10 Years On

Ten Years Ago This Week


April 9 to 15, 1997

Singer-songwriter Laura Nyro dies of ovarian cancer, aged 49. Although a much-respected cult figure in her own right, a handful of Nyro's songs became million-sellers when recorded by others, including Barbra Streisand ("Stoney End"), The Fifth Dimension ("Wedding Bell Blues", "Stoned Soul Picnic") and Three Dog Night ("Eli's Comin'").

Country songsmith Mae Boren Axton dies, aged 82, accidentally drowning in the hot tub of her Tennessee home. She was perhaps best known for writing Elvis Presley's first RCA hit "Heartbreak Hotel", and also penned material for Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton early in their careers.

Private detective William Miller reveals he is writing a book about his former employer, Elvis Presley, to be published when his confidentially agreement expires on the 20th anniversary of The King's death in August. Miller claims to be in possession of reams of artefacts, including the last song Presley ever wrote (on a burger bar napkin) and a birth certificate proving the existence of an illegitimate child.

A new book about painted rockers Kiss, by their former accountant CK Lendt, details their rise and fall. Despite earning more than $100 million from merchandising alone in a two-year period at the end of the 70s, Kiss And Sell reveals how the band's extravagant spending left them almost bankrupt, with at least two members unable to pay their home electricity bills. Lendt also claims that guitarist Ace Frehley once scrapped a multi-million dollar home recording studio because he didn't like the shape of the adjoining toilet.

Vulnerable, a collection of jazz standards recorded by Marvin Gaye between 1966 and 1978 finally hits the record racks. The singer frequently described the project as a "labour of love", but had continually blocked its release during his lifetime.

Jennifer Lopez is sitting pretty at the top of the US box office chart with the deadly snake thriller Anaconda, displacing the Jim Carrey comedy Liar Liar after three weeks. Selena, the Mexican pop star biopic with Lopez in the title role, is still in the Top Ten.

Former mobster John Cerasani, once of the Bonanno crime "family", is unsuccessful in his legal action against the makers of the movie Donnie Brasco, whom he claimed depicted him as a killer, despite his being acquitted for murder in real life. Manhattan Federal Judge Denny Chin ruled that Cerasani's claims were "nonsense", and that his aquittal was "merely a failure to prove absolute guilt".

Veteran film director Robert Altman unveils his new TV project, Gun. The mini-series will comprise a handful of self-contained episodes linked by a single pistol as it's handed from owner to owner.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the newest ratings winner on US television. Creator Joss Whedon, previously Oscar-nominated for his script work on Toy Story, tells reporters he doesn't miss the glamour of the big screen, and predicts the coming of a wave of high quality shows that will lure established box office stars back to the tube: ''The movies I write - if they get made - take several thousand years. With TV, it's like I get to make an independent movie every week.''

A TV station in Alabama announces it will not be broadcasting the two-part special of the sitcom Ellen, in which star Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian. The news provides a wealth of material for the late-night chat show hosts, Conan O'Brien quipping that "homosexuality is not a topic that two cousins should watch with their children."

In Augusta, Georgia, Tiger Woods wins the US Masters for the first time. He will go on to triumph in 2001, 2002 and 2005, making him the first golfer since Arnold Palmer to record four victories in less than ten years.

Firemen in Italy rescue the Turin Shroud from a blaze at the San Giovanni Cathedral. Long thought to be the burial cloth of Jesus, authorities are investigating whether it was the target of an anti-Christian arson attack.


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.