Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

Ideas That We Love: Pat Monahan From Train Should Team Up With Led Zeppelin Guitarist Jimmy Page

The frequent emails that irascible music industry veteran Bob Lefsetz sends to his list of well-connected music biz types are pretty hit or miss. Oftentimes, they present passionate, well-thoughted arguments about the past, present and future of the music business, but just as frequently, they seem to be repetitive and somewhat curmudgeonly in nature. Last night, however, he sent out an email that contained an idea we initially shrugged off as preposterous, but ultimately, one that we couldn’t get out of our head. He writes:

“Best piece of gossip I ever heard about Train? Pat Monahan was suggested as a replacement for Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin. The idea was dismissed out of hand, but it’s a brilliant one, one Jimmy Page should still act on.

Pat Monahan can sing those Zeppelin tunes, he’s got the pipes, he does them in the Train show. And he can write.

Everyone—even Howard Stern!—knows that Monahan is one of the strongest singers working these days. That said, it wasn’t until we watched this bootleg footage of Monahan belting out the Led Zep classic “Ramble On” that we thought this idea had legs.

Wow, right? Now it’s time for you to weigh in.

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 EXCLUSIVE: Gavin DeGraw Speaks Out About His Assault — “If New York Was A Casino, I’d Say Those Were Pretty Good Odds”

Gavin DeGraw has been a favorite around the VH1 halls for years now, which is why we took the news about his his brutal 4 a.m. assault on the streets of New York City especially hard. We’ve been cheering on our August Posted artist‘s recovery and gearing up for next week’s release of his latest full-length, Sweeter.

Speaking of which, Gavin popped by VH1 HQ earlier today for a Top 20 Live set, the results of which we’ll have for you next week. He was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us before the band’s soundcheck, though. We asked him about his incident last month, and whether or not he had learned any lessons from them. “Being that I’ve had thousands and thousands of great nights and just, essentially, one bad night in New York,” he explained to us, “I’ll take the odds. If New York was a casino, I’d say that those were pretty good odds.” You can check out his full video response to our question above.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: Artists Other Than Michael Jackson Singing About Michael Jackson

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

Inspired by Das Racist’s latest single, here are my three favorite songs that mention the late-great King of Pop in its title:

Das Racist, “Michael Jackson”
When Michael Jackson was the world’s biggest pop star, he was an easy target for cheap shots. When he passed away a couple years ago, all mockery was replaced by reverence. In their lead single/music video off their first commercially released album, Relax, I can’t tell if Das Racist is doing the former, the latter, or a little bit of both. Either way I can’t get the hook out of my head.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Posted: Ask Demi Lovato Anything!

It’s been awesome hanging with Demi Lovato, our September Posted artist, so far this month. However, to paraphrase Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys II, “sh*t’s just about to get REAL!”

Next week, Demi Lovato is going to be paying our Times Square offices a visit. She’s going to be performing a special Top 20 Live set for us, but she’s also agreed to stick around afterwards to answer any questions that you, our VH1 Blog readers, have for her! All you Lovatics have to do to participate is to leave a question below in the comments, or send a tweet to @vh1 with the hashtag #askmeanything. We’re going to try and get her to answer a bunch of your questions, so get creative!

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@unclegrambo)

40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments Set To Debut On Sunday, September 18

Ever since the first time that someone decided to break out a turntable at a block party in the Bronx, scandal and hip hop have gone together like peanut butter and jelly. From notorious murders and untimely deaths to sleazy sex scandals and high-profile arrests, rarely does a week go by without some sort of drama going down in the hip hop community. On VH1’s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, which debuts this Sunday, September 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, we’ll count down the most mind blowing, controversial, stunning and horrific moments ever.

You’ll have to watch the show to guess the final order, but some of the things you can expect to see will range from the silly (like Gucci Mane’s triple scoop ice cream cone face tattoo and Nicki Minaj getting her booty slapped by Regis Philbin) to the serious (the murders of Biggie and Tupac, the latter of which occured 15 years ago this month). On VH1’s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, we’ll revisit all the stories that caused people to either gasp or #SMH.

VH1’s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments is a two-hour special, which will immediately be followed by the television premiere of our latest Rock Doc, Planet Rock: The Story Of Hip Hop And The Crack Generation. It’s a night that hip hop fans won’t want to miss! To get a taste of what it will be like, follow along to watch comedian and familiar VH1 talking head Donnell Rawlings share his personal thoughts on what the most shocking thing about hip hop is.

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by (@unclegrambo)

The Hold Steady To Perform A Show In NYC This Weekend Benefiting VH1’s Save The Music Foundation

Minneapolis-bred but Brooklyn-based rock band The Hold Steady have earned themselves a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most dynamic live acts of the last five years or so, thanks to their combination of massive riffs and the can’t-take-your-eyes-off-him stage presence of lead singer Craig Finn. This Saturday night, September 17, the band is headlining Eventbrite’s Concert Confidential show at the Beekman Beergarden in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. The event will not only benefit the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, but attendees will also have the option to make an additional donation to one of the worthiest causes we can think of at the door. Best of all? There are a limited amount of free tickets available now! So snag some tickets, order yourself up a few “double whiskey coke no ices” while you’re there, and have fun with one of the best rock bands on the scene these days. It’s all for a good cause!

The Hold Steady – Concert Confidential RSVP [Eventbrite]

by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 Classic To Televise A Never-Before-Seen 1991 Nirvana Concert

Next Saturday, September 24th marks the twenty-year anniversary of Nirvana‘s Nevermind. The album had an undeniable impact on both the music industry and popular culture, one that would be impossible to adequately put into words in the space that we have allotted to us at the moment. (Don’t fret, though; we’ll be getting to that soon enough.)

In honor of this historic anniversary, our friends over at VH1 Classic and Palladia managed to get their hands on some extremely rare footage of Nirvana in concert back in 1991, which they’ll be airing at 11 p.m. next Friday, September 23. This press release about this acquisition just went out over the wires, so without further ado, here’s all the info…


The Historic, First-Time-Televised Concert Will Simulcast On VH1 Classic, VH1 And Palladia

NEW YORK, NY – September 15, 2011 – Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s genre-defining second album Nevermind, VH1 Classic will televise a special, never-before-seen concert Nirvana: Live At The Paramount Friday, September 23 at 11 p.m. ET/PT. The 60-minute, hometown concert will also be simulcast on VH1 and Palladia, MTV Networks’ high-definition music channel.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Celebrate What Would’ve Been Amy Winehouse’s 28th Birthday By Watching “Body And Soul,” Her Duet With Tony Bennett

Get More: Tony Bennett, Top 20 Countdown, Body And Soul, Free Music Videos

Today would’ve been Amy Winehouse‘s 28th birthday. Alas, it wasn’t to be; Winehouse passed back on July 23 of as yet undetermined causes, but her musical legacy will always live on.

At last month’s 2011 Video Music Awards, Tony Bennett introduced Bruno Mars‘ outstanding tribute to Winehouse by sharing a short clip of himself and Winehouse in the studio cutting a cover of the jazz standard “Body And Soul.” As of now, it’s one of the last pieces of recorded music that Winehouse contributed to before her tragic and untimely passing, although if the rumors hold up, there may be more Winehouse cuts on the way someday soon.

Aside from being a very pleasant rendition of the song, the thing that strikes us the most about this video is seeing Amy Winehouse in the habitat where she always felt the most comfortable — the studio. Most of the memories that we have of the last few years of her life are paparazzi shots of her strung out on the streets of London, wasting away before our very eyes. This video, in which Winehouse looks both healthy and happy, stands in stark contrast those tabloid images. Sure, she appears a bit fidgety at times, but we attribute that behavior not to drugs, but rather to her uniquely personal method of channeling the ghosts of great jazz singers past, like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday (both of whom not-so-coincidentally recorded versions of “Body And Soul”). We’ll also admit it breaks our heart more than a little bit to watch the way that she coyly batted her mascara-laden eyelashes at the inimitable Bennett, knowing that we’ll never get to see her do that again.

“Body And Soul” can be found on Tony Bennett’s upcoming album, Duets II, which will be available in stores next week. If you can’t wait that long, you can head to the iTunes store and pick it up this duet today; all proceeds will benefit the recently created Amy Winehouse Foundation.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Now You Can Create Your Very Own Pop Up Video!

Earlier today, we gave you a sneak peek at the very first of our new batch of Pop Up Videos, a trivia-loaded take on “Till The World Ends” by Britney Spears. Although Pop Up Video, the show, won’t be returning to the VH1 airwaves until October 3, you can start making your very own Pop Up Videos to share with your friends starting … NOW!

First step: Head over to our Create Your Own Pop Up Video page. From there, you’ll be able to choose from a library of over 60 music videos—which includes current hits like “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars and “Different” by You Oughta Know artist Ximena Sariñana, as well as universally acknowledged classics like “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction and “Empire State Of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys—to make your own video. Once you authenticate with your Facebook login, you can start typing as many factoids and in-jokes as you can think of (heads up, there’s a 40 character max for each one of the Pop Ups you put in your video). You can see our simple (and admittedly corny) demonstration above, where we decided to call out the fact that Brooklyn’s Jay Street should be renamed Jay-Z Street, stat! Hopefully your jokes will be better than ours.

Once you wrap up your own personal Pop Up Video, the next step is to show off your pop culture savvy to all of your friends by sharing them on Facebook or embedding them on your blog. Create as many videos as you’d like. Who knows, maybe our crack team of Pop Up Video writers and researchers will call you up to the big leagues someday!

Create Your Own Pop Up Video [VH1]

by (@unclegrambo)

Tony Bennett Raves About His Duets Collaborator Lady Gaga: “She Has The Same Gift As Ella Fitzgerald”

Last month, the incomparable Tony Bennett turned 85 years young. While no one would say a word edgewise if Tony decided to rest on his impressive collection of laurels, this super groovy daddy-o is doing anything but. Last month, he introduced the amazing Amy Winehouse tribute at the VMAs, and next week, he’s releasing his latest album, Duets II. The record features collaborations with today’s chart toppers like Michael Bublé, John Mayer, Norah Jones and the late Miss Winehouse (the latter of which we’ll have for you to check out tomorrow).

The most anticipated track on the record, though, is Tony Bennett’s duet with Lady Gaga on the Rogers and Hart classic, “The Lady Is A Tramp.” Our VH1 News team recently caught up with Bennett, and he had nothing but lavish praise to bestow on the Mother Monster. “She is an amazing singer, she has the same gift as Ella Fitzgerald,” he told us. It’s not just her ability to sing and tickle the ivories that has him impressed, though: “I like the audience reaction when she does a performance. The people go out to lunch, I’ve never heard such enthusiasm.” We’ve never heard the Little Monsters’ reaction to Gaga’s concerts described in that manner, but we’re pretty confident that they’re gonna eat it up. You know, like lunch!

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