January 4 Music et al

January 4 Music et al

More than psychedelic 

It is a common point in many of my blog entries that music of the 1960s was much more than the psychedelic brume made by Hendrix, the Airplane, the Beatles, the Stones, or the Dead. As with anything, there was much more to it. Today’s date is an easy way to demonstrate both that variety and evolution.

January 4 Music et al

Marty Robbins

On January 4 – 17, 1960, Marty Robbins’s country style “El Paso” was the Billboard #1 single Of course, Deadheads  will recognize the song as one the Dead often often covered–396 times according to the excellent Deadlists dot com site.

Oddly, El Paso was the first of three #1 songs in a row in which someone died. The other two were Johnny Preston’s Running Bear and Mark Dinning’s Teen Angel.

January 4 Music et al

South Pacific & the Kingston Trio

For most listeners, 1960 was pre-stereo and an interesting aside is at that time Billboard had two #1 album categories: stereo and mono. Not until August 1963 did Billboard have a single list. Home stereo systems were simply not as common…yet. So…

January 4 Music et al

Kingston Trio/South Pacific

January 4 – 10, 1960: the soundtrack to South Pacific was the Billboard #1 stereo album and from January 4 – February 14, 1960: the Kingston Trio’s Here We Go Again mono album was Billboard’s #1.

January 4 Music et al

There! I’ve Said It Again

January 4 Music et al

Four years later on January 4 – 31, 1964, just days before the Beatles arrived and that British avalanche forever changed the US pop landscape, Bobby Vinton’s There! I”ve Said It Again was the #1 single. The Dead didn’t cover Vinton.

January 4 Music et al
The Doors The End

January 4 Music et al

That avalanche covered the US and the world and three years later, on January 4, 1967, The Doors released their first album, The Doors.

Did you first hear AM’s 2:52 version of Light My Fire or, sitting amazed, hear FM’s 7:06 album cut? So many great cuts by a group that few realized named themselves after Aldous Huxley’s 1954 mescaline memoir,  The Doors of Perception.

To ask what was your favorite cut is perhaps a foolish one since the album is the album. One listens to it in total. But when you did get to that last cut on side two, well to use a 21st century acronym, OMG!

January 4 Music et al

A November 19, 1967 New York Times article began with: The Doors is one pop music group that may make it to the end of this rock generation, which is to say it may last another five years. (click for full article >>> NYT article

Rolling Stone review

January 4 Music et al

Guitarist Stephen Stills

Guitarist Stephen Stills

Happy Birthday Stephen Stills
January 3, 1945

The summer of 1966. I was 16 and Stephen Stills was 21. I sat and did my high school summer reading: Jules Vernes “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.”  Since my dad was at work in Brooklyn and my mom busy with my younger siblings, I could listen to my parents’ mono FM radio–the only one in the house– and a station I’d just discovered:  WOR-FM.

The station’s music had a strong AM top ten feel to it, but the true attraction was that there were no DJs. I did not know why. All I knew is that without all that AM DJ chitter chat, the music seemed continuous.

The downside was that if I heard a song I did not know, there was no way to find out who it was. No Shazam then.

Guitarist Stephen Stills

Clancy Can’t Even Sing

Buffalo Springfield. That was who I heard. The first Buffalo Springfield single was, “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” and it stuck with me.

Neil Young wrote it, but shy of singing (perhaps for good reasons), Richie Fury and Stephen Stills sang. I never heard of Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, or Clancy. Like most Dylan songs, I had little notion of what the song sang:

And who's all hung-up
on that happiness thing?
Who's trying to tune
all the bells that he rings?
And who's in the corner
and down on the floor
With pencil and paper
just counting the score?

It sure sounds cool, but huh?

Guitarist Stephen Stills

C, S & N

I was sad when I heard that the Springfield had disbanded, but elated reading about this new group that David Crosby and Graham Nash had formed with Stills. Rolling Stone Magazine hinted at greatness on the way.

The band’s name on the Woodstock list was one of the main reasons I bought tickets to Woodstock and one of my toughest decisions to go home wet tired and hungry on Sunday afternoon without seeing them.

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Bridge Benefit, 1989:

Thank you…
Guitarist Stephen Stills
January 3, 1945
Happy birthday to you.
Guitarist Stephen Stills

Beatles Sir George Martin

Beatles Sir George Martin

The true Fifth Beatle
January 3, 1926 – March 8, 2016
Thank you

Beatles Sir George Martin

With the Beatles’ arrival in the US, various DJs adopted to themselves the nickname “Fifth Beatle” because they got to meet the Fab Four,  play their music, and promote the mania. Of course, none of them were anywhere near what the adopted moniker implied.

When George Martin died on March 8, 2016, we knew that the true “fifth Beatle” was gone.

In the beginning as we stared at the backs of our first Beatle albums for something new, his was one of the names we always saw.

He never looked like a Beatle. Was not hip. Hair combed back. Conservative clothing.

Beatles Sir George Martin

He Knew

George Martin knew sound. George Martin knew talent. And his talent brought us the sound the Beatles had inside their heads and put that sound forever inside our hearts. He knew how to compress their coal into musical diamonds.

It would be unfair to say he rode the Beatles’ coattails to fame just as it would be unfair to say the Beatles would not have been famous without George Martin.

Fortune offered them the same breeze and we are forever fortunate that they boarded the same sloop.

Beatles Sir George Martin

Less than 10 hours of music!

From the New York Times obituary: “His collaboration with the Beatles inevitably overshadowed his other accomplishments. Between 1962 and 1970, Mr. Martin produced 13 albums and 22 singles for the group, a compact body of work that adds up to less than 10 hours of music but that revolutionized the popular music world.

Those “other” credits of his go on several pages. The AllMusic site’s list included:

  • Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas
  • Gerry & the Pacemakers
  • Seatrain
  • Badfinger
  • Paul Winter
  • Stan Getz
  • America Mahavishnu Orchestra
  • Cheap Trick
  • Aerosmith
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Billy Preston
  • Dire Straits
  • The Kentucky Headhunters
  • Little River Band
  • Ultravox
  • Kate Bush
  • Elton John
  • Elvis Costello
  • Jeff Beck
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Celine Dion
  • Burt Bacharach
  • Billy Joel
Beatles Sir George Martin