Saturday, April 13, 2024

Exclusive: Tony Bennett, Snoop Dogg In Mix For Martin Luther King 50th Anniversary Celebration


It’s still in the planning stages. But word is that superstar legend Tony Bennett is helping to organize a big 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington. The march was held on August 28, 1963– and August 28, 2013 is the tentative date for a concert on the Mall. I’m told that Bennett is rallying his Voices Against Violence campaign and is lining up guests. Some likely players would be Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga –with whom Bennett is set to record a jazz duets album this summer–and Snoop Dogg (or Lion, depending).

Other names connected to Martin Luther King would be Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Sam Moore, who performed at the 1968 memorial tribute to King at Madison Square Garden. Voices Against Violence is a campaign launched by Bennett’s savvy manager son Danny, and the James Brady anti-gun crusade. Bennett marched with Dr. King and supported him throughout the Sixties until his assassination in 1968.

By the way, the full roster for that Madison Square Garden tribute to MLK on June 28, 1968 was Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, the Rascals, Sonny & Cher, and Joe Tex. It was announced in Billboard on May 16, 1968. But there’s almost no archival coverage of it, even in the New York Times. It was called “Soul Together.” A month earlier, in May, many Motown artists including Gladys Knight, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Jackson and Yvonne Fair performed in Atlanta at another MLK memorial fundraiser. There’s no footage of either of these shows on YouTube or anywhere else. Maybe someone out there has something…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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