Who – Live At Leeds

My friend Dave first posted this article I wrote here on an episode of Turntable Talk. For those who didn’t see it…here it is.  Cincinnati Babyhead also reviewed this on Hanspostcard’s site. 

Dave asked a question:  Is there an act that actually comes out better on live releases than studio ones?

First, let me say…overall I’m more of a record guy…I usually like the studio version of songs but yes there are some bands that can come off better. I would say The Who, Allman Brothers, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, The Stones (1969-1972), and Bob Dylan’s “1966 tour.” However, there is one condition to this.

I think you have to take into consideration the era you are talking about with each band or artist. If we are talking about the peak years then yes. The Rolling Stones for instance…for me it would be 1969 through 1974. When they had Mick Taylor on guitar…they had a huge raw sound live they haven’t had since. With Dylan, the 66 tour for me was the top and I could listen to those versions all day. The Who it would be 1969 through 1976 when they were untouchable live. But I’m not saying I don’t like other years with these artists…but those are known as the peak years.

When the Who took Tommy on tour I think the live recordings beat the studio album by a long shot. That leads me to…my favorite live rock album of all time.

From Classic Rock website ranking Who albums:We usually don’t include live albums in our rankings, but ‘Live at Leeds’ is no ordinary live album. Like ‘Live at the Apollo,’ ‘At Fillmore East,’ ‘At Folsom Prison’ and a handful of other classic concert records, it transcends the genre, turning a quick record-company cash turnaround into a statement of purpose.”

The Who: Live at Leads. If you are a rock and roll fan, a rock fan, or even a heavy metal fan…everyone can find something on that album. This is guitar rock at its best. Listening to the sound of that record, it’s no telling how loud they played. They weren’t the loudest in the Guinness Book of World Records for nothing! When Pete hit a power chord you could almost feel your eardrums retract in and out like a speaker.

It’s not being loud though that makes it so great. Personally, I’ve never heard a band as tight as they were during this tour. They wanted to release a live album and soundman Bob Pridden had 38 shows taped. Pete wanted Pridden to go through all shows and tell him which one was best. Because of constant touring Pridden could never get through all of the shows. The day came and Pete asked him ok…which shows. He couldn’t give Pete an answer.

They had a show at Leeds and Hull coming up on the schedule. In a move he’d later label one of the stupidest decisions of my life,” Townshend told Pridden to burn the tapes so that they’d never wind up in the hands of bootleggers. So, instead of more shows from that era…we have very few.

So…now the tapes were burned and the Leeds and Hull concert was coming up. They had a lot of pressure to get it right for the live album.

Pete Townshend: “I played more carefully than usual and tried to avoid the careless bum notes that often occurred because I was trying to play and jump around at the same time. The next day we played a similar set in City Hall in Hull. This was another venue with good acoustics for loud rock, but it felt less intense than the previous night.”

They played most of the Tommy album and their “oldies” on this tour, which was songs only around 5-6 years old. The original Live at Leeds didn’t have any Tommy songs on it. This album was like a marker for the pre-Tommy Who coming to an end. The deluxe re-released version had the complete show full of Tommy material

The recordings had a few clicks in the tape and Townshend tried to maneuver around them.

Townshend tried slicing out the clicks with a razor blade and quickly realized it would be impossible to get all of them. But subpar-sounding bootlegs were flooding the market at this time, so the band just added a note to the label saying the clicks were intentional! The album cover was a faded stamp reading “The Who: Live at Leeds” on brown paper, mirroring the look of illegal vinyl bootlegs of the era. Later on, Aerosmith had a similar live bootleg album cover.

What impresses me is the only overdubbing on the album was the backup vocals because they were poorly recorded. John Entwistle and Pete did the backup vocals in one take in the studio to stay true to the live album. What you hear on the album is what the good people at Leeds heard that night. No massive overdubbing to tighten anything up.

By 1970 The Who had been touring almost non-stop since 1964 and it showed on this album. After the album, the band didn’t tour as much as before. They worked in the studio on more complex albums Who’s Next and Quadrophenia. Their tours were not the marathon tours of the sixties.

This was before Won’t Get Fooled Again, Baba O’Riley, and  Quadrophenia’s complex music that required backing tapes live. This album was The Who as nature intended… a very loud tight rock band and possibly the best live rock album.

BTW…Bob Pridden worked as The Who’s soundman until 2016 when he retired.

Here are three examples. Young Man Blues. Listen to Moon and Entwistle intertwine with each other. You also have Summertime Blues and A Quick One, While He’s Away.

The Who : Maximum R&B at it’s best.

View-Master

I had view masters as a kid and loved them…tonight I was able to see some view master slides in a view master projector with a screen. I always wanted one as a kid but never could get it. I had the “click” model you held in your hand.

A few months ago…my cousin Mark came over. He and I collect things from the 50s-70s. Mark has been collecting View-Masters and the round slides. He shopped on Market Place and found someone with a 1950s View-Master projector. The projector is very clear.

dav

All of us (wife, son, Mark, and myself) spent over an hour watching the view-master slides on a screen that he bought from different people.

Of course, the slides are not 3-D when projected but it still was really cool. We saw Busch Gardens, Silver Dollar City, Acapulco, Sequoia, Kings National Park (I think), and some other places. It was like stepping back in time to the 60s or 70s which I guess was the idea. All the pictures came from the 50s through the 70s.

As a kid, I would spend hours clicking the round slide over and over. For some reason, I remember an outer space slide selection I had. The 3-D made it look like you could touch it. When my son was around 5 we got him one and he loved it. I would recommend picking one up if you see one somewhere…no matter how old you are…they are still fun!

Small View Master

The View-Master was based on the stereoscopic viewer, which dates all the way back to the 1800s.

stereoscope

Guess Who – No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

I grew up with the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive on AM radio. I always thought these two songs flowed together well.

Randy Bachman wrote No Sugar Tonight. When he presented the song to the band he was told the song was too short. To solve the problem they pieced the Burton Cummings song New Mother Nature together with this one on the album American Woman.

This is the last hit song that Randy Bachman played on with The Guess Who. He would leave soon after because of his Mormon beliefs didn’t go with the Guess Who’s touring rock lifestyle. They wouldn’t play together again until 13 years later in 1983.

The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #13 on the Billboard 100, and #19 in the UK in 1970.

Before I knew about the Who or Guess Who…when I heard the name I thought they were the same band. Their name came about when their label Quality Records released their first hit single (“Shakin’ All Over”) credited only to “Guess Who?” in an attempt to build a mystique around the band. They wanted the public to believe that this was a possible British band. The real name of the band was “Chad Allan & The Expressions,” but radio station DJs continued to refer to them as “The Guess Who.” when playing subsequent singles.

The Guess Who tried to get The Who to change their name.

Randy Bachman: “When I was in the Guess Who, we found out about this English band called the Who and were determined to force them to change their name, so, we were in London, and the Who were playing at the Marquee club. Down we went to confront them. They were being filmed for German TV at that show, so we had to wait around for about four hours. Eventually, we get to meet them and say: ‘Look, we were here before you. So, change your name, it’s confusing people, Pete Townshend looked at us and replied: ‘There’s the Yardbirds and the Byrds. Nobody’s confused by that. So bugger off.'”

The two bands became friends after that according to Bachman. . “And that phrase ‘bugger off’ was our in-joke, We’d check into a hotel and find out the Who were there, so we’d call up one of the guys at 3AM and when they answered we would say: ‘Bugger off!’ then hang up. They’d do the same to us.”

John Presho…security for Randy Bachman: “Randy told me that the inspiration for writing ‘No Sugar Tonight’ came to him from an experience he had walking in downtown Berkeley, California. Randy was walking and talking with a bandmate when he looked up and saw four big biker guys walking on the same sidewalk approaching them. Randy made up his mind to cross the street rather than confront the bikers, then he heard the skidding of car tires. Just as Randy was stepping off the sidewalk the car came to a skidding stop and a biker lady got out of the car, walked over to one of the bikers and engaged in a heated conversation with him. When the argument ended the biker lady walked back to the car, opened the door, turned around, then shouted to the biker, ‘One more thing honey, you’re not getting any sugar tonight’ indicating he was not going to get any sex that night from her. The car took off, Randy crossed the street went back to his hotel and started writing the song based on that experience.”

No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

Lonely feeling
Deep inside
Find a corner
Where I can hide
Silent footsteps
Crowding me
Sudden darkness
But I can see

No sugar tonight in my coffee
No sugar tonight in my tea
No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

In the silence
Of her mind
Quiet movements
Where I can find
Grabbing for me
With her eyes
Now I’m falling
From her skies

No sugar tonight in my coffee
No sugar tonight in my tea
No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

Jocko says “Yes” and I believe him
When we talk about the things I say
She hasn’t got the faith or the guts to leave him
When they’re standing in each other’s way
You’re tripping back now to places you’ve been to
You wonder what you’re gonna find
You know you’ve been wrong but it won’t be long
Before you leave ’em all far behind

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

Jocko said “No” when I came back last time
It’s looking like I lost a friend
No use callin’ ’cause the sky is fallin’
And I’m getting pretty near the end
A smoke-filled room in a corner basement
The situation must be right
A bag of goodies and a bottle of wine
We’re gonna get it on right tonight

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

(Lonely feeling) Jocko says “Yes” and I believe him
(Deep inside) When we talk about the things I say
(Find a corner) She hasn’t got the faith or the guts to leave him
(Where I can hide) When they’re standing in each other’s way
(Silent footsteps) You’re tripping back now to places you’ve been to
(Crowding me) You wonder what you’re gonna find
(Sudden darkness) You know you’ve been wrong and it won’t be long
(But I can see) Before you leave ’em all far behind

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow

Why The Beatles Are Still Relevant… and my 5th Year Anniversary.

This is my 5th-year anniversary on WP. Thank you all for still reading and commenting. 

This was part of Dave’s at A Sound Day “Turntable Talk” series…hope you like it. It’s also a more in-depth re-working of my first post on September 18, 2017. I never dreamed I would be accepted in such a large community of like-minded people. It’s not easy to meet Big Star fans in real life…here in this community, they come to you. My mission was…if I could get one person to at least give Badfinger, Big Star, or the Raspberries a listen…my job was done…but it’s been so much more than that because I’ve learned more than I’ve given. Yes, I love the Beatles but they don’t need my cheerleading.

I usually write shorter posts than this…but it was a lot to say on this subject.

So why are The Beatles still popular with older and younger generations? Their influence seems never-ending. It’s as though they have never left. There are other bands that left a legacy but nothing like the footprint of the Beatles.

The Beatles shaped culture instead of following it. Society changed after that appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. They cast such a large net in music compared to everyone else. They influenced everything from rock, folk-rock, power pop, psychedelia, progressive rock, and heavy metal. They practically invented the thought or image of a rock band. They moved passed that and have become a huge part of the culture they helped create.

The Beatle’s breakup was announced in 1970. Many rumors flew that they might regroup through the years but that ended on December 8, 1980, in New York with the assassination of John Lennon.

Through the seventies, the Beatles were still quite popular with the Red and Blue greatest-hits albums released in the early seventies. The greatest hits album Rock and Roll Music (terrible silver cover) was released in 1976. Capitol released Got To Get You In My Life as a single off of the album and it peaked at #1 in Canada and #7 in the Billboard 100 in 1976. This was 10 years after it was released as an album track on Revolver.

I bought my first Beatle album (Hey Jude Again) in 1975 when I was 8 and then bought the Rock and Roll Music album. So, I was a 2nd generation Beatles fan and there were many of us. The solo Beatles dominated the charts to the mid-seventies. After 1975 they had hits but not as many as before. Beatles’ popularity waned in the mid to late 70s when the “newer/ younger” generations considered the Beatles as belonging to their parents. Many youngsters believed Led Zeppelin, Queen, and all newer bands would replace the Beatles in scope and success.

Everything changed when Lennon was murdered. A newer generation heard the music. Their popularity would go up and down but with the first Beatle CDs released in 1987…again another generation heard the Beatles. Sgt Pepper was re-released 20 years after the original and it went to number one.

What really cemented them in the public’s mind happened on November 20, 1995. The Beatles Anthology CDs were released, and the documentary was viewed during prime time on ABC. Since then, they have never left. On November 13, 2000, they released the compilation album “1” which was the best-selling album of the decade worldwide. The Beatles were also the largest selling band between 2000-2010. In 2009 The Beatles Rock Band game came out and…yet another generation found their music. One was my son who was born in 2000.

Between 2010-2020 they remixed and reissued many of their classic albums with 50th-anniversary editions. The Get Back film by Peter Jackson is the latest project that has thrust them in the spotlight again…but really, they have never left.

The bottom line for their staying power is their music. The songwriting was outstanding. Even the early music was something new. They used minor chords, and different rhythms, along with harmonizing over the top. I’m not going to go into musical theory, but they never repeated themselves. Every album stands on its own.  John Lennon’s rhythm guitar was quirky and inventive, George Harrison brought in a Chet Atkins style along with jazz chords, Paul brought bass playing to a new level, and Ringo was a left-hander that played right-handed with an open high hat. The main thing was the songwriting, quality, and quantity that is rarely if ever seen.

Bob Dylan: “Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid.”

They rarely included their singles on albums. Most bands used singles to sell albums, but The Beatles treated both formats as different entities. Songs that weren’t released as singles include Norwegian Wood, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, With A Little Help From My Friends, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, All My Loving, A Day In The Life, Back In The USSR, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Helter Skelter, Michele, The Night Before, and one of the most popular Beatles song Here Comes The Sun, and many more. Any other band would have released these songs as singles but with the Beatles…they were just album cuts. That is how deep their songwriting was at the time, and from 1966 onward George was contributing to the quality as well. George developed into a great songwriter in the impossible situation of being with two of the best in history.

They had more variety than many others. They were rockers in Hamburg and The Cavern. They were pop stars in the Beatlemania years. They were rock-folk-pop in the middle period of Rubber Soul and Revolver. They were Psychedelic rockers during the Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour era. Then they went back to their roots and were rockers again with the White Album and Let It Be. Abbey Road saw them perfecting their craft in all genres. They knew when to make an exit…while still on top.

They broke up because they outgrew each other and were together constantly, much like brothers. John, Paul, and George grew up together in Liverpool and they knew Ringo well early on. They were never made to stay together like the Stones. The Stones developed a business/brand attitude, but the Beatles were more of a family and things were more personal.

They were not this clean polite band that Brian Epstein and the press created. In fact, the Stones and Beatles’ images should have been reversed… but to make it…they had to clean up to get through the international door. After they did, the door was open for all others. They did however speak of whatever was on their mind. They said things stars just didn’t say, even in the early days. There was something honest about them that is still there to this day.

They were symmetrical… John brought in Paul, Paul brought in George, and George brought in Ringo.

Their story adds depth to their legacy. The odds of them finding Brian Epstein, George Martin, Stuart Sutcliffe, and everyone on the way was nearly zero. If one key person would have would have gone the other way…the story would not be the same or might not have happened.

In a hundred years…the question will still be asked… why are the Beatles still relevant?

Ronnie Lane – One For The Road

This song doesn’t have a catchy chorus or a commercial feel at all but I love it. The first time I heard it I was at a bar at closing time…drinking rum and coke. It’s pure music by Ronnie Lane who walked away from the successful Faces to do his own thing. 

This was the title track off of his album One For The Road released in 1975. He did this album with his band Slim Chance. The album was overlooked at the time but now is praised. I had the album at one time…it’s a good album…very consistent. 

Ronnie Lane was a Britsh songwriter and bass player. He started with the Small Faces as the bass player and he and Steve Marriott wrote most of bands songs. The Small Faces never toured America so they never really broke out big. They did have 11 top twenty hits in the UK but only one in America with Itchycoo Park charting at #16.

Steve Mariott left the Small Faces in 1968 and Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan to start The Faces. The Faces released four albums between 1970-1973… First Step, Long Player, A Nod is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse and Ooh La La. They were one of the top grossing touring bands.

After Rod Stewart’s solo career took off his interest in the band began to wane and in 1973 Ronnie Lane quit. After Ronnie left the Faces, they made no more studio albums.

Ronnie started his own folk-country band named “Slim Chance” and released a surprise hit single “Come On” in 1973 and it went to #11 in the UK. Ronnie had a unique idea of touring. His tour was called “The Passing Show” which toured the countryside with a circus tent and included a ringmaster and clowns.

During the recording of “Rough Mix” Lane diagnosed with was Multiple Sclerosis. He still toured with Eric Clapton and others afterward and released an album in 1979 called “See Me.”

Ronnie Lane died of Pneumonia while in the final stages of Multiple Sclerosis in 1997.

BBC Sessions version

One For The Road

[Verse 1]
I’ve had my friends
All them that come and they ate with me
All them that come and they drunk with me
I’ve had my friends

[Verse 2]
And there’s been loads
All that said they would stand by me
All that said they could see what I could see
I’ve had my friends

[Verse 3]
Oh, I’ve had my dreams
New moon and roses like a foolish kid
Do unto others like I do to me
I’ve had my dreams

[Chorus]
And it’s one for the road, yes it is
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

[Verse 4]
Oh, now, I’ve had my way
All them that’s took me there and back
All them that’s left me way off the track
I’ve had my way

[Verse 5]
Oh, now, I’ve had my day
Just like that doggy the story goes
Oh, but night time comes and you got no bones
But, I’ve had my day

[Chorus]
And it’s one for the road, yes it is
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

[Instrumental]

[Verse 6]
Oh, now, I’ve seen my woman
Take her gardenia, now she stares away
Stares out the window and her eyes are grey
I’ve known my woman

[Verse 7]
Oh, yeah, I’ve had my dreams
Full moon and roses like a crazy kid
Do unto others like I would to me, yeah
Oh, I’ve had my dream

[Chorus]
Stil’ it’s one for the road, yes and
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

[Chorus]
Yes it’s one for the road, yes and
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man

This song was on their debut album (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-erd ) but if it were up to their producer (Al Kooper) it wouldn’t have been recorded.

Kooper didn’t like how the song was sounding and wasn’t crazy about it in the first place. He kept on saying he didn’t want it on the album.

At the studio, Van Zant told him to go somewhere and not come back for a while. He then proceeded to walk Kooper outside and to his car…he opened the door and then waved Kooper goodbye.

They recorded the song while he was away and it stayed on the album. Kooper later overdubbed an organ on the song.  It’s a huge favorite with fans and has been featured in movies and commercials. It’s one of those album songs that has gotten more popular as the years go by.

Van Zant’s grandmother passed away around the same time, so Gary Rossington and Van Zant got together at Van Zant’s apartment to share memories of their grandparents. As they talked, the stories they passed back and forth suddenly began to form into a song. Rossington came up with a chord progression, and Van Zant wrote the lyrics based on advice the women had given them over the years. They wrote it in about an hour.

Rossington was raised by his mother, and Van Zant was like a father figure in his life, even though he was just a few years older than him. Van Zant taught the guitarist how to drive a car or the other things that youngsters needed to learn in their teenage years.

The song was not released as a single but it finally charted in 2021 on Billboard US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs.

Ed King: I really enjoyed working with Al Kooper. I believe, had it not been for Al, no one would’ve heard of Skynyrd. He was the visionary behind the band and how it should be presented to the world. We didn’t always agree with Al, but I certainly enjoyed his presence.
When we drove up to Atlanta to record “Simple Man,” we played the song for Al in the studio. He hadn’t heard it. He didn’t care for it and said “You’re not putting that song on the album.” Ronnie asked Al to step outside. He escorted Al to his Bentley and opened the car door. Al stepped in. Ronnie shut the door and stuck his head in thru the open window. “When we’re done recording it, we’ll call you.”
Al came back a few hours later, added the organ part and it was a keeper. I don’t think any band before or since, making its debut album, could get away with doing that to the record producer. There was a healthy respect happening there…and that is a really funny story that reflects that.

Gary Rossington: “We just put down in a song what our mama or grandma had said to us, they really wrote it, we just played it.”

Al Kooper: Early on I begged Skynyrd to change their name. It looked on paper like it was pronounced “Lie-nerd Sky-nerd.” It didn’t make any sense at first glance, and it certainly didn’t conjure up what their music was about. I tried everything, but to no avail. They would not budge. So, I decided if I was stuck with it, I’d make the best of it.
They were also always getting in fistfights. If they couldn’t find anyone to fight, they’d fight each other. I decided to paint a rough-house image for them. I designed a skull head and spelled their name out in a bones typeface. 

Simple Man

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Oh yes, I will

“Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Baby, be a simple, really simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple, kind of simple man

Merie Earle and Burt Mustin

I grew up watching these two elder character actors. I did a post on Burt Mustin earlier but I always liked Merie Earle also. I’m going to cover both in this one. If you are a child of the 60s, 70s, and 80s you probably know these two. I first remembered Merie on the Waltons as a character named Maude but she was on a lot of things.

To my immense disappointment…Burt and Merie never appeared together on screen from what I can find. They were in some of the same tv programs but not the same episode.

Merie Earl was one of the cutest older ladies I’ve ever seen. She didn’t start acting till she was 77 years young. She was born Goldie Merie Ireland on May 13, 1889. She grew up in Columbus Ohio. She got married in 1909 and moved to New York because of her husband’s job as an engineer.

After her husband retired they moved to California to be near their daughter. Her husband Lawrence Nathan Earls passed away in 1954. Marie was later discovered by an agent while performing in a play at a Methodist church. In 1967 she started to do print ads for Polaroid. In 1967 she took the jump to motion pictures. Her first film role was in  Fitzwilly starring Dick Van Dyke.

She went on to perform on television and TV movies in the 60s, 70s, and yes into the 80s! She was on tv shows such as Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, All In The Family, Alice, Whiz Kids, etc.  Merie worked until she passed away in 1984 at the age of 95. What an incredible woman…Burt Mustin had more credits but he was a bit younger than Merie. She had no formal training and she said she was sometimes snubbed in auditions.

Merie Earle on going to auditions: “They’re old-timers in show business, so they just kind of snort and recite all their Broadway credits and film credits and things like that, that doesn’t bother me, though, and sometimes I even beat them out for the parts. But if I don’t, that doesn’t bother me too much either. It doesn’t take much money for me to live, anyway.”

On her acting style… “Oh dear, I guess I don’t have any acting style, All I try to do is just to be myself.”

Merie Earle2

What a life Burt Mustin lived. He didn’t start acting until he was 67 and he appeared in over 150 film and television productions. I first remembered him as Gus in Leave it to Beaver, Judd in The Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza, The Monkees, Gomer Pyle…the list is too long. He was also at the first World Series in 1903 to root on his hometown team, The Pittsburgh Pirates playing against the Boston Red Sox.

Burt was born on February 8, 1884, in Pittsburgh. After graduating from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1903 with a degree in engineering, Mustin became a car salesman. It was a rather new profession.  He also worked for the Better Business Bureau, Mustin dabbled in amateur acting and singing. He belonged to the Barbershop Harmony Society and popped up in productions by the Pittsburgh Opera.

Mustin and his wife eventually retired to Arizona. In Tucson, the retiree took in a role in a local production of the play Detective Story. William Wyler — who would go on to direct Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday and Funny Girl — happened to catch the show and offered Mustin a role in his screen adaptation of Detective Story.

Thus, Burt Mustin made his screen debut at the age of 67 in 1951 and acted until he died in 1977 at the age of 92.

Below is Burt… on the Johnny Carson show talking about being at the first World Series.

Chris Bell – I Don’t Know ….Power Pop Friday

This one is a rocking song by Chris Bell. Chris was one  the founding members of Big Star. Alex Chilton would get more publicity…mostly because of him singing for the successful Box Tops. In the pop world, it’s tragic that Big Star wasn’t heard by the masses. They could have become huge but it’s something that we will never know.

The sound that Big Star had largely originated from founding member Chris Bell. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the first album and they modeled themselves after Lennon and McCartney. Their first album was praised by practically everyone but not distributed…people wanted the album but the album was not in the stores for people to buy. Chris left the band not long after that failure.

He kept recording in Memphis with different musicians. In the late seventies, there were rumors that Big Star would reform and tour Europe where they were getting known but it never come to pass. In the fall of 1978, Bell got a call from Car Records and they wanted to release a single with a song called  I am the Cosmos with You and Your Sister as the B side.  It was the only solo release Chris would see in his lifetime. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t get to enjoy it long. He died in a car wreck on December 27, 1978. He was only 27 years old.

Big Star’s and Chris Bell’s recognition started to rise through the eighties with bands like The Replacements, REM, and more singing their praises. The first glimmer of international recognition for Chris alone came in 1992 after Rykodisc released the first edition of his I Am The Cosmos LP. It compiled not only the tracks he recorded at Ardent Studios, but also his 1974-5 sessions at Shoe Productions in Memphis, George Martin’s AIR Studios in London, and Château D’Hérouville in France.

If anyone of you are interested in Big Star I would recommend this documentary (Nothing Can Hurt Me Now) and this book about Chris Bell.

I Don’t Know

Whatever it is you’re thinking
Sit down and let’s give it a try
You know that I’ll always listen
But sometimes I’m wondering why
You don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
Baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Once in a while you’re lonely
Tell me if needed a friend
I’m wondering what is the matter
But you say that you can’t explain
But you don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
But baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going through
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Do you want me
I want you
You don’t want me,
I want you
Don’t you know I’m losing sleep at night
Sleep at night
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Whatever it is you’re thinking
Sit down and let’s give it a try
You know that I’ll always listen
But sometimes I’m wondering why
You don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
But baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you

Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane – My Baby Gives It Away

I have often wondered why this album wasn’t more popular. It features The Who’s Pete Townshend and The Small Faces/Faces Ronnie Lane who then was leading his own band, Slim Chance. The album is full of great songs and is worth a listen. The guest musicians include Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, John Entwistle, Ian Stewart, John “Rabbit” Bundrick, and more.

In October of 1976, the Who closed a North American tour in Toronto, a show that would be the last with Keith Moon before a paying audience. The band took a break to pursue individual projects. Ronnie Lane had wanted Townshend to produce his album but he then wanted Townshend to collaborate writing on the songs. Townshend declined because he had never written with anyone before but they did manage to write the title track, Rough Mix, together.

The album ended up with Townsend songs and Lane songs. They did do a cover of a Don Williams song called Till All The Rivers Run Dry. Rough Mix didn’t draw a lot of attention at the time but is now considered a lost gem. Townshend has said in his book that there was a big argument where he shoved Ronnie Lane. He said it felt like he didn’t know his own strength because Lane felt like he was made out of paper. Later Pete found out about Lane’s multiple sclerosis.

Lane was already showing the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (tremors, slurred speech), which others sometimes interpreted as a sign he was drunk. He didn’t tell Townshend, or very many others, about his medical diagnosis.

Townshend’s liner notes eventually read, “Ron and Pete play various acoustic & electric guitars, mandolins & bass guitars, banjos, ukuleles & very involved mind games.”

The album peaked at #44 in the Billboard Album Charts, #70 in Canada, and #45 in the UK in 1977.

Pete Townshend: The recording of Rough Mix with Ronnie is now a blur, but I remember some special moments. I played live guitar with a large string orchestra for the first time, my father-in-law Ted Astley arranging and conducting on ‘Street in the City’. I was surprised at the respect given me by the orchestral musicians. Playing with Charlie Watts on ‘My Baby Gives It Away’ was also very cool, making me aware that his jazz-influenced style was essential to the Stones’ success, the hi-hat always trailing the beat a little to create that vital swing.

Meeting John Bundrick (Rabbit) was also an important event in my life as a musician. He wandered into the Rough Mix studio one day looking for session work. Here was a Hammond player who had worked with Bob Marley, and could play as well as Billy Preston. Offstage he could be reckless and impulsive, drinking too much, asking for drugs and telling crazy stories, but musicians of his calibre didn’t come around very often.

My Baby Gives It Away

My baby wakes in the deep of the nightShe doesn’t need itBut she says it’s all rightMy baby digs it, just a Rollin’ away

My baby gives it up every dayMy baby gives it, she gives it awayMy baby gives it up every dayMy baby She just gives it away

When you’re alone in some city hotelYou can get company by ringing a bellYou might go pick up a girlOn the street

But my baby gives it up totally freeMy baby’s counting’ on, ’cause you aloneMy baby’s brother never break a your armMy baby ha, ha, I love her

She’s cheepOoh yeahMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy baby

You better buy yourself an new pair of shoesAnd walk for a lifetime on that bad newsYou better buy an electric guitarThere’s no better way to beat the blues, I beat ’em

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

She give it way, every day, every wayMy baby just gives it away

My baby’s momma is a singular girlShe brought up her daughter and brought her up wellI’m breathing no more‘Cause she took it away

My baby gives it up every dayMy baby gives itShe gives it awayMy baby gives it up every day

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy baby

How I love her, yeahMy baby, my baby, she just gives it awayMy baby, my baby, she just gives it awayMy baby, my baby, gives it away

Let me tell you, my baby, she just give it awayMy baby, every dayMy baby gives it up every dayMy baby give itJust gives it away

KISS – Shout It Out Loud

This is for Song Lyric Sunday by newepicauthor otherwise known as Jim. Song Lyric Sunday is at the link below. This week the theme is songs that include the lyrics Sounds, Talk, Voice, Words so I thought SHOUT would fit in that with the theme.   https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2022/09/03/human-speech-2/

This was one of KISS’s anthems in the 1970s and I guess still is for the band. Paul Stanely and Gene Simmons were in a band called Wicked Lester before KISS and they played a song called I Wanna Shout by The Hollies. With Wicked Lester they recorded a version called (We Want To) Shout It Out Loud.

Who knew that this song was influenced by the Hollies? I would have never guessed. After listening to it now…it’s more pop/rock than I remember rather than the harder rock that Kiss is known for. I’ve heard the live versions more than the studio cut.

When they were making their Destroyer album they reworked the song’s lyrics and came up with Shout It Out Loud with their producer Bob Ezrin. It is credited to Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and Bob Erzin.

The band released a live album called Alive! in 1975 and that album opened the door to their popularity. They still hadn’t had a big hit with their studio albums…but this album would change that. Destroyer was the first Kiss album Bob Ezrin worked on… he did a lot of teaching during their time together, even using a blackboard and pointer about music. He put them through, what Stanley called BootCamp, making them pay attention to details to a point where they had never done before. This was their 4th studio album and it was their most successful studio album at the time.

Erzin was no rookie…he had worked with Alice Cooper (still does), Aerosmith, and others.

This was the first of four singles released from the album, chosen because it’s upbeat and radio-friendly. It did well on the charts, but the biggest hit from the album was the last single, the ballad Beth.

The song was released in 1976 and peaked at #1 in Canada,  #31 on the Billboard 100, and #40 in New Zealand. The album Destroyer peaked at #11 on The Billboard Album Charts and #7 in Canada.

Paul Stanley: “You have the verse, ‘Well the night’s begun and you want some fun, do you think you’re gonna find it, think you’re gonna find it.’ That answer in the background is the Four Tops! The call-and-response is something that the Four Tops did in ‘Sugar Pie Honey Bunch.'”

The first video is the original Hollies song, the second is Wicked Lester’s version of the Hollies song, and then Shout It Out Loud…the song that grew from the Hollies song. 

Shout It Out Loud

Well the night’s begun and you want some fun
Do you think you’re gonna find it
You got to treat yourself like number one
Do you need to be reminded
It doesn’t matter what you do or say
Just forget the things that you’ve been told
We can’t do it any other way
Ev’rybody’s got to rock n roll yay

Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud
Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud

If you don’t feel good ev’ry way you could
Don’t sit there broken hearted
Call all your friends in the neighborhood
And get the party started
Don’t let them tell you that there’s too much noise
They’re too old to really understand
You’ll still get rowdy with the girls and boys
Cause it’s time for you to take a stand yay

Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud
Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud

Led Zeppelin – Nobody’s Fault but Mine 

This is a great Zeppelin song off of my least favorite Led Zeppelin album…Presence. The making of this album began after the first real setback happened to the band. It was the first one of many that were about to come.

This song was inspired by American Blues singer Blind Willie Johnson, who played in the 1920s. Plant and Page took credit for the song on the album.

After Physica Graffiti the band was on top of the world until Maureen Plant, wife of Robert Plant, was driving a rented Austin Mini, Robert beside her in the passenger seat, their three-year-old son Karac and six-year-old daughter Carmen in the back seat, along with their friend Scarlet, the four-year-old daughter of Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page were driving on a Greek island of Rhodes. The car Maureen Plant was driving skidded and spun off the road, nose-diving over a precipice and into a tree. When Robert had landed on top of Maureen, the impact shattered his right ankle and elbow and snapped several bones in his right leg.

Maureen had suffered a fractured skull and broke her pelvis and leg. Karac had also broken a leg, while Carmen had broken her wrist. Scarlet was the only one to escape with just a few cuts and bruises.

The American tour was called off while Robert and his family healed. With the band’s touring plans put on indefinite hold, it was decided to get to work on the next Zeppelin album. Plant, his wheelchair, and crutches were traveling to Los Angeles, where Page was waiting for him in a beach house in Malibu Colony. Plant started to feel that Page and manager Peter Grant were insensitive to him and his family, only thinking about Led Zeppelin’s future.

Most of the writing for this album was finished before John Paul Jones and John Bonham got there. Jones doesn’t look back on this album with much enthusiasm…he said he learned about baseball at that point because he would watch it with all of the downtimes. He picked a great one to watch…the 1975 World Series with the Red Sox and the Reds.

After this album, they would start a US tour in 1977…only to be stopped because of Robert Plant’s 5-year-old son (Karac Plant) dying. This almost destroyed the band…not to mention Plant and his wife. After Karac died of a stomach virus, Robert had more say in the band. What was once a Jimmy Page controlled band became more slanted toward Plant. This was apparent on their last album In Through The Out Door before John Bonham died in 1980 and the band was over.

The album was released in 1976 and was #1 on the Billboard Charts, #1 in the UK, and #16 in Canada. It did well in the charts but didn’t sell as well as their other albums.

John Paul Jones:  “It became apparent that Robert and I seemed to keep a different time sequence to Jimmy. We just couldn’t find him. I drove into SIR Studios every night and waited and waited… I learned all about baseball during that period, as the World Series was on and there was not much else to do but watch it. I just sort of went along with it all, the main memory of that album is pushing Robert around in the wheelchair from beer stand to beer stand. We had a laugh, I suppose, but I didn’t enjoy the sessions, really. I just tagged along with that one.”

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Oh, nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
Trying to save my soul tonight

Oh, it’s nobody’s fault but mine

Devil. He taught me to roll
Devil. He taught me to roll
How to roll the lot you like

Nobody’s fault but mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Brother. He showed me the gong
Brother. He showed me the ding dong ding dong
How to kick that gong to light

Oh, it’s nobody’s fault but mine

Got a monkey on my back
M-m-m-m-monkey on my back, back, back, back
Gonna change my ways tonight

Nobody’s fault but mine

How to kick that gong to light
N-n-n-n-n-no, nobody’s fault

CSN&Y – Carry On

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young were making their second album…the 1970  Déjà Vu and Graham Nash realized something was wrong. He told Stephin Stills they needed another song like Suite: Judy Blue Eyes on this album. Stills was listening, he went back to his hotel room and put together two unfinished songs, and came up with another suite…Carry On. 

He took the song back to Graham Nash and he could not believe it. They had the song the album needed. 

The album was hard to make because of the state that David Crosby was in. His girlfriend at the time, Christine Hinton, was taking their cat to the Vet and died in a car crash. Graham and others have said that Crosby was never the same after that accident. It started his slide into harder drugs that would end up with jail time and his liver replaced. 

“Carry On” has the distinction of appearing on three different US #1 albums. It was first released on Déjà Vu, which hit the top spot on May 16, 1970. Then it appeared on the CSN&Y live album 4 Way Street, #1 on May 15, 1971. Finally, it showed up on the compilation So Far, the #1 album on November 2, 1974.

The second part of the song is taken from Questions, a song Stills wrote for his band Buffalo Springfield. 

Stephen Stills:  “I went back to my room in this horrifying hotel and the next morning I knocked on Graham’s door and said, ‘OK, how’s this?’ And I played him ‘Carry On’ and he went nuts. So we got everybody together in the studio and recorded it.”

Graham Nash: After that tragedy, we somehow continued to make Déjà Vu, but David often wound up in tears in the studio. Drugs helped him mourn—or so he thought—but, of course, they only made things worse. He was inconsolable, falling apart. The love and sunshine that was in the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album had disappeared from Déjà Vu because, in one way or another, we were all tormented, all miserable, all coked out of our minds.

Drummer Dallas Taylor: “The song was written in the middle of the Deja Vu sessions, when Nash told Stephen they still didn’t have an opener for the album. It was something of a message to the group, since it had become a real struggle to keep the band together at that point. Stephen combined two unfinished songs and stuck them onto a jam we’d had out in the studio a few nights before, me on drums and Stephen on a Hammond B-3 organ. As the track begins I’m playing bass drums and high hat, and Graham is playing congas. Then we go into a 6/8 groove, which is rather obscure – Stephen loved to change gears that way. The sessions would go on all night, sometimes three or four days non-stop. The thing I loved about the studio was you could never tell if it was day or night, and we hid all the clocks so no one knew what time it was.”

Carry On

One morning I woke up and I knew
You were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes
To see the dawn.
Go your way, I’ll go mine and
Carry on

The sky is clearing and the night
Has cried enough
The sun, he come, the world
To soften up
Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but
To carry on

The fortunes of fables are able
To sing the song
Now witness the quickness with which
We get along
To sing the blues you’ve got to live the dues and
Carry on

Carry on
Love is coming
Love is coming to us all

Where are you going now my love?
Where will you be tomorrow?
Will you bring me happiness?
Will you bring me sorrow?
Oh, the questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover can you talk to me?

Girl when I was on my own
Chasing you down
What was it made you run?
Trying your best just to get around.
The questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover can you talk to me?

Allman Brothers – Trouble No More

Gregg Allman sounded like an old man in his early twenties and when he WAS an older man. He could sing like he lived every bit of the blues he was singing about. This was the first song the Allman Brothers ever played in front of an audience.

It’s hard to believe that their first two albums didn’t go anywhere in the charts. The first two were made up of many of their classic songs. Their first album The Allman Brothers Band contained Whipping Post, Trouble No More, It’s Not My Cross To Bear, and one of their signature songs Dreams.

Their second album Idlewild South contained In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Midnight Rider, and Hoochie Koochie Man. It took their third album At Fillmore East to kickstart their career to the top. Many of those songs on the first two albums would be classic now thanks to the live treatment they were given on the double live album.

After Duane was killed on a motorcycle on October 29, 1971 the band finished up the album that was started a few months before. Eat A Peach was released in 1972 with studio cuts and some live cuts that were left over from the At Fillmore East album including Trouble No More. The album was a massive hit and a perfect followup to At Fillmore East. The album had radio-friendly songs plus great live versions of songs they had been playing in their set.

This was a popular Muddy Waters song. It’s based on a 1935 song called “Someday Baby Blues” by a country-blues singer named Sleepy John Estes. Waters transformed the song with his Chicago blues style, adding a much more prominent guitar. On the Muddy recording….Little Walter played the harmonica and Jimmy Rogers played the guitar.

The Allman Brothers did their own interpretation of blues songs and usually with an extra charge. The first time they played the song was on May 11, 1969, when they played at Piedmont Park in Atlanta at a free festival sponsored by an underground newspaper… the paper gave them a glowing review and put them on the map outside of Macon.

On October 28, 2014, the band played their final show, the farewell concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Their final song was Trouble No More.

Trouble No More

Don’t care how long you gone
I don’t care how long you staying
But, good kind treatment
Gonna bring you home someday
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

You just keep on betting
That the dice won’t pass
Well you know, darling
You are living too fast
But someday, baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

I’m gonna tell everybody
In your neighborhood
That you’s a sweet little girl
But, you don’t mean me no good
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

Well, I know you’re leavin
Well, you call that gone
Well, without love
You can’t stay long
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

Well, goodbye baby
Come on, shake my hand
I don’t want no woman
You can have a man
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

Grateful Dead – Ripple

Ripple is one of the best-known songs by the Dead and just a beautiful song to listen to. A big brother to a friend of mine was a pure dead head so I got a full education in the 80s. At that time I hardly ever heard them on radio. I do remember this song in the movie Mask in the scene where Rocky dies. Lately, I’ve been reading and listening to their discography again and I’ve listened to them a bit closer.

The song was written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. Hunter was not a performing member of the band but wrote the lyrics to many of their songs. Many of them were framed by Garcia’s wonderful melodies. His words can be poetic and lend themselves to interpretation…much like some of Dylan’s lyrics.

The song was on their album American Beauty album. The album peaked at #30 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1971. It was reissued for its 50th anniversary and peaked at #19 in 2020.

I’ve been wanting to post this song for a couple years after seeing Jim cover it. The post is here. The Grateful Dead was primarily known as a live band for good reason. Sometimes live versions sound better than their studio cuts. This one though, I don’t think anyone can top the studio version of this song including them. They only performed the song around 40 times in their career.

While playing softball with members of Jefferson Airplane in 1970. Garcia saw his musician friend David Grisman and asked him to play mandolin on Ripple. Grisman agreed and is on the final studio version. He also plays mandolin in Friend Of The Devil.

They performed an electric version of Ripple in Landover, Maryland, on September 3, 1988. According to the book A Long Strange Trip,  Bob Weir got a request for Ripple from a man who was dying of an illness. Upon getting the request, Weir bet Garcia $10 that he wouldn’t be able to remember the lyrics. Garcia took the bet and won. Weir, however, never paid up.

Dennis McNally the author of Long Strange Trip also notes that about 30 friends and neighbors, all untrained singers, were brought in to sing the final chorus, “just like a church service almost anywhere.

Ripple

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

Turn It UP! My years with Lynyrd Skynyrd…. by Ron Eckerman

Not long ago I had to fly somewhere and I’m a nervous flyer. I usually dread getting into a plane but I was determined I would enjoy this flight to Texas and then Colorado. We got into the air with my right ear-popping like crazy and I decided to listen to an audiobook once we were flying. I opened my audible library selection and just picked one at random. Well, needless to say, I picked this one. I was 30 minutes into the book before I discovered the irony of the situation. I quickly picked another book (Grateful Dead bio) and listened to that but…I finished this one on the way back while… driving safely on the ground.

This is not an autobiography of the band… it is an account of their mid to late-70s tours. The book was written by an insider (the road manager) book from 1974 to the 1977 plane crash. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a wild bunch who was ruled by lead singer Ronnie Van Zant with an iron fist. It was partly about babysitting a bunch of up-and-coming rock stars and yes…very entertaining. These guys learned from the best… they had opened for The Who on the Quadrophenia tour in 1973. Keith Moon showed them the path to destruction in hotels across the globe. They took it to a new level though…not only fighting with people who annoyed them…they fought each other. Contrary to popular belief…most of them were well-read and intelligent men but with a wild side. 

The band was managed by Peter Rudge who was known to be very cheap with bands. He also managed the Stones and The Who. It was Ron Eckerman’s (tour manager) job to collect the money and figure out the most economical way of traveling. In early 1977 he saw that traveling by plane would be cheaper than by bus. The band toured constantly and was rarely at home adding to the short tempers. They lost their guitar player Ed King in 1975 because of that plus madness exploding out of pure exhaustion. Keeping a road crew together while you are not touring was near impossible unless you play over 200 – 250 shows a year. 

Reading this book is truly like being transported in time back in the seventies rock world. It was back to a time when bands had to build up an audience. It didn’t happen with a youtube video or a Facebook page. There were no auto-tune or backing tracks to save you in concert. Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the best live bands around. They played at Knebworth in 1976 and were heralded in the press as the next great band in league with the Stones and Who. They never got that chance and were different than most bands. They had no production values at all…just a mirror disco ball. Ronnie Van Zant did not dance around like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler…he was more like a field general directing his troops to conquer the audience. 

After losing Ed King, a great California guitarist… they picked up Oklahoma native Steve Gaines who would have had a chance to be a huge star. Gaines was an absolute phenom on guitar and had he not died at 28 in the plane crash, he might well be a guitar legend now. The book is hilarious in places but you know what is coming. They climbed the rock ladder and the new album Street Survivors showed what they might do. The album was not a “southern rock” album…it was a rock album by a band from the south. 

They never would get a chance to fulfill their promise. The new album was their biggest yet and in two weeks’ time, they would have headlined Madison Square Garden for the first time. It really did look like they were about to be elevated to the top bracket of touring rock bands.

I was a kid when all of this was going on but I am amazed at how much the world has changed since then. If a band, no matter how successful, would do what they did in today’s world…the band would be in jail and shunned. Not only Lynyrd Skynryd but Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, and a host of other rock bands. The book will truly transport you back to that time. Even if you are a fan or not…it’s worth a read. Ron Eckerman was in the plane when it crashed and his description is truly chilling. 

Eckerman took the blame for the crash but it wasn’t one man’s fault. A short while after releasing the book he died of acute myeloid leukemia. His wife said he never got over the guilt for the crash and he died three years after the book was published.