Exclusive: Pacino and Bening Spar in “Danny Collins”

  Al Pacino is a legendary rock star. Annette Bening is a hotel manager who gives him the brush-off. The two have a friendly — but decidedly rocky — first meeting in this exclusive clip from their new movie Danny Collins, opening March 20. Pacino plays the title character, who’s been living off the glory (and royalties) of his greatest hits for decades. But then a collector finds a letter written to Danny by John Lennon in 1971 — a …

Paul Revere: That Was the Rocker’s Real Name

Boomers are accustomed to rock musicians’ colorful stage names, from Ringo Starr (real name Richard Starkey) to Sting (Gordon Sumner). That’s why it’s surprising to discover that the leader of the campy, colorful Paul Revere and the Raiders actually used the one on his birth certificate, at least the first and middle parts. Dressing in Revolutionary War-style frock coats, breeches, knee-high leather boots and tri-corner hats, Paul Revere, who passed away on Oct. 4 at age 76 in Sun Valley, …

‘Stairway to Heaven’ and 5 Other Alleged Song Ripoffs

For boomers who grew up playing air guitar to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” it’s mind-blowing to think that the 1971 classic rock standard might actually have been copied from another song. Lawyers for the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy California reportedly are planning to file a suit claiming that the opening riff in “Stairway” was ripped off from Spirit’s considerably less famous 1968 song “Taurus.” Thanks to a helpful YouTuber, you can listen to a comparison between …

J.J. Cale: Rock Stars Made His Songs Into Hits

Somehow, J.J. Cale never became a rock superstar, even though the great Eric Clapton once confessed that he looked up to the Tulsa-born guitarist and songwriter as a role model and Neil Young ranked his 1972 rock classic “Crazy Mama” as the one song that most shaped his own songwriting. That superstardom bypassed Cale, who died on July 26 at age 74 in La Jolla, Calif., undoubtedly had something to do with fate but probably more to do with principles. …

‘Springsteen & I': A Love Letter to The Boss

I suppose it goes without saying that your level of enjoyment of the new documentary Springsteen & I, which premiered Monday night in movie theaters and screens again in select cities on July 30, will be in direct correlation to your proximity to New Jersey and/or your ability to recite all the lyrics to “Rosalita.” As I fall into that category of fist-pumping fans who have attended dozens of Bruce Springsteen concerts, I had a great time watching it. But it …

Can’t Help Falling in Love with Elvis, 35 Years Later

As usual, my sister Lynda had to go and ruin everything. August 16, 1977, had started off just fine. Kindergarten was still a week away. My father had a rare day off from the Memphis Police homicide unit. And we were moving into our new home, the suburban “upstairs-downstairs” house I had always wanted. I was bumping on my butt down those newly-carpeted dream stairs when Lynda came galloping over me with the news she’d just heard on the radio: …