Published May 31, 2006
It was good to see Liz Taylor last night on CNN’s subjectively designed “Larry King Live.”
Taylor claims not to have Alzheimer’s disease, but she’s certainly selectively forgetful about some things. It’s funny, too, how Larry King — who must have a research staff — forgets those things himself.
Case in point: During his chat with La Liz about her buddy Michael Jackson, Larry failed to ask America’s favorite movie star why she never defended him during the entire child molestation trial.
Taylor in fact was silent as the five-month court proceeding dragged on at this time last year in Santa Maria, Calif.
More importantly: King could have asked Dame Elizabeth about the $637,000 piece of jewelry that she received from Jackson as payment for appearing in his “rebuttal video” on FOX in 2003.
The necklace in question was demanded, er, requested by Taylor as compensation for assisting Jackson in trying to rehabilitate his reputation after the famously oily documentary made by Martin Bashir, now an unlikely anchor for “Nightline.”
At the time, Jackson didn’t even have the cash to buy the piece of jewelry. According to court testimony last year and the current civil lawsuit filed by Marc Schaffel, Jackson’s former business associate, Jackson borrowed the money from Schaffel to buy Liz her “gift.” When Schaffel vs. Jackson commences soon in Los Angeles, the entire episode will be entered into evidence.
Taylor also didn’t mention that back on Feb. 27, 2003, Jackson — who we now know was busy entertaining and dealing with the Arvizo family — was conspicuously absent from Liz’s last big birthday party.
Held at the exclusive Hotel Bel Air, the party’s other guests included Sen. John Kerry, hairdresser Jose Eber and Jackson’s dermatologist — and former Debbie Rowe employer — Dr. Arnold Klein.
In fact, this column reported back then that Taylor and Jackson were in a feud. The reason had to due with — ta da! — the rebuttal video. Taylor had asked for the “payment,” I mean gift, and Jackson had summoned her to Neverland. But when Taylor arrived at the ranch, a three-hour drive from Beverly Hills, Jackson wasn’t even there.
A bad memory, no doubt, for Taylor, and maybe one she’d just as well forget.
Yesterday, the wire services were giddy with info about Paris Hilton’s singing debut and her first album.
I guess their writers just don’t read this column. We told you the entire story on March 8. That was almost three months ago, but who’s keeping count?
The wire story was missing a lot of facts, so let’s review. We told you that Paris had covered Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” We also told you last week that the single is called “Stars Are Blind,” that Paris is shooting the video for it now in Los Angeles, and that she made her live singing debut during the Cannes Film Festival at an event for which she was paid $200,000 to attend.
The wire story didn’t have the names of the other songs on the album. Here’s the list, just as we presented it on March 8: 1.) Turn it Up 2.) Turn You On 3.) Stars Are Blind 4.) Jealousy 5.) Heartbeat 6.) Fightin’ Over Me, featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss 7.) Are You With It? 9.) Do You Think I’m Sexy? 9.) Screwed 10.) Not Leaving Without You. Got that?
Country and pop music fans must like something about the Dixie Chicks. The outspoken quartet sold 514,000 copies of their new album, "Taking the Long Way," and entered the charts this week at numero uno.
The album features the hit song, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” which addresses the Chicks’ feelings about death threats after they criticized President Bush on the Iraq war.
At this rate, “Long Way” could easily sell 2 million copies before it’s all over. The numbers are impressive, but they are off from the Chicks’ last release in 2002. The first-week sales of that album were a whopping 780,000 copies, and the total came to over 5 million.
But that was before downloading was a factor in CD sales. Numbers aren’t yet in for the new album’s popularity online.
Paul Simon’s newest album, “Surprise,” is selling around 20,000 copies a week, I guess, to his faithful. That’s not bad, but I urge you to order a copy or go out and get one as soon as possible.
Forget about the fact that “Surprise” will be a best album nominee next February at the Grammys. It’s the single best originally composed album out now and in some time.
This is a gem of a CD, with gorgeous, complex lyrics and lovely melodies that are ornamented by electronic whiz producer Brian Eno.
Because pop music isn’t taken very seriously even when it’s great, its creators are rarely celebrated in the same vein as literary authors.
But at a time when both giants John Updike and Philip Roth have new novels out, Simon’s name is not out of place being mentioned alongside them, I think, as an artist of great importance.
And thank God, Paris Hilton has not covered “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."