Such a Lovely Place

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The pink champagne's on ice at Mexico's Hotel California, which has dodged a legal bullet from the Eagles that would have forced the 11-room inn in Baja California Sur to change its name.

In what amounts to a victory for both sides, the hotel's owners have agreed to withdraw last year's application for a U.S. trademark on its name. The Eagles, in turn, are no longer suing for trademark infringement.

The Eagles charged that the owners were attempting to cash in on the popularity of the band's landmark 1976 album and hit single by promoting the hotel as if it were affiliated with the Eagles. The album played over hotel speakers and guests could buy Hotel California T-shirts and posters in the gift shop.

The owners countered that they had merely restored the hotel's original name from 1950, long before the Eagles wrote and recorded their signature album. The property, located about 1,000 miles south of San Diego, had undergone several name changes over the years until the new owners arrived in 2001.

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Brian Wilson Gets an 'A'

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Fifty-five years after Brian Wilson wrote "Be True to Your School," his alma mater is finally returning the favor.

California's Hawthorne High School recently welcomed the 75-year-old Beach Boy back to music class to officially upgrade the mark he received on an early song entitled "Surfin'."

The song, now recognized as the single that crystallized the Beach Boys' California sound, went on to become the first hit on the band's 1961 debut album, "Surfin' Safari."

"That composition got an F, but it made a million dollars," Wilson's music teacher, Fred Morgan, said in a tweet. "Brian's failing grade has now been changed to an A on this assignment…"

Wilson can be seen holding the student grade form that makes the new grade official in a photo on Twitter.

Another picture shows the 1960 graduate walking outside Hawthorne High. "A trip down memory lane," says the caption.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

French Kiss-off

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Legendary sex goddess Brigitte Bardot is thumbing her nose at all the hubbub about sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

"Lots of actresses try to play the tease with producers to get a role," Bardot, 83, claims in an interview with Paris Match magazine. "And then, so we will talk about them, they say they were harassed.

"The vast majority," she says, "are being hypocritical and ridiculous."

Bardot's comments come in the wake of a letter signed by French compatriot Catherine Deneuve, 74, and 100 other French actresses taking issue with the #MeToo movement in the U.S. and its sister cause in France, #BalanceTonPorc.

"I was never the victim of sexual harassment," says Bardot, who rose to fame in 1957's "And God Created Woman." directed by her lover Roger Vadim (seen here). "And I found it charming when men told me that I was beautiful or I had a nice little backside."

By Kevin Haynes |

Fresh Prince

Photo of PRINCE

A spring concert honoring Prince on the second anniversary of his death will present an unlikely headliner at center stage: Prince himself, albeit in video form.

"Prince: Live on the Big Screen," coming April 21 to the Target Center in Minneapolis, will incorporate "remastered and never-before-released" audio and video of the flamboyant rocker into a live performance by some of his former bandmates. Prince's estate also promises there will be "very special guests."

Tickets for the show go on sale January 19 at 10 a.m. at the Target Center box office.

The video extravaganza is part of "Celebration 2018," a four-day event honoring Prince in his hometown. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on April 21, 2016. He was 57.

Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns

By Kevin Haynes |

Fateful Encounter

John Lennon with Paul Goresh

Paul Goresh was 21 when he took a photo that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

A few weeks before Christmas in 1980, the avid Beatles fan and aspiring photographer traveled from his home in New Jersey to New York City, where he hung out in front of the Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side, hoping to spot its most famous resident: John Lennon.

Goresh had made this trip several times since February 1979. He had amassed more than 200 pictures of Lennon, posed for a photo with him (seen here), and asked him to sign a copy of his 1964 book "In His Own Write."

So Goresh was ready when Lennon stepped out of the building and started walking toward a waiting limousine. Along the way, Lennon stopped to sign a copy of his new album, "Double Fantasy," for the pudgy young man who had also been waiting patiently.

Goresh zoomed in on Lennon's profile with his Minolta XG1 and snapped the shutter. Little did he know it would be the last photo ever taken of the 40-year-old Beatle.

Six hours later, the smiling fan in that picture would be waiting when Lennon and wife Yoko Ono returned home from a nearby recording studio. Mark David Chapman, 25, shot Lennon four times in the back and then sat down to read a paperback copy of "The Catcher in the Rye."

When Goresh heard the shocking news back home, he contacted a local police department and said his undeveloped roll of film probably had a picture of the killer. A sergeant put him in touch with the New York Daily News, which paid Goresh $10,000 for the chilling photo of Lennon and his assassin. He later gave 19 more photos to Ono for a documentary.

Goresh died January 9 after a long illness. He was 58. His family says he appreciated "the outpouring of love and good wishes that were sent to him."

But Goresh made no secret of the fact that he had never stopped wondering if there was something he could've said or done to prevent Chapman from carrying out his twisted mission.

"Nobody picked up any sign of [him] being a danger," Goresh once said. "He looked like the kid that got picked on in the school playground…There was nothing to the guy."

Nothing except a date with infamy. And a heartbreaking photo.

By Kevin Haynes |

There for You

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Bon Jovi is hitting the road to celebrate its upcoming induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the re-release of its most recent album with two bonus tracks.

The New Jersey band will launch its 27-date spring tour in Denver on March 14, exactly one month before the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland. Joining Bon Jovi in the Class of 2018 are the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

The spring shows tour will wrap up on May 14 in Washington, D.C.'s Capital One Arena.

Presale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale January 16 at 10 a.m. local time. The general public can begin buying tickets two days later via Ticketmaster.

Bon Jovi will prime the pump for its live show on February 23 by releasing "This House Is Not For Sale (When We Were Us)," a spruced-up version of its 2016 studio album, "This House is Not For Sale." The new disc supplements the original 12 songs with two new tracks, "When We Were US" and "Walls."

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Eric Clapton

Age is catching up with Eric Clapton. "I'm going deaf," the 72-year-old guitar legend told BBC Radio. "I've got tinnitus, my hands just about work….It's amazing to myself I'm still here."

Slowhand revealed last year that a degenerative nerve disease has affected his ability to play guitar. Retirement rumors swirled around a handful of 2017 shows in New York, Los Angeles and London.

But he is now scheduled to perform July 8 at London's Hyde Park. "I'm still going to work," he said. "You know the only thing I'm concerned with now is being in my 70s and being able to be proficient.

"I mean, I'm hoping that people will come along and see me just because…I'm a curiosity. You know what I mean."

Clapton made the comments during an interview to promote a new documentary, "Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars."

"As much a celebration of a great artist's life," says Rolling Stone, the career retrospective "also feels like a turning of a page and then a firm closing of the book."

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'American Pie'

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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 this week 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 2015 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 |

Ann Wilson's Tribute

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On her next album, Ann Wilson of Heart will reveal the gratitude inside her own.

The 67-year-old "Barracuda" singer is planning an album of cover songs written by musicians who died over the past couple of years, including David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty.

The working title: "PDG," which stands for Project Dead Guys.

The new venture is "very near and dear to me," Wilson said on Twitter and other social media outlets. "I am deeply inspired to make this music and can't wait to take you all on the journey with me."

No release date has been announced.

Currently touring as Ann Wilson of Heart, she is performing tonight in Charenton, Louisiana, tomorrow in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Sunday in Grayton Beach, Florida.

Wilson has been estranged from her sister and Heart partner, Nancy, since August 2016. That's when Ann's husband, Dean Wetter, assaulted Nancy's 16-year-old twin sons backstage at a concert in Seattle. He later pleaded guilty and was placed on probation for two years.

By Kevin Haynes |

Doreen Tracey Dies

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Back in the 1950s, Doreen Tracey was a member of the club that every kid wanted to join, "the club that's made for you and me": "The Mickey Mouse Club."

Tracey, who died of pneumonia Wednesday at 74, was 12 when she was cast as one of 29 original Mouseketeers on the ABC after-school variety show that debuted in 1955.

Donning Mickey Mouse ears and a short-sleeved white top with her first name emblazoned across the chest, Tracey was among the six Mouseketeers who appeared in all four seasons of the show's first incarnation. The others: Bobby Burgess, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O'Brien, Karen Pendleton and perhaps the most famous cast member, Annette Funicello, who died in 2013 at 70.

Tracey liked to refer to herself as the "black sheep" of "The Mickey Mouse Club," probably because of the colorful career that followed. She fronted a rock band dubbed Doreen and the Invaders in the 1960s, posed nude for Gallery magazine in 1976 and worked as a publicist for Frank Zappa.

But nothing Tracey ever worked on topped the thrill of her days as a chipper Mouseketeer.

"Walt Disney said to me, 'This will probably be the greatest thing you'll ever do in your entire life,'" she told the Los Angeles Times in 1995. "That was pretty heavy stuff for a 12-year-old. But he was right."

By Kevin Haynes |

The Champions

Photo of QUEEN

Queen will be crowned with the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award this summer, along with Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris and Tina Turner.

The organization that presents the Grammy Awards says it is honoring Queen's Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon for their "indelible impact" on music, including their Grammy Hall of Fame hits "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You"/"We Are the Champions."

Special Merit Awards will also be presented to famed session drummer Hal Blaine of the Wrecking Crew, pioneering bandleader and "King of the Jukebox" Louis Jordan, and the Meters, the 1960s New Orleans funk band that went on to back musicians like Robert Palmer and Dr. John.

The academy's Trustees Award will be bestowed on composer John Williams, the late, legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, and Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein, who signed the Ramones, Talking Heads, the Pretenders and Madonna.

The Recording Academy said details on the official ceremony and concert will be announced "in the coming weeks."

Meanwhile, the 60th annual Grammy Awards will be presented January 28 at New York's Madison Square Garden. The festivities will air live on CBS, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.

By Kevin Haynes |

It Takes Two

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Like a colorful older couple packing up the RV for a summer adventure, Rod Stewart and special guest Cyndi Lauper have announced plans to hit the road together on a nationwide tour of arenas and amphitheaters.

The flamboyant duo—Stewart, 72, and Lauper, 64—will open with a she-bang June 25 at the famed Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. After kicking back for a month, they will then really get down to business, performing virtually every other night until Labor Day weekend.

The 22-date tour begins in earnest July 24 in at the Hard Rock Event Center in Hollywood, Florida, and wraps up September 1 in Seattle's White River Amphitheater.

Tickets for the general public go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at livenation.com.

Photo by Jason Squires/WireImage

By Kevin Haynes |

Throwback: 'You're So Vain'

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When "You're So Vain" topped the pop charts 45 years ago this week, you probably thought this song was about Warren Beatty, Carly Simon's one-time lover. Or James Taylor, her newlywed husband at the time. Or Mick Jagger, who sang backup.

The guessing game, which lasted for decades, also included former flames and flings like David Bowie, record label impresario David Geffen, and David Cassidy at the peak of his "Partridge Family" stardom.

In her 2015 memoir "Boys in the Trees" Simon, now 72, finally revealed that Beatty was indeed the inspiration for the second verse, when she was "still quite naïve" and saw clouds in her coffee. The other verses are more like an ode to a mash-up of men she's known.

"There's not an iota of hate in it," Simon says of her signature hit, which was No. 1 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. "There may be much more of an iota of feeling hurt or rejected…. I was definitely a romantic and my hopes were dashed. That led to the song."

And boundless speculation.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Put on Your Red Shoes

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Today, you can celebrate what would've been David Bowie's 71st birthday by accepting a fresh invitation to "Let's Dance."

An unreleased demo of the 1983 No. 1 hit is streaming now, courtesy of Parlaphone Records. It was recorded with producer Nile Rodgers, the Chic guitarist who recalls waking up in Montreux, Switzerland, to discover Bowie "peering over me" with an acoustic guitar in hand.

"Nile, darling," Bowie said, "I think this is a hit."

Indeed it was. "Let's Dance," the title track of Bowie's 1983 album, topped the Billboard Hot 100 for one week starting May 21, 1983, dethroning Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

It was the second—and last—No. 1 single of Bowie's career, joining "Fame," his 1975 collaboration with John Lennon.

Bowie died of liver cancer two years ago, on January 10, 2016, just two days after his 70th birthday and the release of his final album, "Blackstar." Like "Let's Dance," it became a No. 1 hit, the only Bowie album to ever top the Billboard 200 album chart.

By Kevin Haynes |

Steely Dan Sets Dates

Photo of Donald FAGEN and STEELY DAN

As promised, Donald Fagen is taking Steely Dan on the road again for an extensive tour—and he's bringing the Doobie Brothers with him.

The two classic rock bands from the 1970s will launch "The Summer of Living Dangerously" May 10 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The two-month swing will visit 37 cities nationwide by the time it wraps up July 14 in Bethel, New York.

A ticket pre-sale begins Wednesday at 10 a.m. for Citi cardmembers; tickets for the general public go on sale Friday.

This is Steely Dan's first full-fledged tour since the death of co-founder Walter Becker, 67, in September. Fagen, 69, immediately vowed "to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can," a promise he began to fulfill with eight shows in October.

The shows will go on despite Fagen's ongoing legal fight to retain control of the band he started with Becker 46 years ago. Shortly after Becker's death, his estate filed a lawsuit to nullify a 1972 agreement that transferred the entire Steely Dan franchise to the surviving member. Becker's widow is demanding a 50 percent stake in the enterprise and wants to be appointed an officer or director.

Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Dave's Back

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David Letterman will launch his new Netflix series January 12 with a one-on-one interview with Barack Obama, the former president's first talk show chat since leaving office one year ago.

The monthly program, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction," will feature an hour-long sit-down with "one extraordinary figure whom Dave finds fascinating," says Netflix.

Future confirmed guests are George Clooney, Tina Fey, Jay-Z, Howard Stern and Pakastani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Letterman, 70, hasn't worked on television since retiring from CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" in 2015.

The new series "fits exactly what I want to do and it's with people I'm fond of working with," Letterman told Variety last summer. "It's not 10 hours a day, five days a week."

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Alex Trebek on the Mend

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What is good news for "Jeopardy!" fans?

Host Alex Trebek reports he is recovering from recent surgery to remove blood clots on his brain—"a slight medical problem," he understates in typical Canadian modesty.

The health scare has temporarily halted production of the syndicated game show that he has hosted since 1984.

Trebek, 77, was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on December 15 after "experiencing complications" from a head injury he sustained in a fall two months earlier. No further details of the accident have been released.

He underwent surgery to remove a subdural hematoma the next day and returned home December 18.

Trebek assures fans he's recovering well in a 30-second clip posted on the "Jeopardy!" website. "The prognosis is excellent," he says, sitting on a sofa and wearing a blue "Jeopardy!" baseball cap, "and I expect to be back in the studio taping more 'Jeopardy!' programs very, very soon."

"And I want to thank all of you," he adds with a quick jab of his forefinger, "for your concern."

Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

Hepburn Notice

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The movie that made Katherine Hepburn a bona fide star, "The Philadelphia Story," is returning to the big screen February 18 and 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Click here to find a theater near you and buy tickets.

The 1940 romantic comedy, directed by George Cukor and co-starring Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart in an Oscar-winning performance, was Hepburn's Hollywood breakthrough.

Recreating the role she originated two years earlier on Broadway, the 33-year-old actress plays a socialite whose ex-husband (Grant) shows up on the eve of her second wedding. Stewart is the reporter who wants to sneak into the ceremony—and ends up falling in love with the prospective bride.

"The Philadelphia Story" was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actress, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Hussey). It won two: Best Actor (Stewart) and Best Screenplay (Donald Ogden Stewart).

Photo: Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |

A Moment of 'Silence'

Photo of Paul SIMON and SIMON & GARFUNKEL and Art GARFUNKEL and SIMON AND GARFUNKEL

Fifty-two years ago this week, "The Sound of Silence" rang in the new year as the No. 1 song in the country and singlehandedly revived the doomed partnership of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

The original track, an all-acoustic version dubbed "The Sounds of Silence," was included on the duo's 1964 debut album, "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." But the album sold just 3,000 copies, inspiring such deafening silence that the childhood friends split up.

Fate intervened when folk rock tunes like the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" began climbing the charts. Producer Tom Wilson, who helped electrify Bob Dylan in the studio, decided to add new sounds to the subdued "Silence." He recruited the same drummer, bass player and electric guitarist who worked with him on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" to rejuvenate the ponderous ballad.

The remix, released in the fall of 1965 without Simon and Garfunkel's knowledge, soon made a lot of noise on the charts, climbing to No. 1 the first week of 1966. It was knocked out of the top spot by the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out," but reclaimed the throne two weeks later before once again being overtaken by the same song.

The reworked hit kicked off Simon and Garfunkel's second album, "Sounds of Silence," which was released two weeks after the single reached No. 1. The song ranked No. 157 on Rolling Stone's 2011 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and in 2013 was added to Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.

Proof, once again, that "The Sound of Silence" is golden.

Photo by Ivan Keeman/Redferns

By Kevin Haynes |

Today's 'Revolutionary Pick'

Today - Season 66

NBC kicked off the new year with a pleasant bang this morning, promoting longtime host Hoda Kotb to co-anchor of "The Today Show."

She replaces Matt Lauer, who was fired last fall after an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations.

Kotb, 53, was introduced in her new role by co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, 46. "This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made," Guthrie told viewers. "I am so thrilled."

Kotb has been filling in for Lauer since his abrupt departure in November. A "Dateline NBC" correspondent since 1998, the former news reporter had long co-hosted the fourth hour of "Today" with her partner in wine, Kathie Lee Gifford.

Time magazine calls Kotb "a revolutionary pick" to replace Lauer. "Kotb is a completely logical hire—part of the 'Today' universe for years, blessed with real journalistic chops but also a merry human touch," Time says in an online assessment, adding that teaming up with Guthrie "moves morning TV further away from the faux husband-and-wife style pairs that have for so long defined the genre."

Photo by Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

By Kevin Haynes |