Category: Do You Want to Know a Secret?
“I punched my buddy in the nose after lunch”…Wha?…Hunh? Yep, that’s what the man said, that man? Robert Velline! However you know him as Bobby Vee, and that is the opening line of lyric from his fourth hit single “Stayin’ In” you may not remember him as well as some of the other Bobby’s, Jimmy’s Billy’s, or Frankie’s but Bobby Vee enjoyed 38 chart hits, 10 of them hitting the Top 20….And between 1960 and 1967 that’s more than the other Bobby’s, Jimmy’s and Billy’s combined….But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. By the time you heard about Bobby “Cold Cocking” his best friend “In the cafeteria” Bobby already had 2-3 international smashes and it’s only 1962…Yeah in a little less than two years Bobby, was a certified international “Teen Idol!…Yes, the girls were swooning and fainting, but we all privately couldn’t resist the infectious quality and consistent appeal of the songs he would choose to record! Check this out, and admit it, you have at least one of these in your collection…Devil or Angel…”Rubber Ball”… “Take Good Care Of My Baby”…The nose punching “Stayin’In”…..The night has a Thousand Eye’s…”Run To Him” and in the later years “Come Back When You Grow Up Girl” “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara”and “Love you more than I can Say” Yes, way before Leo Sayer!….Staggering and we owned all of them!…Bobby Vee alone paid the rent and kept the lights on at the Brill Building! His earliest hits were penned by Gene Pitney and John D. Loudermilk with the great Carole King and Jerry Goffin delivering his later smashes…
Ah, but the plot thickens, Bobby’s Idol and influence was the great Buddy Holly, In fact the B-Side to “Rubber Ball was Bobby’s cover of Holly’s Everyday”….With many radio programmers believing it was Buddy, they began playing it confusing matters and distracting record buyers from “Rubber Ball” Bobby’s incredible A side! Furthermore Bobby’s hit “More Than I Can Say” was written by two of the members of Buddy’s band The Crickets, Sonny Curtis and Jerry Alison!
But here is the saddest, ironic and most important connection between Bobby Vee and Buddy Holly. You are all familiar with “The Day The Music Died” when a plane carrying Buddy, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens crashed after takeoff in a winter storm in Feb. of 59! Killing all four passengers on board. The plane was en route to Moorhead Minneapolis for the first of a 24 day tour called “The Winter Dance Tour. At that point Bobby had released a regional record he wrote called “Susie Baby” a record that was clearly inspired by Holly’s “Peggy Sue,”
as you can imagine the promoter of The Winter Dance Tour was panicking…24 dates to fill and NO BAND! But the promoter heard “Susie Baby” on the radio and called Bobby ( although he was still Robert Velline) and offered him the job, Bobby and his band “The Shadows” we’re in Fargo North Dakota, so they packed up their gear and headed to Moorhead where they headlined the second night of the ill-fated tour and several nights thereafter. These dates are considered the most important period in young , 15-year-old Bobby Vee’s career for two reasons. He was offered a record deal on the spot by Liberty records and he met a piano player named Elston Gunnn…yes, that’s Gunnn with 3 N’s…Gunnn had heard about this incredible band called The Shadows with a front guy who did a mean Buddy Holly, Elston was out of work and he approached Bobby to be the piano player for The Shadows. Total Strangers Bobby asked who Elston had worked with? Elston replied by saying he just got off a tour with Conway Twitty!. Bobby needed a piano player, but he was also familiar with who was on tour and where, and he was sure that this odd guy Elston may not be telling “The Whole Truth” but…..Bobby hired him regardless, Elston Gunnn was now the piano player in Robert Velline and The Shadows. The two quickly became friends with Elston, fresh out of high school and nearly three years Bobby’s senior became a kind of mentor to Bobby and his musical direction. Things went well, but didn’t last for more than six months, ya see Elston could only play in the key of “C”
Yes dear reader, here’s the payoff Elston’s real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman…YES! Bob Dylan!
Through the years Dylan has sung the praises of Bobby Vee and on several occasions performed Bobby’s “Susie Baby”….
Bobby spoke infrequently but respectfully about his relationship with Dylan and they remained friends until we lost Bobby Vee from complications due to Alzheimer’s in 2016……Here’s “Stayin In” https://g.co/kgs/qezXuL
Were you a Bobby Vee fan?…We know you love Dylan!….Strange bedfellows, INDEED!
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…
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” 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?
When history considers the “L.A.” or “West Coast” sounds of Southern California in the 1960’s, we tend to turn our attention to a relatively small yet incredibly prolific and powerful grouping of Artists and Musicians. The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and the various other writers, artists and producers, that made up the music community referred to as “Surf Music” and perhaps more importantly the Artists that made up “The Laurel Canyon Mafia” ( details to which you can read about here at SMS )…However, as disparate and diverse these ground breaking pioneers may have been,Their music and the “Sound of L.A.” was too often critically described as “Mellow” “Laid Back” “Heady” and “Harmonic” Not necessarily bad words, however, we’re here to look at what was going on in the streets and clubs of L.A. while Brian and his brothers were catching the wave and Joni, Graham, David and Cass were setting up house in Laurel Canyon….. Ten minutes East of Pacific Coast Hwy. and at the Southern most tip of Laurel Canyon Blvd. You are there! The whisky au, go, go” the London Fog” The Trip” and “Pandora’s Box”….A little further east and there’s “The Sea Witch” ” Bido Lito’s” and The tremendous “Hullabaloo Club” The Sunset Strip was home to an energized, vital and fertile Bar and Club scene. BUT ! The music coming out of these clubs in the mid 60’s was anything but “Mellow” or “Laid back” Quite the contrary, I spent my summer of 1966 hanging, hopping, and living in these clubs with the Artists and music they housed. Meanwhile, in your consideration of the bands we’ll focus on, keep in mind that on any given night in the summer of ’66 nearly all these bands were appearing, frequently at the same club on the same bill !
Do you remember “Love” with Arthur Lee? perhaps no other L.A. Band maintained and reflected the musical and cultural diversity of the city it called home, quite like “Love” did. Remember their breakthrough single, “My Little Red Book”? Of course you do, but did you know it was written by “easy listening” oldsters Burt Bacharach and Hal David ? who some of you may claim would be the purveyors of “Laid Back” and “Mellow” BUT NO, not after Arthur Lee and “Love” got hold of it, turning it into a brain pounding, eighth note driven rhythm and melody that thumped thru your mind long after the record ended. Additionally, Arthur’s vocals have been compared to Otis Redding and even Johnny Mantis. But on “Little Red Book” to me, he simply sounded scary. And live at The London Fog club on Sunset….HE WAS !
“Love” went on to sign with Jac Holzman’s Electra records ( The first band to sign with the label ) As a credit to “Loves’ creativity and Electra’s commitment “Love” recorded and released their first three albums in only 18 months, perhaps you own one…”Love”…….”Da Capo” and what critics call their masterpiece “Forever Changes”…
Have you heard them? You need to!
However, it could be argued that the greatest contribution that Arthur Lee made to Electra records was when he convinced Jac Holzman ( Electra’s founder and CEO ) to make a visit to The Whysky au go, go and hear his friends band. His friend was Jim Morrison! Holzman was so impressed with Jim and The Doors, he offered them a deal on the spot. You know the rest of the story. ” In L.A. You know Where That’s At”
Yes !…Jim Morrison and The Doors, no doubt, your favorite from L.A. back then and without question the most successful and notorious! and no other band worked harder. They were the house band at The whisky, The London Fog and The Galaxy clubs, as well as regulars at Pandora’s Box, Bido Lito’s and The Hullabaloo club with its revolving stage and perception altering Strobe light production. On a really good night, you could catch The Doors early show at The Hullabaloo club, then hitch hike west on Sunset 2-3 miles back to The whisky and catch them closing for The Seeds or The Music Machine just prior to last call. Even in those early days there were no questions regarding Morrison and sobriety and it is an unfortunate truth that my friends and I would rush to a late Doors show, just to see how annihilated Jim could get….But, he, along with the best drummer, John Densmore, Guitar player, Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzereck in L.A, would always “tear down the house” The Doors were neither “Mellow” or “Laid back”The Doors were young, the band was incredibly TIGHT and they were writing great songs……Did you know, by the way, that “Light My Fire” was written by guitarist Robbie Krieger, not keyboardist Ray Manzerick, and it was the first song Krieger ever wrote….”In L.a. You know where That’s At”
The Seeds played everywhere, all the time. Do you remember The Seeds led by Sky Saxon? perennial Wannabe’s ! They worked hard and put on a very loud raucous show. But they just never took first position on any club stage. No one went out into the warm Hollywood summer night to SEE THE SEEDS, nope, they were there, but as the opening act. Sky’s voice was nasal, a bit whiney and the band was unremarkable, except for Keyboard player Daryl Hooper. He brought a sense of style and fashion to an otherwise drab outfit with hair to his mid back and knee-high boots “Quite the Dandy” actually. It should be noted that The Seeds were the first band to not include a Bass player in their live show. Daryl provided the bass parts by playing them on the keyboard. This is something that Ray Manzereck and the Doors got a lot of attention for doing. But it was Daryl Hooper in The Seeds that did it first. The Seeds struggled to break beyond just L.A. notoriety, but you may remember a title or two. Do you recall “I can’t seem to make you mine” ? The band and their label, Crescendo, believed in it so much they released it twice…..But, do you remember it? I’ll bet you don’t. The Seeds actually appeared and performed it on two popular T.V. Shows
“The Mothers in Law” and The Patty Duke Show, you still don’t recall it, do ya ? Furthermore those T.V. Appearances added to the bands lack of credibility. Crescendo released two more tracks Mr. Farmer” and “You’re Pushin To Hard” The latter being the one song you may remember. It received a fair amount of national attention. But The Seeds still couldn’t break thru the second place or opening act position in the So. Calif. music scene. They have been referred to as Ground Zero for garage rock and Proto Punk. Unfortunately for Sky Saxon and The Seeds, even that generous comment just isn’t true.
However, just down the street, we would stand mesmerized watching a L.A. Band that had the diversity of “Love” the darkness of The Doors and raw attitude of The Seeds……..The Music Machine. Do you recall them? I’m certain you recall and loved their third single and mega hit “Talk Talk” a mere one minute and fifty-six seconds of runaway energy, drum breaks and “fuzz” bass, all delivered by lead singer/ songwriter and founder Sean Bonniwell “Talk Talk” was sonically irresistible, and at 1:56 no disc jockey could avoid playing it. But it was the bands relentless live shows where Bonniwells vision of a Music Machine was realized. The band entirely dressed in Black, hair dyed Black and wearing one Black glove, the look and image was dark, imposing and even, yes, Surrey. However, to truly drive the point home, The Music Machine’s standard set ran One hour and ten minutes, NON STOP! That’s right Bonniwell wrote short segues to string all their songs together. No space, irrelevant banter or even a breath between songs….Just non stop, aggressive Rock, ripping your ears off and completely void of “mellow and “Laid back”. One night, at the Hullabaloo club, some joker from a rival band cut the power on the band in the middle of their set. What followed was incredible, in front of 800 dazed fans…. In silence Sean moved to the edge of the stage, proclaims “Nothing can stop a Music Machine and singularly hurls out a searing a capella performance of “Talk Talks” b-side ” Come on In”……One dark voice, under one dim spot, but as the old saying goes “There wasn’t a dry seat in the house” my friends and I held on as Sean Bonniwell brought the house down at The Hullabaloo Club….”In L.A. You Know Where That’s At”
Meanwhile, it’s time now to hitch down the street catch “Spirit”at Bido Lito’s and back to The Hullabaloo to see the closing set from “The Palace Guard”…Check out “Talk Talk”
Didja ever see them? Wereya ever there?
( SMS just hasta know )
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 “teenagers” 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 you’re 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 2018… ( nostalgia and “Train Wreck Syndrome)
But first, let’s hear “The Porpoise Song…
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…
The Music Business is rich with great stories! One of our favorites is about Ike Turner and his new girlfriend, protegee, meal ticket, future wife and Love Slave. Anna Mae Bullock…..Mrs. Tina Turner!
As the story goes, the first time Ike took Tina into the studio, they had quite a difficult time recording Tina’s voice. The problem was, her voice was just so uncontrollably powerful! No matter what Ike and his engineer tried to do Tina’s powerful voice overwhelmed the microphone, “Pinned” the limiters and blew every fuse in the control room!
So, Ike got an idea, he simply moved the microphone to the furthest corner of the studio and told Tina to “Hit it”…….And Tina “Hit it” When you hear “A Fool In Love” you’re hearing Tina’s voice from across the room! Yet it sounds like she’s singing in your ear!……There was no voice more powerful than Tina Turners’
BUT WAIT….Do you remember Timi Yuro? The diminutive 22 year old Italian/ American Contralto from Chicago?…..If Ike had to move the Microphone across the ROOM for Tina, then Timi Yuro’s producer, Clyde Otis had to move Timi’s Microphone across the STREET!
YES! Timi Yuro was a Force Five “Contralto” the lowest register for the female voice humanly possible. With a clarity, power and richness no one had heard before. For reference, think James Earl Jones doing Burt Bacharach…….And, in a way in 1962 a lot of people did. When Timi Yuro broke thru with the incredible “What’s a Matter Baby?” Many radio listeners thought she was a man, several more thought she was a BLACK MAN!
But NO! Timi was a petite 5 ft. female… A Feisty / sexy Italian, Chicago transplant who came to L.A. In the mid 50’s and as a young girl sang in her parent’s Italian restaurant along with other Bars and Dives around L.A.until Clyde Otis from Liberty records heard about “The girl who sounds like a guy”
Timi was 21 when Otis (fresh off huge hits with Dinah Washington and Brook Benton) took her in the studio and wrote and produced “What’s A Matter Baby”……In 1962 we believed Tina Turner was the untouchable Amazon Queen of Girl singers…..But then came Timi. She was everywhere, starting in L.A. On The Lloyd Thaxton show, then American Bandstand, Where The Action Is and TWO appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show!
But most of all she was all over the radio, every format, every country, every city. Which brings us to our favorite memory and our point ; The power of Timi Yuro’s voice!
In 1962 the only radio in our family was an RCA “VICTOR” A.M. Radio, it was red with a kind of gold leaf. It was a square box with two knobs, Volume and Tuning….It looked like a toaster and in 1962 it was already twenty years old, survived several moves, spilt milk, food, clouds of our Mom’s cigarette smoke and a glop of whipped cream my brother flung at me, missed, but VICTOR took head on. Through the years, however our beloved “VICTOR” A.M. radio/toaster developed a slight buzz in the speaker, nothing serious but certain sounds came out with a benign “bzzzzzz”…….very manageable, until Timi Yuro visited VICTOR with “What’s A Matter Baby” It was a Saturday Morning, my brother Rob and I were enjoying our bowls of “Cheerios”, we had VICTOR blasting when “What’s a Matter” comes on, my brother leans over and turns up the volume. Even at the young age of 12, I somehow knew that was not a good idea…….Rob and I are swaying to the music enjoying our Cheerios ignoring the occasional “bzzzzz” and Then Timi gets to the bridge where she hit’s “The Money Note” as she sings “Go find another shoulder to CRY E Yi Eeeyi on” and that little “bzzzz” in VICTOR erupted into an awful “Platspumf ”
VICTOR, my brother and I would never hear music right again. Now, thanx to Timi and Clyde every record we heard included that distinctive “Platspumf” but it was getting louder and somehow always happened right at the same moment as our favorite point in every record!….How did it know?…..”Platspumf”……
My brother Rob believe’s it was all the years of knob twisting abuse and sloppy table manners that finished “VICTOR”……..But I say no “‘Twas Timi, killed The Beast”
But it’s time for you to enjoy this incredible record….”Little Timi Yuro” at the peak of her powers, singing from across the street but sounding like she’s right in your ear!…..If you’re listening with a mobile device, turn down the low end, if you’re listening in the car, turn it up! AND…….If you’re somehow listening on your family’s old A.M. Radio/ toaster…..Prepare to kiss the speaker Good Bye…
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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..