In This Issue, we look at two tectonic movements of our culture: pop music and the cult of supermodels. Playboy Music 1996 features our readers' poll (Hootie is this year's big fish) and examines a global industry that keeps the hits coming--sometimes despite itself. Take Alanis Morissette (but return her, please). As Charles Young relates in Alanis Morissette Is a Big Deal, she was the surprise star of last year with her harrowing single about sexual betrayal, You Oughta Know. Young wishes her more success--not more jerky boyfriends. To find new talent before it finds them, record labels are turning to college radio. In The Rise of Radio U. (art by John Craig), Mark Jannot introduces junior air jocks who are more than ham radio operators with degrees. Thanks to Associate Editor Barbara Nellis for pulling together our coverage.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478). May 1996. Volume 43, Number 5. Published Monthly By Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611, Subscriptions: U.S $29.97 For 12 Issues, Canada, $43.97 For 12 Issues. All Other Foreign, $45 U.S. Currency Only. For New And Renewal Orders And Change Of Address, Send To Playboy Subscriptions, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Please Allow 6--8 Weeks For Processing. For Change Of Address, Send New And Old Addresses And Allow 45 Days For Change. Postmaster Send Form 3579 To Playboy, P.O. Box 2007. Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Advertising: New York: 730 Fifth Avenue, New York 10019 (212-261-5000). Chicago: 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611 (312-751-8000). West Coast: Sd Media. 2001 Wilshire Boulevard. Suite 200. Santa Monica, Ca 90403 (310-264-7575); Southeast: Coleman & Bentz. Inc. 4651 Roswell Road Ne, Atlanta, Ga 30342 (404-256-3800); Boston: Northeast Media Sales, 8 Faneul Hall Marketplace, Boston 02109 (617-973-5050). For Subscription Inquiries. Call 800-999-4438.
R. Kelly is a star of contemporary R&B. As a gifted singer, songwriter and producer, his first two albums were both platinum successes. He composed You Are Not Alone, arguably the best song on Michael Jackson's History. Yet the Chicagoan's work has often been marred by weak lyrics and bouts of bad taste that would make even Luther Campbell blush. On his self-titled third effort, R. Kelly (Jive), he tones down his lyrical excesses. Still, as song titles Tempo Slow, Hump Bounce and Religious Love suggest, Kelly is no poet. No, this man's primary gift is for silky, caressing backing tracks. There is a sensuousness to Kelly's approach that offsets his strident vocals, which alternate between the gruff cadences of a preacher and the cool timbres of a true love-man balladeer. It's appropriate, then, that the standout track of this 16-cut collection is Down Low (Nobody Has to Know), a song with Ronnie and Ernest Isley, who have long specialized in singing about love and lust.
The soundtrack for Waiting to Exhale (Arista) celebrates black divas. Genius Aretha Franklin and crossover queen Whitney Houston need no introductions, but Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Toni Braxton might. Keyed to Houston's starring role in the movie and showcasing the above performers as well as TLC, SWV, Mary J. Blige and Brandy, Exhale celebrates a past and future filled with rich voices. Premiere writer and producer Babyface Edmonds provides material that suits and challenges the talents he brings together. The result is a stronger and more varied album than most of the singers could manage on their own, as well as a chance for us to luxuriate in gorgeous music.
NOFX sent me a poster of some guy getting cozy with a sheep. So how could I not review the group's Heavy Petting Zoo (Epitaph)? Punk rock in the southern California tradition of the Descendants and the Dickies, NOFX actually sings harmony and mixes thrash-speed chords with rhythm riffs and passages of ska. More overtly humorous than Rancid, less teenybop than Green Day, NOFX could be the next punk threat on the charts. Even if it isn't, I enjoy playing this album loud.
Jo Carol Pierce is a songwriting actress from Austin who would be called a performance artist if she lived in New York or Los Angeles. So call her a displaced country singer with patter. The patter has been worked into a full-fledged theater piece. For all the raconteur wit of songs like You Bother Me and Does God Have Us by the Twat or What? it's the patter that makes Bad Girls Upset by the Truth (Monkey Hill) an inspiring exploration of what it might mean to serve Jesus by taking a new man to bed every week. If no bed is available, the backseat of your car will do just fine. (804 Spain St., New Orleans, LA 70117.)
In between yoga, meditation and visiting Amazonian shamans, Sting has concocted another eclectic solo album. Mercury Falling (A&M) is both his most tuneful and his most challenging work since the Police. Bittersweet Celtic and Brazilian-style melodies are propelled by a Stax-like pulse, supplemented by the original Memphis Horns. I Was Brought to My Senses and You Still Touch Me are ruminations on death and rebirth, while I Hung My Head's loopy time changes suggest Monk or Mingus. Finally, Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot is as fine a tune as Every Breath You Take.
Most of the blues albums that cross my CD player tend to follow trails already blazed by Stevie Ray Vaughan or B.B. King. The newer albums have large elements of virtuosity and energy, but something seems to be missing--something like originality. So it was a surprising pleasure to discover Lookout! (Blacktop), an album of 16 original guitar instrumentals by Rick Holmstrom. Retro in taste, Holmstrom seems to have found a cave in 1956, slept for 40 years and emerged with his chops and his enthusiasm in top working order. Though virtuoso enough for guitar worshipers, he plays without the slightest influence of what white rock bands have been doing since the late Sixties. I say he knows what he likes and he plays it. Whether it's jump blues, early rock or swing, his phrasing always goes somewhere in service of the song. He always gets to the point in less than three minutes. And on Rub It, he does a slamming imitation of Lightnin' Hopkins.
Scots Pirates' Revolutionary Means (Schoolkids) is the third album by this Michigan supergroup. Fronted by the Rationals' Scott Morgan and including the Stooges' Scott Asheton and the Up's Gary Rasmussen, the CD applies high-energy rock to comparatively mellow adult concerns. The resulting tension enlivens Marijuana Wine, Dear Dear Diary and a couple of R&B covers. I Need Some Easy Money and the blistering, Stones-style You Got What You Wanted add contrast to the power anthems, 88 and Fuck the Violence. Morgan remains one of the great white soul voices of the Sixties. If the band still had the MC5's Fred Smith (as it did when it was called Sonic's Rendezvous Band), this would be the perfect inheritor of garage rock sensibility. Not that there's anything missing here, except maybe a way to get to hear it on the radio. But that's part of what makes Scots Pirates inspiring. They kick out the jams. (523 East Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. 313-994-8031.)
In 1995 the critics lined up to praise Jacky Terrasson's first U.S. album, which blended the lyricism of Keith Jarrett with the minimalist trio created by Ahmad Jamal. Now comes Reach (Blue Note), on which the beguiling Paris-bred pianist extends his range both forward and back. He opens with an homage to Monk and closes with a bow to Bud Powell. He also deemphasizes his clever but ultimately confining arrangements to focus on deeper and more satisfying improvisations. Terrasson's maturation makes Reach a success.
Charles Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse) is by far the funkiest of all Sixties jazz masterpieces newly reissued on CD. Mingus' monstrously beautiful album uses gospel growls, Latin riffs, funk bass lines and Ellingtonian piano (courtesy of Jaki Byard and Mingus himself) to revel in every aspect of black spiritual life.
Whether you call it acid jazz or trip hop, there's a vibe coming out of Europe that samples rap, jazz, techno, rock and soul. The Rebirth of Cool, Volume III (Fourth & B'way) collects the U.K.'s Tricky and Portishead, France's MC Solaar, Germany's Kruder & Dorfmeister and our own Beastie Boys to give coherence to an international trend. A few connections seem tenuous, but overall, this CD makes you feel mellow, smart and, of course, very cool.
Alfred Schnittke has emerged as one of Russia's best contemporary composers. His Music for Cello and Piano (Ode) is simple and enchanting--even at its most melancholy. A century ago Viennese composer Alexander Zemlinsky wrote exquisite songs at the twilight of the Hapsburg empire. His Lieder aus dem Nachlass (Sony Classical) may at first seem aloof or restrained, but the songs reveal their emotional intensity on subsequent listens.
At long last, you have a chance to revel in tawdry gossip about the seamy sex lives of stars--and not feel the least bit ashamed. Thanks to Gloria Steinem and some other unlikely participants, you can read some of the slimiest nonfiction ever published and still feel noble, as if you'd picked up a copy of It Takes a Village. Hey, you can feel better than noble. You can feel like a feminist.
As a tale of reckless passion between a small-town high school teacher (Dennis Hopper) and his sexiest pupil (Amy Locane), Carried Away (Fine Line) has the nice distinction of unfolding in unexpected directions. It is erotic, adult and intelligent in its treatment of the teacher, whose true love is another teacher (Amy Irving), the widow of his best friend. The movie was adapted from a Jim Harrison novel called Farmer and directed by Brazilian-born Bruno Barreto (whose 1978 Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands was a hit). For Locane, this movie should provide a major career boost. Often nude, she is a knockout as the down-home vamp who leads her teacher into several steamy indiscretions in a hayloft. Some equally provocative scenes between Hopper and Irving (who is married to Barreto) are augmented by Hopper's testy encounters with a local doctor (Hal Holbrook) and the wayward girl's vaguely menacing dad (Gary Busey). Carried Away is as straightforward and soulful as good country music. [rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Although country music isn't her bag, Ashley Judd, 27, is a sophisticated country girl making a bigtown splash. This member of the celebrated Judd family--with sister Wynonna and mother Naomi to sing her praises--steams up the current Heat as Val Kilmer's wife. She'll surface again as "a deeply troubled person" married to rogue cop Luke Perry in Normal Life, and she has a major role in the next John Grisham thriller, A Time to Kill. Added to that, she costars with her new best friend Mira Sorvino in an imminent HBO epic called Norma and Marilyn as the Norma Jean who ultimately became Marilyn Monroe (where Sorvino takes over). "We're two parts of a sort of dual role."
It's no surprise to Star Trek fanatics that Patrick Stewart loves a good science-fiction flick on video. "War of the Worlds was my favorite as a kid," recalls the man who boldly replaced William Shatner at the helm of the Starship Enterprise. "But Aliens is even better, because the horror builds without letting you off the hook for a second." Stewart also admits to being a sucker for rewinds of Shane ("the most grittily realistic Western ever"), Schindler's List ("a perfect film") and Searching for Bobby Fischer ("I wish I'd directed that one myself"). But his nod for best film of all time goes to On the Waterfront: "When I saw that one as a teen, it changed my entire life," he confesses. "Until then, my ambition in life was to marry Doris Day." Que sera, sera.
Last we checked, wasn't Al Green singing on the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction? Now The Gospel According to Al Green (Kino on Video) explores the life of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (including great footage of the Reverend Green and his Memphis church choir). Robert Mugge's 1984 vidbio also features such evergreens as Let's Stay Together and I Can't Get Next to You. . . . Contrary to Hollywood hype, computer-generated animation does not begin and end with Toy Story. Miramar, best known for its Mind's Eye series, has been at it for ten years--hence Decade, an anniversary collection of greatest hits. The program includes more than a dozen shorts (Technodance, a funky chorus line, remains tops) and music from, among others, Santana, Peter Gabriel and Philip Glass.
Who can forget a first impression? Movie fans can't--especially when a favorite film character makes a memorable entrance. Here are a few lasting firsts: Gone With the Wind (1939): After hearing about him for half an hour, Scarlett finally spots dashing Rhett Butler--flashing that lusty smile--at the bottom of a winding staircase. Gable's greatest opener. Night Shift (1982): Dynamic Billy Blaze (Michael Keaton, in his big-screen debut) bursts into Henry Winkler's morgue playing air guitar and humming Jumpin' Jack Flash. He's an instant hit. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): That hat, that gun, that whip: Spielberg teases us with a sequence of mysterious rearview silhouettes before finally revealing the face of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). King Kong (1933): You can just barely make out something awesome--and very, very large--coming through those trees, but nothing can prepare you for the monkey mug Fay Wray faces.
Voyager's special edition of Seven ($125) should satisfy (1) Brad Pitt fans and (2) psychos. To enhance the movie's serial-killer plot, the platter includes close-ups of crime-scene photos staged for the film, along with still-frame shots of clues left by the killer. Also included: deleted scenes, outtakes and other buried treasures for Pitt fanatics.... Back in the days when Saturday Night Live was, uh, funny, nothing beat its sharp-witted TV-commercial parodies. Now Lumivision has packed together nearly three dozen of the show's funniest spots in SNL Goes Commercial ($29.95). Included: Lily Tomlin's Ernestine ragging on the phone company; Kevin Nealon pitching Chia Head, a hair-growth product; Eddie Murphy as Velvet Jones, selling his Harlequin romances (including Kicked in the Butt by Love), and as Buckwheat, plugging Our Gang Records ("unce, tice, ee times a lay-duh"); track star John Belushi pushing Little Chocolate Donuts; and Gilda Radner for Jewess Jeans. Conspicuously missing from the disc is one of our faves: "Pussy Whip, the dessert topping for cats."
Joseph Wambaugh tops this spring's books with a wild southern California saga about yachting, espionage, the Americas Cup and murder. In Floaters (Bantam), he dazzles with his intimate knowledge of police life, black humor, raunchy dialogue and a cast of Nineties choirboys. The story concerns a complicated plot to sabotage Team New Zealand, which has become mixed up with the murder of a local prostitute by her pimp. The best scenes take place at the raucous parties of the Americas Cup Drinking Club, a sailors' bash hosted by a different San Diego bar each week.
How can I use the term pussy-whipped and stay solvent? No one is supposed to mention those words today. Saying them aloud in the workplace could get you fired, retired, sued and screwed. But say them with feeling anyway: pussy-whipped, a pungent phrase that has been banned from our dictionaries for years because of pressure from arbiters of the feminist persuasion.
Your advice in March to the female reader who wanted to buy a vibrator was good, but as a woman who has enjoyed them for years (with and without a lover), I thought you could have offered more information. First, before you buy a vibrator, make sure it fits your lover's hand (and, of course, your own). Large vibrators may look impressive, but they're clumsy. Second, a thinner head will provide a more intense vibration, as will a head that sits on a stem so that the vibrator resembles a handheld mixer. Third, if you've never used a vibrator before, start with one that's battery-powered. Plug-in vibrators can be quite extreme. Finally, I've found that hard plastic vibrators are best for clitoral stimulation. But this type isn't good for insertion because it doesn't conform to the shape of the vagina. Latex dildos are better for that, but they don't offer as much stimulation. Everything is a trade-off.--R.J., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
First I took a bandanna and affixed it as a blindfold. Then I went to the freezer and found two Popsicles. I took the tip of the orange Popsicle and touched it to her clit. She giggled and squirmed and guessed 'Ice?' I said, 'Nope, keep guessing.' After I stroked it along her outer lips and back up to her clit, she said she still couldn't guess. That's when I took the entire Popsicle and thrust it into her. She gasped and ground her hips against my hand. I slowly pulled the Popsicle out and inserted it into my mouth. Her juices were dripping by now, and so was the Popsicle. It tasted heavenly. She said, 'Do that again, please!' through excited gasps. I did it again and again, and she squirmed in pleasure. This time she said, 'What the hell is that?' I put it to her lips and said, 'Taste.' While she sucked on the orange Popsicle, I continued fucking her with the second one. Eventually I had to clean up: Kissing her, I worked my way up her thighs to her pussy. The tastes combined to make a sweet, tangy flavor that was like nothing I'd ever experienced. It was simply delicious. She came like an avalanche. It seems that the cold from the Popsicles had numbed her inside, but when my tongue entered her, it heated her up so fast she couldn't control herself."
When Congress began making noise about censoring "filth and indecency" on the Internet, Silicon Valley responded with $50 programs that prevent underage Net surfers from accessing adult material. The most popular of these, Surfwatch, works by restricting access to a list of 2100 sexually oriented online sites (including Playboy's) and by blocking thousands of sites that contain terms such as sex, porn, intercourse, penis, vagina, smut, blowjob, erotic, fuck or XXX in their addresses. When a user tries to reach a restricted site, the filter returns the message Blocked by Surfwatch and an otherwise blank screen.
Even at the age of 75, there's something childlike about Ray Bradbury. He bounces with enthusiasm, he nearly always wears shorts and his homes are stocked with toys--from the statue of Bullwinkle that presides over the basement of his Los Angeles home to the nine-foot dinosaur that occupies its own bed at his desert hideaway.
Sari Locker is an expert on sex--or as expert as one can be at the age of 25. Reviews of her recent book, Mindblowing Sex in the Real World, hailed her, inevitably, as the Dr. Ruth of Generation X. With a master's in human sexuality education from Penn, she also landed her own TV show (Late Date With Sari now airs nightly on Lifetime). In person, this attractive single woman is brash about her early achievements. "My youth makes me more appealing," she says. "What other 25-year-old knows this much about sex and has the credentials to prove it? Some people who write about sex even try to lie about their age to sound younger." But Locker can also be self-effacing. "What I regret about my book was that I used the old 'It's not the size of the ship' cliché," she says. "Penis size does matter. I should have talked about how to deal with it." Most important, she has lectured to, and spoken with, thousands of college students in the line of duty. She has plenty of anecdotal information about what gives her generation its libidinal twitch. Associate Editor Christopher Napolitano met Locker in New York City for a spirited conversation.
Prepare to be electrified. You won't be the first. When Prince heard Carmen Electra sing in 1991 he went into Electra shock, in stantly signing her to a recording contract. His Purplitud's taste in sizzling female protégées is as pronounced as ever. Carmen, 24, has a new stage show to follow Erotic City, her first one, plus a new CD, Carmen Electra II, and a video (based on the new stage show), Skin Tight. She's a star who started early. At five she won dance competitions, shimmying to Rod Stewart's Da Ya Think I'm Sexy? One judge wrote, "Too sexy for her age." She won anyway. Carmen also won the Baby Miss USA pageant, and then, after excelling at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, went West to seek fame. A Princely talent scout saw her in a nightclub and said, "I like your look. Do you sing?" An hour later Carmen sang for the Purple One, who became her patron and producer. "But not my lover," she says, "no matter what you may have heard." No, he simply advises, Carmen magnetizes, and together they succeed. That's what friends are all about, isn't it?
Well, he is a rare one, Mr. Gingrich is. But you have to admit, it takes a crew as gormless as the Washington press corps to take him seriously. The man is without question the single silliest public official east of the Texas legislature.
The great thing about being a rock star (besides the groupies) is that you can dress louder than your music. Just as the navy blue suit is the mark of a businessman, flashy fashions say rocker all the way. "The artists who dress the best are those who succeed in expressing their personality through the clothes they wear," says designer Gianni Versace. Some go for outrageous (Lenny Kravitz in skintight silver lamé or Bono in top-to-toe leather), some prefer slick (Boyz II Men in their matching ensembles) and others go for all-out attitude (e.g., the antifashion statements of Alice in Chains or Soundgarden). Regardless, plenty of mainstream fashion trends debut on concert stages. To give you an idea of who's wearing what, we went to see some of today's top musicians. Here's the buzz.
In 1980 Playboy Contributing Photographer Richard Fegley was handed an irresistible assignment: to photograph 12 beautiful women in equally breathtaking settings, from the beaches of Mexico to the boot of a black Pierce-Arrow. Among the standout images in the collection (previewed in the July 1982 Playboy) is this captivating shot of 1978 Play-mate of the Year Debra Jo Fondren. So where's the lush exotic backdrop? Said Fegley: "Debra Jo is her own location."
As you already know, it's no longer enough to have a kick-ass stereo. You need a home theater--complete with a large-screen TV and dramatic surround sound to rival that of a Multiplex. Fortunately, you don't have to sacrifice your music for movies. The best home theater components handle the apocalyptic explosions of Terminator 2 and the supple sonorities of a Stan Getz sax solo equally well. As in the past, buying the appropriate gear simply means knowing the size of your listening room, the size of your bank balance and, most important, what sounds good to you.
Tommy Delaney is on the telephone, doing what he does best. "Mark!" he cries with his boundless enthusiasm. "What's up, bro? I bet you're still reeling from the interview. Dude, how great was that I had my arm around Adrian Belew! How rad is that? Guy, again, don't even sweat it, because it was a pleasure. I hope to see the band with you sometime. Next time they're in New York, you'll have to come in and we'll go."
Honey, I'm home!" shouts Lorenzo Lamas, bursting through the door of his trailer and into the arms of his bride-to-be, Shauna Sand. "Darling," she replies, "you're filthy!" It's true: Lamas has been brawling (or acting in a brawl) on the set of his TV series, Renegade, and he is a mess. But Miss May won't let a litle grime stand between her and her fiancé. She plants a smooch on his dirty cheek.
The only thing a rock star likes more than a hot runaway single is a model girlfriend. And preferably one who hasn't yet been soiled by Motley Crue. These days, an internationally acknowledged beauty is a bigger indicator of success than a platinum record. In rock's adolescence, musicians seemed partial to the plentiful young groupies wearing feathered haircuts and Love's Baby Soft perfume. But things began to change with the fashion and rock meeting ground of Studio 54. Now rockers have many ways of seducing supermodels: They leave their phone numbers with bookers, hire the models to appear in videos or show up as welcome guests at agency parties. The fall and spring fashion shows are high points of the rutting season. The women on the runways seem to compete for the attention of the male celebs in the audience, and vice versa. VH1 even celebrated the marriage of fashion and music with a lavish television special that emphasized videos, but the most significant connection between models and (continued on page 112) Rock Stars and Supermodels (continued from page 108) rockers has occurred below the waistline. Historically, heavy metal dudes have fared best, perhaps because they have so many things in common with runway babes--like makeup and curling irons. Dolce & Gabbana. And high heels.
What goes around comes around, and the sonic dinosaur of the past decade--the turntable--has survived the rage for CDs to become a status symbol among audiophiles. One reason, of course, is the good news that artists such as Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins have their latest releases pressed on vinyl as well as on CD. (Pearl Jam's latest album, Vitalogy, sold more than 70,000 copies in LP format.) Another reason is that many music critics believe that LPs sound warmer and richer than CDs. Plus, there's something about a turntable that's sexy. When Robert Redford woos Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal, he plays mood music on a VPI turntable. The one shown here--VPI's TNT Series III model, with a unique drive system that features in idler pulley system--revolves the platter without noise or vibration. You know how much that matters when you're cranking the volume, listening to Eddie Vedder belt out Go.
Cynthia Myers can't believe the excitement her December 1968 pictorial still brings to her life. Hundreds of admirers line up for her autograph at public appearances. She's been selected as the official Playmate of an online Playboy fan club. And she has been cast in her first movie role in years, in a Western. "I'm twirling my six-shooter," she says, laughing. The Toledo, Ohio native now lives near Los Angeles with her teenage son, who just recently learned of his mother's fame. "My centerfold was on the kitchen table because I was autographing it for a Vietnam vet," Cynthia recalls. "My son asked, 'Is that you? That's cool!' Being a Playmate is cool, and it has been a special part of my life."
There were one hundred and seven of them, of all ages, shapes and sizes, from 25- and 30-year-olds in dresses that looked like they were made of Saran Wrap to a couple of big-beamed older types in pantsuits who could have been somebody's mother--and I mean somebody grown, with a goatee beard and a job at McDonald's. I was there to meet them when they came off the plane from Los Angeles, I and Peter Merchant, whose travel agency had arranged the whole weekend in partnership with a Beverly Hills concern. There were a couple other guys there too, eager beavers like J.J. Hotel, and the bad element, by which I mean Bud Withers specifically, who didn't want to cough up the 150 bucks for the buffet, the Malibu Beach party and the auction afterward. They were hoping for maybe a sniff of something gratis, but I was there to act as a sort of buffer and make sure that didn't happen.
We know them on a firstname basis--Cindy, Claudia, Elle. We know how much they make (a lot). We know how much they eat (tons, apparently, if we're to believe them). The only thing we don't know is exactly what they have to do with selling clothes. Yes, they're on television every night, sauntering down one runway or another, but to us their outfits are just blurs. (Something with ostrich feathers, maybe? No, vinyl.) Of course, we remember the see through stuff--but that's like remembering nothing at all, right? What we love is how they gaze at us and how they casually reveal their wealth of banked curves. We shiver when they display their various points of view. Whether designers will admit it or not--go ahead, lower their rates--supermodels are bigger than their day jobs. They are bigger than everything but our imagination. Who cares about fashion? It only gets in the way.
The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, the Eagles, Janis Joplin (singing Mercedes-Benz) and the Village People were some of the hot names in 1995. While such nostalgia makes people feel good, what does it say about the health of the music business? Record sales were flat, and 1995 was a year of unprecedented hiring and firing at all the major labels. Proven acts--Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna--tanked on the charts. But upstarts such as Alanis Morissette, Live, Hootie & the Blowfish and Foo Fighters had socko years. Still, they can't carry a major label. In fact, major labels have struggled to find ways to compete with the indies, movies, tours, television, CD-ROMs and all the other options open to anyone with dollars to spend.
When you buy a CD, you've been influenced--unwittingly or not--by an industry player, someone who made the moves to get the record to the store in the first place. Here are the managers, programmers, DJs and A&R guys who consistently hit the right chords:
Someone comes out of left field every year in the music biz and sells several gazillion copies of a record to a market that didn't exist before. One year, it's the Beatles. Another year, it's Right Said Fred. In 1995, it was Alanis Morissette. This inherent volatility makes the music biz an unreliable place to work. In no other business do you find consumers suddenly trying to read the meaning of their lives in the next big thing.
Students who worry they'll never use their college degree in the real world can take heart from the experience of Lou Dobbs. He majored in economics and wound up as anchor of CNN's "Moneyline," the cable network's evening financial news program. Dobbs claims to have made broadcasting his career choice because "it looked like a great deal of fun."
Ever wonder what kind of sound equipment great musicians listen to when they're not making music themselves? We asked a number of rock, country, soul, jazz and blues notables to name their personal playback and recording gear. Hit the power button.
It's about the most innovative development in cameras since the single-lens reflex. That's right--a new film format. Developed by a consortium of industry leaders, including Kodak, Fujifilm, Minolta and Nikon, Advanced Photo System combines pocket-size cameras similar to 35mm automatics with a new 24mm film that's packed with smart conveniences. When using an APS camera, for example, you can change the aspect ratio of photos from standard to wide to panoramic with each shot. You can also remove film in the middle of a roll (say, to switch from black and white to color). But best of all, APS film features a magnetic strip that records digital info related to lighting conditions, allowing processing equipment to adjust automatically for better-looking prints.
The Devils of Don Simpson--No Hollywood Producer Lived As Large As Don Simpson. His Friends Were Rich And Famous, His Successes Were Phenomenal. Unfortunately, So Were His Excesses, Which May Explain Why He Died At The Age Of 52. A Tale Of Agony And Ecstasy By Bernard Weinraub