Paul Newman: 1925 – 2008

There’s a story about Steve McQueen being offered the role of architect Doug Roberts in The Towering Inferno. McQueen turned it down, asking instead to play fire chief Michael O’Hallorhan, claiming that there’s no way an audience would find him believable in any role other than a straight-ahead man of action. The part of Roberts, instead, went to Paul Newman. At that point, in 1974, Newman’s most successful roles had been as outlaws, con-men and rebels – characters arguably not that far removed from the kind of people who peppered McQueen’s own CV. But it says a lot, perhaps, about how cinema audiences were prepared to accept him, that despite the succession of outsiders and wild ones he’d played, there was something inherently likeable and appealing about Newman.

Abe Vigoda: “Skeleton”

A long time ago, one of my old NME colleagues described a pretty rackety record – approvingly, I should say – as sounding like “a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs.” That phrase came back to me this morning when I put on the debut Abe Vigoda album for the first time in a while.

The 38th Uncut Playlist Of 2008

First thing today: the arrival of our new issue means I can finally mention the Uncut Music Award business we’ve been plotting for the past few months. Please have a look at our new dedicated blog, and let us know what you like the look of on the longlist.

Introducing the Uncut Music Awards

As you may have heard, we've just launched the Uncut Music Award, to find the most inspiring and richly rewarding album of the last 12 months. We'll be posting all the latest news about the award here, but first we should explain the details.

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