Category: Do You Want to Know a Secret?
This week’s “Quick One” will focus on “Heavy Metal” and it’s origin!
It’s widely believed that “Heavy Metal” entered our musical conscious and nomenclature in the 1970’s when from outta nowhere our speakers were rattling with power chords from bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and of course Metallica!
But the genre’s musical introduction is quickly traced back to the 1960’s. When in 1969 Steppenwolf had there first number one with Mars Bonfire’s song “Born to be Wild”. The second verse reads….”I like smoke and lightning, heavy metal thunder” as the song rips and shreds for another thee plus minutes.
However, Mars Bonfire didn’t coin the term. “Heavy Metal” first appeared in popular literature. In 1961, William Burroughs introduced the character “Uranian Willy, The Heavy Metal Kid” from his book “The Soft Machine” The first in a trilogy. Burroughs reprised the term and character in a later book “The Nova Express” with “The Heavy Metal People Of Uranus”
However, the real credit goes to music critic and rock journalist Lester Bangs for appropriating the term as it applies to music. In 1969 Bangs was writing an extended piece for “Creem” magazine and referenced a local band’s sound as “Heavy Metal”…..Ground zero for the term ironically coined for a genre that hadn’t even happened yet!
Anyone have a different story?
The truth is most people didn’t! “Head” was the first and last feature film starring The Monkees! Released 49 years ago today Nov. 20, 1968….Columbia Pictures produced and distributed the film and everyone believed it was a sure bet. Their hugely popular series had just concluded a few month’s earlier, and they were still selling millions of records. The film was directed by Bob Rafelson ( the producer and director of their T.V. Series and the screenplay was written by…..wait for it…Jack Nicholson. Yep, THAT Jack Nicholson.
In addition to Micky, Davey, Peter and Mike,”Head included Cameo’s with Victor Mature Sonny Liston, Peter Fonda, Frank Zappa and Annette Funicelo. Originally called “Changes”this 87 minute mish mash with no script, no plot and no direction outside of The Monkees desire to explore and move beyond their “slapstick and silly 30 minute T.V. Show. They knew their core audience were young “Teen-Agers” and believed “Head” would attract and appeal to a more mature and sophisticated audience which would bring them something they desperately desired CREDIBILITY!
“Head failed miserably, the film never came close to appealing To “the mature audience”, Afterall it was, The Monkees! But, even worse, with the films emphasis on Psychedelia, “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll in Hollywood, much of their young core audience couldn’t or wouldn’t be allowed to see it.
Here are the hard numbers…”Head” cost $760,000 to produce, and the total box office receipts were… Wait for it….just a little over $16,000….Yikes ! To this day , Wikipedia describes “Head” as “Stunningly Unsuccessful”
Fans of the film claimed it was a sincere and valid attempt to emulate The Beatles and “A Hard Day’s Night”….Not even close.
comparing the greatest band in the world to the…er…ah…um Well, they weren’t even a real band!
Sooooo, we think you GET IT. But here’s the bottom line. Some historians ( including The Monkees) believe “Head” ended the careers of Mickey, Davey, Mike and Peter both as actors and musicians. Blaming Director Producer Bob Rafelson!
However, “Head” does have a reason for being, many more film and music historians believe “Head” should be celebrated and revered as the quintessential Movie of and about The 1960’s celebrating the excess, Psychedelia and creative experimentation we all attempted to indulge! For our money “Head” delivered Thee best Monkee’s song from their substantive catalog.
It’s called “The Porpoise Song” and it open’s and closes the movie. AND, it was written by Carole King and Jerry Goffin. A loud driving, yet plaintive ballad that is basically a Hammond B-3 organ and Mickey moaning his way thru a senseless lyric. BUT IT WORKS! And set’s the stage, that your about to experience something your not prepared for, by four Guy’s you never expected it from…. And in those brief moments of The Porpoise Song , My friends and I got “Head” in 1968….So, what about you, did you see this rare and unusual film ? Have you heard “The Porpoise Song”?
We bet you’ve heard it and never knew it. So, our advice to you is run to your nearest source and get “Head” in 2017… ( nostalgia and “Train Wreck Syndrome)
But first, let’s hear “The Porpoise Song…
In the late Sixties, into the early Seventies, the “Club Scene in So. Calif. was thriving. World Class venues like “The Whisky au, go, go “The Hullabaloo Club, “The Trip, Pandora’s Box” “Bito Lido’s” “London Fog” and “The Roxy” with its adjacent “Super hang” bar and grill, “The Rainbow Room! If you even thought of playing guitar, you had to drop into The Rainbow room, have a slice of their “World Famous Pizza and hang out with the real world of “Rock Royalty….
However, it’s the club that’s away from the traffic crunch of “The Sunset Strip” that enjoy’s the longevity, legends and infamous notoriety more than any other nightspot in L.A. Or the world…Doug Weston’s Troubadour! You surely know the story. The club opened in the late 50’s as a coffee-house that gradually grew into a folk music venue. But in the Sixties, The Troubadour moved to its current location on Santa Monica Blvd. and immediately became thee venue for the surge of music both locally and internationally that was taking the 60’s by storm.
From “The Laurel Canyon Mafia, James Taylor with Carol King to Elton John, Comedians like Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and A Banjo playing Steve Martin. But! The Troubadour soon became famous for what was happening off the stage as well as on. The troubadour is where Lenny Bruce was thrown off the stage and arrested on “obscenity Charges” for using the word “Schmuck” on stage..There was the night comedian George Carlin was having a very bad night, the crowed was booing, when club owner Doug Weston walked on stage, turned around, bent over, pulled down his pant’s Screamed “Kiss my Ass” and closed the club!….No apologies, or of course refunds. The troubadour was where Elton John made is American debut. Far from a “Household” name, Elton sold out 3 nights and shut down Santa Monica Blvd, with his busses and throngs of die-hard fans. There was the night Steve Martin was unhappy with the sound, or temperature in the room. So Steve put an arrow through his head, invited the FULL house to go outside and join him on Santa Monica Blvd. where he did his entire show! HOWEVER, the most notorious event that ever happened at “The Troub” was the night John Lennon and Harry Nilsson dropped by the club and proceeded to get completely trashed. As the party ensued a very drunk John Lennon tied a woman’s tampon to his head. A very agitated waitress grabbed Lennon by the arm and asked him to leave the club, when Lennon barks “Do you know who I am”? The waitress snapped back with “YES, your some asshole with a Tampax on your head”! YEAH, YEAH, YEAH…Good times at The Troub!
But, perhaps the most interesting twist Doug Weston introduced at his club was “Hoot Nite Monday’s” today you’d call it “Open Mic Nite” Every other club in town was “Dark Monday’s” club speak for “We’re closed Mondays’.
But, Weston opened The Troubadour on Monday nights to anyone who wanted to perform on his stage. If you could sing, play, or tell a good joke. You could get on The Troubadour stage, usually to an audience of a couple dozen patrons at most. However, as it was the only bar in town that was open on Monday night. The large bar that lead to the showroom was teaming with thirsty “Wanna bee’s” and more. Many, killing time till it was their turn to take the stage, but mostly locals and drifters looking for a drink and place to hang and collaborate with either musically or whatever…As word and popularity of what was going on in The Troubadour bar on Monday nights grew, the clientele enjoyed a distinctive up tick. The bar was jammed with the artists “Movers and Shakers of the music industry. On any Monday night, a quick glance around the bar, you’d find Tom Waites sitting at his regular corner stool, nursing a glass of whisky with his “Ole 55 parked in the alley. Linda Ronstadt “The Queen of Hearts” would burst into the bar, on some kind of mission, alway’s nervous, curiously scanning the bar for someone or something.
Grabs a glass of something which she sips through a straw and then she’s gone. Henley was there as was Frey, but not together
The Eagles were still a few years away. First they had to join Ronstadt as HER back up band.The past, present and future of pop music were all drinking and plotting in ” The Sad Cafe”, The Troubadour Bar
It was Don Henley who nicknamed the club “The Sad Cafe” He and Glen Frey chronicled their times and experiences at the club in their song of the same name, which can be found on their late 70’s album “The Long Run”
But, one summer Monday night something spontaneous and incredible happened!… Our old friends Rob Grill, Joel Larson and Warren Entner from “The Grass Roots,” fresh off a string of huge top 40 hits….”Two Devided by love” “Sooner Or Later” “Heaven Knows” and their double platinum monster “Midnight confessions” took a break from constant touring and opted for some downtime in their homes in West L.A. All mere blocks from “The Sad Cafe”
The three Roots were Monday night regulars in the bar, commandeered a large table in the corner, drinking and singing! Yes…..Singing! But they were singing “Doo Wop” The Sad Cafe, The Grass Roots and Doo Wop provided me with the best Summer and musical night of my life.
One Monday, The Roots were settled in the corner Rob and Joel, finger poppin and Doo whopping their way through the Doo Wop classic “So Fine” I wasn’t invited but at the chorus, I leaned in and added a deep third part. At 22 years old, I was barely 5′ 6″ and was pushing 120 pounds from the low side. But I had been gifted with a “Basso Profundo deep voice that blended perfectly with the Alto Sopranos of The Grass Roots. The Roots heard this sound coming out of this kid and thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen and heard. Monday after Monday, there we were, holding court and performing the best a capella Doo Wop this side of a Brooklyn “Stoop” Soon the bars clientele would join in. Tom Waits shuffled over one night, sat down and tried to growl his way through “Gonna Find Her” but we were too happy for Tom so he moved on…J.D. Souther sat in one night. We were paralyzed! Randy Meisner leaned in a couple of times and it was like the gates of heaven opening…Glen Frey sat down one night….”Fuh getta bout it” One evening Senator Al Franken ( Yes that same Al Franken) sat in. In the early Seventies, Al was a stand up comedian and showed up every Monday to work on his act. He took a break grabbed a drink and joined the chorus.
Forget about his politics The Senator CAN NOT SING…
But it was our final Monday night that was the most fun and poignant. Midway through “Our second set” Rob, Joel and I decided we should go out for chilli dogs! We know you’ve been there. We all got in the car and headed down Santa Monica Blvd. to “Pinks” hot dogs, thee best chilli dog stand in L.A. And only 5 minutes from the Troub. On our way we see a vision! It’s a classic Mid 50’s Candy Apple Red Mercury Cruiser, complete with Fuzzy dice hanging off the rear view mirror and hydraulic jacks bouncing it up and down Santa Monica Blvd. with the radio blasting some Latin music station. But wait here’s the most incredible part, as we pulled along side we saw that the cars owner had air brushed something on the rear side windows ( that was a thing in certain communities in L.A. Back in the day) He had painted each rear window with the words “Midnight Confessions”……Rob and Joel saw the windows of this “SHORT”
emblazoned with the title of their last monster hit and they went insane, laughing hysterically, jumping out of the car and hoping on the back of the Mercury. This was a photo-op gift from God and The Roots weren’t going to miss it…
Meanwhile, inside the Merc are four kids, who are clearly out of their neighborhood out of their league and are at once, terrified, confused and really pissed off!
Four young latino’s barely old enough to drive on a “Joy Ride” through Beverly Hills. When out of the blue a car full of “Long haired white dudes pulls up and in an instant they’re hanging and posing on this beautiful car screaming and singing”Midnight Confessions” snapping off pictures, while the Merc driver is going crazy swearing he is going to kill all of us. But! Before anything serious developed the Merc driver hit the gas and sped off, throwing everyone to the ground and taking Robs new “Ray Bans” along for the rest of the joy ride….As we dust ourselves off it’s agreed that we should head back to the troubadour, have a nightcap, assess any damages and sing a couple tunes!
Back at The troubadour, we settle in…Good news, our table is empty! Bad news, so is the Bar! But for one lone customer. “Linda is at the bar, looking nervous and sipping a drink through a straw. The Roots and I begin a soft, well tuned version of “Bye Bye Love” “Queen Linda looks up and over, and in a moment OMG! Our Queen is moving towards our table. Like a gossamer vision, she drifts up to our table, and as she surveys the faces, a look of disappointment comes over her Angelic face….”Pardon me”, sez The Queen “I thought I heard someone I know”…Whoa?….Who?
With that, Linda Ronstadt turns around and walks away. As the moment unfurls Rob Grill, at first, laments his lost Ray Bans, but then, leans over to me and say’s “Ya know Rick, the only good thing about watching Linda Ronstadt walk away from your table is WATCHING Linda Ronstadt walk away from your table…
A Sad Cafe Indeed…
However, somewhere there is a photograph of a blurry red quarter panel, with distorted images of Ray Bans and Grass Roots with multiple arms and legs in the air and if you look real close you can see the words “Midnight Confessions” stretched across a car window while deep in the background you can see the dim glow of neon guiding you to Doug Weston’s “Sad Cafe”
How about you?….Have you ever been there? Do YOU have a story?
Meanwhile, take a moment to enjoy The Eagles tribute…
“And meet me at midnight baby, inside the sad cafe”….
It was 50 years ago this week, Nov 3rd, 1967 that Rolling Stone Magazine, a weekly publication located in San Francisco Calif. published it’s debut issue Rolling Stone # 1…The founder and publisher Jann Wenner was a huge fan of Rock and Roll and the men and Women who created it. Jann lived in a loft in The Bay City with his girl friend and simply said one day “I’m starting a magazine about Rock Music. Jann had become friends with a columnist from The San francisco Chronicle Ralph J. Gleason who wrote feature stories about politics, they partnered up and had what they thought was the perfect blend for a magazine “Directed at The new “Hippie Culture” and they were on to something. Rolling Stone Magazine took off like a rocket and soon became the weekly Bible, yes, for the “Hippie community ( who ever that was ) but to the millions of fans of 60’s music and the culture all around it. The first issue featured John Lennon on the cover with a promotional photo of John from his recent debut purely as an actor in the Richard Lester film “How I won The War”
But, here’s the best part, to initially attract Jann’s perceived core audience. The first issue came with a free “Roach Clip” attached to the front page…..For those of you unfamiliar to the word “Roach Clip” ask your parents! And no, it has nothing to do with pesticides! In 1967 my buddies and I bought four copies, just for the free clips.
However, to our broader point, consider this between 1965 and 1967 culturally we were besieged with “Rolling Stones. In 1965 The Rolling Stones released their debut album called “England’s newest Hit Makers, The Rolling Stones” and in that same year Dylan released his first number one with “Like a Rolling Stone”
Radio stations curios as to the musical origin started playing an old Muddy Waters record called, what else? “Rolling Stone And in 1966 Dylan added a bit more Rolling Stone Flavor when he released his single “Rainy Day Women 12 and 35 whose chorus includes a “partying” sing a long of “Everybody must get stoned” preceded by verses chronicling all the ways the world can “Stone Ya”. ….. INDEED!….And in 1967 Laura Nero gave us “Stoney End”
Lastly When we believed the “stoning may be behind us we have to thank the Great Temptations for resurrecting “Rolling stone” in 1971 with their iconic classic “Papa was a Rolling Stone”
But now, let’s enjoy this rare classic live recording that started it all….
Welcome to a new feature at Sixties Music Secrets. Here’s the drill: What if you could travel back in time and completely remove one song from The Beatles incredible repertoire. Yep, eliminate any trace, history or evidence of one Beatle song, as if it never existed.Forever removed from our collective culture and memory!
What Beatle song would YOU choose AND WHY?
To get things started, we offer up our first choice of which Beatle song should be forever banished from Beatledom and Beatle history. Our choice: From The White Album, “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill”
Why? Because the melody sounds like a child’s nursery rhyme, Lennon tries so hard to make a lyrical point, but misses his mark
Lastly the highest crime of all. “Bungalow Bill” is the first Beatle record to feature someone other than John, Paul, George and Ringo singing on it. And that someone is Yoko Ono….Or as we like to refer to her “Yoko OH NO”
But now most importantly; WHAT’S YOUR PICK? and why?
Let ‘Em rip!
In the 1960’s, when we weren’t listening to the greatest music of all time, we watched T.V ! No Cable, No flat screens, 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 10/11/17 were focusing on one programme that originated out of the U.K. ran from 1961 to 1969 and we bet holds a special place in your memory and life experience…..”THE AVENGERS”
Ah Yes “John Steed Top professional”and “Emma Peel Talented Amateaur” Spy’s and crime fighters taking on all types of Bad Guy’s in the hippest clothes and coolest cars! Holding a gun in one hand and a glass of Moët Chandon in the other…..Ah, but before SMS can go any further, we have to pause and catch our breath as we recall Mrs. Emma Peel “The Talented Amateure ” played exquisitely by the exquisite Diana Rigg! Diana may not have been our first “Television Crush” but to this day she remains our most profound….If you grew up in the U.K. You may have a more intense memory of The Avengers. It’s practically a miracle rhat us Yanks ever saw the show at all. The Avengers debuted in 1961 in England, but didn’t make it to the U.S. Until 1965 when Thames T.V. Made a deal with ABC to carry the series!However, ABC was concerned about the shows violent and suggestive content so aired the show at 11:30 EST……Steering way clear of the FCC mandated “Family hour” but more importantly to The Avengers producers “Prime Time” where The audience and BIG MONEY resided. After the first year ABC then moved the show to 8;00p.m. Monday’s directly opposing NBC’s Juggernaught “Laugh In” The move all but killed this incredible, cool, sexy, stylish trend setting show
Cries of “FOUL” by it’s meager U.S. Audience and the shows original English producers, Thames T.V. Finally convinced ABC to air The Avengers at 10:00p.m. EST. But we followed faithfully. The Avengers became “The Water Cooler Conversation” of the day, at least among the young male viewers and always about Mrs. Peel and her latest outfit of form fitting jump suit and Stilletto heals. However, her partner John Steed, played exquisitely by Patrick Macnee “The Top Professional” held his own. Driving a different Classic Bently each week while sporting his ” Straight outta Carnaby Street classic” Three Piece with a Boller hat and Umbrella, which, of course when subtly activated turned into lethal weapons. But, in addition to the style and suggestive sexy/cool, The Avengers always “Broke the fourth wall”! That’s a T.V. Industry term for acknowledging the viewing audience and the fact that you may be deep in the plot but…..It’s a T.V. Show….
Here’s an example from an episode we watched last night. John and Mrs. Peel walk into a room where they find (of course) a dead body…..Mrs. Peel sez; “John, A DEAD BODY!….John Steed replies: “My lord isn’t it a bit early for a body?…Mrs. Peel replies: “Yes, my script doesn’t include a dead body for six more pages”…..Absolute fourth wall breakage brilliancy…
identifying your favorite T.V. Show from the 60’s is kinda like identifying your favorite child. But we’re going out on a limb…..The Avengers gets our vote. We chased it around three time slots talked about it all day in school and kept a picture of Diana Rigg in our desk!
BUT, it was the opening theme music that grabbed us from the first frame and first note. Sooo cool, powerful, original and compelling, written and produced by the incredible, now legendary, British Saxaphoneist John Dankworth, it was an energized blend of Jazz with some “Swinging London horns and strings plus a taste of the obligatory 60’s Harpsicord. The opening theme simply and profoundly announced The Avengers were coming, and THEY WERE COOL ! But Dankworths score was most effectively used as stingers or cues to punch up the good stuff on screen. An attempt was made to release a single on Columbia records, but it failed. We believe it’s failure was due to the devoted cult like fans who didn’t want to share or taint their precious Avengers with “The Great Unwashed”…..We know that sounds counter intuitive, but if you were an Avengers fan you get it..
As for now…..”Mrs. Peel, Wer’re needed” Yet again, if you were an Avengers fan…you get that too
Enjoy the “Swingingest” theme from some of the best T.V. From The 60’s…
It was on this day Sept. 29, 1967 when The Beatles put the finishing touches on the mix for John Lennon’s “I Am The Walrus”
John, irratated after reading in the newspaper that a teacher at his former elemantary school had her students write a paper analyzing Beatle lyrics, he deliberately wrote a verse of what he called “Gibberous”
… “Semolina Pilchard, climbing up the Eifel Tower,
elemantary penguin singing Hare Krishna, man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Alan Poe” etc. etc.
“That’ll teach ’em!
Scroll down below for comments…
You’re gonna love this ( and read below for an update ) On this day, July 8th in 1959, The Esso gas company introduced a campaign claiming that listening to “Rock an Roll” music on the radio while driving would result in poor gas mileage. The Esso researchers asserted that “The driving beat of Rock music caused the driver to press heavier in the gas peddle, wasting America’s latest precious resource…..HUNH?
Don’t know about you but we find it so strange and counter intuitive! Especially when you consider that Esso was in the business of selling as much gasoline as possible..
It also underscores the level of confusion and disdain Rock music was initially met with…
“Rev it up, rev it up, buddy gonna shut you down”
What do you think?
SMS UPDATE! You’re gonna love THIS more. On this date, Sept. 15th 1965….
The Ford Motor Co. debuted The 8 Track Tape Player as on option for their entire line of vehicles, less then 5 years after ESSO Gas warned that listening to rock music in the car will reduce your gas mileage!….
Ah, but here’s the rub; As 8 Trk home equipment was still one year away, new 8 TRK Tapes could only be purchased at “Automotive / Auto Parts stores!
Do you remember “Mad Man Muntz” ?
His Green and Purple car parts and electronics stores became extremely popular with a whole new clientele overnight, selling these new 8 TRKS…
And, get this in 1967 alone “Mad Man Muntz did over $30,000,000 in car stereo’s and tapes!
Did you ever shop there?
Did you have one of those “infernal” 8 TRKS in your car?
Just for fun…Here’s “Shut Down” by The Beach Boys from1963…
Right about now, July 2017. Smack dab in the middle of Sgt. Peppers 50th anniversary, you probably believe you know and have heard everything about this iconic recording. Well! Hang onto your mustache Billy Shears….Didja know this… There is a dog whistle that closes out the L.P. At the end of side two…Yep, after “A Day In The Life” after the final crashing “E” chord played on three piano’s and before the dead groove that features a random, short audio clip of Beatle chatter John Lennon actually blows a dog whistle. A dog whistle by definition is a device that emits a tone at a super high frequency of 15 kilo cycles per second, a tone which can only be heard by folks with near super hearing and, yes….Dogs!
Although, both John and Paul have claimed it to be true, no ones quite sure, Afterall you can’t hear it….However that hasn’t deterred the debate between the folks who claim they can actually hear it and those of us who can’t….
Of course we’ve included the mysterious piece for YOU to review and share what you hear or don’t. AND it also provides a great opportunity for you and Fido to hang out and listen to Sgt. Pepper..
You, of course remember, loved and likely played ’til the grooves turned grey The Moody Blues Iconic ambitious and beautiful “concept album” “Days’ of Future Passed” This was only the bands second L.P. Following their debut hit single and album “Go Now” a dramatic departure from their early sound of…er…ah…um…hmmm…actually were not sure what to call The Moody Blues early sound! Some critics have referred to it as “Blue Eye’d Soul”….Maybe, BUT, there is no question with “Days of future passed. This “Deep Track” fully orchestrated, dynamic project is Ground Zero for the “Progressive Rock” movement from November of 1967! The Band and it’s label marketed the record as the first Rock record to fully integrate a Rock band with a classical orchestra ( The London Festival Orchestra) The label even included photo’s of the orchestra in the studio with the band!
But, here’s the secret….There really is no London Festival Orchestra….It’s a “Brand” that Decca records created. The “Orchestra you here on DFP are just a handful of hired studio string and horn players mixed in with a Mellotron ( a string simulation device)….Further, The Moody Blues were never even in the studio when the string parts were laid down. In spite of the “augmented” photos you see on the back cover…..You get it. The whole thing was a marketing hoax. However the underlying concept of writing songs about each part of the day was sound and generated at least 4 huge hit singles. Remember “Dawn is The Feeling”…”Tuesday Afternoon,” “Evening Time To Get Away”
And everyone’s swooning favorite……wait for it………
…..”Nights In White Satin”
Yep all from “Day’s Of Future Passed” featuring “The London Phoney Baloney Orchestra….But, like you we loved it, slow danced with our girlfriend and thought we saw God…. “And I Love You, Whoa how I Love You-ooooo”…fade
Hold on, we have to hear “Nights”