Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Exclusive: Streisand Sings Support for Obama | Britney to Pick Next President | Regis Is a Mad Man; Falling Upward at WMG; Pink Floyd Death; Cougars
Exclusive: Streisand Sings Support for Obama
Barbra Streisand sang and spoke out Tuesday night for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at a star-studded fundraiser in Beverly Hills, Calif.
She sang four songs, according to sources. They were interesting choices: "When the Sun Comes Out," "Make Someone Happy," "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and "Shining Hour."
In between songs, Streisand spoke a little bit about Obama and the reason she was there. She said, "I'm not here to make a political speech... Tonight my thoughts are only personal... I can't wait for the morning on November 5th when the people who said 'Yes we can' wake up and say 'Yes we did.'"
Streisand was not the only performer on the bill. She was preceded by Ben Harper and also by Broadway star Raul Esparza, who sang "America the Beautiful."
Sources say the audience was filled with celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg, as well his Dreamworks partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
But what interesting song choices for Streisand, who skipped her biggest hits like "People" and "The Way We Were," not to mention "Guilty" or "Stoney End."
She had a message to send, and she sent it.
The final number, "My Shining Hour," is a Johnny Mercer-Harold Arlen song from 1943. It comes from the movie "The Sky's the Limit" and is said to be written around Winston Churchill's famous rallying cry to British citizens during World War II. How appropriate!
Streisand's other choices: "When the Sun Comes Out" is circa 1962, from the earliest part of her career. "Make Someone Happy" and "Rest of Your Life" are staples from her shows.
Streisand is no Hollywood Twinkie when it comes to politics. She's been involved in fundraising and support for Democrats since the early 1970s, when she performed live at Madison Square Garden for George McGovern. A fervent Clinton backer, her move to help Obama, I am told, comes from the heart.
There will be more concerts for Obama coming soon. As I reported a couple of weeks ago, The Grateful Dead are re-forming to put on a show for the Democratic presidential nominee in Pennsylvania. Still unheard from but no doubt getting ready to do something: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul Simon and John Fogerty.
They'd just better not wait too long.
Britney to Pick the Next President
It’s right there in the middle of Britney Spears’ MySpace page — a banner ad that reads “Who Will Be the Next President? Answer to Win a Free iPhone.”
Of course, Britney probably has nothing to do with her MySpace page. But it’s a funny idea. How else to judge the election? And you get an iPhone.
The ad makes as much sense as anything else in Britney’s so-called career. It was less than a year ago that she released the album "Blackout," which flopped badly after a short run on the charts.
That’s not stopping her from (oops!) doing it again. After letting her father become her guardian and giving up the rights to her kids, Spears is no longer a daily accident waiting to happen. So she’s releasing another album, called "Circus," in December. The first single, “Womanizer,” is set for Sept. 22, just before the Grammy deadline cut-off. She won’t get a Grammy, but hope springs eternal.
What will “Womanizer” sound like? It’s produced by something called The Outsyders, a computerized team one of whom is a guy called Grand Dean. They’re from Atlanta and their musical skill is knowing how to operate Pro Tools.
The Outsyders’ instrumentals sound like the usual synth-heavy, anonymous commercial junk that has turned the music industry into a graveyard. On his Web site, the composer writes: “Grand Dean Productions makes tracks for upcomming and signed artists.” That’s two mm’s, because it’s so good.
Regis Is A Mad Man; Falling Upward at WMG; Pink Floyd Death; Cougars
Funny stuff: Regis Philbin, my hero, made “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm come over to his apartment to meet wife Joy the other day after Hamm was on the “Live” show.
Regis took pictures (he should get a Flip camera for video) and showed them to Kelly a few days later. Hamm told Jimmy Kimmel about it on his late-night show a few days later, although I’m not sure the actor — tipped to win the Emmy for playing Don Drapero on “Mad Men” -- totally appreciated the whole thing. Regis rocks, that’s all. …
Believe it or not, the reward for doing nothing but selling out your company is a promotion at Warner M. Group. Tuesday, Edgar Bronfman Jr. promoted Lyor Cohen from head bounder to chief bounder.
Cohen’s most decisive move in the last year? Selling off more than $6 million in stock to buy a tear-down house in the Hamptons. The result of that sale was an immediate drop in the company’s stock price, because the sale signaled that Cohen knew something the few stockholders didn’t. Congrats! Maybe in that Goldman Sachs interview Thursday, someone with a little nerve can ask Bronfman about this bold decision.
WMG stock finished at $7.97 Tuesday. A year ago it was over $10. That was before Madonna and Nickelback left. This week, the company released what most people expect to be the final album by Metallica before that group moves on. ...
Richard Wright was not as well-known to Pink Floyd fans as Roger Waters or David Gilmour. But he was a founding member of the group. He also wrote three of its most memorable tracks: “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “The Great Gig in the Sky” and the magisterial, magnificent “Us and Them,” the actual hit single from “Dark Side of the Moon.” He died this week at age 65 after a battle with cancer. He will be missed but never forgotten. …
Is Barbra Streisand the “cougar” of the Democratic party? “Is cougar really a bad term?” Jill Brooke asks on the provocative Web site firstwivesworld.com. “At least men aren't invoking another animal analogy, like "hog" or "rhinoceros." A cougar is thin, feline, beautiful, and strong,” Brooke writes.
The site, by the way, has also turned into one of those hot “social networks” like MySpace or Facebook for cougars and other women who are busy talking among themselves unbeknownst to us guys. Me, all I want is a 1969 Cougar convertible. But that’s another story altogether. …