HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO
April 30 to May 6, 1997
The first issue of Uncut – the UK’s first music and movie magazine – is published
With a cover story that revisits Elvis Costello’s calamitous 1979 Armed Forces tour of America. Also featured in our first issue are Bob Dylan in Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, a major retrospective on Billy Mackenzie, Counting Crows, Clint Eastwood and Taxi Driver. Albums reviewed in the issue include a Jam 20th anniversary box set, described by guest reviewer Alan McGee as “drop dead punk rock genius”, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartneyJimi Hendrix, Iggy And The Stooges and Morrissey’s Viva Hate.
Peter Buck is keeping busy while REM are inactive, playing with all three bands on a US package tour. He can be seen strapping on his guitar with Mark Eitzel, Scott McCaughey’s Minus Five, and Tuatara, an instrumental collective which also includes Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin and Luna’s Justin Harwood. Buck has already contributed to each act’s latest albums, either as a musician, producer or co-writer.
Willie Nelson’s deal with Chris Blackwell’s Island label will see the grizzled country legend trying his hand at reggae. He is currently working on an album comprising both vintage reggae classics and some of his earliest hit songs rearranged in a Jamaican stylee. Powerhouse rhythm section Sly & Robbie are reported to be co-producing the record.
Meanwhile, George Strait becomes only the sixth country artist to top the Billboard pop album charts, when his Carrying Your Love From Me dislodges Mary J Blige from the US Number One slot.
Katrina & The Waves, a band fronted by an American, win the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK with “Love Shine A Light” – a track written by an American.
Mike Myers laughs off rumours that the Dr Evil character in his spy spoof Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery is based on his old boss, Saturday Night Live supremo Lorne Michaels. Reviewers had suggested Dr Evil’s naive plan to hold the world to ransom for just $1 million was a sly reference to the apocryphal tale of Michaels trying to get The Beatles to reform on SNL in 1976 by offering them a trifling $3,000. Myers claims he based his comic creation on Donald Pleasence in the Bond flick You Only Live Twice. The Powers movie debuts at Number Two at the US box office, beaten to the top spot by the Kurt Russell kidnap thriller Breakdown.
The saga of the revival of the Superman movie franchise trundles on. With Nicolas Cage still in talks to don the cape, Warner Brothers announce that Tim Burton has been lined up to direct – and Burton’s first move is to ditch the script written by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats). “Maybe it didn’t have enough quirk for Tim,” suggests Smith. “Maybe not enough people wore black.”
The parents of teenaged boy actors start legal proceedings against Phoenix Pictures, claiming their sons were filmed nude in shower scenes for Bryan Singer’s dark drama Apt Pupil without permission.
Writer-director Ron Shelton strikes a blow for talent power after a court rules that Fox Pictures must pay him in excess of $9 million from the profits of the basketball movie White Men Can’t Jump. Fox had claimed that the film had actually lost money.
Eddie Murphy is released without charge after being stopped by police while picking up a transsexual prostitute in Hollywood. Atisone Seiuli, however, is given a 90-day jail sentence for violation of a prior soliciting offence.
Labour’s landslide triumph in the UK elections, winning 418 seats, brings to an end 18 years of Conservative rule. Seven Tory cabinet ministers lose their seats, as do all the party’s MPs in Scotland and Wales.
Tasmania becomes the last state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality.