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Jack Lee, Nerves Singer and Writer of Blondie Hit ‘Hanging on the Telephone,’ Dies at 73
Chris Willman Senior Music Writer and Chief Music Critic Jack Lee, who co-fronted the influential L.A. band the Nerves in the late 1970s and saw his songs turn into major hits for Blondie and Paul Young, died May 26 in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 71. His death was revealed Wednesday in a press release, which revealed Lee died after battling colon cancer for three years. Although Lee had not had much public visibility in recent years, “he never gave up on his music,” his family said in a statement, “to the very end. His guitar, right by his side. He lived his songs. One by one they told the story of his life. Some dreams die. His never will.” His greatest success as a musician came with a pair of high-profile covers. Blondie recorded an extremely faithful cover of the Nerves’ “Hanging on the Telephone” in 1978 that remains one of the group’s most instantly identifiable signature songs to this day. (Blondie’s version went to No. 5 in the U.K., although, as an FM hit, it never charted in the U.S.) Paul Young found success in 1983 with “Come Back and Stay,” a song the Nerves wrote but never recorded; it first appeared on a Lee solo project a couple of years before Young had the hit. (The cover reached No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.) Young recorded a total of three Lee songs for his Euro-chart-topping debut album that year.
Bobby Kotick Breaks His Silence: Embattled Activision CEO Addresses Toxic Workforce Claims as Microsoft Deal Hangs in Balance
Bobby Kotick has a secret: He was ready to buy Time Warner a few years ago.The CEO of Activision Blizzard drops this nugget early on while sitting at the company’s Santa Monica headquarters for his first extensive interview since 2012. It’s a Friday afternoon in mid-April, which means the office is mostly deserted. Huge replicas of characters and actual backdrops from the video game giant’s roster of franchises — including Call of Duty, Diablo, Overwatch and Candy Crush — dot the landscape of the open-architecture space. The quiet in the building and the low midafternoon light give the place a slightly spooky, fun house vibe. “We’d take their IP and turn it into games. They’d take our IP and turn it into film and television, and we’d have an extraordinary company,” Kotick says, sketching out his vision for a deal in an alternate universe in which AT&T never bought Time Warner and Activision took it on instead. In reality, the Justice Department lost its lawsuit to block the sale of Time Warner to AT&T. But during the first half of 2018, when the fate of the $85.4 billion Time Warner purchase hung in the balance, Activision Blizzard took a cue from its “Call of Duty” commandos: It stockpiled financial ammunition and waited patiently for an opening to pounce.