Saturday, October 07, 2006
Thanks to the good folks at Forgotten Hits On My Mind will in a few weeks be carrying an interview that they recently did with a major hit maker from the 60’s. They just have to put the finishing touches on it. Who is it that they are interviewing? Well let’s just say that with his busy schedule he has not been living like a Hermit. For those of you who have not yet subscribed to their newsletter, and that list is getting rather short as popular as it is with hit makers like this gent and Ron Dante on their list, you can subscribe if you e-mail them at this address The60sshop@aol.com. I have to go now as I have to meet someone this afterNoone.
In the 70’s there was sort of another British Invasion on the American airwaves when the Bee Gees, who also took part in the first British Invasion in the 60’s, became even more popular. The British born Aussies at first did ballads that were flowing with full rich harmonies and had lush orchestrations and had deeply emotional lyrics. In the middle of the 70’s they switched to a brand of soul with a disco beat. It got them four platinum records in a row and numerous #1 records on the Billboard charts. It began to look like you couldn’t have a hit record unless the Bee Gees were somehow involved. Other artist had #1 hits with songs that the Bee Gees had written and/or produced. Bee Gee in training, at that time, was there little brother Andy Gibb who had three hits with his brothers helping him behind the scenes. They wrote the only #1 hit that Yvonne Elliman had with “If I Can’t Have You" and gave Frankie Valli and Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton more hits to add to their list. The Bee Gees were the Beatles of the 70’s. The Bee Gees got us doing what we had almost forgot about by the end of the 60’s when music was being used as social commentary. They got us dancing again. Another British born Aussie who was discussed on this blog earlier this week, Olivia Newton-John, was part of the new invasion when she burned up the country and pop charts.
Another segment of the music scene was the rise of the piano man. British born Elton John led the way with Billy Joel and Barry Manilow following not too far behind. All three played middle of the road music that covered all ages but John and Joel were accepted into the rock and roll family while Manilow, for some reason was not. He appealed to the more adult contemporary market.
The 70’s also saw the Beatles grow as separate artist. Lennon and McCartney wrote songs like “Imagine” and “My Love” that are now standards. Harrison had the first #1 song as a solo artist with “My Sweet Lord” and also was sued as his the tune sounded a lot like another hit called “He’s So Fine.” While Beatle fans were worried about Ringo as he wrote and sang the least in the group. They should not have worried as he had just as many hit singles and albums as the others in the 70’s.
I have run out of time for this posting but it will continue with part 3 at a later date.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The 1960’s are usually the decade you think of when you think of a decade of change. However, there were a lot of changes in the 1970’s. Pop and Rock had been considered one form of music in the 60’s but in the 70’s they were starting to take different directions. Pop was becoming mellower and would be called bubblegum music by some. Rock was headed down a harder and darker path that would lead others to call it acid rock or album rock and later heavy metal. As you can tell most of the music listening public had become more open to musical experimentation. In the 70’s science fiction was starting to become science fact as man had just walked on the moon. While NASA was revolutionizing the known world the computer industry was doing the same to the recording industry by replacing transistors with integrated circuits when they combined different transistors onto a single chip. With this advance the recording industry went from 2 tracks to 32 tracks. It was able to put millions of cassette tapes in the hands of teenagers by the end of the decade. Synthesizers went from being huge monsters having a laborious process just to get it started to becoming smaller and having a nearly limitless variety of sounds. With this new advance in technology heavy metal almost became the norm in music for the 70’s but it also allowed for another form of music to rise to the front. That was Disco. With the turbulent 60’s behind us and a just as difficult decade ever present the country was tired but ready to party! Thanks to the new technology Disco and Rock had great electronic keyboards, lasers and, with disco music, a heavy intense precise rhythm.
In many ways the 70’s began with endings. The Beatles began to come apart when Paul McCartney announced in April of 1970 that he was leaving the group. It was perhaps the end of one of the most productive periods of pop/rock music history. Simon and Garfunkel, one of the most successful duos of folk rock music, broke up. For Monkees fans 1970 was sad when Mike Nesmith left and the group was down to a duo for its last album and that album, Changes, was only done because the Monkees were under contract for one more album. Rock legends Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose. Many would say the end of Rock music as my generation knew it came in 1976 when the King of Rock, Elvis Presley, also died of a drug overdose that year.
The 1970s was also the end of another form of music. That was the protest song. The 1970’s reached it’s height with mass protest and sit ins at colleges and high schools (My high school Lloyd Memorial had a sit in but I was not a student there at the time.) when 4 students were killed at a protest at Kent State University. Reality was starting to set in for students who graduated in the 60’s and some were actually joining the military or they were being drafted. In 1973, partly thanks to those protests, a cease-fire was signed and the Vietnam War came to an end.
Just like our current decade the 1970’s dealt with problems in the oil industry. There was an oil embargo in the Middle East and the cost of petroleum quadrupled and since it was an ingredient in the production of vinyl the cost of buying a record went up. The recording industry made cutbacks. They cutback on the perqs for their stars and slashed their roster of artist. They slowed their development of new talent and tried to get as much as they could out of their current artist. In the 1960’s you would have two types of recording artist. One type would be the super groups like the Beatles who could sell albums and singles. Another would be one like Gary Lewis and the Playboys who could have hit singles but their albums didn’t sell as well as the super groups. With cuts being made more concentration was given to super groups who could sell albums. You got more bang for your buck with them.
Later in the 70’s there was a sort of second wave of the British Invasion but we will discuss that later as I have run out of time for this posting.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
On October 5, 1974 the #1 song was I Honestly Love you by Olivia Newton –John. The song was to be on an album that Peter Allen was about to record. The song was written by Mr. Allen and his producer Jeff Barry. Jeff Barry had written and produced songs for groups like the Dixie Cups, The Monkees, Manfred Mann and the Archies. Mr. Barry said that he thought this tender love song would sound better if recorded by a man. Someone at the publishing office liked it and took it to Olivia. She loved it she said “I was terrified that I would find out had already been done.” Since it hadn’t Barry said they decided to let her record it instead of Peter.
Olivia was born on September 26, 1948 in Cambridge, England. Her father was the Dean of Ormond College in Melbourne Australia. Her grandfather was also an academic and the best friend of Albert Einstein. She had a normal life until she was 11 years old. That was when her parents divorced and she and her Mom moved into an apartment. Her Mother gave Olivia her first guitar when she was 13. She sang in coffeehouses on weekends. Later she joined an all girls jazz group called Sol Four. Later, she won a Haley Mills lookalike contest. The prize was a trip to England. Her Mother said it was ok as it would broaden her horizon. She went with her friend Pat Carroll. When her Pat’s visa was up Pat went home. Olivia decided to stay. She got a part on Cliff Richard’s television series. She recorded the Bob Dylan song “If Not For You” and charted in America at number 25. Don Kirshner met her and got her to join a group called Toomorrow for a film and recording concept that he had in mind. The concept flopped. However, her new song, “Let Me Be There”, was a huge hit at #6 in America. It won her a Grammy as the Best Female Country Vocal. When she received the award she said “It’s probably the first time and English person won an award over Nashville people.”
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
T hose good folks at Forgotten Hits The60sShop@aol.com recently sent an e-mail that linked to this site with a funny video about the song No Milk Today. It is a song that was recorded by Herman's Hermits. If you want the sheet music seen above you can get it if you click on the title above.
Maybe it is just me but it seems like my generation, the baby boomers, have a hard time growing up. Now I know that everyone gets nostalgic from time to time. However, I don’t recall any of my parents generation getting misty eyed too much over what happened to them in the past. I know that there are old time radio fans but even most of them are boomers who either barely remember the early days of radio, as TV was taking over, or they just know it from public radio and old records of radio programs. My generation may have watched Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise but nothing can replace our love for the original Star Trek series with Shatner and Nimoy. Until the death of George Harrison many of my friends and I hoped that George, Paul and Ringo would join with Julian Lennon to form a new version of the Beatles. It is that refusal to grow up that made many of the reunion tours of the Monkees, The Who and the Rolling Stones so successful. I just don’t know of any generation before the boomers that romanticized its past so much. Most others usually took it in stride in my family to go into the Armed forces then when you got out you got a job, got married and raised a family. The past was mentioned but not lived in day after day.
Now you don’t have to go any farther then this website to see that I like to live in the past too. I don’t know how my generation became so infatuated with its own past but I will probably always wonder about it.
Monday, October 02, 2006
In his book They Made A Monkee Out of Me, Davy tells some behind the scenes stories on what happened when he became part of the new group Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart. Davy was going through some personal problems and needed a break. That break came when Tommy Boyce called him and said “Jones…idea! The Golden Hits of the Monkees! The guys who sang them and the guys who wrote them, Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart! What do you think?” His quick reply was “Who is this?” It was a lighthearted moment but Davy said yes. Eventually all four got together and formed a new band. The toured the USA and Japan.
One night in Boston before the show Davy and Tommy Boyce were bar hopping. The last one they were in was having a wedding reception. Davy said Tommy had the nerve to cut in on the Groom when he and the Bride were dancing. After the dance Tommy got up and announced Davy.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! Can I have your attention please? It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you at this time a man amongst men. He’s been picked up by so many girls he’s starting to grow handles. Yes you’ve guessed it. It’s the Manchester Cowboy himself…Davy Jones.”
There were oohhs and aahhs as Davy got up to the mike and Tommy went to the piano and played “I Wanna Be Free.” Davy said he thought the song choice was not appropriate for a wedding but the audience seemed to love it. He said when the song was done he and Tommy did the Monkee walk out of the bar and went to do the show.
Another time in Japan Davy stepped out for a quick drink (anyone seeing a pattern here?) before the show. Micky was having a hard time convincing the Japanese MC to not start the show as Davy was not back yet from getting his drink. He thinks Micky wants a drink on stage in case his voice starts to get dry. He quickly orders someone to get a drink on stage and goes out to announce them. Micky throws up his arms in surrender. Now the have to go on without Davy and his signature song “Daydream Believer” is the opening number.
Just as they go on Davy arrives backstage. He is very angry when he hears Micky singing HIS song. Davy has had a few drinks and is about to get violent with Micky right on stage. Davy does a flying leap right at Micky. Dolenz is unaware that Davy has arrived. He does a small dance number during the song and just as Davy would kick him in the face, Dolenz ducks. To his surprise Davy goes flying over him and lands in the front row. Boyce throws Jones the microphone and Davy continues the song. He said it got such applause that they should have kept it in the show.
There didn’t seem to be any grudges held. When they got back to the states Davy was still having some troubles and Micky let him stay at his house for awhile.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Hey here is a shout out for a fanzine about Charlton Comics. It is the former home to heroes like E-Man, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and Peacemaker. You can click here to go to their site. The current issue has interviews with Joe Gill, Steve Skeates, Mark Burby, Gene Phillips (no relation to me), and Ron Franz. They talk about many of the Charlton characters and how they worked with Steve Ditko. Take a look if you are a Charlton fan. Thanks to Tony Isabella for letting his my space fans know.
I was just looking through Davy Jones' book They Made A Monkee Out Of Me and saw this photo that I had forgotten about. The book is full of rare Monkees photos that you will never see anywhere else. This photo appears to be a wrap party from the first season. There was no caption for it in the book. He just included it in his book and I am glad that he did. Photos like this remind you that it wasn't just the actors turning on a camera and improvising. There was actually thought put into it and a lot of work that went on behind the scenes. Seeing the photo on the internet you should have an easy time spotting all of the Monkees. When holding the book I had a hard time finding Mike. The reason why is that my thumb was covering his face. Just thought any Monkees fan who didn't have this book would like to see the photo.