The Pet Shop Boys will mark their upcoming performance at classical music spectacular The Proms by calling for an official pardon for men who were imprisoned before homosexuality was legalised in the U.K. The West End Girls hitmakers are to unveil their orchestral work A Man From The Future on 23 July (14) as part of the prestigious, eight-week long event in London.
One track, called The Pardon, tells the story of Alan Turing, who was posthumously pardoned over his 1952 conviction for gross indecency because he was in a relationship with a teenage male.
The pop duo is planning to use the platform at The Proms to call for similar pardons to be issued to thousands of other gay men who were arrested over their sexuality before British law changed in 1967.
Singer Neil Tennant says, "So very many lives were ruined over such a long period. Frankly it rather disappoints me that (gay rights pressure group) Stonewall has not done more. So we're making the statement ourselves."
British pop band Pet Shop Boys are planning to launch their own hotel brand after becoming inspired by home improvement TV shows. The dance duo parted ways with their record label of 28 years, Parlophone, in 2013 to set up their own company x2, and the freedom has inspired them to branch out into other industries.
After constantly watching home improvement programmes while recording 2013 album Electric, the pair settled on the idea of launching their own brand of budget hotels.
Musician Chris Lowe tells Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "Once you have your own logo you start thinking the sky's the limit. Perfumes? Underpants? We've already decided we're going into hotels. Ours will be a basic range, like (affordable home products company) The White Company, nothing fancy."
The Pet Shop Boys' new orchestral work about the life of wartime code breaker Alan Turing will premiere at this summer's (14) BBC Proms concert series at London's Royal Albert Hall. The Pet Shop Boys Prom, on 23 July (14), will feature new orchestral arrangements of the pop duo's songs along with their Turing-inspired piece A Man from the Future. Turing, who received a posthumous royal pardon in December, 2013, following a conviction for homosexual activity, was one of World War Two's top code breakers and helped the Allied forces decipher Nazi tactics.
Former rap rivals Nas and Jay Z reunited on stage at California's Coachella music festival on Saturday (12Apr14) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the I Can hitmaker's classic Illmatic album.
Nas marked the milestone by playing the 1994 release in its entirety, before inviting Jay Z to join him in the spotlight for a rendition of Dead Presidents II, his 1996 track which sampled Illmatic's The World Is Yours.
The 99 Problems icon, who was engaged in a lyrical feud with Nas back in 2001, also treated the audience to a performance of Where I'm From. But he wasn't Nas' only special guest - Sean 'Diddy' Combs later appeared onstage to join Nas for his 1999 single Hate Me Now, hours after the rapper/producer teamed up with another Coachella artist, Pharrell Williams, for Pass The Courvoisier Pt. II with Busta Rhymes.
Paying tribute to Nas during the late set, Combs said, "Nas, you have to understand. If it wasn't for you, hip-hop wouldn't be where it is today." Meanwhile, Jay Z's wife, Beyonce, also made an unannounced appearance on Saturday alongside her sister Solange Knowles at the end of the singer's track Losing You, where they performed a brief choreographed dance routine together.
The 2014 Coachella line-up has already seen performances from Outkast, Muse, Haim, Queens of the Stone Age, Lorde, Pharrell Williams and the Pet Shop Boys, while Arcade Fire, Motorhead, Lana Del Rey and Calvin Harris were among the acts on Sunday's (13Apr14) bill. The artists will do it all again next weekend (18-20Apr14) for the second round of Coachella.
Beyonce shocked crowds at the 2014 Coachella music festival in California by joining her sister Solange Knowles onstage.
The Irreplaceable singer appeared unannounced at the end of her younger sister's track Losing You to perform a choreographed dance routine with her. Beyonce's unexpected appearance at the Empire Solo Club in Indio on Saturday night (12Apr14) was very brief, and once the song finished, she hugged her sister and left the stage.
The second day of the festival was full of more surprise appearances. Happy singer Pharrell Williams brought out a number of famous friends during his set at the Outdoor Theatre. Rapper Nelly joined him for a rendition of his single Hot In Herre, Busta Rhymes rapped Pass The Courvoisier Part II and Snoop Dogg performed Drop It Like It's Hot and Beautiful. Rapper Tyler, The Creator and dance act Diplo also joined the show. However, the biggest surprise of his set was the introduction of Gwen Stefani, who performed her 2005 hit Hollaback Girl, which she co-wrote with Williams.
British band Muse closed the second night of the festival on the Coachella Stage with a 14-song set, which included a cover of Nirvana's Lithium, which they dedicated to the band's lead singer Kurt Cobain, who died 20 years ago. The second day of the festival also featured sets from rockers Queens of the Stone Age, pop star Lorde, electro act Pet Shop Boys and British DJ Fatboy Slim. Others due to perform on Sunday (13Apr14) include Arcade Fire, Motorhead, Lana Del Rey and Calvin Harris.
Top music producer Frankie Knuckles has passed away at the age of 59. The club music icon, dubbed the 'Godfather of House', died at his home on Monday (31Mar14), according to his business partner Frederick Dunson. His cause of death has not been confirmed but reports suggest he suffered from diabetes.
Knuckles started his music career as a DJ in New York City in the 1970s, before relocating to Chicago, Illinois.
His style of mixing disco and soul helped kick off the house club scene in 1980s Chicago. He went on to become the go-to remixer of the 1980s and 1990s, working on tracks by Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, the Pet Shop Boys, and Lisa Stansfield.
Knuckles also released several albums of his own tracks. In 2004, a stretch of road in Chicago was named Frankie Knuckles Way in honour of the warehouse club he previously ran in the area. He was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Following the news of his death, a number of stars from across all music genres reached out to pay their respects.
Top British DJ Pete Tong tweeted, "R.I.P Godfather Of House Frankie Knuckles R.I.P gentleman genius groundbreaker inspiration blessed to have worked with you. Sad news."
Fellow disc jockey Rob da Bank added: "So sad to hear that Frankie Knuckles has died... amazing DJ and pioneer", while House superstar David Morales wrote on Twitter, "I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away... Can't write anymore than this at the moment."
Musician Questlove also expressed his shock, tweeting: "Jesus man. Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. He was the DJ that DJ's (sic) aspired to be. True dance pioneer."
A post on hip-hop act Wu Tang Clan's Twitter feed reads: "R.I.P Frankie Knuckles... Peace. All praises due..."
Another prolific House DJ, Roger Sanchez, also paid his respects: "Yes unfortunately it is true - Frankie Knuckles has passed on today. I can't begin to count the ways he influenced me but I will never forget."
British pop act Pet Shop Boys have released a new track based on a gay rights speech by an Irish activist. Drag queen Panti Bliss, real named Rory O'Neill, gave the speech damning homophobia in Ireland at an event held at Dublin's Abbey Theatre in February (13) and he was praised by stars including Stephen Fry and Madonna after a clip was shared on YouTube.com.
The West End Girls hitmakers have now made their support clear by turning the speech into a new song called The Best Gay Possible, featuring 10 minutes of the speech set to trance music.
After the track was unveiled on the group's website O'Neil took to his Twitter.com account to voice his approval, writing, "Pet Shop Boys made an amazing track out of my Noble Call speech. Seriously, they did."
A representative for the Pet Shop Boys has shot down online reports suggesting singer Neil Tennant has been hospitalised. The West End Girls hitmaker became a hot topic on social media on Friday (07Feb14), when he was said to have suffered heart failure at a medical centre in Germany.
However, a spokesperson for the British pop veterans has dismissed the claims as "completely untrue", and a post on the duo's Twitter.com blog reads: "Stories reporting that Neil has been seriously injured are a hoax."
The Pet Shop Boys and M.I.A. have been added to the line-up for this year's (14) Moogfest in North Carolina. The two acts and top producer Flying Lotus will all perform night sets at the weekend festival in April (14). Chic, Kraftwerk, Laurie Anderson and Giorgio Moroder had already been announced for the 10th anniversary of the Asheville event.
Justin Bieber has been criticised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) activists for choosing to buy a puppy from a pet store instead of rescuing a dog from a shelter. The Baby hitmaker added a new member to his family on Thursday (26Dec13) after a Bulldog named Petey caught his eye while visiting a shop in Stratford, Canada, but his actions have raised eyebrows among animal rights activists, who have accused the singer of failing to set a good example to his millions of fans.
Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA's Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations, tells WENN: "Whether or not reports are true that Justin Bieber purchased a puppy from a pet store for $600, PETA wants to remind everyone that when you buy a dog or cat from a pet store or breeder, you sentence an animal in a shelter to death.
"Six to eight million homeless animals enter shelters every year, and half of them must be euthanised for lack of a good home, so there is no excuse for buying an animal, no matter who you are."
Bieber hasn't had a great track record with pets - a hamster he previously gave away to a fan died, while his capuchin monkey, Mally, was confiscated by German border officials in March (13) after he failed to obtain the proper permits to enter the country with his furry friend. Mally was subsequently placed in a zoo after the singer decided not to reclaim the primate.
However, Bieber is paying no attention to the latest pet controversy - instead, he and his dad, Jeremy, have reached out to fans online to help them rename the dog.
On Friday (27Dec13), the star reposted a message from Jeremy Bieber via his Twitter.com page, which reads: "So were gona (sic) let one lucky belieber (fan) name @justinbieber's new puppy.... Follow and find out how it can be you".