Sixties Music Secrets

Month: January 2017

A Day In The Life: Ed Sullivan & The Rolling Stones

It was on this very day, Sunday, January 15, 1967 that the Rolling Stones appeared on The Ed Sullivan show to perform their new single. “Let’s Spend The Night Together” After reviewing the songs lyric Mr. Sullivan demanded that they change the lyric to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together!  During the live performance, an obviously annoyed Mick Jagger could be seen “rolling his eyes each time he sang the changed lyric..Only to have Ed Sullivan announce that The Rolling Stones were forever banned from ever appearing on his show again!

Yes, Mr Ed was a tough guy, but The Stones took it in stride, in fact they just released their latest Album last month. 50 years later!

Did you see the program that Sunday ? It was priceless!  Pictured above, Mr. Sullivan giving Mick  ” A Stern Talking To”!…

Here’s the original “Offensive recording…

 

 

 

January 15, 2017     4 Comments   , , , ,

Do you want to know a secret: The Righteous Bros.

We’ve all heard plenty of insane stories about the legendary and notorious record producer Phil Specter! Our favorite, however, occurred during the production of what many believe was Specters signature “Wall Of Sound” recording. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. From the beginning, the production was subject to debate, Bill and Bobby thought the song was to long, and the tempo to slow. Lastly, the song was written in a key that required Medley to sing it in his “Basso Profundo” voice ( quite simply, his deepest voice) But the pay off came when they were about to record the vocals. Specter sat down with Medley and Hatfield and explained how it was going to be. “Bill, you’ll start the song and sing the first verse solo…Bobby, you’ll stay out until the first chorus”!  Bobby, obviously annoyed and upset with Phil, responds by saying “Well what am I supposed to do while Bill is singing? Phil snaps back immediately, saying simply…”GO TO THE BANK”….

Meanwhile, this legendary recording was the Record of the year in 1965….It was the most successful record of The ’60’s and in 1999 BMI DECLARED IT “The Most Played Song of the Twentieth Century

Bobby and Bill spent a lot of time at the bank!

Take a listen once more to just how well Phil Specters’ plan worked.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEkB-VQviLI..

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2017     2 Comments   , , , , ,

The Laurel Canyon Mafia !

Yes, Virginia, there was a ” Laurel Canyon Mafia” Laurel Canyon, a cozy hamlet centered in the low lying Hollywood hills, looming over the infamous Sunset Strip and acting as a geographical and cultural divide between L.A.s San Fernando Valley and West Hollywood. Laurel Canyon was a veritable magnet for all creative types, most  notably  in the 1960’s musicians and recording artists, but the names that make up the residents, friends and neighbors of ” The Canyon” read like a murderers row of “Hitmen and Women. They made the rules, broke the rules, but unquestionably they simply ruled the world of music in the 60’s. They worked together, created together and of course slept together while consistently making the greatest music of our generation or anyone’s. So, who were ” The Laurel Canyon Mafia? Let’s see if any of these names sound familiar. The Byrds, The Doors, The Turtles, The Buffalo Springfield, The Mama’s and The Papa’s “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young” Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Linda Ronstadt. ” The Mafia” we’re a warm welcoming gang so the residents frequently included the transient Beatle, Stone or other rock royalty, just passin’ through and “Looking for a place to crash” The legend and tales of The Laurel Canyon Mafia are notorious and numerous, so let’s begin early on when a young Richie Furay and Stephen Stills were in Laurel Canyon working on material for their new as yet unnamed band, with Bruce Palmer and Neil Young. While discussing what to call the group they were interrupted by the roar of a steamroller working outside. Looking up, they saw the machine with it’s manufacturer’s name emblazoned on it’s side… There it was “Buffalo Springfield” BAM, history made from the blast of a diesel! Years later Mama Cass invited her neighbors Graham Nash and David Crosby over for lunch, Cass insisted she instinctively knew their voices would have a magical blend if they harmonized together. Graham and David gave it a try, next door neighbor Stephen stills dropped by, added a third vocal and awesome guitar fills and BAM,  right in Mama Cass’ kitchen, Crosby, Stills and Nash are born. The influence this unusual community had on the artists is undeniable. On the day Graham Nash moved in with Joni Mitchell, he wrote about it (first Verse)  ” I’ll light the fire, while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today, ay, ay, ay,” ” Our house is a very, very, very fine house” Unfortunately, as word about the community spread, Laurel Canyon became a kind of tourist attraction especially among young women hoping to meet and “get to know” their idols. Perhaps the most blatant song about the growing saga of Laurel Canyon was the final hit single from The Mama’s and The Papa’s “Twelve Thirty” written by the groups patriarch John Phillips. History will indicate that John, perhaps revealed a little to much information, admitting lyrically in the songs chorus, ” Young girls are coming to the canyon, and in the morning I can see them walking, I can no longer keep my blinds closed and I can’t keep myself from talking”Whaddya think ? The Doors classic ” Love Street” Yup, smack dab in Laurel Canyon !…..Any stories anyone?

January 6, 2017     13 Comments   , , , ,

“1967” The Golden Anniversary…..

Today, Sunday January first 2017 marks “Day One” of the fiftieth anniversary of the most prolific, diverse, creative and experimental year of music in the decade of the greatest music in history! Like no year before  or any to come since, 1967 opened new doors of musical diversity as well as challanging and embracing artists to take chances and experiment!

When 1967 arrived, The West Coast sound had washed from “sea to shining sea.” The world had surrendered to “The British Invasion” and Motown dominated The Top 40. 1967 ushered in  “Psychedelia”and firmly planted San Francisco on our Musical Map. Who among us didn’t chase the “White Rabbit ” down the rabbit hole with Grace Slick from The Jefferson Airplane, suspiciously pondering the “Mind Bending”Lyric…”When one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small, and the ones that mother gives you..                                                      Don’t do anything at all”..

“Call Alice”!  ( remember?)

We all scoured the works of Lewis Carroll looking for more “Psychedelic” references….. In 1967, San Francisco became “Mecca” when nearly 100,000 young music lovers,would be revolutionaries  and various culture junkies merged on the bay city chasing the magic and messages of “The Beat Poets” who populated the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco the decade before. But, “Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” was the new battle cry, and what everyone was searching for.  It was being called “The Summer of Love.” And in June of ’67 ground zero for The  Summer of Love was”The Monterey Pop Festival”Officially titled “The Monterey International Pop Music festival” but often wrongly referred to as “The Monterey ROCK  festival. The promoters wanted it to be about diversity, ALL KINDS OF “POPULAR MUSIC, experimentation and coming together. The line up was staggering…Imagine, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, Simon and Garfunkel, Hugh Masekella, Janis Joplin, The Mama’s and Papas, The Who, The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. It was at Monterey ( The Who’s first show in The U.S.) where The Who  became famous for smashing their instruments at the end of their show! And it was at Monterey where Jimi Hendrix, in a deliberate stunt  to upstage The Who, famously lit his guitar on fire for the first time!

Experimentation! Throw out the rule book on music! That’s what 1967 was all about! The Monterey Pop festival became the template for all  music festivals to come including the phenomenal “Woodstock” only two years later in 1969

However in 1967  The Beatles  raised the bar on experimentation to a new level. Consider this, in 1967 The Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper” and ” Magical Mystery Tour” ( The album and the film) plus their contribution to the first international live T.V. Broadcast. The “One World” live telecast connected 26 countries and their contribution to the Arts!  The U.K.’s contribution was The Beatles playing “All You Need Is Love” ….All in one year, 1967

Meanwhile 1967 introduced The Beatles to something they had not imageexperienced before, “Failure.” In 1967 The Beatles established Apple Corps LTD. Inspired by manager Brian Epstein’s constant battle to  avoid the “Taxman”. At their peak, they were in an exclusive group of “Super Tax Payers”  paying Taxes at an unthinkable rate of just over 98%  “Unthinkable” Apple was the bands idea for a company that was solely interested in art, and the artists. Forget about commerce and with the passing of Brian Epstein early in the year. It became a situation where “The Inmates were running the asylum” Apple was conceived as a safe haven for all artists with emphasis on Fashion, clothing lines( a retail outlet,,The Apple Boutique.) Inventors (Magic Alex) Film makers and of course musical artists…

Even for the incredible Beatles and without the guiding hand of  Brian Epstein on the tiller, things began to go wrong very quickly. The first dissappointment was their film “Magical Mystery Tour”

Written, Produced, Directed and Starring John, Paul, George and Ringo, this 52 minute, plotless, heavy handed, self indulgent overly ambitious “Movie” was killed and summarily dismissed by critics and audiences.  ( did you ever see it?)  Intiially the band didn’t have enough new material to release an accompanying L.P. ( As they had done so successfully with their two previous films “Help” and “A Hard Days Night”)So they released a short 5 song E.P. More disappointed fans! In fact, concerned for their reputations,  and with no interest from any major U.S. Movie studios, the  film wasn’t officially released in the U.S. Until 1974!….Hard to believe, ain’t it?

To date there are no records of what the budget for the film was or how much it earned at the box office, but they shot for two weeks, netting 10 hours of film, edited down to 52 minutes! You do the math!

Meanwhile in Dec. of ’67 The band opens what they believed would be The Crown Jewel in their new enterprise. “The Apple Boutique” The boutique was essentially a clothing store where according to The Beatles….” A beautiful place where beautiful people, could buy beautiful things”….It didn’t quite work that way. The shop was run by various Beatle employees and their friends and relatives. Jenny Boyd, Patti Boyd’s sister was the shop keeper. But it was in no ones nature to either manage or police the business,  they got killed by shady dealings, and theft, by customers and employees. In less than six months The Beatles had lost over £ 200,000 and “The Beautiful place” was closed by June ’68. On the day the shop closed. The Beatles announced that they were giving away all the shops inventory, causing a riot and mayhem in the street!

Probably the most bizzare  chapter  of the Apple Corps Ltd. story is Magic Alex. A Greek “inventor” Alex Mardas, befriended the band and promised he could conjure up all kinds of exotic electronics that would change the world and the Beatles would own! Here are just a few of his far flung promises… An impenetrable force field that would surround and protect each of their houses….A hand held X-Ray camera…A car that would change color with the flick of a switch…?…..Wall paper that contained full dimensional loud speakers…..and our favorite. Magic paint that when applied to anything would render the object INVISABLE…..?

As you may guess, non of these devices never even reached a “prototype”  except one. It was called “A Nothing Box” and that’s what it was, a small plastic box with a few small blinking lights. Lennon saw the box while dropping LSD and just sat and stared at it for hours. Then proclaiming “Magic Alex is our new Apple electronics Guru” Tens of thousands of pounds were given to Alex before The Beatles woke up and parted ways with this Con Artist! The final blow for Magic Alex came down when he told John and Paul that he needed the engines out of their Rolls Royces, so he could build a “Flying Saucer” to fly them in! (The truth is Alex was a T.V. Repairman in Greece)

However large the disaster of Apple Corps Ltd. may appear, the venture eventually took a major turn for the good, when in 1968 The Beatles formed the now legendary Apple Records. The label like everything else was run loosely and free wheeling, again calling on old friends and acquaintances to run it…BUT! Apple records was only about making music and records, something the Beatles were the best at in the entire world. All four Beatles began signing their favorite new finds! Recognize these names? James Taylor (Yep, same guy you still love today) Badfinger, Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston and Mary Hopkin ( remember “Those were the days”?) The fact remains that they signed several acts that failed as well… Ringo signed some odd Indian Zeydeko band out of New Orleans….But, in Apple Records first year they had several hits. In fact  they released their first two Apple records on the same day. Mary Hopkins “Those were the days” and their own “Hey Jude” both records shot to number one! And The Beatles put “Failure back in the rear view mirror said  “Goodbye” to 1967 and continued making the most innovative and exciting music both together and apart when they finally broke up in April 1970, when Paul officially announced he was leaving the band……”All you need is space” Take a moment to look and listen to some great moments “down in Monterey”  in 1967…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xExo67OLrdY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 1, 2017     4 Comments   , , , , , , , ,