Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame
NEW YORK | Janet Jackson joins her brother Michael and the Jackson 5 as members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, earning induction on Thursday along with Stevie Nicks and the top fan vote-getter, Def Leppard.
Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies also will be ushered in next spring at the 34th induction ceremony. It will be held March 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Jackson’s induction comes after her third time as nominee and many saw it as overdue, given her prowess as a hitmaker with “All For You,” ‘’That’s the Way Love Goes,” ‘’Nasty,” ‘’Together Again” and “What Have You Done For Me Lately.”
Her career has suffered from the fallout after the infamous 2004 Super Bowl appearance where her bare breast was briefly exposed. Jackson became eligible for the rock hall in 2007 and wasn’t nominated until 2016.
The Roots’ Questlove, in a social media post earlier this year, said her exclusion had been “highly criminal.” He cited the influence of her 1986 album “Control,” which he said set off the New Jack Swing trend.
“This was no one’s kid sister,” he wrote.
Jackson said on Thursday: “Thank you Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am truly honored and I am happy to be in there with my brothers.”
It will be Nicks’ second induction into the rock hall, since she’s already there as a member of Fleetwood Mac. She launched a solo career in 1981 with her duet with the late Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Other hits followed, including “Edge of Seventeen,” ‘’Stand Back” and “I Will Run to You.”
Def Leppard earned more than half a million votes from fans, which are incorporated into more than 1,000 ballots from artists, historians, industry professionals and past winners in deciding who gets honored. The British heavy metal band with a pop sheen were huge sellers in the 1980s on the back of songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
Frontman Joe Elliott said he was initially ambivalent toward the honor until Jon Bon Jovi suggested it would change his life.
“When I look at the list of who’s in, it’s just obvious you’d want to be in that club, isn’t it?” he told Billboard earlier this year. “When you think that every band that means anything in the world, starting from the Beatles and the Stones and any artist that influenced them — your Chuck Berrys, your Little Richards, etc., etc. — then of course you want to be in. Why wouldn’t you?”
Def Leppard, Nicks and Roxy Music were voted in during their first years as nominees. Other 2019 nominees who didn’t make the cut included LL Cool J, Devo, Rage Against the Machine, MC5, John Prine, Todd Rundgren and Kraftwerk.
There’s some question about whether Radiohead will shrug its collective shoulder as an inductees. The English band seemed like generic grunge rockers on their initial hit “Creep,” but with the album “OK Computer” and beyond have become consistent sonic pioneers. Among its rock hall class, Radiohead has the most impact on the current music scene.
In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood said “I don’t care” when asked about the rock hall. Bandmate Ed O’Brien said, “culturally, I don’t understand it. I think it might be a quintessentially American thing.”
The Cure and frontman Robert Smith resist their initial label as goth rockers, champions of fans who like black makeup, black clothes and darkly romantic songs. They have a durable catalog of hits, including “Friday I’m in Love,” ‘’Boys Don’t Cry,” ‘’Pictures of You” and “Let’s Go to Bed.”
Roxy Music came out of the 1970s progressive rock scene and had hits with “Love is the Drug” and “More Than This.” Dapper member Bryan Ferry had a successful solo career and Brian Eno has been an influential producer.
The heyday of British rockers the Zombies’ career was the 1960s, with big sellers “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season.”
The hall will announce ticket sales for March’s ceremony next month. HBO and SiriusXM will carry the event.
Hours after Springsteen show closes, film drops on Netflix
NEW YORK | To director Thom Zimny, the key element in his filmed version of Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show was in the star’s eyes.
The Netflix documentary makes its first appearance on the service early in the morning of Dec. 16, hours after the singer’s 236th and last performance of “Springsteen on Broadway” at the Walter Kerr Theater. A soundtrack is being released today.
“I wanted to capture Bruce’s eyes in a way that you don’t get from being in the theater,” he said. “It’s another sense of intimacy, another sense of the performance.”
That focus paid off when cameras caught Springsteen’s emotion during an introduction to the song “Long Walk Home,” telling of an unexpected visit by his father just before Springsteen’s first child was born. His dad said he hadn’t been the best of fathers and hoped his son would do better. Anyone familiar with Springsteen’s music knows the import of that acknowledgment.
Those are the moments, subtle enough to be missed by most of the live audience, that Zimny feels makes the “Springsteen on Broadway” film unique from the “Springsteen on Broadway” show. Another was the look of loving remembrance on Springsteen’s face when he played piano and talked about his late band member Clarence Clemons, one he didn’t see until reviewing tape later.
Zimny wasn’t simply called in to tape a show near the end of its run. The filmmaker has a history with Springsteen and manager Jon Landau that includes a 2001 documentary with the singer and his E Street Band performing in New York. He was brought into the project while it was still in rehearsals.
“I’ve seen the show so many times I’ve lost count,” he said. If not in the audience, he watched video and listened to audio tapes, to keep up with how the performance tightened and changed throughout the run.
At one point in the film, Springsteen confesses to the audience that “I’ve never worked five days a week — until now.” The weary observation meant more at the end of his Broadway run than the beginning.
The filmmaker continually discussed the process with Springsteen and Landau. Their advice: “Plan a lot, but also be open to whatever the film gods or the music gods throw at you in the moment.”
Zimny needed to match the intensity of a noted perfectionist. To wit: he watched the evolution of a small moment where Springsteen illustrates how little he knew about playing a guitar when he was young. He kept trying out different chords to get it just right in order to show his playing was just wrong.
The film opens with the first words Springsteen says onstage to open the performance, which is a mixture of storytelling and song that builds off the singer’s autobiography, and credits roll with the final bows. Zimny wanted to recreate when the lights go down on a sparse stage and Springsteen simply appears, a moment “that puts you on edge,” he said. “You have to listen.”
There is no nervous backstage footage from before showtime, shots of Springsteen’s hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, or artificial interludes, techniques Zimny dismissed as cliched.
“I never felt interested in cutting away from the show,” he said. “The power of the show unfolding was something I wanted to capture. There’s no need for cameras or editing to take away from that moment. There was no need to cut to footage of Freehold or anything. The tree in my imagination was much more powerful than anything I could film.”
The tree was one Springsteen climbed as a boy in front of his house, that he later returned to as an older man. He’s now 69.
The theater audience is rarely seen, except at the film’s end when Springsteen shakes some hands.
“It was most important to capture a very abstract thing that goes on in the Broadway show — an emotional feeling and an arc where you go on a journey with Bruce,” Zimny said.
“It’s hard to put into words. But experiencing the Broadway show is such a beautiful and intense presentation. I wanted the film to both represent that and also be slightly different — so if you saw the show on Broadway, you had a different understanding of the power of performance by seeing his eyes.”
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski apologizes for homophobic comment
NEW YORK | President Donald Trump attacked MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on Thursday for using a homophobic slur on the air and tweeted that if a conservative person had said it, “that person would be banned permanently from television.”
Afterward, she apologized via Twitter, saying it was a “SUPER BAD choice of words.”
“Morning Joe,” the show Brzezinski co-hosts with husband Joe Scarborough, regularly has harsh takes on Trump and his administration. Brzezinski was criticizing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday for comments regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
She said it sounded like Pompeo was carrying water for a “wanna-be dictator,” using a cruder term.
Afterward, she apologized via Twitter, saying it was a “SUPER BAD choice of words.”
MSNBC had no comment on Trump’s tweet.
Brzezinski was not on the air Thursday due to a long-planned family matter, an MSNBC spokesman said. Her Pompeo reference, which had drawn social media criticism, was not mentioned on the air.
Mystery donor gives Virginia museum painting worth $40M
RICHMOND, Va. | An iconic masterpiece painted to celebrate U.S. expansion across the American continent has a new home, one that promises to add historical context and the Native Americans’ point of view.
“Progress (The Advance of Civilization),” painted in 1853 by Hudson River School member Asher B. Durand, was unveiled Wednesday at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, thanks to a mystery donor. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported an unidentified buyer paid $40 million for it in 2011.