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Golden Haze! Debut Jimi Hendrix Experience album, "Are You Experienced," got its US release 50 years ago today

Experience Hendrix LLC/Sony Music EntertainmentToday marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of The Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album, Are You Experienced. One of only three studio efforts that Jimi Hendrix put out during his short lifetime, the album was packed with memorable songs that showcased his innovative, mind-blowing playing and mastery of guitar effects.

Are You Experienced's U.S. track list includes such classic tunes as "Purple Haze," "Manic Depression," "The Wind Cries Mary," "Fire," "Foxy Lady" and the band's enduring cover of "Hey Joe." While the album peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200, no song made it into the top 40 of the singles chart.

The story was different in the U.K., though, where "Purple Haze," "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Hey Joe" all broke into the top 10 -- even though those tunes weren't featured on the British version of the album.

Are You Experienced has sold more than five million copies in the U.S. The record was #15 on Rolling Stone's 2012 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience formed in 1966 after founding Animals bassist Chas Chandler, who had exited his band to focus on music management, saw Hendrix performing in New York City. He brought Hendrix to London, where bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell were recruited to round out the Experience lineup. Soon, the power trio was wowing London -- and fellow musicians like The Beatles and Eric Clapton -- thanks to Hendrix's inventive playing and onstage charisma.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience laid the groundwork for the U.S. success of Are You Experienced with their June 1967 performance at California's Monterey Pop Festival, which was highlighted by Hendrix smashing his guitar and setting it on fire.

Here's the U.S. track list of Are You Experienced:

"Purple Haze"
"Manic Depression"
"Hey Joe"
"Love or Confusion"
"May This Be Love"
"I Don't Live Today"
"The Wind Cries Mary"
"Fire"
"Third Stone from the Sun"
"Foxy Lady"
"Are You Experienced?"

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Paul McCartney offering fans the chance to sing with him as part of new charity campaign

Courtesy of Omaze

If you've ever dreamed of singing with Paul McCartney, maybe you'll be amazed to learn you actually have the chance to do it…as part of a new charity initiative launched at the Omaze fundraising platform. The former Beatles star is offering a VIP experience giving one winning bidder and a guest the opportunity to sing his classic Fab Four song "Get Back" with him in front of a small audience during soundcheck before his September 21 concert at Barclays Center in New York City.

The winner of the experience also will get two tickets to the show, and will be flown to New York and be treated to a stay at a four-star hotel.

Fans can enter by visiting Omaze.com/Paul and donating as little as $10, although the more money you contribute, the better your chances of winning. Funds raised by the initiative will benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which provides Transcendental Meditation education programs to at-risk young people, domestic-violence victims, veterans suffering from PTSD and others.

In other news, McCartney apparently had fun on Tuesday checking out the solar eclipse that was viewable throughout the U.S. The rock legend's daughter Mary posted a photo of her dad looking at the sun with special eclipse-viewing glasses on her Instagram page.

Sir Paul begins a new series of U.S. tour dates on September 11 in Newark, New Jersey.

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Tonight's "Nightline" looks at Whitney Houston's rise and fall, as depicted in new documentary

Courtesy of SHOWTIMETonight, ABC's Nightline correspondent, Juju Chang, takes a look at "a private Whitney Houston the public didn't know," in a story about the forthcoming Showtime documentary Whitney. "Can I Be Me."

The documentary airs this Friday on Showtime.  

In her Nightline segment, Juju sits down with the film's co-director, Rudi Dolezal, who says that Whitney's public persona "was the image," not the reality.  

"She came from the hood," he explains. 

Dolezal also claims that contrary to popular belief, it was Whitney's older brothers who introduced her to a life of drugs, not her ex-husband Bobby Brown.

"The brothers knew the dealers in New Jersey and they were older and they were using," says Dolezal. "And then one day they introduced her to that."

Another topic explored in the film is Whitney's "absentee" relationship with late daughter, Bobbi Kristina who, like her mom, died in a bathtub.

The Showtime documentary also examines Whitney's relationship with childhood friend and long-rumored girlfriend, Robyn Crawford.  

Dolezal claims that Whitney's mother "actually said at the time that she would like Whitney to marry a man, because the rumors of her and Robyn were so, so severe and so intense." 

Juju's entire Nightline segment airs Wednesday morning at 12:37 a.m. ET on ABC.  

You can also catch Whitney. "Can I Be Me" on Showtime this Friday at 9 p.m. ET. 

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Mysterious ways: U2 sends fans cryptic letter teasing upcoming announcement

ABC/Randy HolmesA number of U2 fans have posted photos on their Twitter feeds of an enigmatic letter they received from the band on Monday that appears to be teasing a forthcoming announcement from the Irish rockers.

As Pitchfork and the AtU2.com fan site are reporting, the letter features the text from a page from poet William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience -- which inspired the titles of U2's latest and upcoming albums -- with certain words blacked out by the silhouetted image of a male and female figure holding hands.

Words that aren't blacked out in the silhouettes create the message: "Blackout…it's clear who you are…will appear U2.com."

In addition, a sentence at the very bottom of the document, which also is partially blacked out, reads: "U2 will announce [blacked-out text] on [blacked-out text]."

U2 has been preparing an album called Songs of Experience that's a follow-up to their 2015 release, Songs of Innocence. The Irish Sun newspaper recently published an unconfirmed report that the band was planning to release Songs of Experience on December 1 to coincide with World AIDS Day, in conjunction with the Project Red campaign Bono co-founded to raise money to support the fight against the disease.

Meanwhile, U2 will launch a second North American leg of their current tour celebrating The Joshua Tree's 30th anniversary on Sunday, September 3, in Detroit.

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Around the World in a Day: Prince memorabilia heads to London for major exhibit

Richard E. Aaron/RedfernsIn 2007, Prince played a run of 21 sold-out shows at London's O2 arena.  Now, memorabilia from his Paisley Park archives are coming to that same venue as part of a special exhibit.

The U.K. paper The Guardian reports that the exhibit, titled My Name Is Prince, will mark the first time the memorabilia has been displayed outside of Paisley Park since the music icon's death last year.

Fans will be able to see Prince's stage costumes, jewelry, song lyrics and customized guitars, including one he played during his first TV appearance in 1980 on American Bandstand.  Fans will also get to check out outfits from the Purple Rain and LoveSexy tours, his gold and diamond ear clips, a diamond-studded cane topped with his symbol, and the "cloud" suit he wore in the "Raspberry Beret" video.

Prince's sister Tyka Nelson said of the exhibit, "I’m so excited to be able to meet the fans and share their Prince stories and give them hugs, and have a cry with them if need be."

The event will run for 21 days, starting on October 27. Tickets go on sale August 25 via MyNameIsPrince.co.uk.

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Billy Joel silently protests white supremacists by wearing yellow Star of David

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.As recently as June, Billy Joel told Rolling Stone that he tries "to stay out of politics," adding, "I try not to get up on a soapbox and tell people how to think."  But Monday night at his show at New York's Madison Square Garden, Billy made a powerful political statement without saying a word.

During his encore, Billy appeared onstage wearing a yellow Star of David on the front of his blazer, and one on the back, in reference to the stars Jews were forced by Nazis to wear during the Holocaust.  In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, it was a silent protest against the renewed visibility of neo-Nazis and the so-called alt-right movement.

According to the Piano Man's rep, Billy's only comment about his decision to wear the Star of David is a quote from Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Bill's parents were Jewish, and during World War II, his grandfather was driven out of business in Germany because he was Jewish.  The story inspired a 2001 documentary film called The Joel Files.

Billy's daughter, Alexa Ray, and his ex-wife, Christie Brinkley, attended the concert, and showed their support via Instagram. 

Alexa captioned a photo of her dad wearing the Star of David, "Now, THIS Is How You Do It! THAT’S MY POP!!! Proud Jewish New Yorker Through & Through!!!!! REPRESENT! STAND STRONG."

Christie wrote, "And on the day of the Solar Eclipse a yellow star appeared on the jacket of another kind of star with a cl[e]nched fist that seemed to be gripping painful...memories of loved ones who wore that star to their death."

She continued, "...Thank you Billy for reminding people what was ...so it may never ever be again."

During the show, Joel also invited Patty Smyth of Scandal to sing their hit "Goodbye to You" as photos of now-departed White House officials like Steve Bannon and Sean Spicer appeared onscreen.

 

Billy Joel Wears Yellow Star of David at New York Show Amid Rising Neo-Nazi Activity https://t.co/ywq0LrVpnk

— People (@people) August 22, 2017

 

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Eclipse leads to astronomical sales spike for "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

Courtesy Royal CaribbeanMonday's North American total solar eclipse was almost as good for Bonnie Tyler as it was for the manufactures of eclipse glasses.  Tyler's 1983 hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" seems to have become the unofficial eclipse anthem.

On Monday the song climbed to number 1 on the iTunes chart.  The song's official YouTube video also reached nearly 260,000 views per hour on Monday, reports Variety -- compared with around 65,000 per hour in the days before the eclipse.

And Billboard reports that in week leading up to Monday's eclipse, sales of digital downloads of the song across all platforms rose 503 percent.  The song sold 12,000 download in the U.S. in the week ending August 20, compared with 2,000 downloads the prior week.

Bonnie performed the song during the eclipse with DNCE as her backing band on a Royal Caribbean cruise on Monday sailing towards the eclipse's path of totality.

Next big sales spike for "Total Eclipse of the Heart"? 2024, when the U.S. will have another brush with a solar eclipse's path of totality.

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