Pop & Hiss
The L.A. Times music blog
Whitney Houston live album set for release on Nov. 10

Whitney Houston’s first live album will arrive this fall.

More than two years after her tragic death, longtime mentor and producer Clive Davis is prepping a live retrospective of the singer. “Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances” will be issued through Legacy Records on Nov. 10, Davis announced during an appearance on “The Today Show” on Tuesday.

The CD/DVD will be pieced from numerous performances, not just one particular concert as live releases traditionally are.

"Stemming from the '80s and '90s, she, without question, was the greatest vocalist in the world. I want history to know that," Davis said. “Whitney in the last two or three years of her life was not in the best voice … This CD/DVD will establish that there was no one like her. It's a phenomenal album."

Davis said he wanted the singer to record a live album but Houston opted to dedicate a chunk of time to her film career, which included her breakout role in 1992’s “The Bodyguard.”

Posthumous Houston releases have...

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Roc Nation pulled Rihanna from 'Thursday Night Football,' not CBS

Roc Nation was behind the recent decision to cut Rihanna’s “Thursday Night Football” opening segment for this week, and not CBS, according to the singer's label.

"Due to the misuse and misrepresentation of Rihanna's name and participation in connection to CBS' ‘Thursday Night Football,’ CBS was not allowed to license and utilize the song 'Run This Town.' Roc Nation made the decision to not grant the song’s usage," her label said in a statement on Tuesday.

Rihanna took to Twitter Tuesday to blast CBS for pulling her segment ahead of last week’s season opener of “Thursday Night Football” amid the ongoing controversy over an additional video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice brutally assaulting his then-fiancee in an elevator.

“CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday?,” she tweeted to more than 37 million followers. “Y'all are sad for penalizing me for this.” She also had some choice words for the network, but we can’t repeat them here.

Hours after...

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Jesse Winchester's 'A Reasonable Amount of Trouble' an affirming epitaph

It’s no mere coincidence that the opening track on the final album from singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, who died in April from bladder cancer, is a characteristically disarming song called “All That We Have Is Now.”

And it would be a disservice for anyone unfamiliar with Winchester’s exceedingly graceful and erudite body of work to think this was a latter-day awakening to the reality of mortality borne of his health issues in recent years, which also included a bout with esophageal cancer, from which he recovered.

“All That We Have Is Now” is framed as a too-short day in the park with a loved one, but it becomes the most elegantly concise, sweetly generous epitaph imaginable to a life well-lived:

My my look at the time fly
Sorry I really have to run
I just love being with you
The whole thing’s been such fun

Winchester also contributes guileless love songs (“Don’t Be Shy”), wry exhortations of his insistence on engaging with life (“Never Forget to Boogie”) and melancholy odes to the...

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Eminem 'Lose Yourself' publisher sues New Zealand political party

The music publisher of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" is suing a New Zealand political party for alleged unauthorized use of the Detroit rapper's Oscar- and Grammy-winning song during the run-up to a national election in the country.

New Zealand’s National Party used the song in its efforts supporting the reelection of Prime Minister John Key, but the publisher, Eight Mile Style, said permission was never granted for that use.

The U.K. Guardian quoted publishing company representative Joel Martin stating that “it is both disappointing and sadly ironic that the political party responsible for championing the rights of music publishers in New Zealand by the introduction of the three strikes copyright reforms should itself have so little regard for copyright.”

A spokesman for Eminem's U.S. label said Tuesday that "While he opposes the unauthorized use of his music, in this instance the infringement claim in question was initiated by the publisher of his early song catalog, not by Eminem himself...

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Slash, Mia Doi Todd and the Juan MacClean drop new albums

A weekly look at newly released albums.

Mia Doi Todd

Floresta (City Zen Records)

This mistress of the canyon chilllwaves has brought her light and loose touch to a set of Brazilian songs on her latest, “Floresta,” Portuguese for “forest.” Working with a crew of Brazilian players, including Los Angeles-based guitarist Fabiano De Nascimento, Todd revisits such classics as Tom Jobim’s “Chovendo Na Roseira” and the traditional “Ewe,” as well as golden-era Tropicalia from Tom Ze and Caetano Veloso. Check out the making-of video, shot by Dublab, here.


World on Fire (Dik Hayd International)

The best curly mop in metal is back with his third solo album, released on his own Dik Hayd imprint (interesting name there, Slash). Handling vocal duties in front of Slash’s ax work is Myles Kennedy, the octave-crushing singer from Alter Bridge. The first single, “World on Fire,” leans too heavily on Kennedy’s studied yowl but in the middle of the mania is Slash’s flashy fingerwork. As for the video...

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Chris Brown plays it both ways on long-delayed new album, 'X'

Five years after Chris Brown’s 2009 assault on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, the R&B star continues to exercise some remarkably dubious judgment in his music.

“I’ll calculate a home invasion,” he sings in “Add Me In,” a track from his new album; later, in a duet with Trey Songz, Brown promises to show a woman “what it means to be a victim of love.” That the duet is called “Songs on 12 Play,” a nod to R. Kelly’s album, hardly helps.

Listening to these tunes (and many others on “X”), you start to wonder if Brown, who was released from jail in June after serving part of a one-year sentence for violating his probation, might somehow have escaped a real awareness of his public persona -- if it honestly never occurred to him that a victim of love sounds like a horrifying thing to be in a Chris Brown song.

But then how to account for the ominous title track, in which he broods over his bad reputation before growling, “I swear to God I’m moving on”?

What makes the clumsy way Brown handles...

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All-star Sept. 28 George Harrison benefit moves to Fonda Theatre

An all-star tribute to the music of George Harrison scheduled for Sept. 28 has sold out and will move from the original site at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles to the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, event organizers announced Monday.

The move will allow 400 more tickets to be sold to the event, which is slated to feature performances by Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, Heart’s Ann Wilson, Flaming Lips members Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Harrison’s son Dhani Harrison, Ben Harper and others.

The show is dubbed George Fest and benefits the musicians' charity Sweet Relief through involvement of the Jameson Neighborhood Fund, which has organized other fests celebrating the music of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and other rock figures in various cities.

Other acts on the bill for George Fest include Cold War Kids, Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Butch Walker, Ian Astbury, The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, Karen Elson, Jamestown Revival and other “special guests.” The ensemble has been dubbed “The Cabin...

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New Yusuf album, first North American tour in 35 years on tap

Yusuf, the singer and songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, will undertake his first North American tour in 35 years in conjunction with the release of a new album, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone,” on Oct. 27.

The North American tour, which follows a run of eight shows in Europe in November, opens Dec. 1 at Toronto’s Massey Hall and wraps on Dec. 14 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

The new album, his first studio collection in five years, combines five new songs written by Yusuf with five older songs reflecting his interest in American blues and R&B music, among them Luther Dixon and Al Smith’s “Big Boss Man,” Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell’s “You Are My Sunshine” and Edgar Winter’s “Dying to Live.”

“Tell ‘Em I’m Gone” is produced by Yusuf and Rick Rubin and is the first release under his new contract with Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings. The album includes guest appearances by Richard Thompson, blues musician Charlie Musselwhite, singer-songwriter Bonnie Prince Billy, Tuareg group...

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Robin Thicke on 'Blurred Lines': 'I was high on Vicodin and alcohol'

Robin Thicke claims he was a little blurry himself during the recording of the hit single "Blurred Lines," according to a new deposition from the singer.

Thicke's comments surfaced Monday as part of a lawsuit between the writers of the summer-dominating 2013 single (which also featured Pharrell Williams and T.I.) and the estate of Marvin Gaye, whose 1977 song "Got To Give It Up" bears more than a passing resemblance to "Blurred Lines" and was an acknowledged inspiration for it.

According to Thicke's deposition (first given in April and excerpted in a federal court filing Monday after a judge ruled that it should be unsealed), Thicke was intoxicated at the time of the recording, and admitted he actually had very little to do with the song besides performing its lead vocal.  

"To be honest, that's the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio," Thicke said. "So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more...

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U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 -- 26 times

U2’s invasion of iTunes libraries with the group’s new album “Songs of Innocence” may not have put the Irish band back on top of the sales chart, but that doesn’t mean the impact of last week’s stunt can’t be seen.

In the wake of the free—and uninvited—distribution of the album to 500 million iTunes shoppers and iPhone users on Tuesday, music fans have been hungrily revisiting the group’s catalog, and as of Monday, 11 of its albums were back in the iTunes’ top albums rankings.

And that’s almost a week later. Within two days, 17 albums had returned to the digital store's Top 100. At the peak, 26 U2 collections were on the chart. None of the group’s albums were in the Top 100 one day before Apple’s latest product and content unveiling in Cupertino, Calif.

The favorite?

“Joshua Tree (Remastered),” which as of Monday was still in the Top 20, at No. 19, followed by “U218 Singles” at No. 32, “Achtung Baby (Remastered)” (No. 41), “U218 Singles (Deluxe)” (No. 42) and “War (Remastered)” (No....

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Amy Winehouse sculpture unveiled in London

Friends, family and fans of the late Amy Winehouse gathered in the Camden neighborhood of London on Sunday to celebrate the unveiling of her life-sized bronze sculpture.

The "Rehab" artist died in 2011 at age 27 from alcohol poisoning. Sunday would have been her 31st birthday. 

The piece was commissioned by Winehouse's father, Mitch. "Amy statue unveiling 11 a.m. sharp ... come and join us," he tweeted on Sunday. 

The statue is located in the Stables Market in London, which Winehouse called home for many years. 

"I hope [it] is a fitting tribute from a father to his daughter," wrote artist Scott Eaton on his website. "I have immense respect for Amy as an artist and wish she was still making music."

Eaton's statue shows Winehouse sporting one of her signature looks: A red rose in her beehive hairdo and a Star of David necklace. 

The artist posted a photo of a crowd of people snapping photos of the statue in Camden.

Fans also took to social media to post their reactions to the statue,...

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Joe Sample dies at 75; influential jazz-funk pianist

Influential keyboardist Joe Sample, who helped push the boundaries of jazz and funk as a member of the Jazz Crusaders, died Friday in Houston. He was 75.

Sample's career with the Jazz Crusaders began as a hard bop group in Texas in the late '50s before the group migrated to the West Coast, releasing a string of hit albums that began in 1961 with "Freedom Sound." Teamed with saxophonist Wilton Felder, drummer Nesbert "Stix" Hooper and trombonist Wayne Henderson (who died this year), Sample helped lead the group toward mainstream success with a blend of jazz, funk and R&B, a sound that eventually led to the group dropping  "jazz" from their name in 1971 and becoming the Crusaders.

Some of Sample's hits with the Crusaders include "Soul Shadows," "Put It Where You Want It," and 1979's "Street Life" (with vocals by Randy Crawford) before the group broke up in 1987. Sample went on to a successful solo career that also yielded high-profile collaborations on recordings with Marvin Gaye, ...

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