<p>Paul Williams</p>

Paul Williams

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Paul Williams thanks Daft Punk for 'calling us geezers'

Calls the Grammy-winning duo 'courageous'

Ever since Daft Punk nabbed the Grammy for Album of the Year on Sunday, Paul Williams has been in the news, mainly from people wondering who is the 73-year old songwriter who spoke about sobriety and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love” performance when he served as the mouthpiece during Daft Punk’s acceptance speech.

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Credit: AP Photo

Ed Sheeran, The Band Perry, Miguel on remake of Elton's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'

What does Sir Elton think of the new versions?

All the young acts love Elton: Ed Sheeran, The Band Perry, Emile Sande and Miguel are among the artists who will appear on a covers version of Elton John’s seminal “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

The album, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, will be reissued on March 25 on CD, vinyl, limited-edition yellow vinyl and in a box set featuring lots of goodies, including “Live at Hammersmith 1973” on CD, and a 100-page hardback book with new interviews with John and co-writer Bernie Taupin.

The deluxe and box set versions will include the Covers disc.  Peter Asher produced the new versions and matched the artists, which also include Fall Out Boy, Hunter Hayes, and Fall Out Boy, with the songs. Surprisingly missing is John’s good pal, Lady Gaga.

I talked to John about the set a few months ago and he’s thrilled with the results. “The country versions by Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry and Zac Brown are just so beautiful,” he said. The Band Perry perform a bluegrass version of “Grey Seal” that wowed John, “and Hunter Hayes probably has one of the best voices in the world, so it’s been great to have those younger people on there.”

Around the time of the “Yellow Brick Road” release, John will be coming to 500 theaters in the U.S. via the release of “The Million Dollar Piano,” a theatrical showing of his Las Vegas show. It will play two night theatrically: March 18 and March 26.

Below is the line-up for the covers version of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”: 

1. Ed Sheeran - Candle In The Wind
2. Miguel featuring Wale - Bennie And The Jets
3. Hunter Hayes - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
4. The Band Perry - Grey Seal
5. John Grant - Sweet Painted Lady
6. Emeli Sandé - All The Girls Love Alice
7. Imelda May - Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock And Roll)
8. Fall Out Boy - Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting 
9. Zac Brown Band - Harmony


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Justin Bieber playfully flirts over snacks in 'Confident' video, featuring Chance the Rapper
Credit: Island/RBMG/Schoolboy

Justin Bieber playfully flirts over snacks in 'Confident' video, featuring Chance the Rapper

Are 'Confident' and 'scantily clad' the same thing?

Bless Justin Bieber and the peach fuzz on his upper lip. In his new video for “Confident,”  featuring Chance the Rapper, he dances in those ridiculous baggy jeans that sag to his knees, and wears a necklace that, instead of looking like cool bling, looks like he stole it from his grandma’s jewelry box when she wasn’t looking. And her sweater too.

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<p>Kendrick Lamar</p>

Kendrick Lamar

Credit: AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

Kendrick Lamar responds to Macklemore about Grammy defeat

'The universe comes back around,' says the rapper

Kendrick Lamar has responded to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Macklemore about the duo’s “The Heist” nabbing the Grammy for Best Rap Album over Lamar’s heavily favored “”Good Kid, M.A.A.D City." His basic message:  No sweat.

As you may recall, after snagging four Grammys, including Best New Artist, on Sunday night, Macklemore instagrammed a text that he’d sent to Lamar, telling Lamar that he had been robbed, and that “Good Kid” should have won best rap album over “The Heist.” 

In subsequent days, Macklemore has been applauded for calling it as he saw it, while others have been less charitable, saying he should give back the award if he doesn’t feel he and Ryan Lewis (who’s been silent on the whole thing) deserve it or he shouldn’t have spoken up at all since the duo won the award fair and square.

XXL asked Lamar about the matter in New York Tuesday and Lamar had nothing but good things to say about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s victory in three out of the four rap categories:  “It’s well deserved; he did what he did, man,” Lamar said. “He went out there and hustled and grinder. Everything happens for a reason the universe comes back around, that’s how it go.”

Lamar’s comments also seem open to interpretation. Is he saying the Macklemore worked hard and, therefore, he was worthy of the award or is he implying the Macklemore simply lobbied harder  to win and this was the result?


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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: Alexandra Wyman/Invision for Universal Music Group/AP Images

Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' rides into the winner's circle as top song in the land

What other song with 'horse' in the title has reached No. 1?

Katy Perry snags her ninth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as “Dark Horse,” featuring Juicy J, trots into the top spot, rising 2-1.

This marks the third consecutive No. 1 by a makeshift co-ed duo, following Eminem and Rhianna with “The Monster,” and Pitbull & Ke$ha, which Perry and Juicy J push aside.  “Timber” falls 1-2, while “The Monster” stays at No. 5.

Perry’s feat puts her in a tie with five other artists for 10th place for most No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 (The Beatles are No. 1 with 20, followed by Mariah Carey with 18).

“Dark Horse” is Perry’s second No. 1 from “Prism,” following “Roar.” We’ll see if she can match the five No. 1s she scored from “Teenage Dream.” That achievement tied Michael Jackson’s “Bad” for the Most No. 1s from a single album.

Billboard supplied the following fun fact: “Dark Horse” is only the second song to reach No. 1 with “horse” in the title. Can you think of the other one? I’ll post it at the end of this piece.

OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” remains at No. 3, while A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s “Say Something” stays at No. 4.

Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” featuring 2 Chainz, is the only new entry into the top 10, soaring 15-6, giving Derulo his fourth Top 10 and first since 2010.

Passenger’s “Let Her Go”  falls 6-7 (though it may get a boost from its usage in Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial), Lorde’s “Team” hangs out at No. 8, followed by “Royals, which slides 7-9. Bastille’s “Pompeii” is at No. 10 for a second week.

*The other song to go to No. 1 with "horse" in the title? America's "A Horse With No Name" in 1972. Did you get it right? 

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Bruce Springsteen pays moving tribute to 'hero' Pete Seeger in concert

Who will fill Seeger's shoes?

Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to Pete Seeger during his concert in Cape Town last night.

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<p>Katy Perry at The Beatles' Grammy tribute for CBS</p>

Katy Perry at The Beatles' Grammy tribute for CBS

Credit: AP Photo

Katy Perry, Dave Grohl, Imagine Dragons, Pharrell star in Beatles tribute

Salute to the Fab Four, featuring Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, is a fun ticket to ride

LOS ANGELES—Even before Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took the stage Monday night to close out the taping of “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles,” the audience had already gotten nearly three hours of tasty Fab Four covers by some of today’s top artists.

The CBS special, which airs Feb. 9, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It airs a half-century later —to the day and time— of that momentous occasion. The country was still mourning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the excitement over the Beatles is credited with helping lift the  nation’s collective spirit.

{SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know about the artists on the program)

The taping at the Los Angeles Convention Center kicked off with footage of The Beatles playing “All My Loving” on the Sullivan show and all the attendant screaming girls (Fun Fact: The Sullivan show used a fifth camera, focused solely on the audience, for the first time. Plus, the crowd was so loud, none of the cameramen could hear the director so their shots were by guess work and memory from the rehearsals).
The Beatles performance segued into Maroon 5, dressed in similar black suits and skinny ties as the four lads, finishing the song.

Hosted by Grammy go-to guy LL Cool J, the show interspersed classic Beatles footage and short bios on John, Paul, George and Ringo with new interpretations of the Beatle classics. As is usually the case, some versions worked better than other: The Eurythmics’ take on “Fool On the Hill,”  Stevie Wonder’s funkified “We Can Work It Out,” John Mayer and Keith Urban’s rooftop re-creation of “Don’t Let Me Down,” and Alicia Keys and John Legend’s “Let It Be” were stand outs. Katy Perry’s “Yesterday” hit all the right emotional notes, although her voice would have been better suited for “Penny Lane” or something more upbeat. Pharrell Williams seemed the wrong fit for “Here Comes the Sun,” although Brad Paisley’s guitar work on the tune was, as always, stellar. Imagine Dragons took the biggest risk: restyling “Revolution” as if channeling Elvis Presley, sitting on four stools, clad in black leather, complete with Scotty Moore-type guitar licks.
The production values greatly enhanced the performances, with each act playing before an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colorful images: some familiar from Beatles’ movies, such as “Yellow Submarine,” and some brand new, but just as entertaining.

Ken Ehrlich, who executive produced the show (he also helms the Grammys), kept the taping moving quickly. During any downtime, clips from Beatles movies, such as “Help” and “A Hard Day’s Night” made things lively…though those were most likely for the benefit of the studio audience and won’t make the two-hour special.

The special included taped interviews with four “Sullivan Show” staffers, recounting in glorious detail the Beatles appearances (they made three) . The oral history is endearing, informative, and wildly entertaining, especially from Vince Calandra, who found himself filling in for a sick George Harrison during rehearsals.

Both Starr and McCartney, looking tremendously healthy and spry,  performed mini-sets on their own before joining together for “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Hey Jude” (with Starr on drums).
Whether you were born when the Beatles appeared on “Sullivan” or have only heard about it from your parents, the CBS special brings it all back alive in a way that will have you diving into the Beatles catalog as soon as the show is over.

Below is a rundown of the performances. Clearly, some of them (probably some of Starr and McCartney’s tunes) will have to be cut for the two-hour running time, but will hopefully be included in what is sure to be a forthcoming DVD of the event.

“All My Loving” (partial) – Maroon 5
“Ticket to Ride” – Maroon 5
“Don’t Let Me Down” – John Mayer and Keith Urban
“In My Life” – Ed Sheeran
“Let It Be” – Alicia Keys and John Legend
“Revolution” – Imagine Dragons
“Yesterday” – Katy Perry
“Fool on the Hill” – Eurythmics
“Here Comes the Sun” -- Brad Paisley and Pharrell Williams
“Hey Bulldog” --- Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne
“Something” –  Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, and Dhani Harrison
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr. , and Dave Grohl (on drums)
“We Can Work It Out” – Stevie Wonder
“Matchbox” – Ringo Starr
“Boys” – Ringo Starr
“Yellow Submarine” – Ringo Starr
“Magical Mystery Tour” – Paul McCartney
“Birthday” – Paul McCartney
“Get Back” – Paul McCartney
"I Saw Her Standing There" -- Paul McCartney
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”/”With a Little Help From My Friends” – Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
“Hey Jude” – Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (on drums)

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<p>Madonna on the red carpet for the Grammys this weekend</p>

Madonna on the red carpet for the Grammys this weekend

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Madonna to join Miley Cyrus for 'Unplugged' taping

MTV episode airs Wednesday night

Maybe they’ll twerk together.

Madonna will join Miley Cyrus at the taping of the “Wrecking Ball” singer’s “MTV Unplugged” today (28), according to E!. The special airs Wednesday (29) at 9 p.m.

The pair were spotted at a Hollywood soundstage on Monday rehearsing, although it is unknown which song they will do together. Maybe they can then marry all the couples in the audience... Oops, wrong show.

Like all episodes of “Unplugged,” the episode will highlight Cyrus’ material in a primarily acoustic reinvention, so get ready for “We Can’t Stop” as a slowed-down ballad (which we’ve already seen her do quite effectively). “The ‘Unplugged’ stage will serve as the perfect platform for [Cyrus] to show viewers what inspires and ignite her music and her passions,” MTV said in a statement.

What song do you hope Miley and Madge perform together?


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Kylie Minogue slinks through new lyric video for 'Into the Blue': Watch
Credit: Warner Bros. Records

Kylie Minogue slinks through new lyric video for 'Into the Blue': Watch

Check out the track listing for her new album

Kylie Minogue, whose new album, “Kiss Me Once” will come out  March 18, shows she still has it in the lyric video for first single, dreamy dance track,“Into the Blue.” She frolics in the background as the words scroll across.

Minogue, who is a coach on the U.K. version of “The Voice,” released the track listing for “Kiss Me Once.”  And if the titles such as “Sexy Love,” “Sexercize,” and “Feels So Good,” are any indication, we’re in for a fun, flirty set.

Among the producers on the album, her first since 2010’s “Aphrodite,” are Pharrell and Greg Kurstin.

Kiss Me Once track listing

1. Into The Blue
2. Million Miles
3. I Was Gonna Cancel
4. Sexy Love
5. Sexercize
6. Feels So Good
7. If Only
8. Les Sex
9. Kiss Me Once
10. Beautiful
11. Fine
Bonus Tracks
12. Mr President
13. Sleeping With The Enemy



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<p>The cover the new Afghan Whigs album</p>

The cover the new Afghan Whigs album

Credit: SubPop

Afghan Whigs set to release first new album in 16 years

'Do to the Beast' reunites band with SubPop

The Afghan Whigs, who have already been announced as headliners at this year’s Coachella, will release their first album in 16 years on April 15….That should make tax day a little less painful.

Do To The Beast” will reunite the Greg Dulli-led band with SubPop, its home for such releases as 1990’s “Up In It” and 1992’s “Congregation.” The group’s last new studio release was “1965,” on Columbia Records, which came out in 1998, three years before the band broke up. They reunited in 2012 for live shows.

The band has posted a logo for the album, which looks quite scary indeed, on its website.

Bob Odenkirk broke the news on Twitter when the actor/comedian posted a photo of Dulli and himself, adding, “The great Greg Dulli, of whom I am a fan, tells me new Afghan Whigs album coming soon. 1st in 16 years! Kickass.” 

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