Jennifer Lopez was paid $1.5 million to perform at a private party for Turkmenistan's president Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who is essentially a dictator as he faces no real opposition in his elections, and also for executives of the China National Petroleum Corp., reports US Weekly and Reuters.
For 67 years, the Central Asian nation was part of the Soviet Union, and has been widely criticized for its lengthy list of human rights violations. The 43-year-old singer-actress and businesswoman even sang "Happy Birthday" to the dictator.
For this, Lopez herself has garnered considerable criticism. Her publicist, Mark Young, said, "The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended." However, Rachel Denbar, Human Rights Watch's deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, wasn't buying it, saying, "Just do a few Google clicks to look up their human rights record. It's hard to know why they gravitate toward these unsavory leaders. It's worth noting that these leaders want the public noticeability and prestige that these celebrities offer."WILL BOWIE TOUR?
After hitting No. 1 with his first album in a decade, "The Next Day," will 66-year-old David Bowie come out of retirement and actually tour behind the album? Apparently not, according to his longtime guitarist Earl Slick, who told Britain's New Musical Express (NME), there's no big secret we're keeping from everyone. There'll definitely be no shows this year, I can tell you that. As for next year, who knows? There's no conspiracy about a tour now, there just is no tour, and that's all I got for you."
Bowie's wife of two decades, model-actress Iman, generated a lot of excitement when she said to United Kingdom mag WENN shortly after the singer's comeback album was released in March that she and their daughter would be staying at home while he's on tour because the 12- year-old has to stay in school.
In other Bowie news, the Thin White Duke has been offered a role during the upcoming second season of NBC's thriller series, "Hannibal," according to E! News." Series creator Bryan Fuller confessed that he has offered Bowie the role of mass-murdering cannibal Hannibal Lechter's Uncle Robert. Thus far, Fuller hasn't heard back from him.LIST OF 100 GREATEST LPs... AND NO 'SGT. PEPPER!'
Best of lists and Worst of lists almost always draw praise, condemnation and discussion. But few may prove as controversial as the 100 Greatest Albums list released by the staff at Entertainment Weekly.
That's because not only didn't The Beatles' 1967 masterpiece, "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" make the Top 10, it didn't make the entire Top 100. That album that countless earlier polls have listed as the No. 1 greatest album of all time is nowhere to be found on this list.
So, what albums are on the list? Well, another Beatles album, and one that many actually feel is the band's best, 1966's "Revolver," is No. 1. The Fab Four have four that made it. The others are 1968's "White Album" (12), 1969's "Abbey Road" (22) and 1965's "Rubber Soul" (a disappointing 46).
Agree or disagree, here's Entertainment Weekly's Top 10, and it is diverse: "Revolver" (1), Prince's "Purple Rain" (2), The Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street" (3), Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (4), The Clash's "London Calling" (5), Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" (6), Aretha Franklin's "Lady Soul" (7), Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" (8), The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" (9) and Nirvana's "Nevermind" (10).
The Top 11 thru 20 are Joni Mitchell's "Blue" (11), "The White Album" (12), Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" (13), Johnny Cash's "At Folsom Prison" (14), Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" (15), Elvis Presley's 1999 2-CD best of collection, "Sunrise" (16), Adele's "21" (17), Paul Simon's "Graceland" (18), Al Green's "Call Me" (19) and The Rolling Stones' "Beggars Banquet."
A question: Are some of those albums in the Top 20 really greater than "Sgt. Pepper?"
The list has oodles of rap albums, including former Fugee Lauryn Hill's "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" (28), The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ready to Die" (31) and A Tribe Called Quest's "The Low End Theory" (52), as well as mega-popular CDs, including Tom Wait's "Rain Dogs" (85), Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" (87), Beyonce's "B'Day" (94) The Dixie Chicks' "Home" (96) and Queens of the Stone Ages' "Songs for the Deaf" (98), but are any of them truly greater than "Sgt. Pepper"? In 2013, are these the definition of the new bar, the new criteria, for the greatest recordings of all time?RICHIE HAVENS' ASHES TO BE SCATTERED AT WOODSTOCK FEST SITE
Folk singer Richie Havens is best known for his two-song appearance in "Woodstock," the 1970 Best Documentary Oscar-winner detailing the historic 1969 rock fest. Havens, who suffered a fatal heart attack in April at 72, opened the massive music festival, that drew an estimated 400,000, with a three-hour set that left him exhausted and drenched in sweat.
On Aug. 18, at the site of what was Max Yasgur's farm where the three-day event took place, Haven's ashes will be scattered at an event a statement on his website says will be "a day of song and remembrance." The event is free, but tickets will be required. Further details will be forthcoming.DYLAN'S HISTORY-MAKING ELECTRIC GUITAR TO BE AUCTIONED
On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan, then an acoustic guitar-playing folk deity, made music history at the Newport Folk Festival when he, after playing three solo acoustic tunes, for the first time plugged in an electric guitar and brought out an electric rock band, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band with organist-future Blood Sweat & Tears founder Al Kooper, as well as hotshot electric blues-rock guitarist Mike Bloomfield.
Dylan's electric set only lasted three songs, but it was unprecedented to that point. The fest was full of folk purists and many booed him. Stories differ, but one legend has it that Pete Seeger was heard to say that if he had an axe, he'd cut Dylan's microphone cable.
Afterward, upon hearing of his idol Seeger's quote, Dylan said that it was like a dagger in his heart and it made him want to go out and get drunk.
And Dylan's reaction to the booing? - he didn't play the Newport Fest for another 37 years.
However, the door had been opened and folk and rock and pop were blended as never before. Acts such as The Beatles and The Byrds took Dylan's lead and blended the sounds of the genres, taking these new sounds to the top of the charts.
The 1964 Fender Stratocaster with the sunburst finish that Dylan played during that landmark performance is going to up for auction later this year, according to Huffington Post. No other details are available. The guitar, owned by New Jersey resident Dawn Peterson, is expected to fetch at least $500,000. Also being sold are Dylan's handwritten lyrics to two songs from his classic 1966 album, "Blonde on Blonde," "Temporary Like Achilles" and the single, "Just Like a Woman," that Rolling Stone lists at No. 232 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Both lyric sheets are expected to sell in the $50,000 range.LIVER TRANSPLANT PATIENT LOU REED HOSPITALIZED
Less than two months after he received a liver transplant, 71- year-old former Velvet Underground leader Lou Reed was hospitalized for dehydration in his home town, East Hampton, New York, according to the New York Post.
However, the website Inquisitr says the man who took his 1972 song, "Walk on the Wild Side" to No. 16 here and No. 10 in Britain, was released a day later. At press time, neither Reed nor his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, had any comment.THE SEEKERS' SINGER JUDITH DURHAM RECOVERING
In May, Judith Durham, singer for Australian British Invasion band The Seekers ("Georgie Girl" and "I'll Never Find Another You"), suffered a stroke onstage during a concert with The Seekers in Melbourne. The band's guitarist and founding member Keith Potger writes on his Facebook page that the 69-year-old Durham is responding well to rehabilitation therapy.
"(Judith is) going well and resting comfortably. In good hands at the hospital and bright and chirpy when I chat with her, which is usually every couple of days. As before, she sends her humble and grateful thanks to all who send her good wishes and keep her in their prayers and/or thoughts."
The Australasian Performing Right Association's (APRA) Awards will be held in Melbourne on June 17. The band will receive the APRA Ted Albert Award for outstanding services to Australian music. While Potger is uncertain if Durham will be well enough to attend, he is hopeful that will be the case.NEW RELEASES
Among the recently released albums, digital reissues, MP3 downloads and deluxe box sets are "Live at the Fillmore '68" from San Francisco hippies David LaFlamme and his keyboardist wife, Linda, and their band It's A Beautiful Day includes their biggie, "White Bird;" and "The Lone Ranger: Wanted - Music Inspired From The Film" features tracks from Iggy Pop, Lucinda Williams, Iron & Wine, former Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin, Pogues singer Shane MacGowan and others.
A 3-CD import, "Dutch Woodstock 1970," features headliners Pink Floyd, as well as The Byrds, The Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, T- Rex, Country Joe, It's a Beautiful Day, Family, Santana, Al Stewart and more performing before 120,000 fans; the 25-track "Rare Rarer & Rarest" from singer David Clayton Thomas and Blood Sweat & Tears and a 45-track, 3-CD set, "Best of Pops," from conductor Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra.
"Everything's Gonna Be Alright: Singles 67-76," a 2-CD from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soul belter and songwriter Bobby Womack; a re- release of '50 s retro rock and rollers Sha Na Na's 1972 LP, "The Night Is Still Young;" a re-release of legendary jazz double- bassist Charles Mingus' 1960 LP, "Mingus at Antibes;" and a re- release of The Association's sixth LP, 1969's 2-LP, "The Association," that hit No. 32 at the time and its last studio album featuring guitarist Russ Giguere.
A 2-CD import, "Music Inspired by The Great Gatsby," includes songs from Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Al Jolson, Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra, Fletcher Henderson, tragic Roaring 20's cornet player Bix Biederbecke who died of alcoholism in 1931 at 28, and many others from the era; an import, "Here I Am - The Early Years" from Glen Campbell; a remastered 3-CD reissue of former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett's 1998 live set, "Tokyo Tapes;" and a 2-CD, "Dick's Picks Vol. 22 - Kings Beach Bowl, Kings Beach Lake Tahoe, CA 2/23-2/24/68," from The Grateful Dead.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Like, recommend or share the column on Facebook. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Apple Wants Samsung to Pay $22M for Patent Dispute Legal Bills
- Twitter Coming to Phones Without Internet
- NASA Fellowships, Scholarships Bring Diversity to Workforce
- Dish Network Leads 2013 Top 50 Advertisers List
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Jobs Report Brings Cheer As Unemployment Drops to Five-year Low
- Starbucks Gets Grinchy; No Gingerbread Lattes for Tampa Customers
- Entravision Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend
- Warner Bros. Unleashes 'Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug' Merchandise