Sunday, March 3, 2024

Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Paul Says He “Still Has a Way to Go,” Looked Jaunty at A List Motown Celebration (Photos)


Exclusive (photos copyrighted 2023)

Former Speaker of the House and American hero Nancy Pelosi was in fine form last night at the Musicares Person of the Year Motown bash. She and husband Paul were front and center and stayed for most of the incredible show put on by musical director Greg Phillinganes with stars from top to bottom.

Paul Pelosi, considering the horrible attack on him by an intruder with a hammer, looked very jaunty in his tuxedo and black fedora. I asked him how he was doing and he said, “Coming along, but I still have a way to go.” Still, he’s an inspiration to everyone. And Nancy? Now that she’s not in the line of fire every day she looks 10 years younger. Today she’s celebrating National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!

No one was more excited about the evening than guests of honor Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. Friends for 60 plus years, theirs is kind of a love story. At the end of the three hour show, they each spoke, Smokey sang a song he wrote for the occasion, and there were a lot of tears. It was very moving. Think of it: Motown is the only record label ever where fans refer to it as a king of music or song. “It’s a Motown song.” Gordy invented that.

The audience, seated at tables of 10, was massive and many dozens of people were dancing as each group performed. The Temptations are down to just one original member– Otis Williams– and same with Duke Fakir of The Four Tops. These are old men now but they sang their hearts out and the audience loved them. The Tops in particular really rocked the house.

Here’s an exclusive: The Four Tops will get their own Broadway musical. It’s all happening now. Just as the Temps had “Aint Too Proud” and Gordy had his “Motown Musical,” and Michael Jackson has “MJ,” the Tops show will tell their story. Late lead singer Levi Stubbs — one of the giants of all time — will get his due!

It was so much fun backstage to see Otis, Duke, Lionel Richie, and Stevie Wonder all mixing it up. The whole night was like a high school reunion. Pretty cool. Lionel is one of the most earnest and real people you could hope to meet. When we talked, knowing of my friendship with “Soul Man” Sam Moore, Lionel drew a circle of people together, and said, “Sam Moore is the great singer of all time. You don’t know how much he means to me. He influenced my singing.” It was so genuine, everyone was rapt by Lionel’s words!

I had a great talk with Ronald Isley, who was in a gold suit. We reminisced about Wilson Pickett, our mutual old friend who was, let’s say, a character. Ronnie just shook his head talking about the bad old days on the road. (Yes, guns were involved, but it was nothing like today’s hip hop world).

Valerie Simpson wrote two of last night’s Motown classics with her late husband Nik Ashford– “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which she performed, and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” As usual, Simpson was sensational, although I wish someone had mentioned all the hits they wrote for Gordy. Val didn’t care. She told me, “It was just amazing what Berry did at Motown. Every act covered every song until they got it right. That’s what made it so successful!”

There was a lot of Beatles representation last night. Olivia Harrison and Nancy McCartney were front and center. There was a whole table of the Beatles family with Apple Records’ Jonathan Clyde and Jeff Jones, and Ringo Starr’s great advisor, Bruce Grakal. Where were Paul and Ringo? Probably asleep. They’d been out late the previous night at Stella McCartney’s fashion show, dancing up a storm.

Here are some pictures (c2023) from the night:

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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