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11 Rock Star Cameos in TV Shows

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From Davy Jones on The Brady Bunch to (Cow)Boy George on The A-Team, here are some of the more memorable musician TV cameos.

1. Davy Jones on The Brady Bunch

Marcia's all-out campaign to get the Monkees singer to perform at her prom yields a kiss on the cheek, a date, and a specially dedicated song. "Thank you girl, for making the morning brighter..."

2. Phil Collins on Miami Vice

In an episode called "Phil the Shill," the Genesis singer appears as the slippery host of a game show called The Rat Race. (He even sings the theme.) Crockett and Tubbs take an interest when they learn he has ties to a cocaine dealer. How '80s can you get?

3. Tom Waits on Fernwood 2 Night

When Wait's van breaks down in the fictional Ohio town, he ends up as a guest on the low-budget talk show. After befuddling the audience and host Barth Gimble with his gravel-voiced song, Waits cracks wise in an interview. Q: "Tom, where do you hail from?" A: "I come from Bedlam and Squalor."

4. Stevie Wonder on The Cosby Show

After Denise and Theo get into a fender bender with Stevie Wonder's limo, the singer invites the whole Huxtable family to visit him in the recording studio. Stevie ends up sampling the kids' voices for a new song, then sings a duet of "I Just Called to Say I Love You" with Clair. One of the best cameos ever.

5. Michael Stipe on The Adventures of Pete & Pete

The REM singer did a quick turn on the Nickelodeon kids' show as an eccentric ice cream vendor called Captain Scrummy. He pushed an item with the unappetizing name of "sludgecicle."

6. Roy Orbison on The Dukes of Hazzard

Boss Hog's Celebrity Speed Trap snared country stars like Buck Owens, Tammy Wynette, and Mel Tillis. But its biggest catch was Roy Orbison, who worked off his citation by singing "Oh Pretty Woman" at the Boar's Nest.

7. Bob Dylan on Dharma and Greg

In an episode called "Play Lady Play," Dharma auditions as a drummer for a band, not knowing who they are. The singer turns out to be Bob Dylan. After demonstrating her shaky chops, Dharma asks, "Do you want me to play some more?" Dylan replies, "Noooo."

8. Snoop Dogg on Just Shoot Me

After Finch (David Spade) is fired for canoodling with Jack's wife, he takes a job as an assistant to rapper Snoop Dogg. Eventually, Jack rehires him, prompting a misty-eyed Snoop to say, "I'm gonna miss that little blond fool."

9. Boy George on The A-Team

Faceman books country act Cowboy George into the Floor 'Em honky tonk. But a mix-up brings Boy George and Culture Club instead. Not exactly a match made in redneck heaven. But the fey singer catches the team's manly spirit and, in one memorable scene, kicks down a door.

10. Barry White on Ally McBeal

Nelle gets John the ultimate birthday present – a private performance from his favorite soul crooner, Barry White. "We got it together, didn't we, baby?" White says, as he shakes hands with the awestruck John.

11. David Bowie on Extras

The best rock star cameo ever. Andy (Ricky Gervais) has an awkward exchange with David Bowie in a bar, confessing that he has sold out to be in a sitcom. Bowie goes to the piano and writes a song with a verse that goes: "Pathetic little fat man / No one's bloody laughing / The clown that no one laughs at / They all just wish he'd die." Soon the entire bar is singing along.
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What other famous musicians do you remember dropping by popular shows?

For 11-11-11, we'll be posting twenty-four '11 lists' throughout the day. Check back 11 minutes after every hour for the latest installment, or see them all here.

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technology
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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Art
6 Great (and Not-So-Great) Works of Art Made by Robots
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Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images

Cold, calculating, unfeeling—none of the stereotypes associated with robots seem to describe makers of great art. But that hasn’t stopped roboticists from trying to engineer the next Picasso in a lab. Some machines and algorithms are capable of crafting works impressive enough to fool even the toughest critics. As for the rest of the robot artists and writers out there, let’s just say they won’t have creative types fearing for their jobs anytime soon. 

1. A BEATLES-ESQUE POP SONG

If you heard the song above at a party or in a crowded store, you might assume it’s just a generic pop tune. But if you listened closer, you’d hear the dissonant vocals and nonsense lyrics that place this number in the sonic equivalent of the uncanny valley. “Daddy’s Car” was composed by an artificial intelligence system from the Sony CSL Research Laboratory. After analyzing sheet music from a variety of artists and genres, the AI generated the words, harmony, and melody for the song. A human composer chose the style (1960s Beatles-style pop) and did the producing and mixing, but other than that the music is all machine. It may not have topped the pop charts, but the song did give us the genius lyric: “Down on the ground, the rainbow led me to the sun.”

2. A NOVEL THAT MADE IT PAST THE FIRST ROUND OF A FICTION CONTEST

Will the next War and Peace be written by a complex computer algorithm? Probably not, but that isn’t to say that AI can’t compose some serviceable fiction with help from human minds. In 2016, a team of Japanese researchers invented a program and fed it the plot, characters, and general structure of an original story. They also wrote sentences for the system to choose from, so the content of the novel relied heavily on humans. But the final product and the work required to string the components together was made possible by AI. The researchers submitted the story to Japan's Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Contest where it made it past the first round of judging. Though one notable Japanese author praised the novel for its structure, he also said there were some character description issues holding it back.

3. A 'NEW' REMBRANDT PAINTING

Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, a 3D printer did something extraordinary: It produced a brand new painting in the spirit of a long-dead artist. The piece, titled “The Next Rembrandt,” would fit right in at an exhibition of art from the 17th-century Dutch painter. But this work is entirely modern. Bas Korsten, creative director at the Amsterdam-based advertising firm J. Walter Thompson, had a computer program analyze 346 Rembrandt paintings over 18 months. Every element of the final image, from the age of the subject and the color of his clothes to the physical brushstrokes, is reminiscent of the artist’s distinct style. But while it’s good enough to fool the amateur art fan, it failed to hold up under scruntiny from Rembrandt experts.

4. DREARY LOVE POETRY

What do you get when you dump thousands of unpublished romance novels into an AI system? Some incredibly bleak poetry, as Google discovered in 2016. The purpose of the neural network was to connect two separate sentences from a book into one whole thought. The result gave us such existential gems as this excerpt:

"there is no one else in the world.
there is no one else in sight.
they were the only ones who mattered.
they were the only ones left.
he had to be with me.
she had to be with him.
i had to do this.
i wanted to kill him.
i started to cry."

To be fair, the algorithm was designed to construct natural-sounding sentences rather than write great verse. But that doesn’t stop the passages from sounding oddly poetic.

5. A CREEPY CHRISTMAS SONG

Christmas songs rely heavily on formulas and cliches, aka ideal neural network fodder. So you’d think that an AI program would be capable of whipping up a fairly decent holiday tune, but a project from the University of Toronto proved this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Their algorithm was prompted to compose the song above based on a digital image of a Christmas tree. From there it somehow came up with trippy lyrics like, “I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.”

6. A CROWDSOURCED ABSTRACT PAINTING

Art made by a robot.
Instapainter

The image above was painted by the mechanical arm of a robot, but naming the true artist of the piece gets complicated. That’s because the robotic painter was controlled by multiple users on the internet. In 2015, the commissioned art service Instapainting invited the online community at Twitch to crowdsource a painting. The robot, following script commands over a 36-hour period, produced what looks like graffiti-inspired abstract art. More impressive than the painting itself was the fact that the machine was able to paint it at all. Instapainting founder Chris Chen told artnet, “It was a $250 machine slapped together with quickly written software, so running it for that long was an endurance test.”

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