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‘Playboy’ founder Hugh Hefner dead at 91

Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 11:23 PM

Five Fast Facts: Hugh Hefner

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at age 91. Playboy confirmed the news on Twitter.

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“Playboy” confirmed the death was of natural causes in a statement to E! News and other outlets:

“Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1952 introduced the world to “Playboy” magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes in his home, surrounded by loved ones. He was 91 years old.”

Hugh Hefner poses at Playboy's 60th Anniversary special event on January 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Hefner died at age 91 in 2017.(Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy/Getty Images for Playboy)

Hefner’s son and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, Cooper Hefner, issued the following statement:

“My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom. He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history. He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston and all of us at Playboy Enterprises.

Born in 1926 in Chicago, Hefner joined the Army as an infantry clerk after he graduated high school in 1944. He created cartoons for Army newspapers. After serving in World War II, he was honorably discharged in 1946.

Started in 1953, “Playboy” initially included short stories and cartoons, but eventually became famous and synonymous with nude centerfold photographs. Famously, the publication’s first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe.

The publication reached a height in the 1970s when it had more than 7 million readers. Its success made Hefner synonymous with silk robes, pipes and extravagant parties with women in bow-ties and bunny ears.

Although the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles is the most famous, the original mansion was bought in Chicago in 1960. 

Reactions to Hefner’s death have poured in on social media:

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The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' turns 50

Published: Thursday, June 01, 2017 @ 6:01 AM

7 Things You Didn't Know About the Beatles

As much as we’d love to say “it was 50 years ago today” that Sgt. Pepper caused a musical revolution, the half-century anniversary of the Beatles’ beloved, revered and eternally-played “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album is technically June 2, a week after its rush-release in the band’s native U.K.

But commemorating what is often considered the quartet’s most musically radical and compelling release, the definitive work that signaled newfound maturity hinted at a year earlier on “Revolver,” is a multi-day staging. And so the celebration begins.

>> PHOTOS: The Beatles' 1964 debut on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

Here are a few tidbits that casual fans might not know about the 13-song album:

  • In 1968, it became the first rock album to win the album of the year Grammy, one of four the Beatles earned that year.
  • Although “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were two of the first songs the band recorded for the “Sgt. Pepper” sessions, they did not make the final album cut and were instead released as a double A-side single.
  • According to the Recording Industry Association of America, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has sold more than 11 million copies.
  • The famous final chord on “A Day in the Life” is an E major. David Crosby happened to be at Abbey Road studios during the recording of the song and told Filter magazine, “I was high as a kite…by the time it got to the end of that piano chord, man, my brains were on the floor.”

On May 26, a reissue of “Sgt. Pepper” arrived in four configurations: a six-disc “super deluxe” edition; a two-CD set; a two-LP set; and a single disc.

>> Beatles’ rare outtake from ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions released

The “super deluxe” version retails for $149.98 and contains 100 minutes of outtakes, many previously unheard or unreleased, as well as a special mono mix with extra tracks. A DVD of a “Sgt. Pepper” documentary is also included, along with a 114-page booklet, posters and a replica insert from the original album release.

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The project was overseen by Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles sound maestro George Martin. Giles has plenty of Beatles cred, as he was heavily involved in the band’s Cirque du Soleil masterpiece, “Love”; remastered the 2016 “Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” which was tied to Ron Howard’s documentary, “Eight Days a Week”; and worked on Paul McCartney’s 2013 album, “New.”

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‘Drive My Car’: Paul McCartney climbs behind wheel for ‘Carpool Karaoke’

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 9:04 AM

Carpool Karaoke in London with Paul McCartney.
Craig Sugden/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting
Carpool Karaoke in London with Paul McCartney.(Craig Sugden/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting)

James Corden has hitched a ride with divas, broadway stars and rockers. Now he’s tapped a music legend to help him navigate the roads as they sing a hit song or two. 

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Paul McCartney is the latest to “Help” a mate get through traffic, and the teaser spot for the upcoming bit shows the pair singing “Drive My Car,” Variety reported. There is no word on what the duo sings or if Ringo gets in on the act for “Carpool Karaoke.” 

The segment is scheduled to air this week, but no exact date was given. Corden is in London filming a series of episodes of “The Late, Late Show,” WCBS reported

Related video: 

7 Things You Didn't Know About the Beatles

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Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr reunite in studio

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 1:19 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 1:19 PM


            Sir Paul McCartney (L) and inductee Ringo Starr perform onstage during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Sir Paul McCartney (L) and inductee Ringo Starr perform onstage during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The two surviving members of the Beatles came together in a studio on Sunday for their first recording session together in seven years, according to a social media post from drummer Ringo Starr.

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"Thanks for coming over, man, and playing great bass," Starr wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of himself laughing with Paul McCartney. "I love you, man. Peace and love."

Starr's publicist confirmed to Billboard that McCartney was in the studio to contribute to Starr's upcoming album. The album is set for release this year, although no date has been announced, the site reported.

Starr also shared an image of the pair posing with Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, Starr's brother-in-law.

"What a day I'm having," he wrote.

Starr shared the photos just days after TMZ reported that McCartney, Starr, Walsh, actor Tom Hanks and musician Dave Grohl went to dinner together in Santa Monica.

Starr and McCartney last collaborated on the drummer's 2010 LP "Y Not," according to Rolling Stone. McCartney sings on the song "Walk With You" and plays bass on "Peace Dream."

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Spotify should ban Chris Brown, Eminem, others after R. Kelly music ban, women’s group says

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 3:21 PM

Recording artist Chris Brown attends a basketball game at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Brown is another artists a women’s group wants Spotify to ban after the music streaming service banned R. Kelly songs from its playlists recently.
Sean M. Haffey/BIG3/Getty Images
Recording artist Chris Brown attends a basketball game at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Brown is another artists a women’s group wants Spotify to ban after the music streaming service banned R. Kelly songs from its playlists recently.(Sean M. Haffey/BIG3/Getty Images)

Women’s advocacy group Ultraviolet wants Spotify to extend its artist ban beyond R. Kelly and XXXTentacion to other musicians who have been accused of sexual misconduct, including Chris Brown, Nelly, Eminem, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Don Henley, Steven Tyler and 6ix9ine.

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“[These] two men are not the only abusers on your platform. We implore you to take a deeper look at the artists you promote,” the organization’s executive director Shaunna Thomas wrote in an open letter Monday to Spotify head Daniel Ek. “Every time a famous individual continues to be glorified despite allegations of abuse, we wrongly perpetuate silence by showing survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence that there will be no consequences for abuse,” the group wrote. “That has a cultural effect far beyond one individual artist.”

Last week, Spotify announced a new policy to curb content that “expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.”

>> Related: Spotify removes R. Kelly music from playlists

The policy change went into effect following a #MuteRKelly social media movement sparked by the multiple allegations of sex abuse against the artist. Spotify no longer actively promotes the artist’s music, though the songs are still available on the service.

As of May 10, Kelly’s music was no longer be available on the site’s editorial or algorithmic playlists, including Discover Weekly, New Music Friday, RapCaviar and any of the platform’s popular genre- or mood-based playlists.

Apple Music and Pandora followed suit.

>> Related: #MeToo: A timeline of 2018’s sexual harassment scandals

The Grammy-winning artist has been accused of many crimes over the years and allegedly “held women against their will in a cult” at his homes in two cities, including one in metro Atlanta. He has denied the accusations and is currently not facing any charges. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography.

>> Related: Why do black people still listen to R. Kelly?

In a statement to Billboard, Spotify said, "We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions—what we choose to program—to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

In response to the platform changes, Kelly’s team told BuzzFeed News that Spotify’s “actions are without merit” and are “based on false and unproven allegations.”

Some of the musicians listed by Ultraviolet have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or domestic violence, but not all of them have been charged with a crime.

>> Related: R. Kelly off Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora playlists but remains on Atlanta radio stations

The group, which was founded in 2012, applauded Spotify’s hate content and hateful conduct policy and hopes the open letter will urge other streaming platforms to follow Spotify’s lead.

Read Ultraviolet’s open letter to Spotify.

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