Tag Archives: 1967

It’s my birthday, too, yeah

Paul McCartney wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four” when he was 14.

From that vantage point, 64 must have seemed ancient, almost unthinkable. Paul turned 79 just three days ago. Perhaps now he just smiles knowingly at what 14-year-old Paul was thinking.

It was written in 1956, a time before the Beatles and a time before me. I came along a year later.

Today is my birthday. I am 64. I don’t feel 64. Maybe 24.

Every day, though, I’m reminded that none of us are getting any younger. B-Side Records in Madison, Wisconsin, does a daily history post on Facebook, highlighting a record released on that day and then the day’s birthdays.

The record of the day for this June 21: “The self-titled debut by Unknown Mortal Orchestra,” released on this day in 2011. It’s a “neo-psych-pop project” by New Zealand musician Ruban Nielson that came after his punk band The Mint Chicks broke up. Not knowing any of that makes me feel a little older.

The birthdays are listed in chronological order from oldest to youngest. It usually turns out that the artists who are dead or older than me are the ones I know best. Once they start getting younger than me, then it’s hit or miss.

The June 21 birthdays: “Jon Hiseman (Colosseum) b. 1944; Augustus Pablo b. 1954; Lil Bub b. 2011; Lalo Schifrin is 89; Eddie Adcock is 83; Eumir Deodato is 78; Ray Davies (The Kinks) is 77; Joey Molland (Badfinger) is 74; Greg Munford (Strawberry Alarm Clock) is 72; Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) is 71; Alan Silson (Smokie) and Nils Lofgren (Grin / E Street Band) are 70; Mark Brzezicki (Big Country) is 64; Marcella Detroit (Shakespear’s Sister) and Kathy Mattea are 62; Manu Chao (Mano Negra) and Sascha Koneitzko (KMFDM) and Kip Winger (Winger) are 60; Pat Sansone (Wilco / The Autumn Defense) is 52; Eric Reed and Pete Rock and Bill Borowski (Knuckel Drager / Charlemagne) are 51; Juliette Lewis (Juliette and the Licks) is 48; Neely Jenkins (Tilly and the Wall) is 47; Mike Einziger (Incubus) is 45; Brandon Flowers (The Killers) is 40; Lana Del Rey is 36.”

Today is a good day. I know most of those who are 64 or older, or dead. Of the younger crowd, I know Marcella Detroit, Kathy Mattea, Kip Winger, Juliette Lewis, Brandon Flowers and Lana Del Rey. Not knowing about the rest, well, that also makes me feel a little older. I’ll get over it.

Fun fact: The Beatles didn’t record “When I’m Sixty-Four” until 1966. That’s 10 years after it was written. Even then, 24-year-old Paul probably just smiled knowingly at what 14-year-old Paul was thinking.

So please enjoy this version from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the 2-LP edition, 2017 re-release of the 1967 original. This record was a birthday gift from four years ago.

“When I’m Sixty-Four (Take 2),” from Side 4. Recorded Dec. 6, 1966.

From the liner notes: “The foundation of the track was established by recording onto track one: bass played by Paul, kick drum and hi-hat by Ringo (Starr) and electric guitar from John (Lennon); track two contained piano by Paul; track three had Ringo’s brushes on a snare drum and Paul’s vocal was on track four. In later sessions, clarinets, tubular bells and vocals were added. When the song was mixed, the tape was played back at a higher speed. As a result, the key rose by a semitone. On this disc, take two is heard at its normal speed in the original key of C.”

 

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Filed under June 2021

Fixing a hole in my knowledge

Time for a confession.

Because I came to know Beatles songs first as singles on the radio and then via the red and blue greatest-hits comps from 1973, I must confess that I’m still not all that familiar with some Beatles songs in the context of their studio records. That is to say, Beatles songs as the Beatles intended for them to be heard.

I’m working on that. Today, I dropped “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” onto the turntable.

Three years ago, one of my birthday gifts was the 50th anniversary edition of “Sgt. Pepper.” It’s a two-record set. The first record is the “Sgt. Pepper” everyone knows, but with a crisp new stereo mix produced by Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin. The second record is from the “Sgt. Pepper” sessions, presenting alternate takes or instrumental versions of all the songs in order, along with studio chatter here and there. It’s a fun thing to have. Here are a couple of cuts from the “Sgt. Pepper” sessions.

“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1),” from Side 3. Recorded March 1, 1967.

From the liner notes: “Take seven of the instrumental backing from this session was used as the basis for various overdubs. This is the first proper run-through.” John’s lead vocal is here, but the choruses are missing. In their place, dig Paul on the Lowrey organ and George Martin on piano.

“Within You Without You (Take 1 with Indian instruments),” from Side 4. Recorded March 15, 1967. An instrumental version.

From the liner notes: “The song’s recording began with a performance by musicians from the Asian Music Circle based in London. The featured instruments are: tabla (a drum first featured on a Beatles record in “Love To You”), swaramandala (which made the harp-like glissando on “Strawberry Fields Forever”), tamboura (a stringed instrument plucked to create an atmospheric drone for “Love To You” and “Getting Better”) and a bowed instrument called a dilruba.”

Both from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” 2-LP edition, 2017 re-release of the 1967 original.

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Filed under January 2021, Sounds

The quietest New Year’s Eve

What are we doing New Year’s Eve? Oh, not much. Just sticking close to home, staying socially distanced.

“When the bells all ring and the horns all blow
“And the couples that we know are fondly kissing
“Will I be with you or will I be among the missing?”

We’re all among this missing this year, making this classic all the more poignant as 2020 finally ends. Maybe next New Year’s Eve.

Written by Frank Loesser in 1947, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” has been described as the only notable jazz standard with a New Year’s Eve theme. This sophisticated tune tempers an unrequited love with some hope. We all could use some hope these days.

It’s great no matter who does it. Let’s go.

It’s the ’60s. You’re in a roadhouse, the one hard by the tracks. You hear this.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” King Curtis, from “Soul Christmas,” 1968. (Recorded on Oct. 23, 1968, at Atlantic Studios in New York. That’s Duane Allman on guitar.)

Then you head uptown to a nightclub. You hear this …

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” the Ramsey Lewis Trio,” from “Sound of Christmas,” 1961.

… and this …

steveeydieholidayfeelinglp

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Eydie Gorme, from “That Holiday Feeling!” Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, 1964. (Steve sits this one out.)

… and this.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Lou Rawls, from “Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho,” 1967.

Four decades later, you wander into a hotel ballroom …

setzerdigcrazyxmascd

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” Brian Setzer and Julie Reiten, from “Dig That Crazy Christmas,” the Brian Setzer Orchestra, 2005.

This blog post originally appeared here in different form … 10 years ago. Man. Where does the time go?

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Filed under December 2020, Sounds

Our 3 Christmas wishes

The first wish

Christmas bells, those Christmas bells
Ringing through the land
Bringing peace to all the world
And good will to man

“Snoopy’s Christmas,” the Royal Guardsmen, from “Snoopy and His Friends,” 1967.

In 1965, Charles Schulz started drawing Snoopy as a World War I flying ace battling the Red Baron. But “it reached a point where war just didn’t seem funny,” he told biographer Rheta Grimsley Johnson. Even so, Snoopy and the Red Baron inspired this novelty Christmas song with explosions, with gunfire and with a solid message of hope that came as the Vietnam War escalated.

The second wish

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

"Someday at Christmas" LP by Stevie Wonder, 1967.

“Someday at Christmas,” Stevie Wonder, from “Someday at Christmas,” 1967.

My friend Derek reminded me of this one on Christmas Eve morning last year. Thanks, man. When Stevie sings of “men” throughout this one, songwriter Ron Miller clearly means everyone, of any age.

I have this cut on “A Motown Christmas” from 1973, a record we’ve had since we had only a few Christmas records. The others from way back when? “The New Possibility: John Fahey’s Guitar Soli Christmas Album” from 1968 — here’s some of that — and “A Festival Of Carols In Brass” by the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble from 1967.

The third wish

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

“Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir, released as a single, 1971. I’d always had it on “Shaved Fish,” the 1975 compilation LP from Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, until I found the single.

War is over, if you want it

Merry Christmas, mein friends!

Enjoy your holidays, everyone!

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Filed under Christmas music, December 2020, Sounds

Loitering in the driveway

Yesterday was one of those long days that turned into a long night.

As I pulled into the driveway 14-plus hours after I’d left for work, a cool old song came on the radio. At first I thought it was Wilson Pickett. Then I realized, no, he didn’t cover that Beatles song.

It was Otis Redding doing “Day Tripper,” from 1966. So I sat there under the garage light, tired and wanting to go into the house, but hey, it’s Otis.

Today, we had king cake and paczki at work for Fat Tuesday, so I brought some home for Janet over the noon hour. Another cool old song came on the radio.

So I sat there in the driveway in the middle of the day, listening to Nancy Sinatra doing “Drummer Man” with the great session man Hal Blaine on the drums.

Been looking for that song, but it’s not on the LP shown above, at least not the original 1967 version. They did stick it on a 1996 CD reissue as one of the three extra tracks. Guess I’ll just have to keep digging.

Sometimes, it’s just that simple. You sit in the driveway and listen to one more song.

Today, by the way, is the 13th anniversary of this blog.

I wrote the first post on AM, Then FM on this day in 2007.

More to come, including the rest of a story started here not too long ago and what I hope will be an enjoyable new series of posts.

Thanks as always for reading!

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Filed under February 2020, Sounds