Rock Managers

An abbreviated look at some of the top managers in music.

 

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Brian Epstein – Beatles

With no experience, he took the rough young Beatles and made them bigger than Elvis. That was considered impossible before he did it. No one from England ever made it in America…he would change all of that. Some people complained that he cleaned the Beatles up too much but that is the only way they would have been accepted in America.

They opened the doors for all the other British acts to follow. Brian cared about the Beatles and it wasn’t all about the money. He made a few bad deals but he was in uncharted territory. I would take Brian over anyone in this list.

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Peter Grant –  Led Zeppelin

Peter was big, impressive, and intimidating. He was a former wrestler who would resort to violence if necessary. He changed the business of touring to favor the artist. He demanded 90% of the gate money which that was unheard of at the time.

He fiercely protected their music. Going to record stores and demanding if any bootleg albums or merchandise was there to hand it over. At concerts, he would douse water over recording equipment of bootleggers. Peter was loyal to Led Zeppelin and that cannot be denied.

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Albert Grossman – Bob Dylan – The Band – Janis Joplin

He was not liked in the folk community. He was all about commercial success for his artists and the folk fans called him Breadhead…Only in it for the money.  Albert protected Bob and helped him to succeed. After Bob, he went on to manage the Band and Janis Joplin.

He built a mini-empire in Bearsville, NY. A recording studio, restaurants, and houses.

This is what Bob Dylan said about his first meeting with Grossman.

 “He looked like Sydney Greenstreet from the film The Maltese Falcon, had an enormous presence, always dressed in a conventional suit and tie, and he sat at his corner table. Usually when he talked, his voice was loud like the booming of war drums. He didn’t talk so much as growl.”

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Colonel Tom Parker – Elvis

The Colonel previously worked at carnivals and described Elvis as his “attraction.” He took an incredible 50% of Elvis’s earnings during his career and after his death. Elvis never toured internationally and some say it was because Parker was an illegal immigrant in the U.S. from the Netherlands, lacked a passport and never became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

No one can say that the Colonel didn’t make Elvis money but he controlled everything in Elvis’s life. He planned the Army induction, movies, and then the comeback in Las Vegas. In the end, he kept an unhealthy Elvis working while he accumulated huge gambling debts.

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Kit Lambert – The Who

A flamboyant man with partner Chris Stamp managed the Who until the early seventies. Kit help shape their sound and image. Pete Townshend relied on him as an idea person. He helped Pete form the Tommy album as a rock opera and produced it as well.

Townshend has always maintained how important Kit was in his early songwriting. Lambert and Stamp were not great managers but they worked outside the box which is what the Who needed at the time.

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Allen Klein – The Stones and Beatles

Allen was a master at negotiating contracts. He had the two biggest bands in the world and wanted the Who in the 70s…but Pete Townshend knew his reputation and dodged his control. He negotiated the Stones and Beatles huge record deals but also ended up owning the rights to the Stones early catalog.

Later with the Beatles John, George and Ringo wanted Klein as their manager but Paul wanted his father in law Lee Eastman. The rest thought he would be biased on toward Paul. The other Beatles signed with Klein but Paul wisely did not sign.

John, George, and Ringo eventually soured on Allen Klein after many questionable actions by Klein. It took years to untangle the mess he made.

Quote from George on Allen Klein.

 “Because we were all from Liverpool, we favored people who were street people,” he said. “Lee Eastman was more like a class-conscious type of person. As John was going with Klein, it was much easier if we went with him too.” But he also noted that “years later, we formed a different opinion.”

 

 

 

 

Bob Dylan – Eat The Document

This was a film that covered Bob Dylan on his 1966 European tour backed up by the Hawks that eventually became The Band minus, Levon Helm. The film was to be shown on ABC television but ABC rejected and saying it was “incomprehensible” because Dylan himself was one of the editors and wanted the film to have more of an artistic feel.

It was filmed by D.A. Pennebaker who filmed Dylan’s 65 European tour when he played acoustically called Don’t Look Back. Don’t Look Back is terrific. This film is very disjointed. That is not saying I don’t like it. This is the Dylan period that probably is my favorite. The Hawks are raw and powerful and Dylan was

There are some highlights to this odd film. A spontaneous piano duet with Dylan and Johnny Cash, John Lennon and Bob Dylan very high riding around in a cab, and the famous concert where an audience member yells out “Judas” because of Dylan’s conversion to electric music. After the Judas remark, he proceeds to tell Robbie Robertson to play it loud and they kick off in a vicious “Like a Rolling Stone.” My favorite live version of that song. Those folk music fans were harsh.

The film is disjointed and frustrating to watch because some of the songs you want to see and hear are there…but only partly. You will be seeing Dylan performing something and then flash away to something else. Some of the concert footage and film from this ended up in the Martin Scorsese movie No Direction Home…I would recommend No Direction Home to everyone.

Bob was pale and nervous and there is no secret he was doing drugs heavily through this movie. After the tour, Dylan had a motorcycle wreck heard around the world and after he recovered he didn’t tour for years.

The cab ride with John Lennon is historical now. Both of them in sunglasses and Lennon trying to inject humor into the situation and Dylan is ok at first and then starts getting sick as the filming stops.

If you are a Dylan fan it’s worth a watch. I’m glad we have “No Direction Home” to see some clear film segments on that tour. Eat The Document has not been officially released but you can get a bootleg of it or watch most of it on youtube.

 

Frankie Miller – I Can’t Change It

I was watching Life On Mars when this song came on in an emotional scene. I’d never heard of the song before. I never heard of Frankie Miller before but what a singer. He wrote this song when he was 12 years old. Ray Charles ended up recording it also. Frankie’s voice plus this song is incredibly powerful.

Ray Charles did his usual fantastic job on it but I like Frankie’s stark arrangement. I can’t say enough about his voice. In some of his other songs, he reminds me of Bob Seger with even a little stronger voice. He wrote Ain’t Got No Money that Segar covered.

In 1994 while he was forming a band with Joe Walsh he had a brain aneurysm. He has fought back but sadly he can no longer perform.

If you don’t know much about him he is worth looking up.

Beatles Movies

Beatle Movies: A Hard Days Night, Help, Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be.

A Hard Day’s Night – The plot was the Beatles on their way to a television appearance and the chaos that happens on the way there. Fans are chasing them everywhere and this part was in real life identical. Throw in Paul’s movie grandfather and you have the movie. The film is rated in the top 100 of some movie lists. The sound track is great and the Beatles were natural comedians and they had a witty script. A Hard Day’s Night was very close to real life because it was partly written by someone who went on tour with the Beatles and wrote some first hand information.

The Beatles were compared to the Marx Brothers when the movie came out. This movie is where their image was set in the public’s eye…John the intellectual, Paul the cute one, George the quiet one and Ringo the funny one (all of them were funny) of course it wasn’t that simple in real life.

This is the best movie they made and it fit them perfectly. I was fortunate enough to see this at a movie theater when it was re-released in 2000. Seeing the movie they way it was shown in 1964 was a great experience.

Help – A religious cult lost a ring that they had to have for a sacrifice ritual… Guess who had the ring? Ringo of course… the ring would not come off of his hand so they made trips to various places to help Ringo including Scotland Yard and mad scientists. The film looks great restored with vivid color. The filming locations included England, Austria and the Bahamas. The cinematography of the movie was great.

This was my introduction to Beatles movies and although not critically acclaimed it still is a good movie. John didn’t think much of the movie…his quote was “it was like being a frog in a movie about clams.”…it is enjoyable all the same. I’ve probably watched it more than any of their movies.

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles making a colorful home movie is the best way to describe it. The music makes the movie. It was a psychedelic trip that most Beatles fans enjoy. Where else can you see a video of I Am the Walrus, Blue Jay Way and The Fool on the Hill? They play 4 wizards that…well…. they play 4 wizards. I have seen this movie multiple times and every time I think maybe I missed something previously and its better than I remember…no… except you get to see them in their psychedelic phase and above all else the music. I can’t say I don’t enjoy it but only a little at a time.

It has been restored with a “making of” included with it. I enjoyed the documentary more than the movie, It’s not for non Beatles fans but for Beatles fans its a fascinating look an interesting time for them. I have to admit I like scenes from this movie more than the whole movie like Lennon’s spaghetti scene I Am the Walrus scene… The ending with the tuxedos is pretty cool also.

Yellow Submarine – A beautiful animated movie with the Beatles looking for Pepperland. I saw this as a kid and was mesmerized by the colors and these strange talking characters. Most of the soundtrack are older songs and orchestrated music by George Martin. The Beatles didn’t even do the voices because they were not really interested but ended up loving the movie. They did appear at the end of the movie in person.

This movie is very enjoyable for kids and adults. I pull it out every year and watch it.  My favorite character is Jeremy who helps and hinders and is a unique character in the movie to say the least. The animation is terrific and ahead of it’s time. To some people this is their favorite Beatles movie. Watch this movie if you can… it is enjoyable.

Let It Be – A record of the Beatles breaking up. They stayed together for another year but this is a glimpse of the tensions that were happening. I’m a huge Beatles fan but it is hard watching this movie at times but I do like it. The first half is somewhat depressing but the second half lightens up when Billy Preston starts playing keyboards and they move the recording to the Apple headquarters. The rooftop scene is great and it is the last live performance of them and I would like to see the complete performance. Every time I watch I hope they will work it out… of course it won’t happen. You see George and Paul have a small fight and you see Yoko sticking to John like glue.

The music is great of course… from Let It Be to I Dig a Pony. You get the rawest Beatles performance since they played in Hamburg warts and all. I have a bootleg copy of this and it was actually released on laser disc but a blue ray release will not happen anytime soon because from what I’ve read the Harrison and Lennon (Yoko) estate does not want it released. I’ve also read where Paul and Ringo don’t like it and I’ve read where they don’t care. They have released so much…why not finish the story and release this…

It’s been so many years ago and it’s not like it hasn’t been documented that they were not getting along. This is for Beatles fans only.

 

 

Howard Cosell

Young people will not remember this man. He was a journalist, lawyer, and sportscaster and more (even a spot in a Woody Allen movie). Along with all of that, he was egotistical, insecure, annoying, opinionated, cruel, obnoxious, jealous, petty but yet I still liked the guy.  This man was once voted in a TV Guide poll as the most disliked and the most liked sportscaster of the time. He didn’t care who he upset and according to him he always would “tell it as it is”… He did elevate sports reporting that is now prevalent to this day.

He probably is most remembered for three things. He championed Muhammad Ali and when Ali refused the draft Howard stood by him. Helping boxing become a huge sport. Being Jewish he knew bigotry and always stood for equality. He is also remembered for being in the original Monday Night Football crew… He made it THE show to watch and the NFL owes him quite a bit. Whether you loved or hated him, you would tune in and watch.

The original MNF crew was Cosell, Don Meredith and Keith Jackson (to be replaced by Frank Gifford). I never understood Keith being replaced by Frank…Keith was by far the better broadcaster but Frank looked better for the women viewers. Howard never liked the thought of ex-jocks being sportscasters. He felt like they were taking over and called it jockocracy. Cosell and Meredith made a great team. Meredith didn’t give a care about the game and supplied the humor while the photographic memory of Cosell would rattle off stats without cheat sheets most of the time.

In 1974 during an MNF telecast, the crew were joined by John Lennon and Ronald Reagan. Cosell told Frank Gifford you take the governor and I’ll take the Beatle. Howard wanted to interview John because there were only 4 Beatles in the world but a lot of politicians. Lennon and Regan actually hit it off well while Reagan explained American Football (I would have loved to hear that conversation) to him. Cosell actually talked to John a few years later wanting him and the Beatles to regroup on a terrible show that Cosell was hosting…of course, Lennon politely refused.

Cosell and Ali were linked together for the rest of their lives. Ali would pick on Howard in front of cameras but Cosell loved the attention. Ali helped Cosell and Cosell helped Ali… two completely different people in all ways except both loving the limelight. Cosell’s most famous call? “Down goes Frazier” “Down goes Frazier”  “Down goes Frazier”

 

Only in the 1970s could this pairing happen

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When John was assassinated in 1980 Howard broke it to the world on MNF.

Howard faded out in the 80s but took shots at everyone in one of his tell-all books. Again he really didn’t care who he upset.

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton

Charlie and Buster were two of the best screen comedians ever to walk the earth. They both had similar upbringings. Buster and his family in American vaudeville. Charlie worked in British music halls. Charlie rose to stardom in silent movies in the 1910’s beginning with Keystone, Mutual (where he made his best short comedies)  Essanay and then he confounded United Artist with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and W. D. Griffith. After that Charlie went into full feature films.

Buster started silent shorts in 1917 with Roscoe Arbuckle. After Roscoe broke out on his own so did Buster….he did some more short films which were brilliant. He then went into full features. Buster was just so different than anyone else. He was so still while the world moved in chaos around him. He was a brilliant actor-director and also writer which he often didn’t take credit for doing. If Buster would have just made “The General” his place in film history would be cemented. The same can be said of Charlie Chaplin and his masterpiece “The Gold Rush.”

There was no competition between the two in popularity. Charlie won hands down over Buster and probably everyone else in comedy and drama. His character “The Tramp” was internationally loved. All in all Keaton was a better film maker. They were two different comedians. Chaplin would reach for pathos…sometimes a little too much. Keaton seemed much more real. Keaton’s site gags were incredible and sometimes dangerous to his health…like have a front of a building that weighed a ton (so it wouldn’t twist in the wind) fall on him with the upstairs opening clearing him around 2 inches on each side. He never smiled because it would have ruined his character. Both are worth watching and with Keaton’s films like Sherlock Jr…you wonder how he did some of the things he did with the primitive camera’s they used.

Both were funny men. The other big comedian was Harold Lloyd but he was more of an actor playing a comedian….he was really successful though… second to Chaplin in making money.

 

 

Charlie and Buster older both appear in Charlie’s Limelight.

Doctor Who…NOT Miss WHO

I have always loved Doctor Who. I remember it in the 1970s on PBS…Tom Baker was fantastic. The special effects were not great but it did NOT matter. As long as the story was conveyed that is all I cared about. They brought it back in 2005 and I’ve liked all the Doctors since then until now. Now they cast a woman as Doctor Who….I have nothing against women….I was raised by my Mom and sister and I have nothing but respect for women. It’s not about hating women…it’s about miscasting.

The BBC did it to be politically correct.  They didn’t care if it would be good for the show or not…it’s all about making certain people happy.

and this from the BBC:

It was always unlikely that the Doctor would continue to be white and male, especially as the BBC has committed itself to greater diversity on its programmes

but yet this also right before…

 

It should be about making the show better not for greater diversity. To me it’s about the same as a man being cast as Wonder Woman, A giant spider being cast as King Kong.

I would have been just as angry if they would have made the Doctor an American man. It doesn’t fit.

Well I have all the old classic shows and the shows since 2005 to keep me entertained. I least I won’t have to take time every Saturday night to watch it anymore. As much as it pains me to say….I could care less if it ends up cancelled.

Darth Vader to Luke: “I am your mother” How would that have gone down?

Steven Moffat…the Show Runner…said he would not cast a woman….then the BBC stepped in and now all a sudden he agrees with the decision.

Some people may like it…more power to them…but it’s not just the fact HE turned into a woman…it’s the fact that it was just done for diversity. Yes Doctor Who is a fictional character but also an icon. Some change in life is good…but change for the sake of changing is not….

I was so angry when this was announced….Well I’ve had more time to think about it and ….I’m more angry. I would have like to go on a swearing rant here but I won’t do that.

I’ve heard the saying “change with the times” over this subject…well I will only when the changes make sense. To me this doesn’t at all…

Anyone who disagrees with the choice is called a woman hater. No I’m a political correctness hater….and that is why this happened.

From the Dailystar

Comments on social media and fan forums included: “Female Doctor – tick.

“Middle aged white man – tick. Young black man – tick. Young Asian girl – tick

 

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Tom Baker my favorite Doctor