Welcome dear readers to the latest issue of News, Views and Music, the only music site to come with a Government health warning – yes, that’s right, steer clear of the coalition! Moving on to this week’s edition, when Pete Townshend came up with his grand concept of the ‘Lifehouse’ to follow up his other grand concept ‘Tommy’, his band, his managers and his record critics thought he’d gone mad, with the pressure of maintaining such a complex piece across a double record too much for even the AAA’s greatest philosopher. Instead the world was left with the single album ‘Who’s Next’, a sterling work that’s regularly rated as the ‘Orrible ‘Oo’s best by fans, who as ever know better than bands, managers and record critics. But talk about the brilliance of ‘Lifehouse’ never quite died away. Years after the album was abandoned came the internet, with opportunities for bloggers everywhere to reach out to everyone around the world with sites like this one and ‘Lifehouse’s talk about uniting humanity across barriers into one great huge movement, distilling the essence and life story of every person who’d ever lived on Earth, doesn’t sound quite as daft and impossible today as it did in 1971 (even if ‘Lifehouse’ is still wonderfully,admirably thrillingly complex and – like The Beach Boys’ ‘Smile’ – tantalisingly unfinished).
As regular readers may have noticed, Alan’s Album Archives is now a proper business with adverts appearing any time soon - we even have our own bank account and everything – and it seemed fitting to us that our first issue as a fully fledged business venture should be to look again at Pete’s grand scheme of uniting the world through the brilliance in music (last analysed in ‘News and Views’ no 14). For, as Pete’s full sized concept album would have shown, music has the power to heal, to bring hope and to overcome obstacles and boundaries and there can be no better ‘motto’ for our website to have than that. As he says in his sleevenotes for the ‘Who’s Next’ CD re-issue ‘Whatever happens in the future, rock and roll can save the world’ and we humbly agree. ‘Lifehouse’ is a towering concept, of course, and one that even our normal giant-sized article can’t hope to cover – plus the only person who’ll ever really know it inside out is Pete himself and I don’t think even he’s quite sure of how it all fits together. But this issue we’ve brought you our special AAA take on the story, taking the finished album, the outtakes and the Pete-collaboration ‘Lifehouse’ play (heard on radio 4 in the run-up to the Millennium) as our guide and trying our best to make the most of it. In the meantime, it’s only fair to tell you that even though we are now a business we will continue to be as passionate, detailed and as ramshackled as we ever were and there will be no difference to your reading (you might even get to see some good adverts for albums you’ve been after for years so please feel free to click away – it all helps us keep us in CDs for the next few years you see so you’ll benefit in the long run when we come to review yet more records!)
In the meantime, happy reading and, as you’ll see when you come to read more about ‘Lifehouse’, the best way of making things better and exploring humanity’s ups and downs is to ‘join together’ so please keep sending in your ideas, your likes and dislikes and anything you like, however trivial, we have to hear it all if we want to find the ‘one true note’ of humanity one day! As you might have noticed there are two new pagesadded to the site this week to help you do just that – one features our very own musical canine Max The Singing Dog, who has already been featured on our Youtube trailers and is ciu8rrently being mobbed in the streets and who has kindly agreed to answer all your musical questions. The other page is our brand new forum – mark #2 after our old one closed down a couple of years ago – so feel free to leave your comments about the site there. To start the ball rolling I’ve added a list of my ‘Gold, Silver and Bronze’ awards, discussing my favourite three songs by the artists featured or at least mentioned on this site. It’s been very hard to whittle such a fantastic catalogue of artists down to size as I’m sure you can imagine, so bear in mind this was merely how I was feeling on the day! I’ve been asked a couple of times by readers if I can provide a list of decent individual songs to download as opposed to whole albums so here is a section for all you downloaders out there, not just those of you from the ‘old school’ like me who still listen to albums in order. I doubt any of you out there will share the same ideas that I do, so instead of reading the list and fuming why not send me your own list of three favourite songs by any artist, not just the ones we cover on the site. I’m sure it will make for some very interesting reading and a grand opportunity to spread ideas as per ‘Lifehouse’! In the meantime, on with the news stories of the past week, which look a bit dilapidated at the moment – come on guys, give me something to write about...
♫ Lulu News: Lulu is back on our screens again this week as discussed last issue with her documentary series ‘Rewind the 60s’, looking back at the AAA’s favourite decade. The programme is as frustratingly bitty and as big a waste of her talents as we’d feared but is still worth looking out for by curious AAA readers. The programme runs till the end of the week on BBC One at 9.15am and is still available on the BBC’s I-player for a while. Monday’s edition is of particular interest, having an interview with Pete Best’s mother about the Casbah club in Liverpool where the Beatles played and helped to decorate, although alas this interesting snippet soon turns into a debate into how good a teenage Paul McCartney was at kissing! (I just know you’re going to ask so:- Not very according to Mrs Best, who was after all the mother of one of Paul’s bandmates and not really the best person to judge, but Lulu doesn’t believe that for a moment!)
ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday cakes all round for the following AAA members (November 17th-23rd): Gene Clark (Mr Tambourine Man with the Byrds 1965-66) would have been 69 on November 17th and Rod Clements (bassist with Lindisfarne 1970-72 and 1978-2002) turns 63 on the same day (November 17th). Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles receive their first ‘silver’ disc – for high sales of only their second single ‘Please Please Me’ (November 18th 1963); Danny Whitten, guitarist with the first line-up of Crazy Horse, overdoses on drugs bought with the travel money band leader Neil Young has given him to fly back home, inspiring Neil’s ‘doom trilogy’ (November 18th 1972); The Rolling Stones enjoy their first UK #1 with ‘Little Red Rooster’ (November 19th 1964); Ray Davies interrupts a Kinks American tour for the second time to re-record a single line in one of the band’s singles to prevent it being banned from the airwaves (the ‘foggin’ line in ‘Apeman’, following a ban on the brand-name ‘coca-cola’ in ‘Lola’; November 19th 1970); Scott Haldin, a 19-year-old Who fan learning to play the drums, gets the shock of his life when Keith Moon collapses at a gig full of animal tranquilisers and the band sheepishly ask for any drummers in the audience to fill in for him – only Scott responds (November 20th 1973); No less than three important Beatles releases come out for the Christmas market on November 22nd (‘With The Beatles’ in 1963, ‘The White Album’ in 1968 and John Lennon’s last record ‘Double Fantasy’ in 1980) and finally, The Rolling Stones are temporarily banned from all BBC Radio for the heinous crime of - gosh – turning up a bit late for a show for the series ‘Saturday Club’ (November 23rd 1964).