Entertainment

Fox News drops Bill O’Reilly in wake of harassment allegations

Fox News is cutting ties with Bill O’Reilly, the biggest star in its 20-year history, after mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior prompted the network to end his program. “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” parent company 21st Century Fox said in a statement, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.” Wednesday’s decision seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago, given O’Reilly’s long reign as the top-rated host in cable news. But the climate shifted dramatically after The New York Times reported on April 1 that O’Reilly or Fox had paid $13 million to settle five cases against him alleging sexual or other harassment. More than 50 advertisers withdrew from his prime-time show, and 21st Century Fox asked a law firm to investigate a complaint from a woman who said O’Reilly dropped efforts to make her a contributor in 2013 after she turned down his invitation to visit his hotel room. O’Reilly said in a statement Wednesday: “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.” O’Reilly, 67, had not previously commented on his status since leaving on vacation last week—he met Pope Francis Wednesday in a VIP line at the Vatican—but his lawyer issued a blistering statement Tuesday accusing his liberal opponents of a “smear campaign.” The statement said O’Reilly “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”

Agreed..  At best, this was handled VERY poorly by the Murdoch family.  And, we suspect there will most definitely be a backlash against Fox News by Bill’s legion of fans, whom he didn’t even get to say goodbye to.  Wow..

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ trailer released

The first “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” teaser trailer debuted Friday. The film is a follow-up to 2015’s “The Force Awakens” and is expected to pick up where the previous film ended; the first meeting between Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, and Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill. “The Last Jedi,” also known as “Episode VIII, stars Ridley, Hamill, John Boyega and Adam Driver. It has a December 15 release date. To see the official teaser, click here.

Yes!!    🙂

Chuck Berry: Music legend given rock ‘n’ roll sendoff

Family, friends and fans paid their final respects to the rock `n’ roll legend Chuck Berry on Sunday, celebrating the life and career of a man who inspired countless guitarists and bands. The celebration began with a public viewing at The Pageant, a music club in Berry’s hometown of St. Louis where he often played. Hundreds of fans filed past Berry, whose beloved cherry-red Gibson guitar was bolted to the inside of his coffin’s lid. “I am here because Chuck Berry meant a lot to anybody who grew up on rock n’ roll,” said Wendy Mason, who drove in from Kansas City, Kan., for the visitation. “The music will live on forever.” Another fan, Nick Hair, brought his guitar with him from Nashville, Tenn., so he could play Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” while waiting in line outside. After the public viewing, family and friends packed the club for a private funeral service and celebration of Berry, who inspired generations of musicians, from humble garage bands up to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The service was expected to include live music, and the Rev. Alex I. Peterson told the gathering they would be celebrating Berry’s life in rock `n roll style. Former President Bill Clinton sent a letter that was read at the funeral by U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay because Berry played at both of Clinton’s presidential inaugurations. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Clinton called Berry “one of America’s greatest rock and roll pioneers.” “He captivated audiences around the world,” Bill Clinton wrote. “His music spoke to the hopes and dreams we all had in common. Me and Hillary grew up listening to him.” Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS wasn’t scheduled to speak but someone urged him to take the podium. Simmons said Berry had a tremendous influence on him as a musician, and he worked to break down racial barriers through his music. Paul McCartney and Little Richard both sent notes of condolences. At the end of the funeral, a brass band played “St. Louis Blues” while Berry’s casket was carried out. When Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards spoke about Berry at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 1986 induction ceremony — Berry was the first person inducted from that inaugural class — he said Berry was the one who started it all. That sentiment was echoed Sunday by David Letterman’s former band leader, Paul Shaffer, who spoke to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outside the club. “Anyone who plays rock `n’ roll was inspired by him,” Shaffer said. Berry’s standard repertoire included about three-dozen songs, including “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” His songs have been covered by country, pop and rock artists such as AC/DC and Buck Owens, and his riffs live on in countless songs. The head of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Greg Harris, said “anybody who’s picked up a guitar has been influenced by him.” Well before the rise of Bob Dylan, Berry wedded social commentary to the beat and rush of popular music. “He was singing good lyrics, and intelligent lyrics, in the `50s when people were singing, “Oh, baby, I love you so,”‘ John Lennon once observed. “Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me, but about the people listening,” Berry once said.

Sounds like Chuck had a great send off in St. Louis.  As many of you know, that’s where I’m originally from.  St. Louis has a rich music heritage and culture…and Chuck is part of that great music heritage in the Gateway city.  Thanks for the tunes, Chuck.  R.I.P.

J. Geils found dead in Massachusetts home at age 71

John Warren Geils Jr., the founder and lead guitarist for the J. Geils Band, was found dead Tuesday in his Massachusetts home. He was 71. Groton Police said in a statement that they were called to Geils’ home at around 4 p.m. local time to do a wellness check. Officers found Geils unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene. Police said a preliminary investigation indicated that Geils died of natural causes, but the investigation was ongoing. The J. Geils Band was founded in 1967 in Worcester, Mass., while Geils was studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Bandmates included Danny Klein, Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz, Stephen Jo Bladd, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman. The band, whose music bridged the gap between disco and new wave, released 11 studio albums before breaking up in 1985. They reunited off and on over the years. The group had several Top 40 singles in the early 1970s, including a cover song “Lookin’ for a Love” by the family group The Valentinos and “Give It to me.” Their biggest hits included “Must of Got Lost,” which reached No. 12 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1975 and “Love Stinks,” a rant against unrequited love, the title song on their 1980 album. Their song “Centerfold,” from the album “Freeze Frame” was released in 1981 and eventually charted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in February 1982. It stayed there for six weeks and was featured on MTV. The band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time last fall but was not selected. “This is our fourth nomination, and going through that process, with its inherent disappointment, you’re not sure you want to take that ride again,” lead vocalist Peter Wolf told Billboard at the time. “It’s great to be recognized, but it’s a drag to be disappointed. I hope that we make it in. That would be great.”

Indeed..  Was sorry to hear this.  The last few years, J. Geils actually hasn’t been touring with the band with his name.  But, the rest of the band has been touring lately.  So, maybe there were some health issues?   Thanks for all the fun tunes, John.  R.I.P.

Rock Hall 2017 class includes Journey, Tupac and Pearl Jam

Seattle rockers Pearl Jam, the late rapper Tupac Shakur and 1970s hitmaking band Journey were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Friday night. Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes were also part of the 2017 class inducted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, which kicked off with a tribute to Chuck Berry. The new inductees closed the multi-hour event with a group performance, and before that Pearl Jam electrified with a performance of their well-known songs. David Letterman inducted the band, and brought a small guitar and letter onstage that he said Vedder gave to his son days before his late-night show ended in 2015.

Most of these inductees, especially Yes, ELO, and Journey, are well deserved…and long overdue.  But, Tupac was a rapper; NOT a rock and roll artist.  After all, this is the “Rock & Roll” Hall of Fame; NOT the rap hall of fame.

Don Rickles, comedy legend, dead at 90

Comedy legend and actor Don Rickles died Thursday morning of kidney failure, Fox News has confirmed. He was 90 years old. “Emmy-award winning iconic comedian Don Rickles passed away at his home Los Angeles this morning (Thursday) as a result of kidney failure,” his rep said in a statement. “Rickles would have turned 91 on May 8.” His funeral will be private. Born in New York City, Rickles served in the U.S. Navy for two years during World War II before he found fame. He got his big break when his insult comedy began getting him some attention from the “Chairman of the Board,” Frank Sinatra. He connected with Sinatra by chiding him during a show and eventually became the go-to comic of the Rat Pack stars. “Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody,” Rickles reportedly said during the show. His career took off when he began making appearances on the late-night shows. He was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” For more than half a century, “Mr. Warmth” headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J. Despite jokes that from other comics might have inspired boycotts, he was one of the most beloved people in show business, idolized by everyone from Joan Rivers and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. “I think the reason that (my act) caught on and gave me a wonderful career is that I was never mean-spirited,” he once said. “Not that you had to like it, but you had to be under a rock somewhere not to get it.” Carl Reiner would say he knew he had made it in Hollywood when Rickles made fun of him. James Caan once said that Rickles helped inspire the blustering Sonny Corleone of “The Godfather.”

And that’s just for starters.  What an incredible life!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.  Thanks for all the laughs, Don.  R.I.P.

The Who’s Roger Daltrey Supports Brexit, Badmouths Hillary Clinton

The Who‘s frontman Roger Daltrey continues to be outspoken about his support for Brexit, or more like his support for England getting out of the EU. “We are getting out, and when the dust settles I think that it’ll be seen that it’s the right thing for this country to have done, that’s for sure,” he told NME. He added, “I am not anti-European, but I an anti the present way we are being governed in Europe. “It’s got nothing to do with any of the immigration issues or any of that for me. It was to do with much more. The majority of this country felt that their voices weren’t being heard. It would have been nice to do a deal with Europe but they didn’t want to do a deal, and they sent Cameron back with a bag.” Daltrey went on, “I’m sad we voted how we voted, but I think we have to go with it now. This country will always be alright, I don’t worry about it. You know it’s going to be bumpy on the way—we expected that; the ones that voted to get out. But Iceland had it a bit bumpy when they went bankrupt, but oh not now.” When asked about President Donald Trump, the rocker was less political, commenting on the American president’s highly discussed hair and foul language. “His f—ing haircut! He needs it cut and as my mother would say, ‘wash your f—ing mouth out’. “On other pieces of politics, let’s put it this way: when you say that middle America and the Democrats lost it, but Trump didn’t really win it—because Democrats threw it away by putting [Hilary Clinton] up. A dead dog would have won it against [her], look at that.” The Who will perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust, Thursday, March 30, and Saturday, April 1.