Tag Archives: Entertainment

Rush Drummer Neil Peart Dies At 67 – Brain Tumor Diagnosis Kept Secret

Neil Peart Had Brain Cancer For Over Three Years…And Told Almost No One

Neil Peart Rush drummer 1978

Neil Peart of Rush – A Farewell To Kings tour book 1978

The surprising news that Rush’s extraordinary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has died at age 67, comes as a shock to the world. While music lovers will try to absorb the stunning news, only Peart’s family, band mates and a few close friends knew this day was imminently closer than anyone realized.

Peart passed away quietly in Santa Monica, CA on Tuesday, January 7 of brain cancer. For over three years Peart was fighting the disease. His close circle of friends knew his predicament. Everyone else had no idea.

Peart’s survivors include his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia. Peart escaped a media frenzy of reporting on his illness, as doubtless there would be, had anyone known about his cancer. That’s the kind of man Neil Peart was. Ferocious on drums. Private, quiet and introspective in life. Peart did not want consolation from the world by sharing that he was ill. His reticence to speak publicly, well established.

Rush in limo 1978 Peart Lifeson Lee

Rush 1978 (l-r) Neil Peart Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

On tour in the early 1990s I met both Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee backstage shortly after a show at Madison Square Garden. We talked for a minute. Continue reading

Why Def Leppard Doesn’t Want The Public To See This Video

The Original Def Leppard, LIVE In 1980 Perform Almost The Entire On Through The Night LP

Def Leppard Was Once A Heavy Metal Band: Then They Started Writing Pop

What Happened?

Their Main Hard Rock Songwriter & Guitarist Was Fired

Can We Forget About The Past?

Here is Pete Willis and the original Def Leppard performing almost in its entirety, one of the ten greatest debut rock albums of all-time.

When Def Leppard recorded their first major label album, they were a heavy metal band though they never called themselves that.

l-r Steve Clark, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Rick Allen & Steve Clark c 1980

It was 1980 and Def Leppard had just been signed to a deal with Mercury Records. They were signed on the basis of what three years of honing and craft perfection had wrought – On Through The Night. Previously in 1979, the band printed its own EP and sold an astounding 18,000 copies.

Within the music industry, in order for any band to get a record deal, the band must put forth only their best material. And that is what On Through The Night is. Eleven mostly blistering songs played at a frantic pace with songwriting that displays an ear for catchy and memorable songs.

Here’s the most incredible thing about this video performance of that first album — singer Joe Elliott is 21, guitarists Steve Clark & Pete Willis are 20, bass player Rick Savage is 19 and drummer Rick Allen is – are you kidding me? — 16!!!!

Continue reading

The Story Of The Beatles Butcher Cover – 1966

The Beatles Choose A Bizarre Photograph For A Controversial Album Cover – 1966

And The Alternate Covers You’ve Never Seen

Beatles Yesterday and Today original LP cover

The Beatles decided to use this photograph for their Yesterday and Today album cover.

The four normally squeaky clean Beatles had dressed in smocks resembling butcher’s garb with dismembered dolls and pieces of meat dripping crimson. It was supposed to be a bit of fun. The Beatles “Butcher cover” ended up a big fiasco.

Maybe today this cover would not even raise an eyebrow. But in 1966 this album cover shocked the music industry.

Billboard Magazine June 25, 1966

‘Salesman of the various Capitol records Distributing Corp’s branches are recuperating from a busy weekend spent stripping the latest Beatles album, “The Beatles Yesterday And Today’.
Some 750,000 albums, which were pressed, packaged and shipped to the factory branches, have been recalled for repackaging. Reason for the recall is the cover art, which shows the Beatles in white smocks surrounded by what appears to be dismembered baby dolls and butcher shop cuts of meat.

According to some reliable reports, none of these albums have reached dealer shelves, although some have been received by reviewers and rack jobbers. Capitol has a new cover printed, showing four nearly neatly dressed Beatles inside and draped around a trunk.

Alan W. Livingstone, president of Capitol Records, explained the cover recall: “The original cover in England was intended as ‘pop art satire’. However, a sampling of public opinion in the United States indicates that the cover design is subject to interpretation. For this reason, and to avoid any possible controversy, or undeserved harm to the Beatles’ image or reputation, Capitol has chosen to withdraw the LP and substitute a more generally acceptable design.

Meanwhile, Capitol is making a painstaking effort to recall the covers to make sure they are destroyed. Reviewers are requested to return the cover to Capitol, and dealers who have received streamers are asked to hold them until a salesman calls.

The butcher cover was and still is one of the most controversial record covers ever produced. So what is the story behind it?

Photographer Robert Whitaker had worked with the Beatles previously so he was no stranger to having them before his lens.

On March 25, 1966 Whitaker took a series of promotional photographs of the Beatles. Instead of the typical boring shoot, Whitaker had the Beatles doing wacky things with props in unconventional poses.

Whitaker posed the band holding sausages. George Harrison had his head placed in a birdcage. Continue reading

K.K. Downing Of Judas Priest Returns To The Stage Minus Judas Priest

Combine 3 Former Priest Members With Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, And You’ve Come Up With A Band That Sounds Better Than The Current Judas Priest Line-Up

Judas Priest founding member, guitarist K.K. Downing retired from the band in 2011 due to concerns about conflict within the band, its management company and the quality of their live performances. Since then Downing has talked about reuniting with his former band, especially after Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton stepped down from touring in 2018 due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

But hard feelings remain between elements of the band and their management, with Downing so no reunification is foreseeable.

K.K. Downing, 2019

So what did Downing do a couple of weeks ago? He performed with a band that proved it can out-Priest, Judas Priest.

How do you accomplish that? Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #87 – James Caan Gets Married 1976

HereJames Caan and Sheila Ryan Get Married

James Caan wedding Sheila Ryan 1976

James Caan Sheila Ryan wedding ceremony photo: Gary Thompson Globe Photos

Here we see James Caan and Sheila Ryan getting married on January 12, 1976. It was a happy occasion, I guess. But why do groom Caan and bride Ryan look like they want to either call it off right then and there or deck the chaplain for saying something inappropriate? Or is just the seriousness of the solemn occasion? Continue reading

Rare 8mm Van Halen Concert Film Footage From 1978

Unseen For 41 Years – Highlights From A Van Halen Concert At Fresno’s Selland Arena, Friday, September 22, 1978

Eddie van Halen & David Lee Roth Live in concert Sept 22, 1978 I hope YouTube doesn’t take this video down.

This story would have to be deleted as well.

While I like Van Halen, I’m not an uberfan. I have all the David Lee Roth era LPs and still listen to Van Halen. But live, I always thought of Roth as a great front-man, rather than a great singer. He might agree. I wish he’d sing the lyrics!

What is the attraction to Van Halen? Besides the virtuosity and innovativeness of Eddie Van Halen, it’s probably because the band built up a huge following through touring, putting on extravaganzas and releasing unique, catchy kick-ass rock albums.

Unfortunately Van Halen has rarely released whatever footage they have of themselves when they were just starting out on their way to becoming superstars.

That is why this is special. 41 years after it occurred, here is Van Halen LIVE in concert only seven months after the release of their first album.

You may not like vocalist David Lee Roth’s showmanship, jumping around with lyrical improvisations and high pitch shrieks. Then maybe you’ll stop watching after a few minutes. Roth, however is hitting more of the notes live as recorded on the album than many of his recorded performances.

Seeing Van Halen as openers for Black Sabbath, trying to win over an audience is unique in itself. Guitarist Eddie Van is blazing on all cylinders. Bassist and harmony singer Michael Anthony is confident and steady. And drummer Alex Van Halen is holding it all together keeping  great time. They’re young and hungry and it shows. Eddie and David were both 23-years-old. According to manager Noel Monk the band was being paid $750 per show – split four ways!

Ticket stub and cassette tape Van Halen concert Fresno September 22, 1978This is what the late 1970s were about. Great music with rock band’s wanting to impress you in concert with their music and energy. Seven dollar tickets, small stage, no pyrotechnics, or giant video screens or back-up dancers.  Everyone is watching and listening to the band.

So thank you FresnoMediaRestoration for putting together audio with this 8mm film footage to come up with 20 minutes of live Van Halen in their prime.

Below the footage I’ve quoted some of the better YouTube comments.

The better YouTube comments:

It’s surprising they ever made it big. I mean, if you were a rock star in the 70s, would you hire them to open your show? – Baba Yaga

This show was the night before their memorable 9/23/78 concert @ Anaheim Stadium where Boston headlined along with Black Sabbath & Sammy Hagar. VH hired 4 skydivers to jump out of a plane. The skydivers landed behind the stage & VH — in parachute gear — jumped out of a van & rushed onto the stage to On Fire. Crowd went crazy. That was also the day that EVH met Sammy Hagar for the first time.– jpr – 030507 Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #86 – Jean Arthur

Jean Arthur Star of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Always Waited Weeks After The Premiere To See Her Own Films

Jean Arthur sexy bathing photo 1942I doubt that when the name Jean Arthur is mentioned to film buffs, the words sex symbol come to mind. That is why this publicity photo of Jean Arthur from the 1941 film The Devil and Miss Jones would surprise any fan of the star.

This type of photo (sans bathing suit) would have been more appropriate for Georgina Spelvin who 30 years later starred in an x-rated title take-off called The Devil In Miss Jones.

In this photograph Jean Arthur is looking very fit at age 41. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #83 – “Catwoman” Julie Newmar

Batman’s Catwoman – Julie Newmar

Julie Newmar with Blonde hair

This undated, uncredited photo shows a young Julie Newmar with blonde hair. Newmar did have a film career before and after her turn as one of the sexiest TV villains ever. This is what she looked like years before appearing on Batman.

Julie Newmar was indisputably the best Catwoman on the Batman TV series. Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman, while Lee Meriwether played the part in the 1966 Batman movie.

The leggy Newmar had wickedly delicious lines she would trade with Adam West (Batman). Catwoman’s best piece of dialogue I believe was this exchange with Batman while he is trying to convince Catwoman to surrender:

Batman: I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you.

Catwoman: [overcome by happiness]  Marry me.

Batman: Everything except that. A wife, no matter how beauteous, or affectionate would severely impair my crime-fighting.

Catwoman: But I could help you in your work. As a former criminal, I’d be invaluable. I can reform, honestly I can.

Batman: What about Robin?

Catwoman: [pulls a disgusted face]  Robin? Oh, I’ve got it: we’ll kill him.

Batman: I see you’re not really ready to assume a life in society.

Batman has been off the air over 50 years and it’s hard to believe that Julie Newmar (born Newmayer August 16, 1933) will be 86-years-old this year. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #82 – Judy Garland- What Hollywood Said The Day After She Died June 22, 1969

Judy Garland Died 50 Years Ago Today – How Hollywood Reacted

Mickey Rooney director George Seitz Judy Garland on the set of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante May 18, 1940

Mickey Rooney, director George Seitz and Judy Garland discuss a camera angle on the set of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante May 18, 1940 photo: MGM

Judy Garland’s third husband, Sid Luft claimed that Judy tried to kill herself at least 20 times in their 13 years of marriage.

The public knew of Judy’s ups and downs and her problems with pills and alcohol. What they didn’t realize was just how unhappy the star had been for most of her life and her multiple attempts at suicide. And few people, some close friends and her doctor, realized how ill Judy had been during the last few years of her life.

Judy’s self-destructive path culminated when she was found dead in her London apartment June 22, 1969 of a drug overdose. She was only 47-years-old.

In 1961, Judy’s London physician, Dr. Philip Lebon had diagnosed her with cirrhosis of the liver and insisted she stop drinking. Dr. Lebon warned Judy that she only had five years to live at most.

After her death, eight years after making that prognosis, Dr. Lebon said, “Death could have come at any time. How she lived this long I don’t know.” Continue reading