DOLENZ SALUTE DIAMOND — Our colleague Roger Friedman (Showbiz 411) broke the news last night: Some good news about the Grammy Awards and their ilk: I’m hearing the new annual Grammy salute concert for Lifetime Achievement will be in Los Angeles this year on July 14th.
Being honored are Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Queen, Emmylou Harris, the Meters and industry heavyweights like Sire Records’ founder Seymour Stein, composer John Williams, and the late great Bill Graham of Fillmore West and East fame.
The main thing is, Hal Blaine is getting a special honor. Hal Blaine is the most important drummer of the classic pop era, having played on hundreds– maybe thousands– of hits as part of the Wrecking Crew, the Phil Spector group that provided instrumentation for everyone from the Beach Boys to Ike and Tina Turner, the Fifth Dimension. When you hear that drum downbeat opening on “Be My Baby,” that’s Hal Blaine. Rolling Stone named him the 5th best drummer of all time. I’d put him right behind Ringo and Keith Moon on my all-time list.
And think of it– Hal Blaine played on Neil Diamond records; Monkees records (Micky Dolenz) that Neil wrote, Herb Alpert and Tina Turner. There’s a lot of crossover.
Some of the performers being talked about for the show are Micky Dolenz, Herb Alpert, Emmylou Harris, and Ledisi with more names coming. The show will be taped for airing on PBS this fall. Last year’s show in New York was so spectacular I expect this one will be just as good if not better.
We reached out to Dolenz’s PR-man, David Salidor, and he confirmed that Dolenz (currently on his M&M Tour with Michael Nesmith) will be performing Diamond’s “I’m A Believer” with a band led by the great Greg Phillinganes (Eric Clapton, Phil Collins). At this juncture, we hear that Diamond is confirmed to be present.
The show is set to tape at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles next month.
CALLING SHERLOCK — Near the home of his Sherlock BBC TV character, Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the fictional detective, took a real-life leap into action, proving that his portrayal of a hero in Avengers: Infinity War and Doctor Strange may not be just a role.
Cumberbatch reportedly rescued a London delivery bicyclist who was being beaten by a group of four people on Friday. Cumberbatch was allegedly in a cab with wife Sophie Hunter when he saw the cyclist being struck over the head by a bottle.
The attempted robbery took place on Marylebone High Street, just around the corner from Holmes’ fictional home on Baker Street. No arrests have been made and the cyclist was not hospitalized. No reports of anything stolen have been made.
The cab driver, Manuel Dias, told the Sun newspaper that “Benedict was courageous, brave and selfless. If he hadn’t stepped in, the cyclist could have been seriously injured. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street.”
Dias added: “He stood there instructing them in the street, shouting, ‘Leave him alone.’ I had hold of one lad and Benedict another. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was very brave. He did most of it, to be honest.”
Cumberbatch was modest about his heroics. The Sun quoted the actor saying, “I did it out of … well, I had to, you know.”
A spokesman thanked Cumberbatch for his “heroic actions”.
Cumberbatch is also the star of the Showtime/Sky West 5-part mini-series drama Patrick Melrose, which we’ve watched. He’s terrific, but the story – based on a series of books from Edward St. Aubyn – is just downright depressing. A recovering addict –or, at least trying to be – Melrose suffers from a variety of ills, children abuse among them from an abusive father.
SHORT TAKES — We hear that a live album is to be culled from the Micky Dolenz/Michael Nesmith tour this June and released via Rhino Records. We’ll see the show here in NYC on June 22 … Here’s a shot of Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam performing at last weekend’s Jazz In The Park festival in Birmingham, Alabama. Their new album, Trippin’ is out on June 29 … Daeodon (Day-O-Dawn); remember that name. More on them next week … This Bill Clinton/Craig Melvin interview that’s been blasted across TV screens all week is good, but not all that great. On Colbert last night, Clinton (and, author James Patterson, who looks like a dear caught in the headlights) apologized once again and called the NBC news interview not his finest hour. I well remember when the Monica Lewinsky saga happened … 20 years ago. Clinton know he screwed up… we know he screwed up, so let’s move forward. Clinton admitted last night he lives with it every day. Punishment enough … I wonder.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Andrew Saffir; Susan Blond; Duane Betts; Donna Dolenz; David Spero; Michael Stanley Band; Victor Kastel; William Schill; Michael ‘Eppy’ Epstein; Joe Walsh; Mark Biggs; Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Adam Pollack; Vinny Rich; and, CFS.