I do ! The first time I went down to the record store and bought my first record! The record store was Pedrinis Music on Eagle Rock Blvd in Eagle Rock Calif. The Masterpiece I wanted was “Venus” by Frankie Avalon. A beautiful, overproduced, ballad, sung by one of our first “Teen Idols” Today, you’d call it a “Chick Record” But I loved it, it touched me, it spoke to me. I know, you know the feeling. It happens to everyone who truly loves music, at least once. You hear a song or artist and BAM! It’s yours, You own it! And then you take emotional possesion of it Yes, it’s yours…You Found it, You “Hear it”, You understand it and you appreciate it as only YOU can ! And no one else does.For me, it was “Venus” by Frankie Avalon ! and It was time Jan. 1960.Now I had to actually own it. I’d saved my Xmas money, and I finally had the 98 cents I needed to buy my first record. So me and my best friend Louie are off on the one hour walk to Mecca (Pedrinis) Louie didn’t have a clue. Why would he? “Venus” by Frankie Avalon was made for me…Just me….Only I understood it etc. blah, blah, blah! But, in no time, were there. Excitedly I’m in the store, browsing the record bins, and I see every record I’ve ever heard on the radio. Except! You guessed it “Venus” by Frankie Avalon. Of course, this record is way to rare and exclusive for Pedrinis in Eagle Rock But, just then, old Mr. Pedrini comes over, looking as un-cool as any old guy can look. He absolutely will have no clue as to what I’M looking for…..So he asks “What can I help you with?” And I unload,expecting the worst…”Well, you see sir, there’s this amazing record I heard called “Venus” by Frankie Avalon, It’s really cool, I heard it on KFWB Channel 98 at 8:30 in the morning today and Friday and, blah, blah, blah, blah. Mr. Pedrini wisely raises his hand to shut me up and says simply “So you’d like a copy of Frankie’s latest single “Venus”? YES I nod. And then Mr. Pedrini says, “step over here, I have a box behind the counter” Hunh? what kind of universe did I just enter? Not only did old un-cool Mr. Pedrini know what I was talking about, he had a “box of ‘Em behind the counter. But wait, that suggests Mr. Pedrini expected someone else may know about Venus and want to buy it as well. Unfathomable! So, should I bag one up? he sez, Yes sir, I reply. “Would you like to hear it before you take it home ? Of course I would, but I hesitate. What if he cracks it or scratches it’? But I agree to take the risk and there we are, awash in ” Venus” by Frankie Avalon. When Louie interrupts and blurts out ” Hey I know this song, I just heard it on KFWB” AHHHH..Shut up Louie….Too late, The Dream is over, for now. Because, in little over an hour I’m home sitting in my room and for the first time dropping the needle on “Venus” by Frankie Avalon and my bedroom is transformed into a radio station AND I’M THE DJ. But something is different, the record sounds different, but in a good way. Even on my official Bozo the Clown record player “Venus sounds different The Voices are more clear, I hear cymbals, bells etc. I later learn why. I had only heard “Venus on KFWB a.m. 980 and with it’s limited band width, I wasn’t hearing much of what was on this great record. But ole “Bozo” came thru in smi Hi-Fidelity. Now, time to send Louie home and figue out a way to talk to Frankie Avalon, Thank him for “Venus” and comfort him with the knowledge that I now own the record he made for me…..
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST TIME ? (Meanwhile, Here’s Frankie with “Venus”…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4spEihrWpPM
Folk rock!…..or,…..When Worlds Collide….. The inevitable and incredible merger of two uniquely American musical genres. Folk Music, performed almost exclusively on acoustic string instruments and “borrowed” it’s themes and lyrical message from the “Beat Generation” and the “Beat Poets” who came of age and notoriety in the fifties. Folk music gave them a new voice.
Rock and Roll, also originating from the 1950’s was loud, driven, electric, and lays claim to being the first music to divide generations and has been a contnuos rich source of controversy and scandal ever since! But! In 1965, inspired and influenced by the British Invasion, in particularly The Beatles, Folk rock was born. SMS has often discussed the many musical genres that were born in the 1960’s and while most musical styles gradually crept into our souls and psyche’s, many music historians can nail down the birth of Folk Rock to a very exact date!
In 1965, both Folk Music and Rock and Roll had fully matured and on July 25th 1965 at the annual Newport folk festival Bob Dylan took the stage ( this was his third appearance) unpacked his Fender Stratocaster,and started playing his new single “Like a Rolling Stone” which had just been released only a few days before. The crowed went crazy, however, to Dylan’s surprize, half the audience was “Booing”
Bob Dylan being booed?…Afterall at this point in time Dylan had reached “Icon” status as Americas leading singer/songwriter and the current Godfather to the world of Folk Music, where “electricity” just simply wasn’t allowed. Dylan purists were outraged, but the rest of the world loved and embraced this new sound. However, as spontaneous as “Dylan goes electric” may have sounded, 3000 miles to the west in Los Angeles “Folk Rock” was taking hold, but even on the west coast Dylan’s influence and contribution was omnipresent. “Like a Rolling Stone” skyrocketed to the top 10….Meanwhile in June of ’65 The Byrds scored their first number one with “Mr. Tambourine Man” a Dylan song. just a few weeks later Columbia releases The Byrds second single. Dylan’s, “All I really want to do”! Ah, but, dear reader it gets better. As “All I Really Want To Do” is climbing up the charts. EMI records releases Chers version of the song. Chers version takes over at radio, shooting past the Byrds and ultimately peaking at #15 with The Byrds stalling at #40. Then, in Sept. perrinial Top 40 hit makers, The Grass Roots release their debut single Dylan’s “Ballad of a thin man” ( Mr. Jones ) still later in October of ’65 a former surf band called The Crossfires, recorded another Dylan Composition called “It ain’t me babe” changed their name to The Turtles and Folk Rock takes root. Didja know that The Turtles otiginally spelled their name Tyrtles ? A tip of their hat to The Byrds and the British Invasion. Sooo, if you’ve payed attention and did the math, you’ll note that Bob Dylan had six songs by four artists in The Top 40 during the summer of 1965! Dylan went from The Godfather of Folk to ground zero and The High Priest of “Folk Rock!
But wait! There’s one more incestuos Folk rock tid bit….In late 1964 Roger (then Jim) McGuinn and Gene Clark wrote a song called “You Showed Me” It was recorded and released by The Turtles in 1968 and it was their final hit. The Byrds ignored it till 1969 when they released their original demo of the song including it on their Preflyte album.
By the end of ’65 it was clear that the Jingle Jangle of Folk rock was the future and Los Angeles was the place to be. Like the British Invasion, each day you’d turn on the radio and a new, soon to be superstar was playing. In addition to all the inside trading between The Byrds, The Turtles and Dylan, There was The Buffalo Springfield, Poco,The Beau Brummells and The Beach Boys……That’s right, The Beach Boys! Just listen to Sloop John B. And of course, Sonny and Cher!
The Byrds and The Buffalo Springfield would morph into mega stars Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Poco would become Loggins and Messina Cher, would go on to have three or four careers, beginning with her breakthrough hit “All I really want to to do followed by multiple hits with hubby Sonny Bono, including their gigantic breakthrough, the very Dylan sounding “I got you Babe” eventually, they would have their own variety T.V show, where their music credibility suffered greatly, but Cher perceivered and ventured off on a solo career, again with several hits……Remember “Gypsy’s Tramps and Thieves”….”Dark Lady”….The list goes on up till the eighties with “Believe” at this point Cher was also enjoying a thriving film career ( career number four ).There are so many more Artists, Simon and Garfunkle, The Lovin’ Spoonful and The biggest of all super groups who made the migration from the East Coast to the West. And they had two hits about the process. the first hit was about The dream and motivation to come to L.A. The second hit was a song about the actual struggles and process to relocate to “La La Land ! The band of course was The Mama’s and The Papa’s and the songs were “California Dreamin’ and “Creeque Alley.”
The truth is the title of this post…”John and Mitchy were gettin’ kinda itchy” is taken from a line of lyric from “Creeque Alley” The complete line is, “John and Mitchy were gettin’ kinda itchy just to leave the folk music behind.”……John and Mitchy are John Phillips and his beautiful wife Michelle….essentially the song describes the formation and evolution of The Mama’s and Papa’s and how they gave up the east coast folk scene to move to Southern California ( California Dreamin’ ) and play their unique version of Folk rock! Finally, there is so much music to choose from but let’s listen to Dylan’s “All I really want to do. First by Cher
And then, The incredible Byrds
Didja know that on this day, April 14th 1969 The Beatles ( actually only John and Paul) entered the studio to record “The Ballad of John and Yoko. The first and only single to feature only John and Paul……John on guitars and Paul on Bass, Drums and Piano. However, The Ballad of John and Yoko was notorious for including the word “Christ” in the lyric…”Christ you know it ain’t easy” resulting in many radio stations banning the record, many others made their own edit of the record and edited in the word “Christ” BACKWARDS! however most stations opted to simply “Bleep” out the word Christ. Leading to audiences believing that the “Bleeped” version was how the Beatles intended it. However one station in L.A. KRLA Played the new hit as it was recorded “Christ and all!….Leading to a fan with a great sense of humor, to take out a mock ad in Billboard magazine accusing KRLA of wrongfully…”Christing out The Bleeps”….think about it!…..HA!
Christ…. let’s listen, and watch!
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