Dwight Twilley Band – I’m On Fire ….Power Pop Friday

You know…I haven’t been living up to my page’s name. I’ve had very little power pop on powerpop.blog lately. I hope to solve that coming up. Here is a song I’ve always liked from the mid-seventies. Dwight Twilley is one of those artists who had great songs but only had 2 hits in his career…and this is one of them.

This is a great power pop song from 1975. It peaked at #16 in 1975 on the Billboard 100. The band was formed by Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour. I always thought Twilley should have been more popular.

This was his first single from the album Sincerely. The song was released in 1975 and it did quite well.  There was one big problem… the label he was on was Leon Russell’s Shelter Records and they were barely making it. Shelter Records could not release the album until a year after this single was out which killed the momentum of the single.

Shelter Records was formed by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell in 1969 and ran until 1981 but Leon Russell left in 1976 as it was falling apart. Tom Petty was also part of the label for a while. It seems like many power pop artists are accompained by a story similiar to this.

Dwight Twilley: We thought we were indestructible. And we were proven
wrong really quick! We had so many problems right from the get-go. The album
didn’t even come out until a year after “I’m On Fire,” and it would have gone
gold if it had come out then. They believed in it so much they were going to
release two more singles before it came out. They released the second single
and then the company went under. 

Dwight Twilley on knowing Leon Russell: “I learned a lot from Leon. We were a Tulsa-based band when we were originally signed, and Leon lived here. And we ended up being signed to his label. A lot of people thought that Leon was the driving force behind it. But we didn’t really meet Leon until after we’d had our hit single ‘I’m On Fire.’ And I guess the surprising thing was just what a kind man he was, and how generous he was. He invited us into his own home studio and had us recording in his 40-track studio. And for little kids who six months ago had only been in a 4-track studio, that was a big deal. He was very kind and super talented, and he really didn’t say much. Just by following and by example we could see some of the things that he did that were just amazing. And I think he’s a terrific talent. I’m really proud of the way that he has sustained, that he’s out there still doing it.”

I’m On Fire

Got your lady on the line
Got your name on the cover
Though your friends are ninety-nine
Honey you ain’t got no lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other

I remember the feelin’ that I could be free
Now I know it could never ever be me
‘Cause I’m on fire
Got myself on fire 

Got your joker on the table
You’ve been told from time to time
I’ll be willin’, I’ll be able
You could read between the lines

But you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other

I remember the feelin’ that I could be free
Now I know it could never ever be me
‘Cause I’m on fire
I’m-a I’m on fire

But you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover, lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other, other, other, other
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover

I’m on fire
I’m on fire (and you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover)
I’m on fire (lover, lover, lover, lover)
I’m on fire (lover, lover, lover)

John Lennon – Isolation

Many people posted this song during the lockdown and I can see why.

I always liked the song and understood that isolation doesn’t equate to loneliness. You can be in a crowd of people and yet feel isolated or alone. You can be physically isolated from others yet still feel very much connected to others.

The bass player on this track was Klaus Voormann, who was a friend of the Beatles from their Hamburg days. He was also an artist… he is the artist who designed the cover of Revolver. Ringo Starr also lends a hand with drums on this track.

JLPOBCover.jpg

The song was released on his true debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970. Arguably one of if not his best album. Like Paul’s debut this one was not big in production but unlike Pauls…this album was not light pop songs. You can feel John releasing his inner feelings for everyone to see on this album. Not an album to play to get a party going. You can hear John’s disillusionment with life, fame, and his three former bandmates.

This was during the time John Lennon went to see Doctor Arthur Janov in scream therapy. A way to bare his soul for his feelings like his mom that was killed when he was a teenager.

John Lennon: ‘Isolation’ and ‘Hold On John’, they’re the rough remixes. I just remixed them that night on seven-and-a-half [inches per second tape] to take them home to see what else I was going to do with them. And then I didn’t really, I didn’t even put them onto fifteen [IPS], so the quality is a bit hissy on ’em too. By the time I’d done everything, I started listening. I found out it’s better that, with ‘Instant Karma’ and other things, you remix it right away that night. I’d known that before, but never followed it through.

I usually don’t pay much attention to covers. I ignore actors turn singers but I did find a very good version of this song out there. In 2020 Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp recorded this song and Beck’s guitar work is great. Depp also does the vocals justice in this.

Isolation

People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
Isolation
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation

Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation

I don’t expect you, to understand
After you caused so much pain
But then again, you’re not to blame
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane

We’re afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

Blackfoot – Train Train

How many grandfathers write your biggest hit song? This one was written by Shorty Medlocke and later covered by his grandson Rickey Medlocke’s band Blackfoot. Shorty was a bluegrass and Delta blues musician and played the blues harp intro on the track. This song doesn’t play around…it’s straight seventies boogie rock and comes straight at you.

On a side note…train songs. There are so many great ones. Big Train From Memphis, Love Train, Midnight Train to Georgia, Peace Train, Train In Vain, Downbound Train, Train Kept a Rollin’ and I could go on and on but I’ll stop.

Before founding Blackfoot, Rickey Medlocke was also an early member of Lynyrd Skynyrd as a second drummer. Blackfoot had a number of hit albums but proved to be more popular in Europe than in the United States. Blackfoot Strikes was their first platinum album and produced their only Top 40 hits: “Highway Song” and this one.

They named themselves Blackfoot because they decided to change their name to represent the American Indian heritage of its members. Jakson Spires had a Cheyenne/French father and a Cherokee mother. Rickey Medlocke’s father was Lakota Sioux and Blackfoot Indian, and his mother’s side is Creek/Cherokee, Scottish and Irish. Greg “Two Wolf” Walker is part of Eastern (Muskogee) Creek. Charlie Hargrett was the only one without Native American heritage in the original, classic line-up.

Train Train peaked at #38 in the Billboard 100 in 1979. While this song was in the Charts, they opened up for the Who in 1979. The album Blackfoot Strikes peaked at #42 in the Billboard Album Charts.

The group disbanded in the early 1980s but has reunited a few times since then, the second time including all the original members except Medlocke, who had rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996. 

This song has been covered by hard rock band Warrant and… Dolly Parton.

They did go through different names as many bands do… Fresh Garbage, Hammer, and Free.

Charlie Hargrett (guitar player): The band found out there was another Hammer already in operation. We needed a new name quick, Since we were moving up north to start a big recording career, we thought, ok, we’ll call it ‘Free’, because we’re free now. And then All Right Now came out, and we were like, ‘Shit’. So Jakson came up with Blackfoot, because of his Native American heritage.”

Train Train

Oh, here it comes

Well, train, train, take me on out of this town
Train, train, Lord, take me on out of this town
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s Memphis bound

Well, leavin’ here, I’m just a raggedy hobo
Lord, I’m leaving here, I’m just a raggedy hobo
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s got to go

Well, goodbye pretty mama, get yourself a money man
Goodbye, pretty mama, Lord, get yourself a money man
You take that midnight train to Memphis
Lord, leave me if you can
Oh, take that midnight train to Memphis
Lord, leave me if you can
Oh, take that train, baby

Skydog – The Duane Allman Story: by Randy Poe

After re-reading Gregg Allman’s biography My Cross To Bear  I noticed this book about his brother Duane… the founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. It’s a good read and an informative book. Its forward is written by one of his friends…ZZ Top’s guitarist Billy Gibbons.

The Allman Brothers Band formed in 1969 and they lost their leader Duane Allman in 1971. They continued on to be one of the most successful American bands ever. They finally called it quits in 2014.

I saw this book about Duane and I was excited to read it. Going in… I had read Gregg’s bio, Duane’s daughter’s (Galadrielle Allman) book Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman, and One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band so I was well rounded on the Allman Brothers. Duane lived a short life but Poe seemed to find many of the musicians he played within the 60s and 70s.

Duane believed in brotherhood…not just with his brother but the band and the entire cast around them. Phil Walden was the president of Capricorn Records, The Allman Brothers record label. He would call for a meeting with the band…he really only wanted to see Duane. Duane not only brought everyone in the band but he brought the roadies also. He told Walden flatly.. .you will not talk with just me but with all of us. Walden would reply …but Duane why are the roadies in here? Duane said they were just as important as the band…without them, we can’t play. The roadies would stay. Duane’s lack of ego in his vision for the Allman Brothers Band made them who they were even after he was gone.

He created a family atmosphere with the Allman Brothers organization. Their 3rd album At Fillmore East was their breakthrough…the album cover shows the band against a brick wall. On the other side of the album shows the roadies in front of the wall also…and a picture of one roadie Twiggs Lyndon who couldn’t be there that day. Another band that shared that same philosophy was the Grateful Dead where the roadies were family. Modern businesses would be wise to take this philosophy and use it.

Duane worked with many musicians and touched their lives. Many that drifted in and out of his bands were not forgotten. The original keyboard player for the Allman Brothers was Reese Wynans until Greg joined. Duane broke it to Reese that the band didn’t need two keyboard players.

In a short time, Duane met Boz Scaggs and recommended Reese to play with him and he did. That started his successful career and he would play with many musicians in his career and was the keyboard player in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble.

This book doesn’t stop at Duane’s death. It follows the band all the way up to their end in 2014. In the end, he gives a good discography of Duane’s studio recordings. It’s really incredible how many sessions the man was on and he didn’t even reach the age of 25.

The book goes over why he turned Eric Clapton down on joining Derek and the Dominos. This was before the Allman Brothers had made it. He remained loyal to his band because it took him so long to find the right mix of musicians to get the sound he wanted. They didn’t have a hit until the Live At Fillmore East album was released in July of 1971. It would go gold 5 days before Duane was killed. 

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about Duane and The Allman Brothers. It is full of great information. After you read it you will want to look up all of the recordings he was on. His playing was edgy, tasteful, and like great jazz…takes you on a journey.

At the end of the book, you have to wonder how far he would have gone if he would have lived.

One passage from the book: “In September 2003 ‘Rolling Stone’ published its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, placing Duane at #2 just behind Jimi Hendrix. Gregg Allman commented that he thought it was a very wonderful gesture and said “…I thought ‘You made your mark man. You didn’t make any money, but you made your mark.”‘ Rounding out the top five were B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Robert Johnson—pretty impressive company for a kid from the South who didn’t even live to see his 25th birthday.”.

If you want to read about the Allman Brothers I would recommend these books also.

My Cross To Bear by Alan Light and Gregg Allman

One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul

For a more personal view and her journey to know her dad…

Please Be With Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman by Galadrielle Allman

TV Draft Round 6 – Pick 8 – Max Selects – The Gong Show

Drinking out of a garden hose, learning math and grammar from Schoolhouse Rock, playing pong, walking on the shag carpet in our bare feet, wearing mood rings, walking through beads instead of doors, and watching the Gong Show. That is what a lot of us were up to in the 1970s as kids and adults. 

I watched this show and Dialing for Dollars on our local NBC affiliate when I was around 10 years old. Only in the seventies could this show happen. It was like amateur hour at a high school with celebrities judging the event for laughs. This show was so bad it was good. That is the heart of the show…so bad it’s good… If an act was bad…which many were the judges would bang a gong to show their dislike.

The winner would win $516.32… union scale at the time. It wasn’t about winning…it was about being in front of millions of viewers. The show ran from 1976 to 1978 and was in syndication for years and years. The show had a total of 501 episodes. 

Chuck Barris was the emcee of this grand extravaganza. Some of the acts were bad and they knew it, some really thought they were good but were bad and a very few were actually good.

A few talented people appeared on the show at different times. Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman), Steve Martin, Cheryl Lynn, Oingo Boingo, Michael Winslow, The Unknown Comic,  and more. It’s fun spotting a future star in reruns. 

The judges included  Jamie Farr, Jaye P Morgan, Arte Johnson, Rip Taylor, Phyllis Diller, and Anson Williams. Jaye P. Morgan was fired off the show near the end of the show’s run. She often attempted to strip on the show, and usually got stopped. Except for one time, when she unbuttoned her shirt and flashed everyone while the camera was on her. 

My favorite part of the show for some reason was a stagehand who would dance named Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. I also remember the popsicle twins. How the censors let the Popsicle Twins get through I don’t know… they were shown on the east coast but their segment never made it to the west coast. 

The Gong Show was finally canceled because NBC warned Barris to tone down the racy elements of the show…he never did. The popsicle twins and Jaye P Morgan’s flashing didn’t help.

In the last show, Barris played in a country band called the “Hollywood Cowboys” and sang a modified Johnny Paycheck song “Take this job and shove it” and gave NBC the finger…which they blocked out of course. 

Barris had his hand in a lot of shows. In 1965, he launched “The Dating Game,” which revolutionized TV game shows. Next came “The Newlywed Game,” “The Game Game” and a Mama Cass special, among others.

Chuck Barris, in his book, Confessions of a Dangerous MindAn Unauthorized Biography, claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA. His wife said:  “After I met Chuck, I read the book and I didn’t really place any judgment on it one way or the other. Chuck and I never talk about whether he really did it.” He would never answer when asked if it was true or not. In 2002 George Clooney directed a movie about the book.

Maxene Fabe wrote in TV Game Shows, that Barris was “the first man in America to realize how desperately ‘ordinary’ people want to be on television.” Hmmm…sounds like it holds true today with all of the reality shows that are on. 

In 1980 “The Gong Show Movie” was released and it was written, directed, and starred Chuck Barris. The TV show was revived in 2017 and 2018 for twenty episodes with Mike Myers as host.

Chuck Barris passed away in 2017 at the age of 87. 

When you think back on shows you watched when you were younger and you get a chance to watch them now…it’s usually different than you remembered…not this one. This one is exactly how I remembered.

Ramones – Judy Is A Punk

The Ramones played the most basic form of rock but it never gets old. I’ve heard them described as punk, bubblegum, rock, hard rock, punk/pop/rock, and everything in between. They were greatly underappreciated in their time.

This song was released in 1976 on the Ramones’ debut album. In that year you had disco and slick pop going on everywhere…on the other hand, you had the Ramones. They bucked the trend of radio at the time. They developed a reputation in 1975 for playing rapid sets in and around New York City, often blasting through about 12 songs in 25 minutes. By the time they recorded this, they had honed their songs during many performances and included it on the album.

I first heard this album in the early 80s…and I liked the simplicity of their sound. There was a reason for that. The Ramones had a very sparse budget at the time… The entire album cost just $6,400 to make.

They were no-frills and to the point. No long solos or instrumental breaks. Just 2-minute blasts full of energy.

Like many Ramones songs…it is not your typical song story. This song tells a very vague story of two adventurous girls… Jackie and Judy. We know that Jackie is a punk and Judy is a runt, and they’ve decided to join the SLA – the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA was a fringe political group that was in the news for kidnaping the heiress Patty Hearst in 1974.

Lead singer Joey Ramone wrote the song and we think it was purely fictional.

The Ramones recorded a sequel song… “The Return Of Jackie And Judy” on their 1980 album End Of The Century.

Sequel Version

Judy Is A Punk

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Berlin, joined the Ice Capades
And oh, I don’t know why
Oh, I don’t know why
Perhaps they’ll die

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Frisco, joined the SLA
And oh, I don’t know why
Oh, I don’t know why
Perhaps they’ll die

Bobby “Blue” Bland – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

When I listened to this for the first time, my first thought was… Damn this is good! When I read music books about artists…one artist will talk about another and they will talk about another. It’s like a river with all the twists and turns and you never know who you will hear about next.

If you listen to this song grab some headphones and listen to his wonderfully smooth-rough voice. Also, keep an ear out for the fuzz guitar doing runs in the background. When you hear someone like Gregg Allman say that Bobby “Blue” Bland is one of his singing idols…you know something great is there waiting to be heard. This I have heard before and was impressed even without Mr. Allman’s recommendation.

“Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” was written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh, a pair of journeymen songwriters who wrote different kinds of music like The Grass Roots’ 1970 hit “Temptation Eyes.”

Bobby was the first to record this song and it was released on his 1974 album Dreamer. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts and #91 in the Billboard 100.

Bland began his career in Memphis, Tennessee, with bluesman B.B. King and ballad singer Johnny Ace (all three were part of a loose aggregation of musicians known as the Beale Streeters). He had some hits in the 50s and early 60s but had some financial troubles in 1968 and had to break up his band.

His record company was then sold to ABC Dunhill and he started up his career again and continued to chart til the 1980s. Of all bands…Whitesnake covered this song in 1978 and it charted in the UK in 1980.

Boz Scaggs: “I made a point of getting to know him over the years, not that I knew him well. But he came down to the studio when we were making the Memphis record a couple of times. He sat in the control room and listened to the playback of some of the songs, and he was treating me very fatherly, where he’d say ‘Here’s where you’re going to go here,’ and he was singing to me as the track was playing back. Then we got a chance to talk.

“It was like a lot of that part of his life, his music, was intact, and he was very vivid about that, vivid in talking about his early influences, it was all there. He was obviously frail, and it was hard for him to get around, but when he settled down, he loved talking about his life and his craft.”

Gregg Allman: “We were doing “Turn On Your Love Light,” because we had heard Bobby “Blue” Bland do it, and, man, you talk about an original talent—there will be, and can be, only one Bobby “Blue” Bland.”

Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, and it’s sure ’nuff a pity
Ain’t no love, ’cause you ain’t around

When you were mine
Oh, I was feeling so good
‘Cause your love lit up this old neighborhood
And now that you’re gone
You know the sun don’t shine
From the city hall to the county line
That’s why I said

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, and it sure is a pity
Ain’t no love, ’cause you ain’t around

Every place that I go
Oh, it seems so strange
Without you there
Things have changed
The night time calls
There’s a blanket of gloom
Another teardrop falls
In my lonely room

I said ain’t no love
In the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, ain’t any pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around

And now that you’re gone
Oh, the sun don’t shine
From the city hall to the county line, I said

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, it sure is a pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around
‘Cause you ain’t around

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in this great big old town
Ain’t no love, and ain’t it a pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of this town

Cowboy – Please Be With Me

Beautiful melody and touching lyrics…this song is a lost gem. It would later be covered by Eric Clapton but I favor the 1971 original by Cowboy. If you don’t know this one…give the Cowboy version a listen.

Cowboy was a Southern folk-rock band formed in 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida, by singer-songwriters Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton.  The band also featured pianist Bill Pillmore, bassist George Clark, guitarist Pete Kowalke, and drummer Tom Wynn.

Please Be With Me was one of the last songs Duane Allman recorded before his tragic motorbike accident on October 29, 1971.  He played the dobro and it made the song. This song appears on 5’ll Getcha 10, the second record by Cowboy, a band that had landed a contract thanks to their friendship with Duane.

Please Be With Me — Cowboy | Last.fm

The band opened up for the Allmans on their 1970-1971 national tour. The album came out in October 1971. They would go on to release four albums in the early seventies.

Galadrielle Allman, daughter of Duane Allman, used this song title for her book title instead of one of many Allman Brothers songs. It’s a very good book.

Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman - Allman, Galadrielle

Butch Trucks (Drummer for ABB): ‘A few weeks after Duane died, when I still hadn’t really let loose or accepted it, I put on Please Be With Me and the dam burst and I started crying and crying, just racked with grief. I was sitting there listening to the song over and over and crying. To this day I can’t hear it without getting choked up.’

Scott Boyer:“I was sitting in this motel room all by myself and just for busy work I grabbed a pad and pencil and started writing freeform. Whatever popped into my head. About 10 minutes later and I had like 10 verses and three choruses, but nothing rhymed and nothing made any sense. It was just right out of my head and onto the paper. And I started connecting things. Put the third line from the third verse with the fourth line in the eight verse. Not necessarily because they made sense but because they rhymed. And I put together like three verses and a chorus and I put the pad down and I rolled over and went to sleep. And Duane (Allman) came into town the next day and said, ‘I want to play on this record with ya’ll but I want to play something brand new.’ We started tossing things around. And I said, ‘Well I wrote this thing last night. There’s nothing much to it.” And I played the song for Duane and (producer) Johnny Sandlin was also in the room and when I finished it they both went, ‘Wow, you wrote that last night, man? That’s beautiful.’ It is? [Laughs.] But that’s how the song got recorded because Duane wanted to play something brand new and I had this thing I had tossed off the night before. And I loved what Duane played on it. That dobro he played on it just comes to life when that thing comes on, man.”

Gregg Allman: The group Cowboy was on Capricorn, and we played their album 5’ll Getcha Ten quite a bit at the Big House. Scott Boyer had been in the 31st of February with Butch, and Cowboy had a sort of southern-folk sound to them. 

Please Be With Me

Upon my word what does it mean?
Is it love or is it me
That makes me change so suddenly
From looking out to feeling free?

I sit here lying in my bed
Wondering what it was I said
That made me think I lost my head
When I knew I lost my heart instead

So won’t you please read my signs
Be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
And because you can find my mind
Please be with me

Of all the better things I’ve heard
Loving you has made the words
And all the rest seem so absurd
‘Cause in the end it all comes out I’m sure

So won’t you please read my signs
Be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
And because you can find my mind
Please be with me

King Harvest – Dancing In The Moonlight

This song was leftover from my AM Radio Gold week I had a while back. It’s one of those songs that take me back to when I heard it on the radio. It’s almost impossible for me to be unhappy when this song is on. Kinda like how I Can See Clearly Now affects me. It was unlike the origin of the song.

It was written by the keyboard player/songwriter Sherman Kelly in 1969 after a trip to the Caribbean island of Saint Croix, where he was attacked by natives and left for dead. While he was recovering from his injuries, he wrote this song as an alternate reality.

The first band to record this song was Boffolongo, which was fronted by Larry Hoppen. The group recorded their debut album in 1969, and for their next album, released in 1970, Sherman Kelly joined the band on keyboards and brought them his song “Dancing In The Moonlight.” Kelly’s brother Wells also joined the band; this original version of the song featured Hoppen on guitar, Sherman on lead vocals, and Wells on drums.

In 1971, Wells Kelly paid a visit to the band King Harvest, who was working on a new album in Paris (his former Boffolongo bandmate Dave “Doc” Robinson was in the band). Wells came armed with some albums from America and also a copy of Boffolongo’s “Dancing In The Moonlight,” which King Harvest decided to record, this time with a more keyboard-driven sound and smoother production. The single, with lead vocals by Robinson, was released in Europe but stiffed; it was rescued by an American label called Perception Records that issued the song Stateside.

King Harvest released this song in 1972 and it reached #13 on the Billboard Charts, #5 in the UK charts, and #5 in Canada.

British band Toploader had a #7 hit in the UK with a cover of this after it was featured in a Sainsbury supermarket TV advert.

Dancing In The Moonlight ended up being an enduring hit for the band, and their only song to make much of an impact (“A Little Bit Like Magic” made #91 a few months later) King Harvest were never The Who, Beatles, or the Stones but they contributed to the texture of the seventies. They did end up releasing 10 albums! The latest in 2015.

Songwriter Sherman Kelly: On a trip to St. Croix in 1969, I was the first victim of a vicious St. Croix gang who eventually murdered 8 American tourists. At that time, I suffered multiple facial fractures and wounds and was left for dead. While I was recovering, I wrote “Dancin In The Moonlight” in which I envisioned an alternate reality, the dream of a peaceful and joyful celebration of life. The song became a huge hit and was recorded by many musicians worldwide. “Dancin In The Moonlight” continues to be popular to this day.

The first band Boffalongo to record it. 

Dancing In The Moonlight

We get it almost every night
When that ol’ moon gets-a big and bright
It’s a supernatural delight
Everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight

Everybody here is out of sight
They don’t bark, and they don’t bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light
Everybody was dancin’ in the moonlight

Everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight
Everybody’s feelin’ warm and right
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight

We like our fun and we never fight
You can’t dance and stay uptight
It’s a supernatural delight
Everybody was dancin’ in the moonlight

Supertramp – Breakfast In America

On a far distant radio a few days ago I heard It’s Raining Again and then this one. Sometimes I forget how big Supertramp was in the 70s and 80s…especially after this album.

In 1979 the album Breakfast In America was huge. The album had 4 singles in the Billboard 100. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #3 in the UK…and won 2 Grammys.

The title song peaked at #62 in the Billboard 100 and #9 in the UK in 1979.

This album was released in 1979 and it came at the height of new wave and disco. Its domination of the single and album charts, and the airwaves, had to be unexpected by all concerned. Breakfast In America eclipsed anything they had done before and skyrocketed the band into the commercial stratosphere. Supertramp was never a typical chart band or obvious stadium touring giants. After this album, everything changed.

When they came to record the album, all five members had relocated full-time to the West Coast and bought apartments or houses there, and it was decided that the Colorado (Caribou Ranch) studio had been too sterile and so a new headquarters was found for Supertramp and co in Burbank, a home-from-home that was promptly given the name Southcombe. There, throughout 1978, they rehearsed the material and prepared the demos that would eventually be recorded at the Village Recorder studio in Los Angeles.

Roger Hodgson and Davies wrote most of the songs. They sometimes shared credit on songs… but  Roger Hodgson wrote this song 8 years earlier. Davies and Rogerson had a disagreement over the first line in the song. Rick Davies didn’t like “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got.” Roger won the battle.

Roger Hodgson:  “He never liked the lyric to ‘Breakfast.’ It’s so trite: ‘Take a look at my girlfriend.’ He’s much more into crafting a song. He would have been happier if I’d changed the lyric to either something funnier or more relevant. I tried, but it didn’t work out, so I was stuck with the original.”

Roger Hodgson: “The line ‘playing my jokes upon you,’ I think that kind of sums up the song. It was just mind chatter. Just writing down ideas as they came – fun thoughts all strung together. And I do remember the Beatles had just gone to America, and I was pretty impressed with that. That definitely stimulated my dream of wanting to go to America. And obviously seeing all those gorgeous California girls on the TV and thinking, Wow. That’s the place I want to go.”

Roger Hodgson: “I think I was 17 when I found this wonderful pump organ – a harmonium that you pump with your feet. I found it in this old lady’s house in the countryside near where I lived in England. I bought it for £26, and when I brought it back I proceeded to write all these songs on it: ‘Breakfast In America,’ ‘Two Of Us,’ ‘Soapbox Opera,’ even the beginning of ‘Fool’s Overture’ and ‘Logical Song.’ It’s amazing what this instrument pulled out of me.”

Here is a good live version…you are bloody well right!

Breakfast In America

Take a look at my girlfriend
She’s the only one I got
Not much of a girlfriend
Never seem to get a lot

Take a jumbo across the water
Like to see America
See the girls in California
I’m hoping it’s going to come true
But there’s not a lot I can do

Could we have kippers for breakfast
Mummy dear, mummy dear
They got to have ’em in Texas
‘Cause everyone’s a millionaire

I’m a winner, I’m a sinner
Do you want my autograph
I’m a loser, what a joker
I’m playing my jokes upon you
While there’s nothing better to do

Ba-ba-ba-dow, ba-bow-dum-doo-de-dow-de-dow, de
Ba-ba-ba-dow, ba-bow-dum-de-doo-de-dow
Na na na, nana na na na na

Don’t you look at my girlfriend (girlfriend)
She’s the only one I got
Not much of a girlfriend (girlfriend)
Never seem to get a lot (what’s she got, not a lot)

Take a jumbo cross the water
Like to see America
See the girls in California
I’m hoping it’s going to come true
But there’s not a lot I can do

Ba-ba-ba-dow, ba-bow-dum-doo-de-dow-de-dow, de
Ba-ba-ba-dow, ba-bow-dum-de-doo-de-dow

Hey oh, hey oh, hey oh, hey oh,
Hey oh, hey oh, hey oh, hey oh

Na na na, nana na na na nana

Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

Love this song and movie. Back in 2018 my son and I caught the movie in an Art House movie theatre that is located in Nashville. It was cool seeing this 1972 movie on the big screen. On top of a great movie, we got to hear the Curtis Mayfield soundtrack with surround sound in the theater.

Quinten Tarantino was strongly influenced by this movie for Jackie Brown. The endings are very similar. This song popularized the word “fly,” which means unusual and exceptional, particularly when it comes to fashion.

Curtis Mayfield was working on the songs for the movie while it was shooting, and would often visit the set, bringing in demos so the cast and crew could hear how they would integrate into the film. He even appears in the movie, performing the song “Pusherman” in a bar scene.

After seeing the screenplay, Mayfield jumped into the project and was given complete creative freedom. He wrote the songs to suit the scenes, but he made sure they could stand on their own, telling the stories even without the visuals. “Superfly” works very well outside of the film, as the character Mayfield describes could relate to anyone trying to survive and thrive under difficult situations.

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #5 in the R&B Charts in 1972.

Curtis Mayfield: “It was a glorious moment for our people as blacks, Priest had a mind, he wanted to get out. For once, in spite of what he was doing, he got away. So there came ‘Superfly’ the song. He was trying to get over. We couldn’t be so proud of him dealing coke or using coke, but at least the man had a mind and he wasn’t just some ugly dead something in the streets after it was all over. He got out.”

Superfly

Darkest of night
With the moon shining bright
There’s a set goin’ strong
Lotta things goin’ on
The man of the hour
Has an air of great power
The dudes have envied him for so long

[Chorus]
Superfly
You’re gonna make your fortune by and by
But if you lose, don’t ask no questions why
The only game you know is Do or Die
Ah-ha-ha

Hard to understand
What a hell of a man
This cat of the slum
Had a mind, wasn’t dumb
But a weakness was shown
Cause his hustle was wrong
His mind was his own
But the man lived alone

[Chorus]

The game he plays he plays for keeps
Hustlin’ times and ghetto streets
Tryin’ to get over
(That’s what he tryin’ to do, why’all)
Taking all that he can take
Gambling with the odds of fate
Tryin’ ta get over [Repeat: x4]
Woo, Superfly

The aim of his role
Was to move a lot of blow
Ask him his dream
What does it mean?
He wouldn’t know
“Can’t be like the rest”
Is the most he’ll confess
But the time’s running out
And there’s no happiness

[Chorus]

Superfly [Repeat: x4]

“Tryin’ to get over” [Repeat: x9]

Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)

I love listening to Phil Lynott sing. Thin Lizzy could give you a lot of different-sounding songs. In this song, it sounds like Phil was listening to the Moondance album by Van Morrison.

The record company added the (It’s Caught Me In It’s Spotlight) so people would not confuse this with the old AM hit Dancing In The Moonlight by King Harvest that I’ll be going over this week!

It’s the way Lynott phrased his lyrics that added to the experience. Thin Lizzy also had some great twin harmony lead guitar parts that made their sound. They were unique, to say the least. You had a black Irish bass player fronting a rock band and singing like a cross between fellow Irishman Van Morrison and American Bruce Springsteen. They were not just a hard blues band. They mixed rock, country,  blues, Celtic, and a little jazz in the mix.

The band’s name is a play on Tin Lizzie (“Thin” being pronounced “Tin” in an Irish accent). Tin Lizzie is either a reference to a robot character from The Dandy Comic or a nickname for the Model T Ford…

This song was on the Bad Reputation album released in 1977 and was written by Phil Lynott. It peaked #14 in the UK, #84 in Canada, and #4 in Ireland.

The album peaked at #39 in the Billboard Album Charts, #44 in Canada, and #4 in the UK in 1977.

Phil Lynott was the principal songwriter, but he encouraged the rest of the band to contribute their own material.

Scott Gorham (lead guitarist…one of them): “He taught us how to do this thing called ‘song writing.’ And until we got better and better at it and we could actually bring our own songs in, we brought in songs that were either partly finished or just ideas to put on one of his songs. We might bring in a song that was half finished, or a whole song minus the lyrics. And it was always minus the lyrics, because that was Phil Lynott’s domain. We knew that we weren’t ever going to touch or top his lyrics. So you just let him get on with it.”

Later on The Smashing Pumpkins covered “Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)” for various live performances.

Phil Lynott’s short life has been memorialized by a life-size bronze statue erected in central Dublin, just outside one of the famed bass player’s favorite pubs.

Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy Lead Singer | Ireland Reaching Out

Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight)

When I passed you in the doorway
You took me with a glance
I should have took that last bus home
But I asked you for a dance

Now we go steady to the pictures
I always get chocolate stains on my pants
My father he’s going crazy
Say’s I’m living in a trance

But I’m dancing in the moonlight
It’s caught me in its spotlight
It’s alright, alright
Dancing in the moonlight
On the long hot summer night

It’s three o’clock in the morning
And I’m on the streets again
I disobeyed another warning
I should have been in by ten

Now I won’t get out until Sunday
I’ll have to say I stayed with friends
But it’s a habit worth forming
If it means to justify the end

Who – Young Man Blues

Young Man Blues was written by jazz artist Mose Allison in 1957. Mose’s version is jazzy and smooth. The Who took the song and set it afire with an explosive charge. Mose Allison called The Who’s version The “Command Performance” of his song. That’s a great compliment from the author. Pete was a big fan of Mose Allison. He has said that if he never heard this song he would not have written My Generation.

The Who version has great dynamics. The bass and drums are all over the place and yet perfect. The Who sound like they are driving near a cliff and you know the song is going to fall off but they save it at the last moment time after time. The song was on the Live At Leeds album released in 1970.

The key to this song and most Who songs was the rhythm section. Keith Moon and John Entwistle pushed each other to greatness. The frenetic chaotic bass and drums made it exciting. You had the lead guitar player punching in licks between the lead bass and drums. Later on, when Keith passed away and Kenney Jones took his place…they were not the same. That is nothing against Jones…he was one of the best British drummers at that time but that touch of insanity was gone permanently.

A year or so before John Entwistle died, Roger Daltrey was complaining about John’s volume on stage to Pete. Pete replied that without that volume and John’s style…they are not the Who. That was a true statement. I saw the Who with John and later on without him. It wasn’t the same. Was it a great show without him? Yes, the songs were great but that element of danger was gone. That is what both Keith and John added to the Who.

So I’ll take this note for myself… February 14, 1970… I’ll buy a ticket for Leeds University when I get my time machine working…I’ll take some cotton balls though.

Young Man Blues

Oh well a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days

You know in the old days
When a young man was a strong man
All the people they’d step back
When a young man walked by

But you know nowadays
It’s the old man,
He’s got all the money
And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said nothing

Everybody knows that a young man ain’t got nothin’
Everybody!
Everybody knows that a young man ain’t got nothin’
He got nothin’
Nothin’

Take it easy on the young man
They ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said they ain’t got nothin’!
They got sweet fuck-all!

….

TV Draft Round 4 – Pick 3 – Keith Selects – Columbo

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 7 rounds will be posted here. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Keith from https://nostalgicitalian.com/

TV Show Draft – Nostalgic Italian’s Round 4 Pick – Columbo

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Welcome to my fourth round pick in the Hanspostcard TV Draft. Last round I chose Perry Mason, which was the ultimate court room “whodunit!” You never knew who committed the crime until the end of the episode. I thought it appropriate to choose Columbo for this round, because it is almost the exact opposite of Perry Mason, in that you know who the killer is right from the get go. It was called a murder mystery where the murder was no mystery.

Columbo_1971

The show pioneered the “inverted mystery” technique/format. Almost every show begins with a crime and the audience knows who the culprit is. Then enter the LAPD’s Lieutenant Columbo who spends the remainder of the show looking for clues, pestering the criminal, and eventually solving the case. The show was not a “whodunit” like Perry Mason, but rather it has been described as a “how’s he gonna catch him?”

The first season of Columbo began in September of 1971. I know that most of the shows being picked by others in the draft ran on a weekly basis. Columbo did not. Most episodes were featured as part of the NBC Mystery Movie rotation. It ran for 35 years with a total of 69 episodes.

The show was created by schoolmates Richard Levinson and William Link. The character first appeared in 1960 on The Chevy Mystery Show in an episode called “Enough Rope.” That episode was then adapted for a stage play entitled Prescription: Murder, which was then adapted for television in 1968. Columbo was played by Bert Freed in Enough Rope and by Thomas Mitchell in the stage version in 1962.

Bert Freed (L), Thomas Mitchell (R) – The Original Columbos

The writers of the show had originally wanted Lee J. Cobb to play Columbo, but he was unavailable. They next approached Bing Crosby, who turned down the role because it would take away from his time on the golf course. Peter Falk came across the script for Prescription: Murder and contacted Levinson and Link and said, “I’d kill to play that cop!”

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Peter Falk and Gene Berry

They weren’t really sure about Peter Falk, who was only 39 at the time. They envisioned the character as being older. He won the role, and he plays him as a much straighter, cleaner, and firmer Columbo in the first episode. It was a huge hit! The Columbo quirks and mannerisms that fans came to know and love would develop as he continued to play the role.

Peter Falk really threw himself into the role. He wore his own clothes. The suit was one that he had dyed brown, because he felt that looked better. He wore his own shoes. The world famous raincoat was one that he purchased in New York City while caught in a rainstorm. It cost him a mere $15. One difference between Peter and Columbo – Columbo preferred cigars, while Falk enjoyed cigarettes.

I am currently reading a fantastic book on the show written by David Koenig.

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Columbo is like no other cop. Koenig says, “There was nobody or nothing like Columbo at all before him. All the detectives were these hardboiled, emotionless, tough guys. And he was the opposite of that in every way. He hated guns and violence.” He describes the show this way, “Columbo wasn’t really a cop show. It was a drawing-room mystery done backwards with a cop as the lead. It was an anti-cop show.”

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During the first few seasons of Columbo, it really set the standard for what some refer to as “event television.” There were some fabulous guest stars who played the murderer. Those stars included Gene Berry, Jack Cassidy, William Shatner, Dick Van Dyke, Ruth Gordon, Robert Vaughn, Anne Baxter, Janet Leigh, Robert Culp, Donald Pleasence, Eddie Albert, Leonard Nimoy, Johnny Cash, and Patrick McGoohan – just to name a few!!

After the murder, when Columbo finally shows up, his genius is hidden by his often confused look. It is also hidden by the way he is dressed and by his friendly demeanor. He is looked upon as a stupid fool. The killer has no idea what a brilliant man Columbo is and they are lured into a false sense of security. The killer becomes even more arrogant and dismisses Columbo as a dope, only to be caught in the end.

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One of the things that certainly added to the character was his little idiosyncrasies like fumbling through his pockets for a piece of evidence, asking to borrow a pencil, or being distracted by something in the room in the middle of a conversation. Falk adlibbed those moments on camera while film was rolling as a way to keep the other actors off-balance. He felt that it really helped to make their confused and impatient reactions to Columbo more genuine. It really truly worked.

On the show, the murderer is often some famous person, or someone who is cultured or from high society. Either that, or some sort of successful professional (surgeon, psychologist, etc…). Paired up against Columbo, it is gold! The interactions between the two become such a marvelous part of the show and brings out Columbo’s character and cunning genius!

In those conversations Columbo is often confused. He doesn’t know anything about classical music, chess, fine wines, photography or pieces of art. One article on the show stated that his “ignorance” will often “allow him to draw in the murderer with a cunning humility that belies his understanding of human behavior and the criminal mind.”

Columbo

The last episode of Columbo aired in 2003 and was entitled “Columbo Likes the Nightlife.” Falk had planned for one final episode. It was to be called “Columbo’s Last Case” which was to begin at his retirement party. There was a lack of network interest and with his age and failing health, the episode was never to be.

Columbo remains as popular as ever. It was one of the most watched shows on streaming platforms during the pandemic. Author David Koenig says about the show, “It has stood the test of time for 50-plus years now. That character is still vibrant and alive, appealing to people. People love that central character, that basic format, the fact that it’s not political, it’s not violent, it’s not all the things television shows are today, it’s something different. And that is charm. That’s what people love about it.”

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Columbo Facts:

  • Steven Spielberg directed the first episode of Season 1 – Murder by the Book.
  • Peter Falk won 4 Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Columbo (1972, 1975, 1976, and 1990)
  • He also won a Golden Globe Award for the role.
  • Patrick McGoohan played a murderer more times than any other actor – 4 times. Jack Cassidy and Robert Culp each had 3 times, William Shatner and George Hamilton each played a killer twice.
  • Columbo’s name is never revealed – although a close up of his badge in the first season says it is ‘Frank.’ The creators of the show have stated that his first name was never known, so take that however you want to.
  • Columbo drives a 1960 Peugeot 403 convertible.
  • Columbo’s favorite food is chili and black coffee is his drink of choice.
  • In the 1972 episode entitled, “Etude in Black,” Columbo rescued a basset hound from the dog pound. The dog could be seen in many other episodes, and was as close to a sidekick/partner as Columbo ever got.
  • In 1997, the episode Murder by the Book was ranked #16 in TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” list.
  • In 1999, Lieutenant Columbo was ranked #7 on TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time.”
  • There is a bronze statue of Columbo (and his dog) in Budapest, Hungary. It was unveiled in 2017. Peter Falk is rumored to be a distant relative of the well-known Hungarian politician Miksa Falk (1828-1908).

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Columbo Statue in Budapest, Hungary

I thought I would close with little treat for you. In one of the Dean Celebrity Roasts, Frank Sinatra was the Man of the Hour. Now, these roasts were often edited down to make sure all the best stuff was shown on TV. In Lee Hale’s book, he stated that there was only one performance that was shown in its entirety – Peter Falk’s appearance during the Sinatra roast.

Falk appears from the audience – as Lt. Columbo. The entire 11 minute bit is just priceless. It is a must see. Enjoy:

Queen – We Will Rock You

I just saw a post about the album cover for News Of The World at The Press Music Reviews. It made me think of the first time I saw the cover of this album and when I heard this song.

QUEEN: News of the world LP Gatefold original UK 1977. We Will Rock You, We  Are The Champions etc - Yperano Records

In 3rd or maybe 4th-grade recess we were all going outside playing kickball. A friend of mine named Paul brought this album to school. We all looked at it and couldn’t stop talking about that cool robot cover. That was before I listened to it.

QUEEN News of the World Progressive Rock 12" LP Vinyl Album Gallery  #vinylrecordsNews Of The World

When I first heard We Will Rock You… the guitar solo is what stood out to me. It’s so simple yet catchy like many of Brian May’s solos…it was more like a hook. It turned into an anthem with We Are The Champions.  I made a vow that if I learned how to play guitar one day I would learn that solo. I forgot about that vow until a few years ago and I finally kept that promise to myself.

We Will Rock You was released as a double A-side single with We Are The Champions. Since the songs were released, the band has almost always used “Rock You” and “Champions” as a back-to-back encore number. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album charts, #2 in Canada, #15 in New Zealand, and #4 in the UK in 1977.

On Queen’s next album, they had another set of songs disc jockeys played together. “Bicycle Race” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” were segued together on their album Jazz. Those songs were also released as a double A-side single.

While in the studio they had a visit from no other than Sid Vicious. He berated Freddie Mercury and asked him if he had brought ballet to the masses yet…referring to an earlier Mercury interview.  Freddie said “I called him, I dunno, Simon Ferocious or something, and just pushed him out. I think… yeah, I think we passed that test.” Roger Taylor later called Vicious a moron and idiot.

Brian May: There were two occasions that inspired it. One I’ve spoken about a lot, which was at Bingley Hall [near Birmingham, England] where the audience sang every song and then we went off stage and they carried on singing and then they sang [the de facto Liverpool F.C. football anthem] “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It was a transitional time in rock. You went to see Led Zeppelin and The Who, you’d bang your head but you didn’t sing along, that wasn’t cool. This was an invitation to sing along.

A light went off and I thought, “We shouldn’t fight this, we should embrace it!” People didn’t do that at the time at rock concerts. I thought, “How interesting — if I wrote something, the audience could participate it to the point that they could lead the band?” I went to sleep and woke up with “We Will Rock You” in my head. When you’re at a show you can hardly move, but you can stomp your feet and chant and clap and lead us.

Roger Taylor: “It only has one instrument apart from the voice: There’s no bass, no real drums — just feet and handclaps and only that guitar at the very end. It’s quite an odd song. It was designed as a sort of song for the audience, a joining-in song. But we never really envisioned that it would be taken up by sports. It’s one of delights of… I’ve spent my life being in a band, so it sidelined all sports. I reckoned I could meet more girls being in a band than playing soccer.”

The single was accompanied by a promo video that saw Queen perform the song in Roger Taylor’s back garden and We Will Rock You quickly became the opening number on the band’s winter tour.

We Will Rock You

Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise
Playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singin’

We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

Buddy, you’re a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street, gonna take on the world someday
You got blood on your face, you big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place

We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you

Buddy, you’re an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes, gonna make you some peace someday
You got mud on your face, big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place

We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you, everybody
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you
Alright