♫ Wow, 40 issues of ‘news, views and music’, who’d have thought it? Well, us, actually – after all, you can’t have too much of a good thing can you? And it was always our intention to keep this site going for as long as is physically possible. But still, here we are, three weeks short of a year since our first issue and what a long time ago it seems already. Back then George Bush was still in power, Gordon Brown was still vaguely popular, the banks actually had more money than we did and Michael Jackson was seen as a child molesting weirdo that everyone hated. How times change. Anyway in order to celebrate our anniversary, we’ve decided to...put some plans in place to celebrate our 50th issue in a few months’ time. You see, our hits have begin drying up lately and we’re still trying to spruce up the site a bit (not that the useless ‘Mr Site’ CD-Rom I bought the other week has helped at all, seeing as it’s crashed on me seven times already). At long last I should have a quieter week this week so will do my best to put things right. So, till our 50th issue, expect the same round-up of musical delights to excite your eyes and ears as in every other edition. Now on with the news!
♫ Beatles News: Three bits of titbits of news for you this week. Firstly, it was the 40th anniversary of the ‘Abbey Road’ cover last week and several fans decided to celebrate, holding up traffic for hours in good ole’ fab four tradition (this is the band who delayed everybody’s lunch hours in Jan 1969 with the Rooftop concert after all).
Secondly, Radio Four decided to celebrate the, err, 41st anniversary of George Harrison’s trip to Bombay to record his under-rated ‘Wonderwall’ soundtrack album. It’s probably still available on i-player for a while, so give it a listen if you like this Beatles spin-off project as much as I do – lots of the album’s Bombay session players spoke for the first time.
Thirdly, and most worryingly, Paul McCartney has announced his decision to retire from concerts at the end of next year. For some reason this huge bombshell has gone largely nun-noticed by most of the media (and its big news –barring Grace Slick in 1989 this is the first AAA member ever to announce retirement from touring and could set a worrying precedent where the only concerts we have to look forward to are by a reformed Jackson 5 and a reformed Spice Girls). Macca will still be recording, however, and promises an epic farewell featuring concerts at some suitably weird and memorable places. Very sad news indeed but, on behalf of the millions of fans who’ve seen Macca in concert, thanks for all the great tours over the years Paul, we’ll truly miss you. More news if and when we hear it.
♫ CSNY News: Happier news for you now. I’m not sure how long its been out but the best kept secret of the year is that the ‘other’ fab four’s legendary concert at Wembley Stadium in 1974 in front of a then record-breaking 72,000 people is out on DVD. A German company has released the three-hour footage on a DVD entitled ‘A Long Long Time Ago’ and it features the complete unedited concert recorded at the climax of CSNY’s re union that year. Amazingly, there’s no sign of the bad blood between the foursome that’s about to erupt in the studio about a month or so later and nor is there much evidence of the ‘off-key singing’ and ‘wild playing’ that CSNY have always claimed have prevented them from releasing the set in the past (Nash, especially has been critical about this tour in general and this concert specifically). It’s hard to see what all the criticisms are about, however – for the most part this show is stunning with Stills on especially strong form and the foursome perform several songs rare to CSNY shows and four only available on bootleg. It is the earliest footage of all four men together available – at least it is until Neil agrees to release the CSNY woodstock footage properly!
Full Track listing: Love The One You’re With/Wooden Ships/Immigration Man/Helpless/Military Madness/Johnny’s Garden (a rare treat with 4-way harmonies!)/ Traces (Unreleased Neil Young song)/Almost Cut My Hair/Teach Your Children/Only Love Can Break Your Heart/The Lee Shore/Time After Time (two years before it’s appearance on record!)/It’s Alright (a ridiculous six years before its appearance on record!)/Another Sleep Song (with a guesting Joni Mitchell as per the record)/Our House/Hawaiian Sunrise (another unreleased Neil Young song)/Star Of Bethlehem (with its original third verse, three years before its appearance on record)/Love Art Blues (another unreleased Neil Young song with its memorable opening line ‘my songs are all so long and my songs are all so sad...’)/Old Man/Change Partners/Blackbird/Myth Of Sisyphus (a year before its appearance on record!)/Word Game/Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/Deja Vu/First Things First (a year before its appearance on record!)/Don’t Be Denied/Black Queen/ Pushed It Over The End (the legendary unreleased Neil Young song available (semi) officially at last!!)/Pre-Road Downs/a stunning elongated version of Carry On/Ohio.
Other CSN News – BBC4 are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Woodstock (see our ‘anniversary’ column) on Saturday, August 15th, with a showing of the director’s cut of the film plus a re-screening of the ‘Hotel California’ documentary dominated by CSNY footage and the sixth screening in 18 months of the Crosby/Nash ‘In Concert’ footage from 1970.
♫ Small Faces News: Very few fans know that the Faces were meant to break ‘big’ onto the mainstream courtesy of their appearance in the film ‘Dateline Diamonds’. In the event the film – released in 1965 – died a death and the band broke big courtesy of their #1 hit ‘All Or Nothing’ instead. ‘Dateline Diamonds’ has been released before but has been out of catalogue for a while so its re-release last month is very welcome news for collectors like myself who have never seen it. The film was very much part of the ‘Hard Day’s Night’ cash-in brigade of 1964-65, but unlike most films it had one plus – Steve Mariott had been a genuine child actor before turning to pop and had made a big splash playing the ‘Artful Dodger’ on-stage in ‘Oliver!’
♫ Woodstock News: Just in case you hadn’t read the news above, BBC4 are celebrating tonight’s Woodstock anniversary with a screening of the whole four-hour director’s cut (the first time the 4 hour edit has been shown on terrestrial British TV, I think), followed by various themed programmes including ‘Crosby/Nash’ in concert, ‘Santana in concert’ and the oft-showed ‘Hotel California’ documentary this Saturday (August 15th). Should be a good night in!
♫ Anniversaries (August 14-20th): Happy present-unwrapping to AAA artist David Crosby (Guitarist with The Byrds 1965-68 and CSNY/CSN/CN and solo (sporadically) 1969-present) who turns 68 on August 14th and Carl Wayne (singer with The Hollies 1997-02) who would have been 65 on August 18th. Anniversaries of events include: the Beatles’ famous gig at baseball venue Shea Stadium to a then-record 56,000 fans (a record first beaten by CSNY) on August 15th 1965; another famous concert takes place on the same day four years later with the first of three love-filled days of music and mud at Woodstock; and on the same day in 1991 Paul Simon performs to similarly huge numbers during his ‘Concert in Central Park; the Beatles sack Pete Best in favour of Ringo on August 16th 1962, just two months before release of their first single ; almost two years to the day earlier – August 17th 1960 – the Beats start their career-changing run at Hamburg’s Indra Club, their first show outside Liverpool; the Rolling Stones release the single that is – to my ears – their best, the legal-system-taunting ‘We Love You’ (August 18th 1967); the Beatles follow up their ‘Ed Sullivan’ TV appearance earlier in the year with their first American tour, opening with a show at San Francisco’s ‘Cow Palace’ theatre on August 19th 1964; the Stones release legendary single ‘Satisfaction’ on August 20th 1965 and finally, on the same day in 1965, Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham announces a new record label named ‘Immediate’ – the Small Faces will make the label a household name for record collectors over the next three years.