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A Mad Day Out….

During the recording of what would become ‘The White Album’, Paul McCartney decided the Beatles needed a new series of publicity photographs.  After all, they had been in India for three months and then hidden in the studio since May.  The last anybody had heard or seen them was the song “Lady Madonna” and it’s promo film that had come out in March.  That’s right, back then with The Beatles anyway the public didn’t like to go a few months without seeing what they were up to and or looked like.

Brain Epstein used to set these photo shoots up for them almost every few weeks or even days.  So I guess it was also just something that they felt came along with the job.

So a date was decided.  July 28th.  The entire day was blocked for as many photos as possible at 7 different locations in London so basically they would not have to do it again for another few months.

It’s interesting to note that these pictures were taken 4 days after The Beatles recorded “While my Guitar gently Weeps”.  The day after these photos were taken they would be back in the studio on the 29th.  To record the biggest selling single of their career, “Hey Jude”.

These are some of the “lesser” seen photographs from the day they ended up calling…

“The mad day out”.

Mad day lennon front

Mad day 3

Mad day cape 2

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Mad day capes

Mad day 1

From The first location.  The Thomson House.  A photo studio in London.

Mad day 2.1 Mad day 2.3

Mad day ringo tie touch

Mad day 2.

From location 2.  The Mercury Theater in Kensington.  Apparently while at the piano McCartney kept playing the song they would be recording the next day, “Hey Jude”.

Mad day 4

Mad day 3.

And from location number 3, Swain’s Lane.  Just a short walk from the second location.

The park bench scene features the little known real “5th Beatle”.  He was mainly overlooked and picked on by the rest of the group.

Actually he was just a kid who happened to be around that day.

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Mad day 1Mad day 2

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Mad day wall prissy

Mad day wall salute

Mad day wall fight

And from the 4th location.  They walked a little farther and came upon Old Street Roundabout.  The photographer ask them to get up on the wall of the roundabout and The Beatles just improvised.  The last photo is very telling and foreshadowing what was going on with the band.

Mad day spit

Mad day bench laugh

Mad day 4. Mad day 4.1

The 5th location.  St. Pancras.  Originally a medieval parish.  The last photo shows the seldom seen “6th Beatle”.  He was obviously little known and Ringo is shown here letting him know he was being kicked out.

And again, actually just an older gentleman who happened to be minding his own business on the bench.  Until some meddling hippies came along.

Mad day odd

Mad day 5. Mad day 5.1 Mad day 5.2 Mad day 5.3

Mad day paul pinch

Mad day out john out

The 6th location.  Wrapping Pier Head.  Some strange photos by the river.  Especially the last.  Again….an almost disturbing foreshadow.

Mad day 7. Mad day 7.1 Mad day 7.2 Mad day 7.3

Mad day 5 martha

Mad day martha 2

The 7th and final location.  Cavendish Avenue.  More precisely, Paul McCartney’s “Greenhouse” room at his London home, jus a mile or two away from Abbey Road Studio.   These photos feature the most famous Beatle dog of all time “Martha”.  McCartney would end up recording a song for the upcoming White Album called “Martha My Dear” for his beloved old English sheepdog.

Mad day yoko

And finally…going home.  In what may be the most foreshadowing moment of the day, John walks off with Yoko Ono.  Leaving Paul with Martha….

An American

John Lennon wanted to be an American, but America’s government in the early 1970s didn’t want him to be one.

He loved New York and lived there during the last years of his life, but it took a ridiculous four years of legal battling to get permanent residency status in the U.S. During those years, the U.S. government was actively trying to deport him from the country, rather than welcome the former Beatle with open arms. It was an incredibly stressful time for Lennon, who at times was in fear for his life. All he wanted to do was live in the country he had come to love so much.

Everyone loved John Lennon, right?

He was a famous musician and composer, a peace activist, and an intellectual well read man with great political ideas. So why was the United States government working so hard to kick him out when he wanted to be here so badly?  Because of all the reasons just listed.

John had given them an easy excuse.  He had a conviction for possession of marijuana in England.  The evidence had been planted, but he plead guilty ironically so they would not deport his wife Yoko.

But that would be the “reason” for deportation in the early 70’s from America.

The real issue was political.  1972 put him in the crosshairs of President Nixon’s administration. He was outspoken, to put it mildly, and especially about his disagreement with the Vietnam War.

John and Yoko moved to New York for good in the summer of 1971 after Lennon’s album “Imagine” was recorded in England.  After lengthy stays in various hotels, they finally settled at a flat in the West Village until 1973 when they moved to the Dakota apartments.

It was there that John and Yoko were introduced to the biggest political leftist radicals of the time, Bobby Seale, Jerry Rubin and Abbey Hoffman. Rubin was an active anti-war protester, had co-founded the “Yippie” movement.  Lennon would regret these associations later in his life, and not just for the strife it caused him with the U.S. government.  He felt naïve and used.

And It would be these associations that landed Lennon under the microscope of the Nixon administration. The FBI files show their efforts to follow him, tap his phone, and issued deportation orders stating his prior drug conviction, but really it was because they simply wanted him and his anti-war rhetoric away from American voters.

The truth was that while Lennon was indeed against the Vietnam War, and was promoting the idea of peace, he did not aspire to the violent plans and tactics that Rubin and his radicals were planning, and he told them as much. But the government didn’t get that memo. Since it was now legal for 18-year-olds to vote, they were terrified that Lennon would have enough influence over the youth in the country to sway the vote and lose Nixon’s second term.

When the four-year grueling case finally came to a close in early October, 1975, right before Lennon’s 35th birthday, his attorney made a great final point to the Judge in the courtroom.  John Lennon had been illegally persecuted by the government for his beliefs: “There is substantial reason to believe that official government action was based principally on a desire to silence political opposition squarely protected by the First Amendment.”

The Judge ruled in John’s favor, saying, “Lennon’s four year battle to remain in our country is testimony to his faith in the American dream.” The deportation order was overturned. John and Yoko were delirious with joy. Their son Sean was born on John’s birthday. Life was good again.

By the time this happened, of course, Nixon was long out of office, having resigned a year earlier. Gerald Ford was now president, and there was no further government objection to John Lennon being in the country

John got his green card July 27, 1976, which made him eligible to apply for citizenship in 5 years. Ironically, July 4, 1976 was the 200th bicentennial of our nation’s Declaration of Independence from Britain. And to John, it marked the path to his freedom as well.

Sadly, John would not live long enough to apply for citizenship in 1981. He was killed December 8, 1980.  In New York City.  The city he loved so much.

John Lennon JL 2 JL 3

Never mind…

You have probably disagreed with a record review or critic yourself.  After all, it’s an opinion.  But sometimes they get it real wrong. Very wrong.   Critics probably get more attention when writing negative reviews, but there are some I guarantee they would love to take back.  Over the test of time, they have been proven just oh-so-off-the mark .

 And just to prove we are not talking about some critic from some local village music paper, all of these reviews were taken from the hallowed pages of Rolling Stone Magazine.  What should be the top-tier writers and reviewers.  You look back at these and wonder just how they could be so wrong-sighted.

 Ready?

-“Are you experienced” Jimi Hendrix Experience

 “..Everything else is insane and simply a matter of either you dig it or you don’t. Basically I don’t for several reasons. Despite Jimi’s musical brilliance and the group’s total precision, the poor quality of the songs, and the inanity of the lyrics, too often get in the way. Jimi is very much into state-of-mind type lyrics, but even so, lines like “Manic depression is a frustrating mess,” just don’t make it. It is one thing for Jimi to talk arrogantly, and without any pretense at artistry; it’s another to write lyrics in this fashion.” (Jon Landau, 11/9/67 Review)

 

Dig this Jon, In 2005, Are You Experienced was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, which selects recordings annually that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. 

 

-“Creedence Clearwater Revival” Creedence Clearwater Revival (debut)

 “On the liner notes to their album, Ralph Gleason states: “Creedence Clearwater Revival is an excellent example of the Third Generation of San Francisco bands.” Really more like Third Level – behind the Airplane, Dead, Quicksilver, Grape and all the others. The only bright spot in the group is John Fogerty, who plays lead guitar and does the vocals. He’s a better-than-average singer (really believable in Wilson Pickett’s “Ninety-Nine and a Half”), and an interesting guitarist. But there’s nothing else here.” (Barry Gifford, 7/20/68 Review)

So….who ended up lasting Barry…Moby Grape or CCR?

 

-“Led Zeppelin” Led Zeppelin  (debut)

 “…alternates between prissy Robert Plant’s howled vocals fronting an acoustic guitar and driving choruses of the band running down a four-chord progression while John Bonham smashes his cymbals on every beat.” (John Mendelsohn, 3/15/69 Review) 

For reasons that are now simply head scratching, Zeppelin and the critics just never got along.  Nothing else needs to be said here.

 

-“Abbey Road”  The Beatles

“…Side two is a disaster…The slump begins with “Because,” which is a rather nothing song…the biggest bomb on the album is “Sun King,” which overflows with sixth and ninth chords and finally degenerates into a Muzak-sounding thing with Italian lyrics. It is probably the worst thing the Beatles have done since they changed drummers. This leads into the “Suite” which finishes up the side. There are six little songs, each slightly under two minutes long, all of which are so heavily overproduced that they are hard to listen to.  (Ed Ward, 11/15/69 Review)

“Side two is a disaster”???? Worst thing since they changed drummers”????   

Ed Ward is now the rock and roll historian for NPR’s “All Things Considered”.  Ward was asked recently if he stands by his review of Abbey Road.  He said” Of course not, I was just a 20 year old kid full of myself.” 

No kidding.

 

-“After the Gold Rush”  Neil Young

“Neil Young devotees will probably spend the next few weeks trying desperately to convince themselves that After The Gold Rush is good music. But they’ll be kidding themselves. For despite the fact that the album contains some potentially first rate material, none of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface. In my listening, the problem appears to be that most of this music was simply not ready to be recorded at the time of the sessions. It needed time to mature. On the album the band never really gets behind the songs and Young himself has trouble singing many of them…The song “After The Gold Rush,” for instance, reminds one of nothing so much as Mrs. Miller moaning and wheezing her way through “I’m A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch.” Apparently no one bothered to tell Neil Young that he was singing a half octave above his highest acceptable range. At that point his pathos becomes an irritating bathos. I can’t listen to it at all.” (Langdon Winner, 10/15/70 Review)

 

In 2003, Rolling Stone named “After The Gold Rush” the 71st greatest album of all time, his highest ranking on this list.

I do applaud Langdon for somehow using the word “bathos” in his review.  Man what a wordsmith….

 

-“Ram”  Paul McCartney

“Ram represents the nadir in the decomposition of Sixties rock thus far. For some, including myself, Self-Portrait had been secure in that position, but at least Self-Portrait was an album that you could hate, a record you could feel something over, even if it were nothing but regret. Ram is so incredibly inconsequential and so monumentally irrelevant you can’t even do that with it: it is difficult to concentrate on, let alone dislike or even hate.” (Jon Landau, 6/8/71 Review)

 

This album was reissued in 2012.  Jon was asked if he stood by his review.  He admitted he was too harsh if not basically wrong.  McCartney was out of favor with reviewers at the time, it was his first real solo release and it seemed as if critics had to choose Lennon or McCartney. 

They all now seem to agree that it was a shame, because this was one of McCartney’s best solo albums he ever released.

 

-“Imagine” John Lennon

“In its technical sloppiness and self-absorption, Imagine is John’s Self-Portrait…on the heels of “Plastic Ono Band”  is only seems to reinforce the questioning of what John’s relationship to rock really is. “Imagine,” for instance, is simply the consolidation of primal awareness into a world movement. It asks that we imagine a world without religions or nations, and that such a world would mean brotherhood and peace. The singing is methodical but not really skilled, the melody undistinguished, except the bridge, which sounds nice to me.” (Ben Gerson, 10/28/71 Review)

 Well, not EVERY critic chose Lennon.  Some were equal opportunity haters.  And besides, they were broken up.  That alone pissed reviewers off….

And why do they keep throwing in poor Bob Dylan’s album “Self Portrait”?  Didn’t they get enough jabs in when it first came out in 1970?  Seems unfair to keep kicking at an album in a different albums review…

Rolling Stone ranked “Imagine” number 3 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of all Time”, in 2004.

 

“Sticky fingers”  The Rolling Stones

“As I listened to Sticky Fingers for the first time I thought “Brown Sugar” was good, but not that good. I certainly hoped it wasn’t the best thing on the album. As it turns out, there are a few moments that surpass it but it still sets the tone for the album perfectly: middle-level Rolling Stones competence. The lowpoints aren’t that low, but the high points, with one exception aren’t that high…

…I suppose somewhere along the line they thought of calling the album “Dead Flowers” which would have justified this cut’s presence at some level. Despite its parodistic intentions, the mere thought of the Stones doing straight country music is simply appalling. And they do it so poorly, especially the lead guitar… (Jon Landau, 6/10/71 Review)

 In 2003, Sticky Fingers was listed as #63 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

 This may be a good time to introduce you to Jon Landau.  He was born May 14th 1947. In the mid 70’s he all but stopped writing reviews to manage and co-produce a fellow by the name of Bruce Springsteen.  It looks like he was better at doing it than writing about it.  But then again,  he is the head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which has a lot to ‘splaining to do….

 

-“Grace”  Jeff Buckley

“The young Buckley’s vocals don’t always stand up: He doesn’t sound battered or desperate enough to carry off Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”” (Stephanie Zacharek, 11/3/94 Review)

 I think we can all safely agree that Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” is the quintessential version.  The album is also on Rolling Stone’s list of Greatest Albums of All Time. 

 

-“Black Sabbath”  Debut 

“The whole album is a shuck — despite the murky songtitles and some inane lyrics that sound like Vanilla Fudge paying doggerel tribute to Aleister Crowley, the album has nothing to do with spiritualism, the occult, or anything much except stiff recitations of Cream clichés that sound like the musicians learned them out of a book, grinding on and on with dogged persistence.”  Lester Bangs, 2/13/70 review)

 Most of this review from one of the most famous music writers of all time was comparing Cream and Black Sabbath.  Why?  Just…why?

 

-“ Barney’s favorites part one”  Barney

“Almost all of the songs on Barney’s Favorites are “traditional,” and lots of them have the same words that Canadian multiculturalism freak Raffi has been using to brainwash kids for years.” (Chuck Eddy, 11/11/93 Review)

 

Ok…First of all, why did Rolling Stone go to the trouble of reviewing a Barney album.  And number two, why be hating on poor Raffi?  And I can only imagine what they had to say about “Barney’s Favorites part two”!

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Mean Mustache

The Mustache.

Another controversial topic.

At one time it was a sign of real manhood.  Then it seemed to only be on very macho guys, police officers, gay men, and women who have given up.

But regardless, in Rock and roll their have been some mustaches for the ages.  It’s simply one of those things some can do,  while some can’t.  But apparently when you are a rock star you get a little more rope with that ‘stache.

Some of the most famous:

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Chuck Berry.  The first real rock and roller had a ‘stache.  Influencing guitar playing, songwriting and grooming.

Photo of Duane Allman

Duane Allman.  Simply one of the best Rock and Roll mustaches of all time.  The lamb-chop-sideburn-into-the-horshoe style is legendary.

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David Crosby.  ALWAYS with a mustache.  Except during that arrested going to jail thing.  And yes, now that he is older he looks just like Wilford Brimley.  As a matter of fact you never see the two together.

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Jimi  Hendrix rocked a little mustache for most of his to short career. While we will always have to wonder what he’d be doing musically today, we also have to wonder what the ‘stache would be like….

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Freddy Mercury.  Obviously one of the greatest mustaches in rock.  He’s having it trimmed here because he could actually grow a full mustache in 7 minutes.

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Of course The Beatles all grew mustaches for Sgt Pepper, and somehow still looked really cool.  They knew that they would look cooler than you, so in the sleeve of the album was a fake mustache so you could try.

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John Oats.  Have you ever seen him without one?  I can’t imagine….scary to think about really.

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Ted Nugent is crazy and so is his mustache.  He wants to shoot you by the way.

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Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy was rocking the porn star mustache before it was even widely known as a porn star mustache.  That’s how cool he was.

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Lemmy of Motorhead.  Is it a fu manchu?  Is it a horseshoe?  Doesn’t matter.  Lemmy can call it whatever he wants.

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Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap.  His ‘stache went to eleven.

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Frank Zappa.  Probably the most famous mustache in all rock and roll.  The famous combo, a handlebar-meets-soul-patch combo not only has it’s own name (“The Zappa”) but it’s own facebook page.  Phillips electric razor page even gives instructions on how to have a “Zappa”.  That’s a famous ‘stache.

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Honorable mention goes to Frank Beard.  Because he is the ONLY member of ZZ Top without a long legendary beard.  The guy NAMED beard sports a ‘stache……..

Mullets I’m Amazed

Let’s face it, literally.

Rock and roll is not JUST about music.  It’s obviously style, swagger, and so much more.

There has been one rock and roll “fashion statement” that….well it gets a bad rap.

Right or wrong there is one hairstyle that seems to get made fun of more than others.

Oh yeah….business in the front, party in the back.  It’s the mullet.

First, let’s try to find the first rock and roll mullets.

david_bowie_amazing_mullets_of_music_187rt7j-187rtes David-Bowie-Mullet

I’m not sure he was the very first, it’s “neck and neck” with our next contender…but David Bowie certainly was one of the forerunners.  He wanted to look like an alien.  Aliens apparently wore mullets.

This mullet is from ‘The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust”.  1972.  BUT, another guy was wearing one the very same year.  And he wasn’t trying to look like an alien:

Macca mulletMacca mullet 2

Paul McCartney.  Also via 1972.  He had already spawned one hairstyle craze 10 years earlier with the “Beatle haircut”, now I guess he wanted to do it again.    Regrets?  Nah, he had a “mini mullet” going through the 1990’s.

Now let’s just jump to some famous rock mullets.  Obviously most are from the “mullet decade” of the 80’s.

bono mullet 2

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Bono of U2.  You have to admit.  An AMAZING mullet by anyone’s standards.

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Jon Bon Jovi.  His chest hair even had a mullet.  You just can’t see it.

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Van Halen’s Michael Anthony

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Metallica’s Lars Ulrich

michael_bolton_amazing_mullets_of_music_187rt7j-187rtfv Michael-Bolton-Mullet

Now this might not be fair.  Michael Bolton had little choice if he wanted to wear his hair longer.  Very little “business” up front.

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Breaking the mullet color barrier.  Lionel Richie.  The Rosa Parks of the mullet.

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And of course, the “femullet” made popular by Joan Jett.

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And how can we leave out the father of them all.  Not rock and roll, really…but still you gotta wonder:  Did the man make the mullet or the mullet make the man?

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Abbey Road. In the Studio, Not the Street.

Maybe it was because of the disastrous “Get Back” sessions the preceding January.

Paul McCartney thought it would be a good idea to get The Beatles into a film studio and rehearse new songs for a live concert.  And it was decided that the whole thing should be filmed for a possible documentary.

It didn’t go as planned.

The bickering that had started during the White album only got worse.  The whole project was basically scrapped, with the “concert” being (now famously) held on the rooftop of their own Apple building.

Somehow the next late spring and summer they decided to go back into Abbey Road studio and make a record “the way they used to”.

With one exception.

There were no cameras.

Since The Beatles first recording sessions there was almost ALWAYS a photographer around for at least part of them to capture history.  Manager Brian Epstein seemed to know that something special was happening, and it needed to be preserved.  Plus the fact is was just good promo.

Whether it was Robert Freeman or Robert Whitaker, someone was there to snap some photos of the group at work.

But if you are a Beatle fan you have probably noticed that you have seen very few from the last recording sessions that they ever had as a group.

Until now.

You are welcome.

The origins of these are a bit murky.  But mostly they are “home” photographs.  Mainly taken by wives who up until the year before were not allowed in the studio.

Abbey 1

George Harrison And Paul McCartney working on a guitar and vocal overdub for “Here Comes The Sun”

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John Lennon had a car wreck in Scotland right before the sessions started. (He was a well-known terrible driver).  He and Yoko were banged up, so the first few weeks of the sessions were without him.  Here George, Paul and Ringo listen to an early playback at Abbey Road studio.

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Here is an odd one.  John Lennon finally came to the studio for the sessions after the car wreck.  His wife Yoko required stitches and was still bruised, so Lennon insisted that a bed be brought in the studio for Yoko to lounge around in.  What is even stranger in this photo is the sight of two Beatle wives, Yoko and Linda McCartney together in the bed talking to The Beatles road manager Mal Evans.  Yoko and Linda did not socialize often….

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John Lennon and Paul McCartney doing vocals.  This is thought to be for “The End” which would make it the last recording session for the two of them as Beatles.  The picture looks like it was taken from the bed in the above photo.  And…in case you were wondering.  Those seem to be Yoko’s feet.

abbey 5

George Harrison brought in a new toy for The Beatles to use during the sessions.  A Moog Synthesizer.  This picture was taken when it arrived and shows Paul McCartney tinkering with it.  It was used on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “Here Comes the Sun” and “I Want you (She’s so Heavy)”

abbey 6

Abbey happy

Even though The Beatles never said it out loud, they all suspected this might be their last album.  But according to producer George Martin, the sessions were not ugly and tense.  Quite the opposite.  Martin is quoted as saying they were very pleasant.  These pictures seems to prove that.  George and Paul during a vocal harmony recording.

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Ringo in the drum isolation area.  Notice the towel on the snare drum to deaden the sound.  Some of Ringo’s best work was on these sessions.  No question.

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Abbey OH!

Paul McCartney doing his vocal track for “Oh! Darling”  He would come in before the others almost every day and try the vocal once, maybe twice.  He wanted a raw and “live” sound to his voice for the song.

Abbey gtr 1 Abbey gtr 2 Abbey gtr 3

The first photograph shows the two Beatles in their “normal” positions.  McCartney on bass, Harrison on guitar.  But they obviously would change-up occasionally.  Harrison with a Fender bass that he played on much of side two’s “medley”, and McCartney with his favorite Epiphone Casino electric guitar.

Abbey 1 john

John Lennon

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Paul McCartney

Abbey 3 George

George Harrison

Abbey 4 Ringo

Ringo Starr

Abbey 1G & R Abbey 2 P & J

Mixing.

Photos from The Beatles last recording session as a group.

The working title for the album was “Everest”.  There was even talk about flying to Mount Everest for a cover shoot.  But then the idea of just naming it after the road the studio was on where they had literally recorded almost all of their work came to them.  Then all they had to do was walk outside and cross the street.

You’ve seen that photograph.

The Wonder of You….

One in a row!

Ahh, the one hit wonder.  The person or act known mainly for only a single success, one hit record.

There are so so many.

Some one-hit wonders are the result of novelty songs during fads. Examples include Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck,  (the disco craze of the 1970’s) C.W. McCalls’s ”Convoy”,(the CB radio craze of the 1970s) And probably the biggest selling one hit wonder of all time, “The Macarena” by Los Del Rio based on a dance.  Right?  It was a dance?

Some artists, such as the Big Bopper, had their careers cut short by death (in the Big Bopper’s case, the fatal plane crash), while others, such as New Radicals and The La’s broke up immediately after their one hit. In the 1960s and early 1970s, session bands such as Edison Lighthouse producing just a single 45 record were common. More commonly, however, one-hit wonders are serious-minded musicians who struggled to continue their success after their popularity waned.

It’s often used in a slightly derogatory manner, but that’s not fair.  Some obviously suck and are one hit wonders for a reason, but some are great.  And I relish in their one-hit hipness…

Some of my favorites (and yes, some of these border on “guilty pleasures”):

-“You Get What You Give” by the aforementioned New Radicals (1998).  Great pop at it’s best.  A cross between Todd Rundgren and….well nobody.  It’s like Todd had another huge pop hit in the 90’s.  They didn’t seem to handle success very well, and frontman/ writer Gregg Alexander thought he could do it all on his own.  Nope.

-“In a Big Country” by Big Country (1983).  It kicks.  You can’t hear it and not yell “Sha” or whatever the hell he’s yelling there.  Great song.  Distinctive sound.

-“Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve (1998).  Yeah, the strings and music were completely stolen from a symphonic version of “Last Time” by the Stones.  But they paid for it eventually, and the groove they put behind it is perfect.

-“Spirit in The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum (1970).  He didn’t make it simply because of his name.  I mean, you can’t be a rock star with a name like that.  But what a cool guitar riff.  And it was religious too, so it had that going for it.  I was always confused by his line “never been a sinner, I’ve never sinned”.  Really.  Then your name should be Jesus.  Not Norman.

-“96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians (1966).  Garage rock at it’s best.  “?” was actually born in Texas and is Not, in fact from Mexico or Mars.  He has claimed both.  This one song actually kept this band  playing for years since it’s release. It’s that good.  Okay, It’s not THAT good, but somehow they have probably played in a club near you at one time or another.

-“Come and get Your Love” by Redbone (1974).  A classic one hit wonder from a Native American Band.  You sing along.  Then it’s gone.

-“Funkytown”  by Lips Inc (1980)  A play on words.  ‘Lips sync”…get it?  This Minneapolis studio band spent four weeks at number one with their hit tune “Funkytown.” Yes, it’s disco, but come on….it’s great.   The group had disbanded by 1983, but a few of the group’s members lent their experience to Minneapolis’ biggest thing — Prince’s band, The Revolution.  Rumour has it anyway.

-“Welcome to the Boomtown” by David and David ((1986).  Los Angeles based studio musicians came out with only one album and one gripping song about despair and broken dreams.  Gritty, sad, and I love it.

-“In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry (1970).  Apparently they had other hits in Europe, but in the good old U.S. of A.  they only had the one possibly best summer hit of all time.  You just can’t not feel good when you hear it on a hot summer evening.

-“Into the Night” by Benny Mardones (1980).  Yeah, it’s over the top, too dramatic and all that.  But raspy voiced Mardones pulled it off somehow.  Once.

-“Reflections of my Life” by The Marmalade (1970).  1970 was a huge year for one hitters.  The Scottish band Marmalade came out with this pop gem complete with a backwards guitar solo. Sing it with me:  “All my sorrows…Sad tomorrows…”

-“Groove is in the Heart” by Dee-Lite (1990).  Come on.  Lady Miss Kier. How could not love this little dance masterpiece?  Hello?

-“Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners (1983).  It just sounded great, and I don’t care what you say.  Too-Rye-Ay indeed.

-“Nothing compares 2 U”  by Sinead O’Conner ((1990).  As much crap as she stirred up, she only had one real hit, the Prince penned song that tore your heart out.

-“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by The Crash Test Dummies (1994).  It just didn’t sound like anything else.  Still doesn’t.  Was it kind of a joke?  No?  Maybe?  Hmm hmm hmm hmm?

-“D.O.A.” by Bloodrock (1971).  Scariest freaking song ever recorded.  I don’t want to think about it anymore…

- “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors (1980)  While widely regarded as one of the dumbest songs in pop history, it’s impossibly to deny that the song is insanely catchy. They broke up the year after it came out, but it’s been in so many commercials and soundtracks that songwriter David Fenton should be able to live off the royalties forever.

-“Vehicle” by The Ides of March (1970).  Everybody thought it was Blood Sweat and Tears”.  I still think it is.

- “No Rain” Blind Melon (1993)  In 1993 it seemed like MTV played nothing but Aerosmith’s Alicia Silverstone videos,” and Blind Melon’s little bee girl in “No Rain.” The latter group was a hippie grunge band from California that seemed like the next big thing.  They played at Woodstock 1994 and had a massive radio hit with “No Rain,” but lead signer Shannon Hoon was hopelessly addicted to drugs and he died on tour in October of 1995.  Sad. 

 -”All right Now” by Free (1970).  Paul Rogers sang it and went on to have numerous hits with Bad company.  But this may be one of the best vocals from one of the best vocalist in the history of rock music.  Oh, and the guitar riff is kind of catchy too.

 – “My Sharona” by The Knack (1979)  For a very brief period, the Knack looked like the future of rock & roll. It was during the summer of the infamous Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park and many old-school rock fans were ready to embrace a new band.  Into this void stepped the Knack, whose debut Get the Knack blew up on the strength of their power-pop classic “My Sharona.” The song was inspired by Knack frontman Doug Fieger’s girlfriend Sharona Alperin, who now works as a real estate agent.  Hope she made some wise investments.  

 -“I’ve never been to me” by Charlene (1982).  Just seeing if you were paying attention.  This one sucked.

-“Wouldn’t It be good” by Nik Kershaw (1984).  It’s soooo 80’s.  But really good 80’s.  If that’s possible.  I love it.  Still don’t know why.

-“In the Meantime” by Spacehog (1995).  I loved this song and would have bet my house they would have had another hit.  Guess that’s why I was never an A&R man.

-“There she Goes” by The La’s (1990).  Brilliant Beatlesque pop from a Liverpool band.  Too bad the record business got the best of them and these scruffy scouse lads didn’t want to play the game.  Gone after one…

Okay, I’ll end with a one and a half hit wonder.  “Seether” and “Volcano Girls” by Veruca Salt (1995).  Loved this band led by two girls who seemed to just want to have fun and rock, but apparently couldn’t get along.  Shame.  Both are still on my iPod and will be for life.

 

Got any you like?

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