Plus, news about Elton John, Dave Matthews, Gwen Stefani, Coldplay, Jack Nicholson, Quincy Jones, Tom Cruise, Yasmine Bleeth, and others
SOUND BITES George Harrison had recorded 25 tracks for a final album at the time of his death last week, Britain’s Sunday Times reports. The record had a working title, ”Portrait of a Leg End,” a typically dry Harrison pun on his ex-Beatle status. Some tracks were new, while others dated back to the 1980s. Session drummer Jim Keltner, who had played with Harrison for 30 years, told the Sunday Times, ”It was fantastic to be in the studio with him again. Some of the new songs are very poignant concerning his life in the past few years. It will be obvious when you hear them what they are about.” Keltner said that the CD, recorded at Harrison’s home studio, was spare but nearly finished. ”There will be people who argue that it is underproduced and maybe there should be more on it. Knowing George, I have a feeling he would rather it be as simple and as direct as possible.”
Keltner said he saw Harrison in Los Angeles four days before the guitarist died at age 58. ”I last saw him on Sunday night. It was a great gift to us that he was so beautiful. He looked fantastic. He looked like a prince. He didn’t look like a person suffering from cancer. His skin was shining and he was smiling.”
Harrison’s widow Olivia and son Dhani have issued a statement thanking the fans who have gathered at vigils across the globe. ”We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and compassion from people around the world. The profound beauty of the moment of George’s passing — of his awakening from this dream — was no surprise to those of us who knew how he longed to be with God. In that pursuit, he was relentless.”
In accordance with his Hindu faith, the Harrisons will fly to India today to immerse the ashes of the guitarist, who has been cremated in a cardboard coffin, in the Ganges River, near the holy cities of Varanasi and Allahabad. They have invited fans worldwide to meditate for one minute, ”in honor of George’s journey,” during the scattering ceremony, which family friend Gavin de Becker said would take place this afternoon at 4:30 ET….
Elton John remembered Harrison at a concert in Manchester, N.H., Friday night, playing ”Your Song,” in his memory. He recalled that, when his debut album ”Elton John” hit No. 18 on the charts 30 years ago, Harrison sent him a congratulatory telegram, which John called ”a mind-blowing gesture.” John also dropped the shocker that his new ”Songs from the West Coast” album will be his last. ”I’m fed up with it. I like playing to you guys but I hate the record industry,” John said. ”I’ve made 40 albums and its about time for me to get out.”
TROPHY TIME Performers at last night’s ”My VH1 Awards” paid tribute to Harrison. Dave Matthews Band won four of the viewer-chosen awards, including the ”Must Have Album” award for ”Everyday,” beating the Beatles‘ ”1.” Said Matthews, ”I feel a little bit ridiculous. I’ve been listening to that ‘No. 1’ album by The Beatles and it kicks the crap out of our album, but it’s still kind of you to vote [for ‘Everyday’].” DMB also won awards for favorite group, favorite song (”The Space Between”), and best fan website. Bon Jovi won the ”Hottest Live Show” award, and Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora showed their live chops with by performing Harrison’s ”Here Comes The Sun” to open the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. Other multiple winners included Gwen Stefani, recognized as favorite female musician and best collaboration (”What’s Going On,” with Bono, Mary J. Blige, et. al.). Echoing Matthews, she told the crowd, ”I can’t believe you guys would vote for me. That’s insane.” Coldplay were paid the dubious compliments of the ”Best Kept Secret” award and ”Big In Japan” award. A full list of winners is available at www.vh1.com