Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

Irony Alert: Jeff Tweedy Covers The Black Eyed Peas

Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of the critically acclaimed band Wilco, is not really known for his sense of humor. That’s not to say he’s a humorless fellow; rather, it’s just that when he chooses songs to cover, it’s generally because he’s paying homage to artists who have meaning (see: the two records he made with Billy Bragg comprised solely of Woody Guthrie covers).

That was not exactly the case in Chicago last night, where Jeff Tweedy performed at a book party for the release of Dan Sinker‘s The F***ing Epic Quest of @MayorEmanuel. Instead of going the somber route, Tweedy kept with the evening’s light-hearted nature and proved his comedic chops by busting out a solo acoustic cover of the Black Eyed Peas smash, “I Gotta Feeling.” We presume this decision had something to do with the fact that this song was played during the real Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s election party back in February, and the cover was delivered with exactly the right amount of irony that you’d expect from a Generation X icon like Tweedy. He warns listeners early on that his BEP cover “is gonna be bad, gonna be really bad,” but after the seeing the final results, we beg to differ with his assessment.

Jeff Tweedy performs the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” [Time Out Chicago via Growing Pangs]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” Is The 2011 VH1 Song Of The Summer

For the last 14 weeks, we’ve been tracking the race to see which track would become this year’s Song Of The Summer. Since people consume music in so many different ways these days, our goal was to put together a democratic formula that compared how a group of over 70 songs performed across five of the primary channels that people frequently use to listen to their favorite jams: the Billboard Hot 100 (radio play & sales), the iTunes charts (pure sales), Last.fm scrobbles (listening on computer and mobile devices), the YouTube music charts (streams) and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Each week, we tracked how our group of competitors fared in each of these different platforms, and then added up the results.

So, without any further ado, we are psyched to announce that Katy Perry has taken home the first place prize in VH1′s first annual Song Of The Summer competition! When the summer began, it looked like Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” was going to be an unstoppable force, but as soon as Katy dropped her 80s-tastic “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” video during the week of June 27th, she dominated the countdown from there on out. Katy was gracious enough to film an quick speech for us while she accepted our totally awesome Song Of The Summer trophy, which we’ve got for you above.

For you completists, here is our final Song Of The Summer countdown chart (that is, until Memorial Day 2012 rolls around!). And you’re on Spotify, you can subscribe to our VH1 Song Of The Summer 2011 playlist and re-live the summer whenever you want.


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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1.com To Stream The Concert For New York City: 10 Years Later On Sunday, September 11

Last week, we filled you in on our plans to re-air The Concert For New York City in its entirety, commercial-free, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this Sunday. We are also excited to announce that we’ll also be simultaneously be streaming this event on VH1.com beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Featuring emotionally charged performances by the likes of Paul McCartney, The Who, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child and more, this one-time only replay will also benefit our friends at the Robin Hood Relief foundation. More details, including a complete list of exactly what time the performances from your favorite artists and actors will be airing, to follow as the week progresses.

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by (@unclegrambo)

The Top 30 Moments That Shaped Beyonce (Also: Happy B’Day, Bey!)

Beyoncé is, without a question, a once-in-a-generation talent. Blessed with a wonderful singing voice, incredible athleticism, striking beauty and, most importantly, an unrivaled competitive spirit, she has established herself as a star of both stage and screen. In honor of her 30th birthday today, we decided to take a look back at the thirty most important moments in Beyoncé’s life that made her the person she is today. Enjoy!

DATE: September 4, 1981
EVENT: Thirty years ago today, Houston resident and aspiring music manager Matthew Knowles and his costume designer wife Tina welcomed a bouncing baby girl into the world, one they named Beyoncé Giselle Knowles. If this had never happened, well, you wouldn’t be reading this list, that’s for sure!

DATE: 1988
EVENT: At the tender age of 7, Beyoncé competed in her very first talent show. She sang a stirring rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which earned her a standing ovation, a first place prize, and the seething jealousy of the 15- and 16-year-olds she competed against.

DATE: 1990-1991
EVENT: Gaining confidence after her talent show victory, Beyoncé and five other girls were recruited to join a Houston-based group called Girl’s Tyme. It was during this time that she met her future Destiny’s Child group members Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, and LeToya Luckett (who joined in 1993). After gaining local acclaim, things turned sour after the group unsuccessfully tried out for Star Search. This would mark the first of many times that personality clashes would lead to fractures in Beyoncé’s personal and professional life.

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 Exclusive: Rihanna Did NOT Fire Jay-Z As Her Manager!

Late yesterday afternoon, popular gossip mill MediaTakeOut dropped one of their patented “MTO WORLD EXCLUSIVES” claiming that Rihanna has, and we quote, “decided to DROP Jay Z . . . and his RocNation team as her managers.” They cited a “ROCK SOLID INSIDER” who claimed that Rihanna was preparing to part ways with her mentor/svengali J-Hova, citing “FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES” and insinuating that Beyoncé‘s relationship with Jigga Man was getting in the way of RiRi landing primo endorsement deals.

Well, even though we should’ve left for the Labor Day weekend “HOURS” ago—this writing in “ALL CAPS” thing is kinda fun, we’re going to try it “MORE OFTEN”!—we decided to go straight to the source instead of simply re-reporting unsubstantiated gossip. We reached out to reps at Def Jam who confirmed to us just moments ago that the news is simply “not true.”

Adding weight to this statement is a Tweet that Rihanna herself sent out. It pretty much speaks for itself:

by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: What Was Your Favorite Song Of Summer 2011? (POLL)


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Sad to say, but the impending arrival of Labor Day weekend means it’s time to put another summer in the books. All summer long, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the race to determine this year’s Song Of The Summer, following how songs have performed in terms of the Billboard Hot 100, iTunes sales, Last.fm scrobbles, YouTube streams and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown.

We’re going to announce this summer’s winner here on the VH1 Blog on Tuesday, but before we do that, we’d love to find out what YOU, the VH1 audience, felt was this year’s Song Of The Summer. What song did you jam the most on the beach? Which track was blasting when you put your ragtop down so your hair can blow? What jam got you and your friends pumped up for a night out on the town? Vote as many times as you like in our poll below. (Oh, and congrats to You Oughta Know artist Foster The People for being only the third song all summer long to hold the top spot in our countdown with their zeitgeisty smash, “Pumped Up Kicks”!)

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by (@unclegrambo)

Shearer’s Spotlight: Who Could’ve Predicted These Events Were Going To Happen During The Summer Of 2011?

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.

The arrival of Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. With that, here are three things I never expected from the Summer of ’11:

1) “Party Rock Anthem” to be Summer Anthem of 2011

At the beginning of the summer there wasn’t a clear-cut favorite for the summertime jam of 2011, but I never expected LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” to dominate the mainstream airwaves like it did. Club hit? Yes. Pop radio hit? Never would’ve thunk it. Sing it together now kids: Everyday I’m shufflin’.

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by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 To Re-Air The Concert For New York City On The 10th Anniversary Of 9/11

Hard to believe, but it’s nearly been 10 years since our nation endured the horrific attacks of 9/11/01. It will be a somber and difficult day for everyone, but as we reflect back at the lives lost and the damage done on that terrible day, VH1 is planning on focusing on the spirit of community that brought our nation together in the difficult days and weeks after we suffered a national tragedy. On Sunday, September 11, 2011, we will be re-airing the entire 6-hour Concert For New York City broadcast without commercial interruption. That event raised over $30 million to benefit the victims of the World Trade Center attack and honor the heroic efforts of rescue workers, and featured legendary performances from the likes of Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, and more. We’ll have more information on this event for you soon, but for now, here’s the press release that just hit the wires…

VH1 WILL RE-AIR HISTORIC EVENT THE CONCERT FOR NEW YORK CITY: TEN YEARS LATER ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11

The Original Benefit Concert For The Robin Hood Foundation Was A Virtual Who’s Who Of Music, Comedy and Hollywood Including: Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Adam Sandler, Elton John, President Bill & Secretary Hillary Clinton, Jay-Z, Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Carrey, Denis Leary, Howard Stern, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani

The Concert For New York City: Ten Years Later Will Air In Its Entirety Commercial-Free On Sunday, September 11 From 4p-10p*

Actor/Director/Filmmaker Edward Burns To Host

The Concert Will Stream in its Entirety, Ad-Free, on VH1.com.

NEW YORK, NY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 – VH1’s original broadcast of The Concert for New York brought together some of the biggest names in entertainment from all over the world to New York’s Madison Square Garden. Taped just weeks after 9/11, the event was organized to honor and support the victims and heroes of one of our nation’s most tragic events, and raised more than 30 million for the Robin Hood 9/11 Relief Fund, which distributed 100% of the money to charities benefitting victims and their families. In a special six-hour telecast, VH1’s The Concert for New York City: Ten Years Later will air in its entirety without commercial interruption on Sunday, September 11 from 4pm-10pm* and will simulcast on VH1.com. The re-broadcast will be hosted by actor/director/filmmaker Edward Burns, who was also a participant in the original concert presentation.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Kim Kardashian Eschews Both Subtlety And Innuendo In New Music Video

Thanks to the vocally-challenged likes of Heidi Montag and Paris Hilton, musical vanity projects emanating from the reality starlet universe already have a pretty poor reputation. However, this already disreputable genre is about to get a downgrade that makes what Standard & Poor did to the US credit rating look like small potatoes.

A 55-second snippet of Kim Kardashian‘s previously-thought-to-be-shelved singing debut, “Jam,” emerged yesterday on the KimKardashianMusic YouTube channel in the form of a music video. It features the recently married sex tape star crawling around on all fours in what looks to be a neon-lit air shaft, all the while licking her cherry red lips in slo-mo and shaking her oiled-up tailfeather in a way that would make Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee proud. There is no pretense of “art” in it whatsoever; rather, it’s so blatantly over the top with how it presents Kardashian as a sex object that it makes Warrant‘s treatment of Bobbi Brown in “Cherry Pie” look positively chivalrous by comparison. That said, this “leaked” video managed to rack (heh heh) up 2.2 million views in the last 24 hours, so clearly she must be doing something right.

Remember Kardashian’s Pop Career? Kim’s Shelved Music Video Leaks [Reality Rocks/Yahoo]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Remembering Michael Jackson On His 53rd Birthday

Today would have been the 53rd birthday of Michael Jackson, one of the greatest entertainers this world has ever known. Sadly, though, his life was cut short back in 2009 after he overdosed on Propofol (a case that has yet to see a full resolution). Still, his legacy lives on and, in many ways, has taken on an even greater significance since his passing.

In order to celebrate his remarkable life and his achievements, we took a cue from one of our favorite Tumblr sites, Awesome People Hanging Out Together. We crawled through almost 40 years worth of archive photographs to find these pictures of Michael Jackson hanging out with people from every profession and walk of life: his fellow musicians, actors, directors, politicians, diplomats, and even an inanimate object or two! So as you fire up your favorite MJ tracks today, take a look through our gallery and relive some of his most famous (and most random) celebrity encounters.

View Photo Gallery