10 Years On

Ten Years Ago This Week

HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO

April 23 to 29, 1997

Aerosmith's record label, Sony, are forced to issue an apology to the American Hindu Anti-Defamation Coalition, after complaints over the artwork for the group's album, Nine Lives. The original sleeve, swiftly replaced, featured a doctored image of Krishna which depicted the Hindu deity with a cat's head and wearing a skirt.

Yoko Ono continues to mount legal challenges against unscrupulous folk cashing in on John Lennon, filing suit against a firm manufacturing sets of collectors' greeting cards for a competition run by the makers of Steinway pianos. Ono had earlier given her blessing to the project, but says the finished articles were substandard and tarnished the former Beatle's reputation. Company chief Alan Libman counters by claiming the cards were of a much superior quality to the bulk of Fabs merchandise at the time of their mid-60s US tours.

Motown head honcho Berry Gordy is being sued by one of the iconic label's less celebrated in-house writers and producers. Richard T Morris, an understudy for the team of Holland, Dozier & Holland and responsible for mostly B-sides and "filler" album material, claims he is still owed royalties from more than 50 songs he worked on, by the likes of Martha & The Vandellas and The Marvelettes.

Industry bean counters are forecasting that U2's lengthy PopMart tour will set new global records by grossing close to half a billion dollars.

The Charlatans score their third UK Number One album with Tellin' Stories. Mary J Blige's Share My World tops the US listings.

The English Patient adds six BAFTAs to its haul of nine Oscars, although Anthony Minghella loses out on the Best Director honour to Joel Coen (Fargo). The other big winner is Mike Leigh's Secrets & Lies, which picks up three awards. At the same ceremony, Jimmy McGovern's drama Hillsborough triumphs in the small screen categories, with a trio of gongs.

A ruling by the Motion Picture Association of America decrees that Harvey Weinstein's Miramax will have to pay rivals Sony Pictures $1,500 a day for every US cinema screen showing Wes Craven's horror spoof Scream. Sony sought arbitration from the MPAA, claiming the movie's title was too close to their own 1996 release Screamers.

More woes for Miramax, who announce they are withdrawing Copland, the much-hyped thriller starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, from competition at the forthcoming Cannes Film Festival, because the music score won't be completed in time.

A press junket for the luxury liner-set movie Speed 2 backfires when several journalists are taken ill on the boat ride to an exclusive preview on Catalina Island, off the coast of Los Angeles. One hack reports that passengers, including a PR for producers 20th Century Fox, were "tossing cookies" into the choppy waters, while others were seen to doze off during the screening itself after popping ultra-drowsy sea-sickness pills.

And there's more bad news for Fox as disaster thriller Volcano tops the US box office, but with a disappointing opening weekend take of $14 million, about half the predicted figure. The film's poor performance follows worrowingly low totals for other big budget blockbusters The Saint and The Devil's Own, neither of which seem likely to climb out of the red.

Contract talks threaten to scupper the proposed ninth and final season of mega-hit sitcom Seinfeld, as the four lead actors hold out for more cash.

Marcia Clark, the attorney who became a household name as one of the chief prosecutors in the OJ Simpson trial, has been forced to abandon her long-gestating legal drama Lady Law, due to lack of interest from America's major TV networks.

Married With Children, the blue collar sitcom which kept fledgling network Fox afloat before the arrival of The Simpsons, is cancelled after 11 years on air.

Author Norman Mailer is courting controversy with his new book, The Gospel According To The Son, which reads as a first-person memoir by Jesus Christ, frequently contradicting the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Actor Sidney Poitier is named as Bahamian ambassador to Japan, a role he will perform from the comfort of his American home.


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Editor's Letter

Some more thoughts on Kate Bush and Alice Gerrard


On Sunday, Kate Bush inadvertently staged a one-woman assault on the British charts. This week, 11 records in the Official UK Albums Chart are by Bush – not bad, really, for a woman who has only really released nine new studio albums in the past 36 years.

Apart...