All posts by Woodstock Whisperer

Attended the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, became an educator for 35 years after graduation from college, and am retired now and often volunteer at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts which is on the site of that 1969 festival.

Mick Jagger Performance

Mick Jagger Performance

“Turner’s Murder” by Merry Clayton Singers.
I was 18 and thought I knew it all. At least all I needed to know. Ok, most of it.

Mick Jagger Performance

I was learning that there were many more cool things than the half dozen or so things that I already knew were cool. Important things like knowing how to tie a Windsor knot or to whistle using my two pointer fingers to curl the front of my tongue. Knowing several nicknames for marijuana (albeit, never using it).

When I saw Mick Jagger on the cover of the Performance soundtrack, I was confused. It was Mick, wasn't it? Why is he dress like a woman. He was dressed like a woman, wasn't he?

Apparently there was one more thing to know was cool, yet not actually doing that thing.

Mick in the movies

Mick Jagger Performance

Performance was Mick Jagger's first movie role.  It was done in 1967 and by then those fab four friends of his had already done two movies: Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965).

Jagger was not going to play a musician chased by hundreds of fans for 87 minutes or a musician chased by dozens of villains for 92 minutes. 

Jagger plays a former rock star turned landlord, sort of.

Actor James Fox plays a gangster on the run and eventually hides out at the house of a Turner (Mick Jagger). There are already sexual shenanigans going on at Turners. Fox joins Turner and the three woman already there. Ménage de cinq.

Warner Brothers blinks

Mick Jagger Performance

While Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg did direct the film in 1967,  Warner Brothers, the studio, decided it could not release the film. Reportedly, the wife of one Warner Brothers executive vomited while watching it.  

Warner Brothers did finally release a version of the film in 1970. A highly edited version.  

Over the years, various revised editions have been released. The last one, and most true to the original, was not released until 2007. 

At its 1970 release, Roger Ebert said, "Performance" is a bizarre, disconnected attempt to link the inhabitants of two kinds of London underworlds: pop stars and gangsters. It isn't altogether successful, largely because it tries too hard and doesn't pace itself to let its effects sink in.

But it does have a kind of frantic energy,

Other reviews thought it unworthy of the word film.

Cult classic

Mick Jagger Performance

Gradually, though, it found itself far more favorable. From WikipediaIn 1995 Performance appeared at number 30 in a Time Out magazine "all-time greats" poll of critics and directors 

In the September–October 2009 issue of Film Comment, Mick Jagger's Turner was voted the best performance by a musician in a film.

In his 15-hour documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey, Mark Cousins says: "Performance was not only the greatest seventies film about identity, if any movie in the whole Story of Film should be compulsory viewing for film makers, maybe this is it.

Performance soundtrack

I was more into music than cinema and decided to buy the soundtrack. Powerfully odd is how I would have described it then and now as well.

I again saw the name  Jack Nitzsche. The name I often saw on the back of albums, but had no idea who he actually was, Other album names were familiar, too: Randy Newman; Merry Clayton, Ry Cooder, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Last Poets, and Mick Jagger, of course.

For me, I've learned several times that a soundtrack usually needs the movie. I learned why background music is just that. 

Here are the tracks:
Side One:

  1. “Gone Dead Train” – Randy Newman
  2. “Performance”  (Merry Clayton)
  3. “Get Away”  (Ry Cooder)
  4. “Powis Square (Ry Cooder)
  5. “Rolls Royce and Acid”  (Jack Nitzsche)
  6. “Dyed, Dead, Red”  (Buffy Sainte-Marie)
  7. “Harry Flowers”  (Jack Nitzsche, Randy Newman)
 Side two:

  1. “Memo from Turner”  (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)
  2. “Hashishin” (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ry Cooder)
  3. “Wake Up, Niggers” (The Last Poets)
  4. “Poor White Hound Dog” (Merry Clayton)
  5. “Natural Magic” (Jack Nitzsche)
  6. “Turner’s Murder” (Merry Clayton Singers)

Mick Jagger Performance. Mick Jagger Performance. Mick Jagger Performance. Mick Jagger Performance. Mick Jagger Performance. Mick Jagger Performance. Mick Jagger Performance. 

Who Smash Smothers Brothers

Who Smash Smothers Brothers

September 17, 1967

Tom and Dick

Who Smash Smothers Brothers

I had heard of the Smothers Brothers. They were a bit goofy and looked like they might be escapees from a barbershop quartet. They were actually brothers (unlike the Righteous Brothers) and the way Tom joked but didn't joke with Dick, his straightman. Of course, Dick was a pretty funny word to hear on TV in the 1960s.

Their show began on CBS at 9 PM on Sunday 5 February 1967.  They followed the still popular and influential Ed Sullivan Show. Such a lead in spot would seem to make their show a shoe in success, but keep in mind what was on NBC at the same time: Bonanza.

The underdog

Bonanza had been running for eight years already. A hugely popular show that made its viewers feel like cowboys who did the right thing at a time when making America great again was all the rage.

Poking fun at the Establishment was funny only to some Boomers, but for them, what fun it was.

Plus there was music. They had main stream performers like Jim Nabors, Jimmy Durante, siblings Frank and Nancy Sinatra, and Micky Rooney.

Underground music

For so-called "underground music" fans, seeing bands such as the Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, the Turtles, the Blues Magoos, the Electric Prunes, and Simon and Garfunkel was a special treat. Such bands were not regularly seen on the few pre-cable TV stations typically available.

Who Smash Smothers Brothers

Who Smash Smothers Brothers

On September 17, 1967, The Who appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. They played 2 songs, "I Can See For Miles" and "My Generation". At the end of “My Generation”, Pete Townshend started smashing his amp and Keith Moon had his drum set rigged to explode which did cut Moon’s leg & singed Pete Townshend’s hair, along with doing damage to Townshend’s hearing.

The story is apparently (and not surprisingly) that Keith Moon wanted to have an explosion at the end of their performance. In rehearsals, the explosion wasn't big enough and he asked for something bigger. It was increased, but Keith added more.

And history was made.

Here is a 2016 Rolling Stone magazine look-back at the event.

September 15 Music et al

September 15 Music et al

Pendletons aka, the Beach Boys

September 15, 1961, the Pendletons,  from Hawthorne, California, attended their first real recording session at Hite Morgan's studio in Los Angeles. The band recorded 'Surfin'. They soon changed their name to the Beach Boys. (see Dec 8)

Four Seasons

September 15 – October 19, 1962: “Sherry” by the Four Seasons #1 Billboard Hot 100. Written by Bob Gaudio

From Wikipedia: According to Gaudio, the song took about 15 minutes to write and was originally titled "Jackie Baby" (in honor of then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy). In a 1968 interview, Gaudio said that the song was inspired by the 1961 Bruce Channel hit "Hey! Baby".

At the studio, the name was changed to "Terri Baby", and eventually to "Sherry", the name of the daughter of Gaudio's best friend, New York DJ Jack Spector. One of the names that Gaudio pondered for the song was "Peri Baby," which was the name of the record label for which Bob Crewe worked, named after the label owner's daughter.
September 15 Music et al

Otis Redding

September 15, 1965: Otis Redding released his Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul containing his composition “Respect”

From AllMusic:  "Otis Redding's third album, and his first fully realized album, presents his talent unfettered, his direction clear, and his confidence emboldened, with fully half the songs representing a reach that extended his musical grasp. More than a quarter of this album is given over to Redding's versions of songs by Sam Cooke, his idol, who had died the previous December, and all three are worth owning and hearing. Two of them, "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "Shake," are every bit as essential as any soul recordings ever made, and while they (and much of this album) have reappeared on several anthologies, it's useful to hear the songs from those sessions juxtaposed with each other, and with "Wonderful World," which is seldom compiled elsewhere."

Fear of Rock

September 15, 1970:Vice President Spiro Agnew stated that  American youth were being destroyed by rock music, the drug culture, and underground newspapers. (see March 27, 1971)

September 15 Music et al