Wednesday, June 24, 2015

13 of Hollywood's Most Iconic Blondes

13 of Hollywood's Most Iconic Blondes: Hollywood locks that stand the test of time. Who is the fairest of them all? You decide.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's spun-sugar platinum tresses were like Marilyn herself -- somewhere between easy and elegant. But did you know the aspiring model and actress actually dyed her naturally brown locks golden after a cue that "gentlemen prefer blondes"? Good thing it suited her. Get the look.


Blake Lively

From beachy waves on Gossip Girl to perfectly crafted curls on the red carpet, Blake's blonde tresses are an integral part of her persona. Get the look.


Reese Witherspoon

She's America's sweetheart, a Southern belle and the classic girl next door -- and her personality begins with her hair: golden blond to the point of practically glowing. Get the look.


Brigitte Bardot

Hair with a certain je ne sais quoi. It's no surprise why Brigitte Bardot--French actress, model and singer--was one of the biggest sex symbols of the '50s and '60s. Her mane murmured "groovy French fox," with streaming blond waves framing her face and décolletage. And those bangs... We've never seen anyone make bangs look so come-hither. Get the look.



If one look could encompass '80s fashion, Madonna's fishnet stockings and bleached blond hair would certainly be a front-runner. While she has reinvented herself several times over the course of her long career, the singer, actress, showgirl and businesswoman is a blonde at heart. Get the look.


Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly wore several hats: Hollywood movie star, fashion icon, princess of Monaco. With her Hermès Kelly bag in hand and perfectly coiffed hair, Grace was the definition of modern, chic and tasteful. Get the look.



That sideswept pixie cut, that lanky boyish figure and those spidery lashes framing huge doe eyes: Twiggy's mod look defined the Swinging Sixties. She was just 15 when she cut off her long flaxen locks, debuted the androgynous hairdo and ushered in a new standard of youthful sophistication. Get the look.


Gwen Stefani

Except for two short stints when she dyed her hair blue and then pink, Gwen Stefani has spent most of her career as a platinum blonde. She first adopted her signature platinum hue as a wee ninth grader and never turned back. Gwen's bleached hair is like her style: brazen and playful. Get the look.


Goldie Hawn

She may have started her career by embracing a "dumb blonde" personality, but the smart and talented Goldie Hawn has since proved to be someone else entirely. Goldie's popularity ascended throughout the '70s as she acted, sang and produced her way through Hollywood. Get the look.


Veronica Lake

Veronica Lake was the embodiment of 1940s glamour: mature, polished and never too fussy. The funny thing is that she actually found her signature coy look by accident when a loose lock of hair fell over her right eye during a photo shoot. Mysterious and seductive, celebs like Sienna Miller and Amanda Seyfried still mimic the look today. Get the look.


Gwyneth Paltrow

We'll always remember Gwyneth Paltrow's sleek blond hairdo and Ralph Lauren dress at the 1999 Oscars (the same night she took home the Best Actress award for her performance in Shakespeare in Love). Gwyneth has played around with a handful of styles over the years, but her long, straight locks -- whether tossed over her shoulders or pulled back into a ponytail--will always be a part of the actress's classic look. Get the look.


January Jones

She's best known for her role as the complex and mysterious Betty Draper on Mad Men, but January is a woman whose look is constantly changing. Whether she's rocking face-framing bangs, a bleach-blond bob, platinum waves or even faded pink streaks, her hairstyles mimic her personality: sexy, provocative and risky. Get the look.


Farrah Fawcett

In 1976, a young, up-and-coming Farrah Fawcett was photographed smiling from ear to ear, sporting a one-piece swimsuit and long feathered waves flung over her shoulders. The portrait sold 20 million copies, making Farrah a legit bombshell. Everyone from preteen roller skaters to full-grown disco divas scrambled to buy blow-dryers and massive cans of hair spray in an attempt to re-create her look, the "Farrah flip." Get the look.


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Iggy Azalea Gets Real About Body Confidence And Embracing Her Flaws

Iggy Azalea Gets Real About Body Confidence And Embracing Her Flaws: Iggy Azalea may be a global superstar, but even she has bad days.

The 25-year-old recently opened up about her struggles with body confidence and how she's learned to embrace her flaws in an interview on Australia's "Today Show."

"Some days I want to crawl into a cave because I don't feel confident at all, and then other days I feel great," she told host Richard Wilkins. "I think it's like that for all human beings, not just young women. I think being confident 100 percent every day is something to aspire to, but I don't think it's humanly possible for anybody."

iggy azalea

The star also explained confidence is all about "having that honest moment with yourself and ... embracing your flaws."

And that's exactly what she's done. The "Pretty Girls" rapper and Bonds underwear model has been very honest with fans about her body. In March, she told Vogue she had a breast enhancement, and totally owned her decision like a boss.

"Four months ago, I got bigger boobs! I’d thought about it my entire life," she explained to the magazine. And while she initially didn't plan on sharing the details, she decided she "wasn't into secret-keeping."

We definitely admire her honesty!


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Laverne Cox Wows In Sexy Black Dress At amfAR Gala

Laverne Cox Wows In Sexy Black Dress At amfAR Gala: Laverne Cox sure knows how to work the red carpet.

The "Orange Is the New Black" star attended the 2015 amfAR Inspiration Gala in New York City on Tuesday night, and let's just say she shut it down.

Wearing a revealing black dress, which featured a plunging neckline, cutouts, and a thigh-high slit, the actress looked absolutely stunning. She paired the gown with a small black clutch and a pair of studded black pumps, and wore her honey-blond hair down in loose waves.

laverne cox

The burgeoning style icon and trans activist finished off the sexy look with sultry, smoky eye makeup and and groomed brows.

Earlier in the week, Cox took a break from the glitz and glam to meet an adorable 7-year-old transgender girl named M. The actress exchanged hugs with the young girl and offered a beautiful piece of advice: "Remember, honey, transgender is beautiful."

Our love for her just keeps on growing.

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Taraji P. Henson Covers Allure, Channels The Eternally Glamorous Diana Ross

Taraji P. Henson Covers Allure, Channels The Eternally Glamorous Diana Ross: It was only a matter of time before Taraji P. Henson landed a major fashion cover after stealing everyone's heart playing Cookie on Fox's "Empire." That's why we're not surprised to see Allure tap the actress for its July 2015 issue.

taraji p henson allure

This cover can be summed up in one word: Wow. Not only does Henson look glamorous in her '70s disco-era look, but it's also great to see a woman of color grace a mainstream magazine cover -- since it happens so rarely.

And speaking of black women, the 44-year-old actress' glamorous hairstyle for the shoot was a spot-on homage to the incomparable Diana Ross. In the issue, which hits newsstands on June 30, Henson dished about her own experience doing hair as a side occupation in college.

“I knew how to hustle and make money," Henson told Allure. "We used to do wet sets. I bought a hooded dryer and I had my box of rollers. I could have gone to jail, I had no license whatsoever. But it was just my friends. They were like 'Girl, hook me up.'”

Here's another image from Henson's Allure shoot below, and make sure to watch the behind-the-scenes video above.

taraji p henson

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Cara Delevingne Opens Up About Being In Love With Girlfriend

Cara Delevingne Opens Up About Being In Love With Girlfriend: Cara Delevingne may be one of the most public young stars in Hollywood right now -- not only is she photographed all the time, she's also appearing in the much anticipated "Suicide Squad" and "Paper Towns" films -- and despite the heavy tabloid speculations about her love life, she's never provided any confirmation.

In a recent interview with Vogue magazine, the model-turned-actress decided to open up. In the profile, which is featured inside the July 2015 issue, the 22-year-old cover star (who was photographed by Patrick Demarchelier) discusses everything from growing up with depression and anxiety to being in love with musician St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark. At the time of the interview, the Brit was seriously involved with the singer.

cara delevingne vogue

"I think that being in love with my girlfriend is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days," she explained. "And for those words to come out of my mouth is actually a miracle."

Delevingne admitted to the magazine that she "felt confused by her sexuality as a child" and the fact that she might be gay scared her.

"It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognized that I had to accept it,” she explains. “But I have erotic dreams only about men."

She did admit she's terrified by relationships, with men or women.

"Women are what completely inspire me, and they have also been my downfall. I have only been hurt by women, my mother first of all." she said. "The thing is, if I ever found a guy I could fall in love with, I’d want to marry him and have his children. And that scares me to death because I think I’m a whole bunch of crazy, and I always worry that a guy will walk away once he really, truly knows me."

Read more of Cara's interview with Vogue online, or pick up a copy when it hits newsstands on June 23.

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CHARLOTTE MCKINNEY – Men’s Health Photoshoot

CHARLOTTE MCKINNEY – Men’s Health Photoshoot:


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Apple Music Bows to Taylor Swift, Will Pay Artists During Free Trial

Apple Music Bows to Taylor Swift, Will Pay Artists During Free Trial:

Taylor Swift has slayed a giant: Less than a day after the singer penned an open letter to Apple protesting the lack of artist compensation during Apple Music's free three-month trial, the company has agreed to pay artists during that period. In a series of tweets late Sunday night, Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue revealed, "Apple Music will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period."

"Apple will always make sure that artist[s] are paid," Cue tweeted. "We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple," a nod to Swift's open letter, "To Apple, Love Taylor." After reading Swift's open letter, Cue personally called Swift in Amsterdam to tell her Apple would compensate artists during the trial. "When I woke up this morning and I saw Taylor's note that she had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change," Cue told The Associated Press. "We had been hearing from artists that this was going to be rough on them, so we are making this change."

Following Cue's tweets, Swift herself tweeted, "I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us." With eight days left before Apple Music launches on June 30th, the streaming service has cleared a major hurdle in its efforts to sign independent labels – like Beggars Group, which operates XL and Matador – to a licensing agreement before Apple Music goes live.

A representative for Beggars declined to comment on Apple's decision.

An Apple spokesperson declined to specify artist compensation details to Rolling Stone. However, a rep for the company said that the three-month trial wouldn't strictly run from June 30th to September 30th; instead, the free period would begin whenever the user signed up for Apple Music, whether it was June 30th or anytime afterwards.

"I'm sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free three-month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I'm not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months," Swift wrote in her open letter, which also elaborated on why she would refrain from putting her smash 1989 on the service. "I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company." Swift closed her open letter with the cutting remark, "We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."

While the singer seemed open to giving Apple Music something that no other streaming service could offer – 1989 – if they worked out their three-month trial issues, Cue wouldn't comment whether Swift's newest album would be on Apple Music come June 30th. In an interview with Re/Code, Cue was similarly elusive about 1989's Apple Music status, but he reiterated that Swift's open letter – and not the enticement of 1989 – was the catalyst for Apple's about-face. A representative for Swift did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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John Lydon Unveils 'Antireligious' Art for New Public Image Ltd. Album

John Lydon Unveils 'Antireligious' Art for New Public Image Ltd. Album:

"I don't think what the world needs will be Donald Trump," Public Image Ltd. frontman John Lydon says with a laugh when asked about the title of the group's upcoming record, What the World Needs Now.... "Wow, what a wack."

The former Sex Pistol's long-running post-punk group is set to release its 10th studio album on September 4th, and today, Lydon is revealing the cover art, which he drew himself. The album cover sports his interpretation of a different kind of "wack": a Hopi Kachina clown doll. The singer has long been fascinated by Native American art and cites the "joker or the fool or the idiot," depicted in his painting, as his favorite.

"He brings fun and he's always used in a corn festival," Lydon says. "Not to say the album is corny." He laughs. "I thought as a purveyor of good tidings, he would be very apt for this cover. And the title, What the World Needs Now..., is exactly that kind of approach. In lieu of how everybody's ever so eager to departmentalize themselves and kill each other because of their differences, how I see the world is vastly different. Our differences are what make us so complete, not the other way around. So it's an antireligious statement, really, of sorts.

"Muslim, Christian, any of them, they're problem givers not solvers," he explains. "They all end up crusading in their mentality and are all about eliminating opposition really. Nothing that ISIS or what this lot are up to at the moment is any different from what the Crusades were, bearing in mind the 10-century gap."

The vocalist does praise the Hopi religion — while also calling the culture passive — because it was "not quite as fairy dust as ours." "Theirs seems to be about something better and deeper in solving a problem, rather than creating a new one, which I'm afraid all of the current religions are definitely up to." He's also quick to go on a tangent to assert that he does not collect Hopi figurines, despite his admiration of how they depict the tribe's culture. "In an odd way, I have something similar myself, representing our alleged culture: I've got a set of Spice Girl dolls," Lydon says with a laugh. "I paid for them, too and I'm very glad I have them." Why? "They're hilarious, and just so worth looking at every now and again."

The album itself is a similarly manic affair, finding Lydon fashioning scabrous screeds and heartfelt toasts over his bandmates' dubby, jagged post-punk tableaus. But the first single – "Double Trouble," set for release in August – is one of Lydon's more humorous rants in recent years. "It's about an argument that my wife and me had over a broken toilet," Lydon says.

"The toilet's fucking broken again?" he says over an upbeat rhythm, before an elastic riff kicks in at the song's start. "I repaired that. I told you, 'Get the plumber in again and again and again and again and again.'"

The singer says the tune's "Get the plumber" line was his in real life and that the row sparked because he had once successfully repaired a toilet himself. "That was my fatal mistake," he says. "It was presumed from there on in that I would repair it every single time, every toilet I came in sight of. 'Don't volunteer for nothing, young man.' That's what I say. There will be times when you can't do things and you're like, 'Let's waste the money on a plumber.' I'm not Johnny Perfecto in the toilet department. I know how to break them."

And what does Mrs. Lydon think of "Double Trouble"? "She loves it," he says. "It's beautifully played and hilariously sung."

The flipside of the "Double Trouble" 10-inch will contain his slinky, spacey ode to Fifties pin-up Bettie Page ("She had the courage to do something no one else was doing, and I admired that so it's a song of adoration," Lydon says) and a very short, non-album dance-punk rant dubbed "Turkey Tits," which he calls an "indirect reference" to clothing designer Vivienne Westwood, who was once in a relationship with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.

"Sid [Vicious] used to call her 'Turkey Neck,'" the former Johnny Rotten explains. "I once seen her change into a rubber outfit, and 'Turkey Tits' it was." He laughs.

Lydon hopes Westwood will take the new song "with a great sense of fun." "Indirectly, it's about the clothes and her partner at the time, who was Malcolm – rest his soul in peace and all that – and how they presumed they can manipulate our young souls for their ambitions and manipulate us into being exotic creatures just to sell clothes. It's from the point of view of young and angry. It's all a bit silly. As adults, you shouldn't be messing around with young people like that."

The last time he saw Westwood, and also likely the last time he saw McLaren, was at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for its AngloMania exhibition in 2006. "They were gonna have a punk section there and they asked me if I had any items of clothing for it, and I did. And I had a big row with them because they were going to credit it all to Vivienne Westwood design, so us lot went to great lengths to point out that that's my design. She just made it for me and charged me full price. There is a difference." He laughs. "And I met her in the lobby. And I said, 'What do you think of that? She was like, 'That's quite right, John. No problems.' And we seemed to be all right with each other.

"Malcolm [McLaren] was locked outside. I waved to him from the balcony. 'Hello! Fancy not seeing you here.'"

"The fun of that evening, of course, was Malcolm was locked out and he couldn't get in," he continues with a laugh. "He was running up and down the street outside, shouting. I waved to him, of course, from the smoking balcony. 'Hello! Fancy not seeing you here.'" He laughs, and adds, "I think things have a way of working themselves out in the end when people give themselves false credit for things. I've always been opposed to thievery in any shape or form."

On the subject of art, the singer – who credits Wassily Kandinsky and "anybody who's colorful" as his favorite painters – bemoans the fine-art industry where corporate investors "dictate what is good art and bad art." "It's much more exaggerated than the music industry, which is basically run around vanity," he says. "As soon as the looks go and the beer belly turns up, well, tough times flogging a record there."

Other tracks on the album include a mid-paced, dubby number called "Corporate," in which he skewers corporate culture by repeating the word "murderer" ("The message is, 'Don't get manipulated,'" he says. "We don't all have to wear the same sneakers") and the sparse, dancey "Shoom," which finds him ranting about how everything is "bollocks" – e.g., "Humans? All bollocks" – and answers his own question, singing "What the world needs now is another fuck off." "It's a character song," he says of the latter tune. "I disagree with that lyric entirely.... The song is done from the point of view of sitting in a pub, English-style, and chatting with friends. There's always that one person in the corner who's got not a lot of good to say about anything. And they're usually dead right but very irritating for it. It's an ironic song, but irony, I've found, to be the best form of humor."

Incidentally, Lydon recently revisited a piece of irony from his past when he made PiL T-shirts with his old "catchphrase," "It's awful. I hate it." "The idea for that phrase came from an old comedian, Dick Emery," Lydon explains. "He used to dress in drag and say, 'You are awful, but I like you.' I thought I'll play on that.... Before that I used to walk around and go, 'It's dismal.' But I picked up on that and I just use it. 'What do you think of this, John?' 'It's awful. I hate it.' And it would be my favorite curry at the time, right in front of my face."

The singer began reflecting on his life, old phrases like his T-shirt quip and all the "bollocks" in "Shoom" ("I don't like repeating myself, but it is a catchphrase I made popular some years back and it really is part two," he says of the latter) and the circularity of his themes while working on his recent memoir, Anger Is an Energy. The creation of the book played into the album and vice-versa.

One element of déjà vu that he's especially happy with is his band, which contains former Public Image Ltd. members Lu Edmonds on guitar and Bruce Smith on drums, both of whom played in the band in the mid Eighties. "This is the first time in my life I've ever been in a musical situation where I've truly enjoyed the company of the people I'm working with," Lydon says. "I was brought up really to believe that it was all a situation of animosity and contempt for each other and anything else that came within earshot." He laughs.

It's been only with this lineup in which Lydon feels like he has been able to let go of some of the fears he had from his Pistols days and even throughout most of Public Image Ltd.'s first run. "I don't feel shy or ashamed or embarrassed about myself anymore, and that's quite amazing," he says, adding that he's eager to tour the U.S. this fall. "Johnny Rotten definitely felt all those things, but he's grown into Johnny Lydon, who will take on anything vocally now. If my band wants me to, I'll be there for them."

Ultimately, he's grateful for the musical inspiration and easygoing inner-band atmosphere, since it led to the creation of what he considers the best album he's ever made. An album on which he asks the big questions seriously. "The biggest question is, what does the world need?" he reiterates. "It's one that I can't answer on my own. I think it needs all of us to sit down and work that one out."

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Hear Long-Lost Michael Hutchence Song 'Friction'

Hear Long-Lost Michael Hutchence Song 'Friction':

By 1995, Australian rock band INXS had landed seven consecutive albums in their home country's Top 10 but were a few years past their global crossover peak. That fall, frontman Michael Hutchence — like much of England — became obsessed a new band: Black Grape, a chart-topping comeback project for Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder. Hutchence lived in a peaceful, upscale neighborhood, and soon his famous neighbors came to recognize the sound of the group's debut, It's Great When You're Straight. . . Yeah.

"Bono told me they could always hear him cranking Black Grape coming up the hill," recalls producer Danny Saber, who broke through with Black Grape and went on to work with artists like the Rolling Stones, Public Enemy and U2. "They knew it was him from three miles away."

When Hutchence began work on a solo album, he phoned Saber and Gang of Four's Andy Gill, and the three created the self-titled Michael Hutchence. The record was almost ready in 1997, but in November the singer passed away in a Sydney hotel room. It was eventually released in 1999.

"It was pretty much done when he died," says Saber. "It just needed to be mixed. It took about a year before I could even listen to it or think about it."

The following decade, Saber began to revisit another of Hutchence's final recordings: a demo called "Friction" from one of their previous writing sessions. "It was a fully formed song and it was all laid out," says Saber. "I just came back and tried to make it into something. Sonically, I know Michael would have loved it."

The previously unreleased song can be streamed here and downloaded with the purchase of Astrella's Michael Hutchence musical T-shirt. Astrella — founded by the daughter of folk singer Donovan — sells clothing that contains album art and a small QR code. If you scan the QR code with your phone, you're then able to listen to the pictured LP.

"These days, you've gotta find an angle," says Saber, who is currently playing with the band House of Dolls and directing a documentary about a group of musicians visiting Cuba. He hopes that the song will lead to a renewed interested in Hutchence's work.

"When it comes to being a frontman, there was nobody better at it than him," Saber continues. "When I was working on his solo record, I met Jagger through him and I met Bono through him. The fact that I was working with Michael gave me so much credibility with them. They all watched him, especially Bono. He sort of got written off into this tabloid-y guy, and it's not quite right."

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Inside Spoon's Cover Band-Crashing Surprise Set

Inside Spoon's Cover Band-Crashing Surprise Set:

Spoon played Portland, Maine's State Theatre on Friday night, but the band continued to play well into the night when they dropped in on a band playing a Spoon covers set.

Local psychedelic rock band Jeff Beam's Loudspeaker Wallpaper booked an after-show party down the street from the Spoon gig at Portland's Empire club, where Beam and Co. played 2001's Girls Can Tell and 2002's Kill the Moonlight in their entireties. "We wanted to do them justice, since they were coming to Maine for the first time," Beam tells Rolling Stone.

Beam and his band made sure to plaster flyers near the Spoon show, hoping the band might spot one. Then, during "Small Stakes," the opening number of their second set, Beam spotted frontman Britt Daniel standing among the crowd of about 50 people. "The song was getting intense and Britt walked up to the middle of the room, looking right at me with a drink in his hand and we locked eyes," Beam says. "It was a very surreal moment. He was filming us playing his songs. It was too much."

The band stayed to watch the local group play all of Kill the Moonlight, and afterwards Daniel hugged Beam. "Thank you Jeffrey, that was insane. Holy shit," Daniel said onstage. Then Beam's band – Beam (vocals, guitar), Sam Peisner (bass), Sean Morin (keyboard, vocals), Scott Nebel (guitar), and Jacob Wolk (drums) – gladly handed over their instruments to the band.

"Britt asked me, 'So what do you want us to play, man?,'" Beam says. After he suggested a few deep cuts the band didn't feel comfortable tackling, he asked Daniel, "If you can play anything you didn't play earlier at the State Theatre tonight, that would be wild." The band launched into the rarely played "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" followed by Kill the Moonlight cut "Jonathon Fisk." "It showed how flexible they were that great musicians can make something cool happen in any situation," says Beam.

Spoon - "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" & "Jonathon Fisk"

"It was mind-blowing," says Wallpaper bassist Sam Peisner. "This was about as rare and special a moment we've had in the Portland music scene. I know we'll be feeling the reverberations of this for a while."

Beam says one of the best moments was watching Daniel tuning and playing his old pawn-shop Stratocaster, which an ex-girlfriend painted psychedelic artwork onto. "It was so weird watching Britt Daniel play my guitar," he says. "At one point he held it up, and there's a little still of him holding it, and it says BEAM on the back of the guitar."

For Beam, it was an early Father's Day celebration, too: "The best part of the night for me was my dad was there, and Britt and my dad got to hang out for for five or 10 minutes and shoot the shit. The whole night felt like a gift from the universe or something. It was really bizarre that it all happened and everybody that was there had a pretty good time. "

After Spoon's quick set, the cover band and the real band got to spend some time together at the bar, with Daniel buying Beam's group a round of drinks. "They had to leave for Delaware and he kept pushing it back and trying to hang out with us longer," Beam recalls. "It's one of those things that only happens in a movie or a dream. But Spoon is one of the only bands that would make it happen in real life."

Jeff Beam's Loudspeaker Wallpaper - "Vittorio E."

 Jeff Beam's Loudspeaker Wallpaper - "Something to Look Forward To"

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Kelsea Ballerini Joins Carrie Underwood in Elite Number One Club

Kelsea Ballerini Joins Carrie Underwood in Elite Number One Club:

Hold the lettuce, please — Kelsea Ballerini's single "Love Me Like You Mean It" officially captured the Number One spot on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase country charts this weekend, not only joining Carrie Underwood as the strongest female debut since 2006 but also setting a record for total weekly spins overall. In a moment thick with discussion about the presence — or lack thereof — of women on country radio, it's not only a personal victory for the Tennessee-born songwriter, but a polite kiss-off to those who said only men can be the main ingredient in airwave success.

"When we picked 'Love Me' as a single, I believed in it so much," Ballerini told Rolling Stone Country at the CMT Music Awards earlier this month. "But to see it actually being embraced has been so incredible, especially as a new female artist. It makes me excited, and really proud." Just last year, Ballerini was at the very same awards show — but as a fan, showing just how quickly her debut LP The First Time has gained traction in the male-dominated marketplace.

"I was sitting up on the sides," recalled Ballerini, who also performed at this year's ceremony. "I watched the whole thing, thinking, 'I wonder if one day I can be a part of this?' It's warp speed, but it's amazing."

Some early championing from Taylor Swift, whose pre-pop era influence can certainly be found in Ballerini's music, didn't hurt, and now news of "Love Me" hitting Number One has drawn praise and support from some of country's biggest names on Twitter. Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott and Underwood, who hash-tagged her message "#GirlPower" and "#WomenRock," all congratulated her on the feat. Martina McBride, who has been quite vocal about comments made by a radio consultant about women's place on country radio, tweeted "congrats to fellow tomato."

"There are two women in the top five in country right now," said Ballerini, addressing Keith Hill's statements that she and other female artists should be the garnish to dominating male-driven hits in the salad of country radio. "I'm lucky enough to be one of them, Carrie is the other. . .call it what you want, I'm happy to be a tomato."

Despite the significance of Ballerini topping the charts (her record label, Black River Entertainment, even circulated an image of her posed and dressed as the iconic Rosie the Riveter), it's still a difficult time for women in country radio. Kacey Musgraves' "Biscuits" didn't crack the Top 40 on Billboard's Country Airplay and was yanked from rotation all together. It puts a lot of hope — and pressure — on Ballerini, who isn't particularly intimidated by either.

"I'm ready to keep getting more music out there," she says, hinting about her next single and its "hey!" chorus, presumably the Kesha-esque mid-tempo "Dibs" (Swift openly rallied on Instagram for the First Time track "Yeah Boy"). "We've already picked it. I really wanted people who knew 'Love Me' to hear this next song on the radio and know it's me, that's the 'Love Me' girl. It creates a sound that people know is me."

Ballerini is only the 11th female artist to have her debut country single reach Number One. Country Music Hall of Famer Connie Smith first did so in 1964 with "Once a Day," while Underwood most recently achieved the milestone with "Jesus, Take the Wheel" in 2006.

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Apple Exec Eddy Cue: Why Taylor Swift Was Right

Apple Exec Eddy Cue: Why Taylor Swift Was Right:

Within less than 24 hours, Taylor Swift's To Apple, Love Taylor post prompted Apple executives to back down and pay artists and musicians full royalties on a three-month free trial period for the tech giant's upcoming streaming service. "When I woke up and read Taylor's note, it solidified quickly that we needed a change," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services who oversees the company's music operations, tells Rolling Stone. "Music is a big part of our DNA and we always strive to make sure artists are paid for their work."

Before announcing Apple Music, which includes a Spotify-style streaming service and a radio station with experienced DJs, the company negotiated with all three major record labels and agreed to pay 71.5 percent of revenue to artists, labels, songwriters and other rightsholders. This higher-than-usual royalty rate was "in return" for the three-month free trial, Cue says.

But last week, sources at several independent record labels accused Apple of trying to give away their music for free by strong-arming them into being part of the service. "I hesitate to say 'everyone,' but a lot of independent labels are of the same mind — that it's kind of a raw deal," an indie-label source told Rolling Stone.

Swift, who last fall pulled her catalog from Spotify because she didn't want to give her music away in the service's ad-supported "freemium" model, joined the anti-Apple chorus Sunday morning. "I'm not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months," she wrote. "I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."

By Sunday night, Cue had capitulated via Twitter. "When we negotiated with the [major] labels, we ended up on a price where we'd pay them a higher royalty rate in compensation for this," he tells Rolling Stone. "but it was clearly something that was not working.

"This is really simple — if artists believe we're not paying, because we're not paying for it directly, and there was an indirect way we negotiated, and that doesn't work, then we wanted to fix it," he adds. "We wanted for it to be the right thing for the artists." An Apple spokesperson declined to specify artist compensation details to Rolling Stone.

Apple Music, which will launch June 30th, is the long-awaited response to music-streaming rivals such as Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, Rdio and Rhapsody. While Spotify has more than 75 million users, only 20 million of those pay $10 a month for premium subscriptions. Swift has argued strenuously against free, ad-supported music streaming, although she does offer much of her catalog via YouTube and Vevo; several major-label executives have also encouraged Spotify to limit the music available on its free service.

It's unclear whether the majority of music consumers, trained for 15 years to expect free music online, will fully shift to a pay model — but record execs are optimistic. "Our hope is Apple converts its download base into subscriptions, and Spotify continues to grow in the exponential [way] that it's going," says a source at a major label. "If those two things happen together, you really are starting to talk about a new golden age of music."

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Elton John, Drake, Van Halen Lead Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival

Elton John, Drake, Van Halen Lead Atlanta's Music Midtown Festival:

Elton John, Drake, Van Halen and Sam Smith have been recruited to headline this year's Music Midtown Festival, which will invade Atlanta's Piedmont Park on September 18th and 19th. Run the Jewels, Alice in Chains, Jenny Lewis, Hozier, Lenny Kravitz, Billy Idol, Tove Lo and Icona Pop will also perform at the fest. Tickets for this year's Music Midtown go on sale June 27th at 10 a.m. EST at the fest's official site and Live Nation.

Rounding out the initial lineup announcement are August Alsina, Kodaline, Panic! at the Disco, the Airborne Toxic Event, Catfish and the Bottlemen, X Ambassadors and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, with festival organizers promising more acts will be announced in the future. This year's fest will also see the addition of a new fourth stage, allowing even more acts to perform at the two-day event.

Founded in 1994, Music Midtown ran from its inaugural year until 2005. Following a five-year hiatus, the festival returned as a one-day event in 2011. The following year, Music Midtown again expanded to two days, a Friday and Saturday in September. Last year's fest featured performances by Jack White, Eminem, Lorde, Zac Brown Band and more.

"Every year we strive to take the festival to a new level and this year is certainly no exception," Live Nation Atlanta president Peter Conlon said in a statement. "With the addition of a fourth stage and this year's stellar line-up, I think we have done it again!"

Festival organizers have also released an announcement video with more details.

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'Titanic,' 'Avatar' Composer James Horner Dead at 61

'Titanic,' 'Avatar' Composer James Horner Dead at 61:

James Horner, the Academy Award-winning film composer responsible for the unforgettable scores from films like Titanic, Braveheart and Avatar, died Monday in a plane crash outside Santa Barbara, California. He was 61. While early reports stated that a single-engine plane owned by the composer had crashed into a remote area, it was later confirmed that Horner was piloting the plane and was the crash's lone fatality.

"We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent," Horner's assistant Sylvia Patrycja wrote on Facebook (via The Hollywood Reporter). "He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road."

Like many of Hollywood's greatest talents, Horner established himself by working on Roger Corman-produced films – 1979's The Lady in Red and 1980's Humanoids From the Deep and Battle Beyond the Stars feature Horner's earliest film scores. However, by 1981, Horner quickly morphed into an in-demand composer, working on Oliver Stone's The Hand and the cult horror film Wolfen. Composer credits soon followed on films like 48 Hours and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Known for his emotion-stirring, string-laden epic scores, Horner worked over 100 films by the time of his death, including the memorable themes from Field of Dreams, An American Tail, Sneakers, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Apollo 13, A Perfect Storm, Troy and dozens more. Horner also scored Francis Ford Coppola's Michael Jackson sci-fi short Captain EO.

Horner won a pair of Oscars, both for his work on Titanic, which became the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time: Best Original Score and Best Original Song (with lyricist Will Jennings) for Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Horner was nominated for 10 Academy Awards over his illustrious career. The musician was also a four-time Grammy winner and 11-time nominee, collecting two trophies for "My Heart Will Go On" as well as a Song of the Year Grammy in 1988 for co-writing An American Tail's "Somewhere Out There," performed by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram.

A longtime collaborator of James Cameron's – Horner's scores adorn the two highest-grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic – Horner was tabbed to work on the upcoming Avatar sequels. He also had a pair of scores for domestically released films on the way in 2015: The boxing drama Southpaw and the coal mining saga The 33.

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