Tag Archives: Beatles

The girl from the record store

There was a profound sense of loss today, and it had nothing to do with the news of the day.

We have lost the tiny, cherubic girl from the record store.

taelor-grisack

You’d see her with her dad, digging through the bins at Rock N Roll Land or at the Green Bay record shows. You were struck by her dazzling red curls.

“She was a fun person. Loved music. Got so excited about every record she found,” my friend Todd told me tonight. He runs that record store.

Indeed, the joy she expressed when she found THAT record was memorable.

Her name was Taelor. She was 17. She was swimming. Perhaps her heart gave out, her dad says. They don’t really know yet.

Taelor, the daughter of a musician and a drummer herself, loved the Beatles.

Todd played a cut from “Magical Mystery Tour” for Taelor at last night’s Record Night. That takes place at a local establishment that Taelor would not have been old enough to have been in. Well done, sir.

Just 17. Wow.

Say hi to John and George, will you?

 

 

 

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Filed under November 2016

It was 50 years ago today …

One of the joys of digging through old newspaper microfilm is finding things you didn’t expect to find. So it is as I’ve started a project to live-tweet, sort of, the Green Bay Packers’ championship run of 1965, 1966 and 1967 as it happened, 50 years after it happened.

It’s been barely a month and already the late summer of 1965 also has seen the Watts riots, the Beatles at Shea Stadium and Lassie at the county fair.

Fifty years ago today, on Friday, Aug. 20, 1965, as the Packers rested for the next’s afternoon’s preseason game in Milwaukee, the Beatles played two shows at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

Sharon Simons, an 18-year-old woman who’d graduated from Green Bay West High School just two months before, took the train to Chicago, went to one of the shows and wrote it up for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Tickets were $3.50, $4.50 and $5.50, or about $27, $34 and $42 in today’s dollars.

beatles ticket 08201965

Before the Beatles ever took the stage, she saw the King Curtis Band, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, Sounds Inc. and Gordon Waller, the latter half of Peter and Gordon. The whole thing was emceed by Ron Riley, Art Roberts and Don Phillips of WLS, the mighty top-40 AM station in Chicago.

The Beatles played a typically fast but short set: “Twist And Shout,” “Baby’s In Black,” “She’s A Woman,” “I Feel Fine,” “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” “Ticket To Ride,” “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help” and “I’m Down.”

Then the wild Comiskey Park scoreboard went “TILT!” and blasted off fireworks.

Here’s a little of what that day was like.

Some other memories from that day …

7 more flashbacks, via the Chicago Tribune, plus some great color photos.

Larry Kane interviews all four Beatles in the basement at Comiskey Park.

Ringo didn’t care for shows in ballparks.

“Not as much as indoor with the people a bit closer, you know. ‘Cuz they’re too far away, really.”

John didn’t care for the stands left empty behind the stage, which sat on second base on the Comiskey infield.

“Yeah, it does put you off a bit, you know. Even though they keep saying, we don’t allow them to sit there. I dunno, I wish they’d hide it. Whereas there’s also kids always half behind, you know. And I’m really looking ’round so they get to see something, anyway.”

 

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Filed under August 2015, Sounds

Parked near the Batmobile

If social media are any indication, all the cool kids — including my friends Norb and Brian — are in Madison this weekend.

The Wizard World Comic Con Madison is going on next door to what we used to call the Dane County Coliseum, an aging hockey barn that has also has seen some fairly remarkable rock shows.

Brian rode with William Shatner in a hotel shuttle last night and saw Edward James Olmos and Lou Ferrigno at breakfast this morning. Name dropper.

But Norb saw the Batmobile today. “I think it’s just a replica,” he said.

batmobile desk

This is as close as I’m going to get to the Batmobile this weekend.

This Batmobile sits on my desk, just behind my Mac. It is, of course, one of the coolest cars from a childhood filled with cool cars.

Adam West, the guy who sat behind the wheel of the real Batmobile, was to have been at Comic Con Madison this weekend, but he canceled because of what was said to be a scheduling conflict.

I have long wanted to meet Adam West. But I’m not into autographs or selfies — I don’t need proof of such a meeting — so paying upwards of $50 extra just to shake his hand and say thanks seems pointless. It might have been enough just to see him from a distance.

There’s always hope for a random meeting. We once rode in an elevator with Sam Kinison, so anything’s possible.

But I suspect my chances of meeting Adam West are about as slim as another entry on my bucket list.

I would love to have lunch with Paul McCartney. Vegan, of course. No pictures, no autographs, just a couple of guys shooting the breeze.

Maybe Adam West could join us.

micky dolenz remember cd

“Good Morning, Good Morning” Micky Dolenz, from “Remember,” 2012. Also available digitally.

Here’s another mashup of ’60s icons, one of whom had another cool car, the Monkeemobile.

As Dolenz tells it, John Lennon invited him to listen to his song — “Hey Monkee Man. Want to hear what we’re working on?” — as it was being recorded at EMI Studios in London in February 1967. A year later, a bit of this Beatles song was heard at the beginning of the final episode of “The Monkees,” one co-written and directed by Dolenz.

“I don’t remember how it happened, but I somehow managed to get the rights to play this song,” Dolenz says in the “Remember” liner notes. “To my knowledge, it is the first time that The Beatles let one of their songs be used in such a manner.”

Here’s that episode: “The Frodis Caper,” or “Mijacogeo,” from March 25, 1968. That’s an unknown Tim Buckley at the end, doing an acoustic version of “Song To The Siren,” which hadn’t been released at the time.

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Filed under February 2015, Sounds

With a little help from his friends

Let’s say a new record came out today. All four Beatles are on that record. That would be a big deal, wouldn’t it?

Let’s say some of their pals are on that new record. You might have heard of them. Klaus Voormann and Billy Preston and Harry Nilsson and Marc Bolin and Nicky Hopkins. The Band, too. That would be quite a big deal, wouldn’t it?

But when that new record came out 40 years ago this month, some lamented it for what it was not, rather than celebrating for what it was.

What it was not, was a new Beatles record. As 1973 came to a close, fans clung to the hope that such a thing might still be possible.

What it was, was this.

ringostarrringolp

“Ringo,” the third solo LP by Beatles drummer Ringo Starr with a little help from his friends, holds up quite nicely all these years later.

It rose to No. 2 on the Billboard album chart, driven by three hit singles: “Photograph,” which Ringo wrote with George Harrison; “Oh My My,” a Ringo original; and “You’re Sixteen,” Ringo’s cover of the old Johnny Burnette song.

Yet the deep cuts had something for everyone seeking that next Beatles record.

“I’m The Greatest,” a whimsical look at fame written by John Lennon. It’s basically a Beatles track with all parties except Paul McCartney.

“Six O’Clock.” There’s Paul (and Linda), with a regret-filled love song written by them. It channels the Beatles and points the way toward Wings.

“Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond),” written by George. It’s basically Ringo and George fronting The Band with David Bromberg. It sounds like an Irish folk song. Listen closer, consider The Band’s involvement, and you hear another nod to a Beatle’s American influences.

Back then, I had “You’re Sixteen” on a 45. I loved it. I was 16. Some symmetry there. When you flipped it over, you heard this on the B side.

“Devil Woman,” Ringo Starr, from “Ringo,” 1973. Also available digitally, of course.

On which Ringo, working without the rest of the Beatles, rocks out on a song he wrote with Vini Poncia. Which, as 1973 turned into 1974, was not necessarily what everyone wanted to hear. But I dug it then, and I dig it now.

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under November 2013, Sounds

An amazing journey: Riffat’s record

The first phase of a long overdue project wrapped up earlier this month at AM, Then FM world headquarters. I entered all of my vinyl LPs into a spreadsheet. There were a few interesting discoveries along the way.

When I pulled out my copy of “The Beatles” — yes, the White Album — I found an extra copy of “Revolver” tucked inside. Just the LP and sleeve, but no jacket.

There also was a name stylishly written on the lower right corner of “The Beatles” album jacket. My copy once belonged to one Riffat Kamal.

Presented with this little mystery — and I do love little mysteries — I began the search for Riffat Kamal. It didn’t take long to find him, even though he lives half the world away. Google, LinkedIn and Facebook make the world smaller.

We exchanged notes. I told him I thought I had a record he once owned, and that I likely bought it in Madison, Wisconsin, where we both lived during the ’80s.

Riffat Kamal is a cool guy, and he has a cool story. Here it is, in his words:

* * *

“I am delighted to know that my copy of the White Album is in good hands. I had quite a few records back at UW-Madison and I guess this was one of them. I started writing my name on the records when I lived in the dorm there, since I was always losing track of who on my dorm floor was borrowing which LP.

* * *

“I eventually ended up selling my entire collection after switching to CDs, a decision I now regret. However, it would have been too difficult to haul crates of records with all the moving around I’ve done.

* * *

“Wisconsin has always had a special place in my heart, so I am really glad to have heard from you. It is the first state I went to when I moved to the U.S. from my native Pakistan as an 18-year-old. It was the start of an amazing journey that took me to Los Angeles and San Francisco after leaving Wisconsin, and becoming a naturalized American citizen in the process. I now live in the Tokyo area with my Japanese wife.”

* * *

And I am really glad to have heard from you, sir.

I’m not sure where I bought Riffat’s record, although I’m fairly certain it was at Madcity Music Exchange at its original location on Regent Street, just south of the UW campus. Likewise, I’m not sure where I got the following bootleg. Somewhere on the web, five years ago.

“Revolution,” the Beatles, from the widely bootlegged Esher demos (also known as the Kinfauns demos), 1968. Never formally released.

Kinfauns was George Harrison’s home in the town of Esher, Surrey, England, from 1964 to 1970. There, in May 1968, the Beatles recorded many of the largely acoustic demos for the songs that wound up on “The Beatles” later that year.

The finished, more familiar version, of course, is on the White Album that once belonged to a Pakistani kid who was studying thousands of miles from home and beginning what has indeed turned out to be an amazing journey.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under October 2012, Sounds

The Monkees, the Beatles and Jesus

The shock wave that followed the news of Davy Jones’ passing last week shook loose this realization: There have always been four Monkees. You thought there always would be four. Now there are three. There will never again be four.

It was the same shock wave that followed the news of John Lennon’s death in 1980. There had always been four Beatles. You thought there always would be four. Then there were three. And then, 21 years later, there were just two.

Davy Jones was the man the Monkees could not lose, just as John Lennon was the man the Beatles could not lose. Davy Jones and John Lennon in the same breath? Absolutely. Going on without them? Unfathomable.

Time proved Davy Jones irreplaceable. Girls who loved the young Davy Jones kept that torch burning for years. Fans — including some remarkable names — kept finding the Monkees’ music fresh and vital decades later.

In his solo shows and on Monkees reunion tours, the 60-something Jones gracefully navigated fans’ expectations as he — and they — grew older. He’d walk out on stage, hear the cheers, smile and announce:

“Hi, I’m Davy’s dad. Davy will be out in a minute.”

Only the most fearless, confident entertainers can pull off a self-deprecating line like that with such ease and charm, immediately winning over an audience not sure what to expect from a man who long ago was a teen heartthrob.

Micky Dolenz is a better singer. Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith are better musicians. But Davy Jones was a great entertainer, the straw that stirred the drink, and that’s why it’s impossible to imagine the Monkees without him.

Davy Jones and John Lennon were friends. Lennon enjoyed “The Monkees” TV show and thought the lads to be a bit like the Marx Brothers. High praise.

In a fascinating 2006 interview with a suburban Chicago newspaper, Jones said:

“He was a very big influence on my life, John Lennon, you know?
So were all the Beatles, and Ringo’s a good friend still.”

So when you think of the Monkees and the Beatles, remember their mutual admiration. “There’s talent there,” George Harrison was to have said.

But please, may we set the record straight on one thing? “The Monkees” TV show was not inspired by the Beatles’ film “A Hard Day’s Night.”

So says Bob Rafelson, who with Bert Schneider created the show. Rafelson told the Los Angeles Times’ Randy Lewis:

“This was a show I had written six years before the Beatles existed, and the pilot was based on my own life as an itinerant musician when I was 17 years old. What the Beatles did was to create a kind of permission for any rock ‘n’ roll to be a popular subject for television.”

And if the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, as Lennon suggested in 1966, then the Monkees must have been, too. Rafelson explains:

“This was a massive thing, They sold something like 23 million records in 1966 — and that was more than the Beatles, more than the (Rolling) Stones that year. They had more No. 1 hits. I tell this to people now, and they say ‘What are you talking about?'”

Ah, what a time it was. Imagine.

“Paperback Believer,” Mark Vidler (Go Home Productions), 2004, from “This Was Pop (2002-2007),” a free collection of the British producer’s mashups.

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Filed under March 2012, Sounds

In the beginning

Do you remember when you first became aware of rock music? Maybe you were so young that it was more pop than rock, but you get the idea.

My moment came in early 1964, when the Beatles took America by storm. My introduction came from the girls at Russell Boulevard Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri. It came almost as a taunt.

“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

That got old pretty fast, especially when you are in first grade and you can’t figure out why all the girls are going so gaga over it. Like this.

Yet it wasn’t all that long before I heard something I liked so much that I learned the whole song. It was the summer of 1965. I was 7, maybe 8 by then. I must have heard it on one of the TV variety shows my dad so loved watching.

“I’m Henery the Eighth I am, Henery the Eighth I am, I am.”

You get the idea. A song that’s easy for a kid to learn and sing over and over.

Peter Noone came to town earlier this year, playing an outstanding Herman’s Hermits show. Our tiny casino lounge was jam-packed. The overflow crowd snaked out around the slot machines. A woman standing in front of me fanned herself with a copy of 16 magazine from November 1965. This one.

I hope Noone signed it for her. Autographs aren’t my thing, and there were plenty of the faithful on hand, so I didn’t stay for a meet-and-greet. Besides, my night was made when we got to sing along. I’ve known the words for 45 years.

“I’m Henery the Eighth I am, Henery the Eighth I am, I am.”

Ever since that night, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good Herman’s Hermits record. I found one the other day.

“I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” Herman’s Hermits, from “Herman’s Hermits On Tour,” 1965. This is their second American release. It’s out of print. The song is available on “Herman’s Hermits: Their Greatest Hits,” a 1990 CD release, and digitally.

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Filed under October 2011, Sounds