When it comes to albums, Bruce Springsteen can be ruthless. Ruthless in the sense that if a great song doesn’t fit with the tone, message, or general vibe of the rest of the album he’s building, he’ll throw it out. Maybe the song gets a little oxygen on stage during a tour, maybe it finds its way onto another project years later, or maybe it’s still sitting in Bruce’s attic. As Springsteen told Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello in High Hopes, the HBO documentary about the making of his most recent album, “I got a million of ‘em, man.” READ FULL STORY
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HBO has just released the first look at High Hopes, the documentary chronicling the making of Bruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album.
In the clip, The Boss talks about the emotional impetus behind the album, also titled High Hopes, and how collaborator Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, served as “the glue” of the project.
The film reunites Springsteen with filmmaker Thom Zimny, who previously directed The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ in 2010. It will feature interviews, behind-the-scenes studio and rehearsal segments, and exclusive E Street Band tour footage.
High Hopes premieres April 4 at 9:30 p.m. ET on HBO.
Year after year, The Kennedy Center Honors remains the most entertaining awards show on the air — a reverent ceremony with unmatched warmth and appreciation radiating between the stage, the audience, and the box of eclectic honorees, which this year includes David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, blues great Buddy Guy, prima ballerina Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin. We spoke to producers George Stevens, Jr., who co-created the Honors 35 years ago, and Michael Stevens, who’s won four consecutive Emmys with his father for the variety special, to find out how they do it. The 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, taped earlier this month, airs Dec. 26 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you choose who will speak and perform on behalf of the honorees? Let’s start there.
MICHAEL STEVENS: There are two phases to our process. One is interviews, talks, and research with the honoree and/or the honoree’s team, just to get a deeper insight on who are close friends, fans, and admirers. From that, we get a list of names. And then the other approach is just to do research on our own to find unlikely connections. For example, Stephen Colbert last year and Yo-Yo Ma: Through some research, we had found that Stephen Colbert’s mother, through an arts festival in South Carolina, had become friends with Yo-Yo. So it really is a task of trying to find a meaningful connection to an honoree, and sometimes we try to go outside that honoree’s discipline to show the width and appeal of that honoree. For example, Morgan Freeman this year for Buddy Guy: That’s something where we knew of Morgan’s long-time appreciation and love for the blues, and of course he’s familiar with and loves Buddy Guy’s music, but they were not pals, per se. They just had respect for each other.
I think back to Jon Stewart speaking for Bruce Springsteen in 2009. I still remember the story he told about listening to Springsteen’s music each night on the way home from the bar he worked at. Was it just the Jersey connection that made you think of him?
MS: Yes, and then we did some prowling around, and then we talked to Bruce’s [manager] Jon Landau. It’s discreet discussions with managers and representatives to see if our instincts are right, or the manager or representative would come to us and say, “So-and-so’s a really big fan of so-and-so’s, you should put that on your list.” What’s become interesting is that over the course of the last five to 10 years, people have become attuned to what kind of questions we’re going to ask, so they say, “This person might be a good person to do your opening talk. And this might be a good person to do a spoken tribute after the film.” I think we have to attribute a lot of it to YouTube. There’s, in a way, research for the representatives or the honorees themselves to do about the honors. And as you mentioned, Jon Stewart is one spoken tribute that is cited many times — either out of great admiration or great fear that there’s no way what Jon Stewart did could be topped.
Watch Jon Stewart’s Bruce Springsteen tribute below READ FULL STORY
Tomorrow, NBC Universal’s TV networks — including NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, E!, Style Network, and G4, among others — will air a concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. The special will begin at 8 p.m. ET and will feature performances by artists with connections to the disaster or NBC, including New Jersey natives Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, native New Yorker Billy Joel, New York City resident Sting, and Christina Aguilera, a coach on NBC’s The Voice.
Today‘s Matt Lauer, who revealed plans for the commercial-free concert on the air this morning, will host. NBC talent Brian Williams and Jimmy Fallon will appear as well. Proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross, which is providing food, shelter, and other assistance to those affected by the hurricane.
“Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” will also stream live on NBC.com. Watch Lauer announce the concert in the video below.
It’s British Week on American Idol this week. And while you can expect the remaining five finalists to be singing songs made famous by artists from across the pond, they’ll be mentored by a musician who is decidedly all-American. EW has learned that Steven Van Zandt, the guitarist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, will be the guest mentor on Idol tomorrow. Little Steven, as he is affectionately known, will be lending Jimmy Iovine a hand as the Idol mentor coaches the kids on English rock and pop on the May 2 performance show (Fox 8 p.m.). READ FULL STORY
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