Friday, 3 July 2009
♫ Sorry we’ve been off the air for the last few weeks but it’s been a rotten month for computers – first the library shuts so I have to go to Mike’s to upload the site, then Mike’s computer falls apart in such a way that the pen drive just won’t quite work despite copious encouragement and finally my beloved home computer packs up, taking with it a rather nifty review of the Human league’s ‘Romantic?’ album which I am trying to revive for you. Anyway, fear not – the missing weeks we had ready to post will be posted just as soon as the library’s back in mid-July and in the mean-time say hello to our special new friend Mr Dell Laptop (helloooo people!) Rest assured everybody’s favourite anniversary section (the, err, ‘anniversary section’) will be expanded this issue to show you what birthday’s you’re missing.
♫ Anniversaries: Seeing as we’ve missed the last couple of weeks, this is an extended column this issue and it’s a particularly busy week (we know there’s still a week missing but this issue was all prepared for going to press at the time the computer failed – hopefully we’ll retrieve it at some point in the future, so apologies if your birthday is missing): Happy Doo-dah birthdays (June 20-26) to Brian Wilson (bassist, vocalist, composer and all-round genius with the Beach Boys 1962-85) turned 67 on June 20th, Ray Davies (guitarist, vocalist, composer and all-round genius with The Kinks 1963-95) turned 65 on June 21st, Clint Warwick (bassist with the first line-up of the Moody Blues 1964-66) would have been 60 on June 25th and John Illsey (bassist with Dire Straits 1978-93) was also 60 on June 26th. Anniversaries of events include: the Rolling Stones releasing their cover of Buddy Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ seven years to the day after the original (June 20th 1964); the first ever Glastonbury, held in 1971 (June 20th); the ex-Beatles have a good week as George’s ‘Living in the Material World’ replaces Paul’s ‘Red Rose Speedway’ at the top of the American album charts (June 23rd 1973); John, meanwhile, released his second book of prose ‘A Spaniard In The Works’ on June 24th 1965; Jefferson Airplane record their second – and last – hit with the release of the perennial psych single ‘White Rabbit’ (June 24th 1967); the Beatles are shown on the ‘one World’ global satellite link-up programme on June 25th 1967, representing Great Britain as they perform their new single ‘All You Need Is Love’; Mick Taylor plays his first gig with the Rolling Stones, less than a fortnight before the death of his predecessor Brian Jones (June 25th 1969); and finally the world’s best selling EP, The Beatles’ ‘Twist and Shout’ is released in the UK on June 26th 1963.
And doo-wah diddy birthdays (June 27-July 3rd) go to Bruce Johnston (pianist, bassist, vocalist and composer with the Beach Boys 1965-71, 1979-present) who turns 65 on June 27th; Stanley Clarke (Paul McCartney collaborator in the 1980s) turns 68 on June 30th and Adrian Wright (keyboardist with the Human League 1981-84) turns 53 on June 30th. Anniversaries of events this week include: the gramophone turns 124 years old on June 27th, after the patent for it was officially passed in 1885; Crosby, Stills and Nash play one of their earliest – possibly the earliest – concerts 40 years ago at the Denver Pop Festival on June 27th 1969; the Fillmore East – beloved ‘home’ theatre of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane – closed on June 27th 1971; the first Beatles song to make the American charts, ‘From Me To You’ is released on June 29th 1964 – but amazingly it’s not the fab four’s version but a cover by 1950s star Del Shannon; Mick Jagger and Keith Richards spend an uncomfortable night in Brixton prison, facing drugs charges that could have seen them spend up to a year inside (June 29th 1967); Forty years ago this week Rolling Stone Brian Jones dies in mysterious circumstances after taking a swim in his home swimming pool (previous owner: AA Milne) on July 3rd 1969, just a few months after leaving the band and finally Brian Wilson joins the Beach Boys on-stage after an amazing 11 year absence (July 3rd 1976).
And now we end with our traditional top five: the top five things you might have enjoyed since the last newsletter:
1) Watched this year’s Glastonbury. There’s usually somebody interesting at this most hip of festivals but there were no less than three AAA artists involved this year, all playing their first festivals in many years (39 in CSN’s case!) CSN were quite nervy and Nils Lofgren (playing as part of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band) didn’t get a lot to do, but Neil Young played perhaps the best set I’ve seen. Goodness knows why he insisted on playing ‘Words (Between The Lines Of Age)’ at one of the biggest gigs he’s had in years (it’s one of Neil’s biggest failures according to fans and guaranteed to annoy the faithful) but the grungemeister made up for it with no less than four false endings during a 15-minute version of ‘Rockin’ In the Free World’ and a staggering performance of the Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’, replacing the majestic orchestral whirl of the original with crunching guitar, bass and harmonies. Magical.
2) Celebrated the 40th anniversary of Woodtsock a month early with the release of the new DVD set. Yes, it is out as we speak as promised in our last issue and does include the deluxe four-hour film version as well as Woodtsock Diaries and four new hoursw of footage including some from the Airplane and the Dead (the firsat time ever their footage has been shown).
3) Celebrated the fact that CSN might be getting a decent documentary at last – we’ll let you know more next month when it’s finally out but Henry Diltz’s ‘Laurel Canyon’ documentary has been getiing rave reviews everywhere else.
4) Celebrated the fact that Crazy Horse’s first pre-Neil Young album has finally made it to CD! Yes, the band’s only album recorded under first name ‘The Rockets’ has sneaked out quietly and doesn’t seem to have made it to the shops yet – but is available through mail order shops if you persevere. Mine’s in the post so I’ll let you know what it’s like next week! Another new release for you – Jefferson Starship – the Definitive Concert is also out on DVD for the first time dating back to 1983 and erroneously credited to the Jefferson Airplane.
5) Oh yeah and Michael Jackson’s dead. We thought we’d better tell you because everyone else has, but don’t worry there won’t be a top five or anything about him this issue (we could only think of two good Jackson songs and they were both written by Paul McCartney).
Well that’s us done for another week – hopefully it will be a bit sooner before we see you next. Ciao for now!