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Watch Jackson's musical director, Michael Bearden, talk about his last evening with Jackson
So what was it really like working with Michael Jackson? What did Jackson say to him the night before he died?
Michael Bearden, the musical director for Jackson’s “This is It” tour, tells us in the clip below. As we noted in our review, Bearden is the only crew member who has regular conversations with Jackson instead of merely genuflecting every time he moon walks by.
Bearden, who is the musical director for George Lopez’s new talk show, “Lopez Tonight,” which launches Nov. 9, had worked with Jackson for the first time nearly 10 years ago. But MJ is far from the other superstar collaboration for Bearden, who has also worked with Madonna, Whitney Houston, Liza Minelli, Ricky Martin, D’Angelo and many others.
Bearden talks about auditioning for Jackson, 20-hour days planning the spectacular, emotionally reveals his last conversation with Jackson and the “tissue moments” putting together the film.
Songwriter's twee single lights up the charts
The song hits No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart this week, making it one of the most played tunes in the land (the chart also includes singles sales, which were 200,000 this week for “Fireflies.” I didn’t need a chart number to tell me that “Fireflies” is at No. 1 since I can’t spin the radio dial without hearing it on several different stations of varying formats at the same time…no matter what city I’m in.
The cloying song may be so diabetic-inducing, sugary sweet that it makes the Postal Service's music seem like heavy metal in comparison, but I give a little cheer every time I see the chart numbers because “Fireflies” has done something no song by a new artist has done in recent memory: Not only has the song spurred digital single sales, it has made fans go buy the album. For the last nine weeks, as the “Fireflies” mini-phenomenon has grown ever stronger, “Ocean Eyes” has continued to climb the Billboard 200. This week, for the first time, it broke into the Top 10, landing at No. 8. Take that, iTunes.
Since digital downloading took hold, we’ve seen massive radio hit after radio hit come and go and the artist—this is particularly true of rap and R&B acts—will sell one or two million digital downloads, but the CD will barely move the needle. As successful as Lady GaGa’s “The Fame” has been (it has SoundScanned 1.5 million copies), four No. 1s would have meant four or five million in CD sales only a few years ago.
First off, a little bit about Owl City: the band, like Five for Fighting, is really just one person. Owl City is 23-year old Adam Young, who says he made music in his basement during his bouts of insomnia, signed with Universal Music Group’s Universal Republic imprint after releasing two albums on his own. “Fireflies” features guest vocals by Reliant K’s Matt Thiessen.
“Strawberry Avalance,” the first single from “Ocean Eyes,” didn’t impact. We’ll see how next single, “Vanilla Twilight” fares.
It could be that “Fireflies” has such a life on its own, that it will never get out of the way for another single to take hold.
Even so, fans have bought into the whole Owl City gestalt and mystique and, therefore, are willing to plunk down money to buy the entire CD instead of only downloading the song. They’re investing in the artist, even though there's no tabloid scandal or romance attached to him, and that’s pretty rare these days and very heartening to see.
Owl City is also collecting some celebrity fans: Taylor Swift supposedly went to see Owl City at a club show in New York before the single was really taking off. She tweeted about how much she loved him and, according to a source, his album sales rose 22% that week--- attributable almost totally to Swift’s recommendation. Nice to have friends in high places.
Returning female fest announces initial slate of North American dates
Six months after Lilith Fair co-founder Terry McBride tweeted that the all-female festival will return after a decade-long hiatus, we still haven’t got an inkling about the line-up or the dates, but we do have cities that the tour will visit, so that’s a start. Initial stops in North America include Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York… in other words, the tour will be coming to all the major markets.
The new www.lilithfair.com site features footage of Sarah McLachlan singing “Angel” from the 1998 edition, so we don’t know if that’s a hint that she’ll be joining the new iteration or just an homage the fest’s charter member.
Does concert film honor Jackson's legacy?
As “This Is It” opens, words scroll up the screen in “Star Wars” fashion. It’s oddly fitting since in the last two decades, it often seemed as if the increasingly eccentric Michael Jackson came from a galaxy far far away.
[Editor's note: A contrary opinion from HitFix's Film Editor, Drew McWeeny.]
New clip helmed by 'Pirates of the Caribbean' EFX guy
Aye, matey! Norah Jones returns ready to shiver your timbers with the video for “Chasing Pirates,” the first single from her new album, “The Fall.”
Jones, living in an apartment far below her means (does she not know how many records she’s sold?) opens her dilapidated door to see another message in a bottle. This one contains a map of New York—or more likely New Amsterdam in pirate days. Before we know it, she’s asleep and is dreaming about sailing the high seas via the streets of Manhattan as she hoists the sales and navigates her apartment building past Central Park.
The plot (the only other person we see is someone for a few seconds only in a ship in a bottle) is as slight as the song, but Jones looks so adorable (she’s sporting a feisty, short new ‘do that really suits her) and seems to be having so much fun, that it seems downright petty to complain about the lack of a storyline.
Rich Lee, who worked on the special effects for the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, directed “Chasing Pirates,” and gives the clip its dreamy, atmospheric feel.Where's Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow when you need him?
Denver duo finds bliss in the fountain of love
Those fun-loving boys in 3Oh!3 have found a new playmate in Katy Perry for their video for “Starstrukk,” an infectious ditty in the playful vein of the duo’s big hit “Don’t Trust Me.”
Like that platinum-certified single, “Starstrukk” features spoken-word verses and catchy sing-along choruses.
Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte sing about certain female charms (two in particular) that drive them wild, as women, with said assets bouncing, run towards them in a frenzy. It would seem the lasses have fallen under an innocent spell cast when a girl tossed a coin in a fountain. Lots and lots of silicone-enhanced jiggling ensues as the boys can’t believe their luck.
Then Perry baths in the fountain, driving the boys crazy, just as they have been making the good girls go bad. And small wonder… Perry looks sizzling hot splashing around in a leather dress. It’s not easy to look sexy and adorable at the same time, but Perry pulls it off.
Watch until the end to see if Foreman and Motte are the luckiest men in the world or was it all just a dream.
Singer's behavior raises eyebrows as she lowers her top
Also, new stuff from Sting, Wolfmother, Rod Stewart and even -- gulp -- Creed
Will Michael Jackson make its stay short lived?