Sixties Music Secrets

  A Hot August Night

Written on May 9, 2016   By   in A Day in the Life

imageDidja ever see Them?… Well, Didja?, I Did. On a very warm So Calif. evening. August 30 1965. Myself, my best buddy, Gary and 17,000 other devotees had hiked up the steep hill and in to the small canyon that houses ” The Hollywood Bowl” We take our seats and are now beyond eager to see Them. The biggest band in the world ! This was my first concert. ( I was 15 years old) and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Oh I had heard the stories of the shrieking/ screaming fans, fainting girls and general mayhem. But as the sun gently set behind the Hollywood Hills, there was a kind of nervous calm among this young crowd at The Hollywood Bowl. A woman sitting next to me (some attendee’s mom) said something to me about all the opening acts before They come on. Opening Acts ? Before Them ? Whaaaat ? Oh yes, 4 of them ! The King Curtis Band, Sounds Incorporated, Brenda Holloway and lastly ( thank you God) Cannibal and The Headhunters Yikes, 4 of ’em, all four had current hits on the radio and put on a great show. BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER ! All 17,000 of us were there to see Them and only Them. The biggest band in the world ! But now the last of Cannibal’s final song is fading off Into the night, the crowd is getting  more animated as a certain hush comes over us all, the lights dim completely and we hear our favorite local D.J. Bob Eubanks finally ” say those words we long to hear” ” Ladies and Gentleman, here they are, The Fabulous Beatles” and a sonic blast of youthful humanity exploded out of The Hollywood hills. as  17,000 hysterical fans leapt to their feet, threw up their hands and didn’t stop screaming until long after THE BEATLES  finished their short 12 song set and left the Bowl and the city. But, Gary and I were there. Our seats,( tickets cost $4.00 a piece) were 6 rows from the back fence that secured the venue. The 1965 ” State of the Art” Sound system sucked, and we were deaf from the din of screaming teens.( Vocals were inaudible, Guitars, Bass and Drums were awash in midrange and reverb) But, no matter! It was still the most incredible night of my young life. We saw Them and for all of us They were something we’d never seen before and  would never see again. John, Paul, George and Ringo live in concert…..Didja ever see them ?The Ladshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an-kMAPuIj0

SMS really wants to hear your Beatle Story…

 

 

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11 comments on “A Hot August Night

  1. Jimmy says:

    Great story, Rick. To have been a part of music history is something special. The Beatles are TIMELESS. I can only imagine what that night was like (I’m happy there’s a YouTube video that documents the event but not the same as being there in person) Good for you, my friend. For me, it was seeing THEM on Ed Sullivan’s show that very first time when the excitement hit my brothers and me like a ton of bricks (I remember the smiles on my mother’s face too) As an 11 year old kid, I will never forget that Sunday night, how our living room was transformed into a place of pure joy and magic. YEA! YEA! YEA!

    1. Rick says:

      Yeah, Jimmy, I so love your words on how your living room was transformed into a place of pure joy and magic. And as only they have done, that transformation happened in most of the living rooms in America that Sunday night. It most certainly did at my house… YEA! YEA! YEA! INDEED!

  2. Jim Gorman says:

    I was there. In fact, I was paid to be there!

    In early August there was a piece in the paper about how the Bowl planned to hire extra ushers to handle the crowd they had the year before. A few weeks before the concert they held a cattle call type hiring event in the parking lot. My valley buddies, Skip, Ron and I took a bus to get there. First and last time I rode a city bus in So Cal.

    We arrived at the interview to a line of at least a hundred other guys with the same idea. It didn’t take long to reach the man with the clip-board at the front who had two questions. Did we have a dark suit, and could we bring our own flash light? I don’t remember anybody being turned away.

    The night of the concert was like the opening line from the Beach Boy’s “Surf City” except it was more like three or four girls for every guy. The cheering was at least an octave higher than any other concert I can remember.

    If you look at any of the video from those two nights you can pick us out. We looked like an adolescent squad of sun-glassed secret service guys moving through the crowd. The crew with the white dinner jackets was permanent staff.

    The Byrds were seated in my section the first night, which was surprising because they were not very good seats, and this was the summer of “Mr. Tambourine Man”. My sister, Kathy, was also in my section, and breaking all rules and protocol I got the Byrds to sign autographs for her (while chasing away the other boppers trying to do the same thing).

    We were told to move down below the first box seat section during the final number. It was “I’m Down”. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it sounded like they were singing “come on down”. We locked arms and braced for the wave of girls rushing the stage. There were a lot of groping ushers that night, not me of course.

    At the end of each evening we got our $10 pay. I think it was $10, I know I was making $1.15/hour delivering Chicken Delight at the time, so $10 wasn’t bad.

    A week or two later I got my white jacket issued and had a chance to usher for the Dylan concert. Talk about a different crowd. I think Joan Biaz opened for him. A few weeks after that I worked the Beach Boy concert. Neal Diamond opened. I remember he was dressed in black, with a black cowboy hat. He sat alone on a stool with his guitar and sang his first hit, “Solitary Man”, which was charting at that time.

    That was my Summer of the Hollywood Bowl. I had another year of high school, and the next summer was all about sea and surf. The Beatles would go on to ‘revolutionize’ their sound and; oh yea, the rest of the world while they were at it.

    1. Rick says:

      Whoa Jim, What an incredible story. A warm So. Calif. night under the stars ” 3 -4 girls for every boy” The biggest band in the world, and bearing witness to what is arguably the future of Pop music. Not to mention the $10 a night……..But, share the truth, Did you or did you not, “Grope”?
      Thank you Jim, for sharing an experience that most of history and the world has only “heard” about!
      Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…
      P.S. If you scroll up to my original post for ” A Hot August Night” you can click a link that will take you directly to the Bowl and The Beatles on that warm night in 1965…

  3. Julie says:

    Wow Jim, What incredible memories of an iconic time in out history. Wish I had been there! I never was able to see the Beatles in person however I did usher for “Paul Revere and the Raiders” concert. That was a lot of fun.

  4. Rick says:

    Wow Jules…..I’ll bet that was big fun….No, they weren’t The Beatles ( Hell, nobody was ) But they remain one of the most underrated and successful bands from the 1960’s With a never ending string of hit singles, including “Steppin’ Out”… “Just Like Me” “Hungry” ” “Good Thing”…”Ups and Downs…”The Great Airplane Strike of 1966 ( do you remember that one?) and of course their iconic smash “Kicks”…..However, regardless of their reputation as a “Singles” group They were one of the best live bands around…Paul Revere( yes his real name) was a great piano player, who was inspired and fashioned his style after Jerry Lee Lewis….Mike Smitty Smith, kicked it on Drums….Phil “fang” Volk was solid on Bass and where he may have lacked in originality he made up with his humor and stage shenanigans….Drake Levin their lead guitar player should be in the guitar hall of fame just for his solo on “Just Like Me” One of the first records to feature a double tracked Lead Guitar Solo I Challange anyone to replicate Drakes incredible performance. And then there’s Mark Lindsay….Thee Lead Singer, Tall good lookin’ with hair to the middle of his back tied in a “Que” first time any of us saw that on a guy ! Marks vocal chops were amazing but for me nobody could scream like Mark Lindsay…..Check out his scream going into the final chorus to “Hungry” It will make your head explode! The only other better screamer in Rock is McCartney. Dress ‘Em up in Revolutionary War outfits, turn the amps up to 10 and you have one of the greatest live shows you’ll ever see in the 1960’s and you’ll know all the songs by heart . Thanx Julie, I’ll bet it was a great time…Meanwhile, let’s take a listen to Paul and his Raiders.

  5. Oh yeah “Just Like Me” killer guitar solo!

    1. Rick says:

      Hey Kevin, I soooo agree, “A Killer ” solo……..How about Drakes simple intro to their hit “Him or Me” it floors me every time I hear it!

  6. IMHO Terry Melcher was the secret ingredient to their recording success; their brilliant singles sparkled with freshness and invention.

    1. Rick says:

      Kevin, In my humble opinion, Your humble opinion speaks volumes. You are quite correct. Terry Melchers production on The Raiders records made the songs sparkle and was essential to their success, and I would argue that Terry’s work with Paul Revere as well as others like The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Mamas and Papas make him a key player in the formation of “The West Coast Sound” in the 1960’s
      Thanx Kevin, for your formidable musical insight

  7. ron wood says:

    I may have commented on this before but ron howard is completing a documentary of these shows at the bowl…wow I got to know when the release date is!!!!!

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