Tag Archives: Bill Hanley

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

Social media have revised the old notion that we are all only 6 degrees of separation apart to three or four perhaps.

My September 13 blog entry was on the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival. The festival was not selling many tickets until the organizers announced that they’d booked John Lennon to play. Then there weren’t enough tickets.

Through that blog entry, a David Marks and I have exchanged messages.

Miner

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

David Marks is from South Africa. In the beginning, he worked in a gold mine and wrote songs there. One of them, “Master Jack” became a hit in 1968 for the Four Jacks and a Jill. They also had a hit with “Mr Nico”

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

Bill Hanley roadie

In 1969, David worked for Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire. Of course 1969 will ring the Woodstock bell for many who read this blog regularly and Marks was there with Hanley.  And on September 13, Hanley and crew were in Toronto.

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

His remarks

David recently shared a picture he took during that concert:

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

He added the following comment:

September 1969 – Live Peace in Toronto…. How time flies when you’re in the rocking chair. 2 S Africans were involved for Bill Hanley sound. It was my first real full festival mixing gig. Just before lunch time – in the stadium packed with over 50,000 – Bill walked away from the desk… I said hey Bill where’re you going… gonna find some Southern fried chicken in Toronto he said. (His favourite food back then). Who’s mixing I cried, above the polite applause as Tony Joe White took the stage… you are, Bill screamed back over the din. And from then on it was me and every rock band that I was brought up on in Africa; that is until the Doors engineer took over. But not before I’d finished with John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band. Truth is… I wouldn’t budge or let anybody near the desk for that entire afternoon. And Bill graciously let me handle it. Even the famous ‘feed back’ incident with Yoko Ono did not deter me from hogging the mix.

Let me name drop BIG TIME. Jerry Lee Lewis, Lord Sutch, Bo Diddley, Alice Cooper, etc… from where I shot countless pictures with my Pentax Spot Matix. (No flash – 400 ASA & a telephoto lens… such as they were back then.) Also shot a few slides from a borrowed roll of film… that I bummed off a passing journalist. I mention all this, because these notches on my sound belt eventually led to a 40 year sound career back in Southern Africa.

Oh… and the other S African? From Malmesbury in the Western Cape…Jimi Hendrix’s recording & sound engineer & one time manager: Eddie H. Kramer. As with Woodstock, Eddie & his partner Lee Osborne, recorded the film sound track back stage, from a split feed from out of our stage box onto 2 linked Ampex 4 track decks, if I recall. And no, I did not mix sound at Woodstock, as urban myth (and the University overview) claim. I was a Hanley Sound roadie. Thanks again Bill Hanley… the Father of Festival Sound. Hail Hail Rock ‘n Roll.

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

And…

Forgot to mention the mix for… Alice Cooper, Louisiana Zydeco fiddler Doug Kershaw & the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll… Little Richard. All three show stoppers. (Standing on the grand piano that Jerry Lee Lewis had kicked out of tune, Little Richard declared: Elvis may be the King of Rock ‘n Roll honey, but I’m The Queen.)

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

Plastic Ono Band…

 

Yoko got under a sheet & I didn’t know she had a mic… but I heard this turkey warble & when the feedback started I couldn’t ID the source… suddenly someone shouted at me “… it’s under the sheet…. it’s under the sheet.”

30 years later when 3rd Ear Music brought Crosby, Stills & Nash to South Africa, Bill Siddons was their manager… he was the Doors’ manager back in ’69 and they were about to follow John & Yoko. Bill came out front to check the mixer / desk when the feedback thing happened. Sitting around a breakfast table in Sandton in 1996 I’m bragging about this infamous incident… Bill starts laughing. Don’t tell me that you were the sound guy I shouted at? Blush! Go figure.

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

John Yoko South Africa

One reply to the post asked about John & Yoko in South Africa in the 1970s?

Too true. They spent most if the time in Cape Town… so we believe. In fact the taxi driver that John booked wrote about it a few years later. They became friends. John visited Cape Town a few times if the urban myths are to be believed. No I didn’t meet John or Yoko… not even when I mixed for the Plastic Ono Band in ’69.

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

More Bill Hanley

David Marks also added a couple other pictures to the thread:

1969-toronto-2

Bill Hanley … a better view of the ‘home made’ Hanley mixer. Setting up in the morning, Toronto 1969, and sound checking with a local band of student rockers. Can’t recall who they were. But you can see the speakers stacks a bit more clearly. And today the kids want 48 channell splitboard mixers with on-stage monitoring for 100 clubbers… and there Bill Hanley was… some 12 channels for 50,000, with an aux-mix stage feed for monitors? Go figure.

And…

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

Bill Hanley early morning setting up the mix at Live Peace in Toronto.

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist
3rd Ear Music and the Hidden Years Music Archives

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist

In a future posts I’ll try to cover some of David Marks’ current musical involvement particularly with 3rd Ear Music and the Hidden Years Music Archives.

David Marks Music Director Producer Archivist
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Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

Who is this guy?

Early Bill

Bill Hanley was born in March 4, 1937.  Happy birthday, Bill!

He was born in Medford, MA when radio still ruled the airwaves. Like some other young people of his time, listening to the radio evolved into looking inside and discovering the world of electronics.

During the early 60s, a childhood friend of mine showed me how easily we could hook up an extra speaker or two to my simple record player to enhance the sound. Such “simple” reconstruction can lead to the love of sound.

Such was the case with Bill Hanley and his brother Terry.

Keep in mind that for most outdoor sound at this time, the phrase was PA, as in “public address.” That is, the group or individual that needed outdoor sound concentrated on sending the speaker’s voice out into the audience.

The Hanley brothers loved good sound and their love coincided with a time of increased outdoor music events and musicians needed more than simply sending the singer’s voice, musicians needed their instruments to be heard as well.

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

Hanley Sound

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

In 1957 Bill Hanley began a relationship with the Newport Jazz Festival and its organizer, George Wein.  Remembering that difference between what a PA can do versus what a good “sound system” can do, think about how important quality sound production would be to jazz musicians.

Shortly after that Bill and Terry Hanley began Hanley Sound Inc, at 430 Salem St. in Medford, MA.

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

Good timing

In 1964 Baby Boomers experienced Beatlemania and the British Invasion. Like all stories, being in the right place or knowing to be in the right place at the right time can make all the difference.

In 1966 Hanley Sound was working with the Boston band, The Remains (“the greatest band you never heard of”) and while the Remains were not a household name outside of Boston, they were good enough to land quite a gig: the 1966 Beatle tour.

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

Epstein meets Hanley 

On that tour Brian Epstein recognized the quality that Hanley Sound could produce and used them.  Next came the Beach Boys. And by the end of the 60s, Hanley sound was doing outdoor concert after outdoor concert.

The most famous one was the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

Last Seat In the House

Bill Hanley continued his golden touch on sound. One person in particular who has tried to get the recognition for Bill Hanley that he so deserves is a John Kane.  John has been working on a film about Hanley called “Last Seat In the House.” 

The title reflects the goal that Hanley Sound always aimed at: that the people in the last row could hear the music as well as anyone seated anywhere else.

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire
Here are some words from John Kane:

I am a post grad doctoral student and for the past three years I have been researching the life/career of pioneer sound engineer Bill Hanley. Since the beginning of this research, until now my discoveries have been overwhelming.

Collectively, sound reinforcement is an area of technology that is often overlooked. It is my hope that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acknowledges, considers, and/or inducts Bill Hanley and his pioneering sound company into their institution. If the RRHF leadership were to peel away the layers of popular music as we know it today, they would surely realize that the area of “sound” owes much to Hanley’s pioneering work. An acknowledgment like this would bring light and significance to an era innovation where quality sound in popular music mattered most…the 1960s and 1970s.

In my view (and others) Hanley was a primary force in bringing quality sound to the forefront of the evolving music and political arenas. When primitive public address technology was the “norm” for various events, the influence of Bill Hanley elevated the quality of sound via his innovative methods and application.

Lastly, if you choose to sign this petition would you kindly forward this email to your network of friends and colleagues? This will allow us to reach our rather ambitious goal.

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire

So…

Help Induct Bill Hanley of Hanley Sound into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Click here and please sign petition

Bill Hanley Soundman Extraordinaire
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