Neil Young and John Fogerty Lawsuits

In the eighties, two lawsuits popped up pertaining to these two artists.

Neil Young was basically sued for NOT sounding like himself by David Geffen and John Fogerty was sued for sounding too MUCH like himself by Saul Zaentz and Fantasy Records.

In the early eighties, David Geffen signed Neil Young to a huge contract to Geffen Records. Neil who will do his own thing no matter what or when…released an album called “Trans” his foray into electronic music. Geffen wanted another “Harvest” with another Heart of Gold or Old Man…instead he got “Computer Age” and “We R in Control” with Neil singing through a Vocoder. After that Neil was asked to do more rock and roll by a Geffen record company executive…the record company was thinking more of the lines of the harder rock Rust Never Sleeps…so Neil gave them rock and roll all right… “Everybody’s Rockin” an album full of early fifties Doo-wop and rockabilly sounding songs. The record company was not amused…he then released an album full of country music… In his contract, Neil had full artistic freedom.

Geffen had claimed the new albums were  “unrepresentative” of Neil’s music.

Geffen sued him for 3.3 million dollars but the case was settled and Geffen had to apologize to Neil.

In 1985 John Fogerty finally broke his silence with the album Centerfield. He had not released anything since 1975. He was involved with legal hassles and could not make music. Centerfield was a good album that signaled to the world John was back. He then was sued by Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz who signed the great Creedence Clearwater Revival to a terrible contract with Fantasy Records that kept John…the main songwriter and singer under contract forever. On top of that John gave up his copyrights to his CCR songs to Saul and Fantasy just to get out of that contract. The first single off of the Centerfield album “Old Man Down the Road” shot up the charts. Saul sued claiming it sounded too much like an old Creedence song that John wrote and sang called “Run Through the Jungle”. So he was being sued for plagiarizing himself. John would take his guitar to court to demonstrate how he wrote the two songs.

John won the case in 1988 and a lot of other musicians breathed a sigh of relief because other artists could have been sued for sounding like their younger selves if John would have lost. John countersued Fantasy Records for legal fees and it went to the Supreme Court in 1994…. they ruled in favor of Fogerty.

 

 

 

The Incredible Hulk

On Friday nights in the late 70s and early 80s there was nothing else I wanted to do but watch The Incredible Hulk. Today we have an awesome looking CGI Hulk but back then we also had an awesome looking Hulk named Lou Ferrigno who could do some damage. Bill Bixby who starred as Dr. David Banner was a good actor who was good at anything he did.

The writing was smart and Bixby explored David Banner’s character to great lengths.

David Banner was looking for hidden strength all people can have if they get into an emergency situation. Frustrated by not being able to save his wife in a car accident he thought he found the key to strength but he accidentally gave himself an overdose of gamma radiation. Now, whenever he gets angry or upset he turns into the Hulk.

Jack Colvin played Jack McGee a reporter would stop at nothing to find out more about the Hulk. The most famous line in the show was an annoyed David Banner telling the persistent reporter Jack McGee “Mr. McGee don’t make me angry…you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Versions of this have made it into the current Marvel movies.

Banner would hitchhike all over looking for a cure for his…problem… constantly hounded by Jack McGee who thought the Hulk killed Banner but of course, the Hulk was David Banner.

David would always find someone in trouble and in need of help. The story’s bullies would then come and harass the person that befriended David and then pick on David. Wrong choice…out comes the Hulk and the mayhem starts and Jack McGee would be just a little late missing David Banner. As the show progressed Jack did find out that someone was turning into the Hulk and that the Hulk wasn’t just roaming the countryside like Bigfoot. David had to keep this from him and keep on the move.

The show had well-written stories and a good actor in Bill Bixby. It was just as much about David Banner as the Hulk. The show balanced the two well.

The one thing I remember is the eyes…When David Banner changed into the hulk those eyes were frightening. The special effects for this show were very good considering the time it was made.

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The intro…

Dr. David Banner, Physician/Scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation interacts with his unique body chemistry. And now, when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs.

The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter.

The most iconic part of the show is David hitchhiking away at the end of each episode with a piano melody named “Lonely Man” playing in the background.

 

 

December 8, 1980

Seeing that date depresses me…this was not the way to start the decade that led to my teens.

Since second grade, I’d been listening to the Beatles. While a lot of kids I knew listened and talked about modern music …I just couldn’t relate as much. By the time I was ten I had read every book about The Beatles I could get my hands on. I was after their generation but I knew the importance of what they did…plus just great music. The more I got into them the more I learned about the Who, Stones, and the Kinks. I wanted to get my hands on every book about the music of the 1960s. Just listening to the music wasn’t enough…I wanted to know the history.

I spent that Monday night playing albums in my room. That night I didn’t turn the radio on…I’m glad I didn’t…The next morning I got up to go to school and the CBS morning news was on. The sound was turned down but the news was playing Beatle video clips. I was wondering why they were showing them but didn’t think much of it.

Curious, I walked over to the television and turned it up and found out that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I was very angry and shocked. The bus ride to school was quiet, at school, it was quiet as well. Some teachers were affected because John was their generation. Some of my friends were shocked but some really didn’t get the significance at the time and some didn’t care. A few but not many kids acted almost gleeful which pissed me off…It was obvious their dads were talking through them.

I went out and bought the White Album and Double Fantasy in late December of 1980…I can’t believe I didn’t have the White Album already…now whenever I hear any song from those albums they remind me of the winter of 80-81. I remember the call-in shows on the radio then…pre-internet… people calling to share their feelings for John or hatred for the killer.

The next few weeks I saw footage of the Beatles on specials that I had never seen before. Famous and non famous people pouring their heart out over the grief. Planned tributes from bands and everyone asking the same question…why?

My young mind could not process why a person would want to do this to a musician. A politician yea…I could see that…not that it’s right but this? A musician? Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK were before my time.  By the mid-1970s John had pretty much dropped out of sight…John and Yoko released Double Fantasy on November 17, 1980, and suddenly they were everywhere…Less than a month later John was murdered. The catch words were Catcher in the Rye, Hawaii, handgun and insane. The next day we were duly informed on who killed John in the First, Middle, and Last name format they assign to murderers.

I didn’t want to know his name, his career, his wife’s name, his childhood…I just wanted to know why… he says now…”attention”

I noticed a change happened after that Monday night. John Lennon was instantly turned into a saint, something he would have said was preposterous. Paul suddenly became the square and the uncool one and George and Ringo turned into just mere sidemen. After the Anthology came out in the 90s that started to change back a little. Death has a way to elevate you in life.

I called my dad a few days after it happened and he said that people were more concerned that The Beatles would never play again than the fact a man, father, and husband was shot and killed. He was right and I was among those people until he said that. He was never a fan but he made his point.

Andy Kaufman an original

I like original people…Andy was that completely.

He covered the bases…Mighty Mouse, Foreign Man, wrestling women, Elvis Impersonator (I think the best), Tony Clifton, bongo player, Great Gatsby reader and generally pissing people off, boring them or making them laugh. He was a performance artist – a comedian who sometimes was uncomfortable to watch but great as well. He was not a joke comedian…not remotely close.

I remember seeing him on a clip from the Tonight Show… as the very innocent childlike foreign man talking for a while and doing terrible celebrity impersonations and then suddenly shedding that character like a used coat and he started to do his Elvis impersonation…no, he WAS Elvis… I’ve read where Elvis said that Andy was his favorite impersonator but whether that is true or not I don’t know.

His first SNL performance… All he did was to get on stage with a record player playing the “Mighty Mouse” theme and mime along in certain spots. He made it work. He was only doing what he did growing up alone in his room as a child…he translated that to a national audience.

He loved to be the bad guy… At his performances, he would sometimes threaten to read the Great Gatsby…the complete book…just to piss everyone off…He would read a chapter or so and then ask the crowd if they wanted to hear some music from his record player….the audience, thinking of Mighty Mouse would applaud and he then would start playing a record of him reading The Great Gatsby from where he left off right before.

Andy grew up loving wrestling. After he achieved his fame he started to wrestle…wrestle women. I’m sure many people at the time were baffled.

That led to the infamous guest shot on The David Letterman Show with wrestler Jerry Lawler in 1982. Jerry slapped Andy off a chair who had a neck brace on already…at the time people really bought into it. Lawler says he still gets hate mail to this day from people who think he caused Andy’s death. Of course, both planned this and they were friends.

A couple of years before his death he made a film with Fred Blassie a wrestler Andy admired. He filmed it at a restaurant and called it “Breakfast with Blassie.”

Andy once played Carnegie Hall and took the entire audience out afterward for milk and cookies. Being Andy, some probably didn’t believe it but he had 20 buses waiting outside for them and they all went to have milk and cookies.

He will be remembered best for Taxi and his character Latka Gravas. It amazes me that he was on Taxi…that he was on any normal show…though Taxi was great…It worked out well that they found a place for Andy’s foreign man character…but Andy wasn’t always happy being on the show.

He also had an alter ego character he played called Tony Clifton. Tony was a loud, obnoxious. sleazy lounge singer that would rip the audience. Usually, the person getting ripped was Andy’s writing partner and friend Bob Zmuda. Later on, to really mess with people’s minds…Andy had Bob to play Tony Clifton and they would appear together. “Tony Clifton” even got himself thrown off of the Taxi set.

Some people loved Andy, some hated him, some thought he was irritating and some all three. I just appreciated the fact he was different.

Andy died in 1984…or did he? Bob Zmuda has said that Andy did say he was going to fake his death and said that he actually helped Andy plan it. More people have come forward saying the same thing. Every few years we get an Andy sighting in Albuquerque or somewhere else. No, I don’t believe he did fake it…but hey I would love if he popped up well and alive anytime in the future. The world needs original people. You know he would be loving the rumors about him being alive…if he is alive or not.

REM had a song that was based on Andy called Man on the Moon. It was about questioning everything like the Moon landing, Elvis dying, religion, Andy dying and etc… from REM’s bassist Mike Mills “He’s the perfect ghost to lead you through this tour of questioning things. Did the moon landing really happen? Is Elvis really dead? He was kind of an ephemeral figure at that point so he was the perfect guy to tie all this stuff together as you journey through childhood and touchstones of life.”

In 1999 a movie called Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey was released about Andy’s life. I went to see it when it came out and enjoyed it. I’m not sure how close Carrey got to Andy’s non-public side because of course, I didn’t know him. Marilu Henner said that he was a warmer person than the movie portrayed and Judd Hirsch said that while not performing, Andy was a very normal, quiet guy but Judd admits he really didn’t know him. I do think Carrey did a good job portraying him.

I like one-off people like Andy Kaufman and Keith Moon. Expect the unexpected…it keeps life interesting.

First SNL Appearance

Andy on Letterman

Milk and Cookies

Elvis

For the Love of the Dodgers

What if my dad would have been a Yankees fan like his brothers? I would have grown up rooting for a team that won more than any other. My life could have been different….nah….I’m happy that he passed down his love of the Dodgers. His brothers grew up in the 50’s fans of the Yankees…My dad always went for the underdogs which would have been Brooklyn then….the only championship they won was in 1955 before moving to LA. I remember when I was a small kid, my dad, watching a World Series with the Dodgers against a team in yellow and green uniforms…That would have been the 1974 world series against the Oakland A’s.

I started to watch baseball in 1977 and started to follow the Dodgers. Once in a while I would be lucky and catch them on Saturdays and Monday nights on the 3 channels we had then. I also would be able to listen on the radio when they played the Reds, Cardinals or Braves…. I never lived anywhere near California but that doesn’t matter. Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Steve Garvey and Bill Russell were in that great infield. My favorite player was Ron Cey….I played 3rd base in little league just because of him. They made it to the World Series that year….I thought that happened every year…. They lost that year to the Yankees and Reggie Jackson hit 3 home runs…I still don’t like that man. I liked the Dodger’s Reggie (Reggie Smith) much better…The next year they made it again….again they were beaten by the Yankees…helped by a terrible call when Reggie Jackson…see a pattern here?…intentionally stepped in front of the ball to deflect it…but it wasn’t called. I knew how my Dad felt in the fifties. They made it to the World Series again in 1981 and finally,…finally they won…not only did they win that year….they beat the Yankees…It was my happiest time being a Dodger fan. It even beat 1988 when Kirk Gibson hit his home run and they won.

After 88 they changed owners to Fox….which sucked because they didn’t know how to run a baseball team and was only interested in broadcasting rights. Then a carpet bagger named Frank McCourt bought the team in 2004. That was probably the worst day in Dodger history. The guy was/is a crook and would not spend on the team. He used the team as his personal piggy bank. I wanted to use him as a piñata and beat him until he sold the Dodgers to a real owner. MLB finally took the team away from the jerk…

Now in 2017 they finally made it back to the World Series. My son who really started to watch seriously for the first time this year saw them one game away from winning it all….He was disappointed but I’ve been here before…They will win it with the ownership and the front office they have…..

I love the new team Kershaw, Turner, Jansen, Bellinger, Seager etc… I do believe they will win it all…..

But…you never really forget your childhood heroes…

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The Roster of the 1977 Dodgers

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