Tag Archives: March Music et al

Beatles Visit Penny Lane

Beatles Visit Penny Lane

Penny Lane hit the #1 spot in the Billboard singles chart on
March 18, 1967

Beatles Visit Penny Lane
photo grabbed from the Beatle video for Penny Lane

Some have argued that much of what the Beatles did wasn’t really Rock and Roll. Even Ringo at the Beatles’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 said, “…the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…I love…they always called us a pop group.”

Whether “Penny Lane” is rock and roll is perhaps the wrong question, because it is a rare Beatle fan who thinks it isn’t a great song. Some say that it and the flip side, “Strawberry Fields Forever” represent the greatest single ever released. Hard to disagree.

The Beatles recorded the song in late December 1966 and early January 1967. They were off the public stage (where they no longer wanted to be) and in the studio (where they loved being).

Of the song’s inspiration, Paul McCartney said in Anthology, “A lot of our formative years were spent walking around those places. Penny Lane was the depot I had to change buses at to get from my house to John’s and to a lot of my friends. It was a big bus terminal which we all knew very well. I sang in the choir at St Barnabas Church opposite.”

It is a Paul McCartney song, though John Lennon helped out a bit particularly with the line with the line following Paul’s refrain, Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes with A four of fish and finger pies.

John! Always willing stretch the limits and slide in what some would easily recognize as slang.

The song had its US release on February 17, 1967.

Beatles Visit Penny Lane

Penny Lane

Like anything having to do with the Beatles, critics and fans have thoroughly analyzed “Penny Lane.” The person who has broken down Beatle songs more thoroughly than anyone is an Alan W Pollack.  Here is the link to his amazing site.

His examination of Beatle music is from a musical viewpoint and if you are interested there is more there than enough there for even several sittings.

For example, one of his observations about Penny Lane states, “The rhythmic pulse is march-like with an undercurrent of fast triplets and localized syncopations that emphasize, rather than challenge, the rigidity of the four-in-the-bar meter. ” And that is just one of  four comments under the heading “Style and Form.”

Beatles Visit Penny Lane

Penny Lane video 

Also notable about the song is its video. It was filmed by Peter Goldmann. You can view it here and you will notice that the Beatles aren’t singing in the song, but are simply part of the scene. That is because the Musicians Union banned miming–or what we Americans would call lip-syncing.

Beatles Visit Penny Lane

 The Hook!

And if there is a piece of Penny Lane that is THE hook, for me it is that piccolo trumpet solo in the middle. Thank you George Martin. And thank you David Mason, the man who played that solo.

Beatles Visit Penny Lane

David Mason

Penny Lane Penny Lane

Here is a video in which Mason describes how Paul contacted him and his memorable part in the song that he recorded on January 17, 1967. Mason died in 2011.

Beatles Visit Penny Lane
Here are the credits for the song’s instrumentation:
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass, harmonium, tambourine, percussion
  • John Lennon: backing vocals, piano, guitar, congas, handclaps
  • George Harrison: backing vocals, guitar
  • Ringo Starr: drums, handbell
  • George Martin: piano
  • Ray Swinfield, P Goody, Manny Winters, Dennis Walton: flutes, piccolos
  • David Mason, Leon Calvert, Freddy Clayton, Bert Courtley, Duncan Campbell: trumpets, flugelhorn
  • Dick Morgan, Mike Winfield: oboes, cor anglais
  • Frank Clarke: double bass
Beatles Visit Penny Lane
Penny Lane 45 sleeve
Beatles Visit Penny Lane
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Aretha Franklin Never Loved

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

On March 10, 1967, Aretha Franklin released her 11th album, but her first on Atlantic. She had had limited success while under cotract with Columbia Records.

In January 1967 she had signed to Atlantic Records and under the aegis of Jerry Wexler she traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at  Rick Hall’s FAME Studios to record the song, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” Tom Dowd was the engineer and the musicians of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section played.

Quite a backing!

  • King Curtis – tenor saxophone
  • Carolyn Franklin – background vocals
  • Erma Franklin – background vocals
  • Cissy Houston – background vocals
  • Willie Bridges – baritone saxophone
  • Charles Chalmers – tenor saxophone
  • Gene Chrisman, Roger Hawkins – drums
  • Tommy Cogbill – bass
  • Jimmy Johnson – guitar
  • Melvin Lastie – trumpet, cornet
  • Chips Moman – guitar
  • Dewey Oldham – keyboards
Aretha Franklin Never Loved

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

Atlantic had released the single of I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You on February 10 and it would reach #1 on the R & B chart on March 25 and stayed there until May 12.

Atlantic released her next single, Respect, on April 29. It reached #1 on the R & B  chart a week after I Never Loved a May the Way I Love You left. Respect stayed there until July 14. 

The album itself eventually was certified a gold album.

Side one
  1. “Respect” (Otis Redding) – 2:29
  2. “Drown in My Own Tears” (Henry Glover) – 4:07
  3. “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” (Ronnie Shannon) – 2:51
  4. “Soul Serenade” (Curtis Ousley, Luther Dixon) – 2:39
  5. “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) – 2:23
  6. “Baby, Baby, Baby” (Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin) – 2:54
Side two
  1. “Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)” (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) – 3:23
  2. “Good Times” (Sam Cooke) – 2:10
  3. “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (Dan Penn, Chips Moman) – 3:16
  4. “Save Me” (Curtis Ousley, Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin) – 2:21
  5. “A Change Is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke) – 4:20
Aretha Franklin Never Loved

More honors

A year later In February 1968, Franklin earned a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

In June 1968, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

And in 2014 she sang at the White House. And 47 years later Aretha Franklin could still sing the socks off the song.

Aretha Franklin Never Loved

Reference: Paste magazine article: “50 Years the Queen: Aretha Franklin’s Seminal Album I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You Hits the Half-Century Mark”

Aretha Franklin Never Loved
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Bill Graham Fillmore East

Bill Graham Fillmore East

March 8, 1968 > June 27, 1971

Bill Graham Fillmore East

3 Years, 3 Months, & 20 Nights of Musical Heaven

 Bill Graham’s Fillmore East was the counterpart to his San Francisco-based Fillmore venues. Located at Second Avenue and Sixth Street in New York City’s East Village, the Fillmore East began as the Commodore Theater in 1926. Immediately before becoming the Fillmore, it was known as the Village Theater.

Bill Graham Fillmore East

Wolodia “Wolfgang” Grajonca

Graham was born Wolodia “Wolfgang” Grajonca in Berlin, Germany on January 8, 1931.  During World War II, with his father dead, the Nazi pogrom underway, and his mother gassed to death on a train to the Auschwitz concentration camp, Grajonca fortunately became part of a group of children that the International Red Cross enabled  to ultimately escape to the United States where he was placed in an upstate New York army barracks. Later, a Bronx family brought him to live with them. Though not a citizen, he was drafted into the army and served meritoriously in the Korean War. Graham’s first experiences with entertainment came when he worked in various New York Catskill resorts, such as Grossinger’s (Liberty), the Concord Hotel (Kiamesha Lake) and the  President Hotel (Swan Lake).

Bill Graham Fillmore East

San Francisco Mime Troupe

In the mid-1960’s, Graham was drawn to concert promotion while business manager for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a radical theater group. [November 1, 1965: Graham presented his first show, a benefit for the San Francisco Mime Troupe.] Graham eventually found success promoting and presenting such bands as the Jefferson Airplane, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and famously the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore Auditorium (between 1966 and 1968) and later at the Fillmore West (beginning July, 1968).

Bill Graham Fillmore East

Bill Graham Fillmore East

Fillmore East

Bill Graham opened the Fillmore East on March 8, 1968 with  blues guitarist Albert King, folk singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, and Big Brother and the Holding Company.  The hall’s characteristic schedule was a two-show, triple-bill concert several nights a week. Graham would regularly alternate acts between his east and west coast venues. Until early 1971, bands were booked on both Friday and Saturday nights to play two shows per night at 8 pm and 11 pm, which might end at 3 AM or later.

Complimenting FM radio stations then recent forays into progressive rock formats whose DJs exposed rock music lovers to so-called underground bands with their extended improvisational jams, the Fillmore East fed the growing appetite for live music venues and presented those bands as well as introducing upcoming groups such as Santana and Sly and the Family Stone.  Bill Graham made the Fillmore a safe haven where kids could experience the music they wanted without getting busted.  As he wrote in a letter published in the Village Voice just before the Fillmore’s closing:  it was my sole intention to do nothing more, or less, than present the finest contemporary artists in this country, on the best stages and in the most pleasant halls.

The list of performers who played at the Fillmore East is a “Who’s Who” of rock and roll greats. A very partial list includes: the Grateful Dead (39 shows over 28 dates); Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies; John Lennon and Yoko Ono who performed with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention; the Allman Brothers (whose double-album Live at the Fillmore East is ranked 49th amongst Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”); Jefferson Airplane; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Joe Cocker; Miles Davis; Derek and the Dominoes; The Chambers Brothers; Mountain; Ten Years After; and  Johnny Winter.

Bill Graham Fillmore East

Joshua Light Show

Bill Graham Fillmore East

An integral component of each performance, the Joshua Light Show provided a psychedelic art lighting backdrop behind bands . From the summer of 1970, Joe’s Lights, made up of former members of the Joshua Light Show, became the house light show, trading duties with The Pig Light Show until the venue’s closing.

By 1971 Graham had become disenchanted with the direction of the music promotion scene and closed both Fillmores. According to Graham: The time and energy that is required for me to maintain a level of proficiency in my own work has grown so great that I have simply deprived myself of a private life. At this point I feel that I can no longer refuse myself the time, the leisure, and the privacy to which any man is rightfully entitled.

The Fillmore East closed on June 27, 1971; 1206 nights after it opened.

Fillmore East

Bill Graham Fillmore East
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