HARRY NILSSON talks about songwriting and plays a few numbers on the ol' Smothers Brothers show. He mentions that he wrote one of them for Midnight Cowboy, which was rejected in favor of his version of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'." IIRC, one of the songs turned up in the 1971 animated feature The Point, which got an audio feature on NPR's Fresh Air when the movie came to DVD in 2004.
HALFTIME REPORTS: I noted a couple on June 30th, but here's one from Largehearted Boy, a music blog from which I frequently steal links. Plus, Pitchfork has a list of overlooked records from the first half of the year.
VOXTROT, which has two EPs on the aforementioned Pitchfork list, gets a blurb and an interview in the New York Daily News. And I think I saw this at LHB, so it's all sort of falling together today. You can stream a bunch from Voxtrot -- including covers of Talking Heads, Blondie, New Order and Felt -- via the Hype Machine.
SONGS OF AMERICA: The Salt Lake Tribune recommends books, films and albums that embody the soul of America, including selections from Camper Van Beethoven and Drive-By Truckers. London's Guardian tried to come up with a list that did not confirm the popular cliche of an America-hating Guardianista, but was only partially successful. The Hype Machine logged plenty of July 4th-related entries, including: Galaxie 500 - "Fourth of July"; U2 - "The Hands That Built America"; Bruce Springsteen - "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"; Simon & Garfunkel - "America"; The Decemberists - "July, July!"; Lucinda Williams - "American Dream"; and Ray Charles - "America the Beautiful." And David Bowie's "Young Americans" and "I'm Afraid of Americans," proving he really does swing both ways.
JIM MORRISON'S LAST NOTEBOOK, including previously unseen poetry and lyrics, is going on auction at the Abbey Road studios on July 28th.
THE DIABLEROS just got a mighty nice review of You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts, which you can hear at the band's website.
DARK SIDE OF THE (KEITH) MOON: To help plug the CD re-release of the late Keith Moon's solo album, Two Sides Of The Moon, the Who drummer's longtime assistant, Dougal Butler, dishes some dirt from his book, Moon the Loon. Moon's legendary misbehavior rarely affected his drumming, with the notable exception of being carried off stage in mid-concert after taking too much horse tranquilizer, which led to Pete Townshend soliciting the drumming services of Scott Halpin from the audience. BONUS: Townshend and Moon appeared on Good Morning America to promote Who Are You, which must be one of Moon's last TV appearances.
KILLING MUSIC, in a good way is music blogger rbally. Currently, you can stream the J. Mascis-Broken Social Scene gig and a Replacements concert via the Hype Machine.
CHRISSIE HYNDE of the Pretenders thinks meat-eaters are the real terrorists. Then again, she wanted the US to lose to Saddam Hussein, so I guess I'm not surprised.
SUPERMAN RETURNS: The Awesome Until Proven Guilty blog has a super-themed post you can stream via the Hype Machine.
PAUL, RINGO and YOKO all turned up for the Las Vegas premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Love extravaganza, which George Martin scored from remixed Fab tracks. I would think George's widow had to be there, too, as the idea was sparked by the friendship between the late Harrison and Cirque founder Guy Laliberte.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: The supposedly sober supermodel is reportedly seeing a shrink to get over her addiction to dodgy men like junkie rocker Doherty, ex-drug addict Russell Brand and Dirty Pretty Things rocker Anthony Rossomando. Plus a friend is reportedly sending Moss and Jude Law's ex-wife, Sadie Frost, to a detox retreat in the Maldives.
STACY'S MOM: Rachel Hunter has had some work done, based on some NSFW pics. The same site has some safer bikini pics and video as well. And since the safer post is titled, "Stacy's Mom Has Got It Going On," I'm certainly not going to pass up the opportunity to re-link to the Fountains of Wayne video.
BRADGELINA: It looks like rockers and new parents Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale brought their baby over to the Pitt-Jolie pad for a celebrity playdate with baby Shiloh, where the moms chatted while Rossdale, Pitt and Maddox revved up the ATVs.
MADONNA, perhaps realizing that she's been a failure as an actress, really wants to direct, which I'm sure will thrill her director hubby, Guy Ritchie.
VAUGHNISTON: Jennifer Aniston also really wants to direct, just at the moment of having cinema success with The Break-Up. Meanwhile, she's pouring sheep sperm on Vince Vaughn's head.
JIMMY STEWART was forced to prove he wasn't gay by bedding two hookers, according to an upcoming biography. NTTAWWT.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY deals with PMS by listening to gay pop anthems. NTTAWWT. Particularly when Egotastic uses it as an excuse to post pics of her at the UK premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. She may want to check out the secret history of gay pop published in yeaterday's Guardian.
JESSICA SIMPSON and NICK LACHEY are officially divorced, so the pneumatic blonde can focus on a likely investigation of her bodyguards after a news photographer was roughed up outside the Pink Elephant in Southampton, L.I.
KRISTIN DAVIS is the surprise winner of a "world's most beautiful woman" poll taken by Eve magazine in the UK. Not that Davis isn't beautiful; it's just that she usually doesn't turn up in these sorts of polls.
DENISE & HEATHER & RICHIE & CHARLIE & DAVID: Bon Jovi wisely nixed Denise Richards' plan to give Richie Sambora a birthday cake onstage next Monday.
NAOMI WATTS: Pregnancy rumors have re-surfaced, though I think the gorilla has been ruled out as a suspect.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: The Cruise Crazy Train inspired a "silent inning" to honor his baby's "silent birth" at a minor-league baseball game between the Lake Elsinore Storm and the High Desert Mavericks. Instead of the more traditional bobblehead, the team handed out a "bobble-couch" depicting Cruise's famous couch-jumping incident on Oprah.
IRAQ: At ITM, Omar reports that the people of Samarra are offering a 100 million dinar reward to anyone who provides information that lead to the death or arrest of Haitham al-Badri, suspected mastermind of the mosque bombing there. Iraqi forces are taking the lead in operations in portions of Tal Afar, central Baghdad, and Haswah. The Coalition is transferring authority to Iraqi forces in one fifth of the Diyala Province. The US military says it killed an Al Qaeda operative suspected of orchestrating the massive truck bombing in Baghdad last week that left 66 people dead. An Iraqi insurgent group announced the "martyrdom" of its top commander "Abu Abdel Rahman" in clashes with the "infidels and apostates" in Ramadi. Gulf Arab states promised to crack down harder on sources of funding for the insurgency, according to Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki. We'll see. Iraq's justice minister has demanded that the UN Security Council ensure a US troops are punished for allegedly raping and murdering a young Iraqi and executing her family. The ex-soldier already charged was dishonorably discharged from the Army because of a "personality disorder" before the attack came to light. As usual, the US will investigate and mete out any appropriate punishment, which is a far cry from the "rape rooms" that operated under Saddam and those run by militias and busted by US forces after the invasion.
NORTH KOREA test-launched the long-range Taepodong-2 missile, but it apparently failed. So the pre-emptive strike suggested by former Pres. Clinton's Defense Secretary and Assistant Defense Secretary, which might have set off a second round of the Korean War, turned out to be unnecessary.
ISLAMIC EXTREMISM IN THE UK: Britons who criticize Prime Minister Tony Blair for not winning Muslim "hearts and minds" since the 7/7 London bombings really ough to read Sunday Times reporter Ali Hussain's account of his six weeks undercover in Beeston, where three of the 7/7 bombers came from. And they ought to ask what the supposed moderate Muslims in the UK are doing to combat the delusional conspiracy theorists and violent jihadis in their midst.
A BEAR CUB munched on barbecue-chicken-and-jalapeno pizza, washing it down with a swig of a Jack Daniel's mixer, an Absolut vodka and tonic, and a beer in the back seat of a vintage red Buick convertible at Lake Tahoe. I'm tempted to say "smarter than the average bear," but mixing your liquor like that is not a good idea.
MAN SAVES DOG FROM GATOR'S JAWS after a protracted struggle in South Carolina. Video at the link.
DOG on THE RUN FOR THREE YEARS re-adjusts to life as a pet. Videos at the link.
HORNY PEACOCKS are causing trouble in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
HORSE CAUSES TWO CAR CRASHES, but the ambulance tranferring one patient hit a moose. Hard to believe Ken King moved away from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.