Howard's End


Imagine that: Opie has suddenly inherited the "Star Wars" empire.

Ron Howard, who played the freckle-faced country boy on "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s, has been hired to replace the two directors booted this week from the set of the new movie about Han Solo, the rogue pilot played by Harrison Ford in the original 1977 blockbuster.

Howard, 63, is an Academy Award-winning director ("A Beautiful Mind") who is no stranger to fantasies and space adventures. His hit movies include 1985's "Cocoon" and 1995's "Apollo 13," which was nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture.

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had reportedly completed three-quarters of the filming of the latest installment of "Star Wars" when they were dramatically fired after clashing with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

Replacing a director this deep into a production is "near-unprecedented," says the Hollywood Reporter. Howard inherits a film that has just under one month left in its shooting schedule.

Filming is set to resume on July 10.

The untitled movie, which stars relatively unknown Alden Ehrenreich in the role made famous by Ford, is scheduled to premiere May 25, 2018. The cast also includes Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke ("Game of Thrones") and Thandie Newton ("Westworld").

Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

The Foo, the Proud


Well, "La Dee Da"—that's just one of 11 songs on the Foo Fighters' new album, "Concrete and Gold," available September 15.

Frontman Dave Grohl describes the band's ninth disc as "Motorhead's version of 'Sgt. Pepper'…or something like that."

"I wanted it to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever," he adds.

Click here to preorder the new album and check out the Foo Fighters as rebellious nursing home residents in the video for "Run."

"Concrete and Gold" is the band's first album since 2014's "Sonic Highways," which featured eight songs recorded in eight cities with rich musical histories. The recording process was chronicled in an eight-episode documentary on HBO, "Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways."

The band is previewing "Concrete and Gold" on a summer tour of Europe and Asia. They'll take off most of September before launching a two-month swing through the U.S., beginning October 7 at Cal Jam 17, a music festival in San Bernandino, California.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Ramblin' Men

Photo of ALLMAN BROTHERS and Gregg Allman and Dickey BETTS and Jai Johanny Jaimone JOHANSON and Butch TRUCKS

This summer's Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania, will jam in memory of Gregg Allman and drummer Butch Trucks, who co-founded the annual event with the Allman Brothers in 2012.

Organizers are still setting the lineup for what's being billed as "an all-star tribute" to Allman, who died May 27 of complications from liver cancer, and Trucks, who shot himself on January 24. Both musicians were 69 years old.

More than 60 artists are expected on three stages August 10-13 at Montage Mountain. The roster already includes Gov't Mule, which is fronted by Warren Haynes, a longtime guitarist with the Allman Brothers, and Les Brers, a band whose members included Trucks and fellow Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe. The Peach Music Fest will be Les Brers' final performance.

The festival's headliners are Widespread Panic and My Morning Jacket. Also scheduled to appear: Lettuce featuring Chaka Khan, guitar whiz Joe Bonamassa, Rusted Root and Dark Star Orchestra.

In addition, there will be a "full performance" of the Allman Brothers' classic 1972 live album "Eat A Peach," "intertwined" with songs by Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish.

Ticket and camping information is available on the Peach Fest website.

Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

'Downton': The Movie


Two years after shuttering its royal doors, "Downton Abbey" is reopening for business, this time as a feature-length film.

An estimated 20 cast members of the enormously popular PBS saga, which aired from 2011-2015, are being recruited for the movie. Production is expected to get underway sometime next year.

"There's a movie in the works," reports Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Studios. "We are working on getting the script right and then we've got to figure out how to get the [cast] together."

Edelstein broke the news at today's opening of "Downton Abbey: The Exhibition" in Singapore. The showcase of costumes and other artifacts from the series runs through July 31. It will eventually makes its way to the U.S. and Australia, though exact dates and locations have yet to be announced.

Photo: PBS

By Kevin Haynes |

Southern Discomfort


A male fantasy gets upended in "The Beguiled," director Sofia Coppola's feminist remake of a 1971 film that starred Clint Eastwood.

The gothic drama, which premiered at last month's Cannes Film Festival—where Coppola won the prize for Best Director—opens June 23 in theaters nationwide.

Colin Farrell stars this time around as a wounded Union soldier who takes shelter in a secluded all-female boarding school in Virginia headed by Nicole Kidman. The patient quickly rebounds to lap up the TLC of attendants like Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, living up to Kidman's prescient assessment of their "most unwelcome visitor."

"Sofia Coppola knows how to toy & have fun w/ female gaze," tweeted a Film Journal critic at Cannes.

But Farrell's fate, unlike the Civil War, quickly goes south.

Don't have time to drive to the multiplex and sit through a 90-minute revenge fantasy? The trailer pretty much reveals the entire plotline, from the initial compassionate care and seductive sweet talk to later developments that involve tainted apple pie, chloroform and Farrell shouting, "What have you done to me, you vengeful bitches!"

For Coppola, nothing is lost in translation this time around.

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

By Kevin Haynes |

Lynyrd Skynyrd Lawsuit


Lynyrd Skynyrd claims former drummer Artimus Pyle isn't free as a bird to make a movie about the 1977 plane crash that killed six people, including three band members.

The Southern rock group is suing Pyle, 68, who survived the crash and is now working on a film called "Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash."

Lynyrd Skynyrd contends the biopic violates a 1988 consent order that prevents the "exploitation of life story rights" of any project that "purports to be a history" of the band. Pyle signed the agreement.

Pyle has defended the movie, which he says "tells a very passionate, intimate story about the music and the band and a rise and fall that happened so suddenly."

That "fall" occurred the night of October 20, 1977 when the band's chartered plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the woods near Gillsburg, Mississippi. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines, were killed instantly, along with the pilot, co-pilot and Skynyrd's assistant road manager. Pyle and five other band members were seriously injured.

The crash occurred just three days after the release of Skynyrd's fifth album, "Street Survivors." Eerily, the album cover showed the band engulfed in flames and featured "That Smell," a song that warns "the smell of death surrounds you."

Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

He's Your Man


Say hallelujah. An exhibit celebrating Leonard Cohen's influence on present-day artists is coming this fall to the Museum of Contemporary Art in his native Montreal.

"Leonard Cohen—A Crack in Everything" will run for five months, beginning November 9, the one-year anniversary of his death at 82.

The museum approached Cohen with the idea last year, suggesting the exhibition combine an archival display of his music, art and writing with the latest work of 40 artists from 10 countries: 20 musicians, 13 visual artists and seven filmmakers.

Cohen was "thrilled" by the prospect, says the museum's director and chief curator, John Zeppetelli

"It was important for him that this exhibit would not be of a biographical nature," he explained in a statement. "From the start, the project was thought as a contemporary artistic exploration of a life's work, and in that sense, he was thrilled to be able to inspire other artists through his art."

As Cohen once sang, "I'm your man."

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Carrie Fisher Autopsy Out


Cocaine, methadone and opiates were in Carrie Fisher's system when she died in December, along with traces of ecstasy, an anti-depressant and antihistamine.

But the official coroner's report, revealed today, says it's unclear how much those drugs contributed to the death of the 60-year-old actress, writer and "Star Wars" princess.

"Based on the available toxicological information, we cannot establish the significance of the multiple substances that were detected in Ms. Fisher's blood and tissue," the report stated.

The toxicology report comes just days after the Los Angeles County coroner attributed Fisher's death to sleep apnea, heart disease and "drug use," among other unspecified factors. She went into cardiac arrest while flying home to Los Angeles from London on December 23 and died four days later. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, died the next day.

Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, reacted to news of the toxicological findings with the same kind of unflinching candor as her mother.

"My mom battled drug addiction and mental illness her entire life," Lourd, 24, told People magazine. "She'd want her death to encourage people to be open about their struggles. Seek help, fight for government funding for mental health programs. Shame and those social stigmas are the enemies of progress to solutions and ultimately a cure."

"Love you Momby," Lourd added.

Photo by Charles Sykes/NBC/NBC NewsWire

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Carole King


Back in April 1971, Carole King's record label released the first single from her "Tapestry" album: "I Feel the Earth Move," a buoyant, piano-driven celebration of love.

Then a funny thing happened.

Radio stations started playing the B-side, a slower, painfully mature assessment of a breakup. "It's Too Late" caught fire with listeners, flopped places with the A-side on the charts and, this week 46 years ago, was the No. 1 record for the first of five consecutive weeks.

King's jazz-like arrangement was fortified by lyricist Toni Stern's contemplative look at a doomed relationship (supposedly, the end of her love affair with James Taylor).

"It's Too Late" won the 1972 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and is ranked No. 469 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time. It's also No. 213 of 365 Songs of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

For the record, Billboard officially categorized King's one-two punch as a double-A-side single, a designation created in 1965 when the Beatles released "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work it Out" on one 45.

So, technically speaking, "I Feel the Earth Move," was also No. 1 on this date in 1971—even though it wasn't getting nearly as much airplay at that point.

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Bruce Heads to Broadway


Watch out, "Hamilton." The Boss is coming to Broadway this fall.

Bruce Springsteen is reportedly ready to stage a long run of solo concerts—five shows a week for eight weeks, beginning in November—at the 975-seat Walter Kerr Theatre, the recent home of the short-lived musical "Amelie."

"He wants to play a smaller house," a "theater source" told the New York Post, "and he likes the idea of being on Broadway."

The intimate setting would no doubt be a showcase for a new solo album that has been in the can for over a year. Springsteen, 67, was a frequent visitor last spring to Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, where he worked on the final mix with Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Tom Elmhirst.

The solo shows may serve as an intro to an even more ambitious project. The Post claims there seems to be interest in producing a Broadway musical based on Springsteen's recent best-selling memoir, "Born to Run."

Think of it as "Jersey Boys"—without the "s."

Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Oh Yoko!


Give Yoko Ono credit—for co-writing "Imagine."

In accordance with John Lennon's longtime wish, the National Music Publishers Association announced it has begun the process that will award a songwriting credit to Ono for the landmark 1971 hit.

Lennon, who was killed in 1980, repeatedly said "Imagine" was inspired by his wife's 1963 poem, "Cloud Piece," which was reproduced on the back cover of his "Imagine" album. The serene ballad was the best-selling single of Lennon's solo career, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"The lyric and the concept came from Yoko," Lennon said, "but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution."

The announcement was made Wednesday at a NMPA ceremony that honored "Imagine" with the organization's new Centennial Song award. Ono, 84 and wheelchair-bound with what was described as "a flu-like ailment," accepted the honor with son Sean Lennon, 41.

Patti Smith then sang "Imagine," accompanied on piano by her daughter, Jesse.

Photo by Susan Wood/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Farm Aid on My Mind

Willie Nelson Discusses "God's Problem Child" During An Album Premiere Special On His SiriusXM Channel Willie's Roadhouse At SiriusXM's Music Theatre In Nashville

Farm Aid, the annual concert that has raised money for family farmers since 1985, will be staged September 16 at the KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles west of Pittsburgh.

Farm Aid founders Neil Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp will all perform at the benefit, which is returning to western Pennsylvania farm country for the first time since 2002.

The array of artists on the bill also includes Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, the band fronted by one of Willie Nelson's seven children.

Tickets, priced from $49.50 to $199.50, go on sale to the general public June 23.

Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for SiriusXM

By Kevin Haynes |

Demon Seeks Trademark

23rd Annual Race To Erase MS Gala - Show

If Gene Simmons has his way, you'll have to pay him the next time you extend your thumb, forefinger and pinky in the air—you know, the universal hand sign that shouts, "Rock on!"

The Kiss frontman has filed for a trademark on the gesture, which he claims he introduced to the music world during the band's "Hotter Than Hell" tour on November 14, 1974.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is reviewing Simmons' application for dibs on the hand signal for "entertainment, namely, live performances [and personal appearances] by a musical artist."

One potential bump in the road in Simmons' dream of capitalizing on a raised hand: history.

John Lennon flashed the exact same sign on the picture sleeve of the Beatles' 1966 double-sided single, "Yellow Submarine" and "Eleanor Rigby."

It is also remarkably similar to "the sign of the horns," a gesture believed to ward off evil. It dates back to the pre-Kiss 5th Century B.C.

While awaiting the government's ruling, beware the rush to trademark a certain one-finger response to Simmons' latest money grab.

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Anita Pallenberg Dies

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones at King's College Hospital on 18 August 1969 to collect his girlfriend Anita Pallen

Anita Pallenberg had nothing to do with the design of the Rolling Stones' infamous tongue logo in 1969, but she definitely inspired the same lascivious reaction in the band.

The German model and actor, dead of unknown causes at 73, met guitarist Brian Jones backstage in 1965. Their stormy relationship ended after a violent incident in Morocco two years later, and Pallenberg sought solace in the loving arms of Keith Richards. The couple shared a home in London, three children and a nasty drug habit before separating in 1980. (One child, a son named Tara, died as an infant in 1976. Pallenberg is survived by her other two children, Marlon and Angela.)

Blond and beautiful, she was more than mere window dressing. Pallenberg sang backup on "Sympathy for the Devil," convinced Mick Jagger to remix songs on 1968's "Beggars Banquet" album and starred with the flamboyant singer in the 1970 cult classic "Performance," directed by Nicolas Roeg.

She also was a mainstay of Andy Warhol's Factory and appeared in the campy 1968 Jane Fonda flick "Barbarella," among other movies.

And, of course, Pallenberg was the muse for Stones songs, like the 1973 hit single "Angie" and "You Got the Silver," from 1969's "Let It Bleed" album. "Hey, babe, you got my soul," sang Richards in his first-ever lead vocal. "You got the silver, you got the gold." It was also the last song recorded by Jones, who played autoharp. He drowned in his home swimming pool five months later at 27.

Pallenberg continued acting (2007's "Mister Lonely") and earned a degree in fashion design in London. Her love of gardening led to classes in botanical drawing and watercolors. The one thing she wasn't interested in: writing a memoir.

Several publishers attempted to woo her, Pallenberg told a London newspaper in 2008, but she turned them down. "They all wanted salacious," she explained. Besides, "everybody is writing autobiographies and that's one reason why I'm not going to do it. If young Posh Spice can write her autobiography, I don't want to write one!"

"A most remarkable woman," Richards said in a statement. "Always in my heart."

Photo: Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

McCartney Packs a Punch

Performer Paul McCartney poses for photo

Eddie Vedder, who sang about getting punched in the face in Pearl Jam's 1991 hit "Jeremy," now recalls an even more memorable wallop—from the fist of Paul McCartney.

The singer says he was once in a Seattle hotel bar with Sir Paul when the former Beatle started regaling him with the tale of an ancient fistfight. As if reliving the moment, McCartney threw a left—and connected squarely with Vedder's mug.

"Paul McCartney just hit me in the face and it hurt," Vedder recalled during an interview on SiriusXM's Beatles channel. "I think I remember tasting a bit of blood."

McCartney "apologized quickly," Vedder noted, but then continued on with his "fascinating story."

"I remember it hurt for a few days," said Vedder, echoing the lyrics of "Jeremy." ("He hit me with a surprise left/My jaw left hurtin'/dropped wide open").

"And I remember when it went away, when the pain subsided and the swelling went down," Vedder added with a twinge of nostalgia. "I kinda missed it."

By Kevin Haynes |

Jimi Hendrix Park to Open

Photo of Jimi Hendrix

You don't have to be experienced or foxy to stroll through the new Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle's Central District, which will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday at noon.

The grand entrance and stairway of the 2.5-acre park, located next to the Northwest African American Museum, is emblazoned with the signature of the city's hometown hero. Other highlights include an undulating "Shadow Wave Wall" that leads to a central plaza, where a butterfly-wing amphitheatre will host live performances. The purple wall features Hendrix's silhouette, a timeline of his brief life and lyrics from the songs "Angel" and "Little Wing."

"The park is designed as a gathering place for individuals of diverse backgrounds and ages," according to a statement by the nonprofit foundation in charge of the $2.2 million project, "to celebrate cultural heritage, experience community pride, and enjoy innovative educational programming in partnership with the neighboring museum."

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Newman's Own

Paul Newman

Watch lovers, start your engines. The race is on to buy a rare Rolex made famous by Paul Newman.

The late actor's 1963 Cosmograph Daytona, a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward, will be sold at auction October 26 in New York. It is expected to fetch at least $1 million.

Rolex made no more than 3,000 of the timepiece, which features a white dial and three black subdials. The word "Daytona" arcs above the bottom subdial in red. Woodward purchased the model at Tiffany & Co. as a nod to Newman's love of auto racing. The personalized inscription on back reads, "Drive Carefully Me."

Years later, Newman (seen here at Daytona International Speedway in 1995) gave the watch to a college friend of their daughter, Nell, to thank him for repairing a treehouse at the family home in Connecticut.

The sale is being conducted by Phillips Auction House, a watch specialist based in Geneva, Switzerland. Phillips recently sold another rare Rolex—a yellow gold Oyster Paul Newman Daytona—for a record $3.7 million.

A portion of the proceeds from the fall auction will be donated to the Nell Newman Foundation, which she established in 2010 to benefit the environment and honor her father's legacy of charitable giving.

Photo: ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: The Beatles


It was 47 years ago today that "The Long and Winding Road" marked the beginning of the end for the Beatles.

The tender ballad, the last single ever released by the band, topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks beginning on June 13, 1970, and proved to be an unintended but apt farewell. It was the Beatles' 20th and final No. 1 hit, reaching that position one month after Paul McCartney announced that he was going solo.

Despite its success, the song played a key role in McCartney's decision to quit the band. He hated the horns, strings and women's choir that were added by producer Phil Spector and cited the "intolerable interference" in a legal move to dissolve the Beatles.

McCartney was much happier with the 2003 version of "The Long and Winding Road" on the stripped-down "Let It Be…Naked" album. To hear the difference, click here.

By Kevin Haynes |

Gimme Gimme

1977, Los Angeles, Ramones

The Ramones' "Leave Home" is coming back 40 years later, bigger and fresher than ever.

The punk pioneers' second album will be reissued July 14 as a three-CD/one-LP box set, "Ramones: Leave Home 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition." The limited-edition production of 15,000 copies will be individually numbered and encased in a hardcover book celebrating the band and the 1977 album.

The first disc features the original stereo mix as well as newly remastered versions of all 14 songs, which are also showcased on the vinyl edition. Ed Stasium, who engineered and mixed "Leave Home" then and now, says in the liner notes that the original "maybe sounded too clean." "The reverb effects especially were a little excessive," he adds.

Disc 2 is comprised of 15 rough mixes of songs like "California Sun" and "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment," along with bonus cuts like the single version of "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," the Geek Mix of "Suzy is a Headbanger" and the Oo-Oo-Gabba-UhUh Mix of "Pinhead."

The box set's real prize, however, may be the third disc: 19 songs recorded live at New York's famed punk palace, CBGB, on April 2, 1977.

Hey ho.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'Paint It Black'


Fifty-one years ago this week the Rolling Stones notched their third No. 1 hit with a dour but rocking ode to depression and death, "Paint It Black."

The dreary thumper kicked off the U.S. edition of the band's breakthrough 1966 album, "Aftermath," the first to consist solely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

"I look inside myself and see my heart is black," sings Jagger, who was reportedly inspired by James Joyce's 1922 masterpiece "Ulysses."

"It's like the beginnings of miserable psychedelia," he later said of the song, which achieved the same lofty chart success as 1965's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Get Off of My Cloud." "That's what the Rolling Stones started."

Another "Paint It Black" bright spot: it's the first No. 1 single to feature a sitar, though guitarist Brian Jones was quick to acknowledge the influence of George Harrison and "Norwegian Wood," which the Beatles recorded in October 1965.

"Paint It Black" remained on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks and served as an appropriate companion piece to the Stones' next Top 10 hit, "Mother's Little Helper." The universal theme song of the era's pill-popping housewives launched the British version of "Aftermath" but was released only as a single in the U.S. in June 1966. It got as high as No. 8.

Photo by Ivan Keeman/Redferns/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |