Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Team For “The Lady Is A Tramp”

Perhaps the most anticipated collaboration from the now chart-topping(!) Duets II was Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga‘s rendition of “The Lady Is A Tramp.” To begin with, Gaga is as monocultural as they come these days. Plus, as Bennett told us, “she has the same gift as Ella Fitzgerald.” Then none other than Gay Talese profiled the duet for The New Yorker.

With the album in stores, naturally a video for the lead-off track has followed. Gaga is no less showy?that’s her nature?but her performance is in sync, not in competition, with Bennett’s. The duo riff on the lyrics, very much in a vocal jazz pop tradition. The least surprising change: a shout-out to songwriters Rodgers & Hart replaces one to Walter Winchell. Even if the redoubtable columnist had a 2011 equivalent (Nicki Finke plus Perez Hilton?) we doubt committed anti-bullying campaigner Gaga would sing his praises.

She’s also a smart fit for a vocal partner in this musical-theater tradition?so much so that the song seems well-chosen, until you realize how many others would have worked just as well (except perhaps for the titular pun). For all her outré accoutrements, Gaga fits snugly into this tradition, as someone seriously committed to her art yet mercifully unconcerned with Baby Boomer-born ideas of pop “authenticity.” It’s no wonder that Tony Bennett “gets” her.
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Tuned In: Sting Doesn’t Mess Around On Letterman

Sting appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman yesterday, ostensibly to promote his three-CD, one-DVD best-of box set Sting: 25 Years, but just as much to continue celebrating his birthday (he turned 60 on Sunday). How else to explain his song selection? Radiohead’s set may have had a co-introduction by Michael Stipe?who popped up beside Jimmy Fallon almost as though the Late Night host hadn’t known he’d be there?but only Sting would play a song that he recorded in 1993 as the theme to a film named for a Grace Jones song that Sting himself had written in 1981. That’s right: Sting played “Demolition Man”?which isn’t even on any of the CDs in the box set (though it is performed during the Irving Plaza concert on the DVD). You have to respect that the guy could have played any of his singles, or a new song, or basically whatever he wanted, and he picked the theme song to a sci-fi satire starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes.

Elsewhere on late night…
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Last Lap: Monday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Beyoncé Reveals “Countdown” Sneak Peek
Ready for a new Beyoncé video? (Is the answer ever not yes?) MTV’s Buzzworthy blog has the first 30 seconds of the video for “Countdown,” which premieres on Thursday. It’s simple yet ultra-stylized: sixties-chic by way of Sesame Street. Random fact: director Adria Petty is the daughter of Tom Petty. [MTV Buzzworthy]

Sting Hosts Sting Tribute Show For Sting’s Birthday
Sting celebrated his 60th birthday with a star-studded concert at the Beacon Theater in New York on Saturday night, with all proceeds going to the Robin Hood Foundation. Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Rufus Wainwright, Mary J. Blige and gathered to duet with Sting on his own songs. Springsteen was reportedly the crowd favorite despite making the equivalent of a Viagra joke. [Rolling Stone]
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T.I.’s Jam-Packed Weekend Includes Taylor Swift Duet

Last night, T.I. joined Taylor Swift onstage at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena for a rendition of his own “Live Your Life,” with the country-pop singer providing Rihanna’s hook. That duet (above) was merely the cherry atop a huge weekend for the until-recently incarcerated rapper. Friday night, he released “I’m Flexin’,” his first post-prison single, featuring (and produced by) Big K.R.I.T., then went straight to Club Esso for a “Welcome Home” celebration that doubled as a BET Hip Hop Awards pre-party. After that ceremony, which will premiere on BET at 8PM ET on Tuesday, October 11, taped on Saturday, T.I. co-hosted an after-party with Diddy, and even served as a mediator when his co-host responded poorly to an attendee’s taunts (the guest bragged about specifically not drinking C?roc, for which Diddy is a spokesman).

The rapper’s appearance at Swift’s Sunday night show, then, was the end of a very long weekend. T.I. has always been a hard-working MC, but he seems doubly determined to put in work after his recent prison stay. We’re looking forward to looking behind the scenes of this period when his reality show starts airing next year.
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by (@Lacezilla)

Styles Upon Styles Upon Styles: The Top 5 Recycled Lines From A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory

Last week, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s seminal album, The Low End Theory, and after spending quality time with the LP, it became clear that many artists may have snagged sonic gems from the trendsetting hip-hop quartet over the years. If you’re a fan of rap music, you already know that sampling and re-working existing songs is commonplace in the creative process; similar to contemporary art’s idea of the “readymade,” producers will lift elements from one song and add them to a new canvas to re-envision their use. But what happens when the same thing is done with lyrics?

One little-known fact: Lil’ Wayne’s“A Milli” is a slowed-down sample of one of Phife’s lines from a remix of “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” off Tribe’s first album, 1990′s Peoples’ Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Sometimes referred to as swagger-jacking, a rapper re-purposing the bars of artists before him or her can in other circumstances be seen as a salute-beckoning sign of respect. And in Tribe’s case, it should be! In addition to sitting down with ATCQ for their first joint interview since 1998, we also got to chat individually with in-and-out, behind-the-scenes group member Jarobi White to scoop his brains for memories on the group’s incredible second album. In honor of its Album-Versary, we present you with Jarobi’s exclusive interview clips, and the Top 5 Recycled Lines From The Low End Theory.

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Top 20 Live: Gavin DeGraw Sings “Not Over You,” Another (Sweeter) Song, And More

When we shared the Bruno Mars cover that Gavin DeGraw performed, we promised that “Grenade” was just one selection from his Top 20 Live performance, and at long last, we’re happy to present his set in full.

DeGraw kicked off the performance with a deadpan introduction: “My ex-girlfriend has nothing to do with this song. I don’t think about her at all. I’m totally unaffected.” Then he and his guitarist (his only accompanist) launched into a killer rendition of what else but his single “Not Over You.” By the time of the taping, DeGraw probably was over the object of the song, but he can sure sing like he’s not. That, plus his charm, his chops, and his musical sensibilities, are why we’re fans here.

Make sure to check out the rest of the set, including “Soldier” and his 2006 breakout single “I Don’t Wanna Be.”
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Madonna To Headline Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show?

When Madonna announced plans for a new album in spring 2012 while on a press junket for her film W.E. at the Venice Film Festival, she said that she hoped to have a first single ready for February or March. If the latest rumor is true, that timeline is about to contract significantly: is reporting that Madonna will perform at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show on February 5, 2012.

We doubt that a Madonna performance is set in stone, considering that Madonna was in negotiations to perform at two past Super Bowl halftime shows?XXXIII (in 1998) and XXXV (in 2000)?but in the former case, the deal fell through, and in the latter, Madonna reportedly backed out when the timeline became impossible. It’s likely, though, that Madonna and the NFL are in talks. A “Madonna source” told Gossip Cop, “It looks promising,” and the NFL spokesperson SBNation contacted declined to comment. This year’s Super Bowl will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised on NBC.

Exclusive: Madonna To Perform At Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show, Sources Tell [SB Nation via Popdust]


1991 Tupac Groupie Sex Tape (With Money-B Cameo) Reportedly Surfaces

TMZ reports this morning that they have seen a recently-discovered “five-minute sex tape showing Tupac receiving oral sex.” Allegedly the five-minute tape documents a 1991 house party featuring “a bunch of groupies,” and during the sex act, “an unreleased song of Tupac’s is playing in the background, as Tupac is singing along and dancing, wiggling his hips. And it gets even better,” the gossip site reports:

As the woman services Tupac, who is holding a cocktail in one hand and a blunt in another, Money B from Digital Underground walks over to him. Tupac puts his cocktail arm around Money B, continues singing and dancing … and the woman never stops.

We tend to be skeptical of these types of rumors, in absence of evidence available, but we have to admit this story has a significant ring of truth to it. After all, five years later Tupac would make an X-rated music video (with a censored cut for television, of course) for “How Do U Want It.” What we’re more curious about, in this case, is the twenty-year journey the tape has taken before reaching someone who, TMZ reports, “is making plans to release it.” Did the tape get mixed into a bunch of old VHS tapes and sold at a garage sale by a relative of a Digital Underground member? Was it submitted to Death Row Records thanks to its inclusion of an unreleased song, and then copied by an unscrupulous intern or interloper? The world may never know. We welcome your theories, questions, and “Humpty Dance” puns in the comments.

Tupac Sex Tape Surfaces [TMZ]

[Image: Getty Images]


Drake Makes “Headlines” With Boss-Style Video

How powerful can a guy be in a sweater? Drake’s new video “Headlines,” which premiered yesterday, goes a long way towards answering that question. The clip is a departure for Drake, whose previous videos largely, for better or for worse, eschewed well-worn rap-video tropes. “Headlines,” however, fits the gangster-boss mold to a tee. The introspective shots familiar from previous Drake videos are gone, aside from a shot in a high-rise’s glass elevator, in which may as well be Gordon Gecko. Elsewhere, Drake smokes a cigar (and yes, rocks a sweater) at the head of a dinner table, his all-male entourage arrayed around him. The sequence attempts to subvert what’s often been read as an unintentional Cosby Show reference into something more like Rutger Hauer in Surviving The Game.

Most notably, the video takes place in Toronto. In fact, parts of the video are shot at the Rogers Center (formerly, the SkyDome)?including a shot of its roof retracting and several of the title of Drake’s upcoming album (October 24th’s Take Care) on the JumboTron. The clip gambles that Drake’s Canadian background can be used as an asset rather than a liability. In other words, rather than responding to those who would take shots at parts of his image, he’s used them as essential elements of a “Boss”-type video. That sort of unapologetic reimagining doesn’t often fly in hip-hop culture, but when it has worked, it’s been crucial in reaching iconic status (think Tupac). “Headlines” is hardly Tupac-level, but it’s much more successful than we’d have anticipated.
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Last Lap: Friday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Enrique Iglesias Premieres Cameo-Filled, Behind The Music-Inspired Video
Enrique Iglesias is reissuing Euphoria with a DVD and bonus tracks, including the single “I Like How It Feels”?which would be a run-of-the-mill tour video if not for the famous friends featured. But wait?it’s in a sort of flashback, behind-the-scenes style, and features a bit of footage from 1979. Call us narcissistic, but this feels inspired by his July 31 episode of Behind The Music!

Wilco And Blink-182: Rock Dads With New Albums
Jeff Tweedy of Wilco talks to Brian Hiatt about “dad-rock” in Men’s Journal. All three members of Blink-182 mention parenthood in individual interviews with Andy Greene for Rolling Stone. Speaking of which, Mark Hoppus is one of the punk-rock fathers documented in the upcoming film The Other F Word, which now has a trailer. (P.S. Billboard reports that both Wilco’s and Blink 182′s new albums are predicted to debut in the top ten next week.)
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