Phil Spector, Famed Music Producer and Convicted Murderer, Dies at 81 

Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81.California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a hospital.Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life.Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles.Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Decades before, Spector had been hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,””Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.”He was the rare self-conscious artist in rock’s early years and cultivated an image of mystery and power with his dark shades and impassive expression.Tom Wolfe declared him the “first tycoon of teen.” Bruce Springsteen and Brian Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” The secret to his sound: an overdubbed onslaught of instruments, vocals and sound effects that changed the way pop records were recorded. He called the result, “Little symphonies for the kids.” 

your ad here

COVID Lockdown Turns Family Quartet Into Instagram Sensation

A family of four in Brooklyn, New York, has tried to make the most of their time together – and for some 300 days in a row they have been posting funny videos of their music rehearsals. Anna Nelson has the story of the Hochman family, narrated by Anna Rice.
Natalia Latukhina contributed.

your ad here

Phil Spector, Famed Music Producer and Murderer, Dies at 81 

Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81.California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a hospital.Spector was convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 at his castle-like mansion on the edge of Los Angeles. After a trial in 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life.Clarkson, star of “Barbarian Queen” and other B-movies, was found shot to death in the foyer of Spector’s mansion in the hills overlooking Alhambra, a modest suburban town on the edge of Los Angeles.Until the actress’ death, which Spector maintained was an “accidental suicide,” few residents even knew the mansion belonged to the reclusive producer, who spent his remaining years in a prison hospital east of Stockton. Decades before, Spector had been hailed as a visionary for channeling Wagnerian ambition into the three-minute song, creating the “Wall of Sound” that merged spirited vocal harmonies with lavish orchestral arrangements to produce such pop monuments as “Da Doo Ron Ron,””Be My Baby” and “He’s a Rebel.”He was the rare self-conscious artist in rock’s early years and cultivated an image of mystery and power with his dark shades and impassive expression.Tom Wolfe declared him the “first tycoon of teen.” Bruce Springsteen and Brian Wilson openly replicated his grandiose recording techniques and wide-eyed romanticism, and John Lennon called him “the greatest record producer ever.” The secret to his sound: an overdubbed onslaught of instruments, vocals and sound effects that changed the way pop records were recorded. He called the result, “Little symphonies for the kids.” 

your ad here

Elvis Presley’s Graceland Starting Live Virtual Tours

Elvis Presley’s Graceland is now offering live online tours for fans around the world, including those who can’t travel to the Tennessee tourist attraction during the coronavirus pandemic.Graceland said the two-hour guided tours will take virtual visitors into Presley’s former Memphis home, which has been turned into a museum, and through the Meditation Garden, where he is buried. The singer and actor died in Memphis on Aug. 16, 1977.Also included in the $100 ticket is a tour of Presley’s jet and a walk through the entertainment complex, which houses exhibits and artifacts related to Presley. Viewers will be able to ask questions during the tours.Elvis Presley’s Jewelry, Clothing Sold at Graceland Auction

        Jewelry, clothing and other Elvis Presley-related memorabilia have been sold at auction in Tennessee.

Elvis Presley Enterprises says the auction at The Guest House Graceland netted more than $600,000 Tuesday on what would have been his 84th birthday. The Guest House is a hotel located steps from the Graceland home, where the singer lived in Memphis.

Graceland says a red velvet shirt likely worn on stage by Presley at a 1956 show in Tupelo, Mississippi, sold for $37,500. A gold and diamond ring that…
Graceland typically hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. But the tourist attraction has seen a drop in visitors during the coronavirus outbreak. Graceland was closed for several weeks last year and is now open for limited-capacity, in-person tours.Virtual tours are scheduled for Jan. 27, Feb. 25, and March 25, with more dates expected.

your ad here

Young Poet Amanda Gorman to Read at Biden Inaugural

At age 22, poet Amanda Gorman, chosen to read at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, already has a history of writing for official occasions.
 
“I have kind of stumbled upon this genre. It’s been something I find a lot of emotional reward in, writing something I can make people feel touched by, even if it’s just for a night,” says Gorman. The Los Angeles resident has written for everything from a July 4 celebration featuring the Boston Pops Orchestra to the inauguration at Harvard University, her alma mater, of school president Larry Bacow.
 
When she reads next Wednesday, she will be continuing a tradition — for Democratic presidents — that includes such celebrated poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.  
 
The latter’s “On the Pulse of Morning,” written for the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, went on to sell more than 1 million copies when published in book form. Recent readers include poets Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco, both of whom Gorman has been in touch with.  
 
“The three of us are together in mind, body and spirit,” she says.  
 
Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in memory, and she has made news before. In 2014, she was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and three years later she became the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She has appeared on MTV; written a tribute to Black athletes for Nike; published her first book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” as a teenager, and has a two-book deal with Viking Children’s Books. The first work, the picture book “Change Sings,” comes out later this year.  
 
Gorman says she was contacted late last month by the Biden inaugural committee. She has known numerous public figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama, but says she will be meeting the Bidens for the first time. The Bidens, apparently, have been aware of her: Gorman says the inaugural officials told her she had been recommended by the incoming first lady, Jill Biden.  
 
She is calling her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” while otherwise declining to preview any lines. Gorman says she was not given specific instructions on what to write, but was encouraged to emphasize unity and hope over “denigrating anyone” or declaring “ding, dong, the witch is dead” over the departure of President Donald Trump.  
 
The siege last week of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the election was a challenge for keeping a positive tone, but also an inspiration. Gorman says that she has been given 5 minutes to read, and before what she described during an interview as “the Confederate insurrection” of Jan. 6 she had only written about 3 1-2 minutes worth.  
 
The final length runs to about 6 minutes.  
 
“That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem,” says Gorman, adding that she will not refer directly to Jan. 6, but will “touch” upon it. She said last week’s events did not upend the poem she had been working on because they didn’t surprise her.
 
“The poem isn’t blind,” she says. “It isn’t turning your back to the evidence of discord and division.”
 
In other writings, Gorman has honored her ancestors, acknowledged and reveled in her own vulnerability (“Glorious in my fragmentation,” she has written) and confronted social issues. Her poem “In This Place (An American Lyric),” written for the 2017 inaugural reading of U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, condemns the racist march in Charlottesville, Virginia (“tiki torches string a ring of flame”) and holds up her art form as a force for democracy.

your ad here