Friday, 20 August 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 72 (Intro)

August 20:

♫ Hello folks and welcome to a more normal edition of ‘News, Views and Music’. Well, if you can call ‘normal’ a newsletter that features an album about the world being finely balanced on the back of a terrapin and features a top five round-up where Paul McCartney is dead and Pink Floyd wrote a soundtrack for a film 33 years old. The only real news we have for you this week is that we now have four youtube videos finished and online (although three of them are on by special invitation so far). Please help us out by giving us a good rating (if you like them of course, you may hate them – although chances are you wouldn’t have got this far with the site unless you shared some of the same humour as us writers!)  - type ‘Alan’s Album Archives’ into a search engine to find them! All we can say is we fully expect to see website mascot Max The Singing Dog picking up an Oscar next year! There isn’t much AAA-group related news around at the moment, hence the rather shortened news section this week...


♫ Kinks News: A surprise in the BBC4 schedules last week was an hour’s compilation of Ray Davies’ Glastonbury show from the end of last month. Unusual not only in that we don’t often see Ray get a whole programme to himself these days, but also because it’s the first footage we’ve seen from the whole of Glastonbury this year – the beeb seem to have passed the festival over in its 40th anniversary year despite including programmes from many pretenders to the throne like the Isle of Wight and Womad. Alas, Ray’s still using the choir he insists on adding to all sorts of Kinks songs even when they palpably don’t fit, so half of the show was pretty much unlistenable for an old fan like me – and I’m still cross that I’ve waited all these years for Ray to revive the thrilling ‘Shangri-La’ and then he goes and hands over the arrangement to a bunch of bored looking backing singers. However, the rest was pretty good with some unusual choices thrown in, such as ‘Johnny Thunder’ from ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ (mentioned by Ray as being from recently deceased bassist Pete Quaife’s favourite album, although sadly he mentioned reading about that fact on the BBC news website rather than this website where I believe we were first to mention that fact!) and a rare performance of Ray’s solo ‘Workingman’s Cafe’ from 2006, which sounds a lot better live than it did on record. Ray also seems to have changed his backing band yet again from the era when I saw him live (2007), with an older and yet still unexpectedly noisy band behind him. The unexpected highlights were two songs dedicated to Pete – a moving version of ‘Days’ that Ray first started playing the week his old friend died (news and views passim) and a rare revival of the glorious ‘See My Friends’. Nice one Ray!

Two anniversary sections for you this week. The first covers August 9-15th and in which we wish a big happy birthday and a slice of cake to AAA members: Mark Knopfler (guitarist, singer and pretty much everything with the Dire Straits 1979-93) who turns 61 on August 12th and David Crosby (singer and guitarist with The Byrds 1965-68 and with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young various dates between 1969 and present) who turns 69 on August 14th. Anniversaries of events include: Ready! Steady! Go! for perennial TV favourite Ready! Steady! Go! which premieres on August 9th 1963 and runs for three years and four months; the infamous Charlie Manson murders take place in Laurel Canyon, relevant to this site as Manson is a close friend of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, quotes various songs from The Beatles’ White Album at the crime scenes and causes several AAA members living in California’s Laurel Canyon to emigrate elsewhere (August 9th 1969); Paul McCartney is arrested on his first ever drugs charge, several years after John and George, although conversations later suggest he actually carried the rap for wife Linda who is pregnant with daughter Stella at the time (August 10th 1972); the first of the annual Richmond Jazz Festivals takes place on August 11th 1963, with those well known jazz musos The, umm, Rolling Stones headlining; The Beatles announce the formation of Apple Records barely a week after first mentioning their plans for their new company – the first release is the band’s ‘Hey Jude’ (August 11th 1968); A tearful John Lennon gets as close to an apology as middle America will ever get over his ‘Beatles bigger than Jesus’ remarks (August 12th 1966); The now sadly forgotten ‘Festival Of Hope’ takes place, the first to be designed from the outset to raise money for charity (that decision came late in the day at Woodstock). Headlining are AAA men Jefferson Airplane (one of their last gigs) and Stephen Stills, but despite the talent on offer the fe4stival ends up making a loss (August 12th 1972); The Kinks’ first charting entry ‘You Really Got Me’ registers on the charts for the first time (August 13th 1964); Jefferson Airplane make their debut performance at San Francisco’s Matrix Club, a venue that just happens to be owned by vocalist Marty Balin (August 13th 1965); The Beatles play their record-breaking show at New York’s Shea Stadium, with 56,000 screaming fans –an attendance record that won’t be beaten until CSNY in 1974 (August 15th 1965); the first day of Woodstock, an anniversary we covered in detail a year ago in these very pages (August 15th 1969); George Harrison publishes the closest we’ve yet had to a Beatle autobiography, the frustratingly short and originally expensive  ‘I Me Mine’ (August 15th 1980) and finally, Paul Simon plays to his biggest crowd for his ‘Concert In Central Park’ (August 15th 1991).

As for August 16-22nd, here’s to the candle-blowing members of the AAA: Carl Wayne (vocalist with The Hollies from 1999 to his death in 2003) who would have been 66 on August 18th. Anniversaries of events include The Beatles’ still mysterious sacking of their most popular member Pete Best and replacing him with...Ringo (think about that for a minute) who plays his first gig with the band two days later (August 16th 1962); The Beatles’ first performance in Hamburg at the Indra Club (August 17th 1960); The second of two records featuring Jagger, Richards, Lennon and McCartney from the summer of love is released – the Stones’ best single (as far as my tastes are concerned) ‘We Love You’ (August 18th 1967 – the other record is the Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’); Mick Jagger accidentally hurts his hand in a pistol fight staged for the seemingly cursed movie ‘Ned Kelly’ (August 18th 1969); The Moody Blues begin their highest grossing UK tour, some nine years after their original split (August 18th 1981); The Beatles begin their first American tour, playing to much bigger crowds than they are used to in England (August 19th 1964); American radio station KNOW ban all Beatles tracks from the air after hearing that the ‘Sgt Peppers’ LP may contain drugs references – thankfully most of the other stations simply ban that LP (August 19th 1967); The Rolling Stones release one of their most famous songs ‘Satisfaction’ (August 20th 1965); Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham creates Immediate Records with The Small Faces, lured from Decca, one of their first signings (August 20th 1965); The Rolling Stones and 10cc co-headline a prestigious gig at London’s Knebworth (August 21st 1976) and finally, second Beatles film ‘Help!’ premieres in America (August 22nd 1965).   

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