Arrivals – 6 November

Born on this day, any more?

1916 Ray Conniff (orchestra leader)
1933 Joseph Pope (Tams)
1937 Eugene Pitt (The Jive Five)
1938 P.J. Proby (Hold Me)
1942 Doug Sahm (Sir Douglas Quintet)
1947 George Young (Easybeats)
1948 Glenn Frey (Eagles)
1950 Chris Glen (Sensational Alex Harvey Band)

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On This Day – Townshend Loses It

The Who, good enough to support Herman's hermits?

The Who, good enough to support Herman's hermits?

On this day in 1973 The Who were playing Quadrophenia at Newcastle City Hall, UK. That is they were until Townshend lost it completely attacking their long standing principal sound engineer, Bob Pridden.

His crime? He started a prerecorded tape 15 seconds late.

Townshend grabbed Pridden by the neck dragged him to wards the mixing desk before throwing him to the floor in the middle of the stage. There followed an attack on the mixing desk, amplifiers and equipment by Townshend and a stoppage of 25 minutes in the show.

Pridden picked himself up and walked out of the theatre only to be persuaded to return by Bill Curbishley (record producer) and others. Townshend apologised later but this was another example of The Who’s guitarists erratic behaviour. Not to be confused with the ritualistic destruction of guitars on stage it would seem that Townshend had ‘anger management issues’ (I mean substance abuse issues) that affected his emotions and actions both on and off stage.

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Arrivals – 5 November

Born on this day, any more?

1942 Art Garfunkel (Simon and Garfunkel)
1946 Gram Parsons (Grievous Angel)
1946 Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits)
1948 Pete Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator)
1948 Don McDougall (Guess Who)
1957 Mike Score (A Flock Of Seagulls)
1959 Bryan Adams
1961 David Bryson (Counting Crows)
1971 Jon Greenwood (Radiohead)

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Wanna be in The Beatles?

There is a letter going to be actioned that shows that The Beatles were looking for a drummer who would have replaced Pete Best.

In 1960 a drummer placed an advert in the Liverpool Echo the advert said “Drummer-Young-Free.”

McCartney replied and the letter that going to auction is his reply; It is interesting because the letter invited the (unknown) drummer to an audition. It also said that the drummer should be prepared to drop everything and go off to Hamburg for 2 months. The letter said that the pay would be £18 per week. (Not too shabby in 1960).

So, this was not someone to replace Ringo – he replaced Pete Best a couple of years later. It was was someone to take to Hamburg instead of Pete Best. It is known that PB was in The Beatles, not so much because he was a great drummer but more that he had a drum kit!

Bruce Spicer, a well known Beatles Scholar said “This shows that Pete wasn’t the only person they were interested in,” Spizer said. “They needed a drummer and Pete was convenient. It makes sense that they would have responded to some drummer in Liverpool looking for work. My speculation is that two months in Hamburg intimidated him, maybe he didn’t want to go and never replied. If he had responded, and if he was good, it might have changed everything.”

It was in Hamburg that The Beatles grew into a tight and professional unit ready to take the world by storm. Years later Lennon said that The Beatles were the best rock band in the world at the time when they were playing in Hamburg. (He probably meant the later stints in Hamburg in ’62 rather than the first one). He also said, “I might have been born in Liverpool – but I grew up in Hamburg”

Somewhere there is a man who was a drummer in his youth, who might have, just might have become the best known drummer in the world. Who he was we will probably never know. There are lots of unanswered questions; Did he have an audition? Was he offered the job? Did not bother to reply to Sir Paul ‘cos he did not fancy Hamburg? How did this letter turn up being used as a bookmark in a book at a car boot sale? Why do I never find things like this when I go to car booties?

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On This Day – Elvis Slapped and Fights Back!

“I’ll regret this day as long as I live. I guess lots of people were waiting for this kind of thing to happen. It’s getting where I can’t even leave the house without something happening to me.” (The New York Post, October 19, 1956)

So said Elvis after having an altercation with a Petrol station (gas station for those of you in the USA) on this day in 1956.

Elvis had pulled up to have a smell of petrol coming from his car checked and a crowd had grown round him, people asking for autographs and just plain gawking. The petrol station owner was not amused, no one was buying petrol. He asked Elvis to go away. Elvis stayed so Edd Hopper (the owner) slapped him upside his head. Elvis threw a punch and then an employee of the station Aubrey Brown joined in. The cops arrive and all 3 were arrested. Presley was bailed later in the day. Hopper and Brown were eventually fined $25 and $15 respectively.

All in all, not much of a fight and not much to make a fuss over. However, Elvis being Elvis the news of this minor altercation was featured in the national press. Rock hysteria was pretty new at the time and so was the feeding frenzy of the media. The judge said to Elvis “In the future you should take into consideration that you have a large following and should cooperate fully with business people in order to avoid disruptions.” Elvis said that he would, and left the court surrounded by young women. (Not a bad job being a rock star, there are certainly upsides)

This was not the end of Elvis being involved in altercations. November 1956 saw Elvis in a minor bar brawl over a woman, 1957 Elvis pulled a gun on a Marine in a dispute about a women. Something of a pattern developing there.

It would seem that Elvis was something of a scrapper when he was younger but there is nothing to suggest that he was a thug. being involved in fights would appear to be a reflection of the less than affluent area that was home to the young Elvis.

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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;

HI-Fl RECORD PLAYER
26555

CHRYSLER CORPORATION
Press Information Service
Detroit 31, Michigan
Tulsa 3-4500

For Immediate Use

HI-Fl RECORD PLAYER AVAILABLE FOR
1956 CHRYSLER CORPORATION CARS

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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