41 years ago… Skylab was Falling!!!

On July 12, 1979, Skylab was falling back to the earth. I blogged this a couple of years ago…but today is the anniversary.

In 1979 I was twelve and hearing the news that a space workstation named Skylab was falling to earth. It was exciting for me…I was hoping that a piece of it would fall near so I could touch something that had been flying through space.

That didn’t happen because unless I was Australian I was not going to see any debris. In school, our science teacher went over the event and I do remember people wearing Skylab t-shirts, hats, and buttons.

Watching the news…there were some people panicking and…some people partying. This is from Newsweek in 1979

In various parts of the country, wags painted X’s on their neighbors’ roofs or sported T-shirts with targets on the back. Entrepreneurs sold plastic helmets and Skylab survival kits compete with bags for collecting stray parts of the spacecraft and letters suing NASA for damages. “I don’t know how much we’re making, but we’re having fun,” said Steven Danzig, 25, of Bloomington, Ind., who sold more than 20,000 such kits. In Washington, a bar called Mr. Smith’s sold a concoction dubbed the Chicken Little Special.

Around the U.S., there were Skylab parties to coincide with the crash, and betting pools on precisely when or where the debris would come streaking back to earth.

skylabshirt.jpgskylabhelmet.jpg

Skylab was designed to go up but not come back down. It was launched in 1973 and was occupied for almost 24 weeks. There was a lot of time and money spent on how to get it up there but not much time on how to get it down. It only had a 9-year life span, to begin with. In 1979 it was clear that Skylab was rapidly descending orbit.

On July 12, 1979, Skylab came back to earth in the Indian Ocean and in Western Australia. No one was injured by the falling debris.

The San Francisco Examiner offered a $10,000 reward for anyone bringing a part of Skylab to their office. They knew it wasn’t going to hit America so it was a safe bet they would not have to pay…but Stan Thornton…an Australian truck driver heard about the reward, grabbed a piece of debris, and jumped on a plane to San Francisco and got the reward.

stan thornton.jpg
Stan Thornton collecting his $10.000

skylabadvertistment.jpg

skylabfalling.png

 

 

Rock and Roll Escapades – #1 The Who in Montreal

In the next few weeks, I’m going to hunt for some rock star stories. Fair warning…Keith Moon will be involved more than once.

On December 2, 1973, the Who were nearing the end of their Quadrophenia tour in Montreal Canada at the Bonaventure Hotel.

This scene started when Keith Moon smashed a ketchup bottle on the hotel wall. Pete Townshend said: I thought it looked aesthetically pleasing. Someone should frame it,…Pete had cut his hand with a steak knife so he added his blood to the ketchup “art” on the wall.

Keith Moon then grabbed a hotel painting and kicked it out of its frame and used the frame to frame his and Pete’s masterpiece. Ok…not good but funny…not a big deal so far.

Then Pete and Keith pitched a TV in the pool in the old rock and roll fashion. The two then pitched a sofa through the window to the nice courtyard below. Not finished yet they used a large marble table as a battering ram and went through a wall.

The Hotel staff looked at them and they looked at the hotel staff…both sides had a look of horror at the damage. One witness described the scene with one word: “Hiroshima”

Now the fun had begun…The police… or mounties came and rounded all the boys up. 14 of the Who crew including Mike Shaw a paraplegic that worked for the Who…they were arrested and went to jail. They woke Roger Daltrey who was sleeping in his bed when this went on and took him also.

When the police took the band to jail. Keith Moon declared to the officer in charge when they got there… “I believe I booked a suite.”

They ended up spending 7 hours in jail and missed their scheduled flight to Boston for a concert. They did end up getting there just on time that night to play the show.

Keith Moon would sometimes alter one of the songs he sang called “Bellboy” to say  “Remember the place in Canada that we smashed?”

John Entwistle later wrote a song called “Cell Number Seven” about the event.

Cell Number 7

 

Six thirty in the morning, I’d just got to sleep
I felt so tired didn’t even count sheep
I woke up with six policemen standing by the bed
The voice of doom was ringing in my head
Get up fella, and don’t make no fuss
Put your clothes on, you gotta come with us.

To cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven ain’t exactly Heaven.

Bill the con said, I think it appears
I’ve only been dreaming the last four years
Wiggy said, I’m having so much fun
Cell number one has something for everyone
Meanwhile in Boston the kids were queuing
Back in Montreal we were just stewing.

In cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven’s a long way from Heaven.

Micky boy was busy banging his cell
While the admiral was trying to talk his way outta Hell
Well Bobby needs a change of seed and sand
The promoter’s tearing out his hair screaming where’s the band?

(Guitar Solo)

The chicks were in the chicken shack eating bread and honey
The hotel manager was adding up the money
Come on froggies let us pay
We got a show to do
We gotta get away.

In cell number two was the singer of The Who
Pacing up and down like a tiger in a zoo
Cousin Graham didn’t even know what he’d done
To make them take away his, Nikon
Meanwhile in Boston the kids were waiting
While back in Montreal we were just speculating.

In cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven
Cell number seven ain’t nothing like Heaven.

The Birdman was sleeping in cage number three
Waiting for the sound of a turning key
While Dougal the Dane leant against the wall
Frightened to sleep in case he should fall
And meanwhile in Boston the kids never knew
That in cell numbers two, three, and seven were The Who.

Cell number seven
Me and Moonie were in cell number seven
He dribbled on my jacket in cell number seven
Oo hoo
Snored like a goat
Ruined my coat.

 

Who helped form your musical tastes?

Some bloggers have mentioned in the comments and posts on how they got into music or a certain song…on how they come to like a song or a type of music. I always enjoy it when someone says why or how they like a certain type of music.

It’s really interesting how many different influences we all have had through life. One thing going wrong in my history…and I could be blogging about the hidden wisdom of Osmond’s music. Some had older brothers and sisters who influenced them.

I didn’t have any brothers to influence me. I have an older sister with questionable musical taste (Osmonds). To be fair though some of her music did rub off.. like the band Bread and a few good pop hits of that time. I did though have a couple of older cousins (Greg and Janean) that were brother and sister. They influenced my musical direction more than anyone.

Janean was a very pretty hippyish girl of 16 who drove a Volkswagen Bug and wore flowery clothes. She was a hero of mine at that time. Greg, her brother was a young teen guitar player who lived for music.

When I was around 6-7 Janean would tell me about seeing the Monkees in concert when she was a kid in Memphis…and I would watch the Monkee re-runs. It looked like so much fun being in a band and later on I would be. She gave me her old singles and albums like The Monkees Headquarters and their debut album. The singles she gave me included Every Mother’s Son, Turtles, Joe South, Tommy James, and many more. She took time out to spend time with a 6-year-old dork who hung on her every word. Unfortunately, she died when she was 17 in 1975 and I’ve carried her passion for music and life with me to this day. I owe her a great deal.

When I was eight in that same year Greg exposed me to the Beatles. He got me started on my Beatles quest (Meet The Beatles) and soon I was reading every book and listening to any Beatle record my allowance would buy. I was lucky to have some very nice librarians in school. One, in particular, would call me over the intercom getting me out of class just to show me a new book. They would order Beatles and baseball books for me to read.

While reading about the Beatles I found The Who, Stones, Kinks, Cream, and all of those great British bands that started before I was born. I was telling CB the other day… My “Holy Trinity” of Rock bands are The Beatles, The Stones, and The Who. It’s from those bands I found all of the others.

I will add one more base…my dad liked Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and a few others and I credit him with my country taste. It took me a long time to dive into them as much but I did with a vengeance a little later on.

I will have to admit…this community we are all in exposes me to old “new” music as well as new music that I would have never heard…I guess our musical learning never stops.

I was told by a co-worker that he was confused about my music tastes. He stated I should not like bands that were popular before I was born…that it wasn’t normal…not natural… Well…I take that as a big compliment.

Who helped form your musical tastes?

 

Mad and Cracked Magazine…a quick look

To those that it applies…Happy Independence Day! I’ll have a couple of songs coming up related to Independence Day.

I never got into comic books like Marvel or DC…I would save up my allowance for Cracked and Mad magazine…and records of course. Mad Magazine was by far the most popular out of all of the satire comic magazines. William Gaines was the publisher of Mad magazine and was brilliant.

William Gaines – sendingdeadletters

1952 – Present…now you an only get Mad from Comic Book Shops or order it. The new editions consist of mostly material from their archive.

Cracked was known as the poor man’s Mad but I still liked it and the magazines shared some writers and artists through the years. I bought my first Cracked Magazine when Mad was sold out but I never missed an issue after that.

1958-2007 Now the name is alive on a website but no longer a comic.

Alfred E Newman and Sylvester P. Smythe

Sylvester P. Smythe | The Belated NerdSylvester P. Smythe | Cracked Wiki | Fandom

Don Martin was my favorite artist. He was one of Mad’s most famous artists. He was there from 1956 to 1988. He was known as “Mads Maddest Artist” and then moved to Cracked and was jokingly known as “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist.”

Fellow Cracked artist Dan Clowes: “As far as I could tell, he was happy,  don’t think he ever seemed to notice that Mad was respected, whereas Cracked was loathed.”

Completely Mad Don Martin TPB (1974 Warner Books) A MAD Big Book ...

Cracked #235 May 1988 cover by Don Martin | Mad magazine, Vintage ...

 

Citizen Kane

If you are reading this to hear me say “it’s overrated” then you have come to the wrong place. Some say it’s the best film ever made…I will not argue that statement. I have watched this 1941 film at least 8 times and have enjoyed it every single time. Before I watched this movie I had read all the accolades the movie received through the years. This is one of the few movies that lived up to them.

Orson Welles is the most natural actor in this movie I’ve ever seen. He IS Charles Foster Kane.

The camera work is still fantastic and holds up to this day and it’s been copied over and over. The below floor level shots and others make it a beautiful film to watch. You can see this movie’s influence in a countless number of movies that followed.

Orson based his character off of William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, actress Marion Davies. That fact brought Orson trouble that would haunt him. Hearst owned everything at that time…newspapers and businesses across the globe and had as much influence as a person could have. He didn’t care too much for this movie because it was too close for comfort. If you ever get the chance…see the documentary “The Battle Over Citizen Kane.”

He stopped advertisements in his newspapers and did everything in his power to stop and sabotage the film.

Orson made some great movies after this but never…to me reached this pinnacle again. That is really unfair because I don’t think anyone has reached this high again.

The plot? The movie, unlike other movies at the time, starts at the end. The mighty Charles Foster Kane dies but before he does he utters one last word “Rosebud” and everybody tries to find out what he meant by that. Reporters will go interview everyone in his life trying to find the answer and all the while…Kane’s story is being told. One of the lines in the movie is “I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life.” That is true but it’s what “Rosebud” represents that helps make this movie great.

The movie flows so well from beginning to end.

When the silent movie era ended…the first “talkies” were clumsy with the actors/actresses overacting with their theater training. The studios were also using bulky cameras and microphones that left the scenes stationary. This movie ended all of that. Citizen Kane changed the cinema for good. Up until this movie, we got the same old shots, stiff acting, theater makeup, and mediocre music scores… You couldn’t get by with that anymore after this movie.

Is it the best movie ever? That is subjective but for me, the answer is…yes.

 

Here is the cast from Wiki

Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland, Kane’s best friend and a reporter for The Inquirer. Cotten also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.

Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane, Kane’s mistress and second wife.

Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane, Kane’s mother.

Ruth Warrick as Emily Monroe Norton Kane, Kane’s first wife.

Ray Collins as Jim W. Gettys, Kane’s political rival for the post of Governor of New York.

Erskine Sanford as Herbert Carter, editor of The Inquirer. Sanford also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.

Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein, Kane’s friend and employee at The Inquirer.

William Alland as Jerry Thompson, a reporter for News on the March. Alland also voices the narrator of the News on the March newsreel.

Paul Stewart as Raymond, Kane’s butler.

George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher, a banker who becomes Kane’s legal guardian.

Fortunio Bonanova as Signor Matiste, vocal coach of Susan Alexander Kane.

Gus Schilling as John, headwaiter at the El Rancho nightclub. Schilling also appears (hidden in darkness) in the News on the March screening room.[8]

Philip Van Zandt as Mr. Rawlston, News on the March producer.[8]

Georgia Backus as Bertha Anderson, an attendant at the library of Walter Parks Thatcher.[8]

Harry Shannon as Jim Kane, Kane’s father.[8]

Sonny Bupp as Charles Foster Kane III, Kane’s son.

Buddy Swan as Charles Foster Kane, age eight.

Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper publisher

 

Paul McCartney – Live and Let Die

I’ve seen Paul in concert twice. Some performers you go and see and you may know a lot of their songs but with Paul…it’s nearly 3 hours of songs that you have heard all of your life.

Paul McCartney was given a copy of the Ian Fleming novel to read and he read the book one Saturday, during a break from sessions for the Red Rose Speedway album before writing the song on the following day.

Live and Let Die was the title song for the eighth James Bond film. It was the first to star Roger Moore as Bond.

George Martin produced this song for Paul, they hadn’t worked together since Abbey Road. The song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost to Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were, but George Martin won a Grammy for his work on the song.

“Live and Let Die” was not featured on a McCartney album until the Wings Greatest compilation in 1978.

Live and Let Die peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #9 in the UK, and #20 in New Zealand.

Denny Seiwell  (Wings Drummer) “Everybody thought it was cool that we were doing something for James Bond. I remember what Paul told us – he said a couple weeks before we did the actual recording, he said they wanted him to write the theme to the next James Bond movie, and they sent him the book to read. And we were up at the house one day and he had just read the book the night before, and he sat down at the piano and said, ‘James Bond… James Bond… da-da-dum!’, and he started screwing around at the piano. Within 10 minutes, he had that song written. It was awesome, really. Just to watch him get in there and write the song was really something I’ll remember the rest of my life.” 

 

From Songfacts

The former Beatle recalled the writing of the song in an interview with the October 2010 edition of Mojo magazine: “I got the book and it’s a very fast read. On the Sunday, I sat down and thought, OK, the hardest thing to do here is to work in that title. I mean, later I really pitied who had the job of writing Quantum Of Solace. So I thought, Live And Let Die, OK, really what they mean is live and let live and there’s the switch.

So I came at it from the very obvious angle. I just thought, ‘When you were younger you used to say that, but now you say this.'”

George Martin produced this and arranged the orchestra. Martin produced most of The Beatles work, so this was McCartney’s chance to work with him again.

This was the most successful Bond theme up to that point. Other hits from James Bond movies include “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon (from The Spy Who Loved Me), “For Your Eyes Only” by Sheena Easton, and “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran.

McCartney performed this on his solo tours in 1989-1990 and 1993.

Live and Let Die

When you were young
And your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
You know you did
You know you did
You know you did
But if this ever changin’ world
In which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die (live and let die)
Live and let die (live and let die)

What does it matter to ya
When you got a job to do you got to do it well
You got to give the other fella hell

You used to say live and let live
You know you did
You know you did
You know you did
But if this ever changin’ world
In which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die (live and let die)
Live and let die (live and let die)

 

The Mynah Birds

Super Freak meets Heart of Gold

They were the first mostly white band signed to Motown Records in 1966. So who was the band’s lead singer? A young AWOL American sailor who went by the name of Ricky James Matthews, later Rick James. On lead guitar you had Canadian Neil Young.

The band lasted from 1964 to 1967.

The band didn’t last a long time but the memorable lineup was Rick James, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer, Rickman Mason, and John Taylor. Neil and Bruce would later be members of Buffalo Springfield. Earlier members  Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas would later become members of Steppenwolf.

Canadian rocker Neil Merryweather was also an earlier member of the band.

Neil joined in 1965 and Neil and James wrote some songs together and they were recorded…but the band’s manager apparently misappropriated their advance money from Motown and they fired the manager. In return, the manager informed Motown that the band’s singer was AWOL from the Navy. Rick James was taken into custody and incarcerated by the Navy. “It’s My Time” remained unreleased, and Motown scrapped plans for a Mynah Birds album.

The music was not released until the single was included in the 2006 box set The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966

Neil and Bruce bought a hearse…yes a hearse when Rick was detained and drove to California to start Buffalo Springfield.

The Mynah Birds were a really good band. In a biography of Neil Young called Shakey… Jimmy McDonough writes this:

The Mynah Birds—in black leather jackets, yellow turtlenecks and boots—had quite a surreal scene going…. Those lucky enough to see any of the band’s few gigs say they were electrifying. ‘Neil would stop playing lead, do a harp solo, throw the harmonica way up in the air and Ricky would catch it and continue the solo.’

Neil Young: “We got more and more into how cool the Stones were. How simple they were and how cool it was.” James had them play “Get Off My Cloud” and “Satisfaction”—before the braids, cocaine, and sequins, Rick James “fancied himself the next Mick Jagger.”

The band did get back together with different members when Rick James returned in 1967…but they soon broke up.

If you want to read more about them check out the links below.

https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/neil-young-rick-james-the-mynah-birds/

https://afropunk.com/2014/08/feature-the-strange-history-of-the-mynah-birds-the-lost-rb-supergroup-ft-rick-james-and-neil-young-soundcheck/

 

 

 

Bewitched

“Oh My Stars”          1964-1972

I binged watched Bewitched during the lockdown and some afterward. The first five seasons were probably the best. Having the lovely Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) as a wife who could twitch her nose and whip up anything you desired…doesn’t sound half bad…therefore… I never understood Darrin…either Darrin.

Bewitched was full of funny characters. Mr and Mrs Kravitz next door. Uncle Arthur (the great Paul Lynne), Aunt Clara, Maurice, Endora, and a cast of witches and warlocks. The show stuck the characters with the same actors/actresses for the most part. The continuity was pretty good in this show with one big exception…the two Darrins. More on that in a few.

The show was about a mortal (Darrin Stevens) that married a witch (Samantha Stevens) and Darrin does not like Samantha to use her powers. Endora the mother-in-law was a witch that played the stereotypical mother-in-law but one that could Darrin into a horse if she so pleased.

One of my favorites was Aunt Clara played perfectly by Marion Lorne. The character Aunt Clara collected doorknobs. The writers did that because Marion Lorne actually collected doorknobs from everywhere… The producers of the show would ask to borrow one if they wanted one for a different look for the show. 

Aunt Clara | Of Mice and Men Wiki | Fandom

A funny story about Marion Lorne is that she once called Elizabeth Montgomery and said, with her trademark stammer, to come to her hotel residence right away as she seemed to have actual magical powers like her character. Every time she clapped her hands, her TV set would change the channel. What Marion didn’t know was that the bracelets on each of her arms made contact when she clapped her hands, and the sound was the same as a remote control, which operated as tuning forks in those days. Montgomery never told her this.

The two Darrins. The first Darrin was Dick York. The second Darrin was Dick Sargent.

Pin on Hollywood Portraits: Male

Dick York had severe back problems and a pain pill addiction. He was on for almost 5 full seasons. He came down with a fever during the last part of the 5th season and collapsed on an episode. He entered the hospital and never came back to the show. His career essentially ended then.

The next season Dick Sargent took over with no explanation to the audience. Sargent was never as popular with the audience and the ratings soon dropped. The show lasted 8 total seasons before ending in 1972.

On December 6 Agnes Moorehead was born… | Today In PopAgnes Moorehead | American actress | Britannica

It’s a fun show to watch and it had some great actors and actress that would show up. Agnes Moorehead who played Endora was part of the Mercury Theatre with Orson Welles.

Bewitched had some really good effects for the time. I grew up on this show in syndication.

 

 

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057733/

 

Happy Days influence on Pop Culture

I remember the phrases that were on the show and phrases that the show spawned after it went off the air…like “Jump The Shark” and the “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome” (more below on them)

I watched Happy Days as a kid and even got the theme as a single. The show first aired in 1974 and finally came to a halt in 1984. Ever since then it’s gone into syndication.

Happy Days was centered around Ritchie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his friends and family but the Fonz (Henry Winkler) character soon eclipsed Ritchie. The show portrayed 1950s life as a teenager but it did mirror the problems all teenagers encounter.

Fonz was everywhere in the seventies. Kids at school would do the hair in the mirror thing. If I only had a nickel every time I heard “heeeeyyyy” I would be a rich man. T-Shirts, lunch boxes, notebooks, and anything “Happy Days” could be printed on was… Phrases included Sit On It, Exactamundo, Bucko, and more became popular…Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah!

Two more phrases came because of the show. Jump the Shark and the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome but more in them in a minute.

Richie had some understanding parents… Howard and Marion Cunningham were always there with a solution and he had a sometimes bratty but typical little sister Joanie. His best friends were Potsy and Ralph Malph who would mostly get Richie in trouble.

Happy Days also spawned a number of spin-offs, including the hit shows Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. We won’t discuss Joanie Loves Chachi…no that didn’t happen.

In the Seventies, a 50s revival was happening at the time and this show certainly added to it. Movies like Grease, American Graffiti, and The Last Picture Show were hits also.

Now some fun stuff.

Jump the Shark – A definition… “(of a television series or movie) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality”

This originated from Happy Days. It was the episode where Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. This was way outside the original storyline of the show. If you want to know which one…Season 5 Episode 3 of a three-part episode storyline.

The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome – One of the definitions I found…  occurs when a character in a television mysteriously vanishes from the show. No write-off, no death, not even a passing explanation of what happened to the character.

This originated from Happy Days. Poor Chuck was Ritchie’s brother and he is in a total of 11 episodes in the first two seasons. After that, we never see nor hear anything from Chuck again. Did aliens abduct him? Was he in the Witness Protection program? Was he a spy? Was he a figment of the family’s imagination? Did he grow up to be Alice Cooper?

This is where “Jump The Shark” was born…Yea, a guy from Milwaukee is going to water ski and jump a shark…with a leather jacket on.

Beatles – Blackbird

The acoustic guitar part that Paul wrote to this song is iconic now. The first few bars and you know what it is without hearing anything else. This song added to the texture of The White Album. On the same album you had the bone-crunching Helter Skelter, the rock and roll of Back in the USSR, the great pop of Sexy Sadie, the hard blues of Yer Blues, and then you have this song. It was credited to Lennon and McCartney but Paul wrote this one alone. The White Album was released in 1968 and it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK, and #1 in Canada.

Paul McCartney wrote this about the civil rights struggle for African Americans after reading about race riots in the US. He penned it in his kitchen in Scotland after he heard about an incident in Little Rock when the federal courts forced the racial desegregation of the Arkansas capital’s school system.

Paul McCartney met two of the women who inspired the song in 2016.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/paul-mccartney-meets-women-who-inspired-beatles-blackbird-57076/

Paul McCartney: “I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the ’60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” “I just thought it would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope. So, I wrote ‘Blackbird.'”

Dave Grohl: “It’s such a beautiful piece of music, perfect in composition and performance, and in its lyrics and in the range of his voice. Just learning that song made me a better guitar player and gave me a better appreciation of songwriting. To me it’s just musical bliss.”

 

From Songfacts

Only three sounds were recorded: Paul’s voice, his Martin D-28 acoustic guitar, and a tapping that keeps time on the left channel.

This tapping sound is a bit of a mystery, although in the Beatles Anthology video McCartney appears to be making the sound with his foot. Some sources have claimed it is a metronome.

The birds were dubbed in later using sound effects from the collection at Abbey Road, where the song was recorded.

McCartney did not have ornithological intentions when he wrote this song. In England, “bird” is a term meaning “girl,” so the song is a message to a black girl, telling her it’s her time to fly:

All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

The guitar accompaniment for this song was inspired by Bach’s Bourrée in E minor for lute. This is often played on classical guitar, an instrument Paul McCartney and George Harrison had tried to learn when they were kids. McCartney told Mojo magazine October 2008: “We had the first four bars (of the Bourrée in E minor) and that was as far as my imagination went. I think George had it down for a few more bars and then he crapped out. So I made up the next few bars, and (sings his four-note variation Bach’s theme) it became the basis of ‘Blackbird.'”

This is one of the songs novice guitar players often try to learn, as it’s one of the most famous finger-style tunes. The singer Donovan claims some credit for teaching The Beatles a technique similar to the one McCartney used here when they were on a retreat to India in early 1968.

The word “bird” had been floating around Paul McCartney’s musical lexicon since 1958 when the Everly Brothers had a hit with “Bird Dog,” a song about a guy trying to steal another dude’s girl. McCartney was a huge fan of the Everly Brothers.

There have been hundreds of covers of this song. Perhaps the most enduring is Brad Mehldau’s instrumental jazz version, released in 1997. The only charting version of the song was by the Cast of Glee, which took it to #37 in 2011. Other notable covers include renditions by José Feliciano, Billy Preston, Sarah Vaughan, Jaco Pastorius, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bobby McFerrin and Dwight Twilley. The Doves did a cover in 2002 for the soundtrack to the TV series Roswell.

The singer-guitarist Kenny Rankin recorded it for his 1974 album Silver Morning. McCartney was a big fan of Rankin’s rendition: when the Songwriters Hall of Fame induced Lennon and McCartney in 1987, McCartney skipped the ceremony but had Rankin accept the award on his behalf and perform “Blackbird.”

The “broken wings” concept had been fluttering about for a while, notably in Kahlil Gibran’s 1912 story The Broken Wings. (The Beatles song “Julia” uses lines from one of Gibran’s poems, but McCartney has never cited him as an influence on “Blackbird.”) In 1985, the American group Mr. Mister released their #1 hit “Broken Wings,” which was directly inspired by The Broken Wings and like “Blackbird,” used the line, “Take these broken wings and learn to fly.”

At the Academy Awards ceremony in 2016, Dave Grohl performed this song to accompany the “in memoriam” segment, recognizing those in the movie industry who died the previous year.

Blackbird Singing is the title of a book of poems McCartney wrote.

This is one of about 12 Beatles songs that McCartney often played in his live shows throughout his career. It lends itself to live performance because it is rather compact (it runs just 2:18) and can be played with just a guitar.

Blackbird

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

20 Famous Duos

Many times you cannot think of one person without thinking of the other. That is true for many on this list. From Lennon – McCartney to Romeo and Juliet. It was a lot of fun coming up with these famous duos. Here are a few in no order…

 

1.  Lennon and McCartney – The most influential Rock/pop writing duo

The Beatles - It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught ...

2.  Andy Griffith and Don Knotts – Andy and Barney…Great comedic timing between the two…with Andy being the straight man.

20 wonderfully irrelevant Andy Griffith Show conversations

3.  Jack Klugman and Tony Randall – The Odd Couple

TV's 'Odd Couple' in the '70s: Jack Klugman & Tony Randall as ...

4. Abbott and Costello – Who’s on first? Great comedy team. I still like Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein

From the Archives: Lou Costello, Famed Comedian, Dies at 52 - Los ...

5. Belushi and Aykroyd – The Blues Brothers and part of the first cast of SNL

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion ...

6. Orville and Wilbur Wright – Credited as creating the first motorized plane.

Orville and Wilbur Wright: The Brothers Who Changed Aviation ...

7. Jagger and Richards – The Stones Glimmer Twins

Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, NYC, 1972 | Bob Gruen

8. Simon and Garfunkel – American folk-rock duo

You made me look like a fool': inside Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge ...

9. Laurel and Hardy – They made over 100 short and feature movies combined.

Laurel and Hardy – Three Shorts

10. Martin and Lewis – The hottest act in the 50s.

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin's 20-Year Feud - Comedy Duo Jerry ...

11. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – The Apple architects.

Are You A Steve Jobs Or A Steve Wozniak? » Leaderonomics.com

12. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield -Ben and Jerry’s  I’ll take some Cherry Garcia, please.

Ben & Jerry's Unveils "Pecan Resist" Flavor Ahead of Midterm ...

13. Phil and Don Everly – Two voices blended as one

Video: Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers dies at 74 (updated ...

14. Gerry Goffin and Carole King – Two of the top songwriters in the 60s.

Gerry Goffin | The Times

15. Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall – Laverne and Shirley

The most famous women duos in pop culture - Insider

16. Clyde Champion Barrow and Bonnie Parker – Infamous Bonnie and Clyde

Police kill famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde - HISTORY

17. David Duchovny and  Gillian Anderson – Mulder and Scully from the X-Files

Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder Will Pick Up Their Badges Again

18. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith – Jay and Silent Bob

Kevin Smith Teases 'Jay and Silent Bob' Reboot With Miramax

19. Batman and Robin – I couldn’t leave these guys out

Adam West and Burt Ward to return as Batman and Robin in new ...

20. Romeo and Juliet the two star crossed lovers from Romeo and Juliet….a tragedy written by William ShakespeareThe Balcony Scene in 'Romeo and Juliet' Is a Lie - The Atlantic

BONUS…How could I forget Bert and Ernie!!!

Frank Oz weighs in on 'Sesame Street' writer saying Bert and Ernie ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone

A snare drum shot starts this song that helped shape the sixties.  In 2004 Rolling Stone named Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” the greatest song of all time. When Bob sings  “How Does it Feel?” you can feel the venom.

“Like a Rolling Stone” runs 6:13. It was a big breakthrough when the song got radio play and became a hit, as many stations refused to play songs much longer than 3 minutes. It was also rare for a song with so many lyrics to do well commercially.

The title was taken from the proverb “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Dylan got the idea from the 1949 Hank Williams song “Lost Highway,” which contains the line, “I’m a rolling stone, all alone and lost.”

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, and  #4 in the UK in 1965. The song was on the album Highway 61 Revisited that was released a few weeks after this single.

I like the studio version the best but I also like the “Judas” live version in 1966. Bob with The Hawks (later The Band) backing him fought boos and shouts through the tour. The world it seemed was upset at Dylan for going “electric” and having a band back him up. These are my favorite live Dylan performances…both versions are at the bottom of the post.

From Rolling Stone Magazine:

The music here is much more in that celestial mode, like it’s ether-borne, rather than anything originating from mind, guitar, bass, drum, organ, voice. The final showdown begins when someone in the audience, from out of the tension of the attendant silence, shouts, “Judas!” In the annals of heckling, that’s a pretty good one. Dylan responds with “I don’t believe you” – a nice little reference, too, to the earlier song. There is venom in his voice. “You’re a liar.” Another pause, before Dylan turns to his band and orders them to “Play fucking loud!” And goodness do they, right on command. Dylan puts his entire body into the “How does it feel?” line, like he is jumping straight down someone’s soul and punching the crap out of it. Then it is all over. Dylan says, “Thank you,” and “God Save the Queen” plays on the PA. Time to be rolling on. 

 

 

From Songfacts

This was the only song on the album produced by Tom Wilson, who produced Dylan’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Wilson had been a jazz producer and was brought in to replace John Hammond. Wilson invited keyboard player Al Kooper to the session, and Al produced the famous organ riff that drove the song. This was the last song Wilson worked on with Dylan, as Bob Johnston took over production duties.

Thanks to The Rolling Stones, many associate the phrase with a life of glamor, always on the move, but Williams’ song is about a hobo paying the price for his life of sin. Dylan also used the phrase to indicate loneliness and despair: his rolling stone is “without a home, like a complete unknown.”

Dylan based the lyrics on a short story he had written about a debutante who becomes a loner when she falls out of high society. The lyrics that made it into the song are only a small part of what was in the story.

Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, who revolutionized the music manager profession and was known as a shrewd defender of his artists, was the one who told Columbia Records that they couldn’t shorten “Like a Rolling Stone” in order to make it more radio friendly.

Dylan recorded another version in 1970 for his Self Portrait album. This time, he used experienced session players in Nashville, Tennessee. Ron Cornelius played guitar on the album and told us about the session: “You’re not reading manuscripts. In Nashville the players are booked because of what they can create right now, not what’s written on a piece of paper. Everybody’s creating their part as the tape is rolling. Out of everybody I’ve worked with, I don’t know of anyone who’s been any nicer than Bob Dylan. He treated me wonderfully, but at the same time you knew being around him day after day that this man wakes up in a different world every morning. On a creative level that’s a really good thing and to try to second guess him or to ask him what he actually meant by these lyrics, you’re shooting in the dark because he’s not going to tell you anyway. And he might be telling you the truth when he says “I don’t know, what does it mean to you.'”

It is rumored that this was written about one-time debutante Edie Sedgwick, who was part of artist Andy Warhol’s crowd. She was the subject of an emotional tug-of-war between the Dylan camp and the Warhol camp.

According to this theory, the song includes some fanged, accusatory lines about Warhol and the way he mistreated the girl:

Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

“Poor Little Rich Girl” Sedgwick is viewed by many as the tragic victim of a long succession of abusive figures. After escaping home and heading to New York, she ran into Warhol, who soon began to use her as his starlet. When her 15 minutes had come to an end, Warhol moved on.

Sedgwick and Dylan had a brief affair shortly before the musician married Sarah Lownds, and many say that this Dylan song was written about her. It should be noted that there is absolutely nothing beyond circumstantial evidence to support this idea, but the myth is so widely known that it’s taken on a life of its own and is therefore recognizable on its own terms.

This made Bob Dylan an unlikely inspiration for Jimi Hendrix, who before hearing this considered himself only a guitarist and not a singer. After hearing this, he saw that it didn’t take a conventional voice to sing rock and roll.

Hendrix often played “Like A Rolling Stone,” including a performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix and Dylan met only once, but Jimi had a knack for bringing out the emotions in Dylan’s songs: he also did a very successful cover of “All Along The Watchtower.” 

The Rolling Stones didn’t take their name from this song, but rather the 1950 Muddy Waters track “Rollin’ Stone.” The magazine Rolling Stone was named after this song, with a degree of separation: Ralph Gleason wrote a piece for The American Scholar about the influence of music on young people called “Like a Rolling Stone,” which he titled after the song. When he founded the magazine with Jann Wenner in 1967, they decided to name it after his story. Wenner muddied the waters a bit when he wrote in the debut issue: “Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote. The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy’s song. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ was the title of Bob Dylan’s first rock and roll record.”

In the November 2004 issue, Rolling Stone Magazine named this #1 on their list of the greatest songs of all time. >>

Greil Marcus wrote a book of almost 300 pages about this song. The book was released in 2005 and is titled Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads.

Al Kooper, who was primarily a guitarist and went on to be a very successful music producer, played this organ on this song. If you listen very closely at the beginning of this song, you will notice that the organ is an 1/8th note behind everyone else. Kooper wasn’t an expert on the organ, but Dylan loved what he played and made sure it was turned up in the mix.

When we asked Kooper what stands out as his finest musical accomplishment, he told us: “By the amount of emails I receive and the press that I get it is undoubtedly the organ part on ‘Like A Rolling Stone.’ I kinda like the way Martin Scorcese edited my telling of that story in the documentary No Direction Home. For me, no one moment or event sticks out. I think reading my resumé every ten years or so, is my finest moment – certainly my most incredulous. I cannot believe I did all the stuff I did in one lifetime. One is forced to believe in luck and God.” (Check out our interview with Al Kooper.)

A line from this song provided the title of the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan called No Direction Home.

Jimi Hendrix’s performance of this song at Monterey is a classic. Hendrix had made a name for himself in Europe, but didn’t manage to make a dent in the US market until the fabled Summer of Love. It happened at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. All of a sudden, an artist who had struggled unsuccessfully for recognition in his own country became one of its future music legends.

Rolling Stone asked a panel of musicians, writers and academics to vote for Dylan’s greatest song in a poll to mark Dylan’s 70th birthday on May 24, 2011. This song came out on top, beating “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Tangled Up In Blue” into second and third places respectively.

 

Dylan’s original draft of the song’s lyrics were written on four sheets of headed note paper from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, DC. The quartet of handwritten pages fetched over $2 million at Sothebys New York in June 2014, setting a new price record for a popular music manuscript. The previous record was John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for the 1967 Beatles track “A Day In The Life,” which cost $1.2 million.

The Rolling Stones recorded this for their 1995 album Stripped. Stones guitarist Keith Richards explained: “We got over the built-in reticence. If he [Bob Dylan] had written ‘Like a Beatles,’ we probably would have done it straight away. We’ve been playing that song ever since Bob brought it out; it was like a dressing room favorite, a tuning room favorite. We know it really well. It was just a matter of screwing up the courage, really, to get over the feeling like we were riding on its back. We also realized that, hey, we took our name from a Muddy Waters album, a Muddy Waters song. Suddenly it didn’t feel awkward to play it.” 

An early manuscript of this song in the Dylan archives at the Center for American Research in Tulsa reveals some lyrics that were later changed or removed. Instead of “You used to laugh about,” it was “You used to make fun about.” Some lines that were excised:

You’ve studied all these great theories on life
And now you find out they don’t mean a thing
You’ve been blessed by counts these old friends claimed to love
Now they’re all ashamed of you

John Mellencamp performed this with Al Kooper at a Bob Dylan tribute concert held in Madison Square Garden on October 16, 1992.

Like A Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you
People call say beware doll, you’re bound to fall
You thought they were all kidding you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hanging out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

You’ve gone to the finest schools, alright Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
Nobody’s ever taught you how to live out on the street
And now you’re gonna have to get used to it
You say you never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say do you want to make a deal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

You never turned around to see the frowns
On the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discovered that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

Princess on a steeple and all the pretty people
They’re all drinking, thinking that they’ve got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you better take your diamond ring, you better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

 

 

 

Columbo

I remember Columbo well when I was a kid but I never watched it much…until the lockdown that we all are going through. Now I know why this show was popular. A detective show that shows you “who done it” before you are into it for 10 minutes. You get enjoyment out of seeing how Columbo can find the killer. Back in the early seventies…Columbo was one of the most popular characters on television.

Peter Falk played Columbo for 35 years and in five different decades (1968-2003) counting the pilots. He looked like a walking unmade bed but was brilliant at solving cases. He would pester his suspect to death…very polite with “I’m sorry” and the main phrase as he was walking away…”There’s just one more thing.” that is followed by “There’s something that bothers me” and so on.

The killer would end up confessing or probably wanting to beg for jail simply to escape him.

The show lasted for 69 episodes. Each episode was over an hour long. It was part of The NBC Mystery Movie program that worked on a rotating basis – one per month from each of its shows. The shows were McMillian and Wife, McCloud, Hec Ramsey, and Columbo. Columbo was taken off the air in the late seventies but came back on the air in the eighties.

Falk had to wear a glass eye because his eye was taken out because of a tumor when he was 3 years old. That made Columbo’s trademark squint. He wore his raincoat and later on had a basset hound. Stories of his wife were always at hand all the while studying his suspect to see if they would slip.

Falk really made that role. If you get a chance to see it…try it. The stories are interesting and you will see some stars you might have forgotten about.

Falk died on June 23, 2011, aged 83.

 

A Matter of…Pee

Those crazy 70’s rock stars…a note left in red ink by no other than John Lennon.

This is a note from an upset John Lennon to Phil Spector. It seems that Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson supposedly…relieved themselves in the recording console in an unnamed studio. John was quite certain of that fact. The studio was threatening to evict them but John wasn’t having it. John didn’t date the note but it was from John Lennon’s “lost weekend” period between 73-75… the note sold for over $88,000.

This is what the note said.

“Phil –

See you around 12:30

Should you not yet know it was Harry and Keith who pissed on the console. Jerry now wants to evict us or that’s what Capitol tells us. Anyway tell him to bill Capitol for the damage if any. I can’t be expected to mind adult rock stars nor can May (Pang, Lennon’s personal assistant) besides she works for me not A+M. I’m about to p..s off to Record Plant (another recording studio) because of this crap.”

John Lennon Letter to Phil Spector Going Up For Auction

There are a million articles on this subject…here is one of the more complete ones.

https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/john-lennon-keith-moon-phil-spector-a-matter-of-pee-letter/

Tom Petty – Free Fallin’ … Full Moon Fever Week

I’m including at least one song off of Tom’s album Full Moon Fever every day this week…So if you don’t know the album stay tuned, if like the album stay tuned,and if you don’t like the album…sorry. It was a great album released in 1989 that was arguably the peak of Tom’s career.

Full Moon Fever

Tom was not happy with the last Heartbreakers album (Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) released in 1987 and wanted a change. Mike Campbell (Heartbreakers guitar player): “Tom called me up and said, ‘We’re done. I think we’re done.” He called back later and said that at least temporarily he wasn’t going to work with the Heartbreakers.

He ended up using Belmont Tench and Howie Epstein from the Heartbreakers for a few songs but it was Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Mike Campbell and Phil Jones on drums who made the album. They did have some help from George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Del Shannon among others.

Released in 1989, Full Moon Fever would become Petty’s greatest commercial success. During its creation Jeff Lynne helped inspire him to create some of his best and most popular songs. But along the way he also risked further alienating several members of the Heartbreakers.

Free Fallin’

Free Fallin’ may be the song he is most remembered. Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne wrote and recorded “Free Fallin'” in just two days, the first song completed for Full Moon Fever. “We had a multitude of acoustic guitars,” Petty told Rolling Stone of the song’s Byrds-y feel. “So it made this incredibly dreamy sound.”

The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #59 in the UK in 1989.

Tom Petty: “There’s not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t hum ‘Free Fallin” to me or I don’t hear it somewhere,”  “But it was really only 30 minutes of my life.”

From Songfacts

Mike Campbell is The Heartbreakers’ guitarist. He has also produced and written the music for many of their songs, as well as “The Boys of Summer” and “The Heart Of The Matter” for Don Henley. Mike told us about working with Jeff Lynne: “When we did that first record with Jeff Lynne, Full Moon Fever, that was an amazing time for me because it was mostly just the three of us – me and Tom and Jeff – working at my house. Jeff Lynne is an amazing record-maker. It was so exciting for a lot of reasons. First of all, our band energy in the studio had gotten into kind of a rut, we were having some issues with our drummer and just kind of at the end of our rope in terms of inspiration – having a lot of trouble cutting tracks in the studio.

This project came along and really we were just doing it for fun at the beginning, but Jeff would come in and every day he would blow my mind. It was so exciting to have him and Tom come over and go, ‘OK, here’s this song,’ and then Jeff would just go. I’d never seen this done before, he’d say, ‘OK, here’s what we’re going to do: Put a drum machine down. Now put up a mic, we’re going to do some acoustic guitars. Put up another mic, were going to do a keyboard. OK, here’s an idea for the bass. Mike, let’s try some guitar on this. I’ve got an idea for a background part here…’

Sure enough, within five or six hours, the record would be done, and we’d just sit back and go, ‘How the f-ck did you do that?’ We were used to being in the studio and like ‘OK, here’s how the song goes’ and everybody would set up to play and just laboriously run the song into the ground, and it usually got worse and worse from trying to get the groove and the spirit and trying to get a performance out of five guys at once. This guy walked in and he knew exactly how to put the pieces together, and he always had little tricks, like with the background vocals how he would slide them in and layer them, and little melodies here and there. Tom and I were soaking it up. Pretty amazing, a very exciting time, like going to musical college or something.” (Read more in our interview with Mike Campbell.)

In a 2006 interview with Esquire magazine, Petty said: “‘Free Fallin” is a very good song. Maybe it would be one of my favorites if it hadn’t become this huge anthem. But I’m grateful that people like it.”

The lyrics deal with Los Angeles culture, mentioning actual places in the area: Reseda, Mulholland and Ventura Boulevard. It implies that the people of LA will casually use others for personal gain, as the singer has just dumped a girl and doesn’t even miss her. Petty was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida and moved to LA with The Heartbreakers in 1974. His outsider perspective came in handy in this song.

Directed by Julien Temple, the music video was ahead of its time in that it featured skateboarding before the X Games existed and action sports went mainstream. Legendary skater Mark “Gator” Rogowski appears in the video.

Petty considers this song a ballad; it’s one of his few hits without a guitar solo. There are plenty of ballads on his albums, but his record companies rarely released them as singles.

Petty and the Heartbreakers played this to close out their set at the halftime show of the Super Bowl in 2008. The song turned out to be appropriate for the New England Patriots, who were undefeated going into the game and led at halftime, only to lose at the end to the New York Giants. In 2002, when the Patriots won their first Super Bowl, the featured song at halftime was “Beautiful Day” by U2.

A live version by John Mayer returned this song to the US Hot 100 in July 2008, going to #51.

Petty performed this song, along with “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” with The Heartbreakers on Saturday Night Live when they were the musical guests on May 20, 1989. Their record company, MCA, wanted them to play “I Won’t Back Down,” which was out as a single and climbing the charts, but Petty defied them.

Petty often tells a story about performing this song at a pivotal night in his career. His label, MCA, rejected the Full Moon Fever album when he submitted it in 1988, claiming they didn’t hear a hit. Crestfallen, he went to a dinner party with George Harrison and Jeff Lynne at the home of Mo Ostin, head of Warner Bros. Records. Harrison had them break out the guitars and play “Free Fallin’,” which everyone thought was great. When Petty explained that it wasn’t good enough for his label, Ostin offered to sign him and put it out. They did the deal, but kept it secret until Petty fulfilled his commitment to MCA. Ostin didn’t have to put it out though: In 1989, management changed at MCA; the new regime liked Full Moon Fever and released it.

While MCA kept him in limbo, Petty teamed up with Lynne, Harrison, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan to form the Traveling Wilburys, a fruitful and highly acclaimed collaboration that sold over 3 million copies of their first album.

The song achieved its highest position on the UK singles chart in May 2012 after being covered by contestant Max Milner on the music talent show The Voice. It previously peaked at #64 in 1989.

Here’s what Tom Petty said about this song on his VH1 Storytellers appearance:

“‘I used to ride down Mulholland Drive and make up songs. Some of the songs were good, and some of the songs just wouldn’t swing. I had this one: [sings] ‘Mulholland Drive’ and I never could get anywhere with that song. So, I sat down one day with my friend Jeff Lynne and we were playing around on the keyboard. I hit this lick and he said, ‘That’s a good lick you got there,’ and I played it again. So, just to make him laugh I started to make up words:

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy about Elvis…

And he goes, ‘Good.’

I said, ‘What? What was good?’

‘It’s all good, just sing that.'”

The girl in the music video is Devon Kidd (born Devon Renee Jenkin). She also had roles in Enemy Of The State, Slammer Girls and Slumber Party Massacre III.

She was a gymnast and model when she got the call to audition for “Free Fallin’.”

“I don’t know if you want to do it,” her agent said. “It’s a small job.”

She knew Tom Petty and “Free Fallin'” and jumped at the opportunity. Today, it’s probably the role she’s best known for.

Free Fallin’

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

All the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura boulevard
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m

I want to glide down over Mulholland
I want to write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’