Singer Alicia Keys teamed up with John Legend to pay tribute to late South African leader Nelson Mandela during a performance in Australia on Saturday (07Dec13). The Fallin' hitmaker took to the stage with her tour mate to sing an acoustic rendition of Bob Marley classic Redemption Song in honour of the anti-apartheid activist during their show in the Yarra Valley.
Keys told the audience, "We wanted to do something special for you in honour of the great Nelson Mandela, who I feel so moved by in every way. What an incredible life lived and what an inspiration for us to all carry forward."
Remembering her performance at Mandela's 91st birthday in 2009, Keys wrote in a post on her website, "I was in awe of a man whose soul was filled with an effortless and rare love that only comes once in a lifetime. He was a gentle man with a beautiful smile, and deep eyes that always saw the best in humanity. His legacy lives on in all of us!"
Mandela passed away on Thursday (05Dec13), aged 95.
U.S. President Barack Obama has joined movie stars like Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson and Charlize Theron in paying tribute to the late, great Nelson Mandela following his death at the age of 95. South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed the sad news of the civil rights icon's death just before midnight local time on Thursday night (05Dec13) - not long after acclaimed new biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom premiered in London, with Prince William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and members of Mandela's family in attendance.
The former president, who was affectionately known as Madiba, had battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalisations.
Announcing the tragic news, President Zuma said, "He passed on peacefully in the company of his family... He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."
Zuma ordered all flags across the nation to be flown at half-mast from Friday (06Dec13) until Mandela is laid to rest at a state funeral.
Shortly after news of Mandela's death broke, President Obama held a press conference at the White House to deliver a touching tribute, stating, "He achieved more than could be expected of any man and today he has gone home."
He added, "We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages."
Obama's predecessor George W. Bush added, "President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever."
British actor Idris Elba, who portrays Mandela in new movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom offered up a statement after hearing the sad news during the London premiere after party. It reads: "What an honour it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Meanwhile, South African actress Charlize Theron became one of the first celebrities to remember the legendary activist online, tweeting, "My thoughts and love go out to the Mandela family. Rest in Peace Madiba. You will be missed, but your impact on this world will live forever".
Ghost star Goldberg added, "I want 2give (sic) the world a hug I was told Mandeba (sic) just passed. Nelson Mandela R.I.P. Time for a well earned sleep.Condolences to his family", while Samuel L. Jackson posted, "Never met a better person in my life than Nelson Mandela. My sympathy to his family & his country".
Actor William Shatner, John Legend, Fergie, former boxer Mike Tyson, Bette Midler, Kelly Osbourne, filmmaker Michael Moore, Olivia Wilde, Rihanna, LL Cool J, Russell Simmons, Gabrielle Union, Gene Simmons, former Spice Girls star Mel C, Ricky Martin, Jermaine Jackson, Channing Tatum and Tony Bennett were also among the celebrities who flooded Twitter with tributes to Mandela on Thursday.
And sports legend Muhammad Ali released a statement which reads: "I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Mandela. His was a life filled with purpose and hope; hope for himself, his country and the world."
Newlywed John Legend has given up plans to ring in the new year (14) quietly with his wife Chrissy Teigen by signing up to host a Las Vegas party. The singer/songwriter will headline HAZE Nightclub's New Year's Eve festivities at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Sin City.
John Lennon's school detention cards dating from the 1950s have been sold at auction for almost $12,750 (£8,500), The two report cards, which branded the Beatles legend a "nuisance", went under the hammer in England over the weekend (30Nov-01Dec13).
"I fell asleep with my blue contacts in and everything hurts but yes Nintendo party was the t**s." John Legend's wife Chrissy Teigen enjoyed her 28th birthday party on Tuesday (26Nov13). The model held a Mario Brothers video game-themed bash, as she dressed up as blonde character Princess Peach and her crooner beau donned a thick faux moustache and fatsuit to play the lead role of Mario.
Monty Python's sell-out reunion shows were borne out of anger and financial difficulties following a legal defeat over spin-off stage production Spamalot. Film producer Mark Forstater was awarded an increased portion of the profits from Spamalot in July (13) after he successfully argued that his involvement in the movie on which the musical was based, 1975's Monty Python and the Holy Grail, entitled him to a larger share of the proceeds.
The ruling came as a disappointment to the comedy troupe, but Eric Idle insists the legal defeat was the catalyst for the group coming together again and reconsidering the reunion project which John Cleese had previously described as "absolutely impossible".
Idle tells Britain's The Sun, "We were all shocked, angered and stunned at the result of the lawsuit that cost us millions of f**king dollars. It was jaw dropping... I think that comedians are motivated by anger. John (Cleese) wrote some of the funniest emails I've ever read over that period - it was killingly funny."
However, the British comedy legend admits they were also motivated by a need to recoup the money lost in the court case, adding, "We thought, 'Where are we going to get the money to pay these b**gers off?' We made a break from our management and tried someone new. We needed help as we were in a mess. Our new legal adviser told us we were f**ked."
The group began to entertain the idea of a live reunion once they started discussing comedy instead of money, and Idle insists the group could have been greedier about the project if they wanted a bigger pay out.
He adds, "If we were greedy b**tards we'd have a big company such as AEG in there and we'd be doing a world tour. But we're not greedy b**tards, we're actually quite nice people who have lives."
Monty Python will perform five live shows at London's O2 Arena between 1 July and 5 July (14).
Americana music legend John Prine has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The singer/songwriter announced the news of his health setback on his website on Thursday (21Nov13), revealing he has "non-small cell carcinoma" on his lung - but his prognosis is good.
The 67 year old says, "They (doctors) see no reason why I won't fully recover."
Prine previously beat cancer in 1997, when doctors discovered a growth on his neck.
As a result of his latest diagnosis, the influential star has been forced to reschedule a handful of shows.
The Please Don't Bury Me singer adds, "There's nothing I hate more than cancelling shows. For me, there's nothing like performing. I look forward to seeing all my friends and fans in 2014. We have some great cities and venues lined up."
Prine's upcoming 6 and 7 December (13) concerts in North Carolina are set to go ahead as planned.
The stars of Monty Python are to announce their long-awaited reunion plans at a press conference in London later this week (beg18Nov13). John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will attend the event on Thursday (21Nov13), when they will reportedly confirm plans to work together again for the first time in 30 years.
After the invitation to the press conference was sent out to the media, Jones revealed the cult comedy group will reform for a stage show.
He tells the BBC, "We're getting together and putting on a show - it's real. I'm quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!"
The British comedy troupe last worked together on 1983 film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, which also starred late member Graham Chapman, who died from cancer in 1989.
Earlier this year (13), Cleese revealed plans for a get together in a new alien comedy movie directed by Jones had fallen through.
He said, "The truth is, I don't think any one of us knows what's going on. Terry rang us about 18 months ago and said, 'If we make this movie and I direct it, will you do a voice for it?' As far as I know, everyone said yes, and that's the last we heard about it."
However, the Fawlty Towers legend insists the friends still get on well, adding: "We only get together occasionally. It's fun when we do. We always say we laugh more when we are together than we really do any other time."
From the '90s to the present, the neo-soul movement has been the springboard for everyone from Maxwell, Macy Gray, and Erykah Badu to John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, and Raheem DeVaughn. The roll call of key influences should be familiar by now, mostly containing ubiquitous, iconic figures like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green, but there's one man who's equally seminal to neo-soul despite never achieving anything near the star status of the aforementioned artists: Donny Hathaway. Fortunately, the first-ever domestic box set of Hathaway's work, Never My Love: The Anthology, has now appeared via the always-worthy Rhino Records, and not only does it underscore the weighty debt owed to the late Hathaway by subsequent generations of soulsters, it expands his regrettably slim discography with two discs' worth of previously unheard music.
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Hathaway released only four studio albums during his too-short life: three on his own and one in a duo with Roberta Flack. For whatever reason, Hathaway/Flack duets like "The Closer I Get" and "Where is the Love" became huge hits while Hathaway's solo work mostly achieved only middling commercial success. The four-disc box includes one CD compiled from Hathaway's albums, one containing collaborations with Flack, another featuring demos of never-before-heard songs, and one full of previously unreleased live recordings from 1971. The breadth and depth encompassed by this set is almost shocking, and the anthology is an overdue monument to the mighty artistry of this mercurial genius.
The demos disc is the most revelatory, as its contents highlight not only Hathaway's vision but also his eclecticism. "A Lot of Soul," for instance, is a country stroll (don't let the title fool you), while the "ZYXYGY Concerto" is a full-on neo-classical piece, with Hathaway's piano leading the way for a full orchestra. The live disc was recorded at New York's tiny-but-influential Greenwich Village club The Bitter End (other tracks from Hathaway's three-night '71 run at the venue have been previously unearthed). Listening to Hathaway and his band -- which includes killer players like guitarist Cornell Dupree, bassist Willie Weeks, and Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White -- lock in on a slow-burning soul stirrer like Al Kooper's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" or a free-for-all funkfest like "Voices Inside (Everything is Everything)" can be downright epiphany-inducing.
The mentally unstable Hathaway left us at the age of 33; seemingly off his meds for too long, he began acting irrationally at a 1979 session, and later that day he leaped out a window to his death, ending his story far too soon. But with the arrival of Never My Love, hopefully those who have never had the same opportunity to embrace him that his many musical disciples have maximized can begin to play catch-up.
Reunited rockers Black Sabbath were triple winners at the Classic Rock Roll Of Honour awards in London on Thursday night (14Nov13), but terminally ill Wilko Johnson was the event's hero. The 66-year-old former Dr. Feelgood guitarist, who was told by doctors that he would not live past October (13) after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year (13), took to the stage to collect the night's Innovator Award and joked, "I'm supposed to be dead now."
The rocker, who hopes to have time to record one more album with The Who star Roger Daltrey, told the audience at the ceremony that he has never felt more "vividly alive" after accepting his latest award from fellow musician Jimmy Page at the London Roundhouse.
Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne and his bandmates collected the Living Legend Award and the Best Album prize for their comeback release 13. They also claimed the Event of the Year trophy for taking the album to number one on the British charts.
The triple win came hours after Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler announced plans to extend their reunion tour into 2014.
Other winners included The Rolling Stones, who claimed the Best Band prize, and Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and late blues legend Rory Gallagher.
The full list of winners is:
The Living Legend Award - Black Sabbath
Event Of The Year - Black Sabbath go to number one
Breakthrough Award - Virginmarys
The Musicians' Union Maestro - James Dean Bradfield
Tommy Vance Inspiration Award - Rory Gallagher
Outstanding Contribution - Mott the Hoople
Classic Album - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton by John Mayall
VIP Award - Shep Gordon
Metal Guru - Zakk Wylde
Best New Band - The Temperance Movement
Album Of The Year - 13 by Black Sabbath
Reissue Of The Year - Rumours (35th anniversary edition) by Fleetwood Mac
Film Of The Year - Celebration Day by Led Zeppelin
Band Of The Year - The Rolling Stones
Spirit Of Prog - Alex Lifeson
The Showmen - The Darkness
Innovator - Wilko Johnson.