After friends and family of Amy Winehouse gathered yesterday for a private funeral ceremony, her father Mitch Winehouse released a statement that insisted that Winehouse had “conquered her drug dependency” three years ago, and “had just completed three weeks of abstinence” from alcohol. “She was not depressed,” he also noted. Implicitly his statement castigates the fatalistic tendencies of some of the Winehouse eulogies. None of this was to diminish his daughter’s struggle; in the same statement he renewed his commitment to helping others combat addictions through the soon to be formed Amy Winehouse Foundation: “In [Britain], if you cannot afford a private rehabilitation clinic, there is a two-year waiting list for help. With the help of Keith Vaz MP, we are trying to change that.” (The statement can be read in full at The Guardian)
Kelly Osbourne, however, was more openly critical of those who might be less than entirely respectful about the passing of her close friend. When she heard the news, she’d tweeted, “I cant even breath right my now im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!” She called it “the saddest day of my life!” Today, she returned to Twitter to call out those who she sees as profiting off Winehouse’s death: “any ‘friend’ of amy’s talking 2 the press/tv are not her actual friend’s. her real friends have more dignity then to get $ 2 talk about her!”
One surprising but touching tribute that we suspect neither Winehouse nor Osbourne would have a problem with came from Sixties girl-group veteran Ronnie Spector. Spector was a clear influence on Winehouse, and, in turn, the ex-Ronette would regularly cover “Back to Black” in concert. The singer spoke to Matthew Perpetua at Rolling Stone about her grief over Winehouse’s passing. “Every time I looked at her, it was like I was looking at myself,” she told him. “She had my beehive, my eyeliner, my attitude.” But this was not an accusation of plagiarism?it was admiration that she returned.
Amy came to my show in London about six months ago, and she was so shy. She was hiding behind somebody, but I could see the hairstyle, and I knew she was there. That was all I needed. When I sang “Back to Black,” I could see the tears in her eyes, and there were tears in mine.
Spector will be releasing a cover of “Back to Black,” with proceeds going to substance abuse treatment center Daytop Village. The song can be streamed at Rolling Stone.
CORRECTION: The Adam Lambert episode of Behind The Music will air on Sunday, August 7, not Sunday, July 30 as originally stated.
The next episode of Behind The Music, premiering Sunday, August 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, looks into the life of American Idol star Adam Lambert. In this sneak peek, Lambert talks about his behind-the-scenes struggle with the public debate about his sexuality?and his inability to respond, thanks to the Idol contestant contract, which forbids contestants from giving one-on-one interviews before the competition is over.
This episode is sure to be a highlight of an already great season, so don’t miss it!
Umm, is that a gray hair?! Starting this Saturday at 6 a.m., VH1 Classic will be airing ?MTV30 On VH1 Classic,? a three day tribute to MTV’s 30th anniversary of being launched into the homes of millions of people worldwide.
?VH1 Classic viewers grew up with MTV, turning the ‘I Want My MTV’ slogan into a battle cry for a generation,? said Tom Calderone, President of VH1 and VH1 Classic. ?That generation has grown up to become viewers of VH1 Classic, which is the perfect place to relive many of MTV?s iconic moments that helped shaped music and pop culture around the world.? Similarly to the clip above, this weekend-long ovation seeks to awaken viewers’ fond memories of a the iconic channel’s best programming.
Despite what sassy producers and rumor-baiting media outlets might try to lead you to believe, the members of Destiny’s Child continue to insist, they remain friends and have neither beef nor competition. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Kelly Rowland, Beyonc?, and, as Rowland would chidingly remind those who forget, Michelle Williams closed the door on the case last night at the Top of The Standard Hotel in New York City. The trio of independent women gathered for a launch party celebrating the release of Rowland’s third solo album Here I Am. Also in attendance: Big Sean (who appears on the album), Estelle, Maxwell, and Terrence J of BET’s 106 and Park, among others.
On Tuesday, we shared some of Tinie Tempah’s thoughts on mentally transitioning from the UK to the US as an up-and-coming artist in the hectic world of hip-hop. Because the London native goes back and forth across the pond so frequently, we also asked Tinie to give us a cheat sheet of sorts, helping to get us looped-in to the who’s who of British rap. Check out his list of personal favorites below, because after all, you never know if one of these guys might be next.
GIGGS (IF YOU LIKE: Gucci Mane)
“Definitely be on the lookout for Giggs, he?s doing his thing,” preached Tinie. After collaborating with B.o.B and a slew of other big-name British rappers, Giggs continues spitting coke-rap bars for days. Style-wise, Tinie compared him to both Young Jeezy and Gucci; embodying the hustler image, Giggs served a two-year bid for a gun charge back in 2003, but inked with XL Recordings (see: M.I.A., Tyler, The Creator, Dizzee Rascal) to distribute his third solo LP next year off of self-made label, SN1 Entertainment.
The late night shows had particularly strong musical performances yesterday. Eels on Letterman, Train on Leno, The Features on Kimmel, and Matt and Kim on Fallon all turned in great renditions of their singles. These records have all been out for a minute, though (except the Features’ Wilderness, but they’ve been playing “Golden Comb” since 2009).
Sometimes it’s nice to hear a (nearly) brand new song on television, and that’s why we have to hand the night to Shaggy. “Sugarcane,” which he performed on Lopez Tonight, is very much in the vein of his previous hits “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me”: a charmingly bawdy summery reggae single (sample lyric: “She likes the taste of my sugarcane”). In interviews with Billboard and with Rolling Stone, he’s contrasted his music with that of more explicitly lewd dancehall artists like Vybz Kartel, which strikes us as a bit backwards, like saying you like rap “but none of that gangster stuff.” But it’s tough enough to break through in the United States with Jamaican music, and if that’s the angle he needs, more power to him. “Sugarcane” isn’t about to top the charts (sorry, Shaggy), but it may have modest success, and it was certainly just the thing for Tuesday’s late night lineup.
Despite a career that’s now crossed the 20-year plateau, Guster remains one of the most criminally underrated pop acts working in the music industry these days. Unfairly lumped into the widely maligned “college rock” genre, their last two long players, 2006′s Ganging Up On The Sun and 2010′s Easy Wonderful, are, in fact, chock full of melodic pop gems that offer insight on topics as diverse as righting the wrongs of the past, frustration with the political system, and becoming a parent. But don’t get it twisted: “Dad rock,” this most certainly isn’t.
On August 2, Guster will release a new six song EP, On The Ocean. After 14 years in the major label system, this will be the band’s first self-released album since 1994′s Parachute. As a way of introducing their new material to the world, the band has decided to take the novel approach of debuting their new material by way of the wildly popular social media listening post, Turntable.fm. Why there? “Mostly because it feels organic,” Guster lead singer Ryan Miller told VH1 exclusively earlier today. “I’ve spent time on Turntable [under the moniker DJ Mitchell Spinach] and I use it. It doesn’t feel ‘market-y’ to me if it’s something I actually interact with and understand. These sites that are popping up are incredible, it’s so f***in easy to get turned onto new and old music.”
Miller will be debuting the group’s new material —”I’m at least gonna play the ‘Mitchell Spinach Remix’ of ‘This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart,’ probably another one or two?”, he explained— in a Turntable.fm room entitled Guster’s Polka Party at 9 p.m. ET tonight, but don’t expect an all-accordion playlist. Expect to hear tracks from current Miller faves The Poison Tree, The Rosebuds, Cults and Washed Out (“Love this band”), too. And what about the folks at the Universal Music Group, the distributor that put out their last album (the sessions from which were the genesis of a few of these tracks)? Miller isn’t sweating it. “Well, this will be our first self-released record in almost 14 years, so, I don’t think they give a sh*t.”
Robyn Covers “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” For BBC
Listen to Robyn‘s rendition of the Coldplay single, on BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge, on YouTube.
Anniversaries: Nevermind Reissue To Contain Demos; Is This It Tribute
The 20th Anniversary reissue of Nevermind, due out September 27, will come in 1-CD, 2-CD, and 4-CD/1-DVD formats, the lattermost of which will contain all of producer Butch Vig‘s original mixes as well as boombox recordings. And here we thought there was no unheard Nirvana in the vault. [Spin]
Meanwhile, Stereogum celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Strokes’ Is This It (released July 30, 2001 in Britain) with Stroked, a front-to-back tribute to the album (in its original form; there’s no cover of “When It Started,” the song that replaced the critical “New York City Cops” when the album was released in the United States less than a month after the September 11 attacks). [Stereogum] Read more…
Third-place American Idol finisher Haley Reinhart has become the fourth contestant from season 10 to sign with an imprint of Universal Music Group, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. After winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina were scooped up by Mercury Nashville for forthcoming country-skewing debuts, ninth-place finisher (and possibly the most divisive Idol contestant ever) Pia Toscano signed to Interscope earlier this month. Toscano’s first single “This Time” was announced at the same time as her deal, but the single premiered and flopped.
There is no word yet when we can expect to hear music from Reinhart, though one might wonder whether the chilly response to Toscano had any influence on the decision to sign another more pop-oriented Idol contestant. At the very least, Jimmy Iovine seems determined to find someone from this past season who will have success on the pop charts. McCreery and Alaina have already proven themselves too country for the task, and unless Toscano has another single up her sleeve, Reinhart might be his new hope. Her most popular Idol performance, after all, was her rendition of the biggest single of the year (“Rolling in the Deep,” natch). The signing could also be less calculated than all that?she may merely have impressed on the first two weeks of this summer’s Idols Tour. One thing’s for sure: we’ll be hearing more from Reinhart, not too long from now.