Tag Archives: Annie Lennox

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Photo: Ain’t This Iconic? Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, and Bette Midler circa early 2000’s i believe it was for a tech festival about improvements in digital film-making, and i could be wrong…LOL

Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, and Bette Midler

Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, and Bette Midler
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Monday, March 5, 2018

The Oscar for best original song is a garbage category – Bette Midler Proves It In One Segment

The Washington Post
The Oscar for best original song is a garbage category
By Dan Zak
March 2 at 1:42 PM

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Phil Collins grasps his Oscar in 2000; Robin Williams performs “Blame Canada” the same year; Mariah Carey, left, and Whitney Houston perform “When You Believe” in 1999; and, from left, Peter Allen, Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager claim their shared prize in 1982. (Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images; Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images; Clary/AFP/Getty Images; ABC/Getty Images)

Remember when Ann Reinking lip-synced — and danced to — “Against All Odds,” the No. 1 hit by Phil Collins from the movie of the same name, at the Academy Awards in 1985? No?

It was nearly five minutes of theatrical fog, odd lunges and wide-eyed emoting, and Collins had to watch the slow-motion oddity from his seat. The academy wanted a “variety” of entertainers to perform the nominees for best original song, so it didn’t enlist the English rocker, then at the peak of his career. Read More

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bette Midler with Annie Lennox and Alicia Keys circa 2002

Bette Midler with Annie Lennox and Alicia Keys circa 2002

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

BetteBack July 19, 1995: VH-1 Honors Review

Los Angeles Sentinel
July 19, 1995 | James Bingham


It isn’t unusual to have an awards show, and perhaps we have more than we need, but when the awards show honors the best in human characteristics, there are never enough, because those people serving a higher purpose are numerous. VH-1 Honors honors, opposed to talent, although these celebrants have that to spare, and acting and music programs pervading the world view. But pervading throughout this program was hope. Hope that the older generation would responsibly make it easier for several different maladies common to our world.

For the second year, VH-1 has honored six remarkable artists who haven given to charities and their communities.

Before the show started, to two hosts, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Rudrow, got the audience relaxed with their funny and witty humor.

The show started with Smokey Robinson opening, singing one of his first recordings, “Shop Around.”

Then came Whitney Houston singing “My Guy.” Vince Gill was next with “My Girl,” which was followed immediately by the duet singing “The Way You do The Things You Do.”

The show continued when Wynona Judd and Smokey Robinson did the duet, “You Really Got A Hold On Me.” Smokey Robinson ended the medley of songs he wrote with “Get Ready,” which said it all. Get ready for the award presentations.

Forrest Whitaker gave Whitney Houston her VH-1 Award for her work with “The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, Inc.” Her mother Cissy Houston is president of the organization. After receiving the prestigious honor, she sang a duet with CeCe Winan, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with so much soul you could feel it in your toes. They received a standing ovation.

From the movie “Panther,” Kadeem Hardison gave Boyz II Men their award for their “Big Brother/Big Sister of America” charity in Philadelphia. They came on from back stage singing “And I thank You” a cappella.

Chris Isaac gave Annie Lennox her VH-1 Award for her work with “Rokpa, Trust Samye Ling Tibetan Center,” and with award in hand, she sang “Whiter Shade of Pale.”

James Garner introduced the governor of Oklahoma, who awarded Vince Gill his VH-1 Award for his work with “Oklahoma City Victims and Families Relief Fund.” He sang a duet with Mary Chapin Carpenter, “If I Had My Way.”

John Singleton gave Smokey his VH-1 Award for work with the United Negro College Fund. John remembered his father playing Smokey and the Miracles songs. Then Smokey sand “I Would Do Any Thing (Just To See You Again).” Then he sang a duet with Annie Lennox, “Tracks Of My Tears,” to a standing ovation.

Morgan Freeman gave The King of Pop Michael Jackson his VH-1 Special Award for his “Heal The World Foundation. Boyz II Men sang “We Are the World.” Michael came out of a round hole in the middle of the stage and sang the ending with them, also to a standing ovation.

Sandra Bernheart introduced The Red Hot Organization and LP which raised six million dollars. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Katlin Mataa sang from the “Red, Hot and Country” LP.

Herbie Hancock, “Wawa” Watson and Ron Carter played “Every Time We Say Goodbye” from “Red, Hot and Cool.”

Michael Rickerson (Kramer from “Seinfield”) gave a VH-1 Award to Bette Midler for the work with Manhattan Restoration Project. She sang “If I Could Be Your Angel.” Then she proceeded to duet with Wynona Judd on “Let It Be Me” to a standing ovation.

There was the appropriate songs by artists and a wide variety of cultures and creeds represented on this awards program.

There was even an invitation-only after-party held adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium with plenty of free drinks, food, fun and a host of celebrities and guests.

Charities help everyone. Almost all of us have been the beneficiary of them in one form or another or know somebody who has. We celebrate one of the most noble of awards shows, who don’t just honor one significant individual for humanitarian efforts, but this awards program offered an entire program to do this honoring, yet being entertaining as any one of the other awards show on grand or small scales.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

BetteBack January 12, 1989: Bette And Babs Make Blackwell’s Worst Dressed Hall Of Fame

Marysville Yuba City Appeal Democrat
January 12, 1989



LOS ANGELE S (AP ) — Frequent target s of fashion disdain — Britain’ s Duchess of York and exiled Philippine ex-first lady Imelda Marco s — topped the heap of Worst-Dressed Women of 1988 unveiled Wednesday by Mr. Blackwell.

Other fashion frumps included actres s Debr a Winger, pop staractres s Madonna, rotund ftinny lady Roseanne Bar r and Marilyn Quayle, wife of the vic e president-elect.

The acid-tongued Blackwell also used the occasion of his 29th annual Worst-Dressed list to lash out at Barbra Streisand, who wasn’t on the list but whose hairdo was worthy of comment. He even wrote her a check.

“This is a $250 check available to any hairdresser who would dare try,” he said. Miss Streisand wa s a worst-dressed selection in 1983 and now occupies Blackwell’ s lifetime hall of fame with Elizabeth Taylor, Charlene Tilton, Bette Midler and Christine Onassis.

Blackwell, whose real name is Richard Sylvan Selzer, had something nice to say about a limited list of Fabulous Fashion Independents, which included Liza Minelli, Ivana Trump, Barbara Walter s and first lady-to-be Barbara Bush.

“Barbara Bush is going to bring back vanilla ice cream and apple pie. It is going to be pure mid-America,” Blackwell said.

Leading the 12 women on Blackwell’ s fashion wrath was the former Sarah Ferguson. “The palace milkmaid strikes again,” he said. He called Mrs. Marcos “a n over-the-hill actres auditioning for Evita.”

Third place went to Debra Winger, who “gives fashion the finger,” followed by Madonna, “helpless , hopeless and horrendous,” Mrs . Quayle, ” a 1940 unemployed librarian,” and Shirley Temple Black, “fr0m the Good Ship Lollipop to the Titanic , non-stop.”

Three celebrity offspring tied for seventh place. The trio of fashion terrors were Lisa Marie Presley, Carrie Hamilton and Katie Wagner.

Jamie Lee Curtis was No. 8, described as ” a pin-up for secondhand Sadie’s Thrift Shop,” and Jodie Foster was ninth, “accused of flunking fashion, guilty as charged.”

Literally rounding out the list was Miss Barr. “Fashion s by Goodyear, body by Sara Lee,” Blackwell said.

Asked for a peek into future fashion, Blackwell said: “The trend that frightens me is they’ve run out of gimmicks and gags . They are into boredom, and they will call this simplicity.

“They have poofed them, ruffled them and done everything else, now we’r e in for bland.”

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Curious History of “I Put a Spell On You”

Flavor Wire
The Curious History of “I Put a Spell On You”
By Moze Halperin on Feb 12, 2015 9:45am


The Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack was released earlier this week, and surprisingly, it’s composed of more than sounds of hundreds of “holy cows” a-mooing and “holy craps” a-squelching. No, to bring some semblance of chemistry to the stars’ seemingly steely relationship, the soundtrack enlists the sex-therapeutic presences of talents like Beyoncé, Sia, Frank Sinatra, Ellie Goulding, the Rolling Stones and Annie Lennox. The Lennox track is especially noteworthy, as it’s a cover of the oft-covered Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You.”

Lennox, as she proved at the Grammys, still can belt an amazing performance, but the nature of her music has shifted towards the wholly uninspiring (“I Put a Spell On You” first appeared on her standards album Nostalgia — which followed an album called A Christmas Cornucopia — before the Fifty Shades soundtrack). This isn’t atypical for a contemporary performer who chooses to cover “I Put a Spell on You.” The original song’s brevity and lyrical simplicity, coupled with its suggestive rhythm and alternately feline and forceful instrumentation, can render any aspiring cover-artist an invincible love-sorcerer of sorts, regardless of how plain the rest of that artist’s back catalog might be. Even the most forgettable of American Idol singers can, and will, choose to sing it, and it’ll still be compelling because of the masterful, near-foolproof framework set up in the original track.

It’s one of those rare songs that sonically matches its lyrical content, but here the heavy-handedness is so deft that it bewitches rather than repels. This perfection has become something of a vice for films — it’s turned up in Crazy Love, Lost Highway, Hocus Pocus, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Stranger than Paradise, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, and Kinky Boots (as well being covered by the aforementioned vocalists, and also appearing in commercials for McDonalds, Burger King, and Pringle’s Potato Chips). It’s invoked whenever someone needs a quick way to put a spell on audiences.

The entire appeal of The Ballad of Jack and Rose, for example, lay in the repeated usage of Nina Simone’s cover. Because of its very brilliance, the song has become somewhat over-covered — it’s a welcome listen, because it’s impeccable, but no matter how punchily a vocalist delivers it, it loses some of its punch each time.

Of all the things the song has metamorphosed into, and all of the meanings and anti-meanings it’s taken on, the original — which never made the charts — remains the most potent, perhaps because it’s a historically spectacular vocal performance, perhaps because an extemporaneously weird recording of the song defined Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ entire career, or perhaps because of the uncomfortable murkiness of its identity politics seen in Hawkins’ performances. Probably all of the above.

It’s a known-ish fact that Screamin’ Jay Hawkins wouldn’t have been Screamin’ Jay Hawkins if it weren’t for the drunken shenanigans — foreshadowing a life replete with shenanigans — that overtook his performance of what was originally intended to be a love ballad. After getting blackout drunk on a night of recording “I Put a Spell On You,” he realized he “could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death” than attempting more traditional blues stylings. He told the LA Times that he “called on [his] opera training” and his ability to “scream soprano.”

At the time of recording, in 1955, The Beatles didn’t even exist, and thus hadn’t yet “sexually revolutionized” music with their perverse, licentious claims of “want[ing] to hold your hand.” So you can imagine how listeners responded to Hawkins’ song of demonic attraction, which he ended in a series of noises that sounded halfway between your typical, orgasming man and a pig who’d just completed a marathon (different Hawkins recordings culminate in various other animal noises). It was, of course, banned on many radio stations and in stores.

Hawkins realized, with the help of DJ Alan Freed, that the possessed, voracious hyper-sexuality that surfaced in that first recording could make for a larger artistic persona, and he soon undertook a sartorial transformation to match the vocal performance. His ghoulish spell-caster look — which often involved emerging from coffins, sporting witch-doctor-y nose appendages, capes and leopard print and toting a smoking skull on a stick — stayed with him throughout his career. It did plunge itself into the questionable territory of racial stereotyping, consumed with glee by white audiences (see this 1966 performance on the Merv Griffin show, for instance.) Hawkins said, again in the LA Times, that he did it “to be different — putting on a cape and putting a bone in my nose and acting like a lunatic.” His performances were met with scorn by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

But was Hawkins’ performative identity — especially through this particular song — just as much a confrontation of white audiences’ perceptions? Was it not in some ways both an indictment of those who wanted to consume the music of black artists, or more egregiously, music appropriated from black artists (Elvis was, after all, just releasing his first recordings at the time), without acknowledging America’s backwards relationship to its black population? If racism and oppression were fueled by fear of the black man, then was it not an immensely bold statement to confront white audiences with their own preposterous fears, as opposed to trying to appease them by performing whatever they deemed to be acceptable for black people in the public eye — i.e. passivity and whiteness?

The fact that the song was a chart-topping single in 1968 for white singer Alan Price, but not for Hawkins a decade earlier, speaks to this level of “acceptability,” and to Hawkins’ boldness in setting himself outside of it. At a time when civil rights were questioned because white people wanted to keep the black population in check, was it not a huge statement to make public the unprecedented sound that was Hawkins’ vocal rage and lust? (The ambiguous statement of Hawkins’ aesthetic was surely later once again brought into question by his satiric album title, Black Music for White People.)

As was previously mentioned, the song was thereafter covered ad infinitum, a phenomenon likely sparked more by Nina Simone’s cover (the song became such a known part of her repertoire, and so quintessential to her own artistic image, that she named her autobiography after it) than Hawkins’ original. Simone’s performance, apart from the sheer awesomeness of its mordant seductiveness, is powerful in its affiliation with the singer’s known activism, as it was a potent assertion of black, female power. Though it in no way attempted to imitate Hawkins’ unhinged belch-operatics, Simone’s version began as matter-of-fact — pronouncing the first lines “I put a spell on you” with spoken certainty, before waxing melodic, then escalating in a sexy battle with an invigorated sax, which ultimately surrenders to Simone’s climactic scat.

Usage of the song later became humorously (and self-awarely) literal with witchy goth-comedies like Elvira and Hocus Pocus, where Bette Midler’s un-seductive, buck-toothed witch hypnotizes listeners with a spell — none other than the song “I Put a Spell on You” — which she hopes will lead them to “dance until [they] die!!” Marilyn Manson and Black Sabbath likewise reapplied the song’s dark-fantasy lyrics to their own dark, fantastical images, in ways that were at once fitting and utterly bizarre. While these were intentionally literal, dumbly smart extensions of the song’s transforming cultural path, other covers were less inspiring. Most tended to recast the song merely as a saucy standard, a vessel for powerful, if not particularly unique, vocal performances aided by generic instrumentals (She and Him did it! Queen Latifah did it! Joss Stone did it! Even Van Morrison did it! Now Annie Lennox did it!). It seemed to suddenly provide artists who might lack edge with an instant dash of fire.

Now, its inclusion on the Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack — as part of a white story whose diluted BDSM sexuality “relies on a patriarchal asymmetry” — brings the song oh-so-much further from its origins. This is, of course, inevitable with a famous old song, which is as vulnerable to the passage of time as anything else. It shouldn’t be lamented too heavily, because what’s the point?

However, we can remind ourselves of the song’s more powerful, less hackneyed origins, of its raw and astonishing boldness, and of its having belonged to a series of loaded statements before having evolved into something of a meaning-devoid, innocuously “naughty” standard. As we saw at the Grammys, it’s undeniable that Annie Lennox’s vocal performance is towering, but the song’s meaning is stripped. The “patriarchal asymmetry” in which Fifty Shades of Grey exists (and in which a great deal of our lives exist) will surely continue to pluck and brand art (as we’ve seen in this song’s use in commercials and Shades) to adorn its products and increase its capital. There’s no avoiding it, and hey, it even sounds pretty catchy. But sometimes it’s worth remembering the more fraught and even ethically murky histories of these works before allowing them to convince us to buy a hamburger or an official “Fifty Shades of Grey Twitchy Palm Paddle.”

Annie Lennox’s Grammys performance with Hozier blew everyone away by Laura Vitto of Mashable
Annie Lennox joins Hozier on Grammys stage for memorable performance
Sia and Kristen Wiig’s Chandelier and 4 other unmissable moments from the Grammys

Annie Lennox, Hozier bring the Grammys a water cooler moment Read More

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sam Smith Joins Chorus Of Divas Who Think Today’s Pop Stars Are Awful

Huffington Post
Sam Smith Blasts ‘Awful’ Modern Pop Stars
The Huffington Post | By Matthew Jacobs
Posted: 01/06/2015 10:39 am EST Updated: 01/06/2015 10:59 am EST


Sam Smith graces the latest cover of V Magazine, but the chest hair he flaunts is a footnote to the interview in which Smith calls certain modern pop stars “awful.”

Which stars Smith would include in that description is, of course, a mystery. We do know the “Stay With Me” singer’s complaints stem from his contemporaries’ poor attitudes.

“Even when you meet them — I won’t name names — but some of these pop stars are just awful,” Smith told Chaka Khan, who conducted the interview. “And they have not even had half the success that you’ve had and yet you’re so humble and kind.”

Khan responded by saying it’s “people skills” that make the difference. “Talking to a screen all day long takes the human experience out,” she said. “Luckily I grew up in a time when we only had a telephone at home.”

Smith is part of a chorus of criticisms leveled at today’s pop acts. Bette Midler and Annie Lennox have lambasted the sexualization of female pop stars, Dave Grohl finds pop music “superficial,” Patti LaBelle thinks today’s divas are “little heifers who can’t sing” and Lily Allen says pop is full of “fucking Botoxed idiots.”

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gay Icon: Who doesn’t want the title and who is fighting for it.

Gay Icon: Who doesn’t want the title and who is fighting for it.
Adam Dupuis | December 12, 2014 Read More

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bette Midler Set To Debut At #5 On Billboard Charts (Her First #5 Since Beaches) Thanks Andy!

Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ May Sell 400,000 in Second Week
By Keith Caulfield | November 07, 2014 10:07 PM EST


She’ll likely beat the No. 2 album by more than 300,000.

Taylor Swift‘s monster 1989 album is so big, it seems that the music business decided to mostly avoid releasing any albums that would have to compete with its second week on sale. Why? Industry sources suggest 1989 may sell 400,000 copies in its sophomore frame (ending Nov. 9) — and easily give it a second week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. (That would also give the album the second-largest sales week of the year, behind only its own debut with 1.287 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)

1989‘s second-week total will be more than 300,000 copies ahead of the likely No. 2 album, which could be the Now 52 compilation, with maybe 60,000 to 70,000 sold in its own second week. It debuted at No. 2 with 103,000.

The new Billboard 200’s top 10 will be revealed on Nov. 12.

The highest new entry on next week’s chart will likely be Calvin Harris‘ Motion, which might sell around 30,000 to 35,000. It could be one of only two debuts in the top 10 of the chart, joined by Bette Midler‘s tribute to girl groups, It’s the Girls, with perhaps 20,000 to 25,000.

The top of the chart should liven up in two weeks, when albums on the Nov. 10 release schedule impact the Billboard 200. Those include Foo Fighters‘ Sonic Highways, Pink Floyd‘s The Endless River, Nick Jonas‘ self-titled album andGarth Brooks‘ Man Against Machine.

On SoundScan’s Building chart (below), Swift and the Now 52 album are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking — reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan’s tracking week as reported by six major merchants.

As for the rest of the Building chart’s top 10, Harris is No. 3, followed by Jason Aldean‘s Old Boots, New Dirt at No. 4, Midler at No. 5 and Sam Hunt‘sMontevallo at No. 6. Florida Georgia Line‘s Anything Goes is No. 7, while Barbra Streisand‘s Partners is No. 8, Sam Smith‘s In the Lonely Hour is No. 9 andTeyana Taylor‘s new VII is No. 10.

Rank LW
BB 200
Artist Title
1 1 Taylor Swift 1989
2 2 Various Artists Now 52
3 NEW Calvin Harris Motion
4 5 Jason Aldean Old Boots, New Dirt
5 NEW Bette Midler It’s the Girls
6 3 Sam Hunt Montevallo
7 6 Florida Georgia Line Anything Goes
8 11 Barbra Streisand Partners
9 14 Sam Smith In the Lonely Hour
10 NEW Teyana Taylor VII
The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan’s tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

From My Friend Ron…Re: Deluxe Edition It’s The Girls


Pre-ordered the Deluxe version from Target yesterday. Surprisingly, the Deluxe CD is less expensive than the regular version that doesn’t have the bonus tracks. Free shipping if you spend over $50 with Target; however, they won’t ship until street date, which means for some of us, we won’t get the CD until around the 8th-10th of November. Might be better to just go into the store on Nov. 4th and get it right away (however the price might be different than the pre-order price)……..as for the bonus tracks, based on hearing the originals, I think they’re quite interesting additions to the CD. “Mendocino” is hauntingly beautiful, and “The Hunter Gets Captured…” has a unique arrangement that slowly builds and becomes surprisingly addictive–it’s the song that when you finish listening to it, you immediately want to listen to it again (and again). As always, just can’t wait…..

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