by Mike Breen
Huey Lewis vs. Ghostbusters and happy 35th birthday Kanye West
On this date in 1984, the comedy motion picture Ghostbusters opened. It would go on to be ranked on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest film comedies ever at No. 28 (though they did rank Tootsie No. 2, so … grain of salt). Besides doing boffo numbers at the box office ($238.6 million, which is like double that in today's dollars), the movie also gave us that unforgettable (for better or worse) theme song by Ray Parker Jr. (the rest of the soundtrack included such icons as Thompson Twins and Air Supply). Like the film, the single was a hit upon its release and caught the attention of Huey Lewis — and every other person on the planet who had heard his 1983 hit with The News, "I Want a New Drug." The song features the same rhythm, similar vocal inflections and melody and, most glaringly, a practically identical bass line, so Lewis' answer to Parker Jr.'s "Who you gonna call?" was "My lawyer!" To make matters worse, Lewis (as well as Lindsey Buckingham) had reportedly been approached to write the theme song to Ghostbusters, but was too busy with Back to the Future soundtracking. It took a while, but in 1995, an "amicable" settlement was reached.One of the stipulations of the settlement was that neither party could discuss it (or the case) with anyone (especially the public). But in 2001, Lewis talked about the controversy and lawsuit in his Behind the Music special on VH1. Lewis said, "The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that … wanted our wave, and they wanted to buy it. (It's) not for sale. ... In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because, basically, they bought it."So Parker sued Lewis in 2001 for talking about the case. He claimed that the agreement they had reached was "directly related to (Ray's) comfort, happiness and welfare" and that Huey's statement caused him emotional distress. I can't find info on whatever happened in that case, but it seems logical to assume another settlement was reached. And this time, so far, everyone's kept their mouth shut.What do you think? I think they both could have been sued by British Synth Pop project M, whose biggest hit, "Pop Muzik," also sounds similar … and came out in 1979! Maybe this legal kerfuffle can stretch into a fourth decade. Check all three out below and you be the judge.Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a June 8 birthday include daughter of Frank and artist in her own right, Nancy Sinatra (1940); one of the founding members of Parliament/Funkadelic, Fuzzy Haskins (1941); one of the vocalists for rockers Three Dog Night, Chuck Negron (1942); Ohio native and ’70s hitmaker Boz Scaggs (1944); the singer who made the blissfully craptastic video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" possible, Bonnie Tyler (1951); Bluegrass (and beyond) guitar great Tony Rice (1951); influential guitarist (with Black Flag) and label operator (with SST Records) Greg Ginn (1954); Rod Stewart fill-in and Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall (1960); keyboardist for New Romantic superstars Duran Duran, Nick Rhodes (1962); guitarist and founder of The Derek Truck Band (duh), member of The Allman Brothers Band and co-founder of the Tedeschi Trucks Band (with wife Susan Tedeschi), Derek Trucks (1979); fiddler known for her solo work and her time with the group Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins (1981); and Hip Hop musical genius (yes, just because he knows it, too, doesn't mean he isn't one) Kanye West (1977). As a happy 35th birthday present, we offer something we know West will appreciate — free publicity (and calling him a genius — that counts as part of the gift, too!). In return, I expect a pair of Air Yeezy II sneakers for MY birthday. Here's "Mercy," West's latest video (another thing he is especially good at making) for his track with 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Pusha-T. (It says "explicit," but just for a couple of salty words here and there; mildly NSFW. I guess. I mean, I don't know where you work.)
by Mike Breen
Just like this weekend, there are a lot of solid live music options around the area tonight. If the spring-fever bug hits you once the temps make it to 60 (that's when my shirt comes off and I start cranking the AC) and you want to get out of the house, you can hit the 20th Century Theater in Oakley to see a modern guitar hero. Though he sings (with a voice he describes as similar to "geese farts on a muggy day"), Leo Kottke is world-renowned for his unique "fingerpicking" style of acoustic guitar playing. In concert, Kottke's dazzling, instinctive guitar work (masterful despite Kottke having to overcome hearing loss and tendon damage in his hand) is coupled with his trademark between-song banter, as Kottke relays tales both weird and hilarious. Brian Baker writes about his confusion upon first seeing Kottke perform (he had to move closer to make sure the guitarist "didn’t have a third arm, nine fingered hands or a magic guitar") for this week's CityBeat (check it out here). Kottke's show starts tonight at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7). Tickets to the "seated-only"event are $35. Here's Leo in 1977 (singing way better than any geese fart I've ever heard, though I've only heard them on crisp fall mornings). The Aronoff Center might not be the first place you'd expect to see two of the top R&B and Hip Hop stars in the country, but that's exactly what's going on tonight as the downtown venue's Procter & Gamble Hall presents Trey Songz's "Anticipation 2our." What is the "anticipation" all about? (And how is "2our" pronounced, exactly?) The 27-year-old Grammy-nominee and BET Award winner is quoted in a press release explaining, "This tour has literally been years in the making. Historically, my mixtapes have served as a creative outlet for me to serve my fans without the pressure of creating records solely for sales, so this is no ordinary tour. Every sound, every emotion that I ever expressed through my music you will get every single night. No one will leave this show untouched." So fans are anticipating … being touched? (We'll assume "2our" is pronounced "two-hour," spoken like Andrew Dice Clay says "whore.") Regardless of the reason they're doing this, Big Sean gives the show a strong-drawing opener. Discovered by Kanye West, the Detroit-based MC built a following online and with several popular mixtapes before finally releasing his debut, Finally Famous, last summer (he has said he'll be working on the follow-up while touring, with plans to release this coming summer). Tickets for tonight's 7:30 p.m. show are between $49-50-$69.50. Check out Big Sean with Roscoe Dash and his mentor in the clip for the single "Marvin & Chardonnay": Popular modern Celtic band Gaelic Storm comes to Bogart's tonight for an 8 p.m. show that is open to all ages. The band formed in the mid-’90s, played the pub scene in Santa Monica, Calif., and then had a pretty interesting introduction to American audiences when they appeared in one of the biggest films ever made, Titanic, appearing as the steerage band that plays on despite that little iceberg ding. The quintet focuses on traditional Irish and Scottish music (occasionally allowing more contemporary elements into the party) and has become increasingly huge with each successive album release, which you can usually find at or near the top of Billboard's World music charts. Check out more thoughts on the band from this week's CityBeat here. Tickets are $18.50 (plus any applicable fees). Here is one of the band's songs, some Legos and a tale about Russell Crowe:Also this evening is the encore screening of the cool documentary featuring some of today's biggest Electronic/Dance music artists paired with some of the biggest names in other genres and from other eras (like Skrillex collaborating with The Doors). Re: Generation plays again tonight, for one last time on the big screen, at the Rave theater in Florence and Newport on the Levee's AMC theater at 8 p.m. Click here for more on the fascinating flick. Click here for tons more musical options for tonight.
by Mike Breen
Big Sean, Booty Dance Fever and This Day in Music
Music Tonight: Hip Hop up-and-comer Big Sean brings the tour behind his debut album, Finally Famous, to Covington's Madison Theater for an all-ages, 8 p.m. concert with guests Shawn Chrystopher and Cyhi the Prynce. Admission is $25. As legend has it, the Detroit MC got his big break in old-school fashion — when Kanye West was doing an interview on a local radio station, Sean showed up and talked the star into letting him rap as a "showcase." Reluctant at first, West reportedly started getting into the young MC's wordplay and within two years he signed Big Sean to his G.O.O.D. Music label/management company. During those two years, Sean garnered attention from the industry outside of Kanye with several mixtapes. Sean's Finally Famous album finally came out in June of this year, showing off a heady guest list that includes West, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown, Chiddy Bang and Wiz Khalifa. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard album chart. Big Sean has said he's working on his next album during his current tour; he says the plan is to release it next year during the summer. Below, check out Sean's single "Dance (A$$)" and a (largely NSFW) sampling of the innumerable videos of booty-shakin' choreography across the web inspired by the track. I'm grabbing my hotpants and heading to Bogart's right now.