Category Archives: Music of the 60s

1966 November 5 Music

1966 November 5 Music

It was 1966. Beatlemania, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam  may have dominated the headlines, but the most popular music didn't always mirror those headlines. The November 5 #1 single subtly did, but the #1 album did not. 

The Monkees and Dr Zhivago offered Americans differing sensibilities.

Monkees, Last Train to Clarksville

Vietnam
1966 November 5 Music
Monkees Last Train to Clarksville single cover
November 5 – 11, 1966: “Last Train to Clarkesville” by the Monkees #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote it. They were a songwriting team who came up with many songs for the Monkees,

Colgems released the single on August 16, 1966. The song was also on the Monkees first album. The song's lyrics tell the story of someone asking his girlfriend to meet him at the railroad station as he's leaving. Because of the context [1966 and Vietnam] it was understood to mean that the man was leaving for that war and "I don't know if I'm ever coming home."

The Songfacts site states: according to the liner notes on the 1994 reissue of the album...members of a group called the Candy Store Prophets did the instrumental backing on this track at a session that took place July 25, 1966 at RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood. The Candy Store Prophets were Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart's band, and included Boyce on acoustic guitar, Gerry McGee on electric guitar, Larry Taylor on bass and Billy Lewis on drums. Additional musicians on this track were Wayne Erwin and Louie Shelton on guitar, and Gene Estes on percussion.

1966 November 5 Music

Dr Zhivago, Soundtrack

1966 November 5 Music
Dr Zhivago album cover
November 5 – 11, 1966: the soundtrack to Dr Zhivago is the Billboard #1 album. David Lean directed the film which starred Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. The story is set in Russia before World War I and the Russian Revolution in 1917. The  movie was based on the Boris Pasternak novel which was popular in Western countries but banned in the Soviet Union. It was filmed mostly in Spain.

The New York Times said of the film, "In the 3 hours and 17 minutes (not counting intermission time) it takes to move Robert Bolt's dramatization of Boris Pasternak's 'Doctor Zhivago' across the screen, a few rather major things happen." (NYT review)

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Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House

Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House

a documentary by John Kane
Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House
Bill Hanley working the boards in 2013 at the annual Yasgur Farm Woodstock Reunion (courtesy of Charlie Maloney)
If you were at Woodstock or have ever listened to any songs from that festival, you have Bill Hanley to thank. He was THE sound man for that event,  John Kane has made a documentary about Bill called "Last Seat in the House." 

 It is astounding how many things Bill Hanley has been a part of throughout his career and why he is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is simply a reflection the that Hall's too common shortsightedness when selecting whom to honor.
A bit of Hanley's story from the movie's site:

Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House

Born in 1937 in Medford, Mass., Parenelli Award winner Bill Hanley was the oldest of five children. By the age of six, his father gave him his first crystal set, followed by a one-tube radio, then a six-tube radio setting off an interest in electronics. During his teens he and his younger brother Terry would install TV antennas on roofs, and fix TVs for neighbors. At Christmas they even hooked up one of the early amplifiers they built to a big speaker, pointed it out their attic window, blaring Christmas music for the neighbors. 

Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House

Hanley Sound

During Hanley's time in vocational school he became unimpressed with the state of public address driven technology used for the emerging live music scene. However he was impressed by the sound system at a local roller rink, developing a long lasting love for organ music and Jazz. 

By 1957, Hanley chased down Newport Jazz Festival promoter George Wein, establishing a long successful career as Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals sound company.  Soon his reputation grew and other big jobs began to trickle in, eventually leaving his day job and establishing Hanley Sound at 430 Salem St in Medford, MA by the late 1950s. 

A proud moment for Hanley’s family and community was when the firm handled the sound for the second inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. That same year, he opened an office in New York City, providing sound for places like Café A Go Go and the Bitter End. Eventually the college circuit broke and a need for concert touring sound reinforcement would emerge. 

In 1966 a job for the local Boston band The Remains, allowed Hanley the opportunity to support the group on their accompanying tour with the Beatles. Soon Hanley would find himself behind the mixing console for eastern portion this historic Beatles tour. Known for distributing Altec-Lansing speakers fanned around the bases, Hanley doubled the sound and power typically used, with an impressive (for the time) 600-watt amplifier system… Sadly, his sound system was pulverized by the crushing power of 43,000 screaming teenage girls. Moving on, more bands turned to Hanley Sound, like the Buffalo Springfield for example who put him under contract. While working with the band Hanley introduced them a new device called the on-stage "monitor." Blown away by the results, Neil Young would  forever be indebted to the sound engineer for allowing them to be able to "hear" while on stage.
Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House
By 1968 Hanley was brought in to do the sound for Bill Grahams Fillmore East in NYC.  At this point his reputation for quality sound was mammoth, leading him to provide sound reinforcement for some of the largest pop & rock festivals in American history. However, nothing could match Hanley’s culminating performance in sound, the pivotal gig of live event history ~ The Woodstock Music and Art Fair of 1969. Thereafter Hanley would forever be known as the “Father of Festival Sound.”

Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House
Bill Hanley at Woodstock Music and Art Fair
Moving into the next decade Hanley's social conscience lead him to work on several large scale anti-war protest rallies, even sending the entire Woodstock sound system to South Africa for their Anti-Apartheid movement.

The post Woodstock, anti -mass gathering initiatives in America at the time set the sound company’s projections back. Unprepared for what was to come Hanley’s company felt the shortcomings of a changing era of technology and live performance. The 1970s also brought a great transformation to the industry where more sound companies were surfacing. From the 1970s on, Hanley would continue to be called on for more sound work, eventually turning his attention to staging. 
Bill Hanley Last Seat in the House
Bill Hanley walking the festival field
A true pioneer, Bill Hanley’s contributions to live concert sound reinforcement can be felt to this day. 

Help get Hanley into the R and R Hall of Fame by signing the petition!

Visit the movie site for a LOT more sound and sights...I get goose bumps just listening!

In 2006, Hanley was given the Parnelli Audio Innovator Award which recognizes pioneering, influential professionals and their contributions.

 

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Ten Years After

Ten Years After

October 27, 1967

Happy premier album anniversary

Ten Years After

“I Wanna Know” first cut, first album
Ten Years After released its first album, Ten Years After, on October 27, 1967.  The band consisted of Alvin Lee (guitar), Chick Churchill (organ), Ric Lee (drums), and Leo Lyons (bass).


Here was another example of a British band bringing American blues back to us. The band did write most of the album's material, but their sound and the song's they covered clearly showed those roots.

Side one

Ten Years After

Here's side one:
Side one
  1. “I Want to Know” (Sheila McLeod as pseudonym Paul Jones) – 2:11
  2. “I Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes” (Al Kooper) – 5:24
  3. “Adventures of a Young Organ” (Alvin Lee, Chick Churchill) – 2:34
  4. “Spoonful” (Willie Dixon) – 6:05
  5. “Losing the Dogs” (Alvin Lee, Gus Dudgeon) – 3:03

Side two

And side two:
Side two
  1. “Feel It for Me” (Alvin Lee) – 2:40
  2. “Love Until I Die” (Alvin Lee) – 2:06
  3. “Don’t Want You Woman” (Alvin Lee) – 2:37
  4. “Help Me” (Ralph Bass, Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson) – 9:51
Note how short the majority of the songs were, the single-size under-three-minute good-for-radio-play type. Of course, there are those few where the band gets to stretch it out.

 

Ten Years After

Ten Years After

Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee was the heart of the band and for better or worse the inclusion of the band's "Goin' Home"  into the film and onto the record of Woodstock brought fame. 

Fame from a single song’s performance that likely sounded like dozens of others performed that summer likely surprised Alvin Lee. An albatross that laid a golden egg. He was already a great guitarist when he began his trek along the summer of 1969’s festivals. June 28, 1969: Bath Festival of Blues. July 3 – 6, Newport Jazz Festival. July 11 – 12, Laurel Pop Festival. July 25 – 27, Seattle Pop Festival, Aug 15 - 18 – Woodstock Music and Art Festival. 30 – Sept 1: Texas International Pop Festival.

How many times did Alvin Lee play “I’m Going Home” that summer? It’s filming in August at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair preserved it and sent it worldwide. His name was and will forever be associated with that song and that performance.

Here are some factoids about Lee:
  • originally influenced by his parent’s collection of jazz and blues records
  • began playing guitar age 13
  • by aged 15 his Jaybirds band formed the core of Ten Years After
  • moved to London and changed the band’s name to Ten Years After in 1966
  • the band’s performance at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival in 1967 led to their first recording contract.
  • concert promoter Bill Graham who invited the band to tour America for the first time in the summer of 1968. Ten Years After would ultimately tour the USA 28 times in 7 years, more than any other U.K. band. 
  • After the breakup of Ten Years After, Lee continue to form bands and record music.
  • Lee’s overall musical output included more than 20 albums.
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