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Dion’s fans miffed, but Rolling Stone snub has little impact

Updated January 9, 2023 - 12:11 pm

This is a case of honoring Dion but not Celine.

Famed ’60s singer Dion DiMucci of Dion and the Belmonts made the Rolling Stones’ list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time. He’s at No. 154. Remarkable, as the Dion we would also expect on that list — Celine — was left off entirely.

The omission has created rampant hullabaloo among Celine Dion’s fans, though not from Dion herself. Requests for comment from her camp have been shrugged off. At this point, she’s not commenting and is apparently not concerned. The superstar is battling Stiff Person Syndrome, which has prevented her from returning to the stage. Her return to performance, at Resorts World Theatre, is still on hold.

On Friday, a tiny-but-mighty contingent of Dion’s fans protested at Rolling Stones’ headquarters in New York on Friday. They carried signs relaying their angst, including, “Rolling Stone is Stoned,” which they also chanted between Dion songs.

The magazine reports the assembly was organized by a group of Dion fans known as the Red Heads, representing the Instagram account @celinedionaddicts_official. The group’s founder, Line Basbous, was present and said most of the group traveled from Canada to express themselves “in the name of Celine.”

Rolling Stone left Dion off its original list of 100 greatest singers, too. Maybe she’ll make the top 300, if it gets to that point. Or 1,000.

Dion is the only artist left off the list of 200 whose fans have risen in protest. Tony Bennett, Andrea Bocelli, Cher, Dionne Warwick, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Nat King Cole and Judy Garland were left off.

Aretha Franklin was named as the greatest, followed in order by Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Billie Holliday, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Otis Redding and Al Green to make up the magazine’s top 10.

A few thoughts about these lists: They are subjective. They are published to generate conversation and debate. They are nonbinding. There is no award for being named.

Should Dion be on that list? Of course. You could argue she deserves to be in the top five, given her record sales of between 200 million to 250 million worldwide. “My Heart Will Go On” won an Oscar, she’s won five Grammys, and she also reshaped the Las Vegas Strip superstar residency culture with two productions at Caesars Palace.

Having said all that, I support Dion’s absence of response on this one. Her record, and records, speak for themselves.

Celebration goes on

Joe Hardy, founder of 84 Lumber, died on his 100th birthday Saturday. Several Las Vegas entertainers had been hired to perform at his birthday party at Nemocolin Resort in Pittsburgh.

Hardy founded that property, and planned a fete of about 200 to mark No. 100.

Superstar Michael Buble and Vegas performers Katie Matthews, Dani Elizabeth, Britt Dunn, Jessica Ward, Emilie Condamine, Brittany Guinane, Dani Maloney, Lora Kelsey, Derek McGinnis and Alex Sturrup made the trip. Vegas entertainment pro Minnie Madden (whom I lovingly refer to as Minnie to the Max) was brought in as choreographer.

(Side note, Elizabeth’s husband, Murray Sawchuck, has known Buble dating to their days growing up in Burnaby, British Columbia.)

Hardy’s death was reported Saturday afternoon, as the show was coming together. Rather than pull the production apart, organizers opted to go forward and make the event a celebration of life. This included Buble, who was to follow through with a full-length, 75-minute show. Reportedly, that’s how Mr. Hardy would have wanted it.

A name … Evolves

The premiere of “Evolve” starring vocalist and tribute artist Kelly Vohnn, is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 29 at Notoriety Live. This project is billed as, “A fun, sexy, VOHNNderful music journey.” Funny, wordplay action.

The show, which is to run Sundays, is produced by Jennifer Romas, who conceived and starred in “Sexxy” at the Westgate (where it ran for six years before closing in October 2021) and “Exxcite” at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. “Evolve” will rotate male singers, Chadwick Johnson being the first, and celebrate women at “every age and stages of their lives,” as a news release states.

If this description sounds familiar, it should. This show was originally called “She’s Making HERstory,” with the same treatment and description. But that title has since been dropped in favor of “Evolve.” This move came after rocker Carol-Lyn Liddle-Puffer called out the similarity between that name and her own Vegas project, “Herstory of Rock.”

So, “Evolve” has been swapped in, “Herstory of Rock” is still the name of the Liddle-Puffer show. And we say, play on.

Cool Hang Alert

Vegas Top-40/funk/R&B vocalist Mecca Martini is featured at 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays at The Shag Room at Virgin Hotel. No cover for this one. We grooved it up regularly with Martini when she backed Matt Goss at Caesars Palace. Shag Room is chic, Martini wonderful, and the price is right.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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