10 Years On



February 26 to March 4, 1997

On the eve of the release of their album Pop, U2 announce details of their forthcoming PopMart tour, from a makeshift stage in the lingerie section of a K-Mart department store in downtown Manhattan. "We believe in trash, we believe in kitsch," The Edge tells reporters. "That's what we're all about at the moment."

In his first interview with the mainstream American press in over 10 years, Van Morrison tells Entertainment Weekly that US journalists' habit of mythologising him was behind his lengthy media silence. "When Tupelo Honey came out it had a horse on the sleeve, so the myth then was that I was living on a ranch and had horses on that ranch. I didn't have a ranch; I didn't have a horse. I don't have a farm, and I never will. I mean, this is all part of the fuckin' mythology. Let's get on with it, you know?''

Victor Willis, former lead singer and "cop" in The Village People, is arrested in Reno, Nevada, and charged with possession of 45 grammes of rock cocaine.

The widow of legendary jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker starts legal proceedings against Capitol Records, alleging the label "grossly undercalculated" payments for studio sessions stretching back more than 40 years. Also heading to court is producer and writer Johnny Jackson, who claims Death Row Records have failed to pay him royalties for his work on the Tupac Shakur track "All Eyez On Me".

Martin Scorsese receives a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute. The ceremony, hosted by Casino star Sharon Stone, features several gushing tributes, not least from Paul Sorvino (GoodFellas) who declares "it's like having Rembrandt in our midst." Dinner at the event consists of pasta e fagiole, lemon & garlic chicken, and Sicilian rum cake, all based on recipes by the director's late mother, Catherine.

The special edition of The Empire Strikes Back replaces the equally re-vamped Star Wars at the head of the US box office, in the same week that the first film finally leap-frogs over ET: The Extra Terrestrial as the biggest grossing movie in history. A Star Wars version of the Monopoly boardgame, limited to just 500,000 copies, sells out in a matter of hours.

Director David Lynch describes his first film in four years, Lost Highway, as a "21st century noir horror", and shrugs off the early bad reviews. Several journalists walk out in the middle of press screenings.

A collection of 32 "sketches" by James Dean goes under the hammer at a Hollywood auction. The pieces, all in blue ink on paper napkins, were scrawled by the late actor while drinking coffee at Googie's, a 1950s celeb hang-out on Sunset Strip. Auction house Butterflied & Butterfield expect the individual items to fetch anwhere between $600 and $3,500.

Johnny Depp receives blanket praise for his title role in Donnie Brasco, based on a true story of an FBI agent who spent years undercover with the Mob. Joe Pistone, the real fed, reveals that the actor stayed with him for weeks of research. "He absorbs so much, he got every little mannerism down, even a nervous cough I never realised I had. The guy's a sponge."

Rumours of a first new work for 30 years by reclusive author JD Salinger prove to be unfounded. The piece that initially started the hullabaloo turns out to be a short story originally published in 1965.

The Dr Seus children's classic, The Cat In The Hat, celebrates 40 years on the bookshelves.

Former heavyweight champion boxer Riddick Bowe walks out of a US Marine Corps Reserve training camp after just 11 days. His manager says he was missing his wife and five children, and "had become used to living a life of luxury."

Just days after scientists in Scotland announce the arrival of Dolly, the cloned sheep, US President Bill Clinton bars federal funding for research into human cloning.


Editor's Letter

The Fourth Uncut Playlist Of 2015

This week's big distraction has been what appears to be a crazy number of early Aphex Twin tracks accumulating on Soundcloud (I've added the link below). Among the new stuff, though, please try Bop English; the new solo project of James Petralli from White Denim.