Twilight Zone – Of Late I Think Of Cliffordville

★★★★ April 11, 1963 Season 4 Episode 14

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This is a good episode. It has two plot lines that I love…time travel and deals with the Devil. If the devil looked like  Julie Newmar…there would be a lot of deals signed. Albert Salmi as the greedy Feathersmith is fantastic. He is one of my favorite chacter actors of that time. You may recognize John Anderson as Deidrich…he was a character actor until his death in 1992. He had 246 acting credits on various tv shows. 

If you could go back knowing what you know now. Would it be something small or  large you would miss because you were so excited? Chances are yes…and that little something could start a chain reaction…and you might just regret it. 

The special effects in the Twilight Zone are usually great. The only bad thing I can say about them in this one is Salmi’s “old” makeup. I believe though it’s a product of our times. With high definition tv now…you can see it clear but back then on 60’s tv…it was probably fine. This one is marked low in IMDB which I totally disagree with. It does have it’s faults but is an enjoyable episode. 

From IMDB: Ms. Devlin’s Travel Offices are on the 13th floor. This is unusual in the US (and suitable to her nature) as most buildings before the 1980’s skip the 13th floor when numbering floors in their buildings. The number 13 has long been considered unlucky.

Albert Salmi previously appeared in The Twilight Zone: Execution (1960) and The Twilight Zone: A Quality of Mercy (1961), all of which involve time travel. In “Execution” and “Cliffordville” his characters are very unlikable, although that is not the case in “Quality.”

This show was written by Rod Serling and Malcolm Jameson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Witness a murder. The killer is Mr. William Feathersmith, a robber baron whose body composition is made up of a refrigeration plant covered by thick skin. In a moment, Mr. Feathersmith will proceed on his daily course of conquest and calumny with yet another business dealing. But this one will be one of those bizarre transactions that take place in an odd marketplace known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. William J. Feathersmith, tycoon, who tried the track one more time and found it muddier than he remembered, proving with at least a degree of conclusiveness that nice guys don’t always finish last, and some people should quit when they’re ahead. Tonight’s tale of iron men and irony, delivered F.O.B. from the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Albert Salmi … Feathersmith
John Anderson … Deidrich
Wright King … Hecate
Guy Raymond … Gibbons
Christine Burke … Joanna
John Harmon … Clark
Hugh Sanders … Cronk
Julie Newmar … Miss Devlin
Mary Jackson … Miss Pepper (uncredited)

Bob Dylan – Maggie’s Farm

One of the first songs that caught my attention by Bob Dylan. I’ve seen the man live 8 times and this one…he would always play, at least in the first 5 concerts. After that I only heard it once again.

I don’t post many Dylan songs…not because I’m not a huge fan…like I said I’ve seen the man 8 times. If I get a chance, I’ll see him 8 more times.  When you post a Dylan song you almost feel the urge to do an interpretation of the song…I have no interest in doing that.

Some think he was inspired by The Bentley Brothers’ “Penny’s Farm,” a 1920s song about a rural landlord. In “Maggie’s Farm,” Dylan included descriptions of Maggie, her brother, her father, and her mother in successive verses.

The song was famous for the reaction it got at the Newport Jazz Festival when Dylan “went electric” to his die-hard folk fans. This appearance by Dylan is portrayed as one of the most important and controversial events in the history of American rock and roll. When the band came out to play his new songs from Bringing It Back Home album…much of the crowd were not amused. They wanted Bob to only play the acoustic and sing protest songs…but Bob had already started opening the folk-rock door earlier with bands such as The Byrds covering his songs.

Some say that most of the booing was not because of the songs but with different things like the short set, the volume level (you couldn’t hear Dylan sing), and other things.

Bob didn’t really care…or he didn’t show it much. He was going to do what he wanted to do. He continued with a different backing band later…and that band heard boo’s around the world…the backing band turned out to be The Band…then known as The Hawks.

Al Kooper organist: The reason they booed is because he only played for 15 minutes and everybody else played for 45 minutes to an hour, and he was the headliner of the festival. […] The fact that he was playing electric…I don’t know. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (who had played earlier) had played electric and the crowd didn’t seem too incensed.

Maggies Farm peaked at #22 in the UK in 1965.

From Songfacts

Dylan recorded this at one of his first rock sessions on January 15, 1965. He was backed by two electric guitarists, piano, bass, and drums.

Dylan’s famous (some say infamous) set at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965 marks the split of Bob Dylan with the folk movement when he decided to play a set with a backing band of electric instruments. The set included three songs: “Maggie’s Farm,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” and “Phantom Engineer.”

 The audience at the festival was clearly angry with Dylan and they expressed their anger with a growing chorus of boos during the 16-minute set.

The band for this set was hastily thrown together. This would indicate that doing an “electric” set wasn’t necessarily part of Dylan’s plans for this festival.

Several members of this band played with the Paul Butterfiled Blues Band, who played for about 45 minutes just before Dylan took the stage. Guitarist Michael Bloomfield, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay all played with Dylan that evening. Al Kooper, who didn’t play with the Butterfield band but played the instantly recognizable organ line on “Like A rolling Stone” in the studio recording, rounded out the band. Legend has it that Dylan rehearsed all night with this band the day before the performance, but even with that preparation, the performances were weak. That too could have accounted for the boos.

Al Kooper said later in an interview that he thought the booing was caused by a bad sound system, but recordings don’t bear that out.

But the day before during a blues workshop, Alan Lomax, one of the organizers of the festival, was very condescending in introducing the Butterfield Blues Band. Lomax was a blues purist and felt that white boys had no business playing the blues. That led to a physical fight between Lomax and Albert Grossman who managed both Dylan and the Butterfield Blues Band.

Also, in introducing the evening show, Pete Seeger (another organizer of the festival, and another folk music purist,) played the audience a recording of a newborn baby, and said that the final night’s program was a message from everyone to this baby that the world it was being born into was full of hate, hunger, bombs, and injustice, but that the people – the folk – would overcome, and make it a better world.

Overwrought displays like this also may have set Dylan’s teeth on edge. If he was on the fence about doing an electric set, these two events might have convinced him just to get under the skin of these two pompous organizers.

Or maybe the audience was angry with the short set of only three songs. A rain delay pushed some of the afternoon bands into the evening show. So people had been sitting and waiting for Dylan for a while. Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary, and another of the Festival’s organizers) persuaded Dylan to return to the stage to sing a few more songs. Dylan borrowed an acoustic guitar (allegedly from Johnny Cash) and opened with “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” while he appeared to be regaining his wits after being blindsided by the boos from the audience.

The acoustic set seemed to placate everyone. Dylan then started to strum the chords to “Tambourine Man” but realized he didn’t have a harmonica. He asked for anyone with an E harmonic to throw it up to him. There followed a barrage of incoming harmonicas hitting the stage. Dylan picked one up, thanked the crowd and played on. (This can be seen on the Songfacts.com video of the song.)

The two recordings of Maggie’s Farm presented here – the acoustic studio version, and the video from the Newport Folk Festival – are good examples of how Dylan’s music changed. In 1963, when Dylan released his first successful recordings, he was hailed as one of the most powerful musical voices in America. By 1965, with the growing influence of the Beatles, and the continued musical conservatism of the folk movement as personified by Pete Seeger, the relationship between the folk movement and Dylan became increasingly strained. The final separation came with “Maggie’s Farm” at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965. (Thanks, David Sherman, who teaches the History of Rock and Roll at Excelsior College.) >>

Making his fifth appearance performing on the Grammys, Dylan played this at the 2011 ceremonies backed by The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons.

Festival! was a 1967 documentary film about Dylan’s three mid-’60s appearances at the Newport Folk Festival, including his controversial electric set from 1965. Uncut magazine asked the movie’s director, Murray Lerner, what he could hear on stage, after Dylan came on and played “Maggie’s Farm.”

“I heard a combination of boos and applause,” he replied. “And some catcalls. And then when he came back and did the acoustic songs, they got with it again. He was nervous when he came back, there’s no question about it. That was sweat you can see rolling down his face. And on ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ asking for a harmonica from the crowd – the fact that he forgot his harmonica.”

Maggie’s Farm

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I wake in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin’ me insane
It’s a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
Well, he hands you a nickel
He hands you a dime
He asks you with a grin
If you’re havin’ a good time
Then he fines you every time you slam the door
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door
Ah, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more
Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law
Everybody says
She’s the brains behind Pa
She’s sixty eight, but she says she’s fifty four
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

Twilight Zone – The New Exhibit

★★★★★ April 4, 1963 Season 4 Episode 13

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This episode of the Twilight Zone is really good. It has everything…some horror, mystery, and a great twist at the end. It could have been a 50’s type horror movie. You expect Vincent Price to come on at any time. Martin Balsam plays Martin Lombard Senescu and he is fantastic. He is a sympathetic character that loves his job at the wax museum…maybe a little too much. Will Kuluva as Ernest Ferguson plays the owner of the museum who sees the writing on the wall, the museum is not as popular as it was and will have to close. He is a kindly older gentlemen who cares… and gently lets Martin go…but not without granting Martin a favor. 

The pacing in this one is good. They use the hour to breathe life to the characters.  The story builds nicely and there is a good payoff in the end.  

There was a sad story behind the scenes. Charles Beaumont (his real name was Charles Leroy Nutt) was credited as writing this but Jerry Sohl had started ghostwriting for him by this time. Beaumont was only 35 and had been the top writer for Playboy and he wrote some of the very best Twilight Zones. He was probably the best writer the Twilight Zone had besides Rod Serling.

He was starting to forget things and could not concentrate. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease or Picks Disease…they could not know which one until he passed. He passed away at 38 years old in 1967 and his son said he had the body and mind of a 95 year old. 

Jerry Sohl helped him out and split everything 50/50 and did all the writing in his name. He wrote for Hitchcock, Route 66 and Playboy under Beamont’s name. Sohl would write more Twilight Zones but not be credited. They had to keep this a secret because it was against Writers Guild rules.

Sohl’s script went before the cameras virtually unchanged, with no rewrites at all. This was the case with most of the scripts he ghosted. They went right in, and the reason is that Chuck Beaumont scripts were always so great that they didnt have to do anything.

Jerry Sohl on visiting the set:

Here I am standing with Chuck Beaumont, he recalls, and John Brahm, the director, comes up, puts his arm around him with the script that / did and says, Chuck, youve done it again! And here I am, standing right next to Chuck, unable to say a word!

This show was written by Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Jerry Sohl (uncredited)

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Martin Lombard Senescu, a gentle man, the dedicated curator of murderers’ row in Ferguson’s Wax Museum. He ponders the reasons why ordinary men are driven to commit mass murder. What Mr. Senescu does not know is that the groundwork has already been laid for his own special kind of madness and torment found only in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Martin Lombard Senescu is a gentle man and the curator of Murderer’s Row in Ferguson’s wax museum. He loves his work and is fascinated by what drives men to commit the crimes that they do. He’s informed by his boss Mr. Ferguson that the property is being sold to developers who will raze the building and erect a supermarket. Martin brings 5 of of wax figures home but after a year his wife is at her wits end. Martin spends all of his time in the basement with his beloved friends and the cost of keeping them is eating into their already limited income. When Martin finds Emma dead in the basement he buries her there. When her brother Dave shows up, he too is apparently killed. After Mr. Ferguson finally finds a buyer for the wax figures, Martin reluctantly agrees to let them go. There is a new addition to the exhibit however.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The new exhibit became very popular at Marchand’s, but of all the figures none was ever regarded with more dread than that of Martin Lombard Senescu. It was something about the eyes, people said. It’s the look that one often gets after taking a quick walk through the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Martin Balsam …Martin Lombard Senescu
Will Kuluva…Ernest Ferguson
Margaret Field…Emma Senescu (as Maggie Mahoney)
William Mims…Dave
Phil Chambers…Gas Man
Leonard Bremen…Van Man (as Lennie Bremen)
Eddie Barth…Sailor (as Ed Barth)
Craig Curtis…Sailor
Milton Parsons…Henri Desire Landru
David Bond…Jack the Ripper
Bob Mitchell…Albert W. Hicks
Robert McCord…Burke (as Robert L. McCord)
Billy Beck…Hare
Marcel Hillaire…The Guide

Paul McCartney – Helen Wheels

Great rocker by Paul that was on his most successful album Band On The Run. “Helen Wheels” was Paul’s tongue-in-cheek nickname for his Land Rover vehicle (“Hell-on-Wheels”). Paul originally wanted this song to be a stand-alone single but Capitol overruled him…. and placed it on US versions of the Band On The Run album.

Drummer Denny Seiwell and guitarist Henry McCullough quit Wings right before Paul was heading to Lagos, Nigeria to record this album. Paul only had himself, Linda, and Denny Laine to get it done. He wanted to record outside of the UK and got a list from Capitol of all of ther studio locations. He picked Africa and was accused of going there to expand his music with their percussion and rythms.

They got to Lagos ready to work but it didn’t go well at first. Paul and Linda walked home one night from the studio and were pestered by a group of men in a car, who repeatedly asked if they wanted a lift. After arguing with the men…six of them got out of the car and robbed Paul and Linda by gun point. They ended up handing over over demo tapes, cameras and cash. Al the music and lyrics he had for Band On The Run was gone. He had to reconstruct everything in the Lagos studio.

They went out of their way to avoid an African sound after the mugging and being accused of coming to Lagos to exploit their music. After 6 weeks in Lagos, the album was completed in London.

I do wish Paul would have made more songs like Juinors Farm, Let Me Roll It, and this one. He could do edgy songs when he wanted to.

The song peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #12 in the UK in 1973. It was a non-album single in the UK and Europe but included on Band on the Run in America.

The Band on the Run album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, The UK, and #23 in New Zealand in 1973-1974.

Helen Wheels

Said farewell to my last hotel, it never was much kind of abode
Glasgow town never brought me down when I was heading out on the road
Carlisle city never looked so pretty, and the kendal freeway is fast
Slow down driver, wanna stay alive, i wanna make this journey last

Helen! (Helen) Helen Wheels
Ain’t nobody else gonna know the way she feels
Helen! (Helen) Helen Wheels
And they never gonna take her away

M6 south down Liverpool, where they play the west coast sound
Sailor Sam, he came from Birmingham, but he never will be found
Doin’ fine when a London sign, greets me like a long lost friend
Mister motor won’t you check her out, she’s gotta take me back again

Helen! (Helen) Helen Wheels
Ain’t nobody else gonna know the way she feels
Helen! (Helen) Helen Wheels
And they never gonna take her away

Got no time for a rum and lime, i wanna get my right foot down;
Shake some dust off of this old bus, i gotta get her out of town
Spend the day upon the motorway, where the carburettors blast;
Slow down driver, wanna stay alive, i wanna make this journey last

Helen! (Helen) Helen Wheels
Ain’t nobody else gonna know the way she feels
Helen (Helen) Helen Wheels
And they never gonna take her away

Say bye-bye…

Albert King – As The Years Go Passing By

As you probably have seen…I’ve beening listening to some blues lately…this one is great. King’s clean piercing guitar hits the spot.

When Duane Allman was helping Eric Clapton on the Derek and the Dominos album they had Layla’s main track laid out. Duane suggest a new intro…he got that intro from this song that King did and expanded on it. It’s very faint…but Duane saw something in there and made it work. That shows you how some songs influence other artists. Just a riff here or there that they build on.

This is a great song all by itself. It was written by “Deadric Malone”, a pseudonym for Don Robey. It was first recorded by Fention Fenton Robinson and released as a single in 1959.

Albert started to record in the 50s and would eventually go to Memphis to join Stax Records in the 60s. In 1967 we would relased the album Born Under A Bad Sign which contained this song. Love that cover design!

The album cover for Born Under a Bad Sign. The cover features a drawing of various objects related to superstition, including: a black cat, snake eyes, an ace of spades, and a calendar displaying the date Friday the 13th.

As The Years Go Passing By

Ah the blues
The ball and chain that is ’round every English musician’s leg
In fact every musician’s leg
Tryin’ to kick it off baby?
No no.
You’ll just never do it
And these are the blues of time
And the blues of a woman
And a man thinkin’ of her
As time goes by

There is nothin’ I can do
If you leave me here to cry
There is nothin’ I can do
If you leave me here to cry
You know my love will follow you baby
Mmm until the day I die

I’ve given you all I own;
That is one thing you cannot deny
Oh I’ve given you all I own;
Baby that is one thing you cannot deny
And my love will follow you baby
Yeah
Till the day this man dies.

I’ve got failure all around me
No matter how hard I try.
I’ve got failure
It’s all around me
No matter how hard I
Try try
You know my ghost will haunt you baby
Until the day you stop down and die
Well you better get up
Right now right now

Well
You think that you have left me behind
And that with your other man you’re safe
And you’re away from me baby but uh
One o’ these days you’re gonna break down and cry
Because there is no escape from this man
Because this man’s love is so strong
He’s gonna haunt you
You know my love will follow you
Mmm until the day I die

There is just one thing I want to tell you before I go
I’m gonna leave it
I’m gonna leave it
Leave it up to you
So long
baby bye-bye
Hey I’m gonna leave it up to you baby
So long
baby bye-bye

Well you know my love will follow you
Mmm ’til the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I am dead
Till the day that they rest my head
Till the day I die
Till the day I I I I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day that you die and I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die

Die
Die
Die
Die

Led Zeppelin – Rock And Roll

The title says it all with this song. It is one of the best Zeppelin pure rock and roll songs. As with most things with Zeppelin the drums made this song…John Bonham was the key element to their songs just as Keith Moon was to The Who. The two drummers helped shape the sound of their respective bands more than most.

This song came about when the band was working on “Four Sticks” at the Headley Grange mansion they had rented in Hampshire, England to record the album. With a pretty much unplayable drum pattern, John Bonham got frustrated with the session, and tensions rose. In a pique of anger, he started playing something completely different: a riff based on the intro to the 1957 Little Richard song “Keep a Knockin.'”

If you want more Led Zeppelin…yesterday Dave from A Sound Day had a post on their first album.

The band was not a singles band in any sense but this one peaked at #47 in the Billboard 100 and #38 in Canada in 1972. They didn’t release singles in the UK in the band’s lifetime.

The album did much better…it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, and the UK in 1971.

1971 was maybe the best year of rock albums ever. A few months before this one…The Who released Who’s Next, The Allman Brothers – At Fillmore East, David Bowie – Hunky Dory, The Stones – Sticky Fingers, Doors – L.A. Woman, Alice Cooper – Killer, and many more.

Jerry Lee Lewis did a cover of this song with Jimmy Page…I like the short opening raw riff Jimmy plays.

Jimmy Page: “We were recording something else when John Bonham started playing the drum intro to ‘Keep a Knockin’ by Little Richard and I immediately started playing the riff for ‘Rock And Roll.’ Instead of laughing it off and going back to the previous song, we kept going. ‘Rock And Roll’ was written in minutes and recorded within an hour.”

Robert Plant: “We just thought rock and roll needed to be taken on again,” “I was finally in a really successful band, and we felt it was time for actually kicking ass. It wasn’t an intellectual thing, ’cause we didn’t have time for that – we just wanted to let it all come flooding out. It was a very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing, what we were doing.”

From Songfacts

As the title suggests, the song is based on one of the most popular structures in rock and roll; namely, the 12-bar blues progression (in A). The phrase “Rock and Roll” was a term blues musicians used, which meant sex.

Robert Plant wrote the lyrics, which were a response to critics who claimed their previous album, Led Zeppelin III, wasn’t really rock and roll. Led Zeppelin III had more of an acoustic folk sound, and Plant wanted to prove they could still rock out.

Infused with creative energy, they put “Four Sticks” aside and started working on this new song, which they called “It’s Been a Long Time.” Jimmy Page blasted out a guitar part, and the bones of the song were completed in about 30 minutes.

The band often used this either as an encore or to open live shows from 1971-1975.

Ian Stewart, known for his work with The Rolling Stones (he was almost a member of the group, but their manager didn’t think he looked the part), played piano on this track. Stewart was on hand because Led Zeppelin was using the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording unit to record the album, as the Headley Grange mansion didn’t have a studio. Stewart was sent as a technician to assist with recording, but he came in quite handy on “Rock And Roll” when they needed some serious boogie-woogie piano.

Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones played this at Live Aid in 1985. It was the first time they played together since the death of John Bonham in 1980. Tony Thompson and Phil Collins sat in for Bonham on drums, which didn’t go over well with Page and Plant. When the band reformed for a benefit show on December 10, 2007, it was with John Bonham’s son Jason on drums. This was the last song they played at the show, which raised money for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund.

Besides Live Aid, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin played this on two other occasions. When Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen turned 21 in 1989, they played it at her birthday party. They also played it at Jason Bonham’s wedding in 1990. Jason is John Bonham’s son, and he sat in on drums on both performances.

This has been covered by many other artists, including Def Leppard and Heart. In 2001, it was recorded by Double Trouble (Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backup band), for their 2001 album Been A Long Time. Susan Tedeschi sang lead on the track.

All four band members got writing credits for this. Many Zeppelin songs are credited only to Page and Plant.

This was the first Led Zeppelin song used in a commercial. Cadillac used it to kick off a new advertising campaign in 2002 with the tagline “Breakthrough.” The company was going for a hip, new image, since their audience was slowly dying off. The spots aired for the first time on the Super Bowl, and sales rose 16% the next year.

The lyric “It’s been a long time since the book of love” is a reference to the Monotones’ 1958 hit “Book Of Love,” which is also referenced in “American Pie.”

Since the death of his father, Jason Bonham has filled in behind the drum set for various Led Zeppelin reunion gigs. He told American Songwriter this is the hardest Zeppelin song to play as, “a lot of people out there try and play it, and really it’s a two-handed shuffle all the way through, playing the sixteenth notes, it’s not just boom bap-boom-bap-boom- bap, it’s boom-boom-bap-bap-boom-boom-bap-bap on the snare and the hi-hat. It’s a hard one to play properly.”

Stevie Nicks added this to her live set in 2001. 

Rock and Roll

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled
It’s been a long time since I did the stroll
Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back, let me get it back
Mmm, baby, where I come from

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time
Yes, it has

It’s been a long time since the book of love
I can’t count the tears of a life with no love
Carry me back, carry me back, carry me back
Mmm, baby, where I come from, whoa, whoa, oh

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Oh, oh, ahh, ahh

Oh, it seems so long since we walked in the moonlight
Making vows that just couldn’t work right
Ah, yeah, open your arms, open your arms, open your arms
Baby, let my love come running in, yeah

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Yeah, hey, yeah, hey
Yeah, hey, yeah, hey

Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah
It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Twilight Zone –  I Dream Of Genie

★★1/2 March 21, 1963 Season 4 Episode 12

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This episode is one of the light ones. You will notice the star of this episode right off the bat if you are a fan of the Andy Griffith Show. It’s Howard Morris…who is better known as Earnest T Bass. He does what he can do with the script. It’s slow paced and dull in spots. It does have a good moral to the story and a good twist at the very end…getting there is the challenge in this one. I feel like a broken record in a few of these longer episodes…but the hour works against itself in this one. One thing I will say…Howard Morris and Jack Albertson as the Genie are good in their parts. 

The best moments in I Dream of Genie is when Howard Morris is in the fantasy roles imagining how a wish would turn out if he made it. There are some funny moments but the journey is too long to get there. A thirty minute version of this still wouldn’t save much. 

 

This show was written by Rod Serling and John Furia

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Meet Mr. George P. Hanley, a man life treats without deference, honor or success. Waiters serve his soup cold. Elevator operators close doors in his face. Mothers never bother to wait up for the daughters he dates. George is a creature of humble habits and tame dreams. He’s an ordinary man, Mr. Hanley, but at this moment the accidental possessor of a very special gift, the kind of gift that measures men against their dreams, the kind of gift most of us might ask for first and possibly regret to the last, if we, like Mr. George P. Hanley, were about to plunge head-first and unaware into our own personal Twilight Zone.

Summary

A smart aleck genie appears from a lamp to a meek man, George P. Hanley. Hanley is so used to bad luck, he imagines how each of three possible wishes could go very wrong – but the genie will grant him only one wish.

 

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. George P. Hanley, former vocation; jerk. Present vocation; genie. George P. Hanley, a most ordinary man whom life treated without deference, honor, or success, but a man wise enough to decide on a most extraordinary wish, that makes him the contented, permanent master of his own altruistic Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
George P. Hanley…Howard Morris
Ann…Patricia Barry
Watson…Loring Smith
Starlet…Joyce Jameson
Genie…Jack Albertson
Roger…Mark Miller[1]
May…Molly Dodd
The P.R. Man/Scientist were played Milton Parsons
Masters…James Millhollin
Sam…Bob Hastings

Muddy Waters – Hoochie Coochie Man

What a great song by the one and only Muddy Waters.

The song was written by the great blues writer Willie Dixon. Muddy Waters recorded this song in 1954. Before Waters recorded it, he tested it out at the Chicago blues club Zanzibar. Willie Dixon gave Waters some advice before the band hit it: “Well, just get a little rhythm pattern, do the same thing over again, and keep the words in your mind.”Muddy recorded it a few weeks later with Dixon on bass.

Record label head Leonard Chess went south to bolster sales, and
partner Phil Chess told the magazine that the record had sold an astounding 4,000 copies in a single week. It became Muddy’s top selling single, and spent three months in the national charts, where it peaked at #3 in the R&B charts in 1954.

Willie Dixon would bring Muddy other songs that solidified his hoochie
coochie image: “Just Make Love To Me,” “I’m Ready,” and “Natural Born Lover.”

What a band backing Muddy! The musicans on the recording were Muddy Waters on lead vocals, guitar, Little Walter on harmonica, Otis Spann on piano, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass and Fred Below on drums.

British blues musician Long John Baldry named his 1964 band Long John Baldry And His Hoochie Coochie Men in honor of this song.

Willie Dixon: “People believe in mystic things. Like people today believe in astrology. That’s been going on for generations, since biblical days. People all over the world believe in it. Even before Jesus was born, according to the Bible. The wise men saw the stars in the East and were able to predict about things. All of these things are mystic. They say, ‘Hoochie coochie people are telling fortunes.’ You know, like the wise men of the East. They call them ‘voodoo men’ or ‘hoochie coochie men.’ They used to call them ‘hoodoo folk’ and ‘two-head people.’ They got many names for everybody.” (this appears in Zollo’s book Songwriters On Songwriting)

Wilie Dixon: “There was quite a few people around singing the blues,” 
“But most of ’em was singing all sad blues. Muddy was giving his blues a little pep, and I began trying to think of things in a peppier form.”

Author/musician Roger Reale: “The stark realism, the drama, and especially the vocal delivery are what do it for me on ‘Hoochie Coochie Man.’ It’s half conversational; Muddy gets your attention without overdoing it. And those lyrics about ‘a gypsy woman’ always felt kind of fascinating.”

Hoochie Coochie Man

Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun
Gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout
And the world will only know, a-what it’s all about

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

On the seventh hour, of the seventh day,
On the seventh month, the seventh doctor said:
“He’s born for good luck, and I know you see;
Got seven hundred dollars, and don’t you mess with me

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

Gypsy woman told my momma
Said “Ooh, what a boy,
He gonna make so many women,
Jump and shout for joy”

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

Gypsy woman told my momma, before I was born
You got a boy-child comin’, gonna be a son-of-a-gun
Gonna make these pretty women, jump and shout
And the world will only know, a-what it’s all about

Why’know I’m here
Everybody knows I’m here
And I’m the hoochie-coochie man
Everybody knows I’m here

I got a black cat bone, I got a mojo too
I got John the Conqueror, I’m gonna mess with you
I’m gonna make you, pretty girl, lead me by the hand
Then the world will know, the Hoochie-Coochie Man

Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City

This is one of those transport songs. It takes me to a time when I wasn’t around…the mid sixties…at least my interpretation of it.

They were a great singles band but had a short window. From 1965 to 1967 they had 7 top 10 hits. This single peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #11 in the UK, and #3 in New Zealand in 1966.

The song was a collaboration between John Sebastian, Steve Boone (bass player), and John Sebastian’s brother Mark. Mark was 15 years old when he wrote a poem that John used as the basis for the song – John especially liked the line that went, But at night there’s a different world.

Steve Boone came up with the middle eight, which John thought sounded like the Gershwin composition “An American in Paris,” where the orchestra implies the sound of traffic and city noises. This gave him the idea of incorporating car horns and other city ambiance into the track

Things started to fall apart due to repercussions from guitarist Zal Yanovsky and bassist Steve Boone’s 1966 pot bust in San Francisco. They were pressured into a deal where they agreed to introduce an undercover cop to partygoers in the city, one of whom got busted. A backlash ensued that damaged their reputation in the counterculture.

In 1967 Zal Yanovsky left the band citing musical differences with John Sebastian. Yanovsky would later become a  Chef in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in his restaruarnt Chez Piggy. His daughter Zoe Yanovsky took over the restaurant after Zal’s death in 2002 and still runs it.

In 1968 Sebastian left for a solo career and the band carried on until 1969 without a significant hit.

The original group (John Sebastian,  Zal Yanovsky, Joe Butler and Steve Boone) reunited briefly in the fall of 1979 for a show at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills for an appearance in the Paul Simon film One Trick Pony.

John Sebastian: “That song that came from an idea my brother Mark had, he had this great chorus, and the release was so big. I had to create some kind of tension at the front end to make it even bigger. That’s where that jagged piano part comes from.”

From Songfacts

This song contrasts what it’s like to live in a large city during the day and during the night. According to the song, it’s difficult to walk around a crowded and hot city during the day, but it’s great at night because you have plenty of opportunities to chase women. This particular city is New York, where the band formed. 

.The band was rather particular about the traffic sounds. Instead of just using what was available on the sound effects records in the studio, they found an old-school radio engineer – a guy who used to create the soundscapes for shows, so if a guy was riding a horse, you’d hear the hooves hitting the ground and the wind whistling by. This guy, whom John Sebastian referred to as a “hilarious old Jewish sound man,” came in with a huge library of street sounds, which the band went through for hours. They wanted the scene to build, so it starts softly (the horn at the beginning comes from a Volkswagen Beetle), and grows to a gridlock nightmare. To close the scene, they used a pneumatic hammer pounding away at the pavement.

This was recorded over two days: At the first session, they put down the instruments: guitar, bass, autoharp, drums, organ, electric piano and percussion. The second session was for vocals and sound effects.

The sound of car horns and traffic was the first time these sounds appeared on a hit song. A year later, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff used the idea when they produced the Soul Survivors track “Expressway (To Your Heart).”

Appropriately, this song was released in the summer of 1966 – July 4, to be exact. It quickly climbed the chart, reaching #1 on the chart dated August 13, where it stayed for three weeks.

This is used during the looting sequence on The Simpsons episode “Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge.”

The song served as the theme song for German art-director Wim Wenders’ first film, 1970’s Summer in the City. It plays during an incongruous scene in which the protagonist Hans is seen walking on a brutally cold day, surrounded by snow.

This was used at the beginning of the movie Die Hard: With A Vengeance. The song plays throughout the opening credits, showing different scenes of New York City until a building blows up. 

From 2006-2007, the piano portion was used in various Gatorade ads depicting the history of the sports drink, which was created in 1965.

Summer In The City

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity?
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I’m wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

But at night, it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat, it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity?
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night, it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat, it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Monkees – The Porpoise Song

This was not one of their well-known TV songs.

This was on the soundtrack to their 1968 trippy movie Head. Where else would you find Annette Funicello, The Monkees, and Frank Zappa in the same movie?

They may have been seeking some countercultural acceptance after their show ended. The movie blew the image of the Monkees up…some say deconstruction of the Monkees completely. It was a stream of consciousness black comedy that mocks war, America, Hollywood, television, the music business, and the Monkees themselves.

If kids went into the theater expecting the Monkees TV show…they were in for a big surprise. On the other hand, kids couldn’t watch the movie because of its R rating.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote this song and Goffin produced it…even recording a porpoise for good measure.

I’ve watched the movie and it’s interesting but you have to remember what kind of movie it is. Jack Nicolson help write it with the band along with Bob Rafelson. Nicholson hung out with The Monkees for several weeks, even going with them on tour. Once this movie was made, Rafelson abandoned The Monkees and went off to bigger projects, starting with Easy Rider.

Mickey Dolenz – “It wasn’t so much about the deconstruction of the Monkees, but it was using the deconstruction of the Monkees as a metaphor for the deconstruction of the Hollywood film industry”

The Porpoise Song

My, my, the clock in the sky
Is pounding away
And there’s so much to say

A face, a voice
An overdub has no choice
An image cannot rejoice

Wanting to be
To hear and to see
Crying to the sky

But the porpoise is laughing
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Clicks, clacks, riding the backs of giraffes for laughs
S’alright for a while

sings of castles
And kings and things that go
With a life of style

Wanting to feel
To know what is real
Living is a, is a lie

The porpoise is waiting
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Twilight Zone – The Parallel

★★★★1/2 March  14, 1963, Season 4 Episode 11

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

I kept saying that the 4th season was not a great season of the Twilight Zone. As someone (Paul) pointed out…there are some really good to great episodes. He was right…there are some great episodes in the season. This is one of them. After watching this season over…it’s much better than I gave it credit for. Is it as good as 1, 2, 3, or 5? No, it’s just different with the hour format. Not apples to oranges, just different.

This could be a 5 star…I went back and forth with the rating. The small details in this episode keep it interesting. 

This one is about a Parallel world. Steve Forrest who plays Major Robert Gaines is an astronaut that returns home from a troubled mission. He notices things wrong when he gets back…a different president, a gate around his yard that wasn’t there before, and small things that are wrong. His family also starts noticing little things…little things that only a loved one can see. 

From IMDB: Steve Forrest played the protagonist, Major Robert Gaines, in this episode while his elder brother Dana Andrews played the protagonist, Paul Driscoll, in the preceding episode The Twilight Zone: No Time Like the Past 

There is a moment after Maj. Gaines has spent the night with Mrs. Gaines where they attempt to embrace and she gives him a hard, questioning stare. According to producer Bert Granet, the intent of this interchange was to imply that sexual relations on the parallel world were slightly different from those of Maj. Gaines’ world, and that this had told Mrs. Gaines that he was no longer her husband. Unfortunately, in 1963 no direct mention of sexual behavior, even between spouses, was permissible, so that the scene is really too subtle to communicate this implication.

In the parallel universe, no one has ever heard of John F. Kennedy. The identity of the President of the United States in that universe is not revealed.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

In the vernacular of space, this is T minus one hour. Sixty minutes before a human being named Major Robert Gaines is lifted off from the Mother Earth and rocketed into the sky, farther and longer than any man ahead of him. Call this one of the first faltering steps of man to sever the umbilical cord of gravity and stretch out a fingertip toward an unknown. Shortly, we’ll join this astronaut named Gaines and embark on an adventure, because the environs overhead—the stars, the sky, the infinite space—are all part of a vast question mark known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Astronaut Major Robert Gaines is the latest to orbit the Earth but something happens while there. Ground control loses all contact with him and although he returns safely, he apparently blacked out and has no recollection of what may have happened. Nor can he explain how the craft landed on land – completely undamaged – when it was meant to splash down in the ocean. When Gaines returns home he finds that little things are different: he’s now a full colonel and has been for some time; his house now has a picket fence; he no longer seems to take sugar in his coffee; and even his wife senses he is different after she kisses him. It is soon apparent that Gaines has returned to an Earth in an alternate universe

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Major Robert Gaines, a latter-day voyager just returned from an adventure. Submitted to you without any recommendations as to belief or disbelief. You can accept or reject; you pay your money and you take your choice. But credulous or incredulous, don’t bother to ask anyone for proof that it could happen. The obligation is a reverse challenge: prove that it couldn’t. This happens to be the Twilight Zone.

 

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Steve Forrest … Major Robert Gaines
Jacqueline Scott … Helen Gaines
Frank Aletter … Colonel William Connacher
Paul Comi … Psychiatrist
Shari Lee Bernat … Maggie Gaines
Morgan Jones … Captain
William Sargent … The Project Manager
Philip Abbott … General Stanley Eaton
Fred Crane … News Anchorman (uncredited)

Adding Ads on WordPress

In late December I added Ads to my site. I have thought about just having them around long enough to make $100 (my subscription is $90 but it doesn’t pay until you reach $100)… I could then stop them and start them again next January.

Please let me know if they are obnoxious and I will tone them down. At the rate that they are going…I’ll have it by 4-5 months. $90 a year is not a big deal, but it’s the principle of it… it would be nice to let the site pay for itself.

I don’t want it to be a chore to read what I have…that defeats the whole purpose. Making a profit or any money has never been the motivating idea behind this site…or I would be homeless! I do it for the love of the music, movies, books, tv shows, and pop culture in general.

The reason I don’t do the free subscription of WordPress is that I like some of the features the Premium edition offers. I wanted to have more space to store pictures and other things.

Please tell me if they are in the way and I will stop some of them from running…and if they still get too much in the way…I’ll just stop them altogether. If you have time check it out and give me some feedback if you can.

Thank You

Max

Billy Lee Riley – Red Hot

I first heard this song by the ‘Beatles in Hamburg on the Star Club album. They took the song and injected it with steroids…George ripped through it. The quality is terrible but the energy is not.

“Red Hot” featured Jerry Lee Lewis on piano. The song was written by Billy “The Kid” Emerson. Emerson had already had a minor hit when Elvis Presley recorded “When It Rains It Really Pours“. “Red Hot” was showing a lot of promise as a big hit record, but Sam Phillips pulled Sun Records promotion for the single and switched it to “Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Riley earned notoriety throughout the South with his wild live performances, and in the late’50s his shows were banned by various town councils and college administrators who worried that Riley’s raucous “devil’s music” would corrupt the souls of innocent teenagers. Riley’s backing band, The Little Green Men, were the main Sun studio band. They were Riley, Roland Janes, J.M. Van Eaton, Marvin Pepper, and Jimmy Wilson, later joined by Martin Willis.

These are the kind of singles that the Beatles liked to cover…not massive hits but good songs that not many bands were covering.

Red Hot

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, I got a gal, six feet four
Sleeps in the kitchen with her feet out the door, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, she walks all night, talks all day
She’s the kinda woman who’ll have her way, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, she’s the kinda woman who louds around
Spreadin’ my business all over town, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, she’s a one man’s woman, that’s what I like
But I wish she wasn’t gonna change her mind everynight, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Twilight Zone – No Time Like The Past

★★★1/2 March 7, 1963 Season 4 Episode 10

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

I love time travel episodes. I wanted so much to love this one. No Time Like The Past has it’s charms but the hour long format works against it. It’s 4 time travel stories in this one. It could have been split up into two 30 minute episodes with the first three time jumps and the second episode the final jump. I think it would have been better for the hour long format to flesh out the first three time jumps. 

It was an interesting concept…to go back to the atom bomb dropping in Japan, the Lusitania sinking, and to try to kill Hitler. One of the flaws in this episode is he only gives himself a small amount of time to accomplish his tasks. In this case too much wasn’t a good thing. To sum it up…I wish they would have focused either on Hitler, Japan, and The Lusitania or the 1881 small town of Homeville, Indiana. The most interesting part of the episode is the 1881 Indiana story. 

Dana Andrews who played Paul Driscoll was a star in the 1940s in movies with Henry Fonda, Tyrone Powers, and more. 

From IMDB: Dana Andrews played the protagonist, Paul Driscoll, in this episode while his younger brother Steve Forrest played the protagonist, Major Robert Gaines, in the succeeding episode The Twilight Zone: The Parallel .

This episode takes place in 1963, in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, in Berlin, Germany in August 1939, aboard the RMS Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland on May 7, 1915 and in Homeville, Indiana from July 1 to July 3, 1881.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Exit one Paul Driscoll, a creature of the twentieth century. He puts to a test a complicated theorem of space-time continuum, but he goes a step further, or tries to. Shortly, he will seek out three moments of the past in a desperate attempt to alter the present, one of the odd and fanciful functions in a shadowland known as the Twilight Zone.

Summary

Paul Driscoll does not much like the way the 20th century has developed thus far and decides to go back in time to change mankind’s future. He first travels to Hiroshima and tries to warn an English-speaking policeman of what is to come, but to no avail. He then travels to Nazi Germany and attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler but is thwarted when his rifle misfires. He then finds himself aboard the Lusitania but again is unable to convince the ship’s captain to alter course before it is torpedoed. When he returns to the present, he agrees with his colleague Harvey that the past cannot be changed. He still does not like the present, so decides to go back to July 1881 to live his life in the small town of Homeville, Indiana. Unfortunately he learns yet again that past events cannot be changed

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Incident on a July afternoon, 1881. A man named Driscoll who came and went and, in the process, learned a simple lesson, perhaps best said by a poet named Lathbury, who wrote, ‘Children of yesterday, heirs of tomorrow, what are you weaving? Labor and sorrow? Look to your looms again, faster and faster fly the great shuttles prepared by the master. Life’s in the loom, room for it. Room.’[1] Tonight’s tale of clocks and calendars in the Twilight Zone.

 

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Dana Andrews … Paul Driscoll
Patricia Breslin … Abigail Sloan
Malcolm Atterbury … Prof. Eliot
Robert Cornthwaite … Hanford
John Zaremba … Horn Player
C. Lindsay Workman … Bartender (as Lindsay Workman)
Marjorie Bennett … Mrs. Chamberlain
Tudor Owen … Captain of Lusitania
James Yagi … Japanese Police Captain
Robert F. Simon … Harvey
Adolf Hitler … Self (archive footage)
Gene Coogan … Fire Spectator Restraining Driscoll (uncredited)
Peter Humphreys … Steward on Lusitania (uncredited)
Robert McCord … Man Hearing About Garfield (uncredited)
Bobs Watson … Man at Dining Room Table (uncredited)

Beatles – Penny Lane

I love the visuals in this song. I’ve never had the pleasure of being there but it feels like I’m standing in the middle of Penny Lane in 1967.

This song was part of what I think was the best single ever released. Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields. Both of the songs are connected with Liverpool. Both John and Paul wrote about places where they grew up.  Paul explained that Penny Lane was a suburban district where, until age four, he lived with his mother and father.

The Beatles did not include these two songs on Sgt Pepper. They recorded singles and albums separately for the most part. They ended up on the Magical Mystery Tour album in America.

Lennon and McCartney were competitive and for the most part it was a good competitiveness that resulted in timeless songs that will be still remembered 100 years from now.

They made promotional films for both songs. This must have been a shock to some people. They had not seen the Beatles since the year before…they had ditched the mop tops and gone weird…that must have been in some people’s minds. The music had a sophistication that earlier songs didn’t have.

The single only made #2 in the UK…it was locked out of the #1 position by no other than Elbert Humperdinck with Release Me. It did peak at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #1 in New Zealand in 1967.

In 1967, Capitol released Beatles music on a new but short-lived format called “Playtapes.” These tape cartridges did not have the capabilities to include entire albums, so a truncated four-song version of “Magical Mytery Tour” was released in early 1968 in this portable format, some rare copies having a picture from the “Help!” soundtrack album on the front of the tape. “Penny Lane” was one of the four songs on this release. These Playtapes are highly collectable today.

Paul McCartney: “When I came to write it, John came over and helped me with the third verse, as often was the case. We were writing childhood memories: recently faded memories from eight or ten years before, so it was a recent nostalgia, pleasant memories for both of us. All the places were still there, and because we remembered it so clearly we could have gone on.” John himself relates: “We really got into the groove of imagining Penny Lane, you know – the bank was there, and that was where the tram sheds were and people waiting and the inspector stood there, the fire engines were down there. It was just reliving childhood.” In John’s Playboy interview of 1980, he concurs about his input in writing the song: “I wrote some of the lyrics. I can’t remember which. It was all Paul’s melody.”

“There was a barber shop called Bioletti’s with head shots of the haircuts you can have in the window and I just took it all and arted it up a little bit to make it sound like he was having a picture exhibition in his window. It was all based on real things; there was a bank on the corner so I imagined the banker, it was not a real person, and his slightly dubious habits and the little children laughing at him, and the pouring rain. The fire station was a bit of poetic license; there’s a fire station about half a mile down the road, not actually in Penny Lane, but we needed a third verse so we took that and I was very pleased with the line ‘It’s a clean machine.’ I still like that as a phrase, you occasionally hit a lucky little phrase and it becomes more than a phrase. So the banker and the barber shop and the fire station were all real locations.”

Here are the two videos…Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane… See those glasses that John Lennon slips on in the Penny Lane Video? The square ones…I have some identical from that time period…they are really cool.

Penny Lane

In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say, “Hello”

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
And little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway

In Penny Lane, the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane!