Today (May 26th) marks the 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatle’s revolutionary album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The LP was the first released by the band following their retirement from touring after their final performance at Candlestick Park in 1966. Although The Beatles had already begun a steady transition from being a more traditional pop-rock group with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s has been hailed as their ultimate creative masterpiece, followed closely perhaps by 1969’s Abbey Road. Released at the beginning of the Summer of Love, it set a new precedent for what a rock and roll record could be. The concept behind the album began following the exhaustion the group experienced after the whirlwind of Beatlemania. Paul McCartney came to Lennon, Starr, and Harrison with an idea that they would record an all new album under an alternative persona, which would free them from the weight of being the Beatles and usher in a fresh wave of musical creativity. Sgt. Pepper’s not only ushered in a new era for the Beatles; it also marked the beginning of the psychedelic rock movement that would see new groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Jefferson Airplane begin to climb the pop music charts. Now, 50 years later, Sgt. Pepper’s is known not only for its conception and importance to 60s rock (and music in general), but also for the history of its production. Continue reading →
On September 6, 1967, a documentary titled Don’t Look Back opened at an old ramshackle theater in San Francisco. It was hard to imagine why this old pornographic movie theater had a line of people extending out the door and around the corner, but once you found out it was about Bob Dylan, it was no surprise at all. The September 6th release was the first large-scale screening of the film that documented Bob Dylan and company’s whirlwind 1965 European tour. Joining him on tour were the likes of artists like Joan Baez, Donovan, and Allen Ginsberg, along with the standard parade of press, crew, police, fans, and everything else that came to epitomize Rock n’ Roll in the 1960s.
Bob Dylan, in particular, was an iconic figure in his own right. He had risen to fame in the early-60’s folk scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village, developing his own songwriting skills and capturing fans around the world with songs like Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and The Times They Are A-Changin,’ his so-called early “protest era” catalogue. Continue reading →
Today marks what would have been John Lennon‘s 75th birthday. Lennon is best known as one of the members of The Beatles and for his hit songs ‘Imagine’, ‘Come Together’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, and ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’. Happy Birthday John!
This weekend you can see a new documentary from award-winning documentarians Robert Gordon (The Blues, Johnny Cash’s America) and Morgan Neville (The Cool School, Twenty Feet From Stardom) titled Best of Enemies. The film chronicles a series of debates held between liberal thinker Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. in 1968. Intended to be a public commentary on the political and social issues of the day, the two ended up unintentionally changing modern media format from informed delivery of fact to exaggeration and speculation. Providing interviews for the film are the debaters, themselves, as well as Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand, Boss), John Lithgow (Shrek, Interstellar), Dick Cavett (The Dick Cavett Show, Forrest Gump), Noam Chomsky (The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror, The U.S. Vs. John Lennon), and Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor). The film received a nomination at the Sundance Film Festival for the Grand Jury Prize and also earned high remarks at this year’s Montclair Film Festival. Watch the trailer here on MADE, the film will be open on big screens Friday, July 31st.
Al Pacino‘s new film Danny Collins is now expanding to theaters across the country. Scripted and directed by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, The Guilt Trip), the film finds Pacino (The Godfather, Scarface) portraying aging rock star Danny Collins, who, still enraptured in his younger rock-n-roll lifestyle, receives a never delivered letter from his manager, addressed to Collins from former Beatle John Lennon. Having read and been inspired by Lennon’s comments on life, family and friends, Collins sets out on a mission to rediscover his own family and make some long-delayed amends. Co-starring in the film is 4-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are Alright), Golden Globe winner Jennifer Garner (Juno, Dallas Buyers Club), Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent, Chef), and Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind). Check out the trailer here on MADE, then be sure to see it on the big screen!
Academy Award-winner Al Pacino (The Godfather, Scarface) will be back on the big screen this month in a new dramatic-comedy from writer/director Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, Last Vegas) titled Danny Collins. Inspired by a true story, the film follows an aging rock star, Danny Collins, who discovers an undelivered letter addressed to him from John Lennon from 40 years earlier. Inspired by Lennon’s words, Collins sets out on a mission to reconnect with his estranged family and discover life outside of the rock-n-roll world of sex, drugs, alcohol, and constant publicity. Co-starring in the film are actors Annette Benning (American Beauty, The Kids Are Alright), Jennifer Garner (Pearl Harbor, Dallas Buyers Club), Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent, Chef), and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind). The film will see a limited release this March 20th before it shows at the Cleveland International Film Festival on the 29th; check your local theaters for showtime information. You can see the trailer here on MADE; John Lennon fans can also check out the soundtrack, which will feature several of his hit songs. Enjoy!
I will admit I was pretty skeptical about seeing the first Hot Tub Time Machine when it hit theaters in 2010, but when the credits came on I found myself pleasantly surprised at how hilarious it actually was. Now a second installment is scheduled to open in theaters this Friday, reuniting original cast members Rob Corddry (Semi-Pro, Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay), Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express, This Is The End), and Clark Duke (Greek, Kick-Ass) with new cast members Adam Scott (Step-Brothers, Parks and Recreation), Thomas Lennon (I Love You Man, We’re The Millers), and comedy-veteran Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Vacation, Caddyshack). The last time we saw the comedic bunch they had returned from the 1980s to find their friend Lou (Corddry) has made himself the creator of “Louggle” and also the lead of “Motley Lou” among other endeavors that had turned all their lives completely around. This new feature will see Jacob (Duke) and Nick (Robinson) having to go back in time to prevent Lou from being shot by a mysterious assailant. The original film’s writing/directing collaborators Josh Heald and Steve Pink (Accepted, About Last Night) are both back for the new film. Only original lead actor John Cusack is not returning for the new film. The full-length trailer is here on MADE. See the movie in theaters this weekend!
It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve seen Oscar-winner Al Pacino grace the screen in a lead role, but next year’s directorial debut for writer/director Dan Fogelman (Cars, Crazy, Stupid Love) will see the veteran actor in just that. Pacino will appear as Danny Collins, an aging rock star who, still living his sex, drugs, and alcohol-fueld rock-n-roll lifestyle, receives a 40-year old undelivered letter from his manager that was written to him by John Lennon. Inspired by Lennon’s words, Collins sets out to make amends with his family and loved ones and begin a new period in his life. Based on a true story, the film co-stars Annette Bening (Mars Attacks!, American Beauty), Jennifer Garner (Pearl Harbor, Dallas Buyer’s Club), Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent, Chef), and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind) as Collins’ agent. Not necessarily Scarface-material, but I’m sure Pacino will make it worth watching. You can watch the trailer here on MADE, stay tuned for an exact release date.
If you want a reason to support your local and underground artists like we make a point of doing here on MADE, here’s another you can add to your list. Fifty years ago a guy named Paul McCartney formed a rock n’ roll band with John Lennon that called themselves The Beatles, and wrote a catalogue of songs that would set and influence record sales for the remainder of the twentieth century. John Lennon was killed in 1980, at which time McCartney became the only living composer of the majority of The Beatles music, but since 1985 the singer/songwriter has seen virtually no revenue from sales, covers, or modernized use of Beatle music ranging from The Beatles Rock Band to director Julie Taymor’s psychedelic-60s musical Across The Universe. That’s because the rights to most of those songs were purchased by pop star Michael Jackson in 1985, when he paid $47.5 million for the Associated Television Corporation‘s backlog of record music, including countless Beatles songs. The kicker is that the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that the rights to all songs written before 1978 (those that are copyrighted by a record label at least) will go back to the songwriters after a period of 56 years, so even though he went through a fairly bitter feud with Jackson over the rights to the music (which lead to an ultimate falling out), McCartney would still most likely not have been able to acquire the rights to his music before 2018 anyway. Sony Music purchased half of the rights from the Michael Jackson Estate in 2005 for $95 million, so they have and will continue to cash in on them until that time, but 2018 is only four years away now, so McCartney is about to really cash-in. The point is, record companies have been corporately running the major music industry since the time of The Beatles, and they continue to turn an otherwise great industry that has the power to bring popular art to the masses into a financial prison fenced in by clauses in contracts that turns otherwise great collaborators into business adversaries. We are here to support the artists who have found a way of sharing and promoting their work without the restraints and bullshit financial bickering that has ruined so many great musical acts in the past Keep supporting our local artists here on MADE!
In light of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first movie and the onset of Beatlemania across the Atlantic, Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night is being prepped for re-release this summer. The film featured John, Paul, George, and Ringo in their first big screen appearance, which coincided with the release of the album of the same name and featured most of the same songs, including A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love, And I Love Her, and I’ll Cry Instead. Although the film was not particularly praised by critics, and was even totally bashed by John Lennon in later years following the band’s breakup, it has remained a beloved classic in Beatle-lore. Following the band’s breakthrough performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, which introduced the group to a new generation of Americans, A Hard Day’s Night was released a month later and only further propelled the group to a new level of international stardom. You can catch the movie in theaters this summer starting on July 4th.