Month: January 2018
In the 1960’s, when we weren’t listening to the greatest music of all time, we watched T.V ! No Hi-def flat screens with international satellite up links, just three networks and the most innovative and entertaining programming in history. Nearly all of the worlds most popular programs included opening and closing musical themes. Many of them established their own identity and remain with us, holding a place in our life and culture as powerful and memorable as much as the music we “tuned” into on the radio in The 60’s…Who hasn’t invoked “The Twilight Zone” theme anytime something weird happens? or tried to plunk out “Peter Gunn” on the piano?
……Right here, each week, we’ll focus on one of your favorite T.V. Shows from The 60’s and the GREAT MUSIC that accompanied them.
This week, SMS is going a bit “Out on a limb” sighting what we believe is thee quintessential T.V. THEME from the 1960’s ! It’s as much a part of our life experience and musical fabric as The Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys or Motown
Yes, Rod Serlings masterpiece of Science Fiction and The Bizzare, “The Twilight Zone” that ran on the CBS network from Oct. 1959 till Nov. 1964. There is no debate as to the originality and quality of this pioneering program, but it’s the program’s opening theme that has stayed with, and “haunted” us through the years and decades…
To this day, quietly whistle the simple eight note, ( de dee de de, de dee, de dee ) melody into any “Baby Boomers” ear and you’ll instantly invoke an uneasy feeling of anticipation, excitement and foreboding, as vision’s of floating eyeballs, breaking windows, and a spinning vortex with…..”E = MC 2″ drifting by…Remember? Of course you do! The theme is generally credited to composer Bernard Herrmann but, the truth is that spooky opening guitar riff was actually written by a French composer named Marius Constant and he did it as a “Work for hire” for a music library service, commissioned by CBS! Which quite simply means “Messrs. C and H” didn’t get rich from writing arguably, the coolest and most recognizable T.V. theme in history. In fact The Twilight Zone basic theme is 2 – 3 of these Library clips edited together…cut, arranged, embellished orchestrated and perfected by Mr. Herrmann!…Got it? Either way, IT REALLY WORKED !
There are several unique elements to this show, not the least of which is, unlike any other show on T.V.the program’s creator and “Head Writer” Rod Serling is as well-known and celebrated as his dream child! To this day Impressionists and comedians still do their take on the clipped speaking, intellectual, chain smoking persona of Rod Serling… “You are about to enter The Twilight Zone”
Through the years their have been countless cover recordings of the theme.. Dozens of Jazz bands, and instrumental ensembles as well as every compilation album featuring music and themes from Television. In 1980, the pop quartet Manhattan Transfer Authority had a Top 20 hit with a song they wrote called “Twilight Zone / Twilight Tone” The song held little resemblance to the shows theme, but the record opened with a re – mix and “80’s enhanced audio clip of the actual original opening from T.Z. Featuring Serlings clipped introduction…
BUT ! The version you probably remember best and likely loved was a confused and controversial hit that went to Number One in October of 1962 by “The Markettes! A Rocking Surf Instrumental with French horns and a brief-drum solo. It was called “Out Of Limits” But things got messy…
Here’s the deal, In 1962 “The Twilight Zone ” T.V. Show finally had a rival and competitor program getting traction, that show was called “The Outer Limits” And it too was an Anthology series of Science Fiction and The Bizarre…
And, here’s the rub, The Markettes record sounded nothing like “The Outer Limits theme, however, it borrowed generously from “?The Twilight Zone ” theme basing its entire arrangement on the now famous “de de de dee, de de de dee”! The Markettes had a number one record but they were now facing legal action from not just Rod Serling, but, the producers of “Outer Limits” as well, claiming copyright infringement of their title “Outer Limits” Soooo, The Markettes quickly settled with Serling and then changed the title to their huge hit to “Out OF Limits”, playing havoc with radio programmers, juke boxes and most importantly the ASCAP royalty system, if you happen to own a rare copy of “Outer Limits” check E-Bay, it’s worth a few bucks!…As the man said…”You’ve now entered The Twilight Zone”….
So now let’s take a listen to the incredible full length arrangement of the Theme from “The Twilight Zone”
AND OF COURSE WE HAVE TO HEAR..” The Outer Limits” ( or, “Out of Limits”) from The Markettes…
How about you?…Does this ring “Home” for YOU?…We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience…
It was on this day, Jan. 25, in 1969, when New Jersey state prosecutors issued a warning to US record dealers that they would be charged with distributing pornography if they were caught selling the John Lennon / Yoko Ono LP ‘Two Virgins’. The Jersey “State Troopers” confiscated 30,000 copies! The front cover of the album showed the pair in full frontal nudity, while the back cover showed them from behind. The album barely managed to even chart, peaking at No.124 in the US. but failed to chart at all in the UK, where only 5,000 copies were ever pressed.
EMI records in the U.S. Initially refused to release the record but made a deal with indie label Tetragrammaton records to release it in late Nov. 1968, where they cleverly, or not, stuffed the album into brown paper bags to eventually sell a meager 25,000 copies!
The album was abhorred by music critics, fans and the general public!
Keep in mind that at the release of “Two Virgins The Beatles were still a band. At least on paper, and in January of ’69 they were still ten months away from releasing their penultimate studio record “Abbey Road” featuring George’s beautiful final Beatles single…”Something”
in fact, John wanted “Two Virgins” to come out much earlier but claims it took him six months to convince The Fab Three, Paul, George and Ringo that the “Two Virgins” naked cover art would be a great statement for The Beatles and mankind! John!…Puh – Lease!
But ! How about you? Do you have a story? Did you own a copy of John’s least greatest work? Better still, have you ever even heard a track from this…um,…er,…ah…release?…..If you haven’t, no sweat, YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO!
Meanwhile, “All apologies from Sixties Music Secrets for only being able to share the imagery ( see above ) of the l.p. “In the bag” covering John and Yoko’s offending parts ( and were not talking about their vocals! )….There are still some very arcane censorship laws in place, and “The New Jersey State prosecutors office still scares the S #+ T out of us!…Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…All you need is Nudity!
Sorry, this is as much as we can show. But, trust us, it’s really all you want to see especially if your reading this post just before Breakfast…
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 possession 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 its limited band width, I wasn’t hearing much of what was on this great record. But ole “Bozo” came thru in semi Hi-Fidelity. Now, time to send Louie home and figure 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
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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 its manufacturer’s name emblazoned on its 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 too much information, admitting lyrically in the song’s 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?
Meanwhile, enjoy this rare, unique and beautiful performance by Joni of her Masterpiece!
You, of course remember and loved “The First Movement of The Brandenburg concerto number three in G major” Dintja?
You should, it’s been a huge hit TWICE, although initially it was a regional hit breaking out of Germany. But, it caught fire and soon became an international favorite!
The original smash was written and performed by composer and “Keyboard player” extraordinaire Johann Sebastian Bach! But you’re probably more familiar with the popular cover version that hit The Billboard charts, some 200 years after Bach’s debut in the early 1700’s
In 1969, “Switched On Bach” by Walter Carlos stormed on the scene, shot into The Billboard Top 10 and began setting new records and standards. “Switched” was the first classical / instrumental album to be completely performed on a new device called “The Moog Synthesiser” The device was invented by a computer programmer named Robert Moog. His close friend at the time was Walter Carlos, a musician / songwriter working on his Masters degree in Music and Physics at Columbia University in Rhode Island. Although Moog’s basic device could produce basic “Monophonic sounds, it was Carlos who assisted Moog and introduced ideas and features which allowed The Moog Synthesiser to be more flexible and POLYPHONIC ( playing more than one note at a time ) Soon Walter, frustrated with no attention to his own music, came to the idea of an entire album of Bach compositions performed exclusively on The Moog Synthesiser!
After spending over One Thousand hours in the studio, Walter recorded and released his masterpiece in 1968 on The Columbia Masterworks Label. Music and Walters life would change forever…The public and the entertainment industry couldn’t get enough of “Switched On Bach. Dominating the Billboard Album Charts! But, get this in 1969 “Bach” shot to the number one position on the Billboard Classical Music Charts and held that lofty position for four years, till late 1973 selling well over One Million records!…
BUT NOW, “The rest of the story, while Walter was counting his money, juggling opportunities and interviews, Walter was struggling with gender confusion! Since Walter was a young boy he believed he was a girl living in a boy’s body! And now with a little money and power it was time to take action.
Walter began the process in earnest in 1967 by beginning hormone injections and therapy, by 1969 and the huge success of “Switched On Bach, the gender re-assignment process was taking its full effect, he lost facial hair, his voice and body changed!
Walter Carlos is rapidly becoming Wendy Carlos, but Walter wasn’t prepared to “come out” about his secret alter ego. To maintain a successful music career, an artist has to do a lot of personal appearances including T.V. So WENDY had to develop elaborate wigs, costumes facial attachments etc. to maintain her “Walter” persona……In 1970 Wendy made an appearance on The Dick Cavett show wearing a man’s wig, fake moustache and sideburns. This was Wendy’s standard outfit, along with sun glasses and a hat for T.V. And important meetings with Film and Music biz executives.
Walter finalized his transition in 1972 when he successfully
Completed “Sexual Reassignment Surgery” however he continued making music as Walter Carlos including writing the scores for many films like “A Clockwork Orange”, “Tron”, The Shining” and “Marooned”
It wasn’t until May 1978 that Walter Carlos announced he was “Wendy Carlos” The first Trans Gender in the music business!
…ABOVE, Wendy as Walter!….BELOW, Wendy as Wendy!
Did YOU own a copy of “Switched On Bach?
On this day, Jan.5th 1969 Led Zeppelin were wrapping up their first American tour concluding four nights at The Whisky ‘A Go Go in Los Angeles. Their opening act was Alice Cooper and the Zep were billed as “Led Zeppelin featuring Jimmy Page formerly of The Yardbirds”…Woah!
We think that speaks volumes about a band that today, “The General public” barely remembers…..Yardbirds?
…..For those of you unfamiliar with The Yardbirds; During their brief run, on separate occasions they boasted Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton as their Lead Guitarist! Whoa, yet again!…
Here’s a shot of The Yardbirds, that’s Jimmy Page second from the left!
You, of course recall Donovan’s retro ( trumpets, trombones and a tuba ) trippy and beautiful ballad from 1966, “Mellow Yellow” …..And you likely remember a couple of the rumors that circulated around the records success. Early on it was rumored that Mellow Yellow referred to banana’s! Yep, in 1966 it was believed that if you scraped off the inside of a banana skin, rolled it into a joint, and smoked it, you’d experience a hallucinogenic but “Mellow” high! Although the lyric does include the line “electrical Banana” it has nothing to do with smoking them! In fact in a 2003 interview Donovan revealed that the line “Electrical Banana” refers to a woman’s Yellow Vibrator…..Electrical Banana INDEED!
It was further rumored that the voice that say’s “Quite rightly” was Paul McCartney. Not true either, that’s Donovan, however Paul is on the recording cheering “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” in the background!…..And, he played bass on the recording as well
Let’s listen to this 60’s classic from Donovan, with a little help from his friend Paul..But leave the bananas alone!