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59 Articles

Artist Spotlight

Sublime – 3-Ring Circus: Live at the Palace

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on February 26, 2014

It’s pretty incredible, in a time when album sales of 250,000 are a cause for unbridled celebration at record labels, that Sublime’s eponymous 1996 album sold some 5 million copies. 3-Ring Circus: Live at the Palace, recorded only about seven months before, at the Palace Theater in Hollywood, shows the Long Beach band at full strength, its wide-ranging music—punk, thrash, ska, reggae—sending some of the sold-out crowd into dancing, fighting frenzies. But most…

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Queens of Pop: Lady Gaga

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on February 20, 2014

As I noted in my blog about Diana Ross, she is one of eight Queens of Pop, as voted by viewers of ARTE, a television network based in the south of France. The top eight each got a half-hour documentary produced about her. Besides Ross, the “queens” are Donna Summer, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Madonna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Sorry, Adele. (The poll was conducted in 2011, when she was still breaking out.) It’s a debatable list. That&rsqu…

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All You Need is Love, Episode 14: Mighty Good: The Beatles

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on February 13, 2014

The Beatles’ segment of All You Need is Love, the long series of films covering the history of popular music, begins on the right note. A screech. Massive, lengthy screeching and screaming, all for the new royalty in England and beyond. Fan frenzy; girls crying at concerts and on the streets. That’s the way it was; the basis for A Hard Day’s Night. That said, this is not even close to a definitive look at the Beatles phenomenon, just as this series, produced in 197…

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Simon and Garfunkel: Songs of America / The Harmony Game

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on January 31, 2014

I have a friend who likes Paul Simon. Check that. “I LOVE Paul Simon!” she’ll exclaim whenever we talk about music. Simon was the genius half of Simon and Garfunkel. He wrote all those great songs, helped arrange them, and sang half of them. And it was Paul, not Art, who went on to a prolific solo career. But guess what? There are reasons to love Artie, too. In the double-feature film, Songs of America / The Harmony Game, Garfunkel’s valuable contributions,…

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Paul McCartney: Good Evening New York City

Ben Fong-Torres Posted to Artist Spotlight on January 24, 2014

Call it a Maccathon. Whenever Paul McCartney does a concert these days, he’s in for the long haul, and the haul includes five decades of iconic hits, discoveries of other worthy tunes, and massive doses of charm. McCartney likes to perform, and he aims to please. He knows who he is, and he knows he’s in the business of show, so he plays to the audience, all 60,000, for three nights at the brand new Citi Field in New York in 2009. At a song’s end, he lifts his inst…

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