Tag Archives: Beatles

New Year New Music

New Year New Music

The 1960s was a great decade for January music

New Year New Music

in January 1960: John Coltrane released “Giant Steps” album, considered a classic jazz album and one that saxophonists still measure themselves by today. Linsey Planer at AllMusic.com writes: History will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience." (full article...Allmusic)

New Year New Music

in January 1961: Two Steps from the Blues album by Bobby “Blue” Bland released. Bland was an original member of the Beale Streeters and was sometimes referred to as the "Lion of the Blues". Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B. An imitator of Frank Sinatra, he was also known as the “Sinatra of the blues”, his music being influenced by Nat King Cole. Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

in January 1962, Bob Dylan: Dylan wrote  “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues
Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin’ around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace . . . So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies! Now we all agree with Hitler’s views
Although he killed six million Jews
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed
Looked in the sink, behind the door
Looked in the glove compartment of my car
Couldn’t find ’em . . . I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
Ol’ Betsy Ross . . . Well, I investigated all the books in the library
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be throwed away
I investigated all the people that I knowed
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out nothing . . . good God!

January 1, 1962, The Beatles before their US appearance: The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both auditioned at Decca Records, a company which has the option of signing one group only. Decca told The Beatles that "guitar groups" were on the way out and did not offer them a contract and signed The Tremeloes instead. Other record companies turned the Beatles down as well. One of the songs the Beatles sang was Hello Little Girl, the first song written by John Lennon (in 1957).

January 1, 1963, The Beatles began a concert tour of Scotland.

New Year New Music

January 1 – 7, 1966: “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (see Wednesday Morning 3am)

New Year New Music
Roots of Rock
January 1, 1967: FM stations were no longer allowed to simply simulcast their AM counterpart. Birth of “underground “ rock radio.

New Year New Music, New Year New Music, New Year New Music, 

November 24

November 24

BLACK HISTORY

November 24, 1865: shortly after the end of the Civil War in 1865, Southern states sought to control and confine their large populations of newly-freed black people by passing laws that authorized their arrest and incarceration. These laws, known as “black codes,” typically applied only to black people and criminalized acts that were not offenses at all when committed by whites.

                In November and December 1865, the Mississippi legislature approved numerous black codes. One passed on November 24, 1865, declared that “all freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes” found without proof of employment or business or found “unlawfully assembling themselves” would be deemed vagrants and, upon conviction, owe up to $50 in fines and serve up to ten days in jail. The same law threatened whites with vagrancy convictions if found assembling or associating with freedmen “on terms of equality" or found “living in adultery” with a black partner. If convicted, whites faced up to $200 in fines and up to six months in jail.

                As a result of black codes like these in Mississippi, and similar laws passed during the same period in states throughout the South, the post-Civil War era brought American black people more contact with the criminal court and prison systems than ever before. As the former Confederacy learned to wield the criminal justice system as a tool of racial control, countless black men, women, and children were convicted and sentenced under unjust laws that criminalized them for existing as free, black citizens.

November 24, 1946: the issue of race discrimination in Washington theaters came to a head, it was reported on this day, when the Dramatists Guild signed a contract with local theaters demanding that there be no racial discrimination “on either side of the footlights.”

                The issue of race discrimination in the nation’s capital had been brewing since the great African-American singer Marian Anderson was denied use of Constitution Hall by the hall’s owners, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). That controversy ended when the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted permission to hold the concert at the Lincoln Memorial, on April 9, 1939. The concert is regarded as a historic event in the history of racial equality in the U.S. 

US Labor History

November 24, 1875: the United Cigar Makers of New York affiliated with the Cigar Makers’ International Union (CMIU) to form CMIU Local 144. Samuel Gompers was elected first president of the local and served several terms before going on to serve as the international’s vice president. “[W]e are powerless in an isolated condition,” Gompers said, “while the capitalists are united; therefore it is the duty of every Cigar Maker to join the organization.”

Edwards v. California

November 24, 1941 in Edwards v. California the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a California law barring indigents from entering the state. California passed the law during the Depression in an effort to keep poor migrants out of the state and thereby avoid the costs of public relief.

                The Court majority held that the law violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Justices William O. Douglas, joined by Hugo Black, Frank Murphy and Robert Jackson, however, argued that the law violated the Privileges and Immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

                Justice Douglas in dissent: “. . . I am of the opinion that the right of persons to move freely from State to State occupies a more protected position in our constitutional system than does the movement of cattle, fruit, steel and coal across state lines . . . The conclusion that the right of free movement is a right of national citizenship stands on firm historical ground.”

November 24

Hollywood Ten

November 24, 1947: the House of Representatives issued citations for Contempt of Congress to the Hollywood Ten—John Howard Lawson, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo. They had refused to cooperate at hearings dealing with communism in the movie industry held by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The "Hollywood 10," as the men were known, were sentenced to one year in jail. The Supreme Court later upheld the contempt charges.

Lee Harvey Oswald

November 24, 1963, Jack Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald at the Dallas jail where Oswald is being held.

The Beatles

November 24

November 24, 1966, after live performances: began recording Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band.

November 24, 1973: Ringo Starr becomes the third former Beatle to earn a solo #1 hit when "Photograph" tops the Billboard Hot 100 

My Lai Massacre

November 24, 1969: U.S. Army officials announced that 1st Lt. William Calley would be court-martialed for the premeditated murder of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai. Army Secretary Stanley Resor and Army Chief of Staff William C. Westmoreland announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. William R. Peers to "explore the nature and scope" of the original investigation of the My Lai slayings in April 1968. The initial probe, conducted by the unit involved in the affair, concluded that no massacre occurred and that no further action was warranted.

Marijuana

November 24

November 24, 1976, : a Washington, DC Robert Randall, afflicted by glaucoma, employed the little-used Common Law Doctrine of Necessity to defend himself against criminal charges of marijuana cultivation (US v. Randall). On November 24, 1976, federal Judge James Washington ruled Randall's use of marijuana constituted a 'medical necessity...'

                Judge Washington dismissed criminal charges against Randall. Concurrent with this judicial determination, federal agencies responding to a May, 1976 petition filed by Randall, began providing this patient with licit, FDA-approved access to government supplies of medical marijuana. Randall was the first American to receive marijuana for the treatment of a medical disorder.

Nuclear & chemical weapons

November 24, 1987: the US and the Soviet Union agreed to scrap shorter- and medium-range missiles in the first superpower treaty to eliminate an entire class of nuclear weapons.

November 24, 2013: the US and five other world powers announced a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement. It was the first time in nearly a decade, American officials said, that an international agreement had been reached to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program and roll some elements of it back.

                In return for the initial agreement, the US agreed to provide $6 billion to $7 billion in sanctions relief. Of this, roughly $4.2 billion would be oil revenue that has been frozen in foreign banks.

Crime and Punishment

November 24, 2015: Governor Steve Beshear, Democrat of Kentucky, issued an executive order restoring voting rights for nonviolent ex-felons who had completed their sentences. The order gave 170,000 ex-offenders the opportunity to register to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. 

John Yoko Two Virgins

John Yoko Two Virgins

Released November 11, 1968

John Yoko Two Virgins

Two Virgins

Whenever musicians release a record album, whatever the format, it is the album's content that critics use to determine their review. Vinyl record collectors bemoan the passing of the Vinyl Age both because they feel the sound quality of vinyl is better than today's digital recordings and album art needs more than  the 5" x 5" that a CD allows or no album art at all when streaming.

John Yoko Two Virgins

John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Two Virgins album  was the exception. Most fans found the recording unlistenable, but had even more to say about the cover art: a black and white photo of John and Yoko standing casually naked against a plain white background.John Yoko Two Virgins John and Yoko had recorded the album on May 19, 1968 at Kenwood, Lennon's former home in Weybridge. It featured the following tracks:  Two Virgins No. 1; Together; Two Virgins (numbers 2-6); Two Virgins; Hushabye Hushabye; Two Virgins (numbers 7-10).

Album cover controversy

Capitol Records refused to release it not because of the avant garde sound, but the company feared negative reaction to the cover. 

Tetragrammaton released Two Virgins in a brown paper sleeve on November 11, 1968.  The sleeve had a small opening through which Lennon and Ono's faces peeked. 

Quantities of the album were seized in several US jurisdictions, including 30,000 copies in New Jersey. Nonetheless, it managed to reach number 124 on the US charts.

Lennon’s views

Lennon described the picture of Ono and him as "two slightly overweight ex-junkies." He spoke of the album's recording in Jann S Wenner's Rolling Stone magazine 1970 interview,  Lennon Remembers: 

When we got back from India, we were talking to each other on the phone. I called her [Ono] over, it was the middle of the night and Cyn  [Cynthia Lennon} was away, and I thought, 'Well, now's the time if I'm going to get to know her any more.' She came to the house and I didn't know what to do; so we went upstairs to my studio and I played her all the tapes that I'd made, all this far-out stuff, some comedy stuff, and some electronic music. There were very few people I could play those tapes to. She was suitably impressed, and then she said, 'Well, let's make one ourselves,' so we made Two Virgins. It was midnight when we finished, and then we made love at dawn. It was very beautiful.

They took the self-portrait later in the year at Ringo Starr's basement apartment in London, where Lennon and Ono were temporarily living. In the notes that came with the Anthology collection, Lennon said:

We were both a bit embarrassed when we peeled off for the picture, so I took it myself with a delayed-action shutter. The picture was to prove that we are not a couple of demented freaks, that we are not deformed in any way and that our minds are healthy. If we can make society accept these kind of things without offence, without sniggering, then we shall be achieving our purpose.
What we did purposely is not have a pretty photograph; not have it lighted so as we looked sexy or good. There were a couple of other takes from that session where we looked rather nice, hid the little bits that aren't that beautiful; we looked good. We used the straightest, most unflattering picture just to show that we were human.

Yoko vs Beatle fans

It is a shibboleth among many Beatle fans to excoriate Yoko Ono as the cause of the Beatles demise. In my view, John was a firecracker looking for a light. Yoko was that light. If it wasn't Yoko, it would have been someone else. Yoko brought forth even more artistic freedom than Bob Dylan had three years earlier.

Here is side one of Two Virgins. I suppose many of you are familiar with the first minute because that's all you could get through your first (and last) listening. It certainly is a long way from "Love Me Do" to "Two Virgins." Those of us who stuck it out for at least the first side may have kept waiting for the song to start. After listening to side 1, "Number 9" may seem far more approachable. And perhaps that's what it's all about. Stretch the boundaries of familiarity so that what is unapproachable today becomes familiar tomorrow...or next year.

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