Pop links: So long Ed McMahon; Hembeck; Doctor Who novels; preview Bjork's new LP

Ed McMahon, the most famous second banana of all time, has died at age 86.

"You can't imagine hooking up with a guy like [Johnny] Carson," McMahon said an interview with the Associated Press in 1993. "There's the old phrase, hook your wagon to a star. I hitched my wagon to a great star."

McMahon, who never failed to laugh at his Carson's quips, kept his supporting role in perspective.

"It's like a pitcher who has a favorite catcher," he said. "The pitcher gets a little help from the catcher, but the pitcher's got to throw the ball. Well, Johnny Carson had to throw the ball, but I could give him a little help."


Happy 30th anniversary Fred Hembeck! (Who also has some great new cartoons up for sale.


BBC Magazine pays tribute to all those great Doctor Who novels from Target Books.

In an age before video and DVD, the Target novelisations were a chance to relive the television adventures. Many of the black and white 1960s stories had been wiped by the BBC altogether, so the books were the only record. Through them you could experience stories that had disappeared into the programme's folklore.

I devoured these books. Not literally. Though I did live in the north and was always hungry. I remember going into a shop in 1975 and seeing the novelisation of the series' 10th anniversary story The Three Doctors, which had been on TV a couple of years before.

The cover illustration showed the power-crazed Omega, crackling cosmic energy over all three incarnations of the Doctor. I just had to have it. I bought it for 35p, and while my parents went shopping at a garden centre in Darlington I sat in the back seat of the Hillman Minx and read it straight through. My first Target book. I read it, I reread it. I think I knew every word.

I have fond memories of these books, too. In fact, I first met Doctor Who in the late 1970s via U.S. reprints of some the Target novels. And I loaded up on British Doctor Who novels during a couple of visits to England that I was fortunate enough to have taken in my early-to-mid-teens. Great stuff, particularly the novels penned by Terence Dicks. I haven't read any of the more recent books that have emerged along with the revived Doctor Who TV series, but it's good to know that the Doctor's adventures in print continue.


NPR is streaming Bjork's new album.

Musical episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold to debut at Comicon

This sounds like fun:

"Mayhem of The Music Meister!," the musical episode of Cartoon Network's Batman: The Brave and the Bold, will premiere at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The episode will screen on Friday, July 24 at 10 a.m. during the Batman: The Brave and the Bold panel.

Neil Patrick Harris guest-stars as the Music Meister. A star of CBS' How I Met Your Mother, Harris, 36, provided the voice of Spider-Man/Peter Parker in MTV's Spider-Man animated series and provided the voice of Flash in Justice League: The New Frontier.

Dynamic Music Partners -- Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis -- has announced completion of the music for the episode. The production included several independent sessions with more than 30 of Los Angeles' top studio musicians and culminated in a day of scoring at Warner Bros. Eastwood Scoring Stage.

Others performing in the episode include Grey DeLisle, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker, John DiMaggio, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kenny, Jeff Bennett and Diedrich Bader.

New Rhino box set collects L.A. Nuggets

Geeze, it seems like forever since Rhino has released a super cool box set. But, then again, it seems like there's less cool stuff to excavate, and Rhino has more competition in doing it. But this one looks like a surefire winner. You can pre-order it now from Amazon for $58.49.

Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 (Boxed Set)

Boxed Set Excavates More Than 100 Nuggets from Los Angeles' Eclectic Music Scene From 1965-68, Spotlighting Gems from The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Love, Plus Cult Classics by The Standells, Spirit, The Seeds, The Electric Prunes and More

Four-Disc Set Will Be Available from Rhino September 22

In Los Angeles during the mid-'60s, music was everywhere - from the garages of Orange County, to the dingbat apartments of the San Fernando Valley, to the bungalows of Laurel Canyon. But without a doubt, the epicenter of the music scene was the Sunset Strip, where “freaks” filled the rock clubs lining the famed Hollywood thoroughfare. Rhino continues the storied Nuggets tradition with a four-disc boxed set that mines the city's rich musical history for unsung gems. WHERE THE ACTION IS! LOS ANGELES NUGGETS 1965-1968 will be available September 22 from Rhino Records for a suggested list price of $64.98.

Andrew Sandoval, one of the collection's producers, explains the set's concept in its liner notes: “...the Nuggets series is something of the alternative musical history of the 1960's. Not so much a survey of what happened, but more what could have happened had music charted on merit alone.”

WHERE THE ACTION IS! compiles 101 tracks that mix many of the city's brightest stars (The Byrds, Love, The Doors, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, Captain Beefheart, The Mama & The Papas, Lowell George, Iron Butterfly, The Monkees) with talented artists whose stellar songcraft sadly flew under the radar (The Seeds, Jameson, The Electric Prunes, Modern Folk Quintet, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Spirit, The Everpresent Fullness, Kaleidoscope, The Standells, The Bobby Fuller Four).

WHERE THE ACTION IS! encompasses four discs arranged thematically to cover different aspects of the pop, rock, club and Top 40 sounds of the era. The first covers some of the most notable bands that performed in the clubs of Hollywood's Sunset Strip. Disc two features a sampling of the musicians who began life in South L.A., East L.A. and such far-flung suburbs as Riverside and Bakersfield. The third delves into the artistry of L.A.'s producers, arrangers and Wrecking Crew of studio players. The final disc takes us from the nascent seeds of folk rock to the first blooms of canyon rock, country rock and full-blown psychedelia in the region. It also shows how rock pioneers such as Del Shannon and Rick Nelson took their own stabs at fitting in with “the kids.”

Among the many highlights are: an alternate take of The Beach Boys' “Heroes And Villains,” Warren Zevon and producer Bones Howe performing “(You Used To) Ride So High” as The Motorcycle Abeline, “Take A Giant Step” by The Rising Sons, “Acid Head” by The Velvet Illusions,” local scenester Kim Fowley's “Underground Lady,” Jan & Dean's “Fan Tan,” The Monkees' “Daily Nightly,” Jesse Lee Kincaid's “She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune,” “Come To The Sunshine” by Van Dyke Parks, “Sister Marie” by Nilsson and “Hippy Elevator Operator” by The W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band.

The set also offers a trio of previously unreleased tracks: a recently discovered demo version of “Sit Down I Think I Love You” recorded by Stephen Stills and Richie Furay shortly before they formed Buffalo Springfield; a demo of “Words” by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, one of the West Coast's most successful songwriting teams; and “Once Upon A Time” a collaboration between Tim Buckley and lyricist Larry Beckett.

Beautifully packaged in a coffee table book resembling the San Francisco Nuggets collection from 2006, the set provides a wealth of information about Los Angeles' music scene, including a comprehensive timeline, a listing of the clubs and who performed there, an essay about the L.A. radio stations that defined the era, plus a track-by-track commentary.

Track list:

# Riot On Sunset Strip - The Standells
# You Movin' - The Byrds
# You I'll Be Following - Love
# Dr. Stone - The Leaves
# Go And Say Goodbye - Buffalo Springfield
# Zig Zag Wanderer - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
# Gentle As It May Seem - Iron Butterfly
# Candy Cane Madness - Lowell George & The Factory
# If You Want This Love - The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
# Baby, My Heart - The Bobby Fuller Four
# All Night Long - The Palace Guard
# It's Gonna Rain - Sonny & Cher
# For My Own - The Guilloteens
# Take A Giant Step - The Rising Sons
# One Too Many Mornings - The Association
# Time Waits For No One - The Knack
# Take It As It Comes - The Doors
# Pulsating Dream - Kaleidoscope
# Tripmaker - The Seeds
# The People In Me - The Music Machine
# Saturday's Son - The Sons Of Adam
# Eventually - The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
# Swim - Penny Arkade
# The Third Eye - The Joint Effort
# Girl In Your Eye - Spirit
# Jump, Jive & Harmonize - Thee Midniters
# Back Up - The Light
# To Die Alone - The Bush
# Get On This Plane - The Premiers
# Little Girl, Little Boy - The Odyssey
# Hideaway - The Electric Prunes
# Listen, Listen! - The Merry-Go-Round
# She Done Moved - The Spats
# Grim Reaper Of Love - The Turtles
# See If I Care - Ken & The Fourth Dimension
# He's Not There Anymore - The Chymes
# Back Seat '38 Dodge - Opus 1
# Eternal Prison - The Humane Society
# Revenge - The Others
# Come Alive - Things To Come
# Acid Head - The Velvet Illusions
# Guaranteed Love - Limey & The Yanks
# Love's The Thing - The Romancers (a.k.a. The Smoke Rings)
# Underground Lady - Kim Fowley
# Pretty Little Thing - The Deepest Blue
# You're Wishin' I Was Someone Else - The Whatt Four
# Hippy Elevator Operator - The W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band
# That's For Sure - The Mustangs
# Tomorrow's Girl - Fapardokly (Merrell & The Exiles)
# Everything's There - The Hysterics
# Our Time Is Running Out - The Yellow Payges
# Action, Action, Action - Keith Allison
# The Rebel Kind - Dino, Desi & Billy
# High On Love - The Knickerbockers
# Fan Tan - Jan & Dean
# Halloween Mary - P.F. Sloan
# Somebody Groovy - The Mamas & The Papas
# Daydreaming - Thorinshield
# Just Can't Wait - The Full Treatment
# Yellow Balloon - The Yellow Balloon
# The Times To Come - London Phogg
# No More Running Around - The Lamp Of Childhood
# Little Girl Lost-And-Found - The Garden Club
# Mothers And Fathers - The Moon
# My Girlfriend Is A Witch - October Country
# Montage Mirror - Roger Nichols Trio
# Flower Eyes - Pasternak Progress
# Come Down - The Common Cold
# Jill - Gary Lewis & The Playboys
# Daily Nightly - The Monkees
# Night Time Girl - The Modern Folk Quintet
# Don't Say No - The Oracle
# Tin Angel (Will You Ever Come Down) - Hearts And Flowers
# Rainbow Woman - Lee Hazlewood
# Poor Old Organ Grinder - Pleasure featuring Billy Elder
# Baby, Please Don't Go - The Ballroom
# Sit Down I Think I Love You - Stephen Stills & Richie Furay*
# Splendor In The Grass - Jackie DeShannon with The Byrds
# November Night - Peter Fonda
# Roses And Rainbows - Danny Hutton
# Lemon Chimes - The Dillards
# Here's Today - The Rose Garden
# I Love How You Love Me - Nino Tempo & April Stevens
# Words (Demo) - Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart*
# (You Used To) Ride So High - The Motorcycle Abeline (Warren Zevon & Bones Howe)
# Life Is A Dream - Noel Harrison
# Los Angeles - Gene Clark
# Once Upon A Time - Tim Buckley*
# Darlin' You Can Count On Me - The Everpresent Fullness
# I'll Search The Sky - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
# Come To The Sunshine - Van Dyke Parks
# Heroes And Villains (Alternate Take) - The Beach Boys
# She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune - Jesse Lee Kincaid
# Sister Marie - Nilsson
# Last Night I Had A Dream (Single Version) - Randy Newman
# I Think I Love You - Del Shannon
# Change Is Now - The Byrds
# The Truth Is Not Real (Single Version) - Sagittarius
# Marshmallow Skies - Rick Nelson
# You Set The Scene - Love
# Inner-Manipulations - Barry McGuire

Vinyl box collects Velvet Underground 45 rpm singles

Sundazed Records is releasing a box set collecting seven 45 rpm singles by the Velvet Underground in replica packaging.

The seven singles included in The Velvet Underground Singles 1966–69 comprise the four Velvets singles originally released in the U.S. on the Verve and MGM labels, plus an additional pair of singles that were prepared for release but never made it to the marketplace and a special radio-only promotional single. The singles feature alternate mono versions that differ in significant ways from the songs' better-known stereo album versions. For instance, the band's 1966 debut single "All Tomorrow's Parties" appears here in a special mono edit that amplifies the song's melodic beauty and sonic tension, and a mono mix of their sophomore single "Sunday Morning" emphasizes the song's haunting quality. Meanwhile, the mono single version of "White Light/White Heat" exemplifies the vintage Velvets' stark, distortion-laden fury, while a mono edit of "What Goes On" accentuates that song's inherent pop jangle.

The Velvet Underground Singles 1966–69 also includes two unissued singles, one with a never-released pairing of "White Light/White Heat" backed by "I Heard Her Call My Name," and the other with "Temptation Inside Your Heart" and "Stephanie Says," recorded in the waning days of the band's classic Reed/Cale/Morrison/Tucker lineup and unheard by the public for nearly two decades thereafter. The set's seventh single is a reproduction of a vintage promotional disc, a two-and-a-half-minute radio spot promoting the band's eponymous third album and featuring legendary disc jockey Bill "Rosko" Mercer, with excerpts from "I’m Set Free," "What Goes On" and "Beginning to See the Light," as well as a picture sleeve with an un-airbrushed variation on the album's iconic cover art.


Single One
All Tomorrow's Parties / I'll Be Your Mirror—Verve VK-10427

Single Two
Sunday Morning / Femme Fatale—Verve VK-10466

Single Three
White Light/White Heat / Here She Comes Now—Verve VK-10560

Single Four
White Light/White Heat / I Heard Her Call My Name—Cancelled single

Single Five
Temptation Inside Your Heart / Stephanie Says—Cancelled single

Single Six
What Goes On / Jesus—MGM K-14057

Single Seven
VU Radio Spot / VU Radio Spot—MGM VU-1

CD new releases June 23, 2009: Cheap Trick; Regina Spektor; Transformers score; Mars Volta; R.E.M.; Little Richard; Isaac Hayes; CCR, more!

New CDs of note this week. If any of these items are of interest to you, please consider clicking the titles and ordering them from Amazon, as part of the proceeds help support this site!

The Latest by Cheap Trick

Far by Regina Spektor

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - The Score

Octahedron by The Mars Volta

Reckoning [2 CD Deluxe Edition] by R.E.M.

A Good Year For The Roses - The Complete Musicor Recordings 1965-1971 Part 2 (4CD) by George Jones

Rill Thing by Little Richard

Second Coming by Little Richard

Hot Buttered Soul by Isaac Hayes

40th Anniversary Editions Box Set (7 CD's) by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Lost in My Dream: An Anthology 1968-1974 by Spooky Tooth

A Rare Conundrum by Bert Jansch

L.A. Turnaround by Bert Jansch

Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out by Timothy Leary

Count Basie Plays Hefti by Count Basie

Shout by Lulu

Forever: The Complete Motown Albums, Vol. 1 by Marvelettes

DVD new releases June 23, 2009: Inkheart; Pink Panther 2; Tom and Jerry; John Lennon; more!

New releases of note this week. If any of these items are of interest to you, please consider clicking the titles and ordering them from Amazon, as part of the proceeds help support this site!


Pink Panther 2

Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection

John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band: Live in Toronto '69

My Dinner with Jimi

Vintage Star Wars buttons 2

Pop links: Heckle and Jeckle! Bernard Herrmann! Jack Kirby! Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland! Hembeck! Preview Battlestar Galactica: The Plan! More!

See Heckle and Jeckle visit King Tut's Tomb.


Today in sharity: A hard-to-find album by Bernard Herrmann.


Diversions of the Groovy Kind surveys some of Jack Kirby's awesome 1970s Marvel Comics cover art.


USA Today previews concept art from Tim Burton's upcoming adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland."


Cartoonist Fred Hembeck has contributed a nifty cover to the Steve Ditko zine Ditkomania.


Mark Waid will script a Doctor Strange mini series for Marvel Comics.


See a trailer for Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, a new prequel movie set to air in November.

Boom! Studios to publish Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse comics

As speculated, Boom! Studios has picked up the license to publish Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comics for Disney. However, unlike Gemstone--which most recently held the license--Boom will be publishing new material, not classic reprints by Carl Barks and others.

According to Newsarama:

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #699 (by Riccardo Secchi and Stefano Turconi) and Mickey Mouse and Friends #297 (by Stefano Ambrosio and Lorenzo Pastrovicchio) will be out in September. Both titles will be 24 pages and carry a $2.99 cover price.

The comic creators are Italian, part of the large contingent of creators working for Disney Italia which has been actively producing new comics and properties for Disney and the European market (such as Paperinik - a superheroic world based around Donald Duck, W.I.T.C.H., Kylion,Monster Allergy and others) for years.

That said:

...the rights to publish the classic Disney Comics material is included in Boom’s license, and the publisher has plans for it. “We will be handling the classic material,” Richie said, declining to go into detail at this time. “We’re not going to abandon the fans that are buying that material, so we will have programs and products for them.”

Thank god.

Here are the solicits for the first two Boom! releases:

(W) Riccardo Secchi (A) Stefano Turconi
One of the longest-lived, greatest comics in history comes to BOOM! Studios! A direct market event — the title that was host to Walt Disney's most cherished characters that helped build a decades-spanning global empire, originally launched in 1942, has come to BOOM! Kids! Ever wondered what would happen when all the superheroes of the Disney comics universe star in an epic clash against all the super villains with the fate of the world at stake? Join The Duck Avenger, Super Goofy, and the man himself Mickey Mouse for an all-new team of heroes, an all-new era in Disney publishing! (C: 0-0-1)
24pgs, FC SRP: $2.99

(W) Stefano Ambrosio (A) Lorenzo Pastrovicchio
First BOOM! Kids issue! One of the longest-lived, most-successful comic book series in the industry's history comes to BOOM! and brings a little magic — presenting Wizards of Mickey! Student of the great wizard Grandalf, Mickey Mouse hails from the humble village of Miceland. Allying himself with Donald Duck and his pet dragon named Fafnir, and team mate Goofy, Mickey's come to the great tournament to get his revenge on Peg Leg Pete, who has stolen the Rain Crystal from Miceland! Join Mickey Mouse and his friends on an epic tale of magic and wonder! (C: 0-0-1)
SC, 24pgs, FC SRP: $2.99

This is good news, overall. More comics for kids! Both of my children are big fans of the Donald comics. I'm hoping the new stories are good. But I'm most excited by the prospect of more Barks reprints, ideally in large, book collections at some point. I've missed out on previous efforts to collect his material in those formats and very much want to get ahold of it.

Upcoming DC Showcase Presents volumes: World's Finest Vol. 3, Secrets of Sinister House

These titles just popped up on Amazon for early 2010 release. No further details yet.'

Showcase Presents World's Finest Vol. 3

Showcase Presents The Secrets of Sinister House This is likely an all-in-one collection of this 1970s horror anthology comic, which ran 18 issues (the first four issues went out under the title Sinister House of Secret Love