Songwriter and musician Don Lanier has died at the age of 78. The Texas native passed away last week (23Jul14).
Lanier began his lengthy career as a guitarist in Jimmy Bowen's Rhythm Orchids band and teamed up with singer Buddy Knox to record his hit song Party Doll.
He went on to pen tunes like Hula Love and I'm Stickin' With You for Knox and later wrote tracks for the likes of the Everly Brothers, Dean Martin and soul man Ray Charles, who scored a hit with 1967's Here We Go Again.
His work was also included on George Strait's Holding My Own album, Glen Campbell's The Last Time I Saw Her record and Nancy Sinatra's Nancy.
Lanier worked as an A&R man at MCA in his later years and helped to boost the careers of clients including Reba McEntire, Strait and Loretta Lynn.
Musician Melissa Etheridge wed her partner Linda Wallem in an intimate ceremony in California on Saturday (31May14). The singer serenaded the Nurse Jackie creator as she walked down the aisle in front of their celebrity friends, including Rosie O'Donnell and Chelsea Handler at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito.
A source tells People.com, "It was such a magical moment."
Etheridge's four kids, Bailey, Beckett, Miller and Johnnie, all participated in the ceremony.
Before exchanging vows, Etheridge uploaded a snap of the sandals she was wearing on her big day, writing, "A gorgeous, perfect, beautiful day to get married. #shoesonlylove."
The rocker announced plans to wed her partner, who she has dated since 2010, after U.S. High Court officials overturned California's Proposition 8 bill, which outlawed gay marriage, last year (13).
She said, "It is about family and I love my four kids. I called my now-fiancee. I'm looking forward to marrying my partner of three years... I'm going to get married in the state of California... Love is love and America is beautiful... I'm proud to be an American."
Etheridge split from her former partner, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, in 2010.
Veteran British singer Dame Vera Lynn has outed herself as an unlikely fan of blonde bombshell Dolly Parton. The Forces' Sweetheart, 97, is famous for wartime anthems such as We'll Meet Again and (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover, but she has confessed to having a soft spot for the country legend.
Lynn even insists there are many unexpected similarities between the pair, telling Britain's The Guardian newspaper, "I've liked country music for as long as I can remember, especially the songs of Dolly Parton.
"Her lyrics are similar to mine: simple, expressive, from the heart. Our voices are in the same kind of register, too. And, like me, Dolly sings with clear diction. Of course, we dress differently and our accents are poles apart, but Dolly's songs - and those of other country singers - have always seemed like a natural fit for me."
Top Brits Andrew Garfield and Chris Martin shared a passionate clinch as part of a U.S. TV Spider-Man skit on Saturday night (03May14). Saturday Night Live host Garfield and Coldplay frontman Martin, the show's musical guest, locked lips as the singer attempted to show the actor and his real-life and movie girlfriend Emma Stone how to kiss as they prepared for a fictional Spider-Man scene.
Excited Stone puckered up for the test smooch and mocked surprise and disappointment when Martin demonstrated with her boyfriend instead of her.
The rocker even donned a blonde wig as he held Garfield in his arms and said, "Now you listen to me, you beautiful spidery man, with great power comes great responsibility and our responsibility right now is to make sweet, sweet love. So why don't you go ahead and show me that beautiful tongue."
As the actor resisted, Martin said, "Come on, come to papa!"
The actress also appeared at the top of the show, joining Garfield for his monologue on his SNL debut, offering her beau some hosting advice.
The Brit showed off his comedy skills on the show by portraying a camera-hogging Justin Timberlake in an 'all-star' version of game show Family Feud and a man on the run from "The Beygency" for criticising Beyonce at a dinner party in a skit that also featured 24 co-stars Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
Sutherland revealed his Jack Bauer character was also on the run after having a tattoo of Rihanna inked on his chest.
Singer Marianne Faithfull was threatened with a lawsuit by writer Lynn Barber following their infamous clash during an interview after the veteran pop star claimed the reporter asked if she had ever had sex with a dog. Barber caused a storm in 2001 over an in-depth chat with Faithfull in which she exposed diva-like behaviour in a restaurant and revealed the meeting ended with the singer's manager "screaming insults" at the journalist.
Barber has now penned a book about her writing career and she reveals the infamous Faithfull interview had "a strange afterlife" because she later threatened the star with legal action over her account of their meeting.
The writer accuses Faithfull of spreading a rumour that Barber grilled her about bestiality, and the reporter threatened to sue for libel if Faithfull repeated the claim.
Barber writes, "The interview had a strange afterlife... She expanded this (questioning) to claim that I'd asked if she'd ever had sex with a dog. I did what? It would never occur to me in a million years to ask if she'd had sex with a dog, because it would never occur to me in a million years that she might have had sex with a dog. Where would I get such an idea?...
"I was pretty annoyed but I thought, 'Oh well, she's batty' and left it at that. But then she repeated it in another interview and it was in danger of becoming an accepted fact. So I wrote to the editor and said they must print a correction and warn Faithfull that if she ever said it again I would sue her for libel. That might sound a bit heavy, but it could seriously damage my career if people thought I went around asking if they had sex with dogs."
Veteran singer Dame Vera Lynn is set to release a new album at the age of 97. The Forces' Sweetheart, who celebrates her 97th birthday on Thursday (20Mar14), has announced plans to release a new collection containing more than 40 of her tracks and some previously unreleased songs.
Lynn says, "I think it's wonderful that my songs are still enjoyed, especially if it encourages people to commemorate what happened 70 years ago. It's moving for me to relive those days, and humbling to know that people still think of me - after all, it was simply my duty to keep singing."
Vera Lynn: National Treasure - The Ultimate Collection is set to be released on 2 June (14), just four days after the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the Allied invasion of France.
She currently holds a record as the first and only artist over the age of 90 to reach number one on the U.K. album charts, thanks to her 2009 compilation album, We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.
Britney Spears' little sister is a married woman - country singer Jamie Lynn married fiance Jamie Watson in Las Vegas on Friday (14Mar14). The 22 year old exchanged vows with her 31-year-old beau at the Audobon Tea Room.
The bride's father walked her down the aisle and her daughter Maddie was the flower girl. Big sister Britney and her boyfriend David Lucado were among the guests, and her sons Sean Preston and Jayden James were ring bearers for their aunt and new uncle.
Thrilled Britney took to Twitter on Saturday to congratulate the newlyweds, writing, "So happy I could be a part of my little sister's big day... Yesterday was magical. Congrats @jamielynnspears!!"
This is Jamie Lynn's first wedding; she was previously engaged to Maddie's father, Casey Aldridge.
Rocker Jimmy Page is set to receive an honorary degree from the Berklee College of Music. The Led Zeppelin star will be feted at a ceremony on 10 May (14) at Boston University's Agganis Arena in Massachusetts.
In an email to RollingStone.com, Page writes, "It's truly an honour to be the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate at Berklee as the music of America has been a primary driving force in my early years and pivotal to my musical development."
Jazz pianist Geri Allen, singer/songwriter Valerie Simpson and jazz trumpeter Thara Memory will be celebrated alongside Page.
Past Berklee honourees include David Bowie, Carole King, Loretta Lynn and George Clinton.
Country singer Loretta Lynn is recuperating after reportedly suffering minor burns following a blaze at her home on Tuesday morning (25Feb14). The fire started when a candle's flame set a chair ablaze in the conservatory of the 81 year old's Hurricane Mills, Tennessee property at around 9.30am local time.
According to a report from local Nashville news station WTVF-TV, Lynn burned her fingertips as as she attempted to put out the flames with a pillow.
Officials confirm everyone inside the property got out safely and the fire was quickly extinguished by Humphreys County Emergency Management officials.
It's not the first time emergency services officials have been called to put out a fire on Lynn's property - last year (13) a blaze destroyed a shack on the estate.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Treading water at the very surface of RoboCop, there is an idea. A dense concept, ready and willing to provide no dearth of dissection for any eager student of philosophy, psychology, political science, physics — hell, any of the Ps. To simplify the idea on hand: What separates man from machine? It's a question that is not just teased by the basic premise of José Padilha's remake of the 1987 sci-fi staple, but asked outright by many of its main characters. And then never really worried about again.
We have principal parties on both sides of the ethical quandary that would place the security of our crime-ridden cities in the hands of automatons. Samuel L. Jackson plays a spitfire Bill O'Reilly who wonders why America hasn't lined its streets with high-efficiency officer droids. Zach Grenier, as a moralistic senator, gobbles his way through an opposition to the Pro-boCop movement. We hear lecture after lecture from pundits, politicians, business moguls (a money-hungry Michael Keaton heads the nefarious OmniCorp...) and scientists (...while his top doc Gary Oldman questions the nature of his assignments while poking at patients' brains and spouting diatribes about "free will"), all working their hardest to lay thematic groundwork. Each character insists that we're watching a movie about the distinction between human and artificial intelligence. That even with an active brain, no robot can understand what it means to have a heart. But when Prof. Oldman tempers his hysterical squawking and Samuel L. Hannity rolls his closing credits, we don't see these ideas taking life.
In earnest, the struggle of rehabilitated police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) — nearly killed in the line of duty and turned thereafter into OmniCorp's prototype RoboCop — doesn't seem to enlist any of the questions that his aggravated peers have been asking. Murphy is transformed not just physically, but mentally — robbed of his decision-making ability and depleted of emotional brain chemicals — effectively losing himself in the process. But the journey we see take hold of Murphy is not one to reclaim his soul, although the movie touts it as such. It's really just one to become a better robot.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Meanwhile, RoboCop lays down its motives, and hard: Murphy's wife and son (Abbie Cornish and a puckish young John Paul Ruttan) lament the loss of Alex, condemning his dehumanization at the hands of Raymond Sellars' (Keaton) capitalistic experiments, and sobbing out some torrential pathos so you know just how deep this company is digging. Weaselly stooges (Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, and Jackie Earl Haley) line the OmniCorp roster with comical wickedness. Overseas, killer combat bots take down peaceful villages, unable to work empathetic judgment into their decision to destroy all deemed as "threats." And at the top, figures of power and money like Sellars and Pat Novak (Jackson) speak the loudest and harshest, literally justifying their agenda with a call for all naysayers to "stop whining." Clearly, RoboCop has something to say.
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And when it's devoted to its outrage, RoboCop is terrifically charming. The buzzing political world is just a tiny step closer to ridiculous than our own; the pitch meetings at OmniCorp are fun enough to provoke a ditching of all the material outside of the company walls. And one particular reference to The Wizard of Oz shows that the movie isn't above having fun with its admittedly silly premise. But it loses its magic when it steps away from goofy gimmicks and satirical monologues and heads back into the story. We don't see enough of Murphy grappling with the complicated balance between his conflicting organic and synthetic selves. In fact, we don't see enough "story" in Murphy at all. First, he's a dad and a cop. Then, he's a RoboCop. But can he also be a RoboDad? With all of its ranting and raving about the question, the film doesn't seem to concerned with actually figuring out the answer.
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