On This Day – The Kinks Hit The USA, at Last!

After a 4 year ban the inks started their second US tour on this day in 1969.

The origins of the ban have been said to be the rowdy behaviour of the band and their fans during the first tour in 1964. There was some comment that the ban was in some way connected to Mick Avory trying to kill Ray Davies on stage in Cardiff on 19th May ’65 (He hit RD with his hi hat symbol stand. Avory then fled the stage thinking that he had killed RD).

the truth was more financial than physical, however. During the first tour the Kinks wanted to employ non unionised labour handling the lights and such As a result the American Federation of Musicians de-listed them – in affect banning them and the banned were not de-listed until’69.

It is true that the first tour was a rowdy affair, fights, manager trouble (their manager dumped them in LA and went off to promote Sonny & Cher in England). The concerts were also pretty dire, at least at the start of the tour. It is a shame that the ban was not about rowdy behaviour, it would have more of a ring to it rather than a rather grubby money thing. Shame.

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On This Day – Don’t Knock The Rock

On this day in 1957 (no I don’t remember it) A film called “Don’t Knock The Rock” opened.

In the late 50s and during the 60s rock was regarded with suspicion (to say the least) by the establishment.  As a consequence films trying to show the positive side of real rock and blues tried to make rock ‘comfy and non threatening.  Some Hopes.

This film was in that tradition.  The star was Alan Dale, and the plot is pretty flimsy.  AD is a rock star who returns to his hometown to rest.  He is dismayed to discover that the responsible adults have banned Rock & Roll in the local theatres.  To show that Rock is a positive thing he enlists his friend Alan Freed to show that Rock is A Good Thing.  Not so much the plot thickens as the plot sickens.  Anyway, film makers wanted to cash in on Rock in those days and this type of rubbish plot was common.

I can not help thinking of some film in the 60s during which one of the characters shouts “Hey Kids! Why don’t we put on a show?”  The kids then clean up an old theatre, put on the show, and prove that Rock is A Good Thing……. I ask you, urgh.

Back to Don’t Knock the Rock.  It also included the usual suspects, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Dave Appell, and the Applejacks.  Perhaps the most interesting of the acts to take part in the customary show in the film were The Treniers.  They were a teen beat combo, as Zappa might have said, R&B when R&B was R&B.  They recorded some fantastic stuff that certainly helped lay the foundations for Rock and Roll.  Their Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie still stands up.  It was written by Bill Haley, but none the worse for that.

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On This Day – In Car Entertainment

crysler record player 2On this day in 1955 Chrysler introduces a high fidelity record player that was to be available in some of their 1956 Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, and Plymouth models.  The unit played 7 inch discs played at 45rpm as well as the relatively new 16 2/3 rpm.  It was some 4 inches high and a foot wide and was slung under the dashboard.  If you ordered this option with your new car you also received a set of 35 classical records.

You may be surprised to find out that there were problems with the needle skipping as the car went over bumps in the road (Who’d a thought it?) and so the units were discontinued.  I have only a couple of thoughts ab out this;

One, how much would one of these units be worth now?

Two, if it is dangerous changing CDs while driving can you imagine the dangers involved in changing discs while driving?  It just does not bear thinking about.

Amazingly, the disc player remained as an option until 1961.

crysler record player

Here is a copy of the press release;


Press Information Service
Detroit 31, Michigan
Tulsa 3-4500

For Immediate Use


columbia-open.jpg (19k)

DETROIT – – Highway Hi-Fi, a record player that provides music and speech as you go, has been developed exclusively for the 1956 Chrysler Corporation cars.

This novel addition to the pleasures of highway travel, specially designed by CBS Laboratories as an accessory for Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler and Imperial, was introduced today at the press preview of Chrysler Corporation’s new cars at the company’s Engineering Proving Grounds.

For driver and passengers who prefer the lively scores of Broadway musicals, Highway Hi-Fi provides the lilting and memorable tunes from the hit show, “Pajama Game.”

And if the children are restless on a long ride, Davey Crockett and Gene Autry are ready at hand to help keep them quiet.

Highway Hi- Fi plays through the speaker of the car radio and uses the radio’s amplifier system. The turntable for playing records, built for Chrysler by CBS-Columbia, is located in a shock-proof case mounted just below the center of the instrument panel. A tone arm, including sapphire stylus and ceramic pick up, plus storage space for six long-play records make up the unit.

Using a new principle of design worked out by CBS Laboratories, the player and position of the stylus on a record are not affected by the angle of a car, its highway speed, or even severe cornering. Tests demonstrate it is extremely difficult to jar the arm off the record or even make the stylus jump a groove.

The special records also developed by CBS Laboratories, are seven inches in size, transcribed on both sides, and pressed especially for Chrysler by Columbia Records. They give up to 45 minutes of music and up to one full hour of speech per side, A collection of six disks will be presented to customers with each player.

Making up the collection are Tschaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, Borodini’s Polovtsian Dances, Ippalitov-Ivanov’s Procession of the Sardar, the complete score of the Broadway musical show Pajama Game, Walt Disney’s Davey Crockett, Gene Autry and Champion, Romantic Moods by Percy Faith and his orchestra, quiet jazz by Paul Weston and his orchestra, Music of Cole Porter and Victor Herbert by Andre Kostelanetz and his orchestra, and dramatic readings from Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell by a cast of top Hollywood and Broadway artists.

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On This Day – Eleanor Rigby Is Dead!

eleanor rigbyOn this day in 1938 Eleanor Rigby died. She was 44 and died peacefully in her sleep. She is buried in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool. It is close to where Paul and John first met 19 years later.

It would be nice to think that McCartney saw the gravestone on that fateful day and the name stayed with him. Not so, The original name used in the song was Daisy Hawkins.

Said McCartney in an interview about the album Revolver on which the song appears. “I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it. The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head… ‘Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church’. I don’t know why. I couldn’t think of much more so I put it away for a day. Then the name Father McCartney came to me, and all the lonely people. But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks. Dad’s a happy lad. So I went through the telephone book and I got the name McKenzie.”

In fact the name Eleanor Rigby came from a store in Bristol (Rigby & Evans Ltd) and Eleanor Bron a great British actress who appeared in Help!

Many people say that Eleanor Rigby was a seminal record from the use of a string octet to the sad and serious subject matter. None of the Beatles play on the track although there are harmonies from John and George (obviously, not only could Ringo not play according to Paul he could not sing either).

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On This Day – EC Takes Over

On this day in 1963 a promising young guitarist replaced Tony Topham in the Yardbirds. Of course that guitarist was Eric Clapton (Known as God to his graffiti writing friends). He was 17 when he left his first band The Roosters to join them.

Reassuringly for us mere mortals, EC found learning the guitar difficult but he stayed with it as fascinated with the blues. The blues was his first love and it was the reason he would leave The Yardbirds a couple of years later. The Yardbirds were moving in a pop direction that did not sit well with him.

From the Yardbirds EC joined John Mayall and released one of the seminal records of the 60s the so called Beano album. From there he formed Cream and then an amazing solo carer with amazing highs and incredible lows (I still have not forgiven him for 461 Ocean Boulevard….)

As a bit of a side note, the guitarist he recommended to the band to take over from him in the Yardbirds was Jimmy Page, but he did not want to stop his successful career as a session player. Later, of course Jimmy was in the New Yardbirds a band that quickly changed their name to Led Zep.

This is EC playing second fiddle to one of the GREAT blues guitarists Buddy Guy.

And this is the last straw as far as EC was concerned, The Yardbirds with “For Your Love”. It’s jeff Beck in this performance as EC had already left the Building.

And THIS is EC with John Mayall in 1966. Boy, did he make the right decision!

And again.

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On This Day – Don Banned!

(I LOVE things like this)

On this day in 1954 Don Cornwell topped the UK singles chart with his song ‘Hold My Hand’.

However, Auntie Beeb (the BBC) banned the song. The offence? the use of the words ‘Kingdom of Heaven’…….

Banning music on this basis (or almost any other) makes my blood boil – well, not litterally obviously. Rock and pop is littered with songs that have been banned for ridiculous reasons. White Horses (Osmonds), Honey Bee (drifters), Love for sale (Billie Holiday), Wake Up Little Susie (Everly Brothers), 100 punds of Clay ( Gene McDaniels) and all the rest…………..

October 2nd: On this day
1954, US band vocalist from the 1940s, Don Cornell was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Hold My Hand’. This song was banned by the BBC for the words ‘kingdom of heaven’.

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On This day – Epstein Signs

On this day in 1962 Brian Epstein (28 at the time) signed a management deal with the Beatles. John and Ringo were able to sign the contract as they were legally adults. Paul and George had to have theri dad’s sign on their behalf as they were still minors.

In return for managing them he was to get 25% of their earnings, as long as they made more than $400 a week – he may have made a few bob out of the contract……

Brian Epstein had previously worked in the family shop in Liverpool and had stints in both the forces and Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was not cut out to be either a soldier or an actor.

Returning to the shop he persuaded his parents to start selling records. The idea was so successful that they opened a record store. Epstein looked to tap into the local music scene by selling a Liverpool music paper called Mersey Beat starting with its first issue on July 6, 1961. He later contributed a column to the paper.

Becoming engaged with beat music Epstein heard a record made in Germany by Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers. It was not Tony Sheridan that interested Epstein however, it was the backing band. He asked people to listen the the record but ignore the singer and when he heard that the band were back in Liverpool and playing at the Cavern Club he had to go along to watch.

Alaister Taylor, Epstein’s assistant commented; “And it (The Cavern Club) was jammed solid, and we just sat at the back feeling rather embarrassed, and I suddenly realised my foot was tapping, and I hated pop music, and Brian hated it even more than me, and I looked ’round and so was his.”

“And after a while Brian started talking about it, and he said, ‘What did you think?’ And I said I thought they were awful, quite honestly, but absolutely incredible. So he said, ‘that’s exactly my feelings. Do you think I should manage them?’ And I said, yeah.”

Epstein said; “I hadn’t had anything to do with management of pop artists before that day that I went down to the Cavern Club and heard the Beatles playing, and this was quite a new world, really, for me. I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humour on stage. And even afterwards when I met them I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that really it all started…”

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On This Day – Jimi Hits London

On this day in 1966 Jimi Hendrix bplayed for the nfirst time in the UK. He got up on stage to jam with Cream while they were playing at the London Poly. The story is that Jimi’s playing scared the shit out of EC……………

Sadly is was 4 years to the day that Jimi was buried at The Greenwood Cemetery at the Dunlop Baptist Church Seattle. Among the mourners were Miles Davis, Eric Burdon, Johnny Winter and members of Derek and the Dominoes.

Those who the gods love they take early.

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Nipper – The First Dog of Music

Ever wondered about the dog that graced RCA Victor records?

His name was Nipper and he was born in Bristol in 1884. He died 11 years later but his image is indelibly imprinted on our minds.

There have been suggestions that he was a fox terrier or an American Pit Bull (even a dalmatian) however, take it from me that he was a Jack Russell. Remember, in those days Jack’s had not been messed about with by the Kennel Club. He was called Nipper because he had a habit of biting people on the leg.

After his original owner died in 1887 Nipper went to live with his owner’s brothers in Kingston upon Thames which is where he was buried. 3 years after his death one of the brothers, Francis Barraud, painted a picture of Nipper listening to the horn of a Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph. He tried to sell it to the Edison- Bell company but they rejected it saying that dog’s do not listen to phonographs. 250px-OriginalNipper

250px-His_Master's_VoiceOn 31st May 1899 Francis went to the Maiden lane offices of The Gramophone Company, he wanted to rework the picture replacing the black horn with the brass one in the picture. William Owen, who was the manager of the office said that if he replaced the cylinder machine with a Berliner disc gramophone the company would buy the picture.

The painting was reworked and the deal done. Francis sold the picture and the “his master’s voice” slogan for the magnificent price of £100 (That is equivalent to more than £15,000 today).

180px-VictorTalkingLogoThe rest, as they say is history. Through various interpretations Nipper’s image and memory lives on.

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On This Day – Love Me Tender (again and again 856,327 times)

elvisOn this day in 1956 RCA Victor announced a huge number of advance orders for “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley.

180px-VictorTalkingLogoOnly a couple of days ago it was the anniversary of Emile Berliner inventing the gramophone. In 1956 the record company that he co-founded with Eldridge Johnson was going from strength to strength.

These days, of course, RCA is part of Sony BMG. The history is somewhat contorted but, briefly;

In the ’80s RCA bought 50% of Arista. General Electric bought RCA in ’86 (selling its interest in the RCA/Ariola International back to Bertelsmann the owner of Ariola). The RCA/Ariola International entity was renamed Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG). GE meanwhile closed all RCA entities ‘cept for a NBC. So, BMG was the only RCA game in town. They also resurrected RCA Victor for Rock music.

While RCA had acts like The Eurythmics on its books it also produced a number of successful albums of shows on Broadway.

in 2004 BMG merged with Sony to produce ‘Sony BMG’. Interestingly, RCA once owned NBC now RCA was in a group once owned by NBC’s rival CBS, Columbia Records.

2008 saw BMG being bought out by Sony and Sony BMG became Sony Music Entertainment.

There, told you it was simple!

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