ELTON & BERNIE — Elton John and Bernie Taupin, one of pop music’s most acclaimed songwriting teams, recently worked with YouTube for a global competition seeking music videos for three of their most iconic early Seventies hits: “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “Tiny Dancer.” The duo revealed the winning submissions this week at the Cannes Film Festival,also, marking the 50th anniversary of their musical partnership.
John said he was “moved and amazed” at both the videos and the overall process. “The future of creativity is clearly collaborative, fusing art and technology, and it’s been fantastic to open up our work to the next generation of creative talent and to share that process with the world on YouTube,” he said.
Majid Adin’s animated “Rocket Man” clip brilliantly re-contextualizes Taupin’s lyrics about a lonely astronaut with a visual tale that draws on his past experience as an Iranian refugee traveling to England. (The animator, a fine art university graduate in animation production, journeyed through Europe during the 2015 refugee crisis and spent time in the Calais Junglecamp before earning asylum in the U.K.) Taupin’s words take on a more melancholy spin in this vivid setting, particularly the line “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time,” repeated as the protagonist dwells on his uncertain future.
With their experimental treatment of “Bennie and the Jets,” director Jack Whitley and choreographer Laura Brownhill imagine the formation of Bennie and Her Jets. With the clip’s black-and-white visuals and elaborate movements, the duo drew inspiration from Busby Berkeley’s old Hollywood musicals and Fritz Lang’s 1927 innovative sci-fi movie, Metropolis.
Of all the winners, director Max Weiland took the simplest approach with his “Tiny Dancer” video. It celebrates the eclecticism of Los Angeles and proves that John’s 1971 hit may be the ultimate road song. The clip cuts back and forth between numerous scenes, following people as they drive through the city eating licorice, smoking weed, breastfeeding babies and posing for selfies. The one commonality: They’re all blasting “Tiny Dancer” and singing along.
John’s Cannes spot marked his first public appearance since being hospitalized for a bacterial infection in April. During the event, the singer said that, arriving before the MTV era, he and Taupin were “real artists,” noting that the “MTV generation brought along a lot of people who were great but a lot of people who just made videos.”
Check out the “Rocket Man” winner here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVBCG6ThDk
WOLFF ON AILES — The incomparable writer Michael Wolff penned a rather stellar piece on the recent funeral for Roger Ailes in Florida; including who showed … and, who didn’t. Take a read here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-wolff-at-roger-ailes-funeral-loyalists-celebrate-an-act-defiance-1006331
RIP CHRIS CORNELL — The late-Chris Cornell will be laid to rest on Friday at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in a private service. Cornell’s body was found early last Thursday morning in his hotel room at the MGM Grand in Detroit, MI. He had just finished a performance with Soundgarden and was found by a band security guard after his wife became alarmed during a phone call. Cornell had committed suicide by hanging himself.
Toxicology tests are being run to determine the level of drugs in his system. Specifically, they are looking for the level of Ativan which the singer may have double dosed in the hours before his death. An overdose of Ativan can cause suicidal thoughts.
The singer’s body was transported to Los Angles on Sunday.
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the oldest in Los Angeles and is the final resting place of such other musicians, performers and executives as Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Kim Fowley, Gidget Gein of Marilyn Manson, Judy Garland, Nelson Riddle, Nelson Eddy, Woody Herman and Art Pepper along with such Hollywood greats as Douglas Fairbanks, Peter Lorre, Janet Gaynor, Rudolph Valentino and Mickey Rooney.
SHORT TAKES — Tonight at Bowery Electric is the live debut of Honey West, fronted by former King Crimson/Foreigner mainstay Ian McDonald and Helmed by Lee Strasburg-trained Shakespeare actor Ted Zurkowski. The event (with PR-pasha Randy Alexander) will be hosted by WFUV’s Darren DeVivo. Their debut album Bad Old World came out on the 19th. Should be a great evening. Details to follow … Loved Roger Moore, who did 7 James Bond-movies in all. Funnily enough, Moore later admitted that Daniel Craig was the best Bond of all. His sense of humor and style were unrivaled. I also loved him in the BBC-series The Persuaders with Tony Curtis. RIP Sir Roger … The legendary Donovan coming up at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room on Tuesday, February 6 … and, Bobby Whitlock, from Derek and the Dominos, on February 13 … Going to see Wonder Woman next week; and, hear its great. Review to follow … Do we really need a Top Gun 2?
Till next time…Pleaseleave your comments below.