10 Years On

Ten years ago this week


April 2 to 8, 1997

The Wallflowers, led by Jakob 'son of Bob' Dylan, leap more than 50 places to No 5 in the US albums chart with Bringing Down The Horse, on its way to shifting more than two million copies - thereby out-selling any record ever released by Dylan senior.

Adam Cohen, son of Leonard, signs a solo deal with his dad's label, Columbia.

Prince holds an elaborate party in Manhattan after his triple album Emancipation is certified double-platinum, suggesting it has sold two million copies - although an independent tracking organisation claims only 670,000 have been shipped to retailers. The discrepancy is explained by a previously little-known rule of the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA), who sheepishly admit that, for awards purposes, a double album counts as two sales, a triple as three, etc, to provide labels with a fresh marketing peg.

A university in Amsterdam announces that its next academic year will offer a degree course in Madonna studies.

Just a week after a similar case involving Motley Crue is thrown out of court, an Arizona judge begins legal action claiming his hearing was permanently damaged at a live concert. The performer? Barry Manilow.

Joni Mitchell has a tearful reunion with Kilauren Gibb, the daughter she gave up for adoption 32 years earlier.

Cuba Gooding Jnr's Best Supporting Actor win at the Oscars for Jerry Maguire has an unlikely knock-on effect for his father's career. Gooding Snr, former lead singer of 70s soul band Main Ingredient and subsequently an unsuccessful solo act on Motown, reveals that his low-key concerts in California have all sold out in the wake of the Academy Awards.

Warner Brothers confirm they are in talks with Nicolas Cage to play Superman in a revived Man Of Steel franchise.

Val Kilmer, paid $8 million for his lead role in the movie version of The Saint, tells journalists he bowed out of the Batman franchise after just one film to further his ascent on Hollywood's A-list. "I've moved into a league of the more proven," he boasts.

Beat poet Allen Ginsberg dies, aged 70.

Film producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, the creator of Godzilla, dies of a stroke, aged 86. His career took in 220 films, including six with director Akira Kurosawa.

Two American TV commercials featuring NYPD Blue star Denniz Frantz are blocked from transmission by the NBC network, who claim the ads, for Cadillac cars and Diet Pepsi, show the actor "in a persona too close to his well-known television character" - ie, from a show broadcast by their bitter rivals ABC.

The Writers Guild of America announces corrections to the official credits of more than two dozen movies from the 50s, belatedly acknowledging screenwriters forced to work under pseudonyms after being blacklisted by Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist witch-hunts.

Peter Sellers and Charlie Chaplin are the only UK-born performers in an Entertainment Weekly critics' survey of the 30 greatest deceased comedy acts.

Irish author Frank McCourt is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his book Angela's Ashes.

The Walt Disney company bows to overwhelming public pressure and accusations of greed-mongering by reinstating a policy of discounted admissions to its theme parks for disabled children.

Terry Staunton


Editor's Letter

Robert Wyatt interviewed: "I'm not a born rebel..."

Today (January 28, 2015), social media reliably informs me that Robert Wyatt is 70, which seems a reasonable justification for reposting this long and, I hope, interesting transcript of an interview I did with him at home in Louth back in 2007, a little before the marvellous “Comicopera” was...