Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Travis dropped from Top of the Pops repeats

The BBC will not show repeats of Top of the Pops featuring former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis, who was found guilty of indecent assault last month.
The BBC pulled episodes hosted by Travis from its schedule of weekly repeats on BBC Four following the broadcaster's arrest in November 2012.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman confirmed "the BBC will not show Top of the Pops repeats fronted by Dave Lee Travis".

Travis was given a three-month suspended sentence last month.

The spokeswoman added: "We will consider any other archive appearances on a case by case basis."

It follows the BBC's decision to allow Jonathan King to appear in a BBC Two documentary about Genesis last week.

King was convicted of child sex offences in 2001. He was sentenced for seven years and released from prison in 2005.

The BBC said his inclusion in the film, Genesis Together and Apart, reflected the "significant role" King played in the history of Genesis, whom he discovered.

His appearance has led to 20 complaints to the BBC, while broadcasting regulator Ofcom is assessing three complaints.

Edited out

In September, Travis was convicted of indecently assaulting a researcher working on TV's Mrs Merton Show in 1995. He was acquitted of 14 further charges during a trial and a later retrial.

The 69-year-old, who was tried under his real name David Griffin, appeared on Radio 1 for more than 25 years until 1993 and was a regular host of Top of the Pops.

Last year, the BBC apologised for airing an excerpt from a 1971 edition of Top of the Pops in which disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile was briefly shown.

Programmes featuring Savile were supposed to have been pulled following revelations of his history of abuse, while archive footage showing convicted sex offender Gary Glitter has also been removed from editions of the show.

King's appearance in a 2011 re-run of Top of the Tops was edited out, prompting him to complain to the BBC.

He called it a "Stalinist revision of history" and was assured by the then BBC director general Mark Thompson that this would not happen again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BBC unveils all-star version of God Only Knows, 17 years after Perfect Day

Seventeen years ago, when the BBC first unveiled a megastar-laden lineup performing a beloved rock classic of a certain vintage, this paper had a withering take on matters. The performance of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, this paper said, offered “a none too subtle message: keep writing the cheque”.
Now, with the corporation’s battle to retain the television licence fee getting almost tougher by the week, it has unveiled a new take on a beloved song with a new cast of performers, and its message is, if anything, even less subtle, given its chorus runs: “God only knows what I’d be without you.” The new version of God Only Knows was given its first airing across all BBC platforms at 8pm on Tuesday evening, with slightly delayed airings on Radio 3, and the BBC News and World News channels.

BBC’s God Only Knows

The official reason for the new recording of the classic 1966 Beach Boys song is to mark the launch of BBC Music, which the corporation describes as “an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives that amount to the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in 30 years”. As with Perfect Day, the song will be released as a single to raise money for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.

As in 1997, the BBC has succeeded in gathering together a fairly staggering array of stars. Joining Brian Wilson, the song’s writer, are Sir Elton John, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams. Jake Bugg, Lorde, Emeli Sandé, Chris Martin, Kylie Minogue, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith, Florence Welch, Chrissie Hynde, Brian May, Dave Grohl, Alison Balsom, Martin James Bartlett, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Eliza Carthy, Baaba Maal, Jamie Cullum, Jaz Dhami, as well as the BBC’s Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne, Katie Derham, Gareth Malone and Jools Holland. They are joined by the Tees Valley Youth Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Sir Elton John is the only survivor from Perfect Day. The song is accompanied by a lavish video filmed at the disused Alexandra Palace theatre in London, which hosted the first BBC broadcast more than 90 years ago.

Wilson, unsurprisingly, pronounced himself delighted with the results. “All of the artists did such a beautiful job I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “I’m just honoured that God Only Knows was chosen. God Only Knows is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”
BBC’s Perfect Day

The BBC will be hoping God Only Know can replicate the success of its predecessor. Perfect Day was originally just a televised advert for the BBC, but became so popular it was released as a single, reaching No 1 in the UK, and selling more than 1.5m copies since its release. Single sales alone raised more than £2m for Children in Need. It was so successful, in fact, that the BBC tried to do it again in 2000, when Lou Reed led a second performance of Perfect Day with a new cast across all BBC networks simultaneously as part of the BBC Music Live event. Lightning did not strike twice, however: when released as a single, that version reached only No 69. And, given it featured Rolf Harris, the BBC is doubly unlikely to want to remind viewers of it.

God Only Knows, even leaving aside the not-all-that-subliminal message about treasuring the BBC, is a perfectly suitable choice for this latest attempt at a genre-straddling, globe-bestriding pop phenomenon. Though never released as the A-side of a single – it appeared on the Pet Sounds album, and as the B-side to Wouldn’t It Be Nice – it has become one of the best-loved songs in pop history, frequently appearing in the upper reaches of best-song-ever polls.
Cast of BBC's God Only Knows Photograph: Steve Brown/BBC

Who’s who of God Only Knows. See the larger version of the image here. Full list of names below.

1 Dave Grohl; 2 Alison Balsom; 3 Lorde; 4 Pharrell Williams; 5 Zane Lowe; 6 Sam Smith; 7 Paloma Faith; 8 Eliza Carthy; 9 Nicola Benedetti; 10 Chris Martin; 11 Jaz Dhami; 12 Martin James Bartlett; 13 Danielle de Niese; 14 Stevie Wonder; 15 Florence Welch; 16 Lauren Laverne; 17 Brian Wilson; 18 Jake Bugg; 19 Katie Derham; 20 Gareth Malone; 21 Kylie Minogue; 22 Chrissie Hyde; 23 One Direction; 24 Emeli Sande; 25 Elton John; 26 Baaba Maal; 27 Ethan Johns; 28 Jools Holland; 29 Jamie Cullum; 30 Brian May; 31 Tees Valley Youth Choir; 32 BBC Concert Orchestra
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grimsby Pop Idol star Kim Gee supports St Andrew's Hospice fundraiser at Valiant pub

GRIMSBY'S original Pop Idol star Kim Gee was in action along with a host of other singers at a popular charity show.
Kim won lots of fans all over the country when she sang her heart out on the ITV talent show – hosted by Ant and Dec – in 2003.

The judges back in those days were Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, Neil Fox and Nicki Chapman.

The winner in the series that featured Kim was Scottish singer Michelle McManus.

Kim was in action at the annual Singers' Day show at The Valiant pub, in Wingate Road, Willows Estate, Grimsby.

Kim, 34, who lives on the estate, said she was pleased to support the day, which was raising money for St Andrew's Hospice, Grimsby.

"My uncle, Andy Braid, had motor neurone disease and he was at the hospice for the last eight months of his life," she said.

"He died about 10 or 11 years ago.


"I am doing a song called Heroes and I am dedicating that to the people at the hospice."

Other songs on her list for the show were Son Of A Preacher Man, Walking On Sunshine and Take A Little Piece Of My Heart.

Kim said she did not do as much singing these days as she is kept busy looking after four children, including a little boy that she has adopted.

"I home school them," she said. "That's my job."

Kim is still well known across the Grimsby area for her amazing performances on Pop Idol back in 2003.

"I came seventh in the live show," she said.

She also made local headlines when she won the first Pub Idol competition, sponsored by the Grimsby Telegraph, in 2003.

She said that, since then, she had kept busy and had worked at Compass FM radio station as a presenter.

"I lead a worship band at the Calvary Christian Fellowship Church on the Willows," said Kim.

"I have done that for a couple of years."

Landlord Cliff Barber said: "Kim and I are good friends."

Other singers in action at the extravaganza included those from the local pubs and clubs scene, including Stevie S, Steve Gold, Karen Leshone and Soul Finger.

Mr Barber said the Singers Day had been staged at the pub for the past ten years.

"The hospice has always been here to support it and the customers support it," he said.

"The singers give up their time to do it for a worthy cause."

He added that about £30,000 had been raised over the years for the hospice.

"It's a good worthy cause for local people," said Mr Barber.

"At some time in our lives, we have all known people who have visited the hospice or had family or friends there.

"They do a fantastic job.

"Thank you to everyone who has given us prizes for the raffle, which is a good fundraiser, especially the local shops in Wingate Parade.

"This is the fourth time I have run the pub. I have lived on the estate since it was built 47 years ago.

"I have lived here from day one."

Hospice representative Lauren Alexander, who attended the show, said: "It is absolutely fantastic that the local community on the Willows estate is raising money and that they are well in to the next decade of fundraising.

"Cliff has informed me that it has just grown and grown in support.

"I want to thank everyone for taking part and for giving money or donating their time to make it a success."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Britney Spears Fashion News: Pop Singer 'Would Love' To See Kate Middleton In Her New Lingerie Line

Britney Spears débuted her new lingerie line in London on Tuesday and the pop icon knows exactly who she'd like to wear it.
Britney Spears At The MTV Music Awards

"I would love to see Kate [Middleton] wear my underwear designs," Spears told People on Wednesday. "That would be splendid! I'm going to send her one of every piece, so she'll have plenty to choose from.

In defending her decision to offer some free samples to the Duchess, the singer-turned-designer claimed that her line is for "every type of woman."

Britney Spears Performs In Las Vegas

While known for her fragrances, Intimate Britney Spears is the 32-year-old's first entry into the world of lingerie design. As for her personal life, Spears admitted that she prefers to keep things interesting.

"I like to have matching and then sometimes I like to mix it up and change it up… to make it more interesting and fun" revealed Spears of her own lingerie.

Spears announced the lingerie line back in July, offering a wide array of styles all under $80.

"Every woman should feel confident and beautiful in everything she puts on," she declared in a July 23 interview with People. "My vision for The Intimate Britney Spears is to create pieces that are sexy, luxurious, and comfortable at the same time. I am excited to introduce this collection because I feel that we accomplished just that."

The Duchess of Cambridge has not commented on Spears' offer and is currently pregnant with her second child.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

K-pop singer takes back accusations of abuse, leaves fans unconvinced


Moon Joon-young, the leader of K-pop boy band ZE:A, on Monday took back his fiery criticisms of his agency's alleged exploitation of its singers, but fans remained sceptical of the "reconciliation."
The 25-year-old singer wrote on his Twitter Monday morning that he had an all-night talk the day before with Shin Ju-hak, the chief executive of Star Empire Entertainment Co., "as the final ultimatum." He posted an official apology "for causing controversy, which was straightened out after a candid face-to-face talk with the CEO."

The entertainment label also released an official statement, claiming Moon and Shin had "unraveled all the misunderstandings and conflicts in a cordial manner."

But the news did not convince online critics, with sceptical comments heating up news sites and online community bulletin boards.

"Talk of reconciliation. A bucket of lies (fnal****)."

"Don't you think it's strange? (snai****)."

"If it was such an easy problem, why have they waited so long to reconcile? This has been a longtime issue (vijd****)."

Some blamed Moon for quickly revoking his claims.

In recent years, the abuse controversy involving K-pop stars and their agencies has gained public attention, with a series of legal actions by globally popular singers. The three former members of TVXQ, now JYJ, Hankyung of Super Junior and Kris of EXO have taken legal action against S.M. Entertainment over common issues of maltreatment, hectic work schedules and scarce income.

Moon's Twitter manifesto also addressed these three key issues in detail.

1. Sunday morning: "I want to live like a human being, like a man."

The scandal surfaced on Sunday morning, when the distressed ZE:A leader voiced allegations of an inhumanly tight schedule and unfair distribution of income.

Moon wrote on his Twitter, "I am determined to speak out my heart, the world as I see it, and the life I live in tears. I mean to share them all with the public. I ask for support from the journalists.

"I will not bypass the injustice. I regret having been silent -- All I got in return was insults and depression that have imprisoned me."

He directly targeted the CEO of his agency, a daring move for an idol star in Korea.

"I believe a true leader, owner and ruler must heed to the cry of (his people) … I will show how tears can turn into fury. This is no joke. If my Twitter account disappears or I become silent, that will be the evidence of the pressure from those with power to do so.

"For the first time, I ask the world: CEO Shin Ju-hak of Star Empire Entertainment, do you think you are immune to this? … In tears I asked you not to cross the line, but you did. Now it is yours to handle this. I blew my top. I have been through everything, from circular hair loss to melancholia."

Later when these statements disappeared from the singer's Twitter, Moon's agency said the singer voluntarily deleted them.

2. Sunday evening: "CEO gets 70 per cent of the profit, members get 3.33 per cent each."

After voicing, then erasing, his words on Twitter, he posted criticism of the agency's unfair distribution of profit.

"A couple hours till the promised 24-hour. We should not have more victims, including ZE:A… Why should we be oppressed for loving to sing? Here, people without money become the sinners and those with money becomes the winners… I want to show young aspiring singers that this world is about being fabulous on the surface but financially poor in reality… They remain silent, not because they do not wish to, but because they cannot speak. Money mutes us."

The singer claimed that ZE:A's exclusive contract with Star Empire, approved by the Fair Trade Commission, has "the company and the nine-member band split the profit by a 7:3 ratio." For every 1 million won earned, Shin takes 700,000 won and ZE:A members divide the remaining 300,000 won by nine -- roughly 33,333 won for each member.

ZE:A's exclusive contract is effective for nine years, which includes the two-year military service term.

"I have given Star Empire my youth, teens and 20s. The housing is in such bad condition that I bumped into (a hard object) and hurt my face while going to the restroom at night. Once they sent me to KBS' sports entertainment show 'Dream Team' only a week before the comeback stage for 'Aftermath.' I broke my leg (in the show,) and had to tell people that I hurt my leg in dance practice instead.

"The world is all about money. The entertainment scene that I have experienced is even more so, and the mass communication outlets distort the news to the point that we think of committing suicide," he added.

"I am going to have a final word with president Shin Ju-hak. Please wait for me. Please do not delete (my case) from the portal's most frequently searched words."

3. Monday morning: "I saw President Shin apologise with tears in his eyes... but I know things may be much worse in some entertainment agencies."

Moon ended the dispute with his agency by posting an apology and a briefing of the talks between himself and Shin. He said the CEO offered a tearful apology in front of eight ZE:A members. Siwan is currently away for an outside schedule.

With a complete about-face in opinion, he wrote, "First of all, I apologise for triggering the controversy. We finished the talk just now and I am grateful that he accepted my feelings, which are all straightened for good.

"This is what I wanted to show. A CEO being chastised by the fans and the public. But now that the dispute has ended, it all comes down to a petty family fight… But I know things may be much worse at other entertainment agencies. I do not want Mr. Shin to stick out as a scapegoat. Guilty agencies need no accuser."

4. Aftermath

While Moon and Star Empire have seemingly reconciled, online critics argued that the agency has a history of mistreating its singers.

Another round of fresh criticisms were directed toward Shin later on Monday, after a critic posted a video clip of the Star Empire Entertainment chief slapping a female singer's face with a roll of documents. The singer turned out to be Sera, a former member of Star Empire's girl group Nine Muses. The movie clip later turned out to be a part of a documentary on K-pop artists, aired on British broadcaster BBC.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Go 'Cheek To Cheek' On New Album

You might think they go together like oil and water, or chalk and cheese.

"I think it's probably what a lot of people are thinking when they hear Tony Bennett wants to do a jazz album with Lady Gaga," says Gaga herself of her new collaborative album with the legendary crooner, Cheek To Cheek. "They say, 'Huh? What are you talking about?'"
It's not the first time they've worked together. The pair collaborated on "The Lady Is A Tramp" for his album Duets II, which won a Grammy. Bennett says Lady Gaga's up to the challenge of a full album of standards.

"She's actually a very authentic jazz singer," he says. "She'll turn a phrase, she'll make it different, because of the moment that she's singing. And so, what happens is it keeps the songs alive; the interpretations become very intimate and everlasting."

Like Bennett, Lady Gaga was born in New York City. She's actually been singing jazz since she was a kid — but of course, she's best known for her pop songs and over-the-top stage shows, which draw sell-out crowds around the world. So, why did she decide to record with Tony Bennett?

"He's brought out a subtlety in me that I've missed for a while, because my life is very noisy," Gaga says. "It's a lot harder to sing with auto-tune, in a way, you know? It's a lot harder to sing with rigid electronic music and lots of spectacle. It can be very difficult, because it's not always extremely natural."

But the new record is natural, says New Yorker pop-music critic Sasha Frere-Jones.

"You know, her records have become increasingly so crowded, so noisy — but not with noise, just sort of noisy with information that I don't understand what's going on exactly," Frere-Jones says. "And this is a wide-open, fairly natural record. I'm sure there's some editing involved in there, but, you know, she's there. I don't know what the world will make of it, but it's actually pretty good!"

Frere-Jones also points out that Lady Gaga is more than pop spectacle; she can really play piano and sing. She says working with the 88-year-old Bennett has been a real education.

"I love watching Tony perform," she says. "I always sit in the theater and watch when he's performing without me, with his quartet."

Bennett hopes the learning experience extends to Lady Gaga's audience.

"It's the first time that young people that love [her] so much will fall in love with George Gershwin, with Cole Porter, with Irving Berlin," Bennett says.

"And most of them, a lot of them, surprisingly, know some of those songs," Gaga says. "And they're sort of getting more and more and more excited and it's becoming cooler for them to talk about who wrote what. Tony's really opening up a whole new generation.

"I feel very validated by this," the pop singer says. "You know, he's given my fans a gift by saying to them that he likes the way I sing jazz."

The two singers also seem to genuinely like each other. In addition to the album, PBS will be broadcasting a concert of Gaga and Bennett singing duets in October. And — in case any of Lady Gaga's fans are curious about who wrote what — Bennett promises there will be visuals, identifying the songwriters, at the start of every song.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chrissie Hynde says pop full of 'porn stars trying to make records'

The Pretenders' outspoken lead singer Chrissie Hynde has again raised the spectre of so-called "stripper pop", blasting young singers for selling sex before music.
Hynde has labelled young pop stars "porn stars trying to make records".

The iconic Brass in Pocket hit maker has told the London Evening Standard there were too many scantily clad pop stars and rockers filming videos while wearing next to nothing.

"There's a definite division of what I'd call porn stars trying to make records, and then musicians.

"If you go and see Kate Bush, you'll see a real musician. She takes care of business the way she wants. If a girl walks on stage and starts playing like Jimi Hendrix, believe me, no one will be asking her to take her clothes off," she told the UK publication.

"If anyone says, 'I have to do this because my record company told me', that's a lie. The artist is in control of what they're doing. You can always tell anyone to f--- off.

"If they're under pressure to get their kit off, maybe they should just be making porn films. Maybe they're in the wrong game."

Hynde isn't singling out anyone for criticism, but her remarks come just days after actress Mayim Bialik took aim at Ariana Grande for wearing "lingerie" to promote her new album.

In 2013, Sinead O'Connor attacked Miley Cyrus after watching the pop star's Wrecking Ball video, in which the former Disney regular swings about on a huge metal ball, wearing only boots.