Disco stars Kc & The Sunshine Band are due to set sail with soul legend Gladys Knight as part of a big Caribbean concert cruise next year (15). The artists will be joined by the likes of Frankie Beverly, James Ingram, The Spinners and Ashford & Simpson's Valerie Simpson for The Soul Train Cruise, which will feature more than 30 concerts during the seven-day trip.
Fans will board the luxury Holland America Eurodam liner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 22 February (15) and travel through the Caribbean, with stops in Turks and Caicos, San Juan in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and the Bahamas, before heading back to the U.S. on 1 March (15).
Singer Harry Wayne 'KC' Casey says, "Many times during the '70s we appeared on (popular variety show) Soul Train with Don Cornelius. I only wish he could still be here to share this magic moment we are going to have on the Soul Train Cruise.
"I'm looking forward to bringing our music alive once again, as we did so many times on the TV show."
They are the latest artists to unveil plans to hit the high seas this year (14) - Megadeth and Anthrax are teaming up with Motorhead for a heavy rock cruise in September (14), while Joan Osbourne, Emmylou Harris and Heart have joined forces for the Grammy Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock event in November (14).
Carole King's ex-husband and former songwriting partner Gerry Goffin has died at the age of 75. The New York-born lyricist passed away early on Thursday (19Jun14) at his home in Los Angeles.
Goffin and King became a songwriting powerhouse in the 1960s, penning classics such as Will You Love Me Tomorrow for girl group The Shirelles, Aretha Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, and Little Eva's The Loco-Motion, which also became a big hit for Kylie Minogue in 1988.
Among their other notable tracks include Bobby Vee's Take Good Care of My Baby, the Monkees' Pleasant Valley Sunday and Some Kind of Wonderful for The Drifters.
Goffin and King divorced in 1968, but he continued writing songs and scored hits with Whitney Houston's Grammy Award-winning Savin' All My Love for You, Marianne Faithfull's Something Better and Gladys Knight & the Pips' So Sad the Song from the film Pipe Dreams, which earned him and co-writer Michael Masser a Golden Globe nomination.
He and Masser also landed an Oscar nod for the theme tune to 1975 movie Mahogany, which starred Diana Ross.
Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and later the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Paying tribute to her former partner, King writes, "Gerry was a good man with a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come.
"His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship."
The former couple's relationship has since become the subject of the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole will miss their Broadway turns in Tony-nominated musical After Midnight following producers' decision to close the show early. The production will end after Patti LaBelle's run as special guest star, which began last week (beg09Jun14), after 19 previews and 272 regular performances.
After Midnight, which celebrates Duke Ellington’s years at New York's Cotton Club, was nominated for seven Tonys this year (14) and picked up the prize for Best Choreography a week ago (08Jun14).
Fantasia Barrino, LaBelle and Knight also opened the ceremony by performing a rendition of jazz standard Sunny Side of the Street. Barrino, k.d. lang, Toni Braxton, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds and Vanessa Williams have also appeared in the show at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Knight was scheduled to take over from LaBelle in July (14), and Cole was billed to appear from 5 to 31 August (14).
The Kinks rocker Ray Davies was forced to miss his induction into America's Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday (12Jun14) following the death of his sister. The musician was one of the big names selected by museum officials in May (14) but he skipped the ceremony in New York City after his sibling Joyce passed away.
The Waterloo Sunset hitmaker accepted the honour via video, and he also took to Facebook.com to write, "I am profoundly honoured to have been inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame and disappointed not to have been at the event in New York but I felt it necessary to be near my family at this sad time of my sisters (sic) funeral.
"I wish to thank everyone at the Songwriters Hall of Fame who voted for me and give a special thanks to all the loyal Kinks fans who have stood by us all these years. I hope to repay such loyal support by trying my best to continue to write songs in the future that are worthy of such an accolade."
Jon Bon Jovi was on hand to pay tribute to Davies at the ceremony, performing his hits You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night at the end of the show.
Other acts honoured included Scottish singer Donovan, Graham Gouldman of the band 10cc, singer/songwriter Mark James, who penned Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds, and Jim Weatherly, who is known for writing Gladys Knight & The Pips hits Neither One of Us and Midnight Train to Georgia.
Performers such as Miguel, Chita Rivera, Chubby Checker and Jackie Evancho also took to the stage at the event.
Soul legend Gladys Knight and British singer Joss Stone were among the celebrities marking the 80th anniversary of Harlem's historic Apollo Theater on Tuesday night (10Jun14). The fundraising gala, hosted by comedian Wayne Brady for the second year, raised a huge $2.3 million (£1.4 million) and was the most successful night since the annual event was started nine years ago.
Stone performed a rendition of James Brown's It's A Man's World while music icons including Knight, The Isley Brothers and Doug E. Fresh were also on hand to entertain the audience with classic Motown and hip-hop hits. Money raised by the event, which celebrates the singers, dancers and comics who have graced the theatre's stage since it opened in 1934, is used to support the Apollo's education and community outreach programs.
Apollo boss Jonelle Procope said, "Funds for the Apollo allow us to continue to provide innovative performing arts programs, educational programs for young people, students and families."
Hugh Jackman bounced his way to the Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Sunday night (08Jun14) after posting videos of himself jumping up and down online in the weeks leading up to the theatre world's Oscars. The movie star prepared for his fourth hosting stint by posting videos of himself preparing for the big night onstage and in his dressing room, and then as showtime approached he hit the red carpet and started bouncing.
The energetic Les Miserables star jumped through the foyer, down the stairs and into the auditorium, high-fiving audience members as he headed for the stage.
He dropped hints about his big entrance days before the ceremony, stating, "It's taken me about four months of training and I'm pretty confident that no one has ever done this at Radio City Music Hall."
Jackman's stage hands and aides then jumped with him as they helped him get ready, while the actor bounced backstage greeting Tony Awards guests including Sting, Neil Patrick Harris and the casts of Aladdin, Cabaret, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and the stage musical revival of Les Miserables.
The superfit star then returned to the stage and broke out into song, before joking, "Damn, I picked the wrong night to forget my dance belt."
The show then went back in time as the cast of After Midnight, featuring Fantasia Barrino, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight, took the stage for a rendition of jazz standard Sunny Side of the Street.
Comedy A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder and Harris' show Hedwig and the Angry Inch lead the nominations for the 2014 Tony Awards with 10 and eight, respectively, followed by After Midnight, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, The Glass Menagerie and Twelfth Night with seven nods each.
Sting, Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight have been confirmed among the performers at the Tony Awards next month (Jun14). Alan Cumming, Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris and Sutton Foster and the casts of Aladdin and Les Miserables will also take the stage at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on 8 June (14), and the original Wicked cast will regroup for a 10th-anniversary tribute.
Sting will share a song from his upcoming musical, The Last Ship.
The 2014 Tony Awards will be hosted by Hugh Jackman.
Veteran rockers Kiss have paid tribute to the band's former producer Kenny Kerner following his death. Kerner, who worked on the group's first two albums, Kiss and Hotter Than Hell, reportedly passed away after suffering complications relating to diabetes, and his passing has prompted an outpouring of condolences from the group.
A statement posted on the KISS website reads, "We are shocked to hear of Kenny Kerner's passing. He was an early supporter of the band and co-produced our first two albums... He remained a friend till (sic) the end and we will never forget his contributions to our early years."
Frontman Paul Stanley added in a message on his Twitter.com page, "RIP Kenny Kerner. He remained a friend till the end..."
Kerner also worked with acts including Gladys Knight & the Pips and Badfinger throughout his career as a producer.
Singer Lionel Richie is set to receive the 2014 BET Lifetime Achievement Award next month (Jun14). The Hello hitmaker will be feted at the Nokia Theatre ceremony in Los Angeles on 29 June (14).
He will also perform at the event, which will be hosted by actor/comedian Chris Rock.
Past recipients of the award include soul icons Whitney Houston, James Brown, The Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight and Diana Ross.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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("The Way We Were" "If I Were Your Woman" "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" "Neither One of Us" "Midnight Train to Georgia" "Love Overboard" "That's What Friends Are For")