Saturday, 20 February 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 54 (Intro)

February 20:

♫ Hello and welcome to issue no 54 of News, Views and Music. To fill you in on what’s happening to us, well our computer’s gone wrong (again!), my chronic fatigue has gone into hyperdrive (again!) and its snowed (again!) So apologies if this ends up being a rather short issue this week – hopefully we’ll be back up to speed next issue. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who have been logging on to the site (we’ve just passed the 650 mark which isn’t bad for a website that’s only been up in its new home for five months or so) and especially to those of you who’ve been leaving me messages (yes indeed, Lizzie, your contributions are the genius parts of the site, how can I argue with that?) Whether you want to praise, erase or liaise about which albums to review next (or even which colour scheme you want the next issue to have) simply leave me a message on our ‘about the site’ page. Till then, happy reading!


♫ Neil Young News: For possibly the first time in his life ever, Neil attended an awards ceremony at the end of last month – an event dedicated to both his music and his work for charities (the Bridge School benefit Trust among others). Sadly there were no Buffalo Springfield or CSNY reunions but a star studded cast list including Elton john performed their favourite songs from Neil’s ridiculously long list of classics. We never got an invite, though, so alas we can’t fill you in on any more details...


ANNIVERSARIES: Hip Hip Hooray its birthday time again for AAA musicians born February 13th-20th: Peter Tork (bassist and pianist with The Monkees 1966-68) who turns 64 on February 13th; Mick Avory (drummer with The Kinks 1964-84) who turns 66 on February 15th; Yoko Ono who turns 77 on February 18th and Alan Hull (guitarist and songwriter with Lindisfarne 1970-95) who would have been 65 on February 20th. Anniversaries of events include: The Who record their infamous ‘Live At Leeds’ set on Valentine’s day 1970 at Leeds University; The Who also see their first – and one of their only – live appearance of concept piece ‘Lifehouse’, the long awaited follow-up to ‘Tommy’. The show is abandoned after only a handful of performances and the double album work is later cut down to the single album ‘Who’s Next’ (February 15th 1971); John and George and families fly out to join the Maharishi for the start of a multi-month stay in India – Paul and Ringo and families join in a couple of days later (February 16th 1968); The Beatles release ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ as a single, two songs recorded the previous December and intended for the ‘Sgt Peppers’ album (February 17th 1967); Pink Floyd premiere ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ in a concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre after a failed attempt the week before (ruined by a sticking backing tape containing sound effects) – several songs will be altered before they appear on record but already the new songs are judged to be a success (February 17th 1972); John Lennon releases his last pre-retirement LP: ‘Rock and Roll’ a half baked collection of half baked 50s standards (February 17th 1975); The Who’s first ‘proper’ single (ie one recorded under The Who name) I Can’t Explain makes the charts (February 18th 1965); David Gilmour officially joins Pink Floyd, covering for an ailing Syd Barrett who is gradually phased out of the band over the next few shows (February 18th 1968); Lulu marries Bee Gee Maurice Gibb in Buckinghamshire (February 18th 1969) and Wings’ first single to be banned from radio airplay – the under-rated Give Ireland Back To The Irish – is released just weeks before the second (the drug-fuelled ‘Hi Hi Hi’) (February 19th 1972).

And happy birthday to the next batch of AAA luminaries (February 21st-27th): Nicky Hopkins (session musician who played on top 101 records by Grateful Dead, George Harrison, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Who) would have been 66 on February 24th; George Harrison would have been 67 on February 25th and Johnny Cash would have been 78 on February 26th. Anniversaries of events include: A busy day in 1964 sees ‘breakthrough’ discs by two AAA bands – The Stones’ first top five hit ‘Not Fade Away’ and the Hollies’ first top five hit ‘Just One Look’ (February 21st); The Beatles start filming for their second film ‘Help!’ following a busy month at Abbey Road recording the first side of the soundtrack album (February 22nd 1965); Lennon’s last pre-retirement hit ‘#9 Dream’ charts – at no 9 very neatly – in America (February 22nd 1974); 10cc sign with Mercury Records after two years with Jonathon King’s UK label (February 22nd 1975); Cat Stevens’ first LP is released: named ‘Matthew and Son’ if you live in Britain and ‘Cats and Dogs’ in most of the rest of the world (February 24th 1967); The Byrds fly away for good after a farewell show at New Jersey’s Capital Theatre on February 24th 1973; The Beatles’ first American single is released – no, not Capitol’s record breaking ‘I want To Hold Your Hand’ but the smaller Vee Jay label with an un-charting ‘Please Please Me’ (February 25th 1963 – the band are infamously mis-spelled as ‘The Beattles’ on the label!); A bill proposing to ban all sale of r and b and rock music is rejected in the American House of Representatives. Thank goodness for that – or this website would be talking about the 101 greatest Garden Gnomes or something equally unlikely (February 26th 1954); Pink Floyd’s first ever recording session takes place at Abbey Road – it results in debut single ‘Arnold Layne’ (February 27th 1967); Paul McCartney releases his first solo single ‘Another Day’ February 27th 1971) and finally the watershed moment in Rolling Stones history – Keith Richards’ drugs bust in Toronto which came close to seeing him spend the rest of the 70s behind bards – takes place on February 27th 1977.   

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