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Mega-Party at Reading & Leeds Festivals

Crowds of music lovers are flocking to the Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend, many camping out for the entire three-day bank holiday weekend event. Running simultaneously at Little John's Farm in central Reading and two hundred miles away at Bramham Park near Wetherby, the venues have multiple stages and feature the same lineup. Started in 1961, the Reading Festival is the older of the two events, and is considered to be the world's longest running music festival, even though it has changed its format from time to time over the years. Weather forecasters are predicting sunshine for the weekend, although rain has never been known to dampen the party atmosphere and many festival-goers are well prepared for all weather, with shorts, t-shirts and wellington boots being a common sight.

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Spotlight On: The Beatles

Widely considered to be one of the best bands of all time, The Beatles took the world by storm in the 1960s, stirring up emotions among fans in a phenomenon that came to be known as 'Beatlemania'. This fan-frenzy is well documented in film footage of The Beatles arriving at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and when the 'Fab Four' from Liverpool performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, with (mainly female) fans screaming, crying and fainting. Their music started out mainly as rock 'n roll, with later albums experimenting with a variety of genres, such as pop ballad, hard rock and psychedelic, with elements of classical music skillfully blended in.

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2014 MTV Music Video Award Nominees

With the live broadcast show set to take place on August 24 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards nominations have been announced, with Beyoncé leading the field with eight nominations, including for the coveted Video of the Year for Drunk in Love. The superstar's other nominations include Best Female Video for Partition; Best Collaboration (featuring Jay-Z) for Drunk in Love; Best Direction for Pretty Hurts; Best Choreography for Pretty Hurts, and Best Video with a Social Message for Pretty Hurts. Eminem and Iggy Azalea follow close on Beyoncé's heels with several nominations each. Other artists with multiple nominations include Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, Lorde, Pitbull, Zedd and Hayley Williams.

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Spotlight On: The Monkees

Backed by a seven piece band, The Monkees recently entertained fans at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, confirming that they still have the star quality that put them in the spotlight in the 1960s. Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork opened their set with their ageless hit Last Train to Clarksville with scenes from the television series that started it all showing on a big screen as a backdrop. Other songs featured in the live concert included Papa Gene's Blues, Your Auntie Grizelda, The Kind of Girl I Could Love, I’m a Believer, Mary, Mary and Sweet Young Thing. The band paid tribute to Davy Jones, who passed away in February 2012, with a soulful rendition of Shades of Grey.

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The Musical Heritage of Gerry Goffin

While performing artists and musicians are often in the limelight, songwriters are sometimes forgotten or receive only some of the reflected glory. The recent passing of Gerry Goffin at the age of 75 has reminded music-lovers of the many songs he penned, either solo or with his first partner Carole King and other songwriters. Husband and wife from 1959 to 1968, the duo were honored for their contribution to music by being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Following their divorce, Goffin and King continued to write chart-topping songs together for some time, and he also collaborated with other songwriters, including Russ Titelman, Barry Mann, Barry Goldberg and Michael Masser.

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