Al Kooper: Backstage Passes Backstabbing Bastards

This is an autobiography of Al Kooper. Al has worked with many people in the music industry. He was a songwriter, musician, producer, A&R man and everything in between.

His book is well written and Al uses humor all the way through.

A few of his career highlights are helping to form Blood, Sweat, and Tears, playing the organ on “Like a Rolling Stone” (although he didn’t know how to really play organ), organized the Super Sessions with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield, found and signed a band while in Atlanta named Lynyrd Skynyrd. While in Atlanta he started a record label called “Sounds of the South” in conjunction with MCA records.

He goes over working with Lynyrd Skynyrd and how their first three albums were recorded and why they parted company. Another band that he signed was Mose Jones who was going to be his Beatles type group to counterpoint the Lynyrd Skynyrd Stones sound for his label. Mose Jones ended up being ignored my MCA.

There is so much musical history this man was involved in…he makes light of getting called Alice Cooper on many occasions.

In Al Kooper’s words 

Let’s clear the air.
This is not a book by or about Vincent Furnier (né Alice Cooper.) It is a book by and about Al Kooper. If you don’t know who Al Kooper is, that’s fine. But don’t let that stop you from perusing these eye-opening accounts of encounters with Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Gene Pitney, The Royal Teens, Bill Graham, Quincy Jones, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Mike Bloomfield, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Harrison, Miles Davis, The Tubes, Nils Lofgren, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and all the other wonderful people I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with over the last forty years.

What was really interesting to me is he shared the same manager (Stan Polley) as Badfinger and was able to get out of his clutches with at least some of his money intact. I picked the book up cheap and I really have enjoyed it. I would recommend this to music fans. Many funny stories and he is such a talented musician.

Another quote from Kooper on the Like A Rolling Stone Session… Tom Wilson was the producer who knew Kooper didn’t normally play the organ.

Thirty seconds into the second verse of the playback, Dylan motioned toward Tom Wilson. “Turn the organ up,” he ordered. “Hey, man,” Tom said, “that cat’s not an organ player.” Thanks, Tom. But Dylan wasn’t buying it: “Hey, now don’t tell me who’s an organ player and who’s not. Just turn the organ up.” He actually liked what he heard!

Al Kooper and Bob Dylan

alkooper bob.jpg

George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, and Al Kooper


Jimi Hendrix and Al Kooper


Al Kooper…he wanted to set the record straight



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Al Kooper: Backstage Passes Backstabbing Bastards”

      1. Off topic… We have one more episode to go to finish the 4th season…what a show. Breaking Bad has more curves than about any show I’ve ever seen…constantly changing. We took our time more on this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad you are enjoying it- every time I have watched the series I see things I didn’t notice the before. Nothing wrong with taking your time and enjoying with this show that is probably the way to go.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have noticed the purple thing going on also with Hank and Marie…little things to make it interesting. I also like the back story of Gus and Hector. I’m expecting the unexpected from here. Thanks again… Next will be the Sopranos

        Liked by 1 person

      4. They really do. It’s really deep on some levels. The cancer issue with Walter ups the game and the paranoia, understandably so…makes for some good tension. At different points I’ve hated both Jesse and Walter and then did a complete turn around… Saul was good for the show also for the comic relief among other things. Anyway great show.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. With each viewing I gain more empathy for Jesse and more dislike for Walter. Great character no doubt but Walter is all about Walter. Love how secondary characters become primary characters too.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Jesse grew up somewhat after Jane. What a scene that was… That scene where she dies is so powerful. That one event brought down so many people.
        You are right. Walter keeps saying it’s about family but no…His ego is terrible. Telling Hank that Gale wasn’t the one he was looking for…I’m thinking…you idiot. He could not take someone else getting credit for his work. One thing that hasn’t changed…Skylar = My sister in law…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. LOL on Skylar– the further along it went the more Walter thought he was the smartest guy in the room- dealing with mostly idiots-… Jane’s death- that was the big turning point moment as far as Walter goes I think….

        Liked by 1 person

      8. That was when Walter crossed the line never to return…
        There is a wierd bond between Walter and Jesse. They could have had the other one killed many times but haven’t…sometimes it’s because of their own safety but sometimes not… It’s almost like a demented father and son…I can’t explain it.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. No I didn’t know that. I was just watching an interview with him not long ago…that is sad. He was so young working with The Beatles.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Could you imagine working with The Beatles at the age of 20? One thing that impressed me is his decision to walk away from working with them because of their inner fighting. I might not have liked that- but it would have been hard to walk away from working with them. Of course he did come back but..

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I can’t imagine working with them that young. They were highly demanding at times. His descion to do that may have made them respect him more because they knew what he was walking away from…
        I can’t imagine how tense the White Album sessions were.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I saw on some page the other day- the question was what recording sessions would you want to have been at- and someone answered The White Album– I thought -they obviously don’t know what was going on behind the scenes at the time to have chosen that..

        Liked by 1 person

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