Category Archives: Music of the 60s

Bob Dylan Woody Guthrie Last Thoughts

Bob Dylan Woody Guthrie Last Thoughts

Bob Dylan Woody Guthrie Last Thoughts,

April 12, 1963: at New York's Town Hall Bob Dylan recited "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie," a long evocation of old memories, a youth searching for himself by the railroad tracks, down the road, in fields and meadows, on the banks of streams, in the "trash can alleys." And, he says, somehow during that search Woody was his companion. 
Here's Dylan's recitation:

Bob Dylan Woody Guthrie Last Thoughts

"There's this book comin' out, an' they asked me to write something about Woody...Sort of like "What does Woody Guthrie mean to you?" in twenty-five words...

And...ah...I couldn't do it -- I wrote out five pages and... I have it here, it's...Have it here by accident, actually... but I'd like to say this out loud...So... if you can sort of roll along with this thing here, this is called...
“Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”
When yer head gets twisted and yer mind grows numb
When you think you’re too old, too young, too smart or too dumb
When yer laggin’ behind an’ losin’ yer pace
In a slow-motion crawl of life’s busy race
No matter what yer doing if you start givin’ up
If the wine don’t come to the top of yer cup
If the wind’s got you sideways with with one hand holdin’ on
And the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone
And yer train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it
And the wood’s easy findin’ but yer lazy to fetch it
And yer sidewalk starts curlin’ and the street gets too long
And you start walkin’ backwards though you know its wrong
And lonesome comes up as down goes the day
And tomorrow’s mornin’ seems so far away
And you feel the reins from yer pony are slippin’
And yer rope is a-slidin’ ’cause yer hands are a-drippin’
And yer sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys
Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys
And yer sky cries water and yer drain pipe’s a-pourin’
And the lightnin’s a-flashing and the thunder’s a-crashin’
And the windows are rattlin’ and breakin’ and the roof tops a-shakin’
And yer whole world’s a-slammin’ and bangin’
And yer minutes of sun turn to hours of storm
And to yourself you sometimes say
“I never knew it was gonna be this way
Why didn’t they tell me the day I was born”
And you start gettin’ chills and yer jumping from sweat
And you’re lookin’ for somethin’ you ain’t quite found yet
And yer knee-deep in the dark water with yer hands in the air
And the whole world’s a-watchin’ with a window peek stare
And yer good gal leaves and she’s long gone a-flying
And yer heart feels sick like fish when they’re fryin’
And yer jackhammer falls from yer hand to yer feet
And you need it badly but it lays on the street
And yer bell’s bangin’ loudly but you can’t hear its beat
And you think yer ears might a been hurt
Or yer eyes’ve turned filthy from the sight-blindin’ dirt
And you figured you failed in yesterdays rush
When you were faked out an’ fooled white facing a four flush
And all the time you were holdin’ three queens
And it’s makin you mad, it’s makin’ you mean
Like in the middle of Life magazine
Bouncin’ around a pinball machine
And there’s something on yer mind you wanna be saying
That somebody someplace oughta be hearin’
But it’s trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head
And it bothers you badly when your layin’ in bed
And no matter how you try you just can’t say it
And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it
And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head
And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead
And the lion’s mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth
And his jaws start closin with you underneath
And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind
And you wish you’d never taken that last detour sign
And you say to yourself just what am I doin’
On this road I’m walkin’, on this trail I’m turnin’
On this curve I’m hanging
On this pathway I’m strolling, in the space I’m taking
In this air I’m inhaling
Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard
Why am I walking, where am I running
What am I saying, what am I knowing
On this guitar I’m playing, on this banjo I’m frailin’
On this mandolin I’m strummin’, in the song I’m singin’
In the tune I’m hummin’, in the words I’m writin’
In the words that I’m thinkin’
In this ocean of hours I’m all the time drinkin’
Who am I helping, what am I breaking
What am I giving, what am I taking
But you try with your whole soul best
Never to think these thoughts and never to let
Them kind of thoughts gain ground
Or make yer heart pound
But then again you know why they’re around
Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down
“Cause sometimes you hear’em when the night times comes creeping
And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping
And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin’
And you can’t remember for the best of yer thinking
If that was you in the dream that was screaming
And you know that it’s something special you’re needin’
And you know that there’s no drug that’ll do for the healin’
And no liquor in the land to stop yer brain from bleeding
And you need something special
Yeah, you need something special all right
You need a fast flyin’ train on a tornado track
To shoot you someplace and shoot you back
You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler
That’s been banging and booming and blowing forever
That knows yer troubles a hundred times over
You need a Greyhound bus that don’t bar no race
That won’t laugh at yer looks
Your voice or your face
And by any number of bets in the book
Will be rollin’ long after the bubblegum craze
You need something to open up a new door
To show you something you seen before
But overlooked a hundred times or more
You need something to open your eyes
You need something to make it known
That it’s you and no one else that owns
That spot that yer standing, that space that you’re sitting
That the world ain’t got you beat
That it ain’t got you licked
It can’t get you crazy no matter how many
Times you might get kicked
You need something special all right
You need something special to give you hope
But hope’s just a word
That maybe you said or maybe you heard
On some windy corner ’round a wide-angled curve
But that’s what you need man, and you need it bad
And yer trouble is you know it too good
“Cause you look an’ you start getting the chills
“Cause you can’t find it on a dollar bill
And it ain’t on Macy’s window sill
And it ain’t on no rich kid’s road map
And it ain’t in no fat kid’s fraternity house
And it ain’t made in no Hollywood wheat germ
And it ain’t on that dimlit stage
With that half-wit comedian on it
Ranting and raving and taking yer money
And you thinks it’s funny
No you can’t find it in no night club or no yacht club
And it ain’t in the seats of a supper club
And sure as hell you’re bound to tell
That no matter how hard you rub
You just ain’t a-gonna find it on yer ticket stub
No, and it ain’t in the rumors people’re tellin’ you
And it ain’t in the pimple-lotion people are sellin’ you
And it ain’t in no cardboard-box house
Or down any movie star’s blouse
And you can’t find it on the golf course
And Uncle Remus can’t tell you and neither can Santa Claus
And it ain’t in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes
And it ain’t in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons
And it ain’t in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices
That come knockin’ and tappin’ in Christmas wrappin’
Sayin’ ain’t I pretty and ain’t I cute and look at my skin
Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow
Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry
When you can’t even sense if they got any insides
These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows
No you’ll not now or no other day
Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper mache¥
And inside it the people made of molasses
That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses
And it ain’t in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies
Who’d turn yuh in for a tenth of a penny
Who breathe and burp and bend and crack
And before you can count from one to ten
Do it all over again but this time behind yer back
My friend
The ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl
And play games with each other in their sand-box world
And you can’t find it either in the no-talent fools
That run around gallant
And make all rules for the ones that got talent
And it ain’t in the ones that ain’t got any talent but think they do
And think they’re foolin’ you
The ones who jump on the wagon
Just for a while ’cause they know it’s in style
To get their kicks, get out of it quick
And make all kinds of money and chicks
And you yell to yourself and you throw down yer hat
Sayin’, “Christ do I gotta be like that
Ain’t there no one here that knows where I’m at
Ain’t there no one here that knows how I feel
Good God Almighty
THAT STUFF AIN’T REAL”
No but that ain’t yer game, it ain’t even yer race
You can’t hear yer name, you can’t see yer face
You gotta look some other place
And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin’
Where do you look for this lamp that’s a-burnin’
Where do you look for this oil well gushin’
Where do you look for this candle that’s glowin’
Where do you look for this hope that you know is there
And out there somewhere
And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads
Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows
Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways
You can touch and twist
And turn two kinds of doorknobs
You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
You’ll find God in the church of your choice
You’ll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital
And though it’s only my opinion
I may be right or wrong
You’ll find them both
In the Grand Canyon
At sundown
Link to Dylan site
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March 31 Music et al

March 31 Music et al

Question: What do  RCA, Chuck Berry, Connie Francis, Jimi Hendrix,  the Beatles, and the Beatle Fan Club have in common? 
Answer: March 31

Technological Milestone

Roots of Rock

45 RPM
March 31, 1949: RCA introduced the 7-inch diameter ’45 RPM as the "New System,.  RCA designed it to be a replacement for the bulky 78-RPM record and touted it to be 1/10th the weight of its 12 inch counterpart. It had a playtime of up to 5.3 minutes per side. It also had improved fidelity in terms of noise levels and frequency response. (Roots, see Dec 10; TM, see January 12, 1950)

Chuck Berry

March 31 Music et al

March 31, 1958,: Chuck Berry released the “Johnny B. Goode”. Written by Berry in 1955, the song is about a poor country boy who plays a guitar "just like ringing a bell," and who might one day have his "name in lights." Berry has acknowledged that the song is partly autobiographical, and originally had "colored boy" in the lyrics, but he changed it to "country boy" to ensure radio play. The title suggests that the guitar player is good, and hints at autobiographic elements because Berry was born at 2520 Goode Avenue in St. Louis. Chuck has said that he wrote it as a Rock and Roll version of the American dream. (see May 9) (see Johnny B Goode for more)

Billboard #1

Connie Francis
March 31 – April 6, 1962: “Don’t Break the Heart that Loves You” by Connie Francis #1 Billboard Hot 100. 

Written by Benny Davis and Murray Mencher,  Francis recorded the ballad in two-part harmony with a spoken bridge. It is a plea from a heartbroken lover who is trying to understand why her lover is going out of his way to treat her unkindly. The song ends with her begging him not to break her heart.

The song was Francis's third and final #1 song.

Jimi Hendrix

March 31 Music et al

Burning guitar
March 31, 1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience played at the London Astoria. While waiting to perform, Hendrix and his manager Chas Chandler were discussing ways in which they could increase the band's media exposure. When Chandler asked journalist Keith Altham for advice, Altham suggested that they needed to do something more dramatic than the stage show of The Who, which involved the smashing of instruments. Hendrix joked: "Maybe I can smash up an elephant", to which Altham replied: "Well, it's a pity you can't set fire to your guitar".

                Chandler then asked road manager Gerry Stickells to find some lighter fluid. During the show, Hendrix gave an especially dynamic performance before setting his Fender Stratocaster on fire at the end of a 45-minute set. In the wake of the stunt, members of London's press labeled Hendrix the "Black Elvis" and the "Wild Man of Borneo"

According  Setlist dot com that night he played:
  1. Foxy Lady
  2. Can You See Me
  3. Hey Joe
  4. Purple Haze
  5. Fire
Tony Garland, Hendrix’s press agent scooped up the remains of the Strat, took them home and placed them in the garage of his parents southern U.K. home. About 30 years later, Garland’s nephew found the remains of the guitar, did a little research, and the burnt guitar was auctioned off in 2007 for $575,000.(see May 12)
March 31 Music et al

Beatles

George Harrison and Patty Boyd
March 31, 1969:  a drug squad had raided George Harrison and Patty Boyd’s Esher home  on March 12. On this date the trial took place at Esher and Walton Magistrates' Court. They pleaded guilty to possessing the cannabis, which was likely to have been planted in the house by police officers and were each fined £250 plus 10 guineas each in court costs, and were put on probation for a year. (Apr 14)
Paul McCartney v Let It Be album
March 31, 1970: Apple planned to release Paul McCartney's solo album and the Beatles' Let It Be two weeks of each other. Since Let It Be was a group project, 

John and George composed a letter saying that they’d decided that it made better business sense to delay Paul’s album and avoid competition. 
Dear Paul, We thought a lot about yours and the Beatles LPs – and decided it’s stupid for Apple to put out two big albums within 7 days of each other (also there’s Ringo’s and Hey Jude) – so we sent a letter to EMI telling them to hold your release date til June 4th (there’s a big Apple-Capitol convention in Hawaii then). We thought you’d come round when you realized that the Beatles album was coming out on April 24th. We’re sorry it turned out like this – it’s nothing personal. Love John & George. Hare Krishna. A Mantra a Day Keeps MAYA! Away.
Ringo delivered the letter. Paul blew up at Ringo.

As an attempt at reconciliation, John and George allowed Apple to release the McCartney album in the UK on 17 April 1970, and Let It Be  on 8 May.

The disagreement did additional damage to the already fragmenting relationships between the four. (see Apr 1) (see Beatles Bible site for much more)
Beatles Official Fan Club

March 31 Music et al

March 31, 1972: The Beatles Official Fan Club closed. The Beatles Monthly magazine had ceased three years previously. (see, Apr 29)

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Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

1967 had already been a busy year for the Beatles before March 30. As you can see below, working on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band dominated their January days. Some recordings would not appear on Pepper's ("Penny Lane"). 

Though no MTV was around, the studio-dedicated Beatles had already gotten into going outside to do short films with some of their songs. A compromise for fans who could not see them perform. In January they did a short for "Strawberry Fields Forever" in Knole Park. Here's a piece of that short.

 There was also a proposed movie in the works. Paul and Ringo went to see some guy Jimi Hendrix.

January

  • 02: Tape copying: When I’m Sixty-Four, Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 04: Recording: Penny Lane
  • 05: Recording: Penny Lane, Carnival Of Light
  • 06: UK album release: The Family Way
  • 06: Recording: Penny Lane
  • 09: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
  • 10: Recording: Penny Lane
  • 11: McCartney and Starr watch Jimi Hendrix in London
  • 12: Joe Orton is asked to write a film script for The Beatles
  • 12: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
  • 15: McCartney and Harrison watch Donovan in London
  • 16: Joe Orton begins writing a script for The Beatles’ third film
  • 17: John Lennon begins writing A Day In The Life
  • 17: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
  • 18: Television: Paul McCartney interviewed for Scene Special
  • 19: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 20: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 24: Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein discuss The Beatles’ third film with Joe Orton
  • 25: Mixing: Penny Lane
  • 30: Filming: Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 30: Mixing: A Day In The Life
  • 31: Filming: Strawberry Fields Forever

February

No Hendrix in February. They did go back outside to film a short for "Penny Lane" in Knole Park again as well as near Angel Lane in Stratford, London. 

 They recorded another song that would not be on Sgt Pepper's, "Only a Northern Song," .  And while we have memorized the album's song order, it would be a mistake to think that they recorded it in that order.
  • 01: Recording: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 02: Recording, mixing: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 03: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 05: Filming: Penny Lane
  • 07: Filming: Penny Lane
  • 08: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning
  • 09: Recording: Fixing A Hole
  • 10: Recording: A Day In The Life
  • 13: US single release: Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 13: Recording, mixing: A Day In The Life, Only A Northern Song
  • 14: Recording, mixing: Only A Northern Song
  • 16: Recording, mixing: Good Morning Good Morning
  • 17: UK single release: Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever
  • 17: Recording, mixing: Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
  • 20: Recording, mixing: Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!, Good Morning Good Morning
  • 21: Recording, mixing: Fixing A Hole
  • 22: Recording, mixing: A Day In The Life
  • 23: Recording, mixing, editing: A Day In The Life, Lovely Rita
  • 24: Recording: Lovely Rita
  • 28: Recording: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

March

March meant more recording and of course their new album needed a cover. And what a cover. Suffice to say that having lyrics on the back, a gatefold sleeve with their huge pictures in the middle, and an insert to cut out props would have been plenty, but the front cover. Oh that front cover!
  • 01: Recording: A Day In The Life, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • 02: Recording, mixing: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • 03: Recording, mixing: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • 06: Recording, mixing: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 07: Recording: Lovely Rita
  • 09: Recording: Getting Better
  • 10: Recording: Getting Better
  • 13: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning
  • 15: Recording: Within You Without You
  • 17: Recording: She’s Leaving Home
  • 20: Recording, mixing: She’s Leaving Home
  • 21: Recording, mixing, editing: Getting Better, Lovely Rita
  • 22: Recording, mixing: Within You Without You
  • 23: Recording, mixing: Getting Better
  • 28: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
  • 29: Recording: Good Morning Good Morning, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!, With A Little Help From My Friends
  • 30: Cover shoot for Sgt Pepper
  • 30: Recording: With A Little Help From My Friends
  • 31: Recording, mixing: With A Little Help From My Friends, Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!
Ironically, they had "With a Little Help From My Friends" on their evening schedule, but before that they had a late afternoon appointment at Michael Cooper's London photo studio to take that cover shot.

Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot

Group effort

Once they settled on the concept of the Beatles being surround by various personages, each of them contributed a list of names. John's suggestions of Hitler and Jesus (see John Lennon Opines) were crossed off.  EMI scratched off Ghandi because it would cause problems with sales in India.

Artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth designed the cover from an ink drawing Paul had don. Robert Fraser was the art director. Blake and Haworth also designed the inside cardboard cutouts. 

The final cost for the cover art was nearly £3,000, an extravagant sum for a time when album covers would typically cost around £50. For their work on Sgt. Pepper, Blake and Haworth won the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts.
Sgt Pepper Cover Photo Shoot
So who’s who?

1.  Sri Yukteswar (Indian Guru)
2.  Aleister Crowley (black magician)
3.  Mae West
4.  Lenny Bruce
5.  Karlheinz Stockhausen (German composer)
6.  W.C. Fields
7.  Carl Jung (psychologist)
8.  Edgar Allen Poe
9.  Fred Astaire
10. Merkin (American artist)
12. Huntz Hall (Bowery Boy)
13. Simon Rodia (creater of Watts Towers)
14. Bob Dylan
15. Aubrey Beardsly (Victorian artist)
16. Sir Robert Peel (Police pioneer)
17. Aldous Huxley (philosopher)
18. Dylan Thomas (Welsh poet)
19. Terry Southern (author)
20. Dion (American pop singer)21. Tony Curtis
22. Wallace Berman (Los Angeles artist)
23. Tommy Handley (wartime comedian)
24. Marilyn Monroe
25. William Buroughs (author)
26. Mahavatar Babaji (Indian Guru)
27. Stan Laurel
28. Richard Lindner (New York artist)
29. Oliver Hardy
30. Karl Marx
31. H.G. Wells
32. Paramhansa Yogananda (Indian Guru)
33. Stuart Sutcliffe
35. Max Muller
37. Marlon Brando
38. Tom Mix (cowboy film star)
39. Oscar Wilde
40. Tyrone Power41. Larry Bell (modern painter)
42. Dr. Livingstone
43. Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan)
44. Stephen Crane (American writer)
45. Issy Bonn (comedian)
46. George Bernard Shaw
47. Albert Stubbins (Liverpool footballer)
49. Lahiri Mahasaya (Indian Guru)
50. Lewis Carol
51. Sonny Liston (boxer)
52 – 55. The Beatles (in wax)
57. Marlene Dietrich
58. Diana Dors
59. Shirley Temple
60. Bobby Breen (singing prodigy)
61. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

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