April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, Celebrates Her Birthday

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: The Queen of Soul, Miss Aretha Franklin, turns 70 years young tomorrow, Sunday, March 25th. Yesterday she celebrated with an all star party in New York, followed by taking a few friends to a Broadway musical. I’ll tell you all about after the festivities are over. But 70 years–what an amazing life the gifted singer, performer, and writer has had. From her early days at Columbia Records to her halcyon recordings with the Atlantic crew–Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin and Ahmet Ertegun. Her four CD box set, “Queen of Soul,’” tells that story. Then she went on to another successful chapter with Clive Davis Arista Records, with hits like “Freeway of Love” and “Jump to It.” Aretha marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, has sung for all the presidents, topping off with her performance at Barack Obama’s inauguration. In her hometown of Detroit she’s known for her generosity, giving annual gospel shows at her father’s church. This past year she released a new record, “A Woman Falling Out of Love,” and recorded a duet with Tony Bennett. She’s also giving the best shows she’s done in years. A great mother, friend, and icon. Happy Birthday, Aretha. The best is yet to come!
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Oh, Madonna. She’s quite the lyricist – “I F—ed Up.”

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Oh, Madonna. She’s quite the lyricist. Her new song is called “I F—ed Up.” You can listen to it and most of her new album, called “MDNA” on her You Tube channel and on Facebook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkgEJPSWRZY&feature=player_embedded#!. The album comes out a week from Tuesday, and it’s the usual hodgepodge of throwaway dance songs and a couple of ballads that have been Auto-tuned within an inch of their lives. Madonna is almost 54 and she sings, basically, about nothing. There’s no one to compare her to, really; she is unto herself. You can’t compare her to the great female singer songwriters like Carly, Carole, and Joni. She’s not a great singer like Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, or Gladys Knight. She’s not an icon like Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, or Aretha Franklin. She’s certainly no Streisand or Diana Ross. She can’t sing like Lady Gaga or Adele or even Linda Ronstadt. But she’s Madonna. She’s a living spectacle. And the PR machine is revving up for a launch at the end of this week. And listen, it’s not about album sales. It’s about tour tickets. The album is just a souvenir. It’s a new, much different world.
Great new music? Try the new Bonnie Raitt or Roberta Flack. Or for more contemporary sounds, Leslie Feist or Julia Fordham’s reissue of her “Baby Love” CD. http://juliafordham.com/
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Kelly Ripa to host the “10th Annual TV Land Awards”

The “TV Land Awards 2012,” honoring classic television, film and music icons, will return to New York City and be hosted by Kelly Ripa (nationally syndicated talk show “LIVE! With Kelly”), it was announced today by Larry W. Jones, president, TV Land. Ripa previously hosted the show in 2007. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the awards show will honor powerhouse songstress Aretha Franklin with the Music Icon Award and will be held at the Lexington Avenue Armory at Gramercy Park on Saturday, April 14th. The “TV Land Awards 2012″ will air on Sunday, April 29th at 9:00pm ET/PT. More honorees will be announced in coming weeks.
“We are ecstatic to welcome back Kelly as she reprises her role as host of the ‘TV Land Awards’ this year for our 10th annual celebration,” said Jones. “Her energy, enthusiasm and love of television make her the perfect person to lead the evening on the occasion of our 10th Anniversary.”
The successful “TV Land Awards” has scored a decade of success including the record-breaking numbers from the “TV Land Awards 2011,” which attracted over 2 million viewers for its premiere telecast. The star-studded special, which was held last year in New York City for the very first time, was the highest rated “TV Land Awards” show since 2004 across all key demos and posted double-digit gains in rating and delivery over preceding shows.
The “TV Land Awards” pays tribute to classic and contemporary luminaries of television, music and movies. The 90-minute telecast will feature exhilarating musical performances and will reunite some of the most iconic celebrity TV casts.
Previous honorees include Regis Philbin, Michael J. Fox, John Travolta, Bill Cosby, Mike Myers, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Garry Marshall, the cast of “Glee,” “Desperate Housewives” and the hilarious sitcoms “Cheers,” “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties,” “The Facts of Life,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Bosom Buddies,” “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “M*A*S*H*.” Past presenters include Academy Award©-winner Halle Berry, Barbara Walters, Justin Timberlake, Ray Romano, Steve Carell, Billy Crystal, Sharon Stone, Robin Williams and Academy Award©-nominee Robert Downey, Jr., to name a few. Past musical performers include Liza Minnelli, Stevie Wonder, Blondie, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson and Lionel Richie.
Michael Levitt (“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Scream Awards”) is executive producer; Five-time Emmy Award©-winning Glenn Weiss is director (“Primetime Emmy Awards,” “BET Awards,” “The Tony Awards”); Greg Sills [...]

Aretha Franklin not performing at Whitney Houston’s funeral due to illness

HollywoodNews.com: Aretha Franklin was all set to perform “The Greatest Love of All” at Whitney Houston’s funeral today, but it seems she has had to cancel due to illness.
Her rep has confirmed that the singer will not be able to perform at the funeral in New Jersey because she is ill after performing a tribute to Houston last night at Radio City Music Hall in New York, states CNN.
Stevie Wonder is still expected to perform. Celebrity guests of the funeral include Kevin Costner, Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey and Ray J.
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Image by PR Photos

Whitney Houston’s Mother Cissy Houston – Who is she?

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Last night on either “ET” or its miserable sidekick “The Insider,” Cissy Houston–Whitney’s mother–was identified as a former Elvis Presley backup singer. Just so you know as you watch the funeral tomorrow, Cissy Houston is one of those great unheralded R&B stories.
She had a group called the Sweet Inspirations. More importantly than singing with Elvis, the Sweet Inspirations had their own hits. They also sang back up on most of Aretha Franklin’s classic hits in 1967 and 1968. It’s Cissy’s high note counterpointing Aretha’s amazing record, “Ain’t No Way.” Later Cissy sang back up on lots of hit records including Linda Ronstadt’s “Heart Like a Wheel” album and Bette Midler’s “The Divine Miss M.”
The Sweet Inspirations are also heard on countless top 10 hits, many of them from Atlantic Records during its heyday. The early members of the group included Cissy’s niece Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne’s gifted sister) and Doris Troy (“Just One Look”), sister of Vy Higginsen. “Cissy” Emily Drinkard was a member of her family’s gospel group, the Drinkards. Her eldest sister was the mother of Dionne and Dee Dee.When I first met Whitney, it was with Cissy and her ex husband John; they were divorced when Whitney was 16.
I think I annoyed Whitney a little because I was so in awe of meeting her mother. Cissy and John spent countless hours on the road, touring, and in recording sessions. Their life before Whitney hit it big was hard. It’s impossible to imagine the grief Cissy is suffering now.
Here are some links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y0-uCagiFQ&feature=related

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Oprah allegedly invited to Whitney Houston’s funeral

HollywoodNews.com: Oprah may be making a trip to New Jersey this weekend as she was reportedly one of the people who has been invited to Whitney Houston’s funeral on Saturday.
It is unknown if Oprah will be attending the funeral where Clive Davis, Aretha Franklin and other celebrities are expected, states TMZ. The family is reportedly being selective in who is invited because the church can only fit about 300 people.
Do you think Oprah will show up?
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Stars headed to Whitney Houston’s funeral this Saturday

HollywoodNews.com: Whitney Houston’s passing has affected many people, and it seems some stars are headed to her funeral on Saturday in order to honor the late singer who tragically passed away this weekend.
Houston’s rep has confirmed that Clive Davis will be speaking at the funeral in New Jersey while Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder will allegedly be singing there, states People.
It is even being rumored that Kevin Costner, her costar in ‘The Bodyguard,’ will speak at the funeral.
The funeral will be invitation-only, but will be broadcast online.
Will you watch it online?
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Debbie Harry and Blondie have a new album

HollywoodNews.com: Debbie Harry and Blondie are trying something new. They’re releasing an album on September 13th without a record label. “Panic of Girls” is coming out on amazon. Amazon isn’t a record label, it’s a retailer. But unlike Wal Mart, Target or Best Buy, it’s only online. There are no Amazon stores. So “Panic of Girls” will just be available through amazon, and not even on ITunes. The album sounds good and so does the single, “Mother.”
But sources say that the group, which hasn’t released an album since 2003 and last had a had hit in 1999 with “Maria,” could not get a deal. I have no doubt this is true. More and more, older artists–the actual talents and the backbones of the touring business in rock music–have been forced to put out their own records. The big labels are incredibly blind to the power of so called “adult” or legacy artists.
This year artists like Aretha Franklin, Robbie Robertson, and Lindsey Buckingham are among those who have gone that route. Right now several big names are in limbo. But I’m a little surprised about this since Blondie has always had a strong following. It’s possible that their misstep album in 2003 is being held against them–labels always want to know what you sold last, as if that means anything. But it would seem that amazon’s getting into retailing is a new and unusual step for everyone involved.
Photo by PRPhotos
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Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Queen lead list of planned music biopics

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Coming soon to a theater near you: Music biopics, and lots of them.
Films about such legendary musicians as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and the rock group Queen are in different stages of development, according to Billboard, though some could be as far off as three years away.
Biopics on Tupac Shakur and Frank Sinatra, for instance, have been rumored for years but continuously hit snags in the development stage. The same goes for movies based on 1960s rock and folk icons Jimi Hendix and Janis Joplin.
Billboard, citing the fact that Hollywood is hungry for musical biopics at this stage, breaks down the 12 projects that are most likely to happen soon (or soon enough).
Is there someone whose story you’d like to see told on screen? Let us know.
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Oprah Winfrey is the “Hollywood T.V. Star of the Week”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: And just like that, after 25 years of being in our lives, Oprah Winfrey was gone.
Not without fanfare, mind you. When Winfrey decided to end her long-running, immensely popular daytime talk show program, nearly every major star in Hollywood and beyond flew to Chicago for a blow out celebration. Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Will and Jada Smith, Usher, Maria Shriver, Aretha Franklin and the elusive Steadman were just a few of the all-star guests who stopped by to say goodbye, for now, to O.
At home, everyone tuned in. In Chicago, Winfrey’s adopted home town, the final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” averaged a 13.4 household rating, meaning “around 470,000 Chicago area homes tuned in to watch Oprah take her final bow.”

Her influence was staggering; her reach was global. And her next moves will be closely watched. Winfrey will dedicated time and resources to her OWN Network, which has struggled to get up on its feet. “It’s going to improve exponentially with the amount of time and service I can give to it,” Winfrey promised. We have no doubt.
But this week was not about looking ahead. It was about looking back and celebrating Winfrey’s contributions to television, to America, and to the world. And that’s why we are very proud to announce that Oprah Winfrey has been named the “Hollywood T.V. Star of the Week.”

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