I very much enjoyed Friday’s low key Spectacle visit with James Taylor. The man’s voice is still smooth as silk and his stories were smart and genuine. He seemed to bring out the best in host Elvis Costello, too, both in the duets and in the questions which were thoughtful and original.

Costello brought Taylor back to his first big pop star moment, the 1971 Lincoln Folk Festival, where the North Carolina-native was top of the bill with The Byrds, Dion and many others. “It was an amazing afternoon of great music,” said Costello, who was there in that audience.
Soft-spoken Taylor said he felt his intimate sound being blown up that day. Instant fame was a jarring transition for him as well as a lot of other young music acts who broke big at the end of the ’60s. “You can say that it killed some people,” said Taylor, who, prodded by Costello, singled out Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin and former Rolling Stone Brian Jones.
“The transition of becoming the product, of being at the centre of the popular culture, that’s a big deal, a shock,” he said.
Taylor, who has spoken publicly about his struggle with drug addiction, also allowed later that the rock and roll lifestyle nearly took his own life. “By all rights I really shouldn’t be here at all–about five times,” he said. “Just stupid mistakes.” It was all very intimate and interesting.
Ratings for this CTV music series continue to stick around the 600,000 mark, with BBM Canada counting 576,000 on their “commercial” overnight estimates. This Friday: Costello sits while series exec producer Elton John quizzes Costello’s misses, Diana Krall.
In other weekend numbers, some scheduling oddities ensured that the NHL playoffs seem to be playing to ever smaller rooms. CBC Saturday saw an early game draw 542,000 and a late game pull another 551,000; a 7 p.m. movie pulled a meager 176,000. TSN took advantage Saturday night scoring 882,000 for a game at Hockey Night in Canada’s normal 7 p.m. hour.
Other weekend numbers: Friday’s Flashpoint continues to perform very well in Canada, drawing an estimated 1,277,000 “commercial” viewers. CTV’s big Sunday imports rolled to victory with big commercial tallys for The Amazing Race (2,178,000) Desperate Housewives (1,615,000) and The Mentalist (1,288,000). New TV ‘toons Bob & Doug (265,000) and Sit Down, Shut Up (401,000) are so far not catching fire on Global’s night of animated comedies.

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