Sweet Home Florida

SiriusXM Presents Lynyrd Skynyrd Live At The Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta

The southern-fried band famous for "Free Bird" is coming home to roost for the last time.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has added a final show to its upcoming farewell tour, which now will wrap up September 2 in the band's hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Special guests Kid Rock and Jason Aldean will join Skynyrd for the grand finale at EverBank Field, home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

"This is a dream come true," said singer Johnny Van Zant, whose brother Ronnie was the band's original frontman. "Playing where the band got its start all those years ago is always special, but having these guys with us makes it even sweeter."

The 32-date tour kicks off May 4 at the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Click here for the complete schedule and ticket information.

Lyrnyrd Skynyrd's roots date back to 1964, when they were originally known as My Backyard. The band's quirky moniker, inspired by high school gym teacher Leonard Skinner, is a variation of its 1969 name, Leonard Skinnerd. The spelling change to Lyrnyrd Skynyrd occurred a year later.

Best known for the 1974 hits "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird," the band was touring in support of its fifth studio album, "Street Survivors," when their plane crashed near Gillbsurg, Mississippi, on October 20, 1977. Singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines were among the six people killed.

After a 10-year hiatus, the band was reborn with Ronnie's younger brother taking over lead vocals. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: Tony Orlando

tony-orlando

It seems as if every good cause has a ribbon these days, including pink for breast cancer and red for AIDS—and it's all because of a 45-year-old sentimental pop song about a convicted felon.

"Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" wrapped itself around the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for nearly a month starting this week in 1973, and has remained entwined in the national consciousness ever since.

Made famous by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando, as the group was then billed, the song recounted the bus ride of a nervous parolee hoping to see a telltale sign that the love of his life wanted him back. His fellow passengers cheered when they spotted not one, but 100, yellow ribbons wrapped around the title tree.

The story behind the symbol's origins is sketchy—and litigious. Women in the 19th century supposedly wore yellow ribbons in their hair as a sign of support for husbands and beaus in the U.S. Calvary. The practice inspired a 1917 marching song "Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon (For Her Lover Who Is Far, Far Away)" and a 1949 John Wayne western, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."

But the song more closely hews to a 1971 newspaper story by Pete Hamill of the New York Post. The article told of college students on a spring break bus ride to Florida who befriended an ex-con on his way home to Brunswick, Georgia, where he saw a yellow handkerchief tied to an oak.

Songwriters Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown saw the story, wrote the song and offered it to Ringo Starr before Orlando recorded it as a follow-up to Dawn's 1970 hits "Candida" and "Knock Three Times."

Hamill later sued the songwriters for copyright infringement, but eventually dropped the suit when so many similar tales surfaced of yellow-ribbon homecomings that the story was soon relegated to urban legend status.

The ribbon craze, however, was just beginning.

By Kevin Haynes |

Honoring Bono

U2 "Joshua Tree Tour 2017" - East Rutherford, New Jersey

Yet another "Beautiful Day" for Bono, the recipient of the first-ever George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership.

The 57-year-old U2 singer was honored by the former president Thursday for his longtime campaign to end HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa.

"It's a huge honor," Bono said, praising Bush for his "leadership on the greatest health intervention in the history of medicine."

Bono noted that an estimated 13 million Africans have benefitted from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). "And if you add the Global Relief Fund it's probably been 21 million lives [that] have been saved by this work that you began."

Bush returned the compliment, noting that Bono was the catalyst for the relief effort that got started in 2002. "The truth of the matter is [PEPFAR] never would have made it out of Congress had you not been engaged," Bush said.

"Here's the thing about Bono that people got to understand," he added. "I like to say he's a real deal. This is a guy who has got a huge heart, obviously a talent, but cares so much about the human condition that he spends an enormous amount of time and capital on saving lives."

Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

By Kevin Haynes |

The Skinny on 'Scarface'

scarface-1

Hey, weight a second! A "Scarface" reunion went sideways Thursday night when a prominent journalist asked Michelle Pfeiffer about her weight during production of the 1983 cocaine epic.

"Michelle, as the father of a daughter, I'm concerned with body image," said Jesse Kornbluth, moderating a panel discussion at the Beacon Theatre in New York as part of the annual Tribeca Film Festival. "In the preparation for this film, what did you weigh?"

A swell of boos ensued before Pfeiffer, 59, responded. "Well, okay," she said. "I don't know. I was playing a cocaine addict, so that was part of the physicality of the part, which you have to consider."

Seated near "Scarface" stars Al Pacino and Steven Bauer and director Brian DePalma, Pfeiffer noted that she kept losing weight throughout the eight-month production. "I tried to time it so that as the movie went on I became thinner and thinner and more emaciated," she explained.

"I literally had members of the crew bringing me bagels because they were all worried about me and how thin I was getting," Pfeiffer added. "I was living on tomato soup and Marlboros."

Kornbluth later defended his line of questioning. "It is true that a gentleman should never ask a woman about her weight," he said in a statement. "But that was not my question. It is a comment on the knee-jerk political correctness of our time that no one would be shocked if you asked Robert DeNiro about the weight gain required for his role in 'Raging Bull' but you get booed—not by many, but by a vocal few—for asking Michelle Pfeiffer about the physical two-dimensionality required for her to play a cocaine freak in 'Scarface.'"

By Kevin Haynes |

Prince's Death Case Closed

prince

It's a crime that Prince died of an accidental overdose in 2016, but authorities in Minnesota announced today that they could find no reason to file criminal charges against anyone connected to the tragedy.

An "extensive, painstaking and thorough" investigation over the past two years, said one official, "determined that Prince died from taking a counterfeit Vicodin pill that contained Fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid."

Investigators, however, could not track down Prince's supplier. "We simply do not have sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime related to Prince's death," said Carver County attorney Mark Metz, who attempted to trace the source of the Fentanyl.

Prince, 57, was found dead at his Paisley Park complex outside Minneapolis on April 21, 2016. Investigators found numerous controlled substances stashed away, some in vitamin bottles.

Officials also revealed that a doctor who gave a Percocet prescription to Prince's bodyguard has settled a suit filed by the U.S. Attorney's office by agreeing to pay a $30,000 fine. "Prince did not die from taking a prescribed Percocet," Metz noted.

By Kevin Haynes |

This Is a Call

dave-grohl

The first show of the Foo Fighters' new tour got sealed with a Kiss Guy last night in Austin, Texas.

The band had just finished covering Queen's "Under Pressure" when frontman Dave Grohl spotted a long-haired dude in the audience whose face was painted as if he were a member of another iconic 1970s band. Dubbing him "Kiss Guy," Grohl brought the amped-up fan onstage, handed over his guitar and was stunned when the unidentified musician in a sleeveless Motorhead T-shirt started shredding the Foo Fighter's rambunctious 1997 cut "Monkey Wrench."

Not surprisingly, there was one glaring amateur mistake—but not by Kiss Guy. Grohl threw a monkey wrench into the lyrics, messing up the start of the second verse. "I can't even remember the words," he said.

Kiss Guy worked the stage from end to end, nailed a couple of solos and wowed the crowd, causing Grohl to drop to his knees to bow repeatedly in awe and praise. "Holy shit," he said as Kiss Guy exited stage left.

Foo Fighters then launched, appropriately, into "Times Like These."

Indeed.

By Kevin Haynes |

Dream On

aerosmith

Aerosmith fans may not have many chances to see the band in action this year, but next year looks golden.

"In 2019, we will be closing in on our 50th anniversary," notes guitarist Joe Perry in an interview with Atlantic City Weekly, "so we are planning some dates and a tour to celebrate that. Right now we are pretty much laying low and finishing up some solo things before we start that."

There's only one date on Aerosmith's 2018 tour schedule: May 5 at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans.

Perry, 67, isn't kicking back during the downtime. He's performing three shows this week in support of his new solo album, "Sweetzerland Manifesto."

Singer Steven Tyler, who celebrated his 70th birthday last month, is also heading out on the road to continue promoting his recent No. 1 country album "We're All Somebody From Somewhere." He kicks off a brief tour with Nashville's Loving Mary Band on May 12 in Nashville. Eight more dates in the U.S. and Canada will follow in June and July before Tyler heads to Europe for three weeks.

Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'Call Me'

Blondie

These days it sounds like such a sweet, antiquated notion: "Call Me." Then again, "Text Me" doesn't quite have the same seductive ring to it.

But 38 years ago America jumped at Deborah Harry's invitation to "roll me in designer sheets," propelling Blondie's biggest hit to No. 1 on April 19, 1980.

The galloping come-on—the theme song of the steamy, stylish Richard Gere flick "American Gigolo"—was written by Harry, then 34, and Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder. He had first invited Stevie Nicks to write and perform a song for the soundtrack, but her contractual obligations with a new record company reportedly caused her to turn him down.

Enter Harry, who smoothed out the melody of an instrumental Moroder called "Man Machine" and wrote the lyrics, spicing up the language of love with playful enticements in Italian and French.

"Call Me" rode the top position for six weeks that spring and was named 1980's song of the year by Billboard. It also earned Blondie a 1981 Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Hard to imagine it doing so well among today's legion of thumb-typers.

Photo by Brian Cooke/Redferns

By Kevin Haynes |

Isabella Rossellini's Back

Exclusive 30th Anniversary Screening of David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" After-Party, Sponsored by Agent Provocateur

The beauty business has always been in the eye of the beholder, says Isabella Rossellini. But these days that eye is refreshing to behold.

After a 22-year absence, the 65-year-old "Blue Velvet" actress is once again the official face of Lancôme. Rossellini admits she was "very surprised" by the offer.

"They used to say to me that a woman's dream is to be younger, which is to condemn yourself to disappointment," says Rossellini, who became the world's highest paid model when she started representing the French cosmetics giant in 1982 when she was 30.

But Lancôme's current CEO, Francoise Lehmann, is a woman in her 40s who has a decidedly different dream. "I want to be inclusive," she told Rossellini. "I'm a woman. I'm getting older and I don't count anymore. I can't accept that."

Rossellini was impressed. "This made sense to me," she says. "Thirty years ago, I had been wondering if my communication with a cosmetics company would be different if the executives were women. Now I saw that it was."

Beautiful.

Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

U Got the Book

prince-in-concert

The official story of Prince's purple reign is in the forecast for this year's holiday season.

"The Beautiful Ones" is described as a memoir based on 50 handwritten pages that Prince completed shortly before his death in 2016. The "1999" singer recruited journalist Dan Piepenbring of The New Yorker to work on the project.

"My brother Dan is helping with it," Prince said the month before he died. "He's a good critic. That's what I need. Not a yes man."

The book will be published at the end of the year by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House.

Prince will reportedly recount his childhood in Minnesota and chart his music and movie career, culminating with his Super Bowl halftime performance in 2007.

Prince was 57 when he died of an accidental dose of the opioid fentanyl at his Paisley Park estate in Minneapolis on April 21, 2016.

By Kevin Haynes |

Hard Eight

oceans-8

Girls just wanna have all kinds of larcenous fun in "Ocean's 8," the all-female spinoff of the clever heist franchise started by Frank Sinatra in 1960 and rejuvenated by George Clooney's trilogy at the turn of the 21st century.

The official trailer for the action comedy, due in theaters June 8, showcases Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Danny Ocean, the classy thief played by Sinatra and Clooney. Bullock recruits seven gal pals to rob the annual star-studded, diamond-heavy Met Gala in New York: Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sandra Paulson, Rihanna and Awkwafina.

Bullock's scheme took exactly "five years, eight months and 12 days" to develop, the length of her most recent prison stint.

The potential payoff: $16.5 million—each.

Box office not included.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'The First Time'

roberta-flack

The first time ever British songwriter Ewan MacColl heard Roberta Flack sing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" was the first time ever he liked a version by someone other than folk singer Peggy Seeger, the woman he wrote it for in 1957 (and later married).

Flack's slow, sensual rendition settled in at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1972 and became her breakthrough solo hit.

Before then it had been covered by folkies like the Kingston Trio, Gordon Lightfoot and Peter, Paul and Mary—and a non-folk singer named Elvis Presley.

"He hated all of [those recordings]," said the daughter-in-law of MacColl, who was 74 when he died in 1989. "He had a special section in his record collection for them, entitled 'The Chamber of Horrors.' He said that the Elvis version was like Romeo at the bottom of [London's] Post Office Tower singing up to Juliet. And the other versions, he thought, were travesties: bludgeoning, histrionic, and lacking in grace."

Flack, 33 at the time, got it oh so right, though it took a while to resonate with the public. She recorded "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for her 1969 album, "First Take." But it didn't take off until Clint Eastwood chose the dreamy ballad to play over a love scene in the first movie he ever directed, 1971's "Play Misty for Me."

The subsequent single stayed on top of the chart for six weeks and won the Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, presented to MacColl.

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Oh Carol!

carol-burnett

Another day, another honor for Carol Burnett. The 84-year-old comedy legend will be presented with the first-ever Peabody Career Achievement award, "reserved for individuals whose work and commitment to broadcast media has left an indelible mark on the field."

Burnett will be officially recognized at the annual Peabody Awards ceremony May 19 in New York.

The organization praised Burnett as "one of the all-time greats of television comedy," whose "wit and talent set the bar for women in entertainment."

"Suffice it to say there would be no Gilda Radner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Tina Fey without her blazing the trail."

The Peabody Awards, established in 1940 by philanthropist George Peabody, honor outstanding achievements in TV, radio and online. Burnett received the Peabody Personal Award in 1962 for her pioneering role as "one of television's funniest and most highly acclaimed comediennes."

Five years later, she launched "The Carol Burnett Show," which ran for 11 seasons on CBS and won 25 Primetime Emmy Awards. A golden anniversary special, "The 50th Anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show," aired in December.

Burnett will return with a new show on Netflix, "A Little Help with Carol Burnett," featuring children offering advice to adults. The series will start streaming May 4.

By Kevin Haynes |

Huey Lewis Cancels Tour

huey-lewis-2017

Huey Lewis and the shocking news: The 67-year-old singer has cancelled all tour dates this year because of hearing loss.

"Two and a half months ago, just before a show in Dallas, I lost most of my hearing," Lewis revealed in a note posted on his band's website and Twitter feed. "Although I can still hear a little, one on one, and on the phone, I can't hear music well enough to sing."

Lewis said he has been advised by doctors that he may have Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder.

Huey Lewis and the News, famous for 1980s hits like "I Want a New Drug" and "If This Is It," had 16 dates on its spring and summer tour schedule, starting April 20 in Hollywood, Florida. All shows have now been scrapped.

"Needless to say, I feel horrible about this," Lewis said, adding, "I'm hoping to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I'll be able to perform again."

Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Grudge Match

borg-movie

Another classic tennis showdown is getting a Hollywood showcase.

"Borg Vs. McEnroe," opening today, revisits the buildup to perhaps the greatest Wimbledon final of all time, the grueling five-set showdown in 1980 between the ever-cool Swedish heartthrob Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and American hothead John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf).

"This fabulous, moody film isn't your typical jock flick," says one review. "It's less a tennis movie than a meditation on the personal costs of chasing excellence."

"LaBoeuf is good," notes Time Out, "but his performance is—ironically—desperately serious, as is the tone of this film."

The irony stems from the fact that this grudge match is also famous for an enraged McEnroe's heated confrontation with the referee. "You cannot be serious!" the Superbrat shouted, a line that has evolved into his signature catchphrase in commercials galore.

"Borg Vs. McEnroe" is coming out just six months after "The Battle of the Sexes," a rehash of the 1973 exhibition between 55-year-old male chauvinist Bobby Riggs and reigning Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King. Steve Carrell and Academy Award winner Emma Stone played the title roles.

Photo: Neon

By Kevin Haynes |

The Kids Are Alright

garbage-pail-kids

The newest members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are getting a throwback tribute: a set of stickers inspired by Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.

The limited package of five stickers is being issued to coincide with Saturday's induction ceremony honoring the Hall's Class of 2018.

The cartoonish spoofs depict Bon Jovi as Jovial Jon, the Moody Blues as Rudy Blues, and Dire Straits as Daryl Straits. Also caricatured: Nina Simone as Nifty Nina and the Cars' 1979 "Candy-O" album as Candy Oh No!

Garbage Pail Kids trading cards were first produced in 1985 as a parody of Cabbage Patch Kids, the dolls that were one of the hottest fads of the 1980s.

Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman, Garbage Pail Kids were a throwback to one of his earlier creations: Wacky Packs, which were introduced in 1967 by the Topps Company, the baseball card behemoth. The original Wacky Packs stickers and trading cards poked fun at well-known consumer products and advertising icons, such as Moron Salt, Gulp Oil and the Jolly Mean Giant.

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'Let It Be'

beatles

Is it any wonder the Beatles broke up? John Lennon hated"Let It Be," the No. 1 single this week in 1970.

"I don't know what he's thinking when he writes 'Let It Be,'" Lennon later told an interviewer, referring to his former songwriting partner Paul McCartney. "Nothing to do with the Beatles. It could've been Wings."

Or Simon and Garfunkel. Lennon believed the soothing hymn was largely inspired by "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," the song it dislodged from the top of the Billboard Hot 100—one day after McCartney announced he was quitting the Beatles.

"That's my feeling, although I have nothing to go on," Lennon said. "I know he wanted to write a 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters.'"

McCartney claims the ballad was actually triggered by a dream he had during the "tense time" when the Beatles' were unraveling. That night, he says, he saw "my mum," Mary McCartney, who died on Halloween in 1956 when he was 14.

"It was so wonderful for me and she was very reassuring," he told Barry Miles, author of the 1997 McCartney biography "Many Years From Now." "In the dream she said, 'It'll be all right.' I'm not sure if she used the words "let it be," but that was the gist of her advice."

Most listeners, of course, associated the song's "Mother Mary" with the Virgin Mary, which is just fine with McCartney. "I'm quite happy if people want to use it to shore up their faith," he once said. "I think it's a great thing to have faith of any sort, particularly in the world we live in."

Speaking words of wisdom. Let it be.

By Kevin Haynes |

Go Your Own Way

fleetwood-mac

The band that famously sang, "You can never break the chain" has just broken the chain—again.

Fleetwood Mac has fired Lindsey Buckingham in the wake of a dispute over their upcoming tour. After telling the notoriously difficult Buckingham he can go his own way, the band recruited his replacements for the future road show: guitarist Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Crowded House's Neil Finn.

The "Rumours" mongers report they are "thrilled" with the new hires. "With Mike and Neil, we'll be performing all the hits that the fans love, plus we'll be surprising our audiences with some tracks from our historic catalogue of songs," the band said in a statement. "Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour."

Buckingham, 68, first left the band in 1987, only to come back for the 1996 reunion. Likewise, ex-wife Stevie Nicks, 69, walked away in 1991 but rejoined five years later for the reunion. Christine McVie, now 74, retired from the road in 1998 but agreed to return full-time in 2014. Her ex, bassist John McVie, 72, and drummer Mick Fleetwood, 70, have remained committed to the band over the decades even as they pursued solo projects.

Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

'Scarface' Time

scarface-universal

"Scarface" is celebrating a milestone and getting a makeover.

The 1983 cocaine gangster flick will mark its 35th anniversary with a special screening April 19 at 7 p.m.—the second night of the Tribeca Film Festival—at New York's Beacon Theatre.

Director Brian DePalma and stars Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer and Steven Bauer will be on hand for the premiere of the digitally restored tale of Cuban drug lord Tony Montana's bloody reign of terror in Miami.

Ticket prices are steep: $81 to $356.

The violent, drug-fueled drama, now a cable channel staple, was a remake of a 1932 film that starred Paul Muni as a Chicago bootlegger. But now a third rendition of "Scarface" is in the works.

Screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer was hired recently to rewrite a script that this time focuses on the adventures of a Mexican drug dealer in Los Angeles. Previous drafts had been submitted by Joel and Ethan Coen and two other writers.

The new "Scarface" will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, whose credits include the Denzel Washington hit "Training Day" and the 2016 remake of "The Magnificent Seven."

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: ABBA

Abba In Kimonos

Inspired by George McRae's "Rock Your Baby," a smash hit during the dawn of disco in 1974, Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson started working on a dance song they initially called "Boogaloo."

You know it better as "Dancing Queen," which sashayed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1977.

"It's often difficult to know what will be a hit," singer Agnetha Faltskog said. "The exception was 'Dancing Queen.' We all knew it was going to be massive."

Frida Lyngstad agreed. "It was absolutely the best song Abba had ever done."

An enduring dance floor favorite, "Dancing Queen" has also sparked the creative juices of other artists. Blondie's Chris Stein admits that the band's 1979 hit "Dreaming" is "pretty much a copy" of "Dancing Queen."

That same year Elvis Costello was just about to scrap his track "Oliver's Army" when keyboardist Steve Nieve contributed a piano riff that echoed "Dancing Queen." "Suddenly," he said, "the thing went from black-and-white to fireworks."

Abba racked up 14 Top 40 hits from 1974-81, but "Dancing Queen" was the only one to top the pop charts in the U.S. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.

By Kevin Haynes |