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  • 'Falling apart but we deny it': Is J. Cole talking about Kanye West?

    'Falling apart but we deny it': Is J. Cole talking about Kanye West?

    So much for not kicking a man when he’s down. Rapper J. Cole on Thursday night released a new documentary about the making of his upcoming fourth album, and 12 hours later the Internet is convinced that one of the album’s songs is a shot at Kanye West, who spent a portion of last month in the hospital...

  • The Rolling Stones go home to the blues with 'Blue & Lonesome'

    The Rolling Stones go home to the blues with 'Blue & Lonesome'

    When the Rolling Stones fell in love with American blues music as teenagers in England in the late 1950s and early ’60s, the grand old men of the genre they idolized were 20 to 30 years their seniors. Muddy Waters was in his late 40s and Howlin’ Wolf was about 50. Now that the Stones themselves...

  • On Bette Midler's birthday, 10 songs that remind us why we fell in love with her

    On Bette Midler's birthday, 10 songs that remind us why we fell in love with her

    “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?” “From a distance, there is harmony!” “Some say love, it is a river.” Ask any casual Bette Midler fan (or anyone born beyond 1990) about the diva’s discography, and they’ll likely name that trio of tear-jerking hits: “Wind Beneath My Wings,” “From a Distance”...

  • 'Christmas in Rockefeller Center': Holiday entertainment only a network exec could love

    'Christmas in Rockefeller Center': Holiday entertainment only a network exec could love

    Santa Claus giveth, and Santa Claus taketh away. After watching ABC’s surprisingly festive “CMA Country Christmas” on Monday night, I wondered if this might be the year when each of the big television networks finally figures out how to do a holiday special that doesn’t feel labored or corny or...

  • The 'nueva trova' music of Cuba's Carlos Varela feels as timely as ever

    The 'nueva trova' music of Cuba's Carlos Varela feels as timely as ever

    Coming from a Spanish-speaking musician, the song “Muros y Puertas (Walls and Doors),” could easily have been interpreted as a response to one of the key campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump, especially as Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela passionately sang it on the patio of an...

  • What to listen to now: Tinashe, DNCE and more

    What to listen to now: Tinashe, DNCE and more

    A weekly roundup of must-hear music from The Times staffers. This week’s picks include the latest from young R&B singer Tinashe, as well as dance artist-to-watch Avalon Emerson and the most recent bid by a Jonas brother to enter adulthood.  Tinashe, “Nightride” (RCA) Los Angeles R&B singer Tinashe’s...

  • Dolly Parton shares more 'Colors' in holiday sequel

    Dolly Parton shares more 'Colors' in holiday sequel

    Such is Dolly Parton’s love for Christmas that she has painted the elevator in her house to look like a chimney and comes “down” it every year to bestow presents upon her nieces and nephews dressed as “Granny Claus.” And, in the ’80s, she once flew across the country on Christmas Day dressed in...

  • O holy night? 'CMA Country Christmas' finally gets it right

    O holy night? 'CMA Country Christmas' finally gets it right

    Did you hear what I heard? On Monday night, ABC broadcast this year’s edition of “CMA Country Christmas,” its annual holiday special featuring Nashville’s best, brightest and most eager to promote a new Christmas album. Historically, this thing has been a reliable horror show: two hours of forced...

  • Surprised Aretha Franklin took her time with the national anthem? You shouldn't be

    Surprised Aretha Franklin took her time with the national anthem? You shouldn't be

    Looking back, it’s clear that Aretha Franklin was settling in for the long haul. As soon as the Queen of Soul finished singing the national anthem at a Thanksgiving Day football game in her native Detroit, social media lighted up with folks expressing surprise about the length of her performance....

  • Long after 'The Life Aquatic,' Seu Jorge still has David Bowie on his mind

    Long after 'The Life Aquatic,' Seu Jorge still has David Bowie on his mind

    Red knit ski caps adorned many a head in the crowd gathered Saturday night at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, where Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge performed a stirring concert tribute to the late David Bowie. The accessory, which Jorge himself wore, along with a pale blue shirt and pants, was a...

  • Garth Brooks' aim is off on the too-safe 'Gunslinger'

    Garth Brooks' aim is off on the too-safe 'Gunslinger'

    Surely, the machine wasn’t supposed to win. When Garth Brooks returned to record-making in 2014, the country superstar made it clear his decade away hadn’t dulled his famous nonconformist streak. “Man Against Machine,” he called his big comeback album, and the record showcased a unique talent —...

  • With topical 'Darkness and Light,' John Legend wants to 'contribute to the conversation'

    With topical 'Darkness and Light,' John Legend wants to 'contribute to the conversation'

    John Legend knows there are two ways people think about him. To many, he’s the smooth-talking pop star famous for his big voice and polished love songs, the dapper family man who peppers Instagram with photos of his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, and their 7-month-old daughter. “And then there’s the...

  • James Corden will replace LL Cool J as host of the 59th Grammy Awards

    James Corden will replace LL Cool J as host of the 59th Grammy Awards

    CBS has announced its host for the 59th Grammy Awards, and for the first time in five years it’s not LL Cool J. Instead, James Corden, “The Late, Late Show” host and star of the wildly successful “Carpool Karaoke” videos, will lead music’s biggest award ceremony when it airs on Feb. 12, 2017. The...

  • Los Angeles music writer, proto-punker and sharp dresser Don Waller has died

    Los Angeles music writer, proto-punker and sharp dresser Don Waller has died

    When music writer Don Waller, who died Thursday at age 65, had an issue with an artist, he didn't pull his punches. More important, when he loved something, he usually had something to say about it —  and used his pen to shout it to the world. Whether as singer of Los Angeles proto-punk band the...

  • Green Day gets political at the AMAs: 'No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.'

    Green Day gets political at the AMAs: 'No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.'

    Green Day is at its best when a widely divisive president ascends to power. That was true in 2004 for “American Idiot,” and it’s maybe even more true in 2016 for “Revolution Radio.” At Sunday’s American Music Awards, where Green Day played the double-time barnstormer “Bang Bang,” the band had the...

  • American Music Awards try to bring pop levity in a stressful time

    American Music Awards try to bring pop levity in a stressful time

    In 2016, even a group as resolutely upbeat as Fifth Harmony felt a need to perform atop a flaming pile of apocalyptic wreckage at the American Music Awards on Sunday. The group’s members trampled over a rubble-strewn, fire-spitting stage as they performed “That’s My Girl” — an apropos setup for...

  • Kanye West cancels Forum show at last minute

    Kanye West cancels Forum show at last minute

    Just days after pledging allegiance to President-elect Donald Trump — and hours after cutting short a concert in Sacramento — Kanye West has called off his L.A. date tonight at The Forum.  The Sunday concert was canceled about three hours before showtime. No statement from West’s label or the tour’s...

  • Sharon Jones was an old soul in a changing world

    Sharon Jones was an old soul in a changing world

    Sharon Jones symbolized endurance. The endurance of an old-fashioned style as music changed around it. The endurance of ambition despite the record industry’s neglect. And the endurance of a body that withstood disease until Friday, when Jones died of pancreatic cancer at age 60. Described by a...

  • Kanye West ends Sacramento show after three songs and a tirade against Jay Z and Beyoncé

    Kanye West ends Sacramento show after three songs and a tirade against Jay Z and Beyoncé

    Kanye West is being Kanye West… again. He ended his Saturday night show with a mic drop after performing only three songs and going on a rant about Beyoncé and Jay Z.  As expected, fans are demanding refunds. According to reports and video posted on social media, West showed up an hour and 30 minutes...

  • Soul singer Sharon Jones, whose work with the Dap Kings sparked a renaissance, has died

    Soul singer Sharon Jones, whose work with the Dap Kings sparked a renaissance, has died

    Sharon Jones, the incendiary soul singer who was propelled to stardom at an age when most musicians had either hit the big time or accepted the club circuit, has died. The artist’s albums with her backing band the Dap-Kings paved the way for a soul renaissance that influenced singers including...

  • Sharon Jones, big-voiced Dap-Kings soul singer, dies at 60

    Sharon Jones, big-voiced Dap-Kings soul singer, dies at 60

    Sharon Jones, a big-voiced soul singer who performed with high energy onstage, has died in New York after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 60. Jones died Friday at a Cooperstown hospital surrounded by her band, the Dap-Kings, her representative Judy Miller Silverman said. “Thank you for your...

  • 'Hallelujah' singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died in his sleep, his manager says

    'Hallelujah' singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died in his sleep, his manager says

    Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died in his sleep in his home after he’d fallen during the night, his manager said. In a statement posted to cohencentric.com, Cohen’s manager and RK Management President Robert Kory addressed the singer’s death: “Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall...

  • On '57th & 9th,' Sting urgently shares what's on his mind

    On '57th & 9th,' Sting urgently shares what's on his mind

    In 2013, Sting sat for an hour or so interview in a small dressing room at what was then Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.” The veteran English musician was in town talking up “The Last Ship,” an album of songs from a musical he’d composed that was headed to Broadway, and in the course of the conversation...

  • Prince's estate sues Tidal over the streaming rights to his music

    Prince's estate sues Tidal over the streaming rights to his music

    When Tidal landed exclusive streaming rights to Prince’s music in 2015, it was seen as a coup for the fledgling service. Prince, a notorious music business skeptic, seemed to believe in Tidal’s artist-centric mission and streamed his Baltimore “Rally 4 Peace” on the platform. But now Prince’s catalog might...

  • BET sends Obama off in style with star-studded concert

    BET sends Obama off in style with star-studded concert

    With President Obama’s admirers now looking on his departure with an extra jolt of nostalgia, BET did its best to send him off in style. On Tuesday night, the network aired a tribute concert from the White House lawn. “BET Presents: Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration” honored the nation’s first...

  • Haim returns to the Fonda Theatre — this time with paparazzi in tow

    Haim returns to the Fonda Theatre — this time with paparazzi in tow

    When Haim played the Fonda Theatre in October 2013, I don’t recall seeing paparazzi stationed outside. But they were there Tuesday night for Haim’s return to the venue, a clear sign of how much things have changed for this Los Angeles-based sister trio since its debut album came out three years...

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