Phil Ramone remembered by Elton, Billy Joel and other stars
Sunday, March 31 2013
Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Phil Ramone has died at 72. He was reportedly hospitalised in February 2013 with an aortic aneurysm and died on March 30, 2013 at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Response to the news of the death of Phil Ramone was instantaneous on March 30, 2013, as the Internet was filled with tributes and remembrances from his colleagues, collaborators and admirers, including Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Josh Groban and many more.
"I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band,” Billy Joel, who worked with the producer on several albums, said. "So much of my music was shaped by him and brought to fruition by him. I have lost a dear friend -- and my greatest mentor."
Barbra Streisand said in a statement: "I’m so saddened to learn of Phil’s passing. We first worked together in 1967 when I did a free concert in Central Park. His brilliance at capturing sound was immediately evident. Later we worked together on the film A Star Is Born where Phil was able to record me singing live, including 'Evergreen.' In the next decade we worked on the soundtrack to Yentl and many other recordings. Phil had impeccable musical taste, great ears and the most gentle way of bringing out the best in all the artists he worked with. The monumental recordings he produced will endure for all time."
Quincy Jones, Ramone's longtime collaborator, said: "There aren't enough words to express how heavy my heart is with the news of the passing of my dear friend and brother Phil Ramone.
Elton John described him as "a friend, a musical genius and the most lovable person. It was a thrill for me to have worked with Phil, and I have so many wonderful memories."
Elton and others kick off Hillsides Foster Soles Event
Friday, March 29 2013
Celebrities such as Elton John, Carson Daly, and the members of the rock band “No Doubt” will kick off the Fifth Annual Hillsides Foster Soles, an online auction of celebrity autographed shoes, accessories, and other personal items along with their signed headshots.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Loveline,” along with his wife, Susan Pinsky, will serve as co-chairs. A party to launch the auction will be held at Bar Celona restaurant in Pasadena on May 22, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The online auction runs from May 22 through June 1, 2013 to coincide with Foster Care Awareness Month, which raises awareness of national foster care issues and the plight of children and youth in the system. Hillsides, a Los Angeles children’s charity, based in Pasadena, is asking celebrities to donate autographed shoes, accessories, and other personal items along with their signed headshot. This year Hillsides is celebrating its centennial, so we are expecting participation to be greater than ever.
Other celebrities who have participated include Adam Sandler, Ellen DeGeneres, Faith Hill, James Franco, Zac Efron, Reese Witherspoon, Halle Berry, Tim McGraw, Ellen Pompeo, John Stamos, Denzel Washington, Seth Green, Mario Lopez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Adrian Grenier, Nancy Grace, Wendy Williams, Gabriel Iglesias, Jane Kaczmarek, Billy Bob Thornton, Tim Allen, Jimmy Kimmel, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Larry King, Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan, Dave Koz, Charles Barkley, Robert Horry, Billy Zane, Mike Epps, Marlee Matlin, cast from Burn Notice, Chelsea Handler, Markie Post, Mark Harmon, Pam Dawber, Kate Linder, Edie Falco, Rona Barrett, Kim Coates, Kaitlin Olson, Devon Werkheiser, Samantha Harris, cast from The Bold & The Beautiful and many more.
Elton celebrates 66th birthday at dinner with Neil Patrick Harris
Tuesday, March 26 2013
At the tender age of 66 Elton John showed no signs of slowing down as he hit Los Angeles to celebrate his birthday.
He toasted his new age with an intimate dinner in West Hollywood with a small group at American restaurant Craig's. Making sure he was the centre of attention Elton dressed in typically flamboyant style by wearing an electric blue suit. HE also colour coordinated his outfit so that his blue rimmed spectacles and cobalt colour lace Oxford shoes were matching. The father-of-two didn't stop there as his checked socks were blue and white and his crew neck T-shirt provided a white accent colour.
Elton was joined by his husband David Furnish and close friend Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka. David, 50, was dressed as smart as ever in a grey two-piece suit with a zebra print pocket square. The film maker had brought birthday presents along with him and was seen carrying a bag from Saint Laurent.
Neil, 39, and Burtka also arrived bearing gifts as they filed in to the venue dressed a little more casually in blazers and jeans. As a small present to himself Elton launched a new official website which will keep his fans around the world up to date with his movements.
Elton is taking a few days off between concerts in Tennessee and Texas so that he can have a few days to celebrate with David and sons Zachary and Elijah. The rest is certainly needed as Elton has performed 113 shows since turning 65 last year as well as continuing with his charity work.
The hard working star has also finished recording material for his next album "The Diving Board", which is due out in autumn.
Elton will turn 66 on March 25, 2013 - and according to fellow piano player and Austrian singer Udo Juergens that's the age at which life starts.
That might hold true for Elton, who has recently added child number two to his partnership with David. And that might also be the reason that - in contrast to previous years - Elton is taking a break from touring for his birthday.
On behalf of the Hercules team and all the fans around the world, we would like to wish him all the best and a happy birthday!
Elton John lands at No. 1 on the weekly Hot Tours tally with box office totals reported from four dates in Brazil on his concert tour that launched in November 2012 in Australia.
The tour, dubbed 40th Anniversary of the Rocket Man Tour, celebrates the 1972 release of the single "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)" and features other hits from the veteran singer's long career.
The South American leg of Elton’s tour kicked off in São Paulo in late February 2013 and included stops in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay before returning to Brazil for a March 5, 2013 concert at Porto Alegre's Estádio Zequinha, the first performance reported for this week's recap. Adding the shows in the Brazilian cities of Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Recife that occurred on March 8, 9 and 10, 2013 respectively, gross sales from all four concerts totaled $6.3 million.
Weekly .com Boxscores - March 20, 2013
1) ELTON JOHN Total Gross: $6,332,640 Show Dates: March 5-10, 2013
Show Venue/City (Shows/Sellouts)
Estádio Zequinha, Porto Alegre, Brazil (1/0)
Centro de Convenções, Brasília, Brazil (1/0)
Estádio do Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1/1)
Chevrolet Hall, Recife, Brazil (1/0)
Total Attendance (Capacity): 52,492 (57,176)
2) KENNY CHESNEY $4,271,090 3) GEORGE STRAIT $3,413,562 4) RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS $2,192,159 5) ERIC CLAPTON $1,803,114 6) MAROON 5 $1,797,508 7) KID ROCK $1,184,107 8) MANÁ $860,193 9) SHINEDOWN & THREE DAYS GRACE $726,360 10) THE JACKSONS $622,227
"The Best of Vox Pop" on YouTube
Tuesday, March 19 2013
"The Best Of Vox Pop" brings old "Music Box Channel" interviews out from the archives and back into the public sphere for people on YouTube to enjoy, thanks to a partnership with the rights holders Sunset+Vine.
One of the stars their content covers is Elton, and they have already put up the first half of his rare interview with Music Box from 1986, which viewers have been enjoying for a couple of weeks now.
Elton John biopic finds director
Tuesday, March 19 2013
The long mooted Elton John biopic Rocketman has taken a step nearer production with the news that music promo and commercials director Michael Gracey has been hired to oversee the film.
Produced through Elton's Rocket Pictures, and masterminded by producers David Furnish and Steve Hamilton Shaw, the film has been conceived as a musical – described by Elton himself as "Moulin Rouge type of stuff". A script has already been acquired from Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall. According to Shaw: "Michael has an innovative, imaginative and compelling vision for the film."
Gracey is best known for his dance-oriented commercials, including the Evian babies and the T-Mobile Flashmob spots, as well as highly choreographed promos for Will Young's Your Game and Call My Name for Charlotte Church. Gracey is also attached to direct The Greatest Show on Earth, a PT Barnum biopic with Hugh Jackman.
Theo Huthcraft from Hurts admits he was “speechless for weeks” after teaming up with superstar Elton John.
He and bandmate Adam Anderson bagged Elton to play piano on "Help", the final track on their second album Exile.
Theo said: “It was one of the greatest days of my life – for real. Watching Elton John play the piano on a song we wrote? I was speechless for weeks afterwards. Speechless. To beat that we’ll have to get a hologram of Elvis on the next one.”
Elton cancels show due to illness
Saturday, March 16 2013
Elton John has canceled a concert set for March 15, 2013 in Birmingham, Alabama.
He was supposed to perform at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex Arena. Ticketmaster announced the cancellation on its website hours before. Officials at the arena say medical reasons are being cited for the cancellation, but they don't have details.
A photo on the arena's Facebook page shows the singer's piano already was in place and ready for the show. Ticketmaster says it is offering refunds for ticket purchasers.
Elton's next performance is scheduled for March 16, 2013 in Memphis, Tenn. Officials at the Fedex Forum Arena said he is still set to perform there.
Elton guests on Fall Out Boy album
Friday, March 15 2013
Elton John recently joined Fall Out Boy in an Atlanta studio to collaborate on a track for the group's new album, "Save Rock and Roll".
Because of the success of the album's first single, "My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)", the release date for "Save Rock and Roll" has been moved up from May 7 to April 16, 2013. It's the band's fifth album and first since 2008's "Folie a Deux".
"My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)" has sold 388,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The single is No. 17 on USA TODAY's alternative airplay chart and No. 23 on the top 40 chart.
"When we were kids, the only thing that got us through most days was music," the group said in a statement when the new album was announced. "It's why we started Fall Out Boy in the first place. This isn't a reunion because we never broke up. We needed to plug back in and make some music that matters to us."
Inspired by Elton, Ai Weiwei has made a metal album
Wednesday, March 13 2013
Multifaceted Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei has recorded an album of hard-rock songs, and he's going to ask for Elton John's help in releasing the thing.
According to England's The Times, the Beijing resident and occasional ward of the state has written nine songs parodying life in his country and he's employed local rock star Zuoxiao Zuzhou to back his singing with some searing licks.
The album, which he's calling Divina Commedia (after a little ol' book by Dante Alighieri), was inspired by a trio of influences: the raucous opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics; his 81-day disappearance following an arrest over possibly bogus tax evasion charges; and the "warm heart," "passion," and "expression" of Elton, who dedicated his February 2013 concert in the Chinese capital to Weiwei.
As the Guardian reports, that political gesture has inspired authorities abroad to consider tightening restrictions where foreign performers are concerned. Although Weiwei was hired as a design consultant for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he has long been a thorn in the side of the government, promoting freedom of expression and calling attention to issues the PRC has swept under the rug.
"Art is about communication, and this is pure communication,” Weiwei told The Times of his music project. Much of his previous work has been displayed at museums around the world, but he recently experienced a viral bump after spoofing PSY's "Gangnam Style." “My exhibitions may, if they are really popular, get 300,000 people to see them over three months. On YouTube I can get one million hits in two days.”
Though Weiwei isn't yet sure how he'll distribute Divina Commedia, he told the Guardian he'll reach out to Elton for his expertise: "I will send it to him and ask his opinion. I haven't asked him for advice — I will surprise him." And he will surprise us, too, if he turns out to be a genius marketer of Chinese heavy metal albums steeped in political parody.
Elton confirmed to perform at the BCRF Annual Hot Pink Party 2013
Wednesday, March 13 2013
On April 17, 2013, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation will host its annual Hot Pink Party at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
This year's event, themed ¡Viva Fiesta!, will feature a performance by Multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Elton John. The always sold-out affair will pay special tribute to Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC., as she receives BCRF's Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award, presented by award-winning actress and ambassador of Ann Taylor's spring and summer 2013 campaigns, Kate Hudson. Joining the evening's festivities will be actress and supermodel Elizabeth Hurley, as well as co-chairs Donna Karan, Michael Kors, William Lauder, and Vera Wang, among others. The Foundation hopes to top last year's record-setting goal of more than $5 million in funds raised to support life-saving breast cancer research.
"The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is thrilled to have Kate Hudson join us as we recognize Kay Krill and ANN INC. for their passion for women's issues and commitment to our organization. As a result of their contributions and the money raised through The Hot Pink Party, BCRF is able to continue its mission to fund vital breast cancer research," said Myra Biblowit, President, BCRF. She added, "With the support of Sir Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley, who bring this special event to life, we hope that this year's Hot Pink Party will be our best yet."
To date, BCRF has raised over $425 million to advance the most promising breast cancer research worldwide that will help lead to prevention and a cure in our lifetime. Since its inaugural event in 2001, the Hot Pink Party has generated over $51 million. For more information about BCRF, visit www.bcrfcure.org.
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez died on March 5, 2013 - and Saturday Night Live wasted no time mocking his time in power during the show's opening sketch on March 10, 2013.
Featuring Justin Timberlake imitating Elton John, the skit took place at a memorial for the divisive South American political figure, who died on March 5, 2013 at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer.
The comedy bit was had SNL's Elton singing an updated version of his classic song "Candle in the Wind" in tribute to Chavez and some of the crazy, real-life, aspects from his nearly 15 years in power.
'And it seems to me like you lived your life like a candle in the wind,' Timberlake sang in a pitch-perfect imitation of Elton before ending the chorus with the following joke: 'If a candle could pull out two pistols at a press conference.'
Another hilarious line from the song was 'You said the U.S. causes earthquakes and you outlawed Coke Zero. And on your shoulder sat your parrot with a matching red beret. You had your own T.V. show, it was called 'Hello, President. It wasn't about politics, you sometimes danced and made up raps. You helped make your country the kidnapping capital of the world and also increased milk production,' were some of the other lines from the song.
He also included the Chavez statement that 'Capitalism killed Mars' when the Socialist firebrand said that a society had taken root on the planet but capitalism had wiped out its water supply.
Timberlake was also the show's musical act. The episode featured an unusual amount of guests stars including Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd and Andy Samberg.
Jason Aldean gets some perspective from Elton John
Saturday, March 9 2013
Jason Aldean was feeling pretty proud of himself for selling out Madison Square Garden in early March 2013 – that is until he looked up and saw a banner hanging in the arena that put it all in perspective.
“It said ‘Elton John 62’ and I said, ‘What does that mean?’” he recalls. “Apparently he’s sold out 62 shows there. It made my little one show not seems so cool anymore.”
The weekend was among the first dates on Aldean’s Night Train Tour, which he says is even bigger and better than his previous sold-out tour. “I’ve kind of reached the point in my career when all the things on my wish list a couple of years ago that we couldn’t afford to take out at the time, now we’re in a situation where we can take out whatever we want within reason and have our show look the way I’ve wanted it to look for a long time,” he says. “I’m like a kid at Christmas. I’ve got all kinds of new stuff to play with.”
Keira Knightley and Elton back International Women's Day
Saturday, March 9 2013
Keira Knightley, Elton John and Naomie Harris are among the stars who have signed an open letter calling for an end to violence against females as part of International Women's Day on March 8, 2013.
The stars have joined a group of high-profile celebrities in putting their names to a note, published in Britain's The Guardian newspaper, supporting the global initiative to highlight the struggle of women across the world.
The letter reads, "Friday is the 102nd International Women's Day and women - and men - across the world will join their voices in unison to echo the same sentiment: We must all commit to end violence, rape and abuse... We can't continue to ignore the fact that women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined... Men and women have united to stand for equality and change... We stand collectively and say 'we won't accept violence'."
Singers Annie Lennox and Emeli Sande, funnyman Eddie Izzard, actors Dominic Cooper and David Oyelowo, and Hollywood couple Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson have also signed the letter. A number of other stars have backed the cause by highlighting International Women's Day in posts on Twitter.com. Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, pop group The Wanted and rockers Paramore have all tweeted messages of support.
Elton gave Chris Brown support
Friday, March 1 2013
Chris Brown told the New York Post on Oscar night of girlfriend Rihanna, “We are really happy.”
Brown, who just returned from a Hawaiian vacation with the “Diamonds” singer, said at an Elton John AIDS Foundation bash, “We are back together. She is the most beautiful girl in the world. But I’m sad she couldn’t be here tonight; she is rehearsing for her tour.”
While Brown’s reconciliation with Rihanna — whom he brutally assaulted in 2009 — has created controversy, he said he’s had nothing but support from Elton. Brown was convicted, but Rihanna forgave him and says others should, too. “I met Elton about a year ago, and he’s been a good friend to me,” Brown revealed, adding, “So it is great to be here tonight to support him.”
Of the possibility of working with Elton in the future, Brown said, “Music is music. It transcends everything, so I would love it if we could work together.” Meanwhile, Elton — talking about his and David’s children — 6-week-old Elijah and 2-year-old Zachary — said: “The boys are absolutely beautiful. We just love them. We are a really happy family.”
Elton backs Britain’s Student Pride
Friday, March 1 2013
Elton and David join the celebrity backers of National Student Pride, taking place March 1-3, 2013 in Brighton.
Elton John and David Furnish have agreed to be ambassadors of Britain’s National Student Pride in Brighton on the south coast of England. Their support caps plans for the most celebrity-packed Student Pride to date March 1-3, 2013.
The main pride day on March 2, 2013 will include guest celebrities like Charlie Condou from long-running TV soap Coronation Street. A debate on homophobia in sport will feature former England and Chelsea footballer Graeme Le Saux and former England rugby union player Ben Cohen, himself a campaigner against LGBT bullying.
While Elton and his husband are not attending, their endorsement is a major boost to the event, helping attract other celebrity backing. Tom Guy, president of National Student Pride commented: "I am extremely honored to have both Elton John and David Furnish on board. Their commitment to equality and to the cause of LGBT students is inspirational and we could not have wished for better ambassadors."
Bernie Taupin joined by Alice Cooper at Scottsdale art show.
Friday, March 1 2013
The art of Bernie Taupin continues its highly successful tour through the United States into 2013. In every city that his art has been exhibited, it has attracted the attention of the press, and the galleries have filled with large crowds of enthusiastic collectors.
Guests at Taupin's shows have been surprised by visiting celebrities. Just recently, Alice Cooper joined up with Taupin to celebrate his show at the opening of the DeRubeis Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. They jointly made the rounds of the local TV stations to talk about Taupin's art show and to raise awareness for Cooper's charity, Solid Rock (a fantastic cause that helps at-risk youths get off the streets by putting musical instruments in their hands).