steveUpon hearing that the daringly adventurous Lady Gaga and legendary, iconic crooner Tony Bennett were making an album, it reminded me of how interesting it is when artists who are very different work together on recording projects.

Among the unexpected duets have been Millie Jackson and Elton John, Ron Isley and Rod Stewart, R. Kelly and Celine Dion, Anita Baker and Frank Sinatra, John Mellencamp and Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Al Green and Lyle Lovett, Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, Luther Vandross and Beyoncé, and Natalie Cole and Reba McEntire.

Speaking of duets, one that was not unusual but of great significance is “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. According to Billboard magazine, the ultimate source on such matters, it is the biggest selling duet recording of all time, which is quite an honor.

COMMON (the rapper/actor’s real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.) has been signed to appear in a movie titled “Selma” that focuses on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. It is being produced by Oprah Winfrey and, surprisingly, Brad Pitt.

Jody Watley, who had a lot of hits in the ’80s and ’90s, has a new dance-oriented album titled “Paradise,” available by way of iTunes. There are only six songs, but that is the way she wanted it. She says times — and attention spans — have changed and most people do not want lengthy albums.

Watley says “it’s about quality, not quantity” and “shorter albums with better songs.”

WHOOPI GOLDBERG is one person who will always say exactly what she thinks on any subject, no matter what the response might be. (Kudos to her for that.)

As you probably know, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith created a firestorm when he commented on men physically abusing women. He said a woman should be careful to not “provoke wrongdoing.”

But Goldberg, while not promoting violence, said bluntly, “If anybody hits you, if a woman hits you, to me you have the right to hit her back.”

How do you feel about that? I don’t think anyone should ever hit anyone in a relationship. If it comes to that point, go your separate ways.

Regina King is a lady of so many talents. In addition to being a top-level actress — I especially loved her in “Ray” — she is also a director and will, in fact, being directing an episode of “Scandal” during its fourth season.

The word “fourth” also has meaning for Kem. His fourth album, “Promise to Love,” is scheduled for Aug. 26 release.

AFTER ALL these years the music, image, aura and magic of Billie Holiday still has a huge impact. Broadway superstar and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald is currently starring in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” and it is doing exceptionally well.

It is interesting to note that Detroit’s own Lonette McKee starred in that same show in 1987 and won much acclaim.

Glad to hear that Bobby Brown was well enough to return to the New Edition reunion tour following a surgical procedure. It would be to his advantage to lose some weight. During one of his recent solo shows he was huffing and puffing after each number that required dancing.

People are making too big a deal out of Beyoncé and Jay-Z not straightening daughter Blue Ivy’s hair.

R. Kelly was supposed to perform at the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio, over Labor Day weekend, but there were so many complaints and other acts dropping out that organizers removed Kelly from the lineup. His legal history, and his being believed to be a sex predator, is what sparked the protests.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & the Pips was originally titled “Midnight Plane to Houston” and first recorded by the man who wrote the song, Jim Weatherly. Then Cissy Houston recorded it as “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

MEMORIES: “Call Me (Come Back Home)” (Al Green), “Betcha She Don’t Love You” (Evelyn “Champagne” King), “Mighty High” (the Mighty Clouds of Joy), “I Believe in You (You Believe in Me)” (Johnnie Taylor), “I Just Wanna Stop” (Gino Vannelli), “Love is Like an Itching in My Heart” (the Supremes), “Scorpio” (Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band), “It Takes Two” (Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston), “Searchin’” (the Coasters), “Summertime” (D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince), “Rescue Me” (Fontella Bass).

BLESSINGS to Freddy Anderson, Rosalind Ashford, Shani Parker, Annette Helton, Jim Burns, Alexis Williams, Shirleen Fort, Angie Daniels, Cliff Russell and Millie Scott.

WORDS OF THE WEEK from a Funkadelic song: “If you don’t like the effects, don’t produce the cause.”

Let the music play!

Steve Holsey can be reached at Svh517@aol.com and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.

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