It's The Jackson 3 As Michael's Brother's Drop Out Of All Star Show
Michael Jackson is not singing "I Want You Back" to brothers Jermaine and Randy.
The two brothers have dropped out of the planned Jackson 5 reunion, which was the lynch pin of the show. How do you like that? I told you on July 12 that there is no love between Michael and Jermaine, and that Jermaine probably would not do the shows. Back in the '80s, when Jermaine had a chance for a hit single on a duet with Michael, Michael refused to let Arista release the record to radio. Since then, it's been all downhill. Jermaine may even be one of the few Jacksons to retain his original nose.
Without the Jackson 5 reunion, the other stars like 'N Sync and Whitney Houston are now more important to the September 7th and 10th shows. Also, without Jermaine and Randy, that leaves just Tito and perhaps Andrew or Reggie Jackson to fill in on the five part harmony. Tito may be reluctant to back his other brothers in their dissension since his three sons comprise 3T, a group that Michael has cultivated over the years. In fact, it's plausible that 3T will wind up taking over the Jackson 5 parts.
Mariah Carey's movie soundtrack to Glitter, has already launched a dud.
"Loverboy," the roundly criticized single from Glitter in which Mariah heavily samples Cameo's 1984 hit "Candy," has failed to get airplay or MTV video play. It doesn't appear in the top half of any Billboard airplay charts. Radio & Records lists it at number 23 on its Urban Chart, one of three R&R charts it could appear on.
Billboard — which rarely says a negative word about new releases — took Carey to task for having no 'there' there.
Carey is gambling a lot on Glitter, since it's the first album she's releasing since leaving Columbia Records and ex-husband Tommy Mottola behind. At Columbia, Mottola managed to get Carey more than a dozen No. 1 singles. But the record biz is all ears and eyes as Carey — with no one to guide her — tries her first independent move.
Glitter comes to theatres on August 31. It tells the story a young singer in the 1980s trying to get to the top with the help of a friend who's a deejay. Carey is already filming her second movie, an indie, called Wise Girls co-starring Mira Sorvino.
I was planning to write the following story anyway, and then I saw Dick Parsons' press release about the Warner Music Group. I think very highly of Parsons, but Warner is as eviscerated as a record label could be, and the latest episode is certainly emblematic of that.
R.E.M.'s album, Reveal, which was released in May, has now sold a measly 320,000 copies according to Soundscan. They are listing it at around No. 150 on their chart, which is a scandal, my friends, of the highest proportion. Not since Columbia Records conspired to kill off Soul Asylum a couple of years ago has the murder of a rock band remained such a secret. But it now it must be told.
Reveal is R.E.M.'s best work since their back-to-back hit albums Out of Time and Automatic for the People. The tracks "All the Way to Reno" and "I'll Take the Rain" would have been hits in years past when Warner had a marketing department or an idea of what to do with an album. But neither of these tracks was selected as the band's opening single. Instead, the very difficult "Imitation of Life" was the first indication for the public that R.E.M. had a new album. And they didn't "get" it.
Now a little history: R.E.M. signed an $80 million deal in 1995 with Warner, when the label was in executive flux and panic was rampant. Because Robert Morgado and Doug Morris had inadvertently blown up the label, Warner vet Mo Ostin and his faithfuls moved to the then brand-new DreamWorks label. The Warner people panicked but they had one trump card, the R.E.M. back catalog including hits like "Losing My Religion" and "Everybody Hurts." So they ponied up and R.E.M. took the dough.
What followed was a pair of middling albums, New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996), and Up (1998). Neither was a big seller, and neither had a consensus hit. Michael Stipe, in the meantime, turned to producing movies like Being John Malkovich. Maybe the band was over.
Flash forward to 2001 and Reveal. No one could have expected such a good record. Lush and melodic, it's a certain Grammy nominee for Best Album. But where are the fans? Warner certainly doesn't know. They apparently never went out to look for them. And the result is that Reveal is basically dead, at least for the moment.
Reveal follows a lot of other Warner product down the tube: Paul Simon's You're the One and Eric Clapton's Reptile are the prime examples of albums Warner didn't know how to sell to the public. There is currently one and only one album on the Billboard/SoundScan Top 50 distributed on the Warner label, and that's by crunchy rock group Linkin Park. It sold around 2 million copies. Warner also has a couple of throwaway rock albums in the bottom 50 of the chart, and an R&B album at number 47, by Jaheim.
Just as distressing as the Warner label problem are the struggles of sister label Elektra. Sylvia Rhone, the only African-American woman running a major label — hell, one of the few women, period — is the constant source of rumors that she's about to lose her job. A favorite of past Warner head Doug Morris (who now runs MCA Universal Records), Rhone pinned a lot of her hopes to a new album by Missy Misdemeanor Elliott. But that album has been a so-so hit, and Elektra, like Warner, has lived on the sales of one grunge rock album — this by Staind — for the last several months.
According to Reuters, Warner Music Group's quarterly revenues for the second quarter, fell 11 percent to $895 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) slid 33 percent to $87 million.
Meanwhile, the question now is whether or not Grammy/NARAS voters will remember R.E.M. when the time comes next winter. Last winter, the NARAS voters resurrected another wilted Warners release, Steely Dan's Two Against Nature, which had nearly disappeared before the Grammys resurrected it.
Rep. Gary Condit, caught in the center of the Chandra Levy missing intern scandal, continues to be a puzzle containing a mystery.
Much has written about his wife, Carolyn, although few people seem to know her or know much about her.
Carolyn Berry married Gary Condit when they were teenagers in Oklahoma. When they moved to northern California, and Gary Condit began to run for public office, Carolyn started to fade from sight.
Her husband has now been a United States congressman since 1989, but local Modestans are clueless about Carolyn. Yesterday, I spoke to the League of Women Voters office in Modesto. A spokeswoman there said, "Carolyn Condit has nothing to do with this organization."
Likewise there is nearly no mention of her whatsoever in the Modesto Bee, the local newspaper in Condit's district.
In the last twelve years, Carolyn Condit has also chosen to remain in Modesto, 3,000 miles from her husband's life in Washington D.C. This, despite their children being fully grown. As she told the Sacramento Bee in a rare interview: "Gary's good at juggling [a bi-coastal life]."
Yesterday, a source in Modesto told me: "As for Carolyn's mystery illness — the one which has been described as chronic — she's been to many doctors here, and all of them told her the same thing. The only thing wrong with her is being married to Gary Condit."
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