Pop Culture Roundup (9 Jan. 2012 Edition)

In case you have been deep in the NFL playoffs or if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire and have been too busy listening to presidential candidates, here is this week’s roundup of some of the stories about music, film, and pop culture that you might have missed.

— Music —

Patti Smith has written a song about Amy Winehouse and will include the tune on her next CD.

Cee Lo Green manaaged to anger religious leaders, atheists, and John Lennon fans with a New Year’s “Imagine” lyrics change. He later explained why he changed the lyrics.

Jump! Van Halen — including David Lee Roth — played a small club this week to warm up for their upcoming tour.

Rodney Crowell’s website has three live acoustic songs for free download. Nice.

Kathleen Edwards’s new CD, released later this month, was co-produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) w/ guest artists.

For the first time ever, in 2011, digital sales of music topped the physical sale of music.

Grammy-winning musician Youssou N’Dour will run in Senegal’s presidential election next month.

Charlie Louvin’s new memoir recounts Oasis-type disharmony with his brother when the Louvin Brothers toured.

Terry Ardolino, the drummer with NRBQ from 1974-2004, passed away at the age of 56. RIP.

Freddie Milano, one of the Belmonts who sang with Dion on a number of classic rock and roll songs, passed away this week. After Dion left the original Belmonts behind (and a falling out and litigation followed), Milano continued to sing with the group while pursing his education. When he passed away he was working with the less fortunate, helping indigent people detained at Rikers Island jail in New York City. After Milano’s death was announced, Dion wrote a short tribute on his Facebook page, stating how Milano played an important role in his younger life: “We had our ups and downs through the years but that’s how things go in families, even rock-and-roll families. I will always remain grateful for his contribution in 1958 & 59 – may he rest in peace and rock on in heaven.” Milano was known for his great harmonies in the group as shown in this clip of “I Wonder Why.” Milano is the second from the left at the beginning of the song. RIP.

You may also hear and see Milano (on your right) in this performance of “A Teenager in Love.”


— Movies —

This year in movies “might just be the geekiest ever.” — IMDb editor Keith Simanton.

A Bridesmaids Sequel Without Kristen Wiig?

The Chicago Tribune listed 10 films to see this winter from Michael Phillips.

The Tree of Life originally included a planned Adam and Eve sequence.

War Horse actor Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to be in the Star Trek sequel, perhaps as a villain.

Red Tails — an action film produced by George Lucas about WWII African-American Tuskegee Airmen — is out Jan. 20.



— Television —

Betty White has a new hidden-camera TV show of seniors pulling pranks.

Donald Trump
announced his biggest Celebrity Apprentice cast ever.

What happened to Ted Williams, the “man with the golden voice” who was found homeless last year? (video)


  • Who Flipped a Coin With Ritchie Valens?: The Day the Music Died and the Coin Toss Controversy
  • Dion Has the Blues
  • Charlie Louvin RIP
  • Song of the Day: Dion’s “Sanctuary”
  • Dion’s Lost “Kickin’ Child” (Album Review)
  • The Wrong “American War”? (Book Review) (Guest Post)
  • (Some Related Chimesfreedom Posts)