Pharrell Williams sat down to talk with L.A. Times entertainment writer Mikael Wood today about his Oscar-nominated original song “Happy,” his performance with Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder at the Grammys and more.
He also answered questions from viewers. Williams said he is a big fan of the homemade lip-sync versions of “Happy” that are a You Tube sensation: “They’ve been amazing. What better way to spread that sentiment than for people to take the song on and make it their own.”
Times readers are sharing their memories of Beatlemania ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s first performance on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” Feb. 9, 1964.
Are you still hoarse from all that screaming? Tell us.
Photo: A Los Angeles Beatles fan in 1964. This photo ran in The Times on Aug. 24, 1964. Credit: Los Angeles Times / UCLA Library
And since almost everyone has a favorite Beatles song, reblog with yours!
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Complete with the mandatory flurry of California references. A big hats-off to comedian Jon Daly, who put the parody together ahead of the band’s appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show this weekend.
Folk musician, activist Pete Seeger has passed away at age 94
"At some point, Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history," Bruce Springsteen said at a Madison Square Garden concert marking Seeger’s 90th birthday in 2009. “He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament to the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends.”
Above is Seeger performing the classic “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore.” For our full obituary, head here.
Recapping last night’s Grammy Awards
Daft Punk, Macklemore and Lorde were last night’s top Grammy winners, taking home a bundle of awards for their releases last year, though fans were riled up by those who didn’t receive an award, most notably Kendrick Lamar for his breakout “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.”
But the much-maligned award show at least put on a series of solid performances last night, as noted by reporter Mikael Wood:
The Grammy Awards, in keeping with long-established tradition, were in many ways a disaster for music fans who depend on trophies to reflect artistic quality. But “The 56th Grammy Awards,” which aired Sunday night on CBS? That show wasn’t half-bad.
Read more on last night’s awards over at Pop & Hiss.
Photos: Matt Sayles / Associated Press, Kevork Djansezian / AFP/Getty Images, Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Justin Bieber: Alleged drag racer, drunk driver, occasional singer
With an admission of smoking marijuana to boot. The pop star was arrested in Miami Beach and charged with driving under the influence and resisting arrest after a drag racing incident in a suburban neighborhood.
All of this follows his bizarre alleged Los Angeles egg vandalism, which resulted in police discovering drugs in his Calabasas home.
Photo: Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department
A not-so-beloved Bob Dylan
Dylan’s always been deemed a musical hero by many for his groundbreaking songs, but critics weren’t exactly kind during his 1978 tour that brought him to the Inglewood Forum:
Dylan, the most stimulating American songwriter of the rock era, has been ripped repeatedly by critics during a U.S. tour that began last summer at the Universal Amphitheater.
Disturbed both by the singer’s looser stage manner and his sometimes drastically revised arrangements, reviewers have accused the ’60s folk-rock legend of trying desperately to catch up with the ’70s by polishing up his act.
And, it’s true: Dylan has changed. This Forum show was far from the urgency and drive of his 1974 appearances at the same arena with the Band…
Check out the rest of our former pop music critic Robert Hilburn’s write-up from the show over at Framework.
Photo: George Rose / Los Angeles Times Archive
If you were lucky enough to get tickets of your own, or if you’re still trying to find a way to see a reunited OutKast, we have a few early tips on who to keep an eye out for.
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YOUR TOP ALBUMS OF 2013
Our monkeys worked long hours through the weekend to tally your votes, and the results show that Beyoncé’s album came out just in time. Here are the top 50 albums of 2013, as selected by you.
1. Arctic Monkeys – AM
2. Beyoncé – Beyoncé
3. Lorde – Pure Heroine
4. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
5. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock & Roll
6. HAIM – Days Are Gone
7. One Direction – Midnight Memories
8. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
9. Paramore – Paramore
10. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
11. Kanye West – Yeezus
12. Lady Gaga – Artpop
13. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
14. Drake – Nothing Was The Same
15. Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
16. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
17. Disclosure – Settle
18. Tyler, The Creator – Wolf
19. Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
20. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
21. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
22. Foals – Holy Fire
23. Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob
24. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
25. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
26. A$AP Rocky – LONG.LIVE.A$AP
27. The Story So Far – What You Don’t See
28. Jay-Z – Magna Carta…Holy Grail
29. J. Cole – Born Sinner
30. The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation
31. Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady
32. James Blake – Retrograde
33. Local Natives – Hummingbird
34. Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle
35. Charli XCX – True Romance
36. The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
37. The Lone Bellow – The Lone Bellow
38. Atoms For Peace – Amok
39. Bob Dylan – Another self portrait
40. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
41. Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe
42. Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines
43. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
44. Deafheaven – Sunbather
45. CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe
46. Panic! At The Disco - Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die
47. Savages – Silence Yourself
48. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
49. Peace – In Love
50. Major Lazer – Free the Universe
We were a bit more fond of Kanye, Chance the Rapper and Savages, but who are we to argue with Tumblr’s collective opinion?
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2014’s stars in the making
With the new year just beginning, we thought you may want to get an early jump on some of the filmmakers, performers and creators who could be grabbing headlines later this year.
Gia Coppola’s continuation of her family’s Hollywood legacy, Zara McFarlane’s reaffirmation of jazz’s vitality and the husband-and-wife team pushing the boundaries of what counts as a video game are just a glimpse of who may make it big this year.
And yes, while “Welcome to Night Vale,” is no stranger to Tumblr, we wouldn’t be surprised if the podcast’s creative team sees even greater success in months to come.
So want to see who else made the list, or think we may have left someone off? Head over to our full listing right here.
Photos: Brownswood Recordings, Rick Madonik / Toronto Star via Getty Images, Anton Nickel, Media Greenhouse
New Beyonce album appears out of the blue
Out of nowhere, pop superstar Beyonce has announced the release of a new album, a self-titled collection of 14 songs and 17 music videos currently only available on iTunes. But you can see the videos over at her YouTube channel here.
Read more on the release over at Pop & Hiss.
B-girls: The women of hip hop
Photographer Cheryl A. Guerrero documents how she came to document b-girls, whose devotion to hip hop is overshadowed only by their dance moves:
When I arrived in Southern California, I decided to do portraiture. It had been very challenging working in the break scene, especially with the b-boys. Many subjects assumed I wanted a relationship with them when I contacted them to arrange to shoot a portrait or ask to document their practice sessions or battles.
So I began shooting portraits of b-girls instead. Stella, a b-girl who moved to the Los Angeles area from Florida, and Crissy, a b-girl from Los Angeles, connected me to the local breaking scene. The girls were easier to work with than the b-boys and were more excited to take part in my project.
Photos: Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times
Former Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn on Lou Reed, who died today at 71:
"He was one of the boldest and most liberated rock ‘n’ roll songwriters ever. There was a real literary edge to his work. He took on subjects that were off-limits at the time. He talked about heroin and illicit sex at a time when the music industry didn’t want to hear it — critics loved him, but it took him years and years to find an audience."
Here’s Hilburn’s 1992 interview with Reed.
Times file photo: Lou Reed at the Wiltern Theatre in 1996.