Friday, 14 May 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 60 (Intro)

May 14 :

♫ Welcome dear readers to a major turning point in Western civilisation. No, not the latest attempt at a Spice Girls reunion but the tightest general election (both in terms of numbers of votes and how little money is available for a budget) in many a year (though not as many a year as the media are trying to make you believe). If the conservatives get in, of course, it can’t be long before websites like this one get shut down (free speech has been having a tough time of late), although Labour hasn’t exactly had a better track record recently anyway. Until then, though, the world seems to have gone mad with election fever everywhere and we’re no different - although our election coverage comes from two Kinks albums released in the mid-70s and a top five ***.   


♫ Beatles News: There’s been a lot of Lennon lyric discoveries recently. Here’s another one: John’s handwritten lyrics for his section of the Sgt Pepper’s song ‘A Day In The Life’ are up for sale at Sothebys in June. The words were written by Lennon on two sides of A4 paper and most interestingly for Beatle collectors feature his corrections as he went back to re-write the song (so much for the image of Lennon as a lazy one-take songwriter too – the lyrics are written in blue, black and red pen suggesting that lennon went back to his surreal words at least three times before entering the studio). The set of lyrics is expected to make between £330,000 and £460,000.

♫ Beatles/Oasis News: Liam Gallagher announced this week his first project after Oasis is to star in a film that he’s heavily involved in based on the Beatles’ final years. No prizes for guessing that Liam has an eye on playing Lennon but a million free flexi-discs if you guessed which book the film will be based on: yes that’s right, Richard Di Lello’s book about the Apple years ‘The Longest Cocktail Party In the World’. For those of you who haven’t yet read the book by the man appointed by Apple to hold the job position ‘house hippy’ (I kid you not!), it’s not the most obvious book to translate into a screenplay: it’s full of lots of great single moments that show just how naive/brave/stupid the whole Apple business scene was until Allen Klein got his claws into the Beatles’ empire and is very well written but doesn’t have much in the way of a formal plot (and its account of the late 60s has been attacked by various Beatles and associates down the years to boot). Still, this project has united the Gallagher brothers over one thing: brother Noel agreed in an interview recently that the book had had a huge influence on his teenage years.  

Happy birthday to the following AAA members (May 3rd-9th): ‘5th Hollie’ and keyboardist Pete Wingfield (who played with the band throughout the 70s) turns 62 on May 7th. Anniversaries of events include: The Beach Boys begin what will become infamously known as the most expensive tour of all time with The Maharishi in support – the band lose thousands of dollars in paying for flowers alone! (May 3rd 1968); Wings’ ‘Over America’ tour ends with a record breaking three night stay at the Los Angeles Forum (May 3rd 1976); Paul Simon plays a benefit gig for the New York Library (May 3rd 1977); The Moody Blues are officially formed in their first Denny Laine-led line-up in Birmingham (May 4th 1964); Buffalo Springfield call it a day with a final gig at California’s Long Beach just three years – and several members – after their debut (May 5th 1968); Keith Richards wakes up in a Florida hotel room with the riff for a song that will become the Rolling Stones’ ‘breakthrough’ song  ‘Satisfaction’ (May 6th 1965); Paul Simon plays his first post-Garfunkel gig at the Boston Music Hall. It will be released later in the year as ‘Live Rhymin’ (May 6th 1973) and finally, Mick Jagger persuades the Stones to play a benefit concert for the victims of the Nicaraguan Earthquake, adding his own $150,000 donation to the concert takings of $350,000 (May 9th 1973).

Also celebrating this month are (May 10-16th): Graham Gouldmann (bassist with 10cc 1972-83 and various reunions) who turns 64 on May 10th and Ian McLagan (keyboardist with The Small Faces 1965-68) turns 65 on May 12th. Anniversaries of events include: The Rolling Stones record what will become their debut single at London’s Olympic Studios, Chuck Berry’s ‘C’mon’ (May 10th 1963); The Beatles officially dissolve Apple Records although the name and logo live on (May 10th 1975); The famous Woodtsock triple LP is released 9 months after the event featuring AAA members CSNY, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and The Who (May 11th 1970); Six days after writing it, The Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’ is recorded in Chicago’s Chess Studios (May 12th 1965); Pink Floyd’s ‘Games For May’ concert, one of the best-loved gigs of their career, takes place and inspires the band’s second single ‘See Emily Play’ later in the year (May 12th 1967); Mick Jagger marries first wife Bianca in St Tropez (May 12th 1971); Pink Floyd become the first band to use quadrophonic sound in concert during a gig at the Portland Coliseum (May 12th 1977); The Stones release ‘Paint It Black’, one of the earliest Western songs to use the sitar (although The Kinks still beat them by a year; May 13th 1966); The Beatles cause consternation up and down the country by – shock horror – refusing an invitation to play for The Queen at the London Palladium (does the silly woman not read the news for crying out loud? The Beatles hadn’t played a gig in two years by then! May 13th 1968); The first new Beatles product in seven years, the live album ‘At The Hollywood Bowl’, is released in the middle of the punk era (May 13th 1977); Pink Floyd get into serious trouble with the organisers after a gig at London’s Crystal Palace when, due to a combination of their blistering sound system and use of a 50-foot inflatable octopus, half the fish in the lake nearby die (May 15th 1970) and finally, Pete Townshend will have bad memories of a who gig at the Fillmore East – tired of seeing fans climbing onto the stage, Pete kicks one off during the middle of the set only to find out it is a policeman! He spends a night in jail on assault charges (May 16th 1969).     


News, Views and Music Issue 62 (Top Five) Songs To Celebrate Rock Sunday

at all – it’s the traditional day when rock pies are eaten in Lincolnshire where they were allegedly a local deloicacy (they’re made from baby rooks apparently. Once tried – nevermore. OK so that Poe-faced joke sounded better in our heads than it does in print). Now, we like preserving traditions here at the AAA so we thought we’d revive this quaint old custom and – unable to come up with five songs about rooks - give you our top six (for this week only) rock songs celebrating all things Sunday. Loved or loathed, sneered at or celebrated, the 7th day of the week has been all things to all men over the centuries, though only since Tony Hancock’s groundbreaking radio series has it begun to seem a dull day. Not so our top five/six, read at your peril!

5) John Lennon ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ (‘Sometime In New York City’ 1972): Sunday as fighting political landmark day/Paul McCartney ‘Heaven On A Sunday’ (‘Flaming Pie’ 1997): Sunday as restful peaceful Sabbath.

Now, we’re often stuck trying to cut our top five down and this week we just couldn’t decide between two very different takes from two very different Beatles, so we thought we’d put them both here for you to make your minds up about them. Lennon’s most ranting song from his most ranting album finds the Beatle remembering his Irish heritage after landing in New York City and speaking out against the atrocities carried out by English troops against protestors in 1972. Yoko’s off-key caterwauling aside, this song has real menace and finds Lennon at his mischievous best, reviving the Beatles Track ‘Come Together’ in his plea to set the Irish free. McCartney’s take on Sundays is much quieter, with him imagining the most peaceful, restful, empty time in his always-hectic schedule, ‘like heaven on a Sunday’. And if he only had one day of the week, this seems to be the one he’d choose.

4) Jefferson Airplane ‘Young Girl Sunday Blues’ (‘After Bathing At Baxters’ 1967): Sunday as troubled and tempting.

Jefferson Airplane often used days of the week as code for their intentions to infiltrate Western civilisation and turn everyone into hippies (see every other Jefferson review on this site!) This track is an early one, with the business-minded narrator torn between the pull of the working week with it’s regimented rules and comfortability and the glorious weekend promises that take him out of himself every Sunday. One side of me is filled with brightness, no matter what I might say, (I work at the AAA).

3) Oasis ‘Sunday Morning Call’ (‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ 2000): Sunday as tired and lonely.

One of Noel Gallagher’s prettier songs, this track finds him resenting the fact that his busy schedule drags him out of bed on a day of rest and the hangover the night before, both literal and metaphorical, probably doesn’t help. And this Sunday morning, waiting for the alarm, he’s lonely and afraid of the future, unsure if it’ll ever ever ever work out right.

2) The Monkees ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ (‘Pisces, Aqaurius, Capricorn and Jones LTD’ 1968): Sunday as your chance to keep up with the Joneses’ and improve your suburban paradise.

The Monkees’ last hit single of their all-conquering year of 1967 is a classic Goffin/King cover about young yuppies putting too much belief in material goods on their one day off from work when they could be resting and catching up with the family. Creature comfort goals, they only own my soul, making it hard for them to see, they need a change of scenery.

1) The Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday’ (‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ 1968): Sunday as your chance to take it easy – and annoy the hell out of your neighbours!

This classy single finds Steve Marriott and co having fun on their celebrated day off and not doing much at all, although this restful sentiment is married to an incessant rock beat that sounds more like a work song. What a shame the neighbours ‘stop me from grooving and bang on me wall’ – otherwise things would be perfect.

Well, that’s it for another week or the neighbours will be banging on our wall. See you next issue!