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It Was 50 Years Ago Today: The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
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The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the seminal and legendary album by The Beatles, which not only seemed to crystallize the band, but also the entire sensibilities of the youth of the globe during the mid to late 1960s, celebrates its 50th anniversary today.

Released in America on June 2nd, 1967, and a week or so earlier in the band’s native UK, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has become such a recognizable force in pop cultural history, it’s almost like a brand, a headquarters where so many musical and cultural influences spawned. From its rich and vibrantly complex yet totally welcoming cover to the same adjectives applied to the wide range and scope of music, which almost acts as a primer for every single style of music up to that point in musical history (pop, cabaret, vaudeville, psychedelia, straightforward rock) and even acting as a blueprint to just the around the corner genres that followed (like progressive and even acid rock), Sgt. Pepper is a true artifact of a time long gone and yet still acts as a straight arrow pulse right in contemporary society, whether it’s for novelty’s sake or reality’s sake.

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Legendary Comedian Don Rickles Has Passed Away At 90
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Comedian Don Rickles

One of the greatest American funnymen of all time has sadly passed away. Don Rickles, who perfected the art of being the insult comic and spanned generations with his biting yet always loving acerbic quick wit and banter, died today at his home in Los Angeles, CA, of kidney failure. He was 90. He had been battling ill health the last couple of decades, but had retained his razor-sharp mind to the very end.

For my money, he was the funniest man alive. Known sarcastically as “Mr. Warmth,” the Queens, New York native had such a talent and gift for making one laugh, many times even belly laugh, with his quickness. He wasn’t like Groucho Marx or Jack Benny in the sense of the one-liners, but he stood toe-to-toe with them and so many other comedic luminaries in that he was able to rib all of them and scores of Hollywood celebrities, in a manner which exposed a frailty or a kind of tabloid urban legend that had been foisted upon them and then exploiting that foible. Genius examples would be how he would make fun of Dean Martin’s drinking, the ethnicity of people like Desi Arnaz or Ricardo Montalban, or the color of the skin of people like Denzel Washington or Cesar Romero, not in direct terms, but playing on and then hilariously skewering the cliché and the stereotype of it, as politically incorrect as that may seem in today’s ultra-sensitive world.

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The Epic Masterpiece ‘The Godfather’ Celebrates Its 45th Anniversary
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the-godfather-1

The Godfather, which is not only one of the greatest mob movies ever made but also one of the greatest American films ever made regardless of genre, celebrates its 45th anniversary this week.

Premiering only in New York City on March 15, 1972 and then opening nationwide on March 24th, 1972, The Godfather remains a true bonafide classic in every sense of the word. The film’s rich storytelling, which is based on the original story by famed literary scribe Mario Puzo, almost borderlines on pulp fiction, yet is raised to a level of fine art by the surefooted and sharp and watchful eye of director and mastermind Francis Ford Coppola. Add to that the cinematography by Gordon Willis, which put blacks and whites and shades into a pioneering new light; the memorable, sweeping music, led by the iconic theme song; the acting by an ensemble cast led by Marlon Brando and supported by actors who wound up becoming legends in their own right, The Godfather is many things to many people and a masterpiece of a film to all.

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Rock and Roll Titan and Pioneer Chuck Berry Has Died
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Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry, the unfounded absolute legend and major crafter of much of the archetypical sounds and styles of the genesis of rock and roll, was found dead today in St. Charles, MO. He was 90.

Without question, the superlatives that have been foisted upon Berry ever since he exploded onto the scene in the early 1950s have never been placed incorrectly. It’s a simple equation: Without Chuck Berry, there wouldn’t be rock and roll, period. He made a blueprint (born from his love of players like T-Bone Walker and the like who came before him) that plays out like a true blue American songbook of the rock and roll idiom. Those songs are as well known as any other in any genre in any sound any human being has ever made, and the influence has stretched long and wide, influencing a chain link of titans of the rock genre who followed, like John Lennon, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, the list goes on and on endlessly.

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Asia Frontman and Co-founder John Wetton Has Died
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John Wetton Asia

John Wetton, bassist and singer for bands such as King Crimson and Asia, died in his sleep on January 31, 2017 after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 67.

The British-born Wetton remains best known for his achievements within the progressive rock circles, notably with his stint in the 1970s in the second incarnation of King Crimson, the adventurously complex yet searing and grooving hard rock ensemble. During Wetton’s tenure, the band produced such classic offerings as Lark’s Tongue in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and especially Red, in which the trio of guitarist Robert Fripp, ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford, and the muscular, soaring vocals and heavy yet perfect bottom end of Wetton took the group to untold heights, especially on mesmerizing tracks such as the gripping “One More Red Nightmare” and the haunting magnum opus “Starless.”

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Legendary Television Star Mary Tyler Moore Has Died
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Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore, one of most iconic and legendary entertainment figures in television history, who was a key part in two of the most successful TV sitcoms of all time (The Dick Van Dyke Show and her own self titled program), has died at the age of 80.

Without question, the death of Mary Tyler Moore is as large as the death of any key figures who has passed on in the entire television landscape. There were so many instantly recognizable and charming things about her: she was bright, witty, and sing songy in the best possible way.

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In Memoriam 2016: Remembering Those We Lost In Entertainment
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In Memoriam 2016

In Memoriam 2016: Film, Television, Music, Sports, Literature, the Arts…

With 2017 upon us, let’s take one final look back at the luminaries and personalities of the entertainment world who left us in 2016, during a year that seemed more turbulent and taxing than any other in recent memory.

Challenges in the past and challenges ahead, it’s a tough time to live in the world right now with so many changes like a whirling dervish to the senses. While there is much sadness in recognizing and accepting the passing of so many great figures in 2016, it’s the endearing, endless, never-ending fanbase and legacy that will keep each and every one of these names mentioned here (and some are of only cult status, but still enjoy a rabid passionate following as equal as any global figure) alive and well in the consciousness and beyond. In no particular order and apologies in advance if some of your favorites were left off. This was a huge list to go through and what was more painful than compiling this list was the fact that these incredibly talented people are all no longer with us.

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Book Review: Art Of Atari
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Art of Atari review

Art of Atari
Hardcover | Kindle
Written by Tim Lapetino
Foreword by Ernest Cline
Afterword by Robert V. Conte
Dynamite Entertainment
Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Art of Atari, a lavish book which covers all things visually historic and celebratory regarding the storied, pioneering video game company, is out in bookstores now, and without question, if there ever was a must-have book for the video game zealot, the pop culture maven, or the scores of gamers in between, this is it.

Absolutely essential from cover to cover and irresistible in its one-two dazzling punch with its presentment of facts and a literal overstuffed yet 100 percent effective usage of photos containing pretty much every single facet of the company’s output that required some sort of art, Art of Atari leaves no stone un-turned, not even the most minute pebble. From the packaging of the boxes for its line of 2600 VCS games to the sides and front of its successful and now almost legendary line of arcade coin-op games, and advertisements that stretched from stark simple white background designs with a spectrum of colorful game boxes to the most rebel rousing and sensory lifting art of the highest caliber, it’s all showcased this hardcover tome, and then some.

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‘Network’ 40 Years Later: Why We Are Still Mad As Hell
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Network movie box art banner

Network, the 1976 powerhouse of a motion picture, in which its statements on national and world politics, Hollywood, the television industry, and the human population in general resonate more relevant in today’s age than ever before, celebrates its 40th anniversary this week.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, with an Academy Award-winning screenplay written by the genius small and big screen writer Paddy Chayefsky, Network, originally released on November 27th, 1976, doesn’t pull any punches whatsoever, in terms of its script, narrative, themes and especially its performances. Faye Dunaway leads an ensemble group of Hollywood’s finest, including William Holden, Ned Beatty, and Robert Duvall, all of whom explode across the screen while naturally spouting dialogue of the highest intellectual and emotional order.

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Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2016: Music
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Holiday Music Gift Guide 2016

Just like that, it’s that time again, where the holiday season is upon us and the mad scrambles down store aisles to find just the right gifts for friends and loved ones commences. It’s a yearly ritual that always seems to come sooner than later. It’s also a sign that the year is coming to a close, and of course there’s no question that 2016 will remain in memory and history as one of the most turbulent, challenging, and painful times ever seen. It is for that reason that the holiday time should hold even extra special positive emotional weight, as community and solidarity run high among people during this time, acting as sort of metaphoric concrete that fills in the gaps that division among many created. And music too, is an eternal, external, and ultimately internal healing agent for the soul, regardless if times are happy or sad, joyous or maudlin. Music also reflects those aforementioned emotions and more. Here’s some of the best released this past year that will for sure excite even the most hardened by the whirlwind of the times and warm someone’s soul like kindling a hearth on the coldest December nights.

Check out our 2016 Holiday Geek Gift Guide for Music

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