", "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring with Eminem) and another for "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris). Boney M, Celine Dion, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John all appear on the list twice.
The Top 10 UK million-selling singles by song title, artist and sales:
1 - SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT/CANDLE IN THE WIND 97 - ELTON JOHN - 1997 - 4.9m copies 2 - DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? - BAND AID - 1984 - 3.69m 3 - BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY - QUEEN - 1975 - 2.36m 4 - MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS' SCHOOL - WINGS - 1977 - 2m - YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT - JOHN TRAVOLTA & OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN - 1978 - 2m 6 - RIVERS OF BABYLON/BROWN GIRL IN THE RING - BONEY M - 1978 - 2m 7 - RELAX - FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD - 1983 - 2m 8 - SHE LOVES YOU - THE BEATLES - 1963 - 1.9m 9 - UNCHAINED MELODY/(THERE'LL BE BLUEBIRDS OVER) THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER - ROBSON GREEN & JEROME FLYNN - 1995 - 1.86m 10 - LOVE IS ALL AROUND - WET WET WET - 1994 - 1.85m
Engelbert and Elton team up for duet
Monday, November 5 2012
Chart veteran Engelbert Humperdinck has teamed up with Elton John for the first time to work on a duet.
The pair popped into a studio in Los Angeles to work on the track which is due to be released early next year. The "Eltonbert" collaboration will appear on an album of duets being assembled by 76-year-old Engelbert.
His new album will come 45 years after his first massive number one single, his signature tune "Please Release Me". Engelbert - the UK's entry for Eurovision earlier this year, although the track flopped - said: "This album is a true labour of love. We have a few more recordings to go, but what a cast. I'm keeping most of it under my hat but was so excited about working with Elton who I have admired ever since first hearing him that I just couldn't keep it to myself. I'm honoured that he has contributed to this album."
Elton said his new recording pal was "one of the sweetest and nicest people I have ever worked with". He went on: "We had a great time singing together and he is so quick, what I call a 'one-take singer' - 76 years old and still sounding as good as ever".
Elton won't face claims of copying 'Nikita'
Thursday, November 1 2012
A photo journalist who claims that Elton's song "Nikita" is a rip-off of the ballad he wrote for a Ukrainian waitress cannot sue, a federal judge ruled.
Guy Hobbs sued Elton and Bernie Taupin in April 2012, claiming that Elton swiped the lyrics for the hit song "Nikita" from a song he wrote 29 years ago. Hobbs said he took his first photography job on a Russian cruise ship in 1982, and became romantically involved with a Ukrainian waitress. The affair inspired him to write a song called "Natasha" about an impossible love between a Western man and Ukrainian woman during the Cold War.
Hobbs allegedly sent his lyrics to several music producers, including Big Pig Music, to help him connect with male solo artists, but nothing ever came of it. Elton released "Nikita" in 1985 on the album "Ice on Fire." The song describes an impossible love between a Western man and East German woman during the Cold War. The single hit No. 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart and No. 7 in the United States.
Hobbs claims he first saw the lyrics to John's "Nikita" while perusing a song book in 2001 and was stricken by the similarity to his own song. U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve noted that the two songs share a similar title and theme. Both describe a woman's pale eyes, reference sending correspondence in the mail, and repeat the phrases, "you'll never know," "you will never know," "to hold you," and "I need you." "Of these listed similarities, there are certain themes or ideas that Hobbs argues are protected under the Copyright Act, including the impossible love affair during the Cold War, a postal theme, and references to a woman's pale eyes," St. Eve wrote. But "these themes are not protected under the Copyright Act because they are rudimentary, commonplace, and standard under the scènes à faire doctrine," the ruling states. "Moreover, phrases and themes that are common, trite, or clichéd are not protected under copyright laws."
St. Eve also found that "the phrases, 'you'll never know,' 'to hold you,' and 'I need you' are commonly used in musical lyrics. Also, short phrases that do not express an 'appreciable amount of original text' are not subject to copyright protection." "Thus, after filtering out the non-protected elements, no similarities exist between the two songs except for generic themes, words, and phrases, as discussed above," she wrote. "In other words, the ubiquity of the common sayings sprinkled throughout both 'Nikita' and 'Natasha,' along with the repeated use of these commons phrases and sayings in other songs, establish that Defendants' lyrics to 'Nikita' do not infringe on Hobbs' lyrics to 'Natasha.'"
Ben Babylon Band opening for Little River Band in LA
Thursday, November 1 2012
When the Ben Babylon Band (BBB) performs at The Canyon Club near Los Angeles on November 10, 2012, it will mark the third time the son of the late Guy Babylon has opened for a top headliner at the renowned club.
The BBB is set to open for Australia's legendary Little River Band (LRB) on November 10, 2012. LRB has sold more than 30 million albums since the mid 1970s, and is responsible for many hits including "It's a Long Way There," "Help Is on Its Way," "Reminiscing," "Lady," "Cool Change," "Lonesome Loser" and many more.
"I have always admired Little River Band," Ben said. "Their song structures are simple but powerful, with amazing melodies. One my favorite songs of theirs is 'Reminiscing.' I am looking forward to opening for them."
Previously, the Ben Babylon Band opened at the Canyon Club on separate occasions for two other top bands -- Air Supply and The JAZZMATICS. In 2010, he joined guitarist Davey Johnstone, drummer Nigel Olsson and percussionist John Mahon on stage at The Canyon Club for an Elton John tribute show, which also honored Ben's late father, Guy Babylon, who was Elton's Grammy Award-winning keyboardist and arranger for 21 years.
Ben has been following in his dad's footsteps, writing songs and performing with increasing regularity at venues throughout Southern California. He is currently working on his first album with help from Davey, Nigel and John. One single, "Contradiction," is available through iTunes and Amazon. In addition to Ben, the Ben Babylon Band is comprised of guitarist Brian Schwartz, drummer Alex Andrews and bass player Robben Bixler.
Little River Band with the Ben Babylon Band will perform November 10, 2012 at The Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills, CA 91301-3304. Ticket info at www.canyonclub.net. More information about the Ben Babylon Band is available at www.BabylonMusic.biz.