Dinner with Lionel Richie at the Sunset Tower hotel in Hollywood.
He was still buzzing with excitement about being confirmed as the headline legend act for next summer’s Glastonbury festival.
‘If you could choose a supergroup to perform with,’ I asked him, ‘from every artist you’ve ever performed with, who would you go for?’
‘Wow!’ he replied. ‘ That’s some question, like being asked who your favourite child is…’
I ordered a bottle of his favourite Sancerre to loosen his tongue.
‘OK, on keyboards, I’d go for Billy Joel.’ ‘Not Stevie Wonder?’ ‘Oh wait… I have to have Stevie too, he’s a genius.’ ‘So Billy and Stevie?’ ‘And Elton. I can’t leave Elton out. I saw him play Bach all evening once at a private party – he was incredible.’
‘So, Billy, Stevie and Elton on keyboards.’ ‘I forgot Marvin.’ ‘Gaye?’ ‘Are they any other Marvins?’ Lionel’s supergroup already had four keyboard players. ‘Drums?’ ‘Phil Collins. Love that guy.’ ‘Guitarists?’ ‘ Nile Rodgers [of Chic fame] is a phenomenal guitarist; he has to make the cut. Then I’d go for Brian May on lead guitar and Paul McCartney on bass.’ ‘Male lead singer?’ ‘Freddie Mercury. Not just a great singer, with an extraordinary range, but such a showman too.’
‘ No room for Michael Jackson, Prince or Sinatra?’ Lionel sighed, loudly. ‘This is so hard… can I have them as backing singers?’
‘ Yes, OK. Finally, female lead singer?’
‘Whitney was astonishing at her peak. But I actually think Aretha Franklin is the greatest female singer I’ve heard.’ ‘Not Barbra Streisand?’ ‘Well she’s fabulous too, obviously. I just did a duet with her of The Way We Were.’
‘I sang that song to her at a dinner party, on bended knee.’ ‘To BARBRA?’ ‘Yes.’ Lionel looked like I’d just told him he had three weeks to live. ‘I’m not sorry I missed that.’ I got home and relayed his reaction to Ms Streisand. She replied immediately: ‘LOL!’ Which was her exact same response when I sang to her.
‘I danced with Princess Diana,’ said Tom Selleck,
‘and was so nervous I couldn’t think of anything to say. It’s my great regret’
A month ago, I booked my usual room at the Carlyle hotel in New York.
Tonight, I arrived to find barriers outside the entrance holding back hundreds of screaming fans, and a wall of photographers.
‘Blimey,’ I said to the 50 police, FBI, sniffer- dogs and Secret Service standing outside. ‘You really didn’t need to go all this trouble…’
Of course, Prince William and his wife Kate had decided to stay there too, which turned the whole place into five- star meltdown.
The Carlyle has probably the most famous lifts in the world, manned by immaculately uniformed ‘elevator operators’ who’ve worked there, in some cases, for decades.
Michael Jackson, Princess Diana and Steve Jobs all once shared one at the same time – in what is believed to be the most powerful lift ride in history. (JFK is widely rumoured to have seduced Marilyn at the Carlyle but they were never seen in the same lift.)
I stepped into one five minutes after Prince William.