Daily Archives: March 19, 2017

On the Charts: Ed Sheeran Fights Off 'Beast' to Remain Number One

Beauty and the Beast‘s box office record-shattering opening weekend in theaters wasn’t enough to boost its soundtrack to Number One on the Billboard 200 as Ed Sheeran‘s Divide spent a second consecutive week in the top spot.

Divide added another 180,000 total copies – of which, 87,000 were traditional album sales – to its impressive first-week haul to enjoy a second week at Number One. Divide also became the first album since the Suicide Squad soundtrack back in August 2016 to spent its first two weeks of availability in the top spot, Billboard reports.

Metallica’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct finished at Number Two for a second straight week thanks to a deal that bundled copies of the heavy metal band’s new LP with ticket purchases for their upcoming tour. This method allowed Hardwired… to add another 102,000 copies to its total this week.

The week’s highest charting debut was the soundtrack to the live-action Beauty and the Beast, which bowed in at Number Three. The soundtrack sold 57,000 total copies in its debut week, which gave the album a weeklong head-start on the monstrously successful film; Beauty and the Beast set a record for a PG-rated film and March movie with a massive $170 million opening, which should result in increased soundtrack sales this time next week.

As Billboard notes, the classic soundtrack for the 1991 animated film only peaked at Number 19.

Beauty and the Beast was the lone new release to crack the Top 10 as the upper tier of the chart saw little movement: Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic fell one spot to Number Four, where it was followed by the Moana soundtrack (Number Five), with Future’s self-titled LP (Six) and HNDRXX (Nine) bookending the Weeknd’s Starboy (Seven) and Migos’ Culture (Eight). The Trolls soundtrack rounded things out at Number 10.

Drake’s More Life should easily capture Number One next week, with Beauty and the Beast and Rick Ross’ new Rather You Than Me on the rapper’s heels.

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Brian Wilson on Chuck Berry: 'He Taught Me How to Write Rock'

Brian Wilson was backstage Saturday night, waiting to perform at Indio, California’s Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for his Pet Sounds 50th anniversary tour, when he heard that one of his idols, Chuck Berry, had died. “I was shocked by it and it kind of scared me,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I don’t know why it scared me, but it was just a shock.” On Sunday, he says he’s still taking the news “pretty rough.”

For Wilson, Berry was an important inspiration for some of the first music he wrote over half a century ago for the Beach Boys. “He taught me how to write rock & roll melodies, the way the vocals should go,” he says. “His lyrics were very, very good. They were unusually good lyrics. I liked ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ all about a young, little kid who played his guitar.

“He inspired me as a lyricist,” he says. “He made me want to write about cars and surfing. I liked the lyrics to ‘Roll Over Beethoven.’ It felt like what he was doing was new.”

Berry’s influence loomed especially large over “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” the Beach Boys’ 1963 single, which went to Number Three on the Billboard chart. As Wilson remembers it, he’d become so enamored with Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” that “the melody and the chord pattern inspired me to write ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.'” When the single came out, it was credited only to Wilson. But within a few years, he shared the credit with Berry at Berry’s music publisher’s request. Wilson has said in recent years that he didn’t mind sharing credit, and late Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson once reported that Berry had told him that he “loves” “Surfin’ U.S.A.”

Moreover, the authorship issue never stopped the Beach Boys from performing Berry’s songs both live and in the studio in homage to their idol. “With the Beach Boys, we were inspired to do ‘Rock and Roll Music’ and ‘School Days’ because of his great melodies,” Wilson says. “His songs were very easy to do. We haven’t been singing any of his songs lately [with my solo band], but I want to do it soon. I’d like to do ‘Rock and Roll Music’ and ‘Johnny B. Goode.'”

Although the Beach Boys played a special with Chuck Berry in late 1964, captured on the concert film The T.A.M.I. Show, Wilson can recall talking to his inspiration only once on an airplane. While he couldn’t recall what they talked about, he remembered the way Berry was in front of an audience. “I just liked the way he moved around onstage,” he says.

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See Katy Perry's Emotional Speech at Human Rights Campaign Gala

Katy Perry talked about going from her very religious upbringing to “I Kissed a Girl” and called for LGBTQ equality in an emotional speech at Saturday’s Human Rights Campaign gala, where the singer was honored with the organization’s National Equality Award. Perry’s speech begins at the 34-minute mark of the above video.

“It’s time to lead with empathy and grace and compassion now more than ever to find the unity we need now,” Perry said. “I’ll never cease to be a champion, an ally, a spotlight, and a loving voice for all LGBTQ-identifying people.”

In her speech, Perry discussed transforming from “the gospel singing girl raised in youth groups that (was) pro-conversion camps” where her first words were “mama and dada, God and Satan” to singing her first hit, “I Kissed a Girl.” “Truth be told, I did more than that,” the singer said of the song’s chorus.

“Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps. But then in the middle of it all, in a twist of events, I found my gift and my gift introduced me to people outside of my bubble. My bubble started to burst,” Perry added.

Being in the music industry, the singer was introduced to LGBTQ collaborators who “were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met. They stimulated my mind and they filled my heart with joy and they freaking danced all the while doing it. These people are actually magic, and they are magic because they are living their truth.”

The HRC gala in Los Angeles also featured actress America Ferrera accepting the Ally for Equality Award, which was presented to her by Lena Dunham.

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Hear Father John Misty's Tongue-in-Cheek 'Generic Pop Songs'

Father John Misty, who has dabbled as a songwriter for hit makers like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, posted a trio of numbered tracks with the title “Generic Pop Song” on his SoundCloud Sunday. None of the three songs appear on Father John Misty’s forthcoming LP Pure Comedy.

As the song titles suggest, the tracks are not meant to be taken too seriously; instead they showcase how formulaic radio singles can be. “Generic Pop Song #3” is perhaps the most winking of the pop-taunting trio of tracks, opening with the so-called “millennial whoop” that dominates the Hot 100 singles.

The other two cuts, “Generic Pop Song #9” and “Generic Pop Song #16,” are similarly deviations from Father John Misty’s usual work, but while both tracks satirize pop music, the songs are strong in their own right.

“#9” starts sparsely before blossoming into a fist-pumping dance song, while “#16” is slow-burning breakup jam with lyrics like, “If you stay or leave / It’s the same to me / Pick me up for the last time, baby / Never make you see me like this again.”

In April 2016, the artist born Josh Tillman discussed his experience contributing to Beyoncé’s Lemonade single “Hold Up.”

“I went crazy,” Tillman said. “[I] recorded a verse, melody and refrain that, unbelievably – when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo – ended up making the record.”

Pure Comedy is due out April 7th. Father John Misty will also head off on tour this summer.

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Bill Clinton on Chuck Berry: 'He Changed Our Country'

Former president Bill Clinton, who recruited Chuck Berry to perform at both of his presidential inaugurations, paid tribute to the rock legend following Berry’s death Saturday at the age of 90.

“Hillary and I loved Chuck Berry for as long as we can remember,” Clinton wrote in a statement. “The man was inseparable from his music – both were utterly original and distinctly American. He made our feet move and our hearts more joyful. And along the way he changed our country and the history of popular music.”

In Clinton’s final year in the Oval Office in 2000, the president honored Berry as one of the Kennedy Center honorees.

“Chuck played at both my inaugurations and at the White House for my 25th Georgetown reunion, and he never slowed down, which is why his legend grew every time he stepped on stage,” Clinton added. “His life was a treasure and a triumph, and he’ll never be forgotten. Our hearts go out to his family and his countless friends and fans.”

Barack Obama added on Twitter, “Chuck Berry rolled over everyone who came before him – and turned up everyone who came after. We’ll miss you, Chuck. Be good.”

Clinton joins an army of artists inspired by Berry to remember the rock n’ roll innovator following his death, including the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles’ Ringo Starr and countless more.

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'Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll' Director Remembers 'Diabolical' Chuck Berry

Filmmaker Taylor Hackford, who directed Chuck Berry‘s classic 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, penned a tribute to Berry following the rock legend’s death Saturday.

“He was the most important figure in rock ‘n’ roll. Every rock ‘n’ roll guy starts by playing Chuck Berry songs,” Hackford wrote for the Hollywood Reporter.

In the remembrance, Hackford reminisces about the “difficult” shoot for Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll and how Berry would often conspire against his own documentary.

“Chuck was more difficult than any movie star I’ve ever worked with,” Hackford wrote. “More complicated, more difficult, more diabolical. Diabolical is a fitting term. At the same time, I totally loved him.”

Hackford reaffirmed the story about how – despite Universal giving Berry $500,000 for the rights to his music in the documentary – the guitarist refused to partake in the first day of shooting unless the producer physically came up with more money, which was delivered to him in a brown bag.

“I love Chuck Berry, but every day was a negotiation. It is not an exaggeration to say he was the most difficult star I have ever known, as complicated and talented as anybody I’ve ever met. He let me inside his life — up to a point,” Hackford added. The director would later helm another film about a music legend, the Ray Charles biopic Ray.

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and the Beatles’ Ringo Starr were among those to pay tribute to Berry following his death Saturday.

“Chuck Berry defined rock ‘n roll guitar, he was a fantastic performer, but more importantly, he was the first great rock ‘n roll songwriter,” Hackford added. “All of them — the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Prince — they’ve all said they wouldn’t be there without Chuck Berry. And he did it over and over again.”

On Sunday, Hackford also remembered Berry in a statement:

“Chuck Berry was the greatest creative force in the birth of Rock & Roll – that’s a fact. That’s why we all came together in 1986 to celebrate him in my film, Hail, Hail, Rock & Roll: Keith Richards (Music Director), Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Julian Lennon, Etta James, Robbie Robertson and Bruce Springsteen. But Chuck was complicated – in fact, he was the most difficult ‘movie star’ I’ve even worked with. It was like trying to ride a Brahma Bull – you can try to ride him, but he’s going to buck you off. Keith Richards and I soon learned that we would have to ‘wing-it,’ if we wanted to get anything on screen. But still, I loved Chuck, because he was the ‘real deal, an original genius who created a true American Art Form – why shouldn’t he be difficult. Not only did he invent the most famous guitar licks in Rock & Roll history, he could also sing in a totally unique style everything from Blues, to Country to Jazz. (A friend told me that the first time he heard Memphis on the radio, he thought Chuck Berry was a white country singer.) But what made Chuck the greatest of all other 50s Rock & Roll Artists was his talent as a Songwriter – his compositions were miles above anything else written in that decade. Of course, I’m not the first to say that – John Lennon, Jagger & Richards, Bob Dylan all said that they wouldn’t have here without CB. A few years ago Prince told me the same thing. What I’m most happy about is that we were able to capture Chuck when he still had all pistons firing – an auto allusion that’s perfect, because no one could write a song about America’s love the automobile better than Chuck – or a song about the sexiness of a 16-year-old girl, or a love song about a Havana Moon.” 

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