Miss O’Dell: Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton… by Chris O’Dell and Katherine Ketcham

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s almost like a fantasy book. You are a fan and suddenly you get thrown into the world with The Beatles as friends and co-workers. You move from the Beatles to the Stones, CSNY, Bob Dylan and the list kept growing. 

I will say this… as a Beatle fan, this book gave me insight that I never had before. Chris O’Dell happened to meet Derek Taylor (press officer of the Beatles) in Los Angeles in 1968…she worked for him for a few weeks in LA as a PA. He told her she should come over to London to check out the new company that The Beatles were starting called Apple. He didn’t promise her a job but she took a chance and sold her records and borrowed from her parents to go to London. She was like Alice down the rabbit hole, O’Dell stumbled upon a life even she could not have dreamed of.

She took a chance and went over and that started her career working at The Beatles record company Apple. It took her a few months to get hired full time but after the Beatle’s inner circle knew she could be trusted she was there. She met Paul on her very first day. She said all of them were extremely nice and made her feel welcome. She spent the first few months showing up at the office and making herself useful and securing her place. She was especially close to George as a friend and later Ringo as a little more. 

Chris O'Dell George

After all was said and done…she had 3 songs written about her. Two by Leon Russell called Hummingbird, Pieces Apple Lady, and George Harrison’s Miss O’Dell. She was also the “Mystery Woman” on the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street cover. She was in the Joni Mitchell song “Coyote” with the line He’s got another woman down the hall…the song about Sam Shepard who Chris O’Dell and Joni Mitchell were seeing. She ended up singing on the Hey Jude recording in the final Na Na chorus.

She was one of the first if not the first female tour manager in rock. The tours she worked on were The Rolling Stones, CSNY, Santana, Bob Dylan, Earth Wind and Fire, Jennifer Warnes, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins, Echo and the Bunnymen, ELO, and more.

We also get a glimpse into the personalities of Bob Dylan, Jagger and Richards, CSNY (and the disfunction), Eric Clapton, and more. 

Chris O'Dell's Rockstar Life Revealed

Like all of us through life…she made some cringe-worthy decisions. I’m not trying to play it down but most of the time everything worked out in the end. She was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. She remains close friends with Pattie Harrison, Ringo Starr (her son’s Godfather), and many of her old famous acquaintances.

This is not a kiss-and-tell book and she doesn’t trash people which made me happy. The only person to come out of this book bad at all is Eric Clapton who was admittedly jealous of Pattie and Chris’s friendship. After the Stones tour, she got into drugs really bad but managed to quit them only to start up again. She, later on, became a drug counselor and helped people. 

This book is for more than just Beatle fans…it gives you what life was like on the road in the 1970s. Some of the highlights in the book for me were: 

  • How the Apple Office worked including the Hell’s Angels visitors
  • How even the biggest stars had deep insecurities
  • Bob Dylan forgot his harmonicas before the Isle of Wight concert and Chris O’Dell arrived by helicopter to give them to him.
  • Keith Richards sending her to pick up a “package” in LA in the middle of a tour
  • Reading about David Crosby’s complaints of no “cross ventilation in his hotel room”
  • When Roger Taylor of Queen realized that she was Miss O’Dell from George’s song.
  • Insight into Pattie Boyd and Maureen Starkey who is hardly covered in Beatles books
  • Reading about how Bangledesh started and how George got his musician friends to participate. 
  • Being on the roof during Get Back brief concert

Chris O’Dell: I think being a Beatle became very difficult for them. They had a different set of problems than the Stones and CSN&Y.  They didn’t tour that much, they couldn’t go out of their hotel rooms, and they lived in a bubble. I think breaking up for them, and I can only guess, was a relief and very difficult at the same time.

Chris O’Dell:  It was like being let go in Disneyland. That’s what it felt like. It’s like here are the keys to Disneyland, go and enjoy yourself. And I was constantly aware that I was watching history in the making and that was exciting. So every day had some, or certainly every week, had something, a twist to it that made it really exciting

Chris O’Dell now: I am happily remarried to a wonderful man who supports me and accepts me as I am. My twenty-three-year-old son is amazing and gives me some credibility as a parent! I have a private practice in Tucson, specializing in addiction and mental health counseling.  My two dogs are happy and life is just better than I would have expected. 

Excerpt from the book: On being in a room with Mick and Keith before the 72 tour. 

“Listen to this fucking article in Rolling Stone about Harrison’s Bangladesh concert,” Keith said. He started reading from the article.
“The Concert for Bangladesh is rock reaching for its manhood.” Keith raised an eyebrow. “Under the leadership of George Harrison, a group of rock musicians recognized, in a deliberate, self-conscious, and professional way, that they have responsibilities, and went about dealing with them seriously.”
Keith looked at Mick and then at me. “Do you believe this shit? But wait, it gets better. Harrison is “a man with a sense of his own worth, his own role in the place of things… with a few parallels among his peers.”
“Bollocks.” Keith laughed, tossing the magazine on the coffee table. “What a fucking load of shit.”
I knew that Keith wasn’t really amused. He could be terribly insecure.
What a paradox Keith was- a sweet sensitive soul who wrote songs about needing love to be happy and yet he lived his life as if he couldn’t give a shit about anything.
But at that moment I wasn’t too interested in Keith’s feelings. I sat at the far end of the sofa, my legs and arms crossed, smoking a cigarette and drinking my Scotch and Coke as if it were straight Coke. I was pissed. Sure, I knew they were just being competitive, but I couldn’t stand listening to them make fun of George. I wanted to jump into the conversation and tell them to leave him alone. But what could I do? I worked for the Stones now, not the Beatles. This is weird, I know, and particularly strange in the context of the Stone’s remarkable longevity, but at that moment I had a sinking feeling that I was beginning my climb down the ladder. I’d started at the very top with the Beatles and now I was on the rung below. I found myself thinking at that moment that the Stones were sometimes a little too raw, too raunchy, too negative. I liked their music, and I liked each of them individually, but if I had to choose, the Beatles would win.
“You know,” I said, trying to smile but having a hard time of it,
“George is my friend.”
Mick looked over at me as if he had forgotten I was there. “Oh yeah, Chris, you’re a Beatle person, aren’t you? Sorry about that”
We let it go, then, but after I dropped Mick at his house and headed home through the dark canyons, I felt a sudden, intense longing to see Pattie and George. Mick was right. When it came right down to it, I was a Beatle person.”

Miss O’Dell

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the war
Or the rice
That keeps going astray on its way to Bombay.
That smog that keeps polluting up our shores
Is boring me to tears.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to fear
From the waves
Or the rice
That keeps rolling on right up to my front porch.
The record player’s broken on the floor,
And Ben, he can’t restore it.
Miss O’Dell.

I can tell you
Nothing new
Has happened since I last saw you.

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the hip
Or the dope
Or the cat with most hope to fill the Fillmore.
That pushing, shoving, ringing on my bell
Is not for me tonight.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Faces – Richmond

A great song by the Faces that was written by Ronnie Lane.  Lane was a very good singer in a band with a great singer…twice. He was in the Small Faces with Steve Marriott and The Faces with Rod Stewart. Those two types of singers come just once a generation.

He takes the lead in this song.  The Faces were a raucous fun band. They stormed the stage with a full bar and bartender. They WERE banned from the Holiday Inn chain…but that didn’t stop them from staying there. They soon started to check in at Holiday Inns as Fleetwood Mac…and it worked! They didn’t take anything seriously and wanted to have fun and take the audience with them.

One US tour billed as a Rock’n’Roll Circus, involved sharing the bill with jugglers, acrobats, Blinko the clown, and a Chinese high-wire stripper called Ming Wung. All the while they were leaping about the stage, swapping mics, whispering in huddles, and booting soccer balls into the crowd.

This song came off of their album Long Player released in 1971. The album peaked at #29 on the Billboard Album Charts, #34 in Canada, and #41 in the UK. Their next album A Nod Is As Good As a Wink… to a Blind Horse would peak at #6 in the same year.

Stewart always called Ronnie Lane the heart of the band and that was probably true. Lane got frustrated not being able to sing many songs and was upset at Stewart’s lack of commitment and quit. After Lane quit in 1973, Tetsu Yamauchi took his place for touring but then they broke up in 1975 when Ron Wood joined the Stones and Stewart continued his solo career.

Drummer Kenney Jones: “It wasn’t just at gigs, everywhere we went we fell on the floor – airports, restaurants, hotels, bars. We were saying to people that you don’t have to take rock’n’roll too seriously. Every gig was like going to a party. The Faces were undoubtedly the most fun band I was ever in.”

Kenney Jones: “We were the first to do a lot of things, we’d have a white stage, and insist that Chuch Magee, who was our roadie, wore black trousers, a white shirt, and a waistcoat, so he looked like a barman. So he’d tend the bar, then quickly do Woody’s guitar and various other things. And we’d have palm trees on stage with us. It was very over-the-top. We took the piss out of ourselves, more than anything.”

Kenney Jones: “Rod summed it up really well, he told me that once Ronnie Lane left the band, the spirit of the Faces left too. Ronnie was integral to the band. It was the complete line-up when he was there. It never quite felt the same afterwards.”

Free Drummer Simon Kirke: .“Touring with the Faces was wonderful, they were at their peak and had Rod Stewart singing. Jeez, he could sing so well back then. He’s like Paul Rodgers, really; he never sung a bad show, he just had variations on brilliant. They always had such fun on stage. There were drinks in abundance, and Woody was there with the ever-present ciggie hanging out of his mouth or tucked in the end of his guitar. Ian would be grinning from ear to ear. And they dressed so flamboyantly, too, all silks and satins and flares. I loved ’em. They just had a great time, whereas Free were slightly serious.”

This video is just 7 minutes long…it is Ronnie Lane’s son talking about his dad and Cat Stevens is at the end of the video. 

Richmond

I wish I
I wish I was in Richmond
I do, I would I
I wish I
I wish I was back home

I’m waitin’
Here in New York City
The rain is falling
There’s no one who cares
There’s no one loves me here

The women
They may look very pretty
And some they know it
But some look good
They show a leg and smile
But they all look like the flowers
In someone else’s garden
I’ve no act of love
for anyone but you

Rolling Stones –  Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)

Usually I favor the original version of songs. I would say 9 out of 10 times I do but the Stones covered Just My Imagination and I must admit I like the Stones version a little more than the Temptations….and I LOVE the Temptations. I’m in the minority in this one I’m sure.

This was a song our band covered and covered. I probably have played it more than Mick ever did. That may be the reason I like this one more.

The Stones covered this in 1978 for their album Some Girls. It wasn’t the first time they covered a Temptations song…. in 1974 they covered “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” and had a hit peaking at #17 in the Billboard 100. That song was a little stronger than this one but I like how they roughed this one up.

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote this song and it was released in 1971 by the Temptations. You really can’t compare the two versions…they are apples and oranges. The Temptation version peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the UK, and #72 in Canada…#72 Canada?

This was not released as a single in the US.

For The US Office fans….This was used in the season 4 finale, “Goodbye, Toby.” Darryl sings it at Toby’s goodbye party when Jim almost proposes to Pam.

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

I look out my window, watch her as she passes by
And I say to myself I’m such a lucky guy
To have a girl like her is a dream come true
And of all the girls in New York she loves me true

I’ll tell ya, it was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

Well soon we’ll be married and raise a family
Two boys for you, what about two girls for me
I say I am just a fellow with a one track mind
Whatever it is I want to baby, I seek and I shall find

I’ll tell ya, it was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

Every night I hope and pray
Dear Lord, hear my plea
Don’t ever let another take her love from me
Or I will surely die

Her love is ecstasy
When her arms enfold me
I hear her tender rhapsody
But in reality, she doesn’t even know me

It was just my imagination
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

I’ll tell ya, it was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me
Running away with me

It was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
I can tell ya it was just my imagination
Running away with me, running away with me
Running away, running away, running away, running away with me
Running away, running away, running away, running away with me
Running away, running away…

Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue

Good morning everyone… hope you have a great Monday.

I bought the Emotional Rescue single when it was released.  I also bought the album and it was a let down to me after the great Some Girls album. The title track is heavily leaning toward disco and I do like it. What attracted me to the song is the superb bass line in the intro.

Ronnie Wood played bass on the song and Bill Wyman played synthesizer. Ronnie is a great bass player. He played bass on Rod Stewart’s Maggie May. The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #9 in the UK, and #1 in Canada.

The Stones played this for the very first time in concert on May 3, 2013, 33 years after they recorded the song. Keith Richards was not a fan of the  song and it never made a Stones setlist until the first show of their 50 and Counting tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Mick Jagger: ‘We were just doing dance music, you know. It was just a dance music lick I was just playing on the keyboard. Charlie has a really nice groove for that.” 

From Songfacts

This alienated many Stones fans who thought it was a sell out to disco, but it was still a Top 10 hit in the US and UK.

Mick Jagger sang much of this in a falsetto, which was the thing to do with disco songs. The Bee Gees did the same thing, but unlike The Stones, were never able to get back the fans they lost to disco.

Bobby Keys’ sax solo and Mick Jagger’s vocals were added almost a year after the rhythm track was recorded.

Jagger wrote this on an electric piano.

The video for this used the same thermal imagery effect as the album cover. It was cutting-edge visual stuff in 1980.

Emotional Rescue

Is there nothing I can say, nothing I can do to change your mind?
I’m so in love with you, you’re too deep in, you can’t get out
You’re just a poor girl in a rich man’s house
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Yeah, baby, I’m crying over you

Don’t you know promises were never meant to keep?
Just like the night, they dissolve off in sleep
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Yeah, the other night, cryin’, cryin’ baby yeah I’m cryin
Yeah I’m cryin, I’m your child baby, child,
Yeah I’m a child, I’m a child, I’m a child

You think you’re one of a special breed
You think that you’re his pet Pekinese
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
Ooh ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
Yeah, I was dreamin’ last night baby
Last night I was dreamin’ that you’d be mine
But I was cryin’ like a child
Yeah I was cryin’, cryin’ like a child
Could be mine, mine, mine, mine, mine all mine
You could be mine, could be mine, could be mine all mine

I come to you, so silent in the night
So stealthy, so animal quiet
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah
Yeah, you should be mine, mine, ooh!

Mmm yes, you could be mine, tonight and every night
I will be your knight in shining armor
Coming to your emotional rescue
You will be mine, you will be mine, all mine
You will be mine, you will be mine, all mine

I will be your knight in shining armor
Riding across the desert on a fine Arab charger

Ooh La La 1973

What a great song from The Faces. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood and sung by Wood. That is strange because The Faces had one of the best lead singers around at the time…Rod Stewart.

Stewart by this time was soaring as a solo artist and his interest in the Faces was waning. He claimed the song was not in his key to sing. He did do vocals for it then and Lane but Wood ended up singing the released version.

The Faces had one big hit…Stay With Me but this song is their greatest song to me. Rod Stewart finally covered the song in 1998 for a tribute to Ronnie Lane. Ronnie Lane did his own version with his band Slim Chance. Ronnie Wood also does it live in solo shows.

A song between Granddad and Son about the ways of love. The song never ages because the subject matter never changes and it is continually passed along. The song creates an atmosphere and Wood not known for his singing ability did a great job on this one.

The song was included in the 1998 film Rushmore and enjoyed renewed popularity.

It’s one of my favorite songs of all time. Just a beautiful melody and words.

Poor old granddad
I laughed at all his words
I thought he was a bitter man
He spoke of woman’s ways
They’ll trap you, then they use you
Before you even know
For love is blind and you’re far too kind
Don’t ever let it show
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger
The can can’s such a pretty show
They’ll steal your heart away
But backstage, back on earth again
The dressing rooms are gray
They come on strong and it ain’t too long
Before they make you feel a man
But love is blind and you soon will find
You’re just a boy again
When you want her lips, you get a cheek
Makes you wonder where you are
If you want some more and she’s fast asleep
Then she’s twinkling with the stars
Poor young grandson, there’s nothing I can say
You’ll have to learn, just like me
And that’s the hardest way
Ooh la la, ooh la la la yeh
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger