Paul Williams Comes Clean in ‘Gratitude & Trust’

“We met in Robert Mitchum’s bedroom in 1981 or 1982.” That’s Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Paul Williams, describing his first — and disastrous — encounter with comedy writer Tracey Jackson, the co-author of his new book, Gratitude & Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life. “I was drunk,” admits Williams, “and Tracey walked into the bedroom where Mitchum and I were getting high. (I’m 24 years sober now, but in those days I would never pass up a little …

Willie Nelson’s Acoustic Exclusive Premieres on AARP

Willie Nelson‘s newest album, Band of Brothers, comes out on Tuesday, but he premieres this acoustic version of the title track exclusively on AARP’s YouTube channel today through Wednesday. Having released four albums since February 2012, Nelson is watching his career blossom in a way that must be the envy of  artists half his age: The Desperado-in-Chief of the “outlaw country music scene” turned 81 on April 29. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter Because Band of Brothers features 14 new …

Keith Richards to Publish Children’s Book About His First Guitar

Who put the first paintbrush in the hands of Leonardo da Vinci? The stylus in the hands of Auguste Rodin? The guitar in the hands of Keith Richards? We may never know the first two. But with the news that Richards will publish a children’s book about his first guitar on September 9, we can pinpoint the third: It was Theodore Augustus Dupree, Richards’s maternal grandfather. The culture-shaping moment when that handoff occurred will now be captured by Richards in …

How Does Life Get Better After 50? You Tell Us!

The year I turned 50, I notched my fastest time ever in the Sea Gull Century – a yearly 100-mile bike ride on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that I had tackled for more than a decade. Was I a lean, mean cycling machine that year? Far from it! (See team jersey, right.) Rather, I think it took me that long to develop the mental toughness not to let the ride’s length intimidate me. “Hmm,” I thought, admiring my total time – …

Woman on Fire: Louise Penny Hits #1

How should a red-blooded American editor react when the Canadian queen of the murder mystery throws herself in his lap? If you’re me (left) and the setting is New York’s Book Expo last June, you get over your shock fast enough to plant a big, sloppy kiss on novelist Louise Penny’s cheek (see mortifying evidence below). Book buyers did much the same thing on Sunday the 15th, when they elevated Penny’s ninth Inspector Gamache thriller — the cerebral and satisfying …

Linda Ronstadt Discloses Her Battle With Parkinson’s Disease

Legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, 67, told AARP today that she “can’t sing a note” because she suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosed eight months ago, Ronstadt began to show symptoms as long as eight years ago. But she ascribed her inability to sing to a tick bite (“my health has never recovered since then”), and believed the shaking in her hands resulted from shoulder surgery. In a wide-ranging interview with AARP’s music writer Alanna Nash, Ronstadt revealed how she discovered that …