Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns

I saw The Alarm open up for someone and I think it was Dylan in the late eighties. At that time I didn’t know who they were but I liked them right away. I kept up with them after that concert. This song stood out from all the ones they did.

When they first started out…like most rock bands they were rebellious. “Sixty Eight Guns” was their battle cry, a call to arms against the establishment. This attitude was formed in their hometown of Rhyl, North Wales, where they grew up in bleak economic times and fought naysayers who saw no need for another rabble-rousing rock band.

The song was written by bass player Eddie Macdonald and lead singer Mike Peters. Many reviews at the time compared them to U2…also calling them U3 at times. The Alarm gained a huge audience by opening up for…guess who? They opened for U2 on a large 1983 tour. This song was released in 1983 and peaked a #39 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks and #17 in the UK.

In 1991 The Alarm was doing a concert and lead singer Mike Peters suddenly said “We’ve shared some great moments in time over the last ten years and tonight I would like to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning to the end. Tonight this is my last moment with the Alarm, I’m going out in a Blaze of Glory – my hands are held up high”…… It would have been nice if he would have shared this little bit of info with his bandmates before the concert!

They did regroup occasionally and they have switched up members but have continued to release albums in the 21st century under the name The Alarm MM++.

Mike Peters: “It was about young people at that difficult age where you’re too cool for school, but not wise enough or eligible enough for adult life, So, it’s about people like that – like I was, once. We hung around on street corners, we started bands, we bought clothes, we identified with each other, and we credit these very bonded groups of individuals. And that’s how the Alarm grew.”

“It was a gang that made The Alarm special, ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ is really the description of the feeling that you could make change for yourself and make your life a better place to be in.”

Sixty Eight Guns

And now they’re trying to take my life away 
Forever young I cannot stay
Hey
On every corner I can see them there
They don’t know my name they don’t know my kind
They’re after you with their promises
(Promises of love)
They’re after you to sign your life away
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
Oh, the Sixty-eight

Living in the backstreets 
That’s our home from home
The painted walls were all we’ve ever known 
?he Guns Forever’ that’s our battle cry
It is the flag that we fly so high 
For every day they’ll try and drag us down
(Drag us down and down)
I cry with anger I have done no crime
No
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The Sixty-eight

Up on the terrace I can hear the crowd roar 
Sixty Eight Guns
And in the subway I can hear them whisper 
Sixty Eight Guns
Through all the raging glory of the years 
We never once thought of the fears 
For what we’d do when the battle cry was over . 
Nothing lasts forever is all they seem to tell you when you’re young 

(I, I do swear
To unbreak the promise
To unbreak the vow

Unbreak it)

When you’re young
Have no illusion, no disillusion

Unbreak the promise
Unbreak the vow
Uphold the promise

SIXTY EIGHT GUNS

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The sixty eight guns
Sixty eight guns
The sixty eight guns

Cheap Trick – Southern Girls ….Power Pop Friday

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday!

When I think of Cheap Trick, I think of a checkered pattern and the 5-neck guitar of Rick Nielson. I guess I should add power pop to that list that they carried on from bands such as Badfinger, The Raspberries, and Big Star.

I got to see Cheap Trick in 1984 at Opryland in Nashville. Opryland was a theme park that was foolishly closed in the late 90s so Nashville could have yet another mall. The concert was short…it was only an hour but they are one of the best bands I got to see. Cheap Trick has always been one of the hardest-working bands in rock. They seem to always be on tour since the 70s.

The band fits in with just about any type of band. They have shared the bill with John Mellencamp, KISS, Krokus, REO Speedwagon, The Who, Motley Crue, Kool and the Gang, Iron Maiden, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Willie Dixon. How much more variety does anyone need? When you go from the Oak Ridge Boys, Mellencamp, and Iron Maiden…you have ran the gamut.

The lyrics were inspired by women the band met in southern Canada. However, Rick Nielsen didn’t like the sound of “Southern Canadian Girls” in the hook, so he just left it as “Southern Girls.”

Rick Nielsen and Cheap Trick’s bass player Tom Petersson wrote the song.

The song was on the album In Color, you can find a review at  John’s site (2 Loud 2 Old Music) …great info. The album was released in 1977 and was produced by Tom Werman. He took their sound and produced a more power pop radio sound than their debut album.

This is the album that paved their way to stardom in Japan and later on Live at Budokan that was their breakthrough in the US. Five out of the 10 tracks on this album ended up on the live album.

Southern Girls

I’ve been north,
I’ve been east to the California beach
There’s only one place I know where to find you
And all you Southern girls got a way with your words
And you show it
You say hump and I’ll jump
You say go and I’ll know
Waste no time getting
So close to you
And you’ll never run way
When you find out why I wanted to find you

Ooh baby need some brand new shoes
Get out on the street
You got nothing to lose
You rock me and your crazy
And everyone says it, yeah yeah
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose

I’ve been up I’ve been down
I’ve been weak I’ve been strong
But I never met someone like you
And you’ll never run away
When you find why I wanted to find you
You say hump and I’ll jump
You say go and I’ll know
Waste no time getting
So close to you
All you Southern girls
Got a way with your words
And you show it

Ooh baby need some brand new shoes
Get out on the street
You got nothing to lose
You rock me and your crazy
And everyone says it, yeah yeah
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose

You think this boy, he loves you
Southern girls
You make it hard oh, so hard
I’ve been north, I’ve been east to the California beach
There’s only one place I know where to find you
And all you Southern girls got a way with your words
And you show it

Ooh baby need some brand new shoes
Get out on the street
You got nothing to lose
You rock me and your crazy
And everyone says it, yeah yeah

Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls
Southern girls
Southern girls

Cream – Badge

During my senior year in high school in 1985, I had their greatest hits. I wore it out and became a huge Cream fan. I went to an old music store a couple of years ago and they had an original 60s  Leslie Cabinet. Why am I bringing that up? That is what Clapton is playing through on this song.  A Leslie Cabinet (I have video at the bottom of the post) contains a rotating horn and was designed for organs, but many tried it with guitars. It gives an organ guitar a swirling sound. The Beatles used it a lot.

One of my favorite Cream songs. Badge was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. In George’s handwritten lyrics he wrote the word “Bridge” as in bridge of a song and Clapton thought it read “Badge” so they named the song that. In 1969 Badge peaked at #60 on the Billboard 100 Charts, #18 on the UK Charts, and #49 in Canada.

It appeared on Cream’s final album Goodbye. This song is one of only 3 studio tracks on Goodbye…the rest are live cuts. Badge would be the only Cream song to include 5 people…in addition to Clapton, Bruce, Baker and Harrison, Felix Pappalardi played the piano and Mellotron. Pappalardi produced Disreali GearsWheels Of Fire, and Goodbye. Robert Stigwood produced their debut album Fresh Cream.

Cream were broke up when this album was released. Clapton was already working with Blind Faith. The did reunite for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1993 and played 3 songs. In 2005 the band reunited at the Royal Albert Hall…the location of their last concert in 1969 and later in the year at Madison Square Gardens.

I will say…it’s hard for me to listen to the 2005 reunion. Clapton chose to play his Fender guitar and it just didn’t have the bite his Gibson SG had in the Cream days. I didn’t expect the long jams but I do wish he would have been a bit dirtier in his sound. The musicianship though was great.

Don’t study the lyrics too much. They don’t make much sense. Supposedly many of them came from drunk conversations with George and Ringo.

George Harrison: I helped Eric write “Badge” you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that Goodbye Cream album and Eric didn’t have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part, so I wrote ‘Bridge.’ Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing – ‘What’s BADGE?’ he said. After that, Ringo walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park

Hope I didn’t bore you all with the Leslie Cabinet information, but I really like them. In this video you will see how  it works and why an organ gets that swirling sound. A sixties model costs around $3000 and up. 

Back to our song of the day!

Badge

Thinkin’ ’bout the times you drove in my car.
Thinkin’ that I might have drove you too far.
And I’m thinkin’ ’bout the love that you laid on my table.

I told you not to wander ’round in the dark.
I told you ’bout the swans, that they live in the park.
Then I told you ’bout our kid: now he’s married to Mabel.

Yes, I told you that the light goes up and down.
Don’t you notice how the wheel goes ’round?
And you better pick yourself up from the ground
Before they bring the curtain down.
Yes, before they bring the curtain down.

Ah Ah Ah, yeh yeh yeh
Ah Ah Ah, yeh yeh yeh

Talkin’ ’bout a girl that looks quite like you.
She didn’t have the time to wait in the queue.
She cried away her life since she fell off the cradle.

Dave having A Sound Day

Thanks to Max, aka “Badfinger” for giving me the chance to write something for his site today! He’s likewise written something cool about the band from which he took his screen-name, for my site, A Sound Day, (http://soundday.wordpress.com today)  One of the best things about writing a blog, for about four years now, has been getting to know other bloggers with similar interests and read their posts. Of those, Badfinger has been a favorite of mine almost since I came to WordPress. I’m amazed that he and I are similar in age and have very similar tastes in music, and in baseball as well. So, needless to say he’s a pretty cool guy!

What I do at A Sound Day is post daily articles generally involving things which have happened on that calendar day in the world of music – album releases, records hitting #1, musicians having birthdays, that sort of thing.  A simple enough idea, and one which I must admit wasn’t entirely original. A decade or so back, ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) ran a short syndicated radio bit called “A Rotten Day” which did the same basically, but in headline form delivered in his characteristically snarky persona. So, it’s not a unique idea, but I try to go beyond the headlines and tell a story.  Make it interesting. For example, we pretty much all know the song “Midnight Train to Georgia”, but how many knew it was indirectly inspired by a Mississippi songwriter talking to Farrah Fawcett? Lots of us like London Calling, but do we know that the big hit single on it, “Train in Vain” wasn’t included on the track listing printed on the record because it wasn’t supposed to be on the album? How about an avant garde new wave rocker who has a successful second career writing books about archaeology?  It’s the details that make the stories interesting and I try to find them… and remind people of some great music that they might have forgotten. Or introduce them to music I love that they might not have even heard. Grudgingly, I sometimes even cover music that, well, didn’t really get my motor running but was important in its own way, and try to listen to it with a fresh ear. If it was rock, or pop, or maybe even occasionally country, and it was from the ’60s to the end of the century, I’ve probably given it a look.  That’s kind of an overview of what I do there, but let me tell you a bit about why.

Music has always been important to me. A big part of my memories… so much so that it can be an almost Rainman-like, frustrating ability. I can barely remember the names of my teachers or classmates from 1974, for example, but I can probably name two-thirds of the #1 songs of that year without ever looking to Google or Wiki. I couldn’t tell you the name of a girl I might have danced with at a junior high dance, but I can still recall the song was “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.

Mind you, there weren’t a lot of dances for young me. I was rather ill a lot of the time, and had by 1970s standards, a very over-protective mother…although by today’s standards, she was pretty lax. At least I walked or cycled to school myself instead of being driven to the door. But if it was raining, or cold, I probably wouldn’t be going out with friends to hang out on the weekend – “you’d get sick.” So I was home (with chain-smoking adults) and prone to lots of asthma attacks and bouts of pneumonia. Things like reading, looking outside at the birds coming to the feeder and music took on an import to me that many wouldn’t be able to relate to. Music especially.

Both my parents liked music, and every vague memory I have of being very young seems to have included music somewhere in the background. One of my first memories was listening to Sgt.Pepper and marveling in the weird but delightful sounds coming from the big wooden-cabinet stereo in the living room, while being dazzled by the funny-looking cover of the record. I can’t say whether it was my Mom or my brother who had the album… my Mom loved the Beatles and my older brother was a rocker as long as I can remember. One time just after he was old enough to drive, my Dad let him drive the car home most of the way from a family Florida vacation. He played Wish You Were Here on 8-track for almost the entire ride. It took some years for me to be able to listen to that with happy ears, I can tell you!  Pop, Beatles, Glen Campbell, some old-school country now and again… there always seemed to be music on in the house when I was little.

Around when I was five, I was given a little transistor radio. Might have been for my birthday, might have been for Christmas. I can’t remember. What I do remember is that little black plastic, mono radio with its’ rotating dial and tiny earbud let me listen to my own music…and life was never the same. And here, I feel very lucky because I grew up near Toronto, Canada… so I got to mature listening to two of the coolest radio stations on the continent…CHUM when I was a kid, and CFNY as I grew towards adulthood.

The first station I seemed to find on that little transistor was 1050 CHUM. A Toronto “hits” station that was by far the most-listened to station in the entire country at the time. It had been around since, well about since Noah went looking for two giraffes and two hornets ( did you really have to take them…but I digress!) but one which had switched to rock and pop before the curve, in 1957. “All Shook Up” was the first song they played apparently, and their first #1 song. Madonna’s “Live to Tell” was its final one, 29 years later before it changed formats (the station still exists but is now talk sports apparently) so it covered my early school and junior high years. My tuner rarely swayed back then, even though my radios got better and better through the ’70s, to a big transistor with a big built-in speaker to one of those only-in-the-70s white, plastic stereos with rounded corners and a turntable on top. And I put that to use; while other kids were spending their allowances on chocolate bars or comic books, I was saving my coins til we went to the mall and I could buy “Chevy Van” or “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” as singles. I still remember the first LP I bought – Elton John’s Greatest Hits. Nearly 50 years later, that still seems like a pretty decent place to start.

chumchart

CHUM was a pretty conventional “top 40” station, even though it actually had a “top 30”. And a cool thing about that was they actually published it weekly… I’d stop by the basement of Eatons and go to the records and pick up a little folder with the top 30 songs listed inside, as the picture shows. And take a look at that, a fairly typical example of one. Rock – how ’bout BTO or Rick Derringer? Country, dare you say? Umm, Tom T. Hall, John Denver. Cool pop? Elton John, Wings. Disco? It’s there. In fact, CHUM let us hear pretty much everything that was hot in the decade from Motown to Meco to McCartney. It was one of the great things about the decade, its music (which Max nicely reminded us last week with his 70s AM Radio series) and radio before it became too formulated and narrow in playlists. Plus, it mixed in a fair bit of Canadian content. That helped the homegrown artists and let us hear even more of a range of music. The world knew Anne Murray and BTO but we knew Wednesday (from my hometown, their biggest hit being a cover of “Last Kiss”) and Edward Bear too. Years before he was writing “Black Velvet” for his girlfriend Alannah Myles, we knew Christopher Ward as a decent singer of soft-rock ballads (www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E1VgsoS6i4 ) thanks to CHUM.

One thing Toronto was great for – many say best in North America – was being open to new sounds and “obscure” British music. By 1980, CHUM’s list of #1 songs included some classic rock mega-names – Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Pink Floyd – but also things like “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors and “Making Plans for Nigel” by XTC. That might have been inspired a bit by the second great station that I lived with – CFNY.

cfny

CFNY-FM was a station started in the late-’70s in “the little yellow farmhouse” in the outer suburbs. It’s reach was only a few miles at first; it’s nickname “the Spirit of Radio”… yes the one and the same name Rush wrote a song about. It concentrated on finding and playing great music other stations ignored. If you were going to hear the Damned, solo Peter Gabriel or Depeche Mode years before other people would in Canada, it was going to be on CFNY. As time went by though the station relocated, bought more powerful transmistors and was broadcasting to half a million regular listeners from the CN Tower. And making bands like the Psychedelic Furs and The Smths huge, arena-selling artists in Toronto. Such was their sway in the area that soon other stations began copying them to some degree. Not many hard rock stations were playing A Flock of Seagulls or “music at work” stations The Stranglers, but in Toronto they were. They had to to compete. Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually liked Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, even Madonna and I did hear them, once in awhile turning over to a hit station, or watching Much Music (our version of MTV) but by listening to so much CFNY I found incredible music by artists most elsewhere in North America never heard of – It’s Immaterial, Black (Liverpool singer Colin Vearncombe), (www.youtube.com/watch?v=koRT3HEmre4 )

Sinead O’Connor long before she flipped her wig and became a Saturday Night Live punchline.  And as with CHUM, CFNY highlighted a lot of great Canadian acts. A couple of them went on to become national heroes with a lengthy string of platinum records at home… while remaining anonymous outside the Great White North. Blue Rodeo and Tragically Hip. The latter had very Canadian-oriented lyrics that made them so endeared the Prime Minister attended their final concert… which was televised nationwide on the national network! The former mixed country and rock seamlessly to create a great music that at the time defied labels – alt country? Country rock? Later it would probably be described as one of the early examples of “Americana” music (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqa4YzKPrFw ), following the traditions of The Band before them. Something we took to by the millions up there… but wouldn’t likely have ever heard were it not for that one station championing them in the early days. See an example of one of their year-end charts below.

When I was six or seven, and coughing and my parents were fighting, I could be in my room listening to Jim Gold or the Doobie Brothers on that transistor radio…and feel kind of happy. A decade or so later, I didn’t fit in that well in many places but when I went to the indie record store and picked up the latest import 12” Depeche Mode single, I was everyone else’s equal… the equivalent of a Sheldon in Stuart’s comic book shop on Big Bang Theory. Music was my friend.

It still is, and I feel priviledged to be able to help you discover some of it, and make some human friends all the while doing so. Thanks again Max, for giving me this space today.

Velvet Underground – There She Goes Again

Being a fan of bands like this is like being in a secret club. When you do find a person who knows Big Star, The Velvet Underground, or any other band like that…you usually have found a friend.

In the 80s a buddy of mine had some Velvet Underground albums (same one with Big Star albums) and I loved what I heard. After I started to know some of their songs, I wanted to talk to other people about them…most people I talked to never knew who I was talking about. Lou Reed they knew but not this band. That is when I learned what a cult band was…after being introduced to Big Star and Velvet Underground by the same person…I’ll never be able to thank him enough.

This song was on their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico it was released in 1967. Lou Reed wrote There She Goes Again. The lyrics to this song must have sounded outrageous to the listeners in 1967. The album only charted at #129 in the Billboard 100 and that would be the best charting LP of all of their 5 original albums.

Their compilation album VU did peak at #85 in 1985.

The band got its name from the 1963 paperback book of the same title. Cover quote on the book: “Here is an incredible book. It will shock and amaze you. But as a documentary on the sexual corruption of our age, it is a must for every thinking adult.”

It came with an introduction by Louis Berg, M.D. Cover price: sixty cents. Lou Reed called it “the funniest dirty book he’d ever read.

The Velvet Underground – “Velvet Underground” by Michael Leigh / 1963 Book  The Band Took Their Name From

From Songfacts

“There She Goes Again” is the 8th track from the Velvet Underground’s debut album, reaching up the Billboard Hot 100 charts at… oh, wait, the Velvet Underground never charted. However as Velvet Underground songs go, this one is perhaps the most mainstream-sounding.

The lyrics more than make up for the ear-friendly notes, however, when you realize that this song is about a woman falling into prostitution. And in fact it does so with gritty references to being on her knees and walking the streets – maybe not so shocking today, but monocle-popping in 1967.

On December 11, 1965, the Velvets appeared at the Summit High School Auditorium for one of their first paid gigs, alongside two other bands since long forgotten. Their set began with this song, then went to “Venus In Furs,” and finished with “Heroin.” At a high school. Sterling Morrison later recounted in a 1983 interview that a “murmur of surprise” changed to “a roar of disbelief” and then to “a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment” over the course of their three-song set.

Musically, this song does borrow from Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike” – give it a listen. It’s even more obvious of an influence if you listen to the Rolling Stones cover on the Out of Our Heads album – there’s the guitar riff and the pronounced stops.

That album cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico – have you ever thought about how, if you peel off the sticker, the revealed banana is pink? Isn’t that an… interesting color choice for a… peeled banana? It’s almost like Andy Warhol was trying to convey some subtle Freudian signal to us. Pink banana.

There She Goes Again

There she goes again (There she goes again)
She’s out on the streets again (There she goes again)
She’s down on her knees, my friend (There she goes again)
But you know she’ll never ask you please again (There she goes again)

Now take a look, there’s no tears in her eyes
She won’t take it from just any guy, what can you do (There she goes again)
You see her walkin’ on down the street (There she goes again)
Look at all your friends she’s gonna meet (There she goes again)
You better hit her

There she goes again (There she goes)
She’s knocked out on her feet again (There she goes)
She’s down on her knees, my friend (There she goes)
But you know she’ll never ask you please again (There she goes)

Now take a look, there’s no tears in her eyes
Like a bird, you know she would fly, what can you do (There she goes)
You see her walkin’ on down the street (There she goes)
Look at all your friends that she’s gonna meet (There she goes)
You better hit her

Now take a look, there’s no tears in her eyes
Like a bird, you know she will fly, fly, fly away (Fly, fly, fly)
See her walking on down the street
Look at all your friends that she’s gonna meet

She’s gonna bawl and shout, she’s gonna work it
She’s gonna work it out, bye bye
Bye by by by by by bye baby
She’s all right

Nazareth – Love Hurts

I owned Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog on 8-track tape (a book about 8-tracks from Deke) that was given to me as a kid. I still remember that CLICK during the title song. I expect to hear it when I listen to it today.  The only version I knew of Love Hurts was Nazareth for the longest time. Later I found out it has been covered by many people including The Everly Brothers.

I saw Nazareth in the early 80s. Dan McCafferty’s voice was rough, loud, and great. Instead of talking to the audience he screamed through a very hot mic…but they were awesome. The opened up for Billy Squire but I would have loved to seem them headline.

The album this song was on was Hair of the Dog. It would be Nazareth’s biggest album. The album peaked at #17 in the Billboard Album Charts and #20 in Canada in 1975.

Nazareth released Love Hurts as a single late in 1974. Surprisingly, it tanked, but in April 1975 it became a hit in South Africa, prompting their label, A&M, to release it in America. It took a while, but radio stations in Texas started playing the song, and others around the country gradually followed suit.

The song peaked at #1 in Canada and #8 in the Billboard 100 and #41 in the UK. Nazareth got their name from the first line of the Band’s “The Weight” – “I pulled into Nazareth…”

The Everly Brothers may have been the first to cover it, but they never released the song as a single. They planned to release this as a single, but industry politics got in the way. The group was managed by Wesley Rose, who was part owner of the publishing company Acuff-Rose. After a string of hits for Cadence Records, they left for Warner Bros. in 1960, and continued to make hits but Rose wanted them to release singles for which Acuff-Rose owned the publishing, and when the duo recorded covers of “Lucille” and “Temptation” (a song from 1933), he protested, leading to a split and a legal dispute. Rose had another one of his clients, Roy Orbison, record “Love Hurts” and released it as the B-side to his #1 hit “Running Scared” in 1961.

Don Everly: “Wesley covered us with Roy Orbison, which was outlandishly selfish,” Don Everly said in Walk Right Back: The Everly Brothers On Warner Bros. “The arrangement was ours, and it was written for us. We couldn’t release it as a single because we didn’t know if Acuff-Rose would license it or not because we were in a lawsuit with them. It got that bitter.”

Pete Aginew Nazareth bassist: “We all loved the song. We often covered songs that we liked that we used to listen to on tape. Every now and then, we’d just go back and try to do something with one of these things. If you could change it and make it yours, we’d do it in the studio and see if we could do something about it. When we did Love Hurts, I believe there were 42 different versions recorded of it. The one we used to listen to was Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, off the “Grievous Angel” [1974] album. We used to have that in our van and we loved the song. […] We recorded “Love Hurts” as a b-side and that’s how we saw it. Of course, when I hear it now, it’s probably one of the best rock ballads of all time and definitely the vocal is in the top three.”

From Songfacts

Nazareth made this song a hit, but it was originally released by the Everly Brothers on their 1960 album A Date With The Everly Brothers. Like their heartbreak hit from 1957, “Bye Bye Love,” it was written by Boudleaux Bryant.

Young love is hot with passion, but it burns you when it’s hot. The guy in this song has just made this discovery, which is a revelation of sorts – all those singing the praises of love are fools who will soon be burned, as love is just a lie made to make you blue.

The original Everly Brothers version runs 2:23 and is delivered in their distinctive, pleasing harmonies. The Nazareth version is 3:03, with sandpaper vocals by lead singer Dan McCafferty screamed out as if he’s falling into the pit of despair.

The group is from Scotland and had three UK hits under their belts when 
Nazareth’s Stateside success was short lived: “Holiday” reached #87 in 1980, and “Love Leads To Madness” went to #105 in 1982, but none of their other songs charted there.

The album version runs 3:52, with a guitar solo by Manny Charlton that is not on the 3:03 single.

By the time Nazareth brought this song to life, the Everly Brothers had been split for three years. When they re-formed in 1983, they added the song to their setlists for the first time, starting with their reunion concert at Royal Albert Hall, which was released as a live album. In later years, it sometimes seemed like they were singing it to each other on stage, as their relationship had clearly soured.

The Everly Brothers recorded a new version on their 1965 album Rock’n Soul. Other artists to release it include Ray Peterson, Jimmy Webb, and Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris. Jim Capaldi is the only other artist to chart with the song; he took it to #97 US in December 1975.

***A Real 8-Track Museum in Dallas Texas***

Love Hurts

Love hurts

Love scars

Love wounds and marks

Any heart not tough or strong enough

To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain

Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain

Love hurts

Ooh love hurts

I’m young

I know

But even so

I know a thing or two, I learned from you

I really learned a lot, really learned a lot

Love is like a flame, it burns you when it’s hot

Love hurts

Ooh love hurts

Some fools think

Of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness

Some fools fool themselves, I guess

They’re not foolin’ me

I know it isn’t true I know it isn’t true

Love is just a lie made to make you blue

Love hurts

Ooh love hurts

Ooh love hurts

I know it isn’t true

I know it isn’t true

Love is just a lie made to make you blue

Love hurts

Ooh love hurts

Ooh, love hurts, ooh

Byrds – Mr. Spaceman

After I graduated, I purchased the Byrds Greatest Hits and this one caught my attention immediately. It continued to build my love for the Rickenbacker 12 string electric guitar.

Now, this is some cool hype. The release of the single was accompanied by a spoof press announcement from the Byrds’ co-manager, Eddie Tickner, stating that he had taken out a one-million-dollar insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London against his clients being kidnapped by extraterrestrial visitors.

This song was on their Fifth Dimension album. With this song, you could almost hear Sweetheart of the Rodeo coming around the corner. Mr. Spaceman was written by Roger McGuinn. This was their third album, and it was recorded shortly after Gene Clark left the band. When he left, it left a songwriting hole in the band. McGuinn and David Crosby tried to step up and fill the void, but they still had to have four cover songs on the album.

The album peaked at #24 in the Billboard Album Charts and #27 in the UK in 1966.  Mr. Spaceman peaked at #36 in the Billboard 100.

Despite its country-style backing with a touch of psychedelia…it was called “space rock” in the press. Some critics have said it was one of the earliest examples of country rock.

The first video below has Gram Parsons who didn’t join the band until 2 years after this song was released. It was filmed at the Roman Colosseum while the Byrds were in town to play the first International European Pop Festival in 1968.

In that video, we see original Byrds Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman joined by new members Gram Parsons, Kevin Kelley, and Douglas Dillard.

Roger McGuinn:I was interested in astronomy and the possibility of connecting with extraterrestrial life and I thought that it might work the other way round, if we tried to contact them. I thought that the song being played on the air might be a way of getting through to them. But even if there had been anybody up there listening, they wouldn’t have heard because I found out later that AM airwaves diffuse into space too rapidly.”

The Byrds with Gram Parsons video

Mr. Spaceman

Woke up this morning with light in my eyes
And then realized it was still dark outside
It was a light coming down from the sky
I don’t know who or why

Must be those strangers that come every night
Those saucer shaped lights put people uptight
Leave blue green footprints that glow in the dark
I hope they get home alright

Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along
I won’t do anything wrong
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along for a ride

Woke up this morning, I was feeling quite weird
Had flies in my beard, my toothpaste was smeared
Over my window, they’d written my name
Said, “So long, we’ll see you again”

Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along
I won’t do anything wrong
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along for a ride

Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along
I won’t do anything wrong
Hey, Mr. Spaceman
Won’t you please take me along for a ride

Ricky Nelson – Hello Mary Lou

I went through a Ricky Nelson phase when I graduated in 1985. I purchased a greatest hits package and was learning more songs by him. I wanted to go see him perform that year and I kept waiting for him to appear somewhere because I heard he was touring. This was before the internet and you had to look at the newspapers for any announcements and listen to the radio. Musicians would play at places and you would never know sometimes.

I never got a chance to see him because on December 31, 1985 his chartered jet crashed killing him and six other passengers.

Ricky was a rockabilly guy and a good one. He gets lost in the shuffle because he was a huge teenage actor at the time on his family’s show…The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

This was part of a super single. In America, this was released on the B side of Travelin’ Man, which peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100. At the time, most artists put hastily produced or unwanted songs on the flip sides of singles, but Nelson took his B-sides seriously, figuring the singles would sell better if he did. The Beatles would do that later.

This song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #1 in New Zealand,  and #2 in the UK despite being on the B side in 1961.

The song was written by Gene Pitney and Cayet Mangiaracina. Cavet was given credit later because his music pubishing company sued for plagrism because of the similiar titled Merry, Merry Lou.

From Songfacts

One of Ricky Nelson’s most popular songs, in “Hello Mary Lou” he gets a case of love at first sight, as she steals his heart at first glance. It’s a very simple tune but quite memorable, with 14 mentions of the melodious Mary Lou packed into a 2:17 running time. The song begins and ends with the chorus, with another between the two verses.

There are two credited writers of this song: Gene Pitney and Cayet Mangiaracina.

Pitney is a rock legend whose biggest hits as an artist – “Only Love Can Break A Heart” and “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance” were written by the Burt Bacharach-Hal David team. Pitney also wrote some hits for other artists, including “He’s A Rebel” for The Crystals and “Rubber Ball” for Bobby Vee. He wrote and recorded “Hello Mary Lou,” but he had another single out so his record company didn’t release it. Meanwhile, his publisher shopped the song around to various artists, including Ricky Nelson, whose version became a huge hit.

In 1957, a New Orleans group called The Sparks released a song called “Mary, Mary Lou,” which goes:

Mary, Mary Lou
Why must you do
The things that you always do

In this song, Mary Lou runs off to marry another man, leaving our hero heartbroken.

Cayet Mangiaracina, who was a member of The Sparks, wrote it in 1954 and the band started playing it at their gigs. Mangiaracina, who said there was no Mary Lou and that the lyric just sounded good, left the band in 1956, but the following year they won a “battle of the bands” competition that earned them a deal with Decca Records to record the song and release it as a single. The Sparks version went nowhere, but Bill Haley and Sam Cooke both covered it, Haley in 1957 and Cooke the following year.

After “Hello Mary Lou” became a hit, Cayet Mangiaracina’s publisher, Champion Music, took legal action and got a share of the song, with Mangiaracina listed as a co-writer along with Pitney. Mangiaracina became priest and claimed to give royalties from the song to the Southern Dominican Province, where he served.

Pitney, who died in 2006, never spoke of Mangiaracina or the lawsuit.

This was a huge hit in Australia, where it went to #1. In the UK, it was also very popular, reaching #2.

Nelson’s father Ozzie, a popular bandleader and star (along with Ricky and the rest of his family) of the TV series The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, played tenor guitar on this song. The solo is by Nelson’s guitarist James Burton, who later joined up with Elvis Presley.

Gene Pitney claimed to be baffled by this song’s success. “I’ve spent a lifetime trying to analyze why it was as big as it was,” he said.

Several acts have done popular covers of this song, including Brownsville Station, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Creedence Clearwater Revival. When Ricky Nelson entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, he was inducted by John Fogerty.

Nelson’s voice sounds very full and ambient thanks to overdubs in the studio. Producer Jimmie Haskell joked that he used “15 layers of overdubbing.”

Queen played this on their 1986 tour, their last with Freddie Mercury. It was part of a tribute to American rock from the ’50s that also included “Tutti Frutti.”

Hello Mary Lou

“Hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart
Sweet Mary Lou
I’m so in love with you

I knew Mary Lou
We’d never part
So hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart”

You passed me by one sunny day
Flashed those big brown eyes my way
And ooh I wanted you forever more
Now I’m not one that gets around
I swear my feet stuck to the ground
And though I never did meet you before

I said “hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart
Sweet Mary Lou
I’m so in love with you

I knew Mary Lou
We’d never part
So hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart”

I saw your lips I heard your voice
Believe me I just had no choice
Wild horses couldn’t make me stay away
I thought about a moonlit night
Arms around you, good an’ tight
All I had to see for me to say

I said “hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart
Sweet Mary Lou
I’m so in love with you

I knew Mary Lou
We’d never part
So “hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart
Yes, hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart
Well, hello Mary Lou
Goodbye heart”

Meatloaf (1947-2022) – Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

I had this one in my scheduled folder and heard the news this morning.

I grew up listening to AM radio with my sister and you couldn’t help but hear this song. When I found out he passed away at 74 years old I was saddened because he seemed like such a good guy.

He was a staple of late 1970’s radio. I was not the biggest fan but the guy was different and multitalented. I still watch the The Rocky Horror Picture Show once in a while and he is great in that.

He was born Marvin Lee Aday . There are many stories on how he got his nickname. His football coach, his dad, and one story I found…which I don’t believe goes like this. When he was a child, Aday was messing around with some friends, and he bragged that his head was so thick and strong that a Volkswagen could run over it and he’d be fine. Another kid said no way, that his head would “turn into meatloaf.” Supposedly Aday put his head on the ground and was run over but a volkswagon…and nothing happened.

Meatloaf 2016:  “I was born bright red, so the doctor suggested that they should keep me in the hospital for a few days. My dad actually spoke like this…” “’So, uh, I want you to name my son there ― because he looks like nine-and-a-half pounds of ground chuck ― I want you to put a name tag on the front of that plastic crib and it say ‘Meat’ on it.’”

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad is a good pop song and I still listen to it. Jim Steinman wrote this song after his friend, the actress Mimi Kennedy, suggested that he write a ballad along the lines of the Elvis Presley song “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” She was implying she was implying he write something simple but Steinman, as his other songs show, didn’t work that way.  This is one of the most straightforward Steinman songs that I know about.

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad was off of the Bat Out OF Hell album and it was huge. The album peaked at #14 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in New Zealand, and #9 in the UK in 1977.

The song peaked at #11 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, #9 in New Zealand, and #32 in the UK.

Todd Rundgren produced the album. On this song, he used the other three members of his band Utopia: Kasim Sulton on bass, Willie Wilcox on drums, and Roger Powell on synthesizer. Rundgren played guitar and also sang backup on this song.

I found a story a few years ago about where he was when JFK was assisinated. He was at Parkland Hospital when JFK arrived. I have the video down below of him telling the story…listen if you have time…it’s very interesting.

From Songfacts

“Two out of three ain’t bad” is a trite cliché often used for comic effect. (“How was your date?” “He was tall, handsome, and incredibly boring.” “Well, two out of three ain’t bad.)

Jim Steinman, who was Meat Loaf’s songwriter, turned the saying into a song about the elusive nature of love. The song begins with Meat Loaf getting kicked to the curb by his girl, presumably because he won’t tell her he loves her. He makes the case that even though he will never love her, he’s good enough, since after all he does want her and need her, and happy endings are only for fairy tales.

We then learn that his commitment issues step from a previous relationship – one with the only woman he will ever love. She once left him with the same explanation: I want you, I need you, but I’ll never love you.

In America, this was the second single released from the Bat Out Of Hell album. The first single, “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth,” didn’t chart, but by the time “Two Out of Three” was issued in March 1978, the album was picking up steam and the song rose up the charts, peaking at #11 on July 8.

The single was edited down to 3:58 from the 5:23 album version.

This song got a big boost when Meat Loaf performed it on Saturday Night Live on March 25, 1978.

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad

Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t getting us nowhere
I told you everything I possibly can
There’s nothing left inside of here

And maybe you can cry all night
But that’ll never change the way that I feel
The snow is really piling up outside
I wish you wouldn’t make me leave here

I poured it on and I poured it out
I tried to show you just how much I care
I’m tired of words and I’m too hoarse to shout
But you’ve been cold to me so long
I’m crying icicles instead of tears

And all I can do is keep on telling you
I want you
I need you
But there ain’t no way
I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You’ll never drill for oil on a city street
I know you’re looking for a ruby
In a mountain of rocks
But there ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding
At the bottom of a Cracker Jack box

I can’t lie
I can’t tell you that I’m something I’m not
No matter how I try
I’ll never be able to give you something
Something that I just haven’t got

There’s only one girl that I have ever loved
And that was so many years ago
And though I know I’ll never get her out of my heart
She never loved me back, ooh I know
I remember how she left me on a stormy night
She kissed me and got out of our bed
And though I pleaded and I begged her
Not to walk out that door
She packed her bags and turned right away

And she kept on telling me
She kept on telling me
She kept on telling me
I want you
I need you
But there ain’t no way
I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
I want you
I need you
But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad
Don’t be sad
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t getting us nowhere

Adding Ads on WordPress

In late December I added Ads to my site. I have thought about just having them around long enough to make $100 (my subscription is $90 but it doesn’t pay until you reach $100)… I could then stop them and start them again next January.

Please let me know if they are obnoxious and I will tone them down. At the rate that they are going…I’ll have it by 4-5 months. $90 a year is not a big deal, but it’s the principle of it… it would be nice to let the site pay for itself.

I don’t want it to be a chore to read what I have…that defeats the whole purpose. Making a profit or any money has never been the motivating idea behind this site…or I would be homeless! I do it for the love of the music, movies, books, tv shows, and pop culture in general.

The reason I don’t do the free subscription of WordPress is that I like some of the features the Premium edition offers. I wanted to have more space to store pictures and other things.

Please tell me if they are in the way and I will stop some of them from running…and if they still get too much in the way…I’ll just stop them altogether. If you have time check it out and give me some feedback if you can.

Thank You

Max

Zombies – This Will Be Our Year

Next to Auld Lang Syne this is my favorite New Years Song. A favorite of mine from a favorite band of mine. Everyone… I wish you a Happy New Year in 2022.

You didn’t have to read my blog but you did and I really appreciate it…I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting in 2021.

This song sounds like it should have been a hit but it was never pushed as a single at the time. It was the B side to Butcher’s Tale  (Western Front 1914) which is an experimental song and was a big surprise to the band that it was picked as the first single. Both are from the great album Odessey and Oracle in 1968. There are several songs on this album that could have been in the charts but Time of the Season was the only one that made it and it was a year after the album was released.

Bruce Eder of AllMusic gave the album five stars out of five, calling it “one of the flukiest (and best) albums of the 1960s, and one of the most enduring long-players to come out of the entire British psychedelic boom”.

On recording Odessey and Oracle….Rod Argent

“We had the chance of going in and putting things down in the way we wanted people to hear them and we had a new studio, we walked in just after The Beatles had walked out [after recording Sgt. Pepper]. We were the next band in. They’d left some of their instruments behind … I used John Lennon’s Mellotron, that’s why it’s all over Odessey and Oracle. We used some of their technological advances … we were using seven tracks, and that meant we could overdub for the first time. And it meant that when I played the piano part I could then overdub a Mellotron part, and it meant we could have a fuller sound on some of the songs and it means that at the moment the tour we’re doing with Odessey and Oracle it means we’re actually reproducing every note on the original record by having extra player with us as well.”

This Will Be A Year

The warmth of your love
Is like the warmth of the sun
And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

Don’t let go of my hand 
Now darkness has gone
And this will be our year 
Took a long time to come

And I won’t forget 
The way you held me up when I was down
And I won’t forget the way you said, 
“Darling I love you”
You gave me faith to go on

Now we’re there and we’ve only just begun
This will be our year
Took a long time to come

The warmth of your smile
Smile for me, little one
And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

You don’t have to worry
All your worried days are gone
This will be our year
Took a long time to come

And I won’t forget 
The way you held me up when I was down
And I won’t forget the way you said, 
“Darling I love you”
You gave me faith to go on

Now we’re there and we’ve only just begun
And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

Yeah we only just begun
Yeah this will be our year
Took a long time to come

Paul McCartney – Listen To What The Man Said

This was one of those songs that sounded so good over AM radio…and I guess still does if you can catch it on AM. It’s a song I forget about from time to time. I was reminded when I saw Paul in 2010 and 2014. He just keeps playing songs you remember and you think…did this guy write every hit of the 20th century?

It takes me back to when my sister would skip school (she is eight years older) and take me with her…maybe that is the reason I can’t spell worth a dam. Mom never found out about those days or my sister would have been grounded forever.

It’s far from his best song but it’s a good pop hit.  It was recorded for the album Venus and Mars. It was a song which McCartney had high hopes for, but early recordings did not live up to the song’s potential. The missing indgredient was Jazz musician Tom Scott’s sax solo. They ended up keeping the first take.

Listen To What The Man Said peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #6 in the UK, and #8 in New Zealand in 1975. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 in New Zealand.

Paul’s impression of Leo Nocentelli, the guitarist for The Meters…many people thought he was imitating Wolfman Jack.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were talking seriously about getting together during the Venu and Mars sessions in New Orleans but John reunited with Yoko and didn’t come. This was after John’s “lost weekend” when he was separated from Yoko. May Pang (his girlfriend at the time) verified this.

Paul McCartney:It was one of the songs we’d gone in with high hopes for. Whenever I would play it on the piano, people would say ‘Oh, I like that one.’ But when we did the backing track, we thought we didn’t really get it together at all.

Someone said [famous jazz musician] ‘Tom Scott lives near here.’ We said, yeah, give him a ring, see if he turns up, and he turned up within half an hour! There he was, with his sax, and he sat down in the studio playing through. The engineer was recording it. We kept all the notes he was playing casually. He came in and I said ‘I think that’s it.’ He said ‘Did you record that?’ I said yes, and we listened to it back. No one could believe it, so he went out and tried a few more, but they weren’t as good. He’d had all the feel on this early take, the first take.

My stuff is never ‘a comment from within’. Basically I’m saying: ‘Listen to the basic rules, don’t goof off too much’. But if you say ‘The Man’, it can mean God, it can mean ‘Women, listen to your man’, it can mean so many things. Later I did a song with Michael Jackson called ‘The Man’ and again, it’s quite nice leaving things ambiguous: I’m sure for Michael, probably ‘The Man’ meant God.

Listen To What The Man Said

Alright, okay
Very good to see you down in New Orleans, man
Yeah here it is
Yeah, yeah

Any time, any day
You can hear the people say
That love is blind
Well, I don’t know but I say love is kind

Soldier boy kisses girl
Leaves behind a tragic world
But he won’t mind, he’s in love
And he says love is fine

Oh yes, indeed we know
That people will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

And love is fine for all we know
For all we know, our love will grow
That’s what the man said

So won’t you listen to what the man said
He said

Ah, take it away

Oh yes, indeed we know
That people will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

And love is fine for all we know
For all we know, our love will grow
That’s what the man said

So won’t you listen to what the man said
He said

Oh yes, indeed we know
That people will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

And love is fine for all we know
For all we know, our love will grow
That’s what the man said

So won’t you listen to what the man said
He said

The wonder of it all, baby
The wonder of it all, baby
The wonder of it all, baby, yeah yeah yeah

Mike Nesmith (1942-2021) and the Monkees influence

I had something else planned to post but I found out that Mike Nesmith passed away. Nesmith was a big inspiration to me. There is no question…Nesmith would have made it without the Monkees…he was a talented writer, actor, producer, novelist and a very good Texas guitar player.  He wrote some great country rock songs, Elephant Parts, and even a hit for Linda Ronstadt’s band The Stone Poneys…Different Drum.

While watching the reruns of the Monkees I bugged my mom to buy me a green wool hat with buttons but you can’t buy them off the shelf. She got me a green stocking cap…it wasn’t the same but I was happy.  When the Monkees are mentioned some people cringe but they still have a place in my 5-year-old heart…plus how many bands can say that Jimi Hendrix opened up for them? Although that might be the worst pairing ever.

I’m not saying they deserve to be remembered with the best bands ever. Not at all but they do need to be recognized for their influence on a couple of generations. They influenced a lot of kids to form bands…mostly because of their weekly prime-time television show and ensuing hit singles. In the 80s they had a big comeback with a tour and massive airplay on MTV… I got to see them then…without Nesmith though.

They were a lot of fun. I thought WOW… I must be in a band one day. Little did I know that being in a band was not living in a cool place at the beach and having adventures at every turn…not to mention everyone getting along…it just doesn’t happen that way…but it is a special feeling being in a band with an us against them attitude and a great growing experience.

After I went through the Monkees faze I discovered the Beatles, The Who, Stones, Kinks…anything British but I still have a soft spot for some of the old Monkees songs.

The Monkees basically took A Hard Days Night movie humor and made a television show around a life of a mid-sixties rock band. Kids wanted to form bands after seeing them romp around the screen with girls…who wouldn’t want that gig? Michael Stipe from REM has said  he was influenced by them.

They were not allowed to play on their first couple of albums…only sing…The Monkees were put together by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider for Screen Gems with two real musicians in the band…Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork… Micky Dolenz (he did sing in cover bands before The Monkees) and Davy Jones could sing and act…. and Mickey quickly learned drums.

When news came out that they didn’t play on their albums they were roundly criticized in the 1960s. They fought Don Kershner who controlled what they sang…. and won… The funny thing is many sixties pop bands didn’t play on their records and the Monkees actually started to play their own instruments on their third album (Headquarters)  and writing some songs for every album afterward.

In the second season of their tv show they started to gain more control. Some of those last episodes are very pot influenced…especially the episode called “The Frodis Caper”… It is surreal and broke the fourth wall…the second season is worth a watch…all of them are fun but the 1st season is more formulaic.

I still like many songs by them…anything written by Michael Nesmith (famous also for Elephant Parts), Pleasant Valley Sunday, Randy Scouse Git, Steppin Stone and Saturday’s Child.

All in all, they ended up singing and playing on some of the best-known sixties pop-rock hits.

I’ll just add one more thing…he Monkees belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

….

December 8, 1980…Lennon

Damn this date. Every Dec 8th I can’t help but think of where I was at when I heard.  Get Back only heightened the anger and confusion over what happened.

It’s odd to think the Beatles had only been broken up for 10 years when this happened…to a 13 year old at the time…that was a lifetime but in reality it’s nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is a video of James Taylor telling on how he met the killer a day before Lennon was murdered.

Creature Feature hosted by Sir Cecil Creape

No… this is not a goth punk band… but I will post a song from Han’s draft at 11 CST today.

This morning I wanted to share this memory of this fun local horror host. When I was a kid I thought Sir Cecil Creape was a little scary but a lot of fun. It was a gentle way for kids to be introduced to older horror movies.

If you didn’t grow up in Nashville in the 70s you will be thinking… who? I’m sure local stations in other areas had someone like this or maybe not. This was before cable, DVD’s, VHS, or personal computers.

Sir Cecil Creape was actually Russ McCown (film editor) playing the host that featured a  B horror movie from the 40s and 50s. The show was called Creature Feature and it was originally on between 1971-1973. They would rerun it through the seventies and that is when I caught him. It was on the NBC afflilate Channel 4 in Nashville. It would come on late at night. Creape would do different skits with a corny sense of humor and it worked. I thought the set was absolutely the coolest set I’d ever seen.

WSM (Channel 4) even created a Sir Cecil Creape Fan Club, which offered a poster and a cardboard mask perfect for terrorizing younger brothers and sisters, and the Boy Scouts of America Middle Tennessee Council issued a special “Sir Cecil’s Ghoul Patrol” patch.

They aimed the show at high schoolers and college students but soon children would want to stay up past their bedtime to watch it. I do remember t-shirts and buttons of Creape…and occasionally I still see a few around Nashville. Pat Sajak, long before hosting the Wheel of Fortune, assisted in the scripts.

In 1983 Russ McCown revisited Sir Cecil in the Phantom of the Opry on TNN for 13 episodes. I read where someone said he sounded like a Southern-fried Boris Karloff. That sounds right!

Dr. Gangrene's Mad Blog: Sir Cecil Creape T-shirt UpdatedDr. Gangrene's Mad Blog: Sir Cecil Creape - 1970s Nashville Horror Host

He was elected into the The official Horror Host Hall of Fame in 2015! Russ McCown passed away in 1998.