Showing posts with label lulu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lulu. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sixty-Four Years of Music ~ Continued

Musical Doldrums

I continued aboard the pop music train until around 1968. If one peruses the top hits of '68, it's apparent that music took a nosedive. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe The Beatles were tired. Maybe the Summer of Love ruined everything. Maybe my life was falling apart.

I don't remember how I came into possession of my battery-operated record player, but I carried it with me throughout my early teens. It was fun at first, but the fun abruptly ended once the batteries wore down. I'd be merrily playing "Thank The Lord For The Night Time" when suddenly Neil Diamond began singing really low and slowwww. I didn't have money to constantly purchase size D batteries and trust me, they weren't alkaline. My dad picked up a so-called battery charger somewhere, which barely masked the problem. Seems those Evereadys were just as tired as The Beatles.

Still, in 1967, pop music retained a glint of joy. I continued to be a mostly singles buyer. The Turtles recorded on the White Whale label, whose '45 color was oddly blue, not white. Neil Diamond was on Bang, with its yellow label with a revolver atop shooting out the word "Bang". The Monkees' Colgems singles sported a prosaic red and white design. The Grass Roots' Dunhill singles were elegantly black. (I wonder what possessors of mp3's stare at while their song is playing.) 

I had my favorites, like this one. I don't think The Turtles were ever taken seriously by the music biz people, but the execs sure liked the money that rolled in:

Lulu had one hit song, but it did land her a part in a movie, so she had a year. This really is beautiful:

I'm not sure what the deal was with Alex Chilton. Granted, he was only sixteen, but he acted like a reluctant fifth grader whose mom pushed him out on the stage. Nevertheless, this was one of my special songs from 1967:


This is the only song I ever liked by Herman's Hermits. Because they were a goofy band that essentially did novelty songs. I can't even stand to listen to Peter Noone on Sirius XM, because he's still trying to sound like he's sixteen, when in actuality he's pushing a hundred and five. However, this is a classy song:


This song is perfect for a twelve-year-old. It has that great poppy vibe, and (shucks) this performance doesn't feature Graham Nash, who went on to record some of the most boring songs in musical history about puppies and aprons and tidying up the house with his new, hipper, band, CSN or CSNY (whatever). 


The Grass Roots were the first rock concert I ever attended. Of course, I was so high up in the bleachers that I could have just as well been at home peering through binoculars. Much like The Turtles, The Grass Roots got no love. I don't understand that, because they had a lengthy string of hits. (And yes, even though this video is fuzzy, I can pick out Creed from The Office.):


By 1967 I'd mostly relinquished my obsession with The Monkees. They'd been my lifeline when my family moved to a new town and I suddenly had zero friends. I wrote about it somewhere ~ oh, here

I guess life had become a little bit better in some ways, and a hell of a lot worse in others. I never owned this '45, but my big brother did. As was my wont, I snuck into his room to play his records whenever he was away. I didn't know until recently that Carole King wrote this song. It's probably my favorite Monkees recording:

Thus ended my pop music phase. For a long while.

Next ~ immersing myself in country.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Old Hippies

I have a certain fascination with the hippie era. Not as in, I wish I had been there, but more as an entomological study. On the Midwestern prairie we had no Summer of Love. We had a summer of working, a summer of riding bicycles and pressing transistor radios to our ears; a summer of stretching the coiled cord of the kitchen wall phone all the way around the corner into the hall so we could have private conversations.

The war was, of course, on everyone's mind, but more urgently than college kids who had deferments and spent their lunch periods carrying signs. To my big brother the war wasn't abstract -- he had to worry if his number was going to be pulled out of the big bingo jar and if he was going to die in a rice paddy. Working class boys didn't have a lot of options. They could flee to Canada or they could join the National Guard, which is what my brother did. My brother was hardly the military type, but he ultimately did his civic duty...and he stayed alive. Meanwhile, boys with wispy goatees in San Francisco twirled around in tie-dyed tee shirts.

I was twelve that summer. On TV I saw mystified CBS News reporters chronicling the Haight-Ashbury scene. All the characters looked like dizzy dorks. I especially loved the dance of the scarves, which was a classic. One could not flip the television dial without glimpsing some barefoot bra-less chick whirling on a hillside with a multi-hued scarf. So profound!

Old hippies probably don't grasp this, but we didn't envy them. We thought they were imbeciles.

Fifty-odd years later, I wonder how many of them have managed to maneuver life with all their brain cells intact. They'd be -- well, past retirement age. Do they entertain their grandkids with tales of past acid trips? Did some get elected to congress? (yes) Did they at some point learn to appreciate the joy of bar soap and penicillin?

Sage Midwesterners always knew that life was life, and there was no escaping it. My brother didn't "drop out", and I didn't, either. We didn't have that luxury.

Marty Balin died this week. He was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, a band that encapsulated the summer of love. Reading about him, I learned that he was a pretty good guy, but that band epitomized everything I hated about the times.

Marty solo:

In my town we weren't listening to Jefferson Airplane. This is what we were tuning in to on our local radio station:

And especially this:

See? We were hip, too.

And we still possess all our brain cells.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Yea, Yea, The Summer of Love

I wonder who named 1967 "The Summer of Love". Obviously not a marketing person. Because if you're going to declare something the "Summer of....", you want to have that commercial tie-in.

For example, how about "The Summer of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese"?

You could give away wedge-shaped key chains; bumper stickers featuring globs of macaroni clinging together on a fork. You know. Marketing-type stuff.

From what I can tell, the Summer of Love really had no commercial potential, except for Bill Graham of the Fillmore West, who could tout his acts, the Jefferson Airplane and well, I guess that's just about it, on handbills, of which nobody could read, because all the kids were too stoned, and were just wandering aimlessly on the streets of San Fran, and playbills weren't really anything they could hawk to buy more drugs, so what good were they?

I sometimes wonder what happened to those kids from 1967? I guess they'd be retiring about now, but oh, the stories they can tell their grandchildren. Oh wait, maybe not.

"What did you do when you were a kid, Grandpa?"

"Oh, Thad, that's not important now. What's really important is that we get out there and vote for Obama! Wanna toke?"

If you watch newsreels from 1967, you would get the impression that everything was groovy, and kind of wavy, but the hit songs from that year don't necessarily reflect that.

But, you know, memory is selective.

1967, actually, was a pretty good year for rock music. Not to disappoint the old hippies, but most of it was pure pop.

While the kids on Haight Ashbury were zoning out, chillin' to seven and a half minute psych-o-delic jams, the rest of the population was buying 45-rpm records of songs such as this (yes, this was the number one hit of 1967):

(Kudos, Neil Diamond. Jan Wenner can ignore you all he wants, but this was the perfect pop song.)

I'm just going to go down the line here, and recount the top hits from that seminal year, in order, so let's see who wins ~ the hippie kids or possibly not.

(I always loved this song. Lulu; she never had another hit, but she was in a movie with Sidney Poitier, so she can be an American Idol mentor if she wants. Yea, yea, Petula Clark, sure. She had some hits. But was she in a movie with Sidney Poitier? Tough luck, Petunia ~ sorry, Petula.)

(Isn't Alex Chilton the epitome of every sixteen-year-old from time immemorial? Get that hair out of your eyes! And stop sulking, Alex! Stop being so moody! Ahh, the joys of raising a teenaged male. At least Alex was bringing home some moolah for the family, so they tended to overlook the bad posture and pouty look.)

(I know that this song is "mysterious"; or, in my opinion, "missing something". I used to sit in the back seat of the Ford Galaxy and hear this song blaring over the AM radio, and wonder, what the hell? But the main point I want to make about Bobbie Gentry is that she wore her hair in that long, dark "fall". Mesmerizing.)

(Let me just say how much I hated, and still hate, this song. I'll grant you, the Association had one good song ~ Never My Love ~ but this? It just grates on my nerves. No wonder kids took drugs. If I was on a desert island, and this was the only song I had to listen to, I would prefer to just drown myself and get it over with.)

(Ahhh, Felix. This song will still be played in the year 2112, and kids will say, yes! This song is cool! Really, was it from two centuries ago? I guess those neanderthals invented fire, after all.)

And speaking of fire, okay, I skipped the line a couple of songs, but well, c'mon:

(THIS was the song that I will always remember 1967 for. I was but twelve years old, and I don't know what it was about this song, and about Jim Morrison, but this was IT.)

Believe it or not, and the charts don't lie, THIS song superseded Light My Fire, by, in fact, a couple of spaces. So, though Grandpa Hipster may want entertain selective memory (or is it just dementia?), here ya go, Grandpa. Explain THIS to the grandkids:

Oh, look! The Monkees are back! Yes, the Monkees. Sure, pretend they weren't the biggest thing that happened in 1967. Pretend all you want. I was there. I remember.

I have nothing against Ferris Bueller (or John Hughes, for that matter), but you know, you didn't invent that song.

I happened to be there when it was happening.

Remember the Beatles? (ha)

Yes, they charted in 1967, too. Not with their choicest song, mind you. But, yes, they were still around.

The interesting thing (to me) about this song, by the Buckinghams, is that I have no idea what the backing singers are singing. But it's catchy, whatever it is.

You'd never know it, but this song was number thirteen in the year 1967. Yes, thirteen. Not that there's anything wrong with thirteen, but if you were to listen to the revisionists, you'd think this was the number one song of all time. It wasn't.

Okay, this video is horrendous, but it's the only one I could find of the Strawberry Alarm Clock performing this song.

And I'm officially nominating the Strawberry Alarm Clock for the worst band name ever.

I wonder whatever happened to the SAC. And who was in the band? And did any of them go on to bigger and better things? I wish I cared enough to look that up, but it's late, and all I know is, I heard this song a lot on my transistor radio as I was riding the stupid school bus, and listening to all the geeky boys talk about Star Trek, and I was bored out of my mind, and this song didn't help things, believe me. I do sort of remember 1967 as the year of perpetual boredom. But maybe that was just me.

I'll end this post with number fifteen.

And who could forget the Rolling Stones? Nobody. Because they're still out there, touring. Even at their age. Those kids from the year 2167 will be saying, "The Stones are still touring? Who do they think they are? Cher? Or Elton John?"

Nevertheless, you can't deny that this song, the number fifteen hit of 1967, is a great one.

In all candor, 1967 was a damn good year for music. I'll give it that.

But it's not due to some headband-wearing, greasy-haired, Nehru-jacketed seventeen-year-old who was tripping out on the California coast.

No, it was solely due to some awesome talent, and to some record producers who knew how to create mega-hits (Frank and Nancy notwithstanding).

I got through number fifteen, but I really only scratched the surface.

This calls for another blog post! Let's keep keepin' on with hits from the summer of love!

But I still say, let's rename it something that we, as consumers, can get behind. I'm thinking the Summer of Trix Cereal.

Because, Silly Rabbit. Trix are for kids. Moron.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The British Invasion - Some Great Music Videos

Theoretically, this has no connection to country music, per se.

However, as I was looking for more music videos for my "Pioneers Of Country Music" series, I digressed into looking up some of the pioneers of rock, and I thought of the old TV show, Shindig, and wondered if there might be some Shindig videos on YouTube.

Well, one thing led to another, and after I found some British Invasion bands featured on the Shindig videos, I started looking for more British Invasion clips.

You see how my mind wanders?

I have found SO MANY great videos from the British Invasion, I thought, why not include a bunch here?

So, yes, this is a (brief) diversion from country music, but it's really a lot of fun.


A couple of notes ~~ first of all, I love this song. I don't care if it's cheesy. Also, the lead singer's voice sounds a bit odd (and no, that is not a flaw in the audio - that's how his voice really sounds; kind of speeded up in a cartoony kind of way.) The other two things worth mentioning ~~ gotta love the "ampless guitars" - quite a trick! And also, how much do you wanna bet the drummer is the sister of one of the guys in the band?


The first thing that needs to be mentioned ~~ The Dave Clark Five is FINALLY being inducted into the R&R Hall Of Fame this year! Nextly (I just made up that word), isn't Mike Smith CUTE? I also note that, again, no amps for the guitars...hmmmm. Also, a fashion note ~~ white pants and black boots? I think not.


Awww - isn't Peter cute, in an Opie Taylor-ish sort of way? What was he here? About 17? A couple of things in this video that were hard to ignore ~~ That was some VERY complicated choreography by the background "dancers". Clap left, clap right, hips to the left, hips to the right ~~ and they still couldn't master it! Finally, they just gave up and left. And what was with the confetti? I'm thinking a bunch of drunken teenagers. I bet that's what it was, you think?


Well, where do I begin? First of all, obviously (duh), the audio and video were out of synch. That happens. What I DON'T understand is why they chopped off part of the song. What, is the video guy's attention span only two minutes long? "Oops, gotta run!" Aside from those obvious problems, kudos for the "picket fence" set design (?) Also, you don't see a lead singer playing the maracas much anymore. Kind of a lost art. But I must say, it was great to see Maynard G. Krebs again, on the piano.


It's great to see Tom Petty again ~~ oh wait, that's not Tom Petty; that's Keith Relf, apparently the LEAST famous Yardbird. Unfortunately, with this clip, there is no Page; there is no Clapton. There is, however, Jeff Beck on acoustic guitar. And what's the deal with Clapton, by the way? Has he been around forever? I bet he's about 90 years old, right? Anyway, the Yardbirds was the first album I ever had. My brother bought it for me for my birthday. It wasn't really my taste at the time. I was more into the Monkees....


You know, my friend and I were talking about the Beatles yesterday at work. We actually looked up the lyrics to Penny Lane on the net. I had no idea he was saying "a four of fish and finger pie". I thought he said, "FOR a fish and finger pie." Not that either of those makes any sense to me, so I guess it's a moot point. That's still not as bad as my friend thinking that the pretty nurse was selling PUPPIES from a tray. Which leads me to that other famous mis-heard Beatles lyric: "The girl with colitis goes by".

But to the video at hand....It's lovely to see Paul with his usual happy, happy head-toss. I also liked when the host (I can't remember his name, so I'll just call him Wink McHosty) said, "They even wrote it themselves (isn't that cute?)" Gee, I wonder if they ever wrote any other songs. This video also marks the only time the rest of the group let Ringo sing. But at least they were good sports about it. Oh, and I also enjoyed the "Fred Astaire kick" at the end by John.


I have no funny quips about this video. All I can say is, Colin Blunstone is a REALLY GOOD singer.


The Hollies were a very popular British band from the '60's. The single, "Carrie Anne" was released in 1967, and, as I said, it was very POPular. The most well-known member of the Hollies is Graham Nash, who left the Hollies, because he wanted a band with HIS name in the title, so he formed Crosby, Stills, and NASH, later to be known as Crosby, Stills, NASH, and Young. And there you have it; the history of Graham NASH in a nutshell. (Can you tell I can't think of anything to say, so I just keep typing "NASH"?)


Well. Ray Davies was quite the handsome young man, wasn't he? Unfortunately, immediately following this performance, Ray and his brother Dave got into a fistfight over "who Mom liked best", and they never spoke to each other again.


I don't know a heck of a lot about this band, but I did like this song. It's the only song I know by the group. Undoubtedly, they had others (right?) Anyway, he looks like a sweet, innocent young man (with a tambourine, as opposed to maracas), but apparently, in later life he had some "issues". Something about pouring gasoline on a cop, and things just went downhill from there. It's a sad and cautionary tale. A tale of a boy and his tambourine.


Important trivia regarding Peter Asher ~~ Well, first of all, he was the brother of Lady Jane Asher, who was Paul McCartney's girlfriend in the '60's. But aside from that notoriety, he actually accomplished a lot. He was the head of A&R at Apple Records; he discovered James Taylor. He also went on to produce albums by Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, and others. I don't know about Gordon ~~ sorry.


Here we have Eric Burden, with his Howdy Doody hairstyle, who is a remarkably good singer, in spite of the haircut. The pertinent aspects of this video are that the organ player is apparently a huge Ray Charles fan, and the bass player is ASLEEP.


We have some kind of subtitles on this...Japanese maybe? As the song begins, ENGLISH subtitles would have come in handy. But, as the song progresses, we come to understand what Steve Winwood is singing. I do like this song. And the lumberjack drummer is prominently featured, so all is good. I'm probably way off base here, but it looks like Sonny Bono and John Oates are singing backup. But, seeing as how they come from completely different eras, I'm thinking that's most likely not the case.


This is a nice performance. I have no quibbles. I like the song. I would just like to point out that we could have done without the "Night Of The Living Dead" extras, who were so prominently featured in this clip.


I'll admit, I was not a Rolling Stones fan back in the day. It was a weird thing, but there was some sort of manufactured competition at that time....either you were a Beatles fan or a Rolling Stones fan. You had to choose. Well, I chose the Beatles. I don't know what that was all about. But I've since become a Stones fan, and this song is one of my favorites from their early years, and it doesn't even show a close-up of Keith Richards (who is my favorite Stone). But, if you watch this video, you can see why the Stones have become such icons. Watch Jagger's interaction with the audience. He has that "something". A lot of singers don't have it, but he does.


Yes, they were odd. Especially Freddie. But memorable, I guess, in their own way. Believe it or not, at one time, Freddie & The Dreamers was a huge act. "Act" being the keyword. I wonder how he talked the rest of the gang into doing that weird choreography. What the heck; it worked. I just threw this one in to show that, even back in the '60's, we had our weirdos. American Idol didn't invent the concept.

Let's not forget the ladies.....


I really like her. I think she was a great singer. And doesn't she look just like a Barbie doll in this video? I had a Barbie doll who was a dead ringer for Dusty in 1959. I've read that she was very shy. Maybe that's why these performances show very few close-ups. I just think she was great.


I saw the movie ~~ To Sir With Love. In a nutshell, it was about a bunch of unruly teenagers, who were wreaking havoc on everyone, until a new teacher, played by Sidney Poitier, showed up. He said to them, "They call me MISTER Tibbs". Okay, I think I may be getting my movies mixed up here. Anyway, blah blah blah, for about two hours, and then, in the end, they all went on to live productive lives as maids and butlers. The End. I still like this song, though.

Yes, I have left some artists out. There were some for whom I could not find videos. Others had videos, but did not allow embedding.

Other than that, I just forgot some, I'm sure. Let me know who I have left out (and, yes, I know I left out The Who ~ I'm not perfect.)