Candidate Charlie Crist apologizes for taking the low "Road"
We knew they were after John Lennon, but John Denver?
“You may not know it, but this man’s a spy – he’s an undercover agent for the FBI!” Charlie Daniels warned in his 1972 hit, “Uneasy Rider.” Little did Charlie know….
OK, we all knew that the FBI was keeping tabs on John Lennon during the Nixon era over paranoid fears that he’d help overthrow the U.S. Government. Besides, as you can see above, some of those documents are so heavily redacted that you can’t tell what they’re talking about anyway. And we told you about Notorious B.I.G.'s file getting released.
But Duke Ellington? John Denver? Paul McCartney and Wings? Steve Allen? Jimi Hendrix? Janis Joplin? Liberace? Dinah Shore? Elvis Presley? Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead in separate investigations? Desi Arnez? Anna Nicole Smith? Marvin Gaye? Sammy Davis Jr.? Frank Sinatra?
Oh, wait, we’re OK on Sammy and Ol’ Blue Eyes – those two were clearly up to no good. The inclusion of Michael Jackson doesn’t raise any eyebrows either. Nor does the inclusion of those rabble-rousers Jefferson Airplane and The Doors (the latter of whose music was described as “the filthiest and most vulgar thing the human mind could possibly conceive.” Take that, Marilyn Manson!).
That ne’er do well Helen Keller even got her own file. It says a lot when they have way more material on Anna Nicole Smith than on Ted Bundy or Charles Manson. But hey, peruse the whole list and see if your favorite artists made the cut.
Thanks, but we'll stick to Buffalo Springfield
Oh, now that’s just not smart. No matter what you think of Bruce Springsteen’s politics, you don’t slag him, especially if you’re the governor of New Jersey. Even Ronald Reagan knew enough not to pick a fight after the whole “Born in the USA” dust-up. But Governor Chris Christie took what the press is calling “a cheap shot” at Springsteen after the Boss wrote a letter to the editor about the poor. Sayeth Christie: “Bruce is liberal. Doesn’t mean I like him any less. But you know, Bruce believes that we should be raising taxes all the time on everyone to do all the things that he’d like to see government do.” If he sounds like he’s mumbling, well, that’s just his foot in his mouth.
Bobby Whitlock has written a book about his time in Derek & the Dominos, and it looks like a must-read. Here he talks about it, including some facts about the song "Layla" that fans probably would have never guessed: “The recording was made using very small amps played at low volumes, and no headphones. At that point in time Eric was really just defining his sound and his craft. [Producer] Tom Dowd was expecting big stacks of Marshalls and piles of guitars and instruments, and here we came in and Eric’s got his guitar in one hand and his amplifier in the other, and he couldn’t believe it… My talking voice now is louder than Eric’s guitar amp was.”
Finally, do you want to see Bob Seger live in concert? Better do it on this tour. He’s about ready to give up the road again, this time for good.
Tasty tidbits about the Beatles break-up
Sunday marked an anniversary most Beatles fans would rather forget: the day in 1970 when Paul McCartney announced to the world that the Beatles were essentially over. To promote his first solo album, McCartney, Paul issued a four-page interview with himself. The band, McCartney wrote, was divided over "personal differences, business differences, musical differences," adding, "Temporary or permanent? I don't know." To his own question, "Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney become an active songwriting partnership again?" he bluntly answered, "No."
What was Paul's motivation and what was the immediate fallout? While researching my upcoming book Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970 (Da Capo, June), I went in search of documents I'd long heard about but had never seen: the court papers of Paul's lawsuit to dissolve the Beatles, filed Dec. 31, 1970.
The papers documenting the legal end of the Beatles aren't easy to examine. They're stored an hour outside London at the National Archives, home to historical documents dating back 1000 years, and I had to look at them in a windowless room, locked from the outside. I wasn't allowed to photograph any of the papers and could only use a pencil to take notes.
Despite these restrictions – and with the help of some interviews of some crucial players – I was able to put together a timeline of the last days of the Beatles. Here's some of what I gleaned.
March 20: Allen Klein, then handling the Beatles' business affairs, asks EMI to delay the release of McCartney, which Paul wants out on April 17. With the Let It Be album already scheduled for that month, and Ringo about to unveil his solo album Sentimental Journey, Klein is concerned about a glut of Beatle product in the stores.
March 23: Unaware of Klein's maneuver, Paul finishes up McCartney at EMI Studio. The same day, Klein meets personally with EMI and repeats his (and other Beatles') demands. EMI agrees to postpone McCartney.
March 31: John and George write a letter to Paul to explain their actions: "We thought a lot about yours and the Beatles LPs – and decided it's stupid for Apple to put out two big albums within seven days of each other. … We're sorry it turned out like this – it's nothing personal." Later that day, Ringo hand-delivers the letter to a shocked Paul at his London home; Paul reads it, yells at him and asks him to leave. "I got really angry when Ringo told me that Klein had told him my record was not ready," Paul says in his court affidavit. Ringo convinces John and George to let Paul's album come out as planned and to delay Let It Be by a month.
April 1: Phil Spector, hired by Klein to finish Let It Be, overdubs strings, a harp, a choir and additional drums onto "The Long and Winding Road" without McCartney's knowledge.
April 7: Paul's lawyers announce the release of McCartney, and the four Beatles agree to meet for the first time in months on Friday, April 10, to discuss the Let It Be movie. The same day, Paul's statement – which the other Beatles are unaware of – is delivered to the Apple press office, for distribution with the first 100 press copies of McCartney.
April 8: Xeroxes of Paul's press release are hand-delivered to writers at the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mirror, who are told not to publish it for two more days.
April 9: A day early, the Daily Mirror runs an article declaring Paul has left the Beatles. Paul calls John, who's already heard about the announcement from theEvening Standard's Ray Connolly. Beatle associate Mal Evans hears a radio report and tells George at his Friar Park home outside London.
April 10: Paul's announcement goes global and fans begin congregating outside Apple headquarters; a TV reporter on the scene declares, "The event is so momentous that historians may mark it as a landmark in the decline of the British Empire." Not surprisingly, McCartney's team sends a cable to Apple canceling the planned Beatles meeting that day.
April 16: Stung by the way the public is blaming him for the Beatles' breakup, Paul calls the Evening Standard's Connolly for an interview. Over lunch, Paul claims Yoko Ono's presence played a role in intragroup tensions and admits he threw Ringo out of his house. "I didn't leave the Beatles," he says. "The Beatles have left the Beatles. But no one wanted to be the one to say the party's over." When John reads the interview in print a few days later – especially the part where Paul complains about the female choir added onto "The Long and Winding Road" – he cracks, "Is that what this is all about—those bloody girls?"
Biggie's murder files released by feds
The FBI has released hundreds of pages of recordsfrom their investigation into the 1997 slaying of rapper Notorious B.I.G. The records, which contain FBI files spanning eight years, come from a civil rights probe the bureau launched into the killing.
The records were posted on the FBI's website and are heavily redacted.
The New York rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was gunned down outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, as he was leaving a music industry party.
Who killed Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls, has remained a mystery. At the time of his death, he was one of the biggest stars in rap music. His slaying came on the heels of the fatal shooting of another marquee rapper, Los Angeles-based Tupac Shakur.
Various theories have linked the two homicides, neither of which has been solved. Some believe the two men were killed as part of a rivalry between East Coast and West Coast rappers, or between their two music labels at the time, Marion "Suge" Knight's Death Row Records, based in Los Angeles, and New York-based Bad Boy Entertainment.
A federal judge last year dismissed a wrongful-death suit filed by Wallace's rapper’s family against the city of Los Angeles charging that officials covered up police involvement in the rapper's slaying.
Willie Nelson sings for his freedom
A melodious end is in sight in the marijuana case that ensnared the country singer Willie Nelson when a search of his tour bus last November by keen-nosed West Texas troopers turned up a small stash of the prohibited weed: he will be let off on condition he sings for the judge and prosecutor in court.
The novel deal was cooked up by the attorney Kit Bramblett, who had been chosen to prosecute the case. "You bet your ass I ain't gonna be mean to Willie Nelson," he declared this week, revealing that he had even selected the song he wanted to hear, also a favourite of Judge Becky Dean Walker.
Thus the next time Nelson travels anywhere close to the tiny town of Sierra Blanca in western Texas, he will be required to show up in Judge Walker's courtroom and give his best rendition of his own classic number, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain". There are no plans – as yet – to sell tickets.
It sounds like a sweet deal for the performer, who in theory faced as many as 150 days behind bars if convicted of the original charges for possession of six ounces of marijuana. Upon his arrest he was taken to a county jail and only released upon payment of $2,500 bail.
Mr Bramblett later concluded that there had not been as much weed on the bus as originally estimated. Exactly how that discrepancy arose is not clear, though Mr Bramblett offered one explanation to a local paper that presumably was not said entirely in earnest. "Between me and the sheriff, we threw out enough or smoked enough so that there's only three ounces," he told the Big Bend Sentinel.
"Willie Nelson is 77 years old and I'm 78," Mr Bramblett added. "He's been my favourite artist all my life. We all know he smokes a little pot."
Nelson, who has campaigned to legalise marijuana, will also have to pay $378 in fines and court fees.
Death Cab for Cutie makes live-on-the-web video today
OK, my Spanish sucks, and the actual Día de los Muertos is in November.
But the day has arrived where Death Cab for Cutie will make video history by shooting its new video in one take, live, streaming on the internet as it happens at 7 p.m. Eastern time/4 p.m. Pacific.
Want to see it? Set your watches, timers and cellphones and don't be late. Click here for the link that will let you see the video as it happens later today.
Neil Young gets the band back together and has more treats for fans
After their reunion at the Bridge School Concerts last October it became one of the worst-kept secrets in rock 'n' roll, but today they made it official: Buffalo Springfield is reuniting, and the first dates have been announced.
Granted, it's 3/5 of the original band, but the chance to see Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay revisit their history is too good for fans to resist. The band is starting out June 1 with just a handful of dates in smaller venues (a testing-the-waters tour that was postponed from February) before a full-fledged tour kicks off in the late summer/fall.
But wait, there's more! Young digging into the vaults for some rare songs with his '80s band, the International Harvesters. “A Treasure” is set for June 10, rare recordings from the International Harvesters tours.
Young had posted a YouTube video previewing the music, but it has already been pulled. The album cover, however, is out there. No word on a tracklisting yet.
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