Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me Documentary

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my musical entry and final pick.

Such a great band but such a frustrating story. Robyn Hitchcock remarked, “Big Star is like a letter that was mailed in 1972 but didn’t arrive until 1985.” That is a great way to explain them. They made three of the best albums of the decade that were not heard until much later. When they were finally discovered they influenced many artists such as The Replacements, REM, Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet, and more. The last time I checked it was on Netflix…watch this documentary.

When these musicians and critics talk about Big Star…they talk about them like people talk about The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Kinks. In this documentary you have Cheap Trick, REM, Mitch Easter, Robyn Hitchcock, and others talking about the band.

The first album got great reviews…you couldn’t ask for better. When the label called radio stations trying to get them to play it…the stations would say it’s not selling. When someone actually heard the songs on the radio, they couldn’t find the record to buy it. This was basically the same story with all of the albums.

Distribution problems and just bad timing. Stax didn’t do a good job of distribution…they made a deal with Columbia before the second album to distribute the album…problem solved right? Nope, Clive Davis who made the deal was then fired at Columbia. The deal fell through and then Stax disintegrated.

Chris Bell who was key in creating the sound the band had quit after the first album. He came back but then quit again. Chris had depression problems and wanted badly to do something on his own. Alex Chilton continued and finished the second and third album with a new bass player on the third album.

After that, it follows Chris and Alex’s career to the end of both. It also covers Jim Dickinson’s role on the third experimental album. Family members, fans, and rock writers also share their love of Big Star and memories of the band members.

In May of 1973 Ardent Studios where Big Star recorded invited 100 rock writers down to Memphis to hear Big Star live. They all loved Big Star and it went over great…but that wasn’t the band’s problem…it was the business side. What would have happened if they would have signed with a label more suited to them?

Before watching this documentary, a couple of years back I didn’t realize Chris Bell was so instrumental in developing their sound. I knew it wasn’t the Alex Chilton band, but Chris was invaluable and started the ball rolling. All 4 members did contribute writing and singing but Chilton and Bell were the Lennon and McCartney of the group.

It’s a great documentary about a great band that had the talent, but fate wasn’t on their side.

There is the often-used Peter Buck quote that everyone who bought the first Velvet Underground album went out and started a band…the same is true with this band.

My recommendation? Watch it…NOW

Cast

Billy Altman … Self – Writer
Jon Auer … Self
Lester Bangs … Self (archive footage)
Chris Bell … Self (archive footage)
David Bell … Self – Chris Bell’s Brother
Norman Blake … Self
The Box Tops … Themselves (archive footage)
Panther Burns … Themselves (archive footage)
Cheap Trick … Themselves
Stephanie Chernikowski … Self – Photographer
Alex Chilton … Self (archive footage)
Rick Clark … Self – Writer and Musician
Stephen Ira Cohen … Self – U.S. Congressman (archive footage) (as Steve Cohen)
The Cramps … Themselves (archive footage)
John Dando … Self – Band Manager, Ardent Studios 1972-1975
Luther Dickinson … Self
Mary Lindsay Dickinson … Self
Steven Drozd … Self
Van Duren … Self – Musician
Mitch Easter … Self – Musician and Producer
Bruce Eaton … Self (voice) (archive footage)
William Eggleston … Self
Tav Falco … Self
John Fry … Self – Founder, Ardent Studios
John Hampton … Self – Engineer, Ardent Studios
Douglas Hart … Self – Bass, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Robyn Hitchcock … Self
Andy Hummel … Self (archive footage)
Ross Johnson … Self – Writer and Musician
Ira Kaplan … Self
Lenny Kaye … Self – Writer and Musician
John King … Self – Promotions, Ardent Studios 1972-1975
Curt Kirkwood … Self
John Lightman … Self
Carole Manning … Self – Ardent Studios 1972-1975
Mike Mills … Self
The Replacements The Replacements … Themselves (archive footage)
Steve Rhea … Self – Promotions, Ardent Studios 1972-1975
Will Rigby … Self – musician
Richard Rosebrough … Self – Engineer, Ardent Studios 1972-1975
Kliph Scurlock … Self
Tom Sheehan … Self – Photographer
Chris Stamey … Self – Musician and Producer
Big Star … Themselves
Jody Stephens … Self
Sara Stewart … Self – Chris Bell’s Sister
Michael Stipe … Self
Ken Stringfellow … Self
Matthew Sweet … Self
Alexis Taylor … Self
Marge Thrasher … Self – Hostess of Straight Talk (archive footage)
Jon Tiven … Self
Pete Tomlinson … Self – Writer
Jaan Uhelszki … Self – Writer (as Jaan Uhelzski)
Terry Edwards … Conductor, London (uncredited)

Keys – I Don’t Wanna Cry…. Power Pop Friday

This fantastic English band was active between 1979 through 1983. The Keys attracted a lot of attention. They had a producer who I would have never guessed. Joe Jackson…I just never thought of him producing a power pop record.

The band included main songwriter and bassist Drew Barfield, guitarists
Steve Tatler and Ben Grove, and former Paul McCartney and Wing’s drummer Geoff Britton.

They were signed to A&M records and released the U.K. their only LP “The Keys Album”. The album drew rave reviews, but unfortunately it didn’t sell very well. Besides the album, the label released six singles. Due to a lack of interest The Keys split in 1983.

I listen to the album and I see why they got great reviews…I just can’t figure why they didn’t sell. I Don’t Wanna Cry was the A side and the B side was a song called Listening In. I have the video below…both songs are good power pop.

David Silvia from Allmusic: One of powerpop cornerstones ever. A hidden classic and a real masterpiece. Pop at it’s best

The Keys – The Keys Album (1981, Vinyl) - Discogs

I Don’t Wanna Cry

Was it really just our last good night
when I saw the light and I know
that you’ve been telling lies
Oh, no, not me, I don’t wanna cry
You could talk about it all night long
but the feeling’s gone and
I don’t need you to tell me why
Oh no, not me, I don’t wanna cry

‘Cos you know, I’ve got you figured out
and you have got, nothing to shout about
if this is love, I don’t really wanna play
I wanna know why you want to stay

I know all about your little plan
find a fool and check up the thing you can
well, it seems is never gonna be that way
I wanna know what you want to stay
ESTRIBILLO

Oh no, not me, I don’t wanna cry
Oh no, not me, I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry
I don’t wanna cry
I want to know what you want to stay

Del Lords – How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

The title was enough for me to take a listen to this band. They combined 60’s garage rock, country, blues, and folk influences to become one of the many 80’s roots rock bands. 

Thanks to Paul for bringing this band up.

The Del Lords were formed in the early ’80s by Scott Kempner of  New York punk group the Dictators. They emerged from the’70s new wave scene…which the band never quite fit. Kempner gathered together  Eric Ambel of Joan Jett And The Blackhearts, drummer Frank Funero (now with Cracker) and bassist Manny Caiati and set out as The Del-Lords.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? is an American folk song originally recorded 1929 in New York City. It was written, composed, and performed by Blind Alfred Reed, accompanying himself on the violin.

The song tells of hard times during the Great Depression. It is considered an early example of a protest song. In 2020, the song was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The song was on their Frontiers album released in 1984.

The Del-Lords lived together, played together, recorded and released records as a band through 1990.  At the urging of the Spanish Promoter Pepe Ugena they reformed the band in the last decade and recorded and released their most recent music in 2013 on the album Elvis Club.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand such times and live

The doctor comes around with his face all bright
And he swears, in a little while, it’ll be alright
All he gives you is a humbug pill
A dose of dope and a great big bill
How can a poor man stand such times and live

There once was a time when everything was cheap
But the prices nowadays nearly put the man to sleep
When we get out grocery bill
Man I feel like makin’ out our will
How can a poor man stand such times and live

How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand such times and live
I give all I’ve got to give
I get my pay and say, is this it
How can a poor man stand such times and live

Tell you what
This poor boy’s got some big plans of his own
I’m gonna call up a coupla friends on the telephone
Tell ’em, Bring some records and bring some beer
Then we can just hang out over here
How can a poor man stand such times and live

How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand such times and live
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand
How can a poor man stand such times
How can a poor man stand such times
How can a poor man stand such times and live
And live

….

Nazz – Open My Eyes ….Power Pop Friday

They were founded by singer,  guitarist, and songwriter Todd Rundgren and bassist Carson Van Osten. Drummer Thom Mooney and vocalist/keyboardist Robert “Stewkey” Antoni would join last. 

In celebration of Todd Rundgren getting in the Jann Wenner Rock and Roll Hall of Fame FINALLY…It makes no sense why the guy wasn’t in there 20 years ago. Not just as a performer but as a producer as well. Rundgren not getting in until now is one of the reasons it’s hard for me to take the Hall seriously…but I’m happy he is finally in. 

In 2016, Rundgren told an interviewer: “It doesn’t have the same cachet as a Nobel Peace Prize or some historical foundation. If I told you about how they actually determine who gets into the Hall of Fame, you’d think that I was bullshitting you, because I’ve been told what’s involved. … It’s just as corrupt as anything else, and that’s why I don’t care.”

He was asked how he felt about finally being inducted and he said: “I’m happy for the fans. They’ve waited a long time for this.” He was probably more happy about the 2016 Honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, where he delivered the commencement address, and an honorary doctorate from DePauw University.

The Nazz self titled album was released in 1968. This was the A side of the single released…the B side was “Hello It’s Me”…yes the same song we know but an early version of it. 

They formed in 1967 and their first concert was something to remember…opening for the Doors.  Some say the band took its name from the Yardbirds’ 1966 song “The Nazz Are Blue”, other sources say the name came from a 1952 monologue, “The Nazz”, by the American Beatnik comedian Lord Buckley.

The band would release 3 albums after which Rundgren started a solo career. 

Open My Eyes peaked at #112 in the Billboard Album Charts and Hello It’s Me peaked at #66 in 1968…

Todd would go on and released Hello It’s Me solo and it was a massive hit. It peaked at # 2 in the Billboard 100 and #17 in Canada in 1973.

He would also form the band Utopia in 1973. 

Open My Eyes

Underneath your gaze I was found in
The haze I’m wandering around in
I am lost in the dark of my own room
And I can’t see a thing but the fire in your eyes

Clear my eyes, make me wise
Or is all I believe in lies
I don’t know when or where to go
And I can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes

I’ve been told by some you’ll forget me
The thought doesn’t upset me
I am blind to whatever they’re saying
And all I can see is the fire in your eyes

Clear my eyes, make me wise
Or is all I believe in lies
I really don’t know when or where to go
And I can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes

Can’t believe that it’s on your mind
To leave me behind

Clear my eyes, make me wise
Or is all I believe in lies
I really don’t know when or where to go
And I can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes
Can’t see a thing ’til you open my eyes

Oh my eyes
Oh my eyes
Oh my eyes

Who – Sally Simpson

This song is one of my favorite songs off the 1969 Tommy album along with the song Christmas. I never thought Tommy was their best album by any means but it is the one that broke them to a mass audience.

While Townshend was backstage at a Door’s concert, a security guard roughly handled a girl who was attempting to touch Jim Morrison, just as Sally was attempting to touch Tommy. There is a video of the real “Sally Simpson” back stage and Jim Morrison is trying to help her. I have the video at the bottom. I never knew a video existed of this until recently. 

The song was never released as a single but is a great section of the story of Tommy. In Baba O’Riley there is a lyric that mentions Sally or a different Sally. “Sally, take my hand we’ll travel south ‘cross land”…could it be? I doubt it but you never know. 

The Who during this time were touring and including opera houses. They were as tight as a band can be…it was soon after that they released what I think is the greatest live album ever…Live At Leeds. 

Here is video of Jim Morrison tending to “Sally” backstage. Yep, real footage of the girl that inspired Pete to write Sally Simpson.

 

Sally Simpson

Outside the house Mr. Simpson announced
that Sally couldn’t go to the meeting.
He went on cleaning his blue Rolls Royce
and she ran inside weeping.
She got to her room and tears splashed the picture
of the new Messiah.
She picked up a book of her fathers life
and threw it on the fire!

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.

The theme of the sermon was come unto me,
Love will find a way,
So Sally decided to ignore her dad,
and sneak out anyway!
She spent all afternoon getting ready,
and decided she’d try to touch him,
Maybe he’d see that she was free
and talk to her this Sunday.

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.

She arrived at six and the place was swinging
to gospel music by nine.
Group after group appeared on the stage
and Sally just sat there crying.
She bit her nails looking pretty as a picture
right in the very front row
And then a DJ wearing a blazer with a badge
ran on and said ‘here we go!’

The crowd went crazy
As Tommy hit the stage!
Little Sally got lost as the police bossed
The crowd back in a rage!

But soon the atmosphere was cooler
as Tommy gave a lesson.
Sally just had to let him know she loved him
and leapt up on the rostrum!
She ran cross stage to the spotlit figure
and touched him on the face
Tommy whirled around as a uniformed man,
threw her of the stage.

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.
Her cheek hit a chair and blood trickled down,
mingling with her tears,
Tommy carried on preaching
and his voice filled Sally’s ear
She caught his eye she had to try
but couldn’t see through the lights
Her face was gashed and the ambulance men
had to carry her out that night.

The crowd went crazy
As Tommy left the stage!
Little Sally was lost for the price of a touch
And a gash across her face! OOoooh.

Sixteen stitches put her right and her Dad said
‘don’t say I didn’t warn yer’.
Sally got married to a rock musician
she met in California
Tommy always talks about the day
the disciples all went wild!
Sally still carries a scar on her cheek
to remind her of his smile.

She knew from the start
Deep down in her heart
That she and Tommy were worlds apart,
But her Mother said never mind your part…
Is to be what you’ll be.

Bon: The Last Highway…by Jessie Fink

This book covers the last three years of Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC.

Bon: The Last Highway is a fun read. It gives you more than just a look at Bon Scott. It gives you a peek in the world of Rock and Roll in the 1970s. It was a much more of a loose time then compared to now to say the least…both good and bad. The music business was a completely different ballgame than now.

Although this just covers the last three years of his life…you get to know Bon pretty well. I knew nothing about the guy until I read the book. He seemed to be well read, likeable, and a basically good guy to his friends and fans. O f course he did  have substance abuse  problems that haunted him.

There are a lot of stories about fans coming up to him and starting friendships. Fink interviewed other bands and most if not all had great things to say about Scott. He did find people who never have been interviewed and got stories that never have been published.

The working relationship between Bon and the Young brothers surprised me the most. Bon wrote the lyrics and they would censor what he wrote. Nothing political or controversial. They didn’t want the formula to be messed with. Offstage they didn’t tend to hang out as much with each other.

I never knew how popular Scott was in Australia even now. His grave site has become a cultural landmark; more than 28 years after Scott’s death, the National Trust of Australia declared his grave important enough to be included on the list of classified heritage places. It is reportedly the most visited grave in Australia.

The two things that author Jesse Fink concentrates on is how Bon died and if Bon did write some or most of the lyrics to the Back In Black album that was released after his death.

As far as the way the man died…Fink has some theories and they center around heroin. He interviewed some that has never been interviewed and got their story around Bon and the ones around him that night. The coroner’s report lists “acute alcohol poisoning” as the cause of death, classified under “death by misadventure.” Fink talked with people with him when he died on February 19, 1980.

The Young Brothers  have denied they ever used any of his lyrics on Back in Black…but AC/DC did cut a deal with the Scott family for a share of royalties on the album. In interviews they have denied it but did contradict themselves in others.

Below is an excerpt from the book  where more was said about the subject than any other time.

Then in 1998 Elissa Blake of Australian Rolling Stone caught him napping.

BLAKE: Have you ever thought about quitting?

ANGUS: The only time was when Bon died. We were in doubt about what to do but we had songs that he had written and wanted to finish the songs. We thought it would be our tribute to Bon and that album became Back In Black. We didn’t even know if people would even accept it. But it was probably one of our biggest albums and the success of that kept it going. We were on the road with that album for about two years so it was like therapy for the band after Bon’s death.

Bizarrely, before and since, Angus went with an altogether different story.

1981: “Some things we can’t do, you know, that was strictly Bon’s songs, and things.”

1996: “No, we were gonna start working on the lyrics with him the next week [after he died].”

1998: “The week he died, we had just worked out the music and he was going to come in and start writing lyrics.”

2000: “Bon was just about to come and start working with us writing lyrics just before he died.”

2005: “There was nothing [on Back In Black] from Bon’s notebook.”

It’s a line the band now doggedly sticks to despite mounting evidence that Bon’s lyrics were used. As Ian Jeffery admitted to me, cagily: “Not totally certain about Back In Black but I seem to remember a couple of words, lines [of Bon’s being on there]. Maybe not.”

Fink talked to Scott’s ex girlfriends and friends in his life and many claim that he did write many of the lyrics to You Shook Me All Night Long as well as other songs. Others say he had said some of the lines in letters. He basically gives you what he found and lets you make up your mind.

I would recommend this book to rock fans…and to AC/DC fans who mostly only know Brian Johnson as the lead singer.

Kinks – Picture Book

The guitar riff to this song is one to remember. When I heard Green Day’s song “Warning”I knew where they got the inspiration for their song.

Ray Davies wrote this about the nostalgic feel that comes from looking through photo albums. The song was originally written for a planned Davies solo project, but he  relented and let The Kinks take a shot at it. It was recorded in May 1968 and released that November  The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

Davies, who also acted as producer, wanted the sound of the album to reflect its old-fashioned themes. He wanted it more low-fi.

The song was an album track but The song gained a new popularity when it was used on a Hewlett-Packard 2004 commercial promoting their digital cameras and printers that featured numerous “Pictures Of You” superimposed with each other.

Dave Davies: “Halfway through ‘Picture Book,’ I was trying to do a bit of jazz improvisation like Jo Stafford,”  “You can almost hear Ray mimicking or singing across it, ‘scooby-dooby-doo,’ poking fun at what I was saying. That was quite a spontaneous album.”

From Songfacts

Along with Village Green‘s closing track “People Take Pictures of Each Other,” this song uses photography to drive home the album’s concept about holding onto and appreciating the past. “There’s more value in an old picture than there is now on iPhones,” Ray Davies told Rolling Stone in 2018. “I know a guy. He’s homeless and I chat with him sometimes in the street. He’s got a picture of his family in his pocket, and he’s always got a picture with him, he says, ‘For when things get really low'” (pause) “It’s all gotten cheaper because of iPhones.”

The vocal harmonies for the Village Green Preservation Society album were worked out by Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Pete Quaife round the piano. Dave Davies has fond memories of creating the sweet choirboy vocal harmonies to “Picture Book.”

Picture Book

Picture yourself when you’re getting old,
Sat by the fireside a-pondering on
Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Picture book.
Picture book.

A picture of you in your birthday suit,
You sat in the sun on a hot afternoon.
Picture book, your mama and your papa, and fat old Uncle Charlie out cruising with their friends.
Picture book, a holiday in August, outside a bed and breakfast in sunny Southend.
Picture book, when you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Picture book.
Picture book.
Picture book.
Picture book.

Picture book,
Na, na, na, na na,
Na, na, na, na na,
A-scooby-dooby-doo.
Picture book,
Na, na, na, na na,
Na, na, na, na na,
A-scooby-dooby-doo.

Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
Long time ago,
Long time ago,
Long time ago,
Long time ago,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Kids Are Alright Documentary…Desert Island Music Films

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for a music related movie: The Who in The Kids Are Alright.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 13 PICK 5- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

I acquired a VHS copy of this in the mid-eighties. It wasn’t a great copy but my friends and I wore it out. One of them worked at a small cable station. The station was in a small county that usually aired farm reports and advertisements. Basically, it was a very small building in the middle of nowhere. All they would do there is broadcast videos.

We had the tape in hand and wanted to see it so we went there one afternoon. He popped it in the VHS player and played it. He had no idea but it was going out live all over the region. Near the end of the film, he took a phone call from his boss. I didn’t think anyone ever watched that station…but it turns out they did and they were not fans of The Who. He didn’t get fired but they took his key for the door for a little while. It was a big subject the next day at school as some teenagers loved it but their parents didn’t appreciate their farm reports being interrupted by My Generation and Keith Moon in bondage.

I’ve seen this film so many times I can almost quote it while it’s playing. The Who albums made me a huge fan of their music…this film made me a huge fan of band.

This film covers the original Who and being such a Who fan I’m glad Jeff Stein (director) was so persistent in doing this because many of the tapes he was able to borrow probably would have been erased and used again by the BBC as was their policy.

Jeff was a fan of the band and pestered them until they let him do this. He had no prior experience in filmmaking but this was the 1970s and he got the gig. His timing was eerily perfect. He caught the original band at the very end of their tenure with Keith Moon.

He searched high and low for clips of the band in earlier years. Stein keeps the appearance mostly in order. There is sadness in this. You see the band through the years from 1964 to 1978… you see all of them gradually age of course but Keith Moon ages faster than any of them. I’ve read where it hit him hard while watching the rough cut right before he died. His lifestyle had taken its toll on him. He saw himself as a young energetic kid that looked like Paul McCartney’s younger brother to a man who was 32 and looked like he was in his 40s at least.

This may be the first or one of the first film bios on a major rock band. Led Zeppelin had The Song Remains the Same but it focused on one concert in New York… The Beatles had Let It Be but those films didn’t show their history like The Kids Are Alright.

The Who - Wikipedia

In this film you see a band that is fun… unlike their peers Zeppelin and Sabbath the Who were more open to their audience and didn’t have a dark mystique hanging over them. They would crack jokes from the stage…Moon and Townshend treated it like a High School talent show until they started to play…then they got serious.

You see film segments that were fun like the video of Happy Jack, the interview on the Russell Harty Show, Keith with Ringo, and Keith and Pete sharing a joke that only they could understand. One of my favorite segments is The Who playing Barbara Ann with Keith singing and the band having a good time. They also played I Saw Her Standing There but it didn’t make the final cut…you can watch it in the outtakes. I can’t imagine the big bands of that time doing Barbara Ann and goofing for the camera.

The Who did a couple of live shows for the film besides being interviewed. Stein mostly used old clips but he convinced the band to do a couple of free concerts in May of 1978 where he could get a definitive version of Won’t Get Fooled Again… which personally I think is the greatest live performance song live you will ever hear. You see Keith’s last performance as he is looking pudgy, older, and slower but still pulls it off. Pete wasn’t too thrilled about doing the concerts for the film but it turned out good. They ended up only using a version Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley from the 78 live show.

Keith died a few months before The Kids Are Alright debuted on June 15, 1979. The film showed The Who at it’s best. Kenney Jones from the Faces replaced him but it was never the same. You cannot replace Moon…he was the engine that drove the Who. Later on in the 90s Zak Starkey…who was Ringo’s son and Keith’s God son played drums for the Who and still does.

If you haven’t watched the film…stop what you are doing and watch it. It still holds up as one of the best music documentaries that rock has produced.

Zak Starkey and Keith Moon

Pin på Drums & Drummers

Beatles Hey Jude Greatest Hits…Desert Island Albums

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for greatest hits…Hey Jude Greatest Hits by the Beatles.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 12 -PICK 10- COMPILATION- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE BEATLES -HEY JUDE

It wasn’t my intention to go to the Beatles three times but…there is a reason for this one as I will explain…I didn’t know this album was a greatest hits package when I purchased it. I’m picking this album because of the personal connection to it…and it might be the album that influenced me the most in my life.

Is this the best Beatles greatest hits album? No, not by a long shot but it was the first Beatle album (or any album) I bought and was not handed down by my sister or relatives. I had some money given to me by a relative and mom helped me with the rest. The first Beatle album I listened to was my cousin’s copy of Meet The Beatles…he let me borrow it for while. The Hey Jude album sent me down the road of getting into music that was at least a generation before me…and I’m still in that generation…and I don’t regret a thing…because I’m still discovering new old music and new music that has it’s influences.

My cousin kept telling me of this great song called “Paperback Writer” and he didn’t have a copy. He built the song up so much that I had to listen to it. I found this album at a record store that I begged my mom to take me to. I went through the Beatle albums and this one had Paperback Writer. I couldn’t believe these bearded guys were the same band as on Meet The Beatles. So when I was 8 years old I got two albums… one was a birthday present… the soundtrack to Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang (that I requested) and then I bought this one. My mom asked…are you sure? A nod of my head and I bought a ticket to enter the Beatles world which I still reside.

It has an slight mixture of older, middle, and at that time, newer songs. This was a collection of non-album singles and B sides from the Beatles on the American Capitol label.

The album was conceived by Allen Klein (boooo) and Apple Records and released in 1970. The original name was going to be “The Beatles Again” but they wanted to capitalize on the hit Hey Jude. It was a nice album that should have included more of their earlier hits but it gave us a couple in Can’t Buy Me Love and I Should Have Known Better.

My favorite at that time was of course Paperback Writer…that guitar and those backing vocals…were/are great! Remember… all I’d heard to that point was their first album with Capitol… Meet The Beatles…so I couldn’t believe that “Rain” and the rest came from the same band that played I Want To Hold Your Hand. I didn’t know the history…my 8 year old mind thought…”What the hell happened?…” Where I am musically now…all started with this album purchase.

Rain…the B side to Paperback Writer…I grew to like Rain more than Paperback Writer through the years…in fact it is in my top 10 of Beatle songs.

Lady Madonna… Terrific driving piano riff that is relentless.

I will close out with an earlier Beatles song. I Should’ve Known Better is an instantly catchy song with a harmonica that they would stop using as much in the future. When looking back on their career…the early ones get forgotten sometimes and they shouldn’t be. Those early songs built the foundation.

My island is getting very Beatle-ly…and I don’t mind. I went with the album that influenced me the most at an early age…it just so happened to be a Beatles greatest hits package. This album brings back memories of playing it on a green portable turn table I had at the time with removable speakers.

Like this but green…

Vintage 1970s Magnavox Portable Stereo Record Player - Restored - AWESOME.  $275.00, via Etsy. | Vintage record player, Record player, Antique record

Can’t Buy Me Love
I Should Have Known Better
Paperback Writer
Rain
Lady Madonna
Revolution
Hey Jude
Old Brown Shoe
Don’t Let Me Down
Ballad Of John And Yoko

Beatles – I Feel Fine

One of the great guitar riffs in rock…very melodic and sounds great on a guitar.

John Lennon said he borrowed from the song “Watch Your Step” by the American blues musician Bobby Parker. I Feel Fine was released in late 1964. It was the A side of the single with She’s A Woman on the B side.

The first note of this song marked the first time feedback was used on a major release. It was created when John Lennon leaned his electric guitar against an amplifier and Paul McCartney played a note on his bass, creating a strangely appealing feedback loop.

The band thought it sounded great, but in this pre-Hendrix era, feedback was considered a technical malfunction and not an artistic enhancement.Producer George Martin was always open to new ideas and agreed to insert it at the beginning of the song. Paul would say that he let them experiment.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, UK, and New Zealand in 1965.

From Songfacts

An early Beatles track, “I Feel Fine” lyrically is a simple love song about a guy who is crazy about his girl. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s effective:

She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world
That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know

The refrain is typical of Lennon’s songwriting, with the three long notes: “I’m so glad.” The sudden explosive refrain in harmonies is similar to Giovanni Gabrieli’s grand concerto “In ecclesiis,” an early baroque-music-piece. 

There is a very faint sound at the end of the song that was rumored to be barking dogs. It’s actually just McCartney goofing around.

The Beatles included this in their setlist when they toured the US in August 1965. Prior to their famous Shea Stadium appearance on August 15, they taped a performance of this song and five others for an Ed Sullivan Show episode that aired September 12.

The group made two music videos for this song as part of a one-day shoot where they banged out takes for four others as well. These were not high-concept films: just the band having some fun while lip-synching the tracks. The first “I Feel Fine” video got pretty goofy, with Ringo riding a stationary bike. For the second, the band simply sits down and eats lunch. This later version wasn’t released until 2015 when it was included on the 1+ collection.

The Ventures incorporated the riff into their surf rock instrumental version of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” on their 1965 Christmas album.

In America, this knocked “Come See About Me” by The Supremes from the top spot. “I Feel Fine” stayed for three weeks, at which point “Come See About Me” returned to bump it off.

I Feel Fine

Baby’s good to me, you know
She’s happy as can be, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world
That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know
She said so
She’s in love with me and I feel fine

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world
That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know
She said so
She’s in love with me and I feel fine
She’s in love with me and I feel fine, mmm

Allman Brothers – Eat A Peach…Desert Island Albums

This is my sixth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

https://slicethelife.com/2020/09/02/2020-album-draft-round-6-pick-9-the-allman-brothers-eat-a-peach/

I was going to pick the At Fillmore East live album but I also wanted some studio tracks…you get both with this one. This is the last album that Duane Allman worked on before a motorcycle crash took his life. He died a few weeks into making the album. The album also included live tracks that were not used on At Fillmore East like One Way Out, Trouble No More, and a 33 minute “Mountain Jam” that was built off a riff from a Donovan song “There is a Mountain.”

They had some sort of chemistry live that was incredible. I’m usually not a fan of long endless live songs but they keep intensity up…plus with this album you get the best of both worlds.

25 years ago I would not have picked this album…I’ve learned more about them in the past few years and have become a huge fan of the classic lineup. When I listen to the Allman Brothers I listen to the music as a whole more than just the songs. They clicked so well as a band that they blended perfectly when at their best.

Their best albums to me are At Fillmore East, Eat A Peach, and Brothers and Sisters. They have been labeled and credited as starting “Southern Rock” but they were totally different than most of their peers. The Allmans were more blues/jazz oriented who happened to be from the south.

The two guitar players were Duane Allman and Dickey Betts…two of the best around at the time. They also had two drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson (Jaimoe) (who played with Otis Redding). Their bass player was from Chicago…Berry Oakley (who would die in a motorcycle crash a little over a year after Duane) who was amazing. Gregg Allman would write and  sing lead on many of the songs and as he said…pushed the gravy on the meat…he added texture with his Hammond Organ.

They started to work on this album in September of 1971 and laid down the basic tracks to for “Blue Sky,” “Stand Back” and “Little Martha.” Duane Allman died on October 29, 1971. So those tracks have Duane playing on them and of course all of the live material features him on guitar. After he died the band went back to the studio and recorded the rest and it was finished in December.

The album was released on February 12, 1972 and it peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #12 in Canada. The original name was going to be “Eat A Peach for Peace.”

The opening song is my favorite one on the album. Ain’t Wasting Time No More…it was Gregg Allman’s song working through the grief of his brother’s death and about soldiers coming home from Vietnam. Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain,the week before, they all seemed the same

Blue Sky is a Dickey Betts song that I never get tired of. The soaring guitars and the few verses that it has are happy and upbeat. Betts initially wanted the band’s lead vocalist, Gregg Allman, to sing the song, but guitarist Duane Allman encouraged him to sing it himself… “Man, this is your song and it sounds like you and you need to sing it.” Dickey Betts wrote this about his Native Canadian girlfriend, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig.

Melissa is probably the most remembered song off of this album. It’s a great song that Greg had written years before…he couldn’t think of the right woman’s name until he heard a lady in a grocery store yell for her daughter… Melissa.

One Way Out is some of the live feel  that I wanted with Fillmore East and I get it on this album along with the above studio cuts. One of their best known songs.

I thought the island needed a southern touch so the Allmans will do just fine. I’ll just sit back with soul food, listen to Allmans, and watch the tide.

  1. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  2. Les Brers In A Minor
  3. Melissa
  4. Mountain Jam
  5. One Way Out
  6. Trouble No More
  7. Stand Back
  8. Blue Sky
  9. Little Martha
  10. Mountain Jam Cont’d.

Zombies – Odessey and Oracle…Desert Island Albums

This is my fourth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
https://slicethelife.com/2020/08/11/2020-album-draft-round-4-pick-6-badfinger20-selects-the-zombies/

In the early 90s, I purchased the Zombie’s greatest hits. The cd contained the usual songs Tell Her No, She’s Not There, and Time Of The Season. I had read about The Zombies in music books and how other bands admired them for their jazz and classical influences.

They are best remembered for those three hits but also for one album…Odessey and Oracle.  With this album, they elevated themselves to new heights…but that took a little while. In Rolling Stone magazine in the 80s and 90s I read great writeups about this album. Finally, I tried it for myself and was more than happy I did. Many critics hailed this album as one of the greatest of the decade and it lived up to their hype.

By the way… The band wanted to call the album “Odyssey and Oracle” but cover artist Terry Quirk accidentally spelled the title wrong and the band decided to run with the misspelling.

By 1967 they were close to being done. They were broke and had to pay for most of the sessions. Tell Her No and She’s Not There were 3 years in the past and in pop music…that was a lifetime.

They got together in Abbey Road studios right after The Beatles finished Sgt Pepper in 1967…even using John Lennon’s Mellotron. They ended up recording one of the best albums of the sixties. April 18, 1968, was the UK release date. It was a little while after that before America heard it.

The album almost didn’t get released in America. Al Kooper worked for Columbia Records as a staff producer in the A&R department. One of his first assignments was to go to London and he bought around 40 albums that could only be bought there. Odessey and Oracle stood out from all of the rest.

Clive Davis was about to sign off on this album not being released in America. Kooper changed his mind and convinced Clive to release the album. That is how the album was released and Time of the Season became a hit. By the time Time Of The Season peaked at #3 in 1969 the band had broken up.

It ended up ranked at #100 in Rolling Stone Magazine best 500 albums of all time. Not bad for an album that only peaked at #95 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1969.

The best way I can describe this album is somewhere between psychedelic pop/rock and baroque pop. I think that is a fair statement. I suggest listening to this album with headphones. The Zombies paid attention to detail and the backup vocals are outstanding. It the year that Sgt Pepper and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn were recorded… Odessey and Oracle belong with those albums.

It’s pure joy to sit and listen to this album. I’ll highlight these songs.

Time of the Season is the big hit off the album and also…there is an official law in the books about this song. If you produce a film about the 1960s this song must be played. The song is great and it does transport you to that time. What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? (He rich) Is he rich like me?

Care Of Cell 44 is the real star of the album to me. The song is arranged beautifully. with part vocal-only arrangements, You can hear Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney’s influence in this recording. Chris White’s (Zombies bass player) bass playing is phenomenal in this song. If Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson had a baby…this is what it would be. Take a listen to this one.

This Will Be Our Year is a wonderful optimistic song. It sounds like it should have been a hit but it was stuck on the B side to Butcher’s Tale  (Western Front 1914) which is more of an experimental song and not exactly very commercial…that was a wasted opportunity.

Another song that caught me on the first listen is A Rose For Emily. The theme is very similar to Eleanor Rigby but more subdued. “And as the years go by, she will grow old and die, The roses in her garden fade away, not one left for her grave, not a rose for Emily…”

Put this album on with some headphones and travel back to the sixties.

So far on my island…all the albums are within 4 years (1968-1972) of each other but that suits me fine. I’m sure an album will break that eventually. Odessey and Oracle brings some beautiful pop music to my hut. Grab a coconut and come over…we will listen to the Zombies…btw…Have you seen Mary Ann? I’ve been looking for her.

1. Care Of Cell 44
2. A Rose For Emily
3. Maybe After He’s Gone
4. Beechwood Park
5. Brief Candles
6. Hung Up On A Dream
7. Changes
8. I Want Her She Wants Me
9. This Will Be Our Year
10. Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)
11. Friends Of Mine
12. Time Of The Season

 

Big Star – #1 Record…Desert Island Albums

This is my third round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
2020 ALBUM DRAFT-ROUND 3 PICK 6- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BIG STAR- #1 RECORD

“Big Star is like a letter that was mailed in 1971 but didn’t arrive until 1985.”
Musician Robyn Hitchcock 

I never travel far, without a little Big Star
The Replacements

“We’ve sort of flirted with greatness, but we’ve yet to make a record as good as Revolver or Highway 61 Revisited or Exile on Main Street or Big Star’s Third.”
Peter Buck

The band didn’t chart a record when they were active. I still hold their music up along with The Who, Beatles. and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. They released this album as their debut in August of 1972.  I had to stop myself from writing an open love letter (I may have failed) about this band. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people knew? No and no. It’s about the music. Mystique and coolness wear off and all you are left with is the music…We are fortunate to have 3 albums by Big Star to enjoy.

In the early eighties, I heard stories from an older brother of a friend about Big Star out of Memphis…but their records were hard to come by.  I loved what little I heard and it got lost in the shuffle but it planted a seed for later. 

By the mid-80s I heard more of their songs. In 1986 The Bangles released “September Gurls” and I knew it sounded familiar…and the DJ said it was a Big Star song…then came the song, Alex Chilton, by The Replacements and  I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until the early nineties, I finally had Big Star’s music along with the Raspberries and Badfinger. My power-pop fandom kicked into high gear and I have never left that genre.

Big Star was the best band never heard. Such a great band but a long frustrating story. They made three albums that were among the best of the decade that were not heard until much later. They signed with Ardent which was a subsidiary of Stax Records.

A power-pop band on the soul Stax label doesn’t sound like a good idea now and it wasn’t then. Stax was failing at that time and could not distribute the records to the stores. Kids loved the music on the radio only to go to a record store with no Big Star records. Rolling Stone gave them rave reviews…but that doesn’t help if the album is not out there to purchase. They were through by 1974 after recording their 3rd album.

When their albums were finally discovered by eighties bands, they influenced many artists such as REM, The Replacements, Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day.

Listening to this album with each song you think…Oh, that could have been a single. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the songs and wanted to emulate Lennon/McCartney and they did a great job but with an obvious American slant to make it their own. After the commercial failure of this album, Chris Bell quit but the other three continued for one more album and then bass player Andy Hummel quit after the second album, and Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens recorded the third.

I could have gone with ANY three of their albums. I picked this one because of Chris Bell. The songs are a bit more polished on this one than the other two but it fits the songs they present. Chris Bell added a lot to Big Star and after hearing his solo song I Am The Cosmos you see how much. Radio City, their second album, with Chilton in charge many consider their best and their third album, Third/Sister Lovers is not as commercially accessible but I still love it. All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time.

I’ll go over four songs.

The Ballad Of El Goodo  A song about Vietnam conscientious objector…but it is much more than that. It is one of the most perfect pop/rock songs recorded to my ears. This would make it in my own top 10 songs of all time. The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfectly constructed chorus keeps calling me back listen after listen. This is when pop music becomes more.

In The Street is a song that everyone will know. It was used as the theme of That Seventies Show. Cheap Trick covered it for the show. I was not a teenager in the early seventies but with this song, I am there front and center. Steal your car and bring it down, Pick me up, we’ll drive around, Wish we had, A joint so bad.

Thirteen is a song that Chilton finds that spot between the innocence of childhood and the first teenage year where they meet and intertwine with confusion. Won’t you tell your dad, “get off my back” Tell him what we said ’bout “Paint It Black”

When My Baby’s Beside Me has a great guitar riff to open it up. This is power pop at it’s best. A nice rocker that should have been blaring out of AM radios in the 70’s.

I’m not going over every song (but I could easily) because reading this won’t do it…you have to listen if you haven’t already. You will not regret it. Not just these songs but the complete album.

It’s a mixture of songs on the album…rockers, mid-tempo songs, and ballads. Even the weaker song called The India Song is very listenable. My favorites besides the ones I listed are  Watch the Sunrise, Don’t Lie To Me, Feel, and Give Me Another Chance.

I now have rounded out my albums on my island. The variety of The White Album, The rock of Who’s Next, and the ringing power-pop beauty of Big Star…swim or use a boat and come over to my island and we will listen…the Pina Coladas and High Tides (hey it’s an island) are flowing… let’s drink to BIG STAR.

On a side note. If you want to learn more there is a good documentary out about them called: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Feel
The Ballad Of El Goodo
In The Street
Thirteen
Don’t Lie To Me
The India Song
When My Baby’s Beside Me
My Life Is Right
Give Me Another Chance
Try Again
Watch The Sunrise
ST 100/6

  • Chris Bell – guitar, vocals
  • Alex Chilton – guitar, vocals
  • Andy Hummel – bass guitar, vocals
  • Jody Stephens – drums

 

 

 

The Ox: The Authorized Biography of The Who’s John Entwistle…. by Paul Rees

When I see the word “authorized” I get really skeptical that they will not tell the complete story. This one proved me wrong. John’s son Christopher had said that this book was going to be warts and all. He was correct in that. I was super excited to read this. In the past year, I re-read Pete Townshend’s autobiography, Roger Daltrey’s autobiography, and re-read Keith Moon’s biography by Tony Fletcher and to top it off the Kenney Jones biography.

John actually wrote 4 chapters himself in 1990 when he wanted to write his own book. He soon grew tired of it and just stored it away. Rees did manage to incorporate some of what he wrote that included stories about him and Moon I never heard. John Entwistle is the least written about of the four. Any info on him is nice and a lot of this was new to me. Rees goes over the highlights and you don’t get dragged down at any point. The only thing I didn’t like was…like Daltrey’s autobiography it’s short…only 320 pages long.

The book goes through the history of the Who that Who fans know but with a lot of anecdotes. I found out more about John’s life than I ever knew. You see where he developed his black humor and he was probably the best pure musician in that band. I would recommend this book to any rock music fan. You get some funny stories also…

One about the Who opening up for the Beatles and listening to them through monitors in the dressing room rolling on the floor laughing hearing The Beatles sing obscene words to their songs “I Want To Hold Your ****”…A Hard Day’s ****. because the screaming was so loud and they couldn’t be heard out front.

Why I looked forward to this book…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

John was a bass hero of mine growing up. I started off learning trying to learn the riffs he did by slowing Who albums with my finger so the riffs would be slower…but they were still fast. Most bass players fill in the empty space but with the Who, there wasn’t much empty space because of Moon’s playing. He played what amounted to lead bass and it worked well…his harmonics made up for the lack of other instruments.

Keith Altham (journalist): John was an enigma. That he was the best bass guitarist of his generation is not in dispute, but because of the peculiar demands placed upon him by The Who he wasn’t a bass player in the accepted sense of the term because he didn’t play bass like anyone else, any more than Keith Moon played the drums like anyone else or, for that matter, Pete Townshend the guitar. “His playing was so dextrous and inventive that he was often indistinguishable from a second guitar.”

Lemmy: “He’s the best player in Rock and Roll ever…no contest”

John Entwistle: “I just wanted to play louder than anyone else …

Bill Wyman: John was the Jimi Hendrix of bass players

Green Day – When I Come Around

This was my first introduction to Green Day. The more albums they released the more I liked them. American Idiot is probably my favorite album but this song was a good introduction to the band for me.

Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool are listed as writers of this song.

This song was not released as a single, which was a strategic move by Green Day’s label Reprise to goose sales of the album. Airplay pushed the song to peak at  #6  in the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, #33 in New Zealand, and #27 in the UK in 1995.

When performing this song at Woodstock ’94, a fan threw a clump of mud on stage and Billie Joe stuck it in his mouth. This caused the fans to keep throwing mud and started the infamous mud fight. Many fans look back at Woodstock ’94 fondly, calling it “Mudstock ’94” largely because of this incident.

 

From Songfacts

A track from Green Day’s first major-label album, this is a very personal song lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote about being away from his girlfriend, Adrienne Nesser, and the frustrations they both felt when he was on the road. Billie Joe met Adrienne in 1990 when Green Day performed in Minnesota, where she lived. He was just 18, and found it difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship, especially with his touring schedule. In this song, he affirms his devotion for her, assuring her that when he does get to see her (when he “comes around”) he will make it up to her.

Billie Joe and Adrienne got married in July 1994, a few months after Dookie was released and right in the midst of the band’s rapid ascent to stardom (the band was touring at the time). The marriage endured, and couple had two children together.

MTV aired two different videos for this song. A concept video for the song was directed by Mark Kohr, and MTV also showed a live version from Green Day’s infamous Woodstock ’94 performance (lots of mud was in the air). They used this video to promote the MTV Woodstock ’94 retrospective videotape. 

Jason White, who sometimes played as a second guitarist for Green Day, is in this video. He’s the guy kissing the girl.

The Woodstock ’94 version is included on the festival’s live album, Woodstock 1994.

When I Come Around

I heard you crying loud, all the way across town
Cause you been searching for that someone
And it’s me out on the prowl
As you sit around feeling sorry for yourself

Well, don’t get lonely now, and dry your whining eyes
I’m just roaming for the moment
Sleazin’ my back yard so don’t get
So uptight you been thinking about ditching me

No time to search the world around
‘Cause you know where I’ll be found
When I come around

Well, I heard it all before, so don’t knock down my door
I’m a loser and a user so I don’t need no accuser
To try and slag me down because I know you’re right

So go do what you like, make sure you do it wise
You may find out that your self-doubt means nothing
Was ever there
You can’t go forcing something if it’s just not right

No time to search the world around
‘Cause you know where I’ll be found
When I come around

No time to search the world around
‘Cause you know where I’ll be found
When I come around

When I come around