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Burt Bacharach
Looked like a crew of Elton John clones, when the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles came out on stage at the Society of Singers event. They were all decked out with huge Elton style shades, and warbled “The Bitch is Back” A perfect reception to greet Sir Elton, who is the recipient of the 14th annual Ella Award. He joins the ranks of such past honorees as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, and Tony Bennett, whose contributions to the music world is equaled by their humanitarian efforts.

Former honoree Barry Manilow confessed “I always wanted to marry Elton John”. However, when Elton received his award from Barry he stated, “It wouldn’t work out…we would be fighting each other for space in front of the mirror.”

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Elton John and Eric McCormack
The event was hosted by Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) who also performed one of Elton’s songs. McCormack greeted the SRO audience with “Welcome to the hottest karaoke bar in America.” And what a lineup of performers! He first introduced fellow Canadian k.d.Lang, whose rendition of “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” had everyone enthralled; and LeAnn Rimes and Smoky Robinson, whose sexy duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was smoldering. We understand that Robinson and his wife; Frances have listed their estate in a gated Chatsworth development at $10.5 Million. The Lifetime Achievement Grammy winner had decided to spend most of his time in Vegas, and have given the listing to our pal, #1 Real Estate lady in town, Elaine Young.

Others singing their hearts out for Elton, included 18 year old blonde beauty, Joss Stone, considered the most precociously gifted vocalist of her generation; and the legendary Lulu, the only British female artist to appear in the charts for five straight decades! After singing her classic hit, “To Sir, With Love”, she added, “I never thought I would sing this song, and mean it, to another Sir”.

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Elton John

receiving Ella Award

However, the catchiest tune that evening was that a huge amount of money was raised to meet the emergency financial needs of professional singers worldwide. Thanks go to Ginny Mancini, and her hard working board for a magical, musical mélange.

And on the subject of magical music, Grammy Award winning composer Burt Bacharach invited us to a “Listening Party” at the Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt to preview his new album “At This Time”. For the first time, Burt has written the lyrics, and sings vocals on one of the songs because, as he says, “I have things to say”. Unlike his cool love songs such as “What the World Needs Now is Love”, or “The Look of Love”, this album is definitely political, and expresses his views on war, violence and concern about the future for his kids.

The CD will be released on November 1 (my Birthday, I might add) and should really rock the boat on the Hollywood Beat.