On This Day – Clashed With the Law?

I_fought_the_lawOn this day in 1979 (was it REALLY that long ago?) the Clash released their first single in the USA – “I fought the Law”. 

The song was written in 1958 by Sonny Curtis who played in The Crickets (of Buddy Holly fame).  They recorded it in 1959 but the most famous version was by The Bobby Fuller Four in 1966. Bobby Fuller was found dead shortly afterwards.  The police said that it was suicide, but many, many people found that to be a ludicrous conclusion.

While I am digressing, I Fought the Law appears inside Lou Reed’s song Dirt on the wonderful Street Hassle album.

Back to the Clash. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones came across the song in 1978 when they were recording over dubs for their “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” album.  It was on the juke box in the Automatt studio in San Francisco.  They were taken by the song (Bobby Fuller’s version)and by the time they came back to the UK they had worked out their powerful version. It first appeared on the “Cost of Living” EP in May of 1969 in the UK.  Naturally, the US single got lots of airplay, how could it not?

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On This Day – Led Zeppelin Play to Only 55 in the USA!

led zeppelinOn this day in 1969 Led Zeppelin appeared at the Wheaton Youth Center, Wheaton, Illinois.  It was their first gig on their first North American tour.

Reportedly, there were only 55 paying customers.  That would make it the smallest audience they ever played to!  From small acorns, etc.  Their fee?  $250.

Although it was the night of Richard Nixon’s inauguration I doubt if that was the reason for the poor showing…….

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On This Day – A Squid Eats Down Into a Polyethelene Bag

Yes, that’s right the Maskara Snake, on this day in 1941 the world of music saw the birth of a stone cold genius.

The ZigZag Wanderer himself, Don Van Vliet, made his appearance in Glendale California. The old fart was playing and the mothership was flying when, 28, years later the best album ever made hit our shelves (and has rarely been off my turntable or out of my CD player ever since).

Trout Mask Replica is unconditionaly guaranteed to amaze and delight you in your blue jeans under the moonbeams while the doc at the radar station watches a black bird eating ice cream and a man in a hat picks up his easel says goodbye and then walks down his yellow brick road. Its the same ol’ blues, again. Ella Guru sheds a tin teardrop and says that he was the one red rose that she meant.

Just Throwing This One In a Captain Tribute Band – And they ain’t Bad!

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On This Day – The Great Slim Harpo

On this day in 1924 one of the best blues performers ever was born.

Slim Harpo was born James Moore in Lobdel, Louisiana and was the eldest in an orphaned family.  He worked as a longshoreman and builder during the 30s.  He began performing in Baton Rouge as Harmonica Slim.  Later he backed his brother in Law Lightnin’ Hopkins (another blues great).

he was given the name Slim Harpo by his producer Jay Miller, a reference to his mastery of the harmonica.  His solo debut was amazing coupling “I’m a King Bee” with “I Got Love if You Want It”.  A string of hits followed.  His songs were covered by many in the British Blues boom of the 60s including The Stones, Yardbirds, Them, Pretty Things – infact, almost anyone playing in British clubs at the time.

His lazy delivery cooupled with understated but effective electric backing ensured his place in the pantheon of blues greats.

The Sons of The Delta with King Bee

Slim’s Original

The Immortal Muddy’s Version (turn this one up)

Stone’s version 1966

2 for the Price of One! The Wonderful Bonnie Raitt Singing ‘Coming Home’ and Steve Tyler with King Bee!

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On This Day – Elvis Lives !

Jan 8th was a significant day for Elvis, he was born on this day in 1935, Jan 8th 1945 he was given his first guitar, Jan 8th 1955 he released his 3rd single. Not too shabby.

So January 8th was not a bad day for Elvis, or for us music lovers as it also saw the birth of Bowie (1947), Shirley Bassey (1937), (the Dame is 10 years younger than the Dame?) and Bill Graham in 1931.

ON the other hjand January 8th has provide some lows as well. Yoko Ono released “Approximately Infinite University” in 1973.

‘Nuff Said (One for the older readers)

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On This Day – Max Sued

On this day in 1970 Max Yasgur who owned the farm where Woodstock was sued by neighbours for damages caused by the rampaging hippies. The suits either totaled $25,000 0r $35,000. Eventually, they were settled. The finances of ‘Woodstock Ventures’ are a bit murky but it seems that although it was planned as a profit making venture (it only became a free concert after so many people turned up) but the some 80 lawsuits filed against them were paid from the profits of the film. The film also helped to settle their $1.4m debts.

The people who didn’t play Woodstock?

The Beatles, some say because the organisers would not also book
the Yoko Ono Band, some because Lennon could not get into the states because of visa difficulties.

The Doors because they thought it would not be worthy of them ‘a second class Monteray’.

Led Zepp ‘cos they did not want to be just another band on the bill.

Dylan was negotiating but his son became ill.

The Moody Blues decided to play a gig in Paris instead. That was either a really bad decision or an inspired one. Bad because of the loss of exposure good because more than most they relied on a good sound system when playing live and the sound at Woodstock was bad, very bad.

Missed opportunity?

Keef Hartley played Woodstock but did not make the film because their manager refused to give the rights away. Shame ‘cos KH was ‘my’ band in the 60’s and they deserved much better recognition.

Best way to experience Woodstock? Watch the film turn up the volume, sit in a tub of mud, and smoke your little smoke, drink your little drink, while I dance the night away…….(No FZ wasn’t there either)

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On This Day – Stones In Harrow & The Beatles On US TV

The Fab Four at their most Fab.......

The Fab Four at their most Fab.......

On this day in 1964 two British bands were on the up. The Beatles made their first appearance on american TV. The Jack Paar Show aired film taken from a BBC film ‘The mersey Sound’ that showed the Fab Four playing ‘She Loves You’. Jack Paar was patronising and commented, negatively, on the Beatles’ hair cuts and music.

Gawd knows what he would have made of the Stones.

They were embarking on their first tour in the UK on which they were the headliners having previously backed people like Bo Diddley, Little Richard and The Everly Brothers. This tie round they were supported by the Ronnettes (as was usual at the time a strange pairing it seems to me). Jack Paar may not have liked the Beatles’ hair Phil Spector did not like the Stones’ morals. He sent a telegram to the Stones warning to stay away from ‘his girls’. Mind you Ronnie of the Ronnettes was his wife at the time.

Apparently, the Stones ignored the telegram.

the_rolling_stonesThe tour started in the Harrow Granada, not the best venue they would ever play, but certainly not the worst. One notable thing from the tour was that the Stones stopped wearing their band uniform. One of the first bands to do so. These days it seems hard imagine that any band would wear a uniform, but it was the norm in those days. That they stopped wearing them enhanced their loutish, bad boy image. parents (mine included) hated them because of it. The kids (me included) loved them because of it (and the music, of course).

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On This Day – The First UK Band To Have a US Number 1

On this day, 22nd December 1962 a British band had the first ever US number 1. Who was it?

It is one those irritating music trivia questions that most of us would get wrong.

It was Telstar by The Tonados (known as The Tonadoes in the USA).

They have another first to their name. They recorded the first ever openly gay song in pop history. It was a b side to their 1966 single “Is That A Ship I Hear?”

Their producer was the great Joe Meek, wracked with so many issues in his own life he felt that the instrumental needed a lift. So he added what seems a mild piece of conversation between 2 of the group’s members. There were references to going down to Picadilly, the centre of the gay scene London. Remember being gay was still a crime in those days and the reason for the obscure references becomes clear. Still, you have to think that it was a brave thing to do.

One disregarded band and 2 milestones, not bad going.

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On This Day – 17th December 2010 Captain Beefheart dies

On this day in 2010 CaptainBeefheart died after a long illness. He was most original, and best, artists to ever grace rock music. In many ways he epitomises what I mean when I talk about real rock music. Original, informed, unconventional, thoughtful and provoking.

Rather than write the usual eulogy I have decided to give you a couple of may favourite Beefheart quotes, in no particular order;

They can catch a straight line, but they can’t catch a circle. I don’t work in straight lines.”

It was a very ecological album. I was just trying to eke out a little logic.” About Safe as Milk

“Garland likes Lightnin’ Hopkins but he has too much ego to listen to my music. If I’m listening to my music while I paint and Garland walks up I have to turn off the music or he won’t come in the room” This about fiscal Garland (It is good to know that The Magic Captain named his cat after one of Bristol City’s best ever players, Chris Garland – or then, maybe he didn’t ..

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On This Day – Dusty Deported! 15th December 1964


On this day, 15th December 1964, Dusty Springfield was deported from South Africa.

Her crime was to insist on playing to mix race audience outside of Cape Town.  This angered the white apartheid government.  The evil regime had her put on a plane back to the UK. The regime was, regarded as legitimate by the rest of the world at that time.

It was a brave move by a singer who had released her first album earlier in the year. Later in the year she was voted the UK’s favourite female singer,not that this incident would have played any part in that.


To her credit Dusty had a habit of standing up against bigots.  She refused to have footage of her touching Harry Belafonte’s alarm during a USA TV special.  Resisting enormous pressure from sponsors she stood firm.

As she was escorted to the plane the black airport workers formed an impromptu guard of honour for her.

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