Early in the morning of December 17, 2013, three all but unannounced digital-only compilations were quietly released. So quietly, in fact, that at first there were concerns that they might only be available for a few hours, which caused a rush on downloads that strained the servers at iTunes and Amazon. Why all the sudden hubbub? Because these compilations consisted of ultra-rare and mostly previously unreleased (even in bootleg circles) recordings made in 1963 by The Beatles, Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, and the collective geniuses at Motown Records.
The reason they came out in the waning days of 2013 is down to the vagaries of copyright law. A recent change in European copyright law extends the copyright period of recordings from 50 to 70 years, but only if the recordings in question are commercially released; otherwise, copyright expires 50 years after the songs were recorded. In other words, these songs would have gone into the public domain yesterday morning if they hadn't been commercially released: now the copyrights are good until the end of 2083.
The reason for the digital-only, unheralded releases is that the material in question is really aimed at the most hardcore fans: there's nothing particularly revelatory on any of the sets in terms of fantastic buried gems. That said, each has its own fascinations. The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 starts off with early studio run-throughs of familiar songs which are mostly of interest to hardcore studio nerds listening for lyrical changes or different instrumental riffs. But the bulk of the 59-track (!!!) set consists of live BBC sessions that capture the band at their most infectious and energetic.
The 22-track anthology of early Brian Wilson productions, The Big Beat 1963, finds the mercurial genius right at the point where he's learning how to command the recording studio; by 1964, this will result in deathless pop classics like "The Warmth of the Sun" and "I Get Around." But while these experiments with The Beach Boys, The Honeys (a vocal trio featuring Brian's girlfriend Marilyn Rovell), and others have their moments, they're mostly juvenilia, throwbacks to the '50s rock that inspired Wilson rather than portents to the gorgeously complex pop symphonies he was about to start writing.
The 52-track Motown 1963 Unreleased follows up on five different collections of 1962 rarities that came out in late 2012, including separate discs of unreleased jazz and gospel sessions. Unlike the rough and ready demos and outtakes on the Beatles and Wilson collections, the fabled Motown assembly line created these finished radio-ready mixes that for various reasons didn't make Berry Gordy's final cut. To be fair, Marvin Gaye's "Talking 'Bout the Limbo" would have done his career no favors, and songs like R. Dean Taylor's abashed-stalker anthem "Respectable Distance Away" even now sound too weird to get within sniffing distance of the charts. But they all sound amazing in that classic early-Motown style.
As the years go on, look for these download-only fan releases to officially become A Thing. Capitol Records already seems to be surprised at how well The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 has done: even retailing at a hefty $39.99, the set sold over 7000 copies its first week, making it onto the Billboard album charts at #172. Not bad for an album that's basically just a legal maneuver. To real Beatles diehards, this means only one thing: in 2017, Capitol will release the fabled "Carnival of Light," a legendary 14-minute psychedelic experiment that has long been the holy grail of Beatles collectors.
This week’s horror-com Piranha 3DD promises horror, comedy, and lots of really big boobs, if the 3DD in the title is any indication. Plus: bizarre deaths. That latter element — and the prospect of David Hasselhoff being involved — is the main reason for our excitement, and it got us thinking about other unconventional deaths on the big screen. Read on to see our favorites — and watch the horrendous action go down! But note: Although most clips are of the very, very funny nature, some are actually disturbing, especially for fans of His Prettiness, Brad Pitt.
The Wicker Man: Bees
A Nic Cage scene would find its way onto any list of oddities, but we’re all fortunate that what might be his most bizarre scene ever just so happens to be of the death variety. The clip below must be watched in its entirety; there are unintentionally hilarious gifts bestowed throughout, including but not limited to his death by bees.
NEXT: An embarrassing way to go
Jurassic Park: On the Toilet
Everyone expects a little privacy in the bathroom, but worst-case scenario, someone opens the door and nothing more than pride is damaged. Not the case for Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero), who is picked up by a hungry, pissed-off, lawyer-hating T. Rex.
NEXT: Death, Farrelly brothers-style
Dumb & Dumber: Hot Peppers
This is one list the Farrelly brothers probably never thought they’d wind up on when they concocted a scene in which title dummies Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) accidentally prank-kill a kidnapper (Mike Starr) with hot peppers and rat poison. They probably thought the other brothers, the Coens, would be more likely to wind up here. Well, gotcha!
NEXT: The obligatory Tarantino entry
Pulp Fiction: Accidental Gunshot
There aren’t too many conventional deaths in Quentin Tarantino movies: We probably won’t ever watch an elderly character die of natural causes in his sleep. The most bizarre for our money, though, happens in the writer-director’s masterpiece, when John Travolta’s Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin (Phil LaMarr) in the brain after Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) drives too fast over a bump. Oopsies! Hey, it happens to the best of us.
NEXT: Speaking of Sam Jackson...
Deep Blue Sea: Shark Attack
There are a ton of classic lines and scenes from Samuel L. Jackson’s ridiculously prolific career; it’s somewhat disappointing — but understandable — that “I have had it with these motherf**king snakes on this motherf**king plane!” and his ritualistic, bible-quoting monologue from Pulp Fiction continue to overshadow his laugh-out-loud ridiculous death scene in Deep Blue Sea, in which he gets eaten by a genetically engineered shark and screams gloriously. Well, let’s change that!
NEXT: The Brits do it better
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Flying Bunny
Leave it to the Monty Python gang to inject death with a cocktail of slapstick, irreverence, and hilarity. It’s safe to say that no other movie character has ever been decapitated via flying bunny; it’s also safe to say that this is the funniest, if not most bizarre, death scene in cinematic history. See also: The Meaning of Life, in which Terry Jones fatally eats a mint.
NEXT: The great 'Alien' spoof
Spaceballs: Dancing Alien
Alien had the disturbing “chestburger” scene, in which a little monster springs from John Hurt’s chest and darts across the room. Its spoof, Spaceballs, has pretty much the same thing, with the same actor(!), only this alien throws on a top hat and performs the hell out of “Hello, My Baby.” Both work on this list, but comedy wins out, at least for us. A very close runner-up in the otherworldly-lifeforms-popping-out-of-chests department is Kuato from Total Recall.
NEXT: Brad Pitt gets hit
Meet Joe Black: Cars
Brad Pitt plays Death, and cars play Ping-Pong with his body in what many consider to be the best scene of Meet Joe Black. Which isn’t meant as a compliment. It’s worth noting that this scene might not be considered so bizarre if it wasn’t the umpteen-time Sexiest Man Alive getting run over in uber-violent fashion and/or it wasn’t preceded by said pretty A-lister daydreaming in the middle of a city street with a “romantic longing” score playing in the background. But it is.
NEXT: The franchise ABOUT bizarre deaths
Final Destination Franchise: Any Death
By nature, virtually every death throughout the entire Final Destination series must be of the bizarre persuasion; otherwise, the movies would be utterly unwatchable instead of just laughably awful. One of our recent faves? Nick Zano’s disembowelment at the, uh, hands of a pool drain in 2009’s The Final Destination. If we had a nickel for every time we've heard one of those stories…
NEXT: Humans aren't the only creatures to die in bizarre fashion
Nonhumans aren’t immune to dying bizarrely on the big screen, as we saw in this 1984 Steven Spielberg-produced blockbuster — in which the titular monsters are fatally stabbed, pureed, and, most awesomely, microwaved… in the same scene.
NEXT: Rose McGowan's gonna need a bigger dog door.
Scream: Garage Door
We all knew Wes Craven’s meta-horror comedy would serve up at least one bizarre death scene. Ultimately, there were several, but our favorite is the one in which Rose McGowan’s unsuspecting bombshell Tatum Riley is snuffed out by the garage door — courtesy of “Mr. Ghostface.” And the dog flap.
Piranha 3DD Star Katrina Bowden Talks Gross-Out Scenes and David Hasselhoff Cameo
Limp Bizkit's lead singer Fred Durst, on Launch.com, about working with U2's Bono on the "new school" rock version of the Marvin Gaye cover "What's Going On":
"Bono did his vocals this morning from France over the Internet, and it sounds unf--king believable!! The man is a living legend. He has really tapped into the pulse of the world. It's crazy for me to get calls at my home from 'Bono from U2.' It's like, 'Hello,' 'Hello Fred, It's Bono.' (Holy sh-t.) 'Hey Bono, did you like the track?'. 'It's so real, I hope you like what I did in the bridge' (He hopes I like what he did?) 'I'm sure it's off the hook...' (He then plays me his vocals over the phone) 'Oh my God Bono, it's absolutely perfect,' and that it was!! I can't believe how good the man is."
Brolin and Driver to wed
Jews are angry
Smile, Mrs. Dirty Harry
Moore birthday bash
Pryor turns street
Beastie Boys are back
Brando takes ill
Brolin and Driver to wed
Actor Josh Brolin (Hollowman, The Mod Squad) and actress Minnie Driver (Return To Me, Good Will Hunting) are engaged to be wed, People magazine reports.
This is the third wedding for Brolin, who was married previously to Deborah Adair. Brolin's first wife, Jane, died in 1995. Brolin has two children, Trevor, 12, and Eden, 8.
This will be the first trip down the aisle for Driver, who previously dated Matt Damon and John Cusack.
Brolin -- son of famed actor James Brolin and stepson of Barbra Streisand -- and Driver became romantically involved when they costarred in Slow Burn.
"It's obvious they are very much in love," Danny McKeever, Brolin's auto-racing instructor, told reporters.
No wedding date has been set yet, People reported.
Comic strip "BC" defames Jews, says Jewish group
The Simon Weisenthal Center, a nonprofit Jewish civil rights organization, is asking newspapers that carry the syndicated comic strip BC not to run Sunday's cartoon.
The strip portrays a Menorah, a Jewish symbol, in the first panel, under a quote by Jesus: "Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do." Succeeding panels then show the Menorah morphing into a cross, with more of Jesus' last words atop each panel. The final panel's quote, "Do this in remembrance of me," frames a picture of a cave, presumably Jesus' final resting place.
The founder and director of the Weisenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Heir, said that newspapers have a duty not to run the strip, as it describes Judaism being "subsumed" or encompassed by Christianity, Reuters reported. The strip "will promote hatred rather than tolerance and diversity," Heir said.
A statement released by Johnny Hart, creator of BC, defends his work, saying that during a week that is holy for both Christians and Jews this year, he was trying to honor both.
The Simon Weisenthal Center, located in Los Angeles, is named in memory of Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal.
Dirty Harry's wife on "Camera"
Smile, you're on Candid Camera.
Dina Ruiz Eastwood, wife of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, will be saying that more often, having joined Candid Camera's team as the show's co-host.
Starting with the new fall season, Eastwood will co-anchor the show with Peter Funt, The Associated Press reports. Eastwood will take over for Suzanne Sommers, former star of Three's Company.
The Eastwoods, who appeared together in True Crime, have been married since 1996. Prior to taking her new gig as Camera's co-host, Eastwood was a news anchor for KSBW-TV (NBC) in Salinas, Calif. Prior to taking the gig as Camera's co-host, Eastwood was a news anchor for KSBW-TV (NBC) in Salinas, Calif.
Candid Camera airs Sunday evenings on Pax TV.
Former "Survivor" contestant gives deposition
America hasn't heard the last from the first season's cast members of the TV hit Survivor.
As part of ex-cast member Stacy Stillman's $70,000 lawsuit against CBS, fellow South Pacific islander Dirk Been delivered a videotaped deposition -- six hours in length -- to lawyers, according to a report by People magazine. Been's deposition will remain under wraps due to confidentiality agreements that each cast member signs before taping begins.
Stillman contends that the TV series rigged the vote that kicked her off the island. Stillman reportedly asked the questions during Been's deposition.
"We're very pleased with what Dirk said today," Donald Yates, Stillman's lawyer, told the New York Post.
For its part, CBS filed a counter-suit against Stillman, claiming she broke her nondisclosure agreement when she brought her suit against Survivor last February.
Moore to celebrate birthday with TV bash
To celebrate Dudley Moore's 66th birthday, his family and friends are throwing him a small party -- at Carnegie Hall.
Michael Caine and Julie Andrews will chair the televised event, An All-Star Tribute To Dudley Moore, People magazine reports. Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Walters, Amy Irving, Lauren Bacall, Eric Idle, Chevy Chase, Jimmy Fallon and Bo Derek are scheduled to give praise in person, while Robin Williams and John Cleese have taped video messages for Moore.
Dudley Moore, star of such films as 10, Arthur, and the original Bedazzled, suffers from a rare brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a relative of Parkinson's disease. The ailment has severely limited Moore's ability to work as Moore is confined to his wheelchair. Moore has curtailed his public appearances.
Net proceeds from the evening go to two of Moore's pet charities, Music for All Seasons and the Dudley Moore Research Fund for PSP. The tribute will take place on Monday.
Pryor's name to headline street sign in Illinois
Peoria, Ill., will try for the second time to honor hometown hero, comedian Richard Pryor, USA Today reports.
Peoria City Council members rejected on March 27 the renaming of South Sheridan Street in honor of Pryor, but that apparently did not sit well with certain council members. The proposal has reappeared on the docket, and the council will once again vote on the matter in two weeks.
Councilman Eric Turner said that the city has received a black eye for failing to honor Pryor. According to Turner, he and Pryor were childhood friends while growing up on the south side of Peoria.
Pryor is a controversial choice for such an honor, given his past penchant for profanity-filled routines and his well-documented battles with drugs. In 1980, Pryor nearly killed himself accidentally in a fire related to his freebasing cocaine.
Pryor, currently living in California, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.
Beastie Boys' Grand Royal reappears
Out of print since 1997, the Beastie Boys' cult magazine Grand Royal has been licensed by Harper Collins to reappear in the guise of a coffee-table book. The book would comprise the best of the old magazines and incorporate fresh new articles, according to a story filed by online portal Yahoo!
The Beastie Boys produced just six editions of Grand Royal, from 1993 to 1997, which were all instant hits. The magazine, which linked skateboarding and politics and music and pop culture, sold out three of the six print runs. The magazine featured articles with then-obscure musicians, such as a Kid Rock interview in the fourth edition.
According to the report, Josh Behar, a senior editor at Harper Collins, said that the Beastie Boys "really love this project. Their dedication is amazing." Beastie Boy Mike D is working closely with Behar to finish the book. The book is scheduled to appear in bookstores in April 2002.
Actor Steve Buscemi reportedly knifed in fight
Actor Steve Buscemi has flown from the North Carolina set of Domestic Disturbance to his home in New York to recover from knife wounds, according to The Associated Press.
Police arrested a local man and will charge him for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill after allegedly stabbed Buscemi in the head, throat, and arms, AP said. Buscemi was released from a local hospital and flew home to recuperate.
The fight happened early Thursday at the Firebelly Lounge, a local bar, in Wilmington, N.C.
Domestic Disturbance costar Vince Vaughn also was arrested for his alleged involvement in the fight. AP said Vaughn was trying to come to the aid of Buscemi.
Buscemi's agents, the William Morris Agency, said they had no information at this time. Domestic Disturbance's studio, Paramount Pictures, refused to comment.
John Travolta and Teri Polo also star in the film.
Marlon Brando hospitalized
Screen legend Marlon Brando, 77, has reportedly been hospitalized for pneumonia, days before he was due to shoot the opening scene for the upcoming comedy Scary Movie 2 this week.
The actor is said to be undergoing treatment at a Los Angeles-area hospital. Neither Brando's agent, Dimension Films nor Scary Movie 2 producer Brillstein-Grey Entertainment have commented on details about his illness, or how long he is expected to be in the hospital.
The filmmakers still want Brandon to be in the film and, even though production wraps this month, his scenes could still be filmed after he recovers, according to Variety.
Scary Movie 2 is the sequel to last year's summer blockbuster directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. It costars Chris Elliot, Tim Curry, Tori Spelling and Andy Richter.
The sequel, also directed by Wayans, is due in theaters for the July 4 holiday weekend.
Brando's next project is working alongside Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton in the crime drama The Score.