Sixties Music Secrets

Author: Rick


In the Sixties, we wrestled with “Love/Hate relationships over several artists of the period. But, no act could swing our Love/Hate pendulum quite as radically as The Shangri La’s! A four member girl group consisting of two sets of sisters in their mid-teens who made records so full of mellow-drama and Teen angst they oozed out of our tiny 1960’s era transistor radio’s!
The Girls were, 15-year-old Mary Weiss, her sister Betty (16) and their best friends twin sisters, Marge and Mary Ann Ganser (16) They lived in a suburb in Queens N.Y. an area called Cambria heights, where they went to school and met….Although the girls had several hits, most of us remember fondly or perhaps curiously their second single the three-minute “Soap Opera” “Leader Of The Pack”…..”Look Out, Look Out, Look Out”…CRASH! But we’re moving to fast, it all started with their debut classic, “Remember! ( Walking In The Sand) A plaintive dramatic ballad about Love gone wrong, illicit teen sex with an anti-war flavor, and possibly an unplanned pregnancy!This is where our LOVE phase began with The Shangri La’s and more specifically their lead singer Mary Weiss. While the Ganser twins and Betty Weiss looked like plain white-trash from Queens New York, Mary had long blond hair, slim and curvy with a demurring attitude that had us riveted, moaning a song about “walking” in the sand and obviously much more, complete with sound effects of sea gulls and crashing surf!
A lethal combination for a 14-year-old boy growing up in So. Calif. We felt like we were onto the secret as to what “Remember” was actually about and Mary Weiss was our “Surfer Girl” WOW! We were in love in 1964 UNTIL! The Shangri La’s released their second single The classic “call / answer”, high drama, and absurd “Leader Of The Pack” The Shangri La’s and Mary instantly go from the sublime to ridiculous!…..Written and produced by Shadow Morton with an assist from pro’s Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich “Leader” was another “Death Song” a sub genre of pop music that was prevalent in the late 50’s thru the mid 60’s, this is where our HATE phase began! ”Leader Of The Pack” also included sound effects…..Screeching tires, breaking glass as Mary is screaming “Look Out, Look Out, Look Out”….That did it, Mary and the Shangri La’s went from the object of our affection to our favorite punch-line in less than six months….How could She? Well she/they did and “Leader Of The Pack” became an international smash resulting in… OMG!, The Shangri La’s going on tour with THE BEATLES! Which caused staggering mixed emotions in our teen-aged minds!  Didn’t The Beatles understand that The Shangri La’s were a joke?…..And, further more  ,How do we stand a chance with Mary if she’s hanging with John, Paul, George and Ringo?
Yeah, don’t try to figure that last part out!….we can’t!
Meanwhile, “There’s Something About Mary” that we just can’t shake, Sooo, with an open mind we sit down and listen to their next single “I Can Never Go Home Anymore” Now! If “Leader Of The Pack” was over the top, “I Can Never Go Home Anymore” jumps the shark to to tenth power! Another fully orchestrated dirge ballad about death with “Hot Mary” pouring her heart out as she describes the scenario leading up to a fight with her mother over a boy, she runs away from home, AND…Yup, you guessed it…MOM DIES! WHOA, really girls? We just couldn’t take it anymore and besides,  we were now deeply involved with Tina Turner. But wait! The only thing sexier than long blonde hair and a “Come hither”look is a sense of humor! In late 1965 The Shangri La’s released “Give Him A Great Big KISS” a high energy up tempo record that poked fun at themselves, the genre and current trends. The antithesis of their early breakthrough records! I was toast and back in love with Mary, Betty, Mary Ann and Marge. Our second LOVE phase that we’re still enjoying today….Cuz, “When I say I’m in love, you best believe I’m in love, L. U. V.
Ah, but you dear reader, which side of the Love / Hate fence were you on with The Shangri La’s
And if you claim you didn’t have even the slightest thing for Mary, WELL as she would say…” And that’s called sad”
“You get the picture”?
….Here’s how it all began

Lastly…If you’d Like to go deep on The Shangri La’s…..My fellow Blogger “Non disposable Jonny” has a grea site and you’ll have a great time! Here’s a link to his blog “Th Round place in the middle…



May 25, 2018     2 Comments

The SMS Trivia Question Of The Week (How good are you?)

.Well sir….It’s Trivia Tuesday for May the twenty tooth! ( or sumthin’ like that ) However, before we get to this weeks question, The usual SMS “Well Dones” go out to two of our regular readers who absolutely nailed last weeks question, which was; According to this huge hit from 1963, the singer said “ She was bored, relieved, stroked and ported”……Who was she and who sang it? The correct answer is She’s “The Little Deuce Coupe” as performed by The Beach Boys……AND The two brilliant readers that got it right were Ron Wood and Steve Winogradsky….Ron actually shared what he learned in Auto Shop in High School and explained what those engine terms actually meant!
Thanx Ron Wood, most of us mere mortals have never had a clue!
BUT NOW! Here’s this weeks question; Who is Arnold George Dorsey? And can you name TWO of his many hits!
Extra Credit…You will achieve SMS International Super Genius status if you can explain the origin of Arnold’s stage name!
…No hints till Wednesday!

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May 22, 2018     7 Comments   ,

A Hot August Night

imageDidja ever see Them?… Well, Didja?, We 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 Lads

Regardless, Click the link and go back in time to August 30th 1965… A very Hot August Night!



May 18, 2018     16 Comments   , , , , ,

George the First…

If you’re among the esteemed generation of Beatle fans who actually lived thru the British Invasion, you may recall how the press,  the media, the record label and even Ed Sullivan proclaimed that the Beatles Feb. 1964 trip to America was the first time “The Fabs” had set foot on American soil ! Not completely true, my fab friends…Didja know that nearly 5 months earlier in Sept. 1963, the quiet Beatle George, made a very quite trip the U. S. A. To visit his sister Louise who lived in a little town in Benton Illinois. At this point in time “From Me To You” was the number one record in the U.K. and Beatle Mania had caught fire, But here in the U.S. the band was barely a blip on anyone’s Radar!  So, George and his brother Peter hoped a flight to Benton for a three-week stay with their sister to enjoy some R&R, sightseeing, gardening and music. George and his siblings drove all over Southern Illinois including camping two nights in the Shawnee National forest! But it was in nearby Mt. Vernon where Beatle history is made, when Louise takes her brothers to a popular record store, where George finds a new record by James Ray, the title of the song is “Got my mind set on you” Sound familiar?… After their road trip, returning to Louise’s home in Benton, Louise takes George to see a local band playing at the VFW town hall, the band was called “The Four Vests, Louise introduced her brother to the bands leader Gabe McCarty. Remember, George was completely unknown, but his sister called him “The English Elvis! George and Gabe hit it off immediately, as soon as George sat in with The Four Vests! Both men were huge fans of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis etc. so by day they hung out talked music and by night they Jammed. It was Gabe who helped George find his coveted Rickenbacker electric that can be heard on several Beatle tracks and on permanent display in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame….Yep, George bought  it on a day trip to Mt. Vernon with Gabe….

……There you have it, with all due respect to what we think we heard,  George Harrison was making Beatle history in America 5 months prior to  John, Paul and Ringo!

Yeah, Yeah, YEAH…




May 13, 2018     4 Comments   , , ,

Surf’s Up !

When you consider the great music of the 1960’s we’re sure you think about ” The British Invasion”, Motown, all the Girl Groups and the blending of Folk music and Rock and Roll. However it was Surf music that truly ushered in the music of the 60’s. It inspired us to listen,and established a new genre, culture and lifestyle, not just on the west coast of California but across the world. It gave us pioneers and Super Stars The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and The Honeys. Some purists even argue The Mamas and Pappas, sighting ” California Dreaming” as the best song ever written about  “Praying For Surf” But I digress, because no matter what new genre  coalesced and shaped the sound of the Sixties they all owe a nod and must pay homage to the artists and the music that Kick Started ” The best decade in music history”

Instrumental Surf Music. Burning through like a firestorm as the new decade debuted and continued to influence the sound and culture of “Pop” music, not jus thru the 60’s but for every decade to follow. The Ventures, ( who have sold, to date, over 110 million records…yup, you read that right!) The Surfaries, The Chantays,The Bel-Airs, The Challenger’s, and of course “The King of the Surf Guitar”,Dick Dale and his Deltones. Even The U.K. Gave us The Tornedos with ” Telstar” and The Shadows with “Apache”  The sound was always 3 guitars, bass and drums with someone doubling on electric piano with an occasional Sax solo The instruments were nearly always made by Fender and all were drenched in Reverb to give them that ” Wet Sound” No other genre of music( with the exception of The Beatles) inspired young music lovers to pick up a guitar or a pair of sticks and immediately be part of this new cool scene coming out of Southern California.

Many historians sight Dick Dales incredible high energy debut ” Let’s Go Tripping as the first hit record to put Inst. Surf on the charts. But we’ll argue that it was Santo and Johnny’s hauntingly beautiful ” Sleep Walk” that established and galvanized Instr. Surf Music and beyond.  Santo and Johnny Farina hailing from Brooklyn N.Y. wrote the song inspired by a dream of Johnny’s. Johnny played a six string Gretch, while Santo played, AND GET THIS, a  fender custom built three necked Pedal Steele, with each neck holding EIGHT strings. We can’t do the math or even begin to imagine how many options of Keys, Tunings and Sounds Santo could conjure up!  Experts might point out that “Sleep Walk topped the Billboard charts in Sept. of 1959( when it also achieved the number 4 position on Billboards R&B chart !!!) but it’s lingering popularity kept it in “Heavy Rotation” not just thru the transition of the decade but throughout the surf music years and beyond. Lastly, Sleep Walk just may be the greatest love song ever written,and it has no lyrics. But dim the lights with Sleep Walk murmuring in the background and romance is yours. Ah,the power of Surf music instrumentals ! With the genre surging and new Surf Instrumentals entering the charts weekly, “Pipeline” by The Chantays, “Mr. Moto by The Bel Airs and “Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures all number ones. And all capturing the more mellow sound of Surf music until 1962, when Dick Dale came blasting through our radios with “Misirlou” a monster of a record that grabbed you by the throat and thru you in the water. Along with Dicks smoking ” Double Picking, “Misirlou included a piano and trumpet solo. There simply no other Surf record that can match  the power, aggression and pure energy of Misirlou” For you younger readers it’s that amazing piece of music that is featured in the opening scene of “Pulp Fiction” Lastly, as we were trying to catch our breath, we caught a “sucker punch” from The Surfaris with “Wipe Out in 1963. Ironically Wipe Out was an absolute throw away “B” side (The A side was the ridiculous “Surfer Joe”…go figure)  Opening with a maniacle  laugh and the sound of a breaking surfboard. And then the songs 1st. verse… A DRUM SOLO Yup…In fact the entire song is mostly this same drum solo. Which ultimately became an audition test for any young drummer trying out for a new band. I should know, I did it a dozen times.  Surf music continued to rule, but ” The British Invasion” was right over the horizon. So what was the final Surf  instrumental that sounded the “Death Knell” to this powerful and influential genre.?….. it was “Penetration” by The Pyramids. The band hailed out of Long Beach Calif. It’s to bad that The Pyramids were short-lived, if only for their outrages approach to their band and the music business. They were a five piece (of course) but their founder and lead guitar player Will Glover was a Black man. Remember this is now early 1964 ! To add to the controversy ( remember, the song is called “Penetration “)  The band did the unthinkable in 1964. Seeing early pictures of The Beatles, They Shaved Their Heads. Picture their line up if you can. They also were fond of stunts at their shows. They often opened for The Beach Boys, and if the boys showed up in Limos, The Pyramids showed up on horses, The Boys showed up in larger stretch limos, The Pyramids actually showed up on Elephants! Bottom line, if you ask any remaining member of any of the bands mentioned in this article ” What was the best thing about Surf music and being in a Surf Band, they all say the same thing “We had soooo much Fun. “Surf’s Up” meanwhile, here’s Santo and Johnny’s incredible “Sleep Walk”





May 5, 2018     6 Comments   , , , , , ,

60’s Music….. Are You Feeling Horny ?

Horns ! The Brass section. Trumpets, Trombones, saxophones, French horns and, occasionally The Tuba. The horn section in American music was both its staple and it’s cornerstone. Going back to the early to mid 1920’s when America gave birth to “Big Bands  The horns delivered the melody, harmony, rhythm, and deep bottom end. A typical configuration included 5 saxophones, 4 Trumpets, 4 Trombones and a Tuba, augmented and supported by a rhythm section of Guitar, Bass, Piano and Drums. Through the years, the typical line up would adjust accordingly as America’s Big Band sound morphed and matured into sub genres like “Dance Band” ” Stage Band” ” Jazz Band” and “Swing Bands” The popularity of this Brass enriched American sound dominated the sheet music business, saturated the fledgling radio industry, established a recorded music fever and even made a splash in The Movies in The 30’s and 40’s  “Battles of the Bands” became the standard attraction every weekend at theaters and concert/ dance halls across the country, frequently featuring a half-dozen or more bands on the same bill. But!…No matter how popular the “Horn centric” sound of  America’s music sounded in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s’ Audiences and taste’s change and mature and by the end of the 1940’s popular music in America placed less emphasis on the Brass section with traditional arrangements and began focusing more on inspired improvisation by a strong rhythm section perhaps including a trumpet and a “Reed” instrument It was called Bee Bop and by the beginning of the 1950’s the horn heavy sound of “Big Band” and “Swing” had all but  vanished, and a new generation of music lovers were hungry for their own sound, and it certainly wouldn’t include a “Brass section……..UNTIL, of course, THE 1960’s ! Beginning in 1967 the sky’s opened up and it rained down Brass sections. We’re certain, here at SMS, that when you think of horn bands, Two bands come to mind…Chicago, and Blood Sweat and Tears. Two distinctively different groups but both focusing their power and creativity on their horn sections, an easy twenty years after the last vestiges of the Big Bands reverberated off in the distance!

Somehow, Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears made horns COOL again… B,S, and T and Chicago made their debut’s in ’68 and ’69 respectively. However, did you know that in 1967 The Buckingham’s  scored 5 top twenty  nit singles with a sound they called “Brass Rock”

Billboard magazine dubbed them “The most listened to band in America” But, we’re guessing you remember The Buckingham’s as just another Top 40 band that got played too much. But not the members of Chicago and B, S, and T. They all credit The Buck’s with re – introducing horns into popular music and they took the idea, ran with it, and made “Brass Rock” the coolest new music on the radio, as well as selling millions and millions off records !  (it needs to be noted that Chicago’s first three albums were double record sets!….Unheard of !

Sooo, this brings up an old 1960’s argument…..The argument?….” who was better, “Chicago”, or “Blood, Sweat and Tears”?

We’re a curious bunch here at SMS and we gotta know, which team were you with….Team “Chicago” or Team”Blood Sweat and Tears” ?

Please comment back and let us know your preference and why !
Scroll way below for Comments !

To help aid your memory…Team Chicago

And of course…Team… Blood Sweat and Tears





P.S. Didja know that The Buckingham’s, Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears were all produced  at one point by the same man. James William Guercio….. Unbelievable!



April 30, 2018     10 Comments   , , , , , ,

Hunh ? ( one more time )

It was on this day, April27th 1969, Pink Floyd appeared at Mothers Club in Erdington, Birmingham, England. Radio 1 D J John Peel reviewed the gig as ‘…sounding like dying galaxies lost in sheer corridors of time and space’. Recordings from this show were included in the group’s 1969 album ” Ummagumma” An appropriate title and response to Peel’s ethereal “Spacey” desription of the bands performance!

P.S. For those of you who actually know what “Ummagumma” means, please refrain from mentioning it here! We wouldn’t want the language police to give us any trouble here at SMS ! ?

April 27, 2018     4 Comments   , ,

A Hard Days Night !…and other malaprops…

On this day, April 16th in 1964 The Beatles filmed the ‘chase scenes’ for A Hard Day’s Night with actors dressed as policemen in the Notting Hill Gate area of London. In the evening they recorded the title track for the film, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ at Abbey Road. John and Paul had the title first, and had to write a song to order, completing the track in nine takes.

It also should be noted that the actual title to the film, ” A Hard Day’s Night” was coined by Ringo ! As the story goes….The Beatles were wrapping up a full day of shooting at Twickenham film studios, the band pushed open the large sound stage door, only to find, to their surprise that day had turned to night. As they exited, Ringo looked up at the dark skies and proclaimed “Well lads, it’s been a hard days… Night !”

…..Ringo was well know for his innocent / brilliant “malaprops” On another occasion, during an interview on British T.V. in early 1964, Ringo threw out the phrase “Tomorrow never  Knows” addressing a question about the band’s future….. Lennon loved the remark and ultimately took it as the title for the final track on the Revolver album!

Yeah, Yeah, YEAH!

April 16, 2018     0 Comments

” The British Invasion “… Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda ?

No question, when we talk about 60’s music our focus and “Ground Zero” always turns to “The British Invasion” ! At one point in the mid Sixties statistics indicate that nearly every other record in “The Top 40” was performed by a resident from The United Kingdom. However dear reader, we have a question for your consideration….Would there or could there have been a “British Invasion” if John had never met Paul and they never formed The Beatles? In the late 50’s a burgeoning music scene was growing exponentially with “Skiffle” music taking root and taking hold of every youth in the U.K. Skiffle music was a kind of mix of jazz, country and jug band, played on the most rudimentary instruments, one or two stringed guitars wash boards, you get the drill and it required very little skill. In fact, as the 50’s came to an end it was estimated that there were as many as 30,000 to 50,000 Skiffle bands in The United Kingdom ! Many of course attempted to record but the records only got attention, if any, in the band’s home town, Skiffle didn’t travel well to say the least. However, you may recall a record called “Rock Island Line” by Lonnie Donnegan? The poster child for Skiffle and perhaps the only record from the Genre to get play in the U.S. But as the 60’s arrived Skiffle music and it’s players matured and a new “Beat” sound ( completely influenced by American Rock n Roll ) took over

Hundreds and hundreds of new artists began appearing in several urban centers around the U.K. Primarily Birmingham, Manchester, London and of course…..Liverpoole ! Where John, Paul, George and Ringo were one of over an estimated  350 new bands looking for work ! Along with other locals like The Searchers, Gerry and The Pacemakers and Cilla Black. ALL by the way managed by Brian Epstein. A similar scene was playing out in London where every night every club was sold out and London’s “swinging” youth rocked out to the very young Rolling Stones, Spencer Davis ( featuring a 15-year-old Stevie Winwood ) The Yardbirds, Dusty Springfield, Dave Clark Five and Moody Blues, while up in Manchester you could hear Graham Nash with The Hollies, Peter Noone with Herman’s Hermits and the wacky Freddie and The Dreamers. All getting a little traction in their hometown yet none of them ever dreaming they would conquer America. In the U.S, we heard little about these artist and their music. The only English Exports we were aware of was Cliff Richard, in the U.K.  he was known as “The English Elvis” Although he had the looks and a decent enough voice,for Americans, there was nothing about Cliff that remotely resembled The King ! His slick pop songs only widened the musical gap between The U.S. And The U.K.Cliff struggled for acceptance in America but it never happened. The fact is prior to the British Invasion ,only two English recordings made it to the American top spot…. “Stranger on the Shore by Mr. Ackerman Bilk, an instrumental, and “Telstar” by The Tornados, yet another instrumental ! Reminding us of the quote from George Bernard Shaw “The U.S.A. and Great Britton, two great countries divided by a common language”…..Think about it !

The British Invasion quickly spoke loud and clear to that division, and somehow they did it without that odd sounding accent. The U.K. Was rich with talent and music was percolating in every corner of every city, town or hamlet. In retrospect it seems simply inevitable, the British Invasion would have to happen with or without The Beatles ! BUT WE SAY NO WAY ! Without The Beatles, there would never be “A British Invasion. We all agree on the incredible talent pool languishing within her Majesty’s gates, but between “The Old Garde” thinking in the U.K. And the “We know everything” thinking in the U.S. The “Invasion” needed a catalyst, something so original, yet so familiar! Something undeniable and worthy. Something to get and keep our attention across the pond and not on American Bandstand

We aren’t going to go any deeper on The Fab Four, you’ve been there, you already know it all, and we simply don’t have the time or space to tell their story once again !  Our  point is…..”No Beatles, no British Invasion. However, we further believe you’d still be enjoying all your favorite English artists, only with slight variations. ( reader alert, blasphemous commentary coming ) We believe if the Beatles never came together only Paul is a “sure thing” in achieving “Superstar” status….his overall affable attitude, musicality, classic songwriting sense, musicianship, incredible vocals, stage presence and good looks makes Paul undeniable ! Lesser so with John mainly due to John’s anger and attitude, for us John also comes up a bit short on versatility. John would always be the creative focus for any band and could have enjoyed a successful solo career, but nothing like the heights McCartney would hit !  George would be well-regarded as an original and dynamic  guitarist / songwriter. But it’s hard to imagine George having a solo career if he’d never been a Beatle ! Same goes for Ringo, he’d be a most “Sought after drum player with several credits on his résumé but regular folks wouldn’t know his name!

If The Stones never caught on we believe we’d still own records that feature Mick and Keith, their “perfect fit as songwriters collaborators  and performers, as well as their bond and ambition would drive them on together…Somehow !

Only Blues/Rock Junkies would be listening to the Yardbirds, and without support and success in the U.S. It’s likely there would never have been a “Led Zeppelin, but Clapton would be…..Well, CLAPTON ! Eric may be the only British Invader whose career track would be exactly the same….With or without a British Invasion !

The same could be said for Peter Asher from Peter and Gordon. After his successful run with Gordon Waller Peter turned his energies to his ability as a manager and producer, remaining active, involved and meaningful…

AND….Dusty Springield, In 1964 the English press already named her “The Greatest Blue Eye’d Soul singer in the world. In the same week The Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan, Dustys first single “I Only Want To Be With You” was shooting up the U.S. Charts ! Dusty’s soulful voiced would have shined on America no matter what !

Lastly, for the Freddie’s and the Hermans and the other drummers, bass players and keyboardist  who populated The British Invasion but never got  their ” Close Up” on The Ed Sullivan Show, many are still working doing reunion tours and special British Invasion appearances. If you want to see them, they’re out there especially in America !


But, before you rush out…. WHAT DO YOU THINK ?  COULD THERE HAVE BEEN A BRITISH INVASION IF THE BEATLES NEVER CAME TOGETHER  ?……….And of course any further thoughts you may have !

Yeah, Yeah, YEAH !

April 6, 2018     4 Comments   , , , , , , ,

Practice, Practice, Practice, ….Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll….and…Good Haircuts !


It was on this day, April 1st, 1961, The Beatles began a grueling three-month residency at The Top Ten Club, Hamburg, playing 92 straight nights. The group played for seven hours a night on weekdays and eight hours at weekends with a fifteen-minute break every hour. It was during this visit that Astrid Kirchherr cut Stuart Sutcliffe’s hair into the style destined to become known as the “Beatle haircut” which The Beatles later adopted themselves. In order to cope with the intense, unheard of schedule and along with the band’s penchant for party’s and pretty girls it was at The Top Ten Club where the band began their infamous association with drugs, of all kinds ! During this 3 month stint, the band began their daily regimen of taking “Uppers” at night to keep them going, and “Downers” by day to get the little sleep they needed !

Jornalist and best selling author Malcom Gladwell chronicles these times in his 2008 best seller, “The Outliers” sighting this experience in the band’s life as essential to their  later massive success !

Pictured above, the band’s classic Hamburg photo featuting 5 Beatles, including Pete Best on drums and Stu Sutcliffe on bass ! Just prior to Stu’s girlfriend Astrid, breaking out her scissors !

Yesh, Yeah, YEAH…


Post Script : Didja ever play in a band ?  Didja ever play THREE sets a night ?…



April 1, 2018     1 Comments   , , , ,