'Beaches' Ready

beaches-remake

Like the wind beneath your wings, some positive buzz surrounding the TV remake of "Beaches" is giving the Lifetime movie a welcome lift.

Premiering Saturday at 8 p.m., Idina Menzel and Nia Long star in the roles made famous by Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey in the beloved 1989 tearjerker directed by Garry Marshall.

The updated film shows the two lifelong friends communicating by text and cell phone instead of writing letters. The fresh soundtrack includes Menzel's cover of the Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" as well as a rousing new version of the movie's signature song, "Wind Beneath My Wings," a No. 1 hit for Midler.

"Idina puts her own spin on it," says Jeff Silbar, who co-wrote the inspirational ballad with the late Larry Henley. "It's very youthful. It sounds like now."

"'Wind Beneath My Wings' has just been a part of me my whole life," Medina said yesterday on "Good Morning America." "So when I went into the studio to record it … [I thought] 'Just do your thing. Channel Bette."

Midler has already tweeted her approval. So has Rotten Tomatoes, the movie website now offering a list of 10 ways the "Beaches" remake stands on its own. "It's 30 minutes shorter," the movie website points out, "but nothing is missing."

Except, until tomorrow night at any rate, the tear-stained tissues.

By Kevin Haynes |

Party On

waynes-world

We are not worthy. Like a true millennial, "Wayne's World" is returning home to theaters February 7–8 to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The 1992 comedy, inspired by a wildly popular sketch on "Saturday Night Live," stars Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, the goofy, music-obsessed hosts of a public-access TV show in Aurora, Illinois. Co-stars include Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere and Alice Cooper.

The screenings are part of the "Wayne's World 25th Birthday Bash." Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers will host a post-film discussion with director Penelope Spheeris and cast members.

In addition, "Wayne's World" and its 1993 sequel will be released as a double feature on Valentine's Day. The reissue will be available on DVD and Digital HD. The iTunes edition will include a director's commentary and a bonus look at the making of the movie.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: John Fred

judy-2

Long before "Weird Al" Yankovic twisted "Beat It" into "Eat it," Louisiana songwriter John Fred Gourrier decided to have a little fun with a Beatles' song title he originally misheard.

When "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" came out in June 1967, the 26-year-old performer, aka John Fred, could've sworn John Lennon was singing "Judy in disguise" with diamonds. Amused and undaunted by the error, Fred co-wrote a bubblegum version of the trippy music and lyrics, replaced the gemstones with eyeglasses and recorded the jaunty tune that topped the pop charts 49 years ago today, "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)."

The parody by John Fred & His Playboy Band—he changed the name from John Fred and the Playboys to avoid any confusion with Gary Lewis & the Playboys—was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, beginning January 20, 1968.

The one-hit wonder's connection to the Beatles was further cemented by the fact that it knocked "Hello, Goodbye" out of the top spot—and got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from Lennon.

"He thought it was great," claimed Fred, who died of kidney failure in 2005 at age 63. "He said the first thing he was going to do when he got home was write a song called 'Froggy in a Pond With Spectacles.'"

By Kevin Haynes |

Yes They Can

sammy-davis-jr

A long-planned movie about Sammy Davis Jr. is finally going to sing and dance its way into production. "The Candy Man" crooner's estate has resolved a contentious lawsuit and given its blessing to the project, which is based on Davis' 1965 memoir, "Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr."

No word yet on who will portray the Rat Pack's most diminutive member, but producers include Lionel Richie. "It's an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friends to the screen," he said in a statement.

The son of vaudeville dancers in Depression-era Harlem, Davis became a multifaceted entertainer, starring on Broadway ("Mr. Wonderful") as well as in nightclubs and movies. He was especially hailed as a tap dancer whose biggest fans included Michael Jackson. Davis was also an acclaimed photographer and fast-draw gunman. He died of throat cancer in 1990 at 64.

By Kevin Haynes |

You Magnificent Bastard!

jerry-seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld is buying into the whole "Netflix and chill" vibe—big-time.

The comedian is driving his online series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" to the streaming service in a major deal that also promises two stand-up specials and new "scripted and unscripted" series down the road.

Seinfeld will host 24 new episodes of "Comedians in Cars" on Netflix later this year. All nine seasons of the show, which premiered on Crackle in 2012, will also be available.

The online series began its ninth season earlier this month. To check out the latest episode, featuring SNL veteran Norm Macdonald, click here.

Photo: Comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com

By Kevin Haynes |

Tribute to Glenn Frey

glenn-frey-getty

On the first anniversary of Glenn Frey's death, Bob Seger is paying tribute to his longtime friend and fallen Eagle with a new ballad, "Glenn Song," available for free on Seger's website.

"I wanted a ballad with a heavy beat because that's the way I remember Glenn," Seger tells Rolling Stone. "The idea was just to honor his memory and talk, very specifically, about my impression of him in 1966 when we first met."

Back then, the two aspiring singer-songwriters were teenagers living in Detroit. Their friendship would endure over the decades as their career paths frequently merged. The two co-wrote the Eagles' 1979 No. 1 hit "Heartache Tonight," while Frey sang backup on Seger's Top 10 singles "Against the Wind" and "Fire Lake."

Frey was 67 when he died a year ago today of complications stemming from his lengthy battle with rheumatoid arthritis.

Photo by R. Diamond/WireImage via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

All Those Years Ago

george-harrison

George Harrison fans will soon be singing give me love, give me peace on earth, give me the ex-Beatle's remastered solo albums on old-school, 180-gram vinyl and an expanded edition of his 1980 memoir, "I Me Mine."

"George Harrison—The Vinyl Collection" showcases all 12 studio albums from 1968 to 2002 and their original artwork, along with 1992's "Live in Japan" and two 12-inch picture discs of the late 1980s hits "Got My Mind Set on You" and "When We Was Fab."

In addition to the $450 box set, each album will be re-released individually, including a limited-edition of Harrison's only No. 1 studio effort, 1970's "All Things Must Pass." The three-record set featured the hits "My Sweet Lord" and "What is Life" and a cover of Bob Dylan's "If Not for You."

The box set's official release date is February 25, which would've been Harrison's 74th birthday. He was 58 when he died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001.

"I Me Mine: The Extended Edition," out February 21, will be highlighted by previously unpublished photos and handwritten lyrics to 59 additional songs.

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'American Pie'

don-mclean

A long, long time ago, a 13-year-old paperboy in New Rochelle, New York, cut into his morning stack on February 4, 1959, and saw the news that would make him sick and, later, rich. His idol, Buddy Holly, had been killed in a plane crash the night before, along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

Soon immortalized as "The Day the Music Died," it was the spark behind the eternal flame of former newspaper deliverer Don McLean's "American Pie."

The sprawling saga topped the Billboard 100 on this day in 1972, rhyming Chevy with levee and inspiring legions of listeners to parse its lyrics like the Dead Sea Scrolls for deeper meaning.

"American Pie" spent four weeks on top and, at 8:33, remains the longest song to ever hit No. 1, though the 45 rpm single divided the ditty into two parts.

Covered by acts ranging from the Brady Bunch in 1972 to Madonna in 2000, the nostalgic opus was honored as the fifth greatest song of the 20th century by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America. It was outranked by "Over the Rainbow," "White Christmas," "This Land is Your Land," and "Respect."

McLean auctioned off the original lyrics in April for $1.2 million, reinforcing what he once claimed was the true meaning of his signature song.

"It means never having to work again," he said.

By Kevin Haynes |

Troubled Waters

Desert Trip - Weekend 1 - Day 3

Roger Waters may run deep and slow, but his first solo album in 25 years is finally beginning to trickle into the mainstream.

The Pink Floyd co-founder posted a 10-second clip on Instagram that shows him playing bass while sitting in front of a studio mixing board. The riff, which screams Pink Floyd, serves as an appetizer for the as yet untitled fourth solo effort, Waters' first since 1992's "Amused to Death."

The new material, he says, is "part magic carpet ride, part political rant, part anguish." No release date has been announced, but Waters is sure to showcase some of the fresh tracks during his upcoming "Us + Them Tour," which kicks off May 26 in Kansas City. He'll play 44 dates in the U.S. and Canada, wrapping up October 28 in Vancouver.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Desert Trip

By Kevin Haynes |

Seriously Weird

weird-al

If you can't "Beat It," "Eat It."

"Weird Al" Yankovic is cramming his entire life's work into one career-spanning package, "Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of 'Weird Al' Yankovic," coming this fall.

The parody king's 14 studio albums, from his 1983 self-titled debut to 2014's surprising No. 1 bestseller "Mandatory Fun," will be supplemented by a bonus disc dubbed "Medium Rarities," a compilation of handpicked non-album tracks. The box set also comes with a 100-page book about the now 57-year-old artist who turns familiar pop hits into comedy fodder, a la "Another One Rides the Bus" and "I Love Rocky Road."

The remastered collection will be available digitally as well as on CD and 150-gram vinyl.

Best of all, "Squeeze Box" comes in a creative package, with all 14 albums "lavishly housed" in the bellows of an exact replica of Yankovic's accordion.

The official release date is November 24, but pre-orders are now being accepted. Prices start at $200 for the CD set and $300 for vinyl. Premium editions include a $1,500 limited edition of 27 test pressings on vinyl in a distinct box that will be numbered and signed by Yankovic.

By Kevin Haynes |

Who's the Boss?

bruce-springsteen

Donald Trump has decided to take Bruce Springsteen's advice: "Cover Me."

The B Street Band, the self-proclaimed "original Springsteen tribute band" since 1980, will play one of the new President's inaugural balls next week. The New Jersey State Society has hired the imitation Boss crew to perform at the Garden State Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, the night before the inauguration ceremony.

Bruce, of course, wasn't available—he was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton—but the B Streeters have some genuine Jersey bona fides. The event is being chaired by Governor Chris Christie, a hardcore Springsteen fan and former head of the Trump transition team.

By Kevin Haynes |

Strange Days

urban-myths-2

Michael Jackson used to sing about looking at the man in the mirror, but he'd probably do a double take if he saw Joseph Fiennes staring back at him.

In a controversial bit of casting, the British actor plays the King of Pop in an odd new Sky Arts series, "Urban Myths: A Brand New Collection of Comedies." Click here to check out the bizarre trailer.

The first trailer shows Fiennes in fedora, shades and all of Jackson's moonwalking glory riding shotgun next to driver Elizabeth Taylor (Stockard Channing), with Marlon Brando (Brian Cox) in the back seat. The all-star trio supposedly drove cross-country when U.S. airports were shut down in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one of the urban myths explored in the show.

Future episodes recount Bob Dylan's (Eddie Marsan) quest to track down a guy named Dave, Cary Grant's LSD trips with Timothy Leary and Adolf Hitler's artistic frustrations, including his reaction to a friend complimenting his painting of lions. "They are horses," Hitler snaps.

No word yet on when "Urban Myths" will air in the U.S.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'The Joker'

steve-miller

Since its release in 1973 Steve Miller's "The Joker" has had everyone singing along on the "I'm a picker, I'm a grinner" chorus, smirking at the wolf-whistle guitar lick and smiling at the frisky pickup line, "You're the cutest thing that I ever did see/I really love your peaches/Want to shake your tree."

But more than four decades later everybody is still shaking their heads at Miller's reference to the "pompatus" of love.

The what?!?

Like "ain't," pompatous ain't in the dictionary. Neither is its alternate spelling, pompitous. Someone once claimed it's a reference to pomp and splendor, but the only thing known for sure is that it's a variation of "puppetutes of love," a nonsense lyric that first appeared in a 1954 doo-wop song by the Medallions, "The Letter." (Not to be confused with the No. 1 hit by the Box Tops in 1967.)

Speaking of No. 1, "The Joker" got there three months later, on January 12, 1974. But like most jokers, this one didn't stick around long. It moved on after just one week at the top of the Billboard 100.

Photo: Discogs.com

By Kevin Haynes |

You're Lookin' at Country

loretta-lynn

Loretta Lynn has been invited to make herself right at home at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

The 84-year-old country legend will show off a lifetime's worth of costumes and personal memorabilia in a 10-month exhibition that opens August 25 and runs through June 11, 2018.

"They best have a big space—I have a lot of stuff," says Lynn, whose career dates back to 1960 and includes hits like "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)" and "Coal Miner's Daughter," the inspiration for the 1980 biographical film starring Sissy Spacek.

The Lynn exhibition is part of the Hall of Fame's 50th anniversary celebration, which also includes shows dedicated to Shania Twain and Jason Aldean.

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

All I Wanna Do...

ann-wilson

Ann Wilson is heading out on a solo tour, but don't lose Heart. Her set list will be stocked with lots of familiar hits from rock and roll's most famous sister act, aka Heart, a decades-long collaboration with kid sister Nancy Wilson.

The month-long outing kicks off March 8 in Seattle and will swing through 20 cities nationwide, wrapping up April 7 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Wilson, 66, promises "a mix of songs that have powered my life," including "iconic stirring covers, songs from my years of solo work and the unforgettable songs of Heart."

The latter, no doubt, is sure to stretch back to the duo's 1975 debut album "Dreamboat Annie" and early hits like "Crazy on You," "Magic Man" and "Barracuda."

Click here for a complete list of tour dates on Wilson's personal website.

By Kevin Haynes |

The Piano Man's Top 5

billy-joel

If you want to toast Billy Joel's favorite Billy Joel song, all you've got to do is order some wine—a bottle of red, a bottle of white—and wave goodbye to Brenda and Eddie.

Perched on the couch last night at "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," the 67-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer revealed that 1977's "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" tops his list of the five best tunes from his own catalog.

"I actually think about that when I'm on stage, what would I want to see me do," he told Colbert. "I tend to like the album tracks, not the ones that are the hit singles."

That said, Joel cited his 1980 Top 10 hit "You May Be Right" as his No. 3 choice, ahead of "Vienna" and "And So It Goes." His No. 2 pick: "She's Right on Time," a relatively obscure cut from 1982's "Nylon Curtain" album.

The chipper Joel also agreed to play a time-sensitive request from his host, "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)"—but not before he made a startling admission about his signature hit. "'Piano Man' was originally about a superhero character," he claimed during a bit dubbed "True Stories Behind the Hits," "and I wanted to make a movie where he teamed up with Elton John's 'Rocket Man' to fight Bob Dylan's 'Tamborine Man.'"

By Kevin Haynes |

Lay Back, Enjoy the Show

sheryl-crow-1

All Sheryl Crow wants to do is have some fun again. "Be Myself," a new album coming this spring, is a throwback to the music that put her on the map almost 25 years ago.

"I wanted to have the feeling I had when I made my first two records," says Crow, 54, referring to the 1990s albums that spawned hits like "All I Wanna Do" and "Everyday Is a Winding Road." "[It] was like being a kid playing with my friends and writing about whatever came to mind."

Crow tells Rolling Stone that "a huge tour" is also in the works, one that might include teaming up at some point with Neil Young and Willie Nelson. She's also recording a duet with Keith Richards, a cover of the Rolling Stones' 1994 song "The Worst," for an all-star album due later this year featuring the likes of Don Henley, Kris Kristofferson and Stevie Nicks.

In the meantime, Crow is all about "Be Myself," hoping it will connect with old fans and a new audience.

"I would love for people to hear it," she says, "and I would love for them to enjoy it and have the experience that I used to have when I'd hear a song and go, 'Oh, my gosh, I totally get it.'"

Photo: Sherylcrow.com

By Kevin Haynes |

The Great Escape

CMT Presents Jimmy Buffett & Friends: Live from the Gulf Coast - Show

Parrotheads will be flocking to Broadway next year to greet Jimmy Buffet's "Escape to Margaritaville," a musical based on their hero's 1977 ode to that frozen concoction that helps us hang on.

The production, featuring some of Buffet's greatest hits as well as new songs, will begin testing the waters in May at California's La Jolla Playhouse. It will then work to strengthen its sea legs in New Orleans, Houston and Chicago before docking permanently in New York next spring.

"It's always been a dream of mine to make it to Broadway," Buffett, 70, said in a statement.

"Escape to Margaritaville" tells the story of a happy-go-lucky bartender at a tropical island resort who starts searching for a lot more than a lost shaker of salt when a beautiful tourist comes to town.

No cast members have been announced, but the musical's creative team includes co-writers Greg Garcia ("My Name Is Earl"), Mike O'Malley ("Glee") and director Christopher Ashley ("Memphis," "Xanadu").

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

By Kevin Haynes |

New From David Bowie

david-bowie

A new David Bowie music video and EP fell to Earth on Sunday, which would've been the glam king's 70th birthday.

The video for the EP's title cut, "No Plan," shows a window display of old televisions that reveal the song's lyrics as a small crowd gathers on the sidewalk, mesmerized by the music and random flickering images of white static, birds, rockets and cityscapes. The name of the shabby store: Newton Electrical, a nod to the alien played by Bowie in the 1976 cult film "The Man Who Fell to Earth."

The EP features the last four songs recorded by Bowie prior to his death, one year ago tomorrow. All four tracks were included on the recently released cast album for "Lazarus," the 2015 musical that premiered shortly before he died of liver cancer on January 10, 2016.

Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Lobbying for Leia

princess-leia

If Carrie Fisher 's Princess Leia taught us anything, it was that rules are made to be broken. So one grieving fan of the actress, who died December 28, is asking the Walt Disney Co. to dub Leia "an official Disney princess," foregoing the stickler that requires all royalty to be animated.

A change.org petition started by Cody Christensen, a dad with five daughters, urges Disney to allow Leia to join the exclusive club that includes cartoon princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel ("The Little Mermaid") and Princess Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty.

The petition asks for "a full [induction] ceremony" for Leia as well as "a special service" in Fisher's memory.

Of course, anyone who's ever read "Postcards from the Edge" or one of Fisher's other books or seen her one-woman show "Wishful Drinking" would argue that the feisty actress already qualifies for the honor. She was nothing if not animated.

By Kevin Haynes |