Caleb Quaye - The Ballad of an Unknown Gun
Saturday, September 29 2012
A new documentary is in production and you have a chance to be part of it!
What do Lou Reed, Harry Nilsson, Joan Baez, Dusty Springfield, Hall & Oates, LIza Minnelli and many others have in common? For many years, Caleb Quaye was a much in-demand studio session musician. But exactly who is Caleb Quaye, the man Eric Clapton once told David Letterman was the world’s greatest guitar player?
Caleb came from a musical family. His father was Cab Kaye, a well-known jazz musician in London, himself the son of pianist Caleb Jonas Quaye aka Mope Desmond. Many may know his younger step-brother Finlay Quaye who had a platinum album “Maverick A Strike” in 1997.
In 1965, Caleb worked at Mills Music, a publisher in London’s Tin Pan Alley. A fellow tea boy working there was named Reg Dwight, a polite, shy and stodgy boy Caleb teasingly called “Billy Bunter.” Some years earlier, the luckiest man in show business, Dick James who had been chosen by Brian Epstein to publish the Beatles music, and by 1966, Dick was looking to start his own record label. Dick and his son Stephen brought in Caleb to run the little recording studio they set up in order to create demos of songs they hoped to record and/or publish.
Meanwhile, Reg had been playing in a band called Bluesology and in 1967 decided that playing in a band was a dead end job -- better he thought to be a songwriter, but he needed a lyricist and soon was connected to a young 17-year-old farmer’s son name Bernard Taupin from Lincolnshire. They began writing music long distance (e.g., Bernie would mail lyrics, Reg would put them to music), and they had a need to create demo recordings of the new songs.
Caleb let Reg and some band members record demos in Dick’s studio until his son Stephen discovered that the studio was being surreptitiously... he threatened to see Caleb and others fired over it, but it was Caleb who convinced Dick to take a listen to Reg’s demos. Dick was impressed and immediately signed Reg and Bernie to a publishing deal.
Eventually Reg and Bernie realized that they were better suited to writing the kind of music they wanted to rather than trying to create cabaret music for Englebert Humperdinck and others. When few artists were covering their songs, Reg decided that he would have to promote his music himself. The idea was planted that Reg would become a star and he needed a new name. Borrowing from his Bluesology sax player Elton Dean and the singer they fronted Long John Baldry, Reg became known as Elton John.
Soon, singles were released and a debut album in 1969 which sold about 1,600 copies. Dick doubled down and decided to bring in Gus Dudgeon who had produced David Bowie and arranger Paul Buckmaster to create an orchestral “Elton John” album. A trip to Los Angeles and dates at The Troubadour sealed the deal -- Elton became an overnight sensation. Another couple of albums “Tumbleweed Connection” and “Madman Across The Water” along with a film score “Friends” all featured Caleb Quaye on guitar. From the earliest demos right through to “Tiny Dancer,” Caleb was there. Remember that great guitar line in the middle of “Take Me To The Pilot” or those great opening licks on the “Tumbleweed Connection” album - that was Caleb.
When Elton left for a tour of America, he didn’t initially take a guitar player, and when it came time to pick a guitarist for his band, Elton chose the talented young folk player Davey Johnstone. And soon the touring band became the recording band. So Caleb became a sought-after studio musician and performed with his band Hookfoot through 1974. Then, of all surprises, Elton called in 1975 wanting to make changes to his touring band and as a result, Caleb suddenly found himself performing “Captain Fantastic” in its entirety at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 people. A few months later he was playing Dodger Stadium. Talk about a rocket ride.
The following year in 1976 there was another tour and another album to record and then... suddenly at the end of the tour it was over. Elton wanted to take some time off. Everyone was thanked for their service but now they were free to pursue other projects. Fortunately for Caleb, he was snapped up instantly by Hall & Oates and during 1977 and 1978 he and his Hookfoot drummer Roger Pope toured and recorded the 1978 album “Along the Red Ledge.”
And then the two tea boys from Tin Pan Alley went their separate ways. On October 9, 1979, Caleb’s life changed in a most profound way. He heard a voice that "was louder than rock n' roll." For the past 33 years, Caleb has been active in Southern California churches offering up a music ministry that has been helpful to many people. Additionally, he's been performing in Southern California with his fusion jazz band "The Faculty."
Now, after a long absence from the public eye, his friends are producing a fine documentary about this accomplished and historical musician. Take a look at this teaser to get an idea of what's in store for the documentary:
If you would like to play a part in the making of this documentary, you are invited to follow the link in the box on the upper right of this page.
Elton writing more songs for "The Diving Board" album
Saturday, September 29 2012
In April 2012, Elton was so confident that his 30th solo album, "The Diving Board", was complete, he released a 10-song track listing – but when the disc got pushed back to early 2013 for promotional reasons, Elton started to have second thoughts.
"This is the first time that Elton's had time to live with something before it's come out," producer T Bone Burnett tells Rolling Stone. "There were like seven or eight songs that were so completely of a piece that they have an identity. I think he thought, 'You know, maybe I should write some more things in that mode so that the album has a tighter identity.' Some tunes were maybe too happy for the overall identity of the album."
The album was recorded in January and February 2012 at a Los Angeles studio. In a return to a format he used on the road in the early 1970s, Elton recorded the LP accompanied only by a bassist and a drummer. "The first time I heard Elton it was with a trio at the Troubadour in 1970," Burnett says. "And he absolutely killed it. I told Elton I had this profound drummer named Jay Bellerose and you won't need anything else. He plays melody and tone and groove. Then the idea came we should just do it as a trio. Elton called bassist Raphael Saadiq. We cut the whole thing with that really tight kill team."
In an interview with Rolling Stone in March 2012, Elton was tremendously enthusiastic about the disc, which is his first solo album since 2006. "It's the most exciting solo record I've done in a long, long time," he said. "It just came flooding out. Quickest record I've ever made. I'm as psyched about it as I was with The Union. As I said with The Union, I had to go forward to go back, and it's the same with this record."
"The Diving Board" was originally supposed to hit shelves late 2012. "It's disappointing that our new music won't hit the streets sooner but in order to get things done right it makes sense to delay its release by a few months," lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote on his blog in April 2012. "It's no fun having to sit on something you're truly excited about but hopefully our fans will understand and that eventually the wait will be worth it."
In the early 1970s, Elton toured accompanied only by bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson. Their powerful live show is preserved on the live album 11-17-70. "What I loved about those shows was that you really heard Elton's piano," says Burnett. "He wasn't mixed into a whole lot of other things." Fans are hoping that Elton will promote the disc with a series of live dates with the trio format. "I haven't heard anything about that yet," says Burnett. "I'm sure he will though. Why wouldn't he? It's a good deal."
Elton never met T Bone Burnett before cold-calling him a few years ago to see if he'd be willing to produce his album with Leon Russell. They formed a tight bond during those sessions, and Elton has since said he never wants to work with any other producers. "That's okay with me," says Burnett with a laugh. "I'll do it. I'll do it."
Hockey bloggers mourn the NHL lockout with Elton John parody
Wednesday, September 26 2012
With the NHL preseason cancelled through September 2012, hockey fans are finding unique ways to pass the time.
"Lockout Man", performed by Harrison Mooney, Daniel Wagner, and Bryan Binnema and originally posted at Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy blog, is an ode to the work stoppage and the players' exodus to the European leagues. It parodies Elton John classic "Rocket Man".
Some lines didn't need to be changed. With news that the Winter Classic could be cancelled as early as November 2012 and players beginning to speculate that the lockout could last a year or more, "I think it's gonna be a long, long time" fit as well in the parody version as it did in the original.
Elton and David sell Hollywood apartment over safety fears for Zachary
Wednesday, September 26 2012
Elton and David were said to be terrified that the toddler could fall from the building.
The adjoining condos in the Sierra Tower building in West Hollywood were sold for $4.65m earlier in September 2012. Friends said the pair had decided to sell their home because they did not consider the apartments child friendly for their two year old.
Sources told Radar Online the death of Eric Clapton's son from a New York apartment block in 1991 preyed heavily on their minds. Conor Clapton, four, plunged 49 storey's to his death after falling out of an open window while his mother was distracted.
"The reason behind Elton and David giving up their West Hollywood condos is because they thought it wasn’t a suitable place for a toddler to grow up in," a source revealed. "They did love the home, but now they are parents they have to think more sensibly and it wasn’t ideal for Zachary. The apartment was situated halfway up the Sierra Towers complex, so it was dangerously high-up."
The condos were in David Furnish's name and had been on the market since March 2012. They have since bought a $7.65m home in Beverly Hills. The source continued: "Despite all the constant attention they give Zachary, Elton and David feared that the toddler could climb out of one of the apartment’s many windows and fall. Zachary is very precious to them, and Elton remembered what happened to his close friend Eric Clapton who lost his son Conor in such a tragic way. They thought about installing window guards all throughout but Elton was terrified that one of them could malfunction or break, and he couldn't live with that on his conscience."
Elton among nominees for new Pop Music Hall of Fame
Tuesday, September 18 2012
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, a town of about 9,000 people located outside of Pittsburgh, is planning to put itself on the map by opening a new attraction called America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame next summer.
On September 16, 2012, hall of fame officials announced the institution’s first 40 nominees, of which 20 will be chosen for induction in May. Only artists who have had a song on the U.S. charts between 1946 and 1975 currently are eligible to be inducted.
Among the famous artists under consideration for the honor are The Beatles, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. Among the many other nominated luminaries The Beach Boys, The Bee Gees, The Carpenters, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, The Four Seasons, Simon & Garfunkel and Three Dog Night. Fans will be able to vote for their favorites starting September 20, 2012 at AmericasPopMusicHallOfFame.org.
According to Observer-Reporter.com, America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame initially will be housed in the Going My Way Café in downtown Canonsburg, but the facility’s board is trying to raise funds so that a permanent hall can be built. The inaugural induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 2, 2013.
Canonsburg does have history of producing its own pop stars. Perry Como and Bobby Vinton were born in the borough, which refers to itself as America’s Small Town Music Capital. Incidentally, Como and Vinton also among the inaugural Pop Hall of Fame nominees.
Gay actor Rupert Everett's stinging attack on homosexual parents sparks outrage
Monday, September 17 2012
Gay actor Rupert Everett has provoked a furious backlash after saying that he 'can't think of anything worse than being brought up by two dads'.
His comments will likely offend and surprise couples such as Elton and David because he has previously championed gay rights since coming out of the closet 20 years ago. Gay rights campaigners have rounded on the 53-year-old, with one saying he should 'get out a bit more'.
Everett, an army major's son, has in the past rubbished the idea of homosexuals having children through a surrogate. But the latest remarks, made in The Sunday Times Magazine, are the first to criticise the ability of gays to be good parents. Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay and lesbian pressure group Stonewall, said: 'Rupert should get out a little bit more to see the facts for himself. There is absolutely no evidence that the kids of gays parents suffer in the way they are being brought up or in how they develop.'
Elton and David, whose son Zachary will be two on Christmas Day, are not thought to have responded as yet to the comments. The couple were shortlisted in 2011 for the title of celebrity dad of the year. Earlier this year, Everett said 'the key thing was that Zachary is loved and supported and that he knows there are other children in the same situation.' Same-sex households are on the increase and in some American states it is around one per cent of the total. Some studies have also suggested that those children do better than ones born to heterosexual couples.
Everett, who played a gay man who made Madonna pregnant in the film The Next Best Thing, admitted in the interview that his mother Sara 'still wishes I had a wife and kid'. The actor, who is currently starring as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss at the Hampstead Theatre, has previously said if he was going to be a parent he would adopt or foster. The issue of gay parents flared up in January 2012 when then U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said children 'are better off with a father in jail than being raised by lesbian parents'.
Some Elton fans' seats missing seats in renovated Sun Dome
Monday, September 17 2012
A seating mishap at the newly renovated University of South Florida Sun Dome had some Elton John fans singing the blues on September 14, 2012, and venue organizers considering refunds.
About 30 fans who showed up at Section 204 found out their seats were scratched as a result of multimillion dollar renovations this winter. As organizers scrambled to accommodate the line of frustrated fans by finding alternative seats, the concert played on.
Some ended up benefitting with better seats, but others said they weren't pleased with their new assignments and wanted their money back. About two rows were affected. "This is fraud," said Christine Murphy, a 48-year-old medical coding supervisor from Tarpon Springs. "They sold me a product that doesn't exist. That's fraud."
Murphy, who had seen Elton John perform once before, said her $315.35 seats were in Row L. "The section started at Row P," she said. "There was no A through O." She said she was referred to customer service and offered floor seats, but she returned when she discovered her new row was so far from the stage she couldn't even see the top of Elton John's head. "I paid a lot of money to see Elton John. I could have put on a CD to hear him," she said.
Trent Merritt, general manager at the Sun Dome, said September 16, 2012 that officials were considering a refund for some fans. "Any time you have 10,000 people in a building for a show like that, there's going to be some customer service issues," he said. The Sun Dome's $35 million renovation, which ended in April 2012, eliminated two rows. The change didn't pose a problem at two previous events, but the crowds weren't as large as the one at the Elton John concert.
A growing line at the customer service window made the experience all the more frustrating. "A couple of people were at the counter negotiating their tickets for 20 minutes," said Paula Berry, 32, a high school teacher from Tampa. When Berry and her husband finally got to the window, the harried customer service reps already knew about the problem in Section 204 and quickly gave them new seats in Section 213. "When you invest that kind of money and time you want to know that you're going to have a positive experience," she said. "As of right now, I wouldn't attend another show at the Sun Dome."
Elton concert to stream live on YouTube
Saturday, September 15 2012
Elton John's concert for Peace One Day will be streamed live on Peace One Day’s official YouTube channel, organizers said.
The concert, with special guests streamed live on Peace One Day’s official YouTube channel and introductions from the charity's ambassadors Jude Law and Lily Cole, is scheduled to hit the web and Wembley Arena on September 21, 2012.
The concert marks the last major event of the London 2012 Festival as well as Elton’s only gig in the British capital this year. The non-profit organization, which in 2001 led a quest that resulted in the unanimous adoption by UN member states of the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence, works to institutionalize the idea of "Peace One Day" annually on September 21 each year.
The YouTube live stream of the Wembley Arena show is a first for Peace One Day and founder Jeremy Gilley. "The YouTube live stream is a major step for us, enabling millions of people globally to share this fantastic evening and engage with Peace Day like never before. It’s incredibly exciting and is really just the beginning," Gilley said.
The Wembley Arena concert with Elton is the final in a trilogy of Peace One Day concerts produced as part of the London 2012 Festival, set up to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Elton said: "When Jeremy [Gilley] and Jude [Law] came to see me and told me about Peace One Day and the Global Truce 2012 campaign I had to get involved and support them."
Elton among world's richest lead singers
Friday, September 14 2012
A list of the world's richest lead singers has been revealed, with the wealthiest boasting an estimated personal fortune of $795.2 million (£497 million).
Amongst the 20 filthy rich crooners are members of The Beatles, U2, Rolling Stones and Coral Reefer Band, according to wealth calculator website Celebrity Net Worth.
The 50 Richest Lead Singers in the World:
#1: Paul McCartney Net Worth – $800 Million (The Beatles) #2: Bono Net Worth – $600 Million (U2) #3: Jimmy Buffett Net Worth – $400 Million #4: Elton John Net Worth – $320 Million (Solo) #5: Mick Jagger Net Worth – $305 Million (The Rolling Stones) #6: Gene Simmons Net Worth – $300 Million (KISS) #7: Sting Net Worth – $290 Million (The Police, Solo) #8: Phil Collins Net Worth – $250 Million (Genesis, Solo) #9: Dave Matthews Net Worth – $250 Million (Dave Matthews Band) #10: Prince Net Worth – $250 Million #11: Dave Grohl Net Worth – $225 Million (Foo Fighters, Nirvana on drums) #12: Rod Stewart Net Worth – $220 Million #13: David Bowie Net Worth – $215 Million #14: Bruce Springsteen Net Worth – $200 Million (The E Street Band) #15: Don Henley Net Worth – $200 Million (The Eagles, Solo) #16: James Hetfield Net Worth – $175 Million (Metallica) #17: Axl Rose Net Worth – $150 Million (Guns N’ Roses) #18: Roger Waters Net Worth – $145 Million (Pink Floyd) #19: David Gilmour Net Worth – $130 Million (Pink Floyd) #20: Steven Tyler Net Worth – $130 Million (Aerosmith) #21: Jon Bon Jovi Net Worth – $125 Million (Bon Jovi) #22: Anthony Kiedis Net Worth – $120 Million (Red Hot Chili Peppers) #23: Sammy Hagar Net Worth – $120 Million (Van Halen) #24: Robert Plant Net Worth – $120 Million (Led Zeppelin) #25: Bruce Dickinson Net Worth – $115 Million (Iron Maiden) #26: Eric Clapton Net Worth – $115 Million (Cream, Solo) #27: Brian Johnson Net Worth – $90 Million (AC/DC) #28: Ozzy Osbourne Net Worth – $90 Million (Black Sabbath, Solo) #29: Gwen Stefani Net Worth – $80 Million (No Doubt, Solo) #30: Eddie Vedder Net Worth – $80 Million (Pearl Jam) #31: Bob Dylan Net Worth – $80 Million #32: Brian Wilson Net Worth – $75 Million (The Beach Boys) #33: Michael Stipe Net Worth – $75 Million (R.E.M.) #34: Trey Anastasio Net Worth – $75 Million (Phish) #35: Joe Elliott Net Worth – $70 Million (Def Leppard) #36: Peter Gabriel Net Worth – $70 Million (Genesis, Solo) #37: John Fogerty Net Worth – $68 Million (Creedence Clearwater Revival) #38: Stevie Nicks Net Worth – $65 Million (Fleetwood Mac, Solo) #39: Roger Daltrey Net Worth – $65 Million (The Who) #40: Chris Cornell Net Worth – $60 Million (Soundgarden, Audioslave) #41: Mark Hoppus Net Worth – $60 Million (Blink 182) #42: Tom DeLonge Net Worth – $60 Million (Blink 182) #43: Chris Martin Net Worth – $60 Million (Coldplay) #44: Billie Joe Armstrong Net Worth – $55 Million (Green Day) #45: Liam Gallagher Net Worth – $50 Million (Oasis) #46: Zack de la Rocha Net Worth – $50 Million (Rage Against the Machine) #47: Vince Neil Net Worth – $50 Million (Motley Crue) #48: Steve Perry Net Worth – $45 Million (Journey) #49: Jon Anderson Net Worth – $45 Million (Yes) #50: Maynard James Keenan Net Worth – $45 Million (Tool) #51: Jonathan Davis Net Worth – $45 Million (Korn) #52: David Lee Roth Net Worth – $40 Million (Van Halen) #53: David Byrne Net Worth – $40 Million (Talking Heads) #54: Trent Reznor Net Worth – $40 Million (Nine Inch Nails) #55: Thom Yorke Net Worth – $35 Million (Radiohead) #56: Jack White Net Worth – $30 Million (The White Stripes) #57: Scott Stapp Net Worth – $30 Million (Creed) #58: Chad Kroeger Net Worth – $30 Million (Nickelback) #59: Geddy Lee Net Worth – $28 Million (Rush) #60: Marilyn Manson Net Worth -$25 Million #61: Rob Halford Net Worth – $25 Million (Judas Priest) #62: Chester Bennington Net Worth – $25 Million (Linkin Park) #63 : Dave Mustaine Net Worth – $20 Million (Metallica, Megadeath) #64: Geoff Tate Net Worth: $17 Million (Queensrÿche) #65: Gregg Allman Net Worth – $15 Million (Allman Brothers) #66: Jacoby Shaddix Net Worth – $12 Million (Papa Roach) #67: Scott Weiland Net Worth – $10 Million (Stone Temple Pilots)
Lil’ Kim, Kelly Osbourne team for remake of Elton track
Friday, September 14 2012
Lil’ Kim has joined forces with “Fashion Police” star Kelly Osbourne for a rock/rap fusion track that updates Elton John’s 1974 classic, “The Bitch is Back.”
The pair, interviewed backstage at Betsey Johnson’s New York Fashion Week show on September 12, 2012, have bonded over their love for fashion, and the rapper confirmed they’re working on a song.
“I am telling you first that Kelly Osbourne and I are working on a record together! It’s titled ‘The Bitch Is Back,’” Kim told the New York Post. “It is a blend of British rock and rap and you won’t believe your ears when you hear it! I have been talking with Elton John as well.”
Elton is returning to Peterborough September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 11 2012
Promoter Live Nation announced that Elton will hit the stage on September 19, 2012 - a make-up show for his canceled September 8, 2012 concert.
For ticket holders who can't go, refunds will be available starting September 12, 2012 at the point of purchase. Elton was seen by a doctor minutes before he was scheduled to take to the stage at the Memorial Centre on September 8, 2012. According to arena program and promotions co-ordinator John Salfi, Elton arrived about mid-afternoon and took a nap in his dressing room. When he awoke, he was ill and unable to speak.
Shortly before 8 p.m., according to Salfi, a doctor checked the pop music superstar and it was determined that he couldn't perform. "There are so many rumours out there as to what happened," says Salfi, admitting the fact that Elton was able to perform the night before in Sarnia and on September 9, 2012 in Toronto has added to speculation that Elton wasn't happy with some aspect of his Peterborough appearance and decided to cancel.
"I can tell you the dressing room was very well-received by his management team and there were no problems reported to us," says Salfi. "We went above and beyond to meet the demands of a very challenging contract rider. There were no problems from that perspective."
Craig, meanwhile, is adamant that ticket holders know that John was at the arena some five hours before the concert and there were no problems...until he woke up from a nap. "He feels bad about canceling."
Fashion Cares 25 - A night with Elton
Tuesday, September 11 2012
The 25th Fashion Cares gala on September 9, 2012 was one glittery bash with host Elton John, guests in crazy costumes, models mingling with attendees and a drag queen parade.
For the last edition of this annual fundraiser, they went big with a concert featuring The Scissor Sisters and Janelle Monae. They kept Elton for the end. Wearing a jacket with the initials "EJ" glittered on his back, he set the room on fire with songs like "Your Song" and "Tiny Dancer". His performance was even more impressive giving his vocal condition. "I lost my voice last night," he warned the crowd as he took his throne behind his grand piano.
Earlier in the evening, he made a quick (and silent) stop on the red carpet for pictures. "He needs to rest his voice," said David Furnish, by his side. Too bad for reporters who waited an hour to chat with the legend...
The apex of the evening was Janelle Monae. She stole the show surrounded by a brass band and dancers in tuxedos. She brought a good dose of megawattage to the Sony Centre with hit songs like "Tightrope". People got up their seats and filled the rows. So did The Scissor Sisters with their new single "Let's have a KIKI". "When Elton John calls to ask if you want to perform for this kind of event, it's: when, where, we'll be there, what can we do to help you!", said Ana Matronic the lead singer of the Scissor Sisters earlier on the red carpet.
The MAC Viva Glam Fashion Cares raises money for The AIDS Commitee of Toronto and Elton John's AIDS Foundation. The tickets sold between $500-$1,500. Also present was supermodel Linda Evangelista. "I'm so happy to be back here with friends and amazing Canadians."
The night ended up around one big dessert bar, filled with mountains of French macarons and fancy marshmallows. They also had a display of nearly 15 stage costumes from Elton John's personal collection. These belong in a museum.
Elton John performed in Sarnia on September 7, 2012
Saturday, September 8 2012
Elton was greeted with a standing ovation as he entered the RBC Centre in Sarnia.
Dressed in a sparkling blue suit, complete with blue-framed sunglasses, he serenaded a sold-out crowd as he tickled the ivories on stage. Elton dedicating the performance to bass player Bob Birch, who died earlier this year.
Following is the complete set list of the Sarnia show on September 7, 2012:
Sir Elton John & David Furnish Candle
Saturday, September 8 2012
By purchasing this NEST candle exclusively designed for Holt Renfrew by Sir Elton John and David Furnish you are helping Holts Muse reach their goal of raising $100,000 for EJAF and making a real difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) is committed to providing HIV/AIDS prevention and essential care to those who need it most. Over its 20-year history, EJAF has raised over $275 million for HIV prevention, stigma reduction, treatment, care and service programs in 55 countries around the world. BUY NOW.
For more information about the partnership watch the exclusive video:
Elton sells pair of West Hollywood condos
Saturday, September 8 2012
Elton and David sell the Sierra Towers units, which can be combined, for $4.65 million.
The smaller unit features one bedroom, 1 1/2 bathrooms and 1,151 square feet of living space. The larger has a den convertible to a bedroom, another bedroom and 1 1/2 bathrooms in 1,831 square feet. The condos, which have city and ocean views, can be combined. The building has 24-hour security, a doorman, an outdoor pool and a gym.
Andrew Clark and Barry Peele of Sotheby's in Beverly Hills were the listing agents. Gregory Yeardye and Paul Czako of Gussman Czako Estates represented the buyer.
Elton to compose music for 'Gnomeo & Juliet' sequel
Thursday, September 6 2012
Deadline.com reports that director John Stevenson is set to helm the 3D animated sequel to ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’, to be titled, 'Sherlock Gnomes'.
As he did in the original film, Elton will compose original music. Production is set to begin early 2013. Elton‘s Rocket Pictures will once again produce the project with 'Gnomeo' scribes Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil also on board to write the follow-up.
According to the report, the film will center on "the characters from the first movie enlisting the help of a famous gnome-detective in solving the sinister disappearance of gnomes from the suburban gardens of England."
An Enduring Vision 2012
Wednesday, September 5 2012
On October 15, 2012, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) will present its 11th annual An Enduring Vision benefit at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Award-winning CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will host, and Founder Elton and Chairman David Furnish will pay tribute to several esteemed philanthropists by presenting EJAF’s Enduring Vision Awards to long-time supporters Robert Kraft, Diana Jenkins, and Joseph Blount.
Bob Kraft has been a loyal and generous supporter of the Foundation for many years, both personally and through the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation. As Chairman, CEO, and Founder of Neuro, and as a private philanthropist, Diana Jenkins has been a wonderful patron EJAF’s work and events in the U.S. and in the U.K. Likewise, Joseph Blount has also been an ardent benefactor to the Foundation since its inception.
This year, Elton welcomes the incomparable Stevie Nicks as his special musical guest for An Enduring Vision. As a member of Fleetwood Mac, whose “Rumours” album was one of the biggest selling albums of all time, Stevie Nicks’ extraordinary career includes multiple Grammy awards, numerous gold and platinum records, induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and unforgettable performances across the stages of the world for over three decades. Nicks, who has penned Fleetwood Mac classics including the timeless “Landslide,” “Dreams,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Rhiannon,” has had equal success as a solo artist beginning with her five times platinum debut “Bella Donna.” With unforgettable songs such as “Edge of Seventeen” and “Stand Back,” Stevie Nicks is unique among the pantheon of rock icons. Her new album, “In Your Dreams,” was co-produced by former Eurhythmic Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. Nicks has been touring the last year and a half with her “In Your Dreams” Tour and has also appeared with Rod Stewart on the “Heart & Soul” Tour. The Gold Dust Woman is also completing work on a documentary on the making of “In Your Dreams,” which will be released at the end of 2012.
2012 marks the 20th year since the establishment of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The 2011 An Enduring Vision event raised $2 million, which helped EJAF continue serving as one of the leading grant makers addressing the HIV prevention and treatment needs of populations most at risk of HIV infection and most in need of EJAF’s help because they exist at the margins of society.
Elton and David serve as the honorary chairs for An Enduring Vision, joined by their Co-Chairs Bill and Tani Austin, Alec Baldwin, Johnny and Edwina Barbis, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen, John Demsey, Andrew Farkas, Greg Gorman, Tim Hanlon, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness, Donna Karan, Leonard Lauder, Sandra Lee, Leslie Moonves, Martha Nelson, Ronald O. Perelman, Lily Safra, Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant, Harry and Laura Slatkin, Edward Walson, and Roger Woolsey among others. Presenting Sponsors for the event are American Airlines, The Kraft Group, and Wells Fargo, and Co-Sponsors are The John R. Eckel Foundation, John and Cindy Fish, The Lauder Foundation – Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Foundation, Revlon, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
For ticket information, please contact Matt Blinstrubas at the Elton John AIDS Foundation, +1.212.219.0670 or matt.blinstrubas (at) ejaf.org.
New bass player confirmed
Monday, September 3 2012
Following the tragic death of Bob Birch, Matt Bissonette has been confirmed as new bass player and backing vocalist for Elton's band, reports eltonjohn.com.
Matt is currently attending rehearsals with the band in Los Angeles. Following three solo shows of Elton on 7,8 and 9 September 2012, Matt's first show will be on 11 September 2012 at the Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson, Mississippi.
Matt Bissonette (born 1961) is the brother of drummer Gregg Bissonette. He attended the University of North Texas's jazz music program. According to Guitar 9, an online musicianship magazine, he has played bass and other stringed instruments on at least 22 albums, with music styles ranging from jazz, jazz fusion, progressive metal, and instrumental rock. The October 2002 edition of Bassinside, a bass musician's online magazine, reports that Matt has played in several different bands and has recorded with various artists, including Joe Satriani, David Lee Roth, Lita Ford, Daniel Glen Timms, Julian Lennon, Steve Perry, Brian Wilson, Don Henley, Ty Tabor (of King's X), Tom Andrews, and Peter Frampton. He also played bass on his brother Gregg's solo album.
In 2003 he and his brother Gregg backed Ringo Starr on a promotional tour of the United States. In 2004 he played alongside Boz Scaggs on Boz Scaggs Greatest Hits Live CD and DVD. The two brothers backed Starr again in 2005 at live shows at Irving Plaza in New York City in June 2005, at the Genesse Theatre in Waukegan, IL for the PBS show SoundStage, and the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, as well as on several TV appearances (CBS This Morning, etc.)
Matt has served as bass player for Rick Springfield and the lead singer of the Squirts. Rick Springfield and Matt collaborated on Rick's new CD: Venus in Overdrive, which Bissonette co-produced. According to the above sources, Matt has also played the themes to the television shows Friends, Just Shoot Me!, and The Tracey Ullman Show.
Matt now lives in Orange County, Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Matt had known Davey Johnstone, Elton’s Musical Director,for many years, and following the tragic death of Bob Birch, Davey invited Matt to join Elton’s band. Matt had also known Bob very well, and he is keenly aware of the sensitivities involved, reports eltonjohn.com. He says: "You can never take a guy like Bob Birch's place in a band. I would love to honor Bob on this Elton tour and while playing all these great songs remember how great he was, as a bass player and all-round musician. But it’s ten times more important to remember what a fantastic human he was, and is. Here's to you Bob."
Madonna and Elton patch things up
Monday, September 3 2012
Elton and Madonna reportedly put their long-running feud behind them when they bumped into one another in a French restaurant recently.
Tabloid reports suggest that the pair forgot about their differences and insults after meeting in the South of France, where Elton was on holiday and Madonna touring. Both pop stars, who have exchanged barbed comments for years, were out for dinner when they ran into each other.
“Elton goes to the Petite Maison for dinner fairly regularly as it’s near his villa in Mont Boron," a source told The Sun. Adding: “But Madonna was also there for a bite before her show, which was down the road and didn’t start until around 10.30pm. Just as he was leaving, he went over to talk to Madonna and they were laughing and smiling. They even hugged each other.”
Elton John recently claimed Madonna's career was 'over' adding: "It couldn't happen to a bigger c*nt".
Remembering Guy Babylon ... and Bob Birch
Sunday, September 2 2012
While most of us are still trying to cope with the tragic death of Bob Birch, it is time to commemorate the not less tragic loss of Guy Babylon three years ago.
Elton's former keyboarder died of a heart attack while swimming in the pool on September 2, 2009. He was only 52.
From the rather distant viewpoint of an Elton fan who had the chance to meet Elton's band members every once in a while, it's probably fair to say that both Guy and Bob where the human heart and soul of the band - no offense intended, David, Nigel, Kim and John. Needless to say that we miss and will miss them tremendously.
As for Guy, Ben Babylon is about to entirely fit his father's footsteps in the not too distant future. It's nice to see that growing bit of Guy living on in his talented son. Without meaning to put on any pressure, it would be nice to see a similar formation in Bob's son Jonathan one day.
But today we would like to remember two fantastic musicians - a very talented keyboard player, arranger and composer, and an extraordinary bass player - and we would like to send our love to their families.
Musical sendoff for Bob Birch
Saturday, September 1 2012
Friends and fans of the late Bob Birch, bass player for Elton John for some 20 years, will convene at the UDretroit Cafe in Harmonie Park at 9pm September 9, 2012 to reminisce, perform and take calls from his friends around the world (including, they are hoping, Elton) in a show hosted by Bob Bauer that will stream at udetroit.tv.
Bob, 58, was from St. Claires Shores and graduated from Lakeview High in 1974. Upon hearing of his bassist's August 15, 2012 death, Elton tweeted: "He was one of the greatest musicians I have ever worked with, and in all our years on the road he never played or sang a bad note."
Brian Pastoria of Harmonie Park/UDetroit grew up with Burch's cousins. "We hung out a lot, sharing great music and family time ... he was one of the nicest, kindest and most talented souls I ever met. Nobody knows or will ever understand the pain he had to endure since his near-fatal accident 17 years ago when he was hit by a truck while on tour in Montreal."
Anyone who wants to share memories of Bob can call +1-313-285-2020.