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Google Doodle celebrates the Year of the Horse

Jazz singer conquers Russia's racial bigotry

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, give or take a week or two, Tim Strong had a chance meeting with Aretha Franklin. He was an awkward and unknown 18-year-old, one of nine children from a blue-collar family in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She was... well, the Queen of Soul.

Pop: The heart and soul of somebody else's gal

Jocelyn Brown has the voice of a diva and the career of a backing singer. But now she is reclaiming her star role. By Geoff Brown

POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

Supernaturals: A Tune for a Day (Food, below) The fact that the Supernaturals have an unhealthy appetite for limited-framework, new-wave guitars is just one of the reasons why this debut album so often slides into drabness. The Supernaturals palette is mostly jovial rock, with bounce in the melodies, but the songs belly-flop because they don't have the spark of class that, say, Dodgy found in themselves. An exception to this is the angry gem "Motorcycle Parts", but the Supernaturals are forever destined to lurk at the shallow end of sunny Brit rock. H

Pop music: A spiced-up supernova

Who do you think you are? Oasis? No, say Embrace. They're better than that.

Network: Signal failure caused by the wrong type of spam

Spammers, in my experience, are a larcenous bunch, not content to be merely creepy

Music: Give my regards to Broadway

It's been a while since Kim Criswell gave her regards to Broadway. In another time, another place, she might have been big there. Hell, she might have been Ethel Merman. The comparison has been drawn before. Actually, the voice is quite different - sleeker, sharper, subtler. But the attitude... this lady's feisty, this lady's full-on, this lady's not for turning. One day she'll... "have the whole world on a plate"? Well, that's how the song goes, and she sings it like she knows the outcome.

Film: Landis turns a paler shade of Blue

The big picture

ARTS: CINEMA: The Blues Brothers just get younger

Despite the death of John Belushi, John Landis hasn't given up on the Blues Brothers. Nicholas Barber meets the director with a mission to entertain

Andy Gill's album round-up

GARBAGE Version 2.0 (Mushroom MUSH 29CD)

Rock: Music news

A grim reminder

Luciano Pavarotti named Person of the Year

Luciano Pavarotti with Aretha Franklin and members of the group Boyz II Men in New York yesterday, after the

Records: A tribute to bring on the tears

VARIOUS ARTISTS Diana, Princess Of Wales: Tribute (V2 VVR1001052)

Letters: Black Angels

Sir: Trevor Phillips ("Black Angels?", 15 November) mentioned Aretha Franklin and her right to a place in heaven. He ought also to have mentioned Roberta Flack. Way back in 1969 her debut album First Take included the song "Angelitos Negros", and she is quoted in the sleeve notes: "Painters, why do you always paint white virgins? Paint beautiful black angels."

Obituary: Lawrence Payton

Inclusion on the golden oldie format has spoiled many a record for the average listener, but with their breadth and their bounce "I Can't Help Myself", "It's the Same Old Song", "Reach Out (I'll Be There)", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Bernadette", "When She Was My Girl" and "Irresistible" by the Four Tops always sound fresh and vibrant and never fail to entice.

Eternal: God's girls?

Eternal dress to kill, sing about the plight of humanity and give thanks to the Lord. A typical touch of pop hypocrisy? Not at all, argues Emma Forrest. Like other divas, they're just praying to keep body and soul together
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
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Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star