“Remember, remember the Fifth of November.” It’s Guy Fawkes Day, which is a UK holiday; if you’re stateside, you could always celebrate by watching V for Vendetta (it’s available for streaming on HBO Max). For more information on the “Gunpowder Plot” that inspired the holiday, click here:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the class of 2021 last weekend. Honorees included The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Foo Fighters and LL Cool J. The full ceremony will be available to stream on HBO Max November 20th.
The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC on this day in 1956; it was the first network television show hosted by an African-American. Ratings were low, and a national sponsor was never found. Cole ended the program himself in December, 1957; when asked about the lack of sponsorship, Cole replied “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark”.
Gram Parsons (born Ingram Cecil Connor III) would have turned seventy-five today. Parsons, who popularized a country-rock-folk hybrid he referred to as “Cosmic American Music”, is one of the most influential American singer-songwriters of all time. He was an instrumental creative force behind Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the seminal 1968 album by The Byrds, and he co-founded The Flying Burrito Brothers with fellow Byrd Chris Hillman. He recorded two solo albums, the second of which – Grievous Angel – came out four months after his death (from a lethal combination of morphine and alcohol) at the age of just twenty-six.
Jon-Erik Hexum was born on this day in 1957. A model and actor, Hexum’s star was on the rise thanks to lead roles in two television series: Voyagers, a show I LOVED, and Cover Up, which debuted on CBS in the fall of 1984. During a break in filming Cover Up‘s eighth episode, Hexum began playing what he thought was a harmless game of Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum prop gun. Hexum, believing he had removed all six blanks from the gun, pulled the trigger; the wadding from the blank fractured a quarter-sized piece of his skull and propelled it into his brain, causing massive hemorrhaging. Hexum was taken to Beverly Hills Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery, but he never regained consciousness. He was pronounced brain-dead on October 18th and removed from life support; he was twenty-six years old.
The Harder They Fall premiered on Netflix today. Starring Idris Elba, Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield (among others), the film is a revenge-Western/action hybrid, and it looks ridiculously entertaining.
And last but not least, happy birthday to Jonny Greenwood, who turns fifty today! Legendary multi-instrumentalist for Radiohead, Greenwood is also an accomplished film composer, and a personal favorite of mine. Welcome to Club 50, Jonny!