SUMMER OF LOVE @ 50

 

“If you’re going to San Francisco,be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…If you’re going to San Francisco, Summertime will be a love-in there”

So sang SCOTT McKENZIE, a true one hit wonder but what a hit it was. This so called “anthem” arrived on the airwaves May 13, 1967, and was used as an invitation “across the nation” to publicize the upcoming “charity” concerts baptized as THE MONTEREY INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL June 16 to June 18, 1967. This 3 day event was organized by PAPA JOHN PHILLIPS who incidentally wrote the aforementioned tune, LOU ADLER who produced the tune, along with a host of others who planned this weekend showcase as a way to sanctify “rock” music, similar to the way the Monterey Jazz Festivals gave legitimacy to that genre.All proceeds would be given to charity. Artists were expected to play a 40 minute set without a fee, however their flights, accommodations, etc, would all be first class.

The song becomes an instant radio hit ,#4 on the BILLBOARD charts, and while estimates vary, thousands celebrate rock music that weekend in a fair grounds 120 miles south of San Francisco. Yet, the tune transcended its purpose. The imagery of the song encouraged thousands of listeners to attend the party which would become THE SUMMER OF LOVE in San Francisco.

HOW DO WE GET THERE? Well, not directional or travel arrangements wise but rather how did this LOVE thing happen?

The BEAT poets of NORTH BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO could be considered the fore fathers of the movement with their non-conformist attitudes while rejecting materialistic values.

Then there was the celebration entitled the HUMAN BE-IN at Golden Gate Park in January of 67, an idea of MICHAEL BOWEN the avant-garde artist and co-founder of THE ORACLE, a premier “underground” newspaper which announced the event. This Be-In inspired  the play HAIR: The American Tribal Love -Rock Musical by Rado and Ragni. Also, TIMOTHY LEARY asked the 30,000 attendees to “turn on,tune in,drop out”. 

The mainstream media picked up the story, highlighting Tim Leary, the drugs (LSD and mushrooms), the clothing and the music. These photos and images were shown on the nightly news. TIME magazine ran a cover story on THE HIPPIES and even CBS NEWS had a special report. This influx of “flower children” arrived to the 25 square block area of San Francisco with the cross streets , the intersection of it all HAIGHT-ASHBURY.

With psychedelic music and drugs prevalent, one could only predict that the future of THE HAIGHT would not be so rosy or happy. Homelessness, drug abuse, poverty became rampant. The BEE GEES even wrote a song, MASSACHUSETTS, in response to what was happening in SAN FRANCISCO, a ditty about someone who lost the vision, the hope, and was homesick.

Yet, the SUMMER OF LOVE despite its misgivings gave us a great soundtrack for that time and for years to come: THE WHO, JIMI HENDRIX, BIG BROTHER and THE HOLDING COMPANY, COUNTRY JOE and THE FISH,THE ELECTRIC FLAG,QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE,STEVE MILLER,MOBY GRAPE,HUGH MASEKELA,THE BYRDS,LAURA NYRO,JEFFERSON AIRPLANE,BOOKER T and THE MG’s,OTIS REDDING, THE BLUES PROJECT,BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD and the organizers of Monterey Pop THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS.

THE WHO:Fillmore East, June 6,1969

48 Years ago today:

THE WHO, JUNE 6,1969: FILLMORE EAST

My obsession with seeing/hearing LIVE MUSIC began by the time I was 12 years old but grew in leaps and bounds at age 16 when I found out how easy it was to obtain tickets for a LED ZEPPELIN show at FILLMORE EAST. The day the Zep tixs arrived in my SASE, I immediately ordered two seats for CHUCK BERRY and ALBERT KING, a Friday night early show, June 6, 1969. I was especially looking forward to hearing Albert King as I wore out his LIVE WIRE BLUES POWER album that spring. To my joy the tickets arrived in record time. I was “in the house”. During an intermission at the Zeppelin show I scouted where I would be seated for the Albert King show, fourth row aisle seat on the left. Too cool, really nice sight lines. Then it happened. At the Led Zeppelin show, Bill Graham announced a few future shows and had a special announcement. An additional act would be added to the Albert King Chuck Berry bill, headlining that show would now be…. THE WHO. Oh my… I was ecstatic…But How?

 

Actually, The Who had played the Fillmore East only two weeks prior to the Led Zeppelin show, when during their performance a fire occurred in the adjoining building . A Fire Marshall, not in uniform, attempted to evacuate the premises when Pete Townshend  The Who’s guitarist got into an altercation with the  “undercover” official. Townshend thinking that this guy was a nut job hit him and an arrest of Pete Townshend abruptly ended the show. So now this show, the one I had two tickets for, was labeled as THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE WHO.

Their album the “rock opera” TOMMY was released a few short days(May23) before this rescheduled performance and the songs were already in heavy rotation on the FM radio.

There I sat four rows back from Albert King, he dressed to the nines with a dark suit, white shirt, and a tie while playing a short but sweet set on his Flying V guitar,  BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN, PERSONAL MANAGER,AS THE YEARS GO PASSING BY and STORMY MONDAY.  I was amazed.

Chuck Berry was up next doing what I found out years later was his traditional set list, nothing too outstanding except seeing him doing his duck walk. Chuck closed with MY DING A LING a really stupid sing along which I found embarrassing. Chuck was gone and forgotten by me almost that quickly.

THE WHO on the other hand was fantastic. I was in awe the entire time, mouth opened kind of awe. The sheer power of the band along with the visual presence. Daltry, dressed in fringe was swinging his microphone, Townshend windmilling on the guitar, Entwhistle had magical fingers running up and down the bass, and then Keith Moon on the kit, a show within a show. Amazing. CAN’T EXPLAIN ,FORTUNE TELLER,New TOMMY stuff, SUMMERTIME BLUES, MAGIC BUS, needless to say my very limited concert experiences just had a new threshold to beat and that would be… THE WHO. Live music to me became a real education and an obsession.

LED ZEPPELIN-MAY 30,1969@FILLMORE EAST

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LED ZEPPELIN at FILLMORE EAST: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND MAY 30,1969

For those who only know of the power and popularity of Led Zeppelin of it’s latter days, let me take you back to before the very first album hit the stands.

Jimmy Page was one of the “three”, the triumvirate of rock guitarist gods who moseyed through a British band of some renown named THE YARDBIRDS. This band, legend states took their name from Charlie YARDBIRD Parker, was somewhat known in the USA, but much more popular in their homeland of Great Britain. Without giving the long history of the Yardbirds let say they got residency at CRAWDADDY when the spot was vacated by THE ROLLING STONES, a band on the move. Eric Clapton was the YARDBIRDS guitarist who as time moved on, after hit followed by another hit, became uncomfortable with the band veering far away from it’s blues roots by heading into a pop direction. Clapton leaves and suggest Jimmy Page take his spot. Page, who was the “go to studio guitarist” at the time, didn’t want to vacate that profitable role, so PAGE suggested JEFF BECK who took the gig.

With BECK’s influence the YARDBIRDS moved toward a psychedelic route with fuzz tones, feedback, and overall guitar virtuosity. By 1966 JEFF BECK was voted Melody Maker’s GUITARIST OF THE YEAR.When the bass player drops out of the band  JIMMY PAGE steps in that role for a spell. When a new bassist is recruited PAGE stays on playing guitar which offers a BECK/PAGE dual guitar attack approach. Beck gets sick, misses a few gigs, ultimately leaves the band to Page.With the lead singer Keith Relf’s alcoholism and the band not having any more hits, as well as with the rise of bands like CREAM and JIMI HENDRIX, soon the Yardbirds disappeared, leaving Jimmy Page with the name. To fulfill  some contractual commitments ,with a new manager PETER GRANT on board, the band hits the road as THE NEW YARDBIRDS.

Page had recruited TERRY REID as vocalist but he, with a new MICKIE MOST contract, could not leave. Reid suggested a friend, ROBERT PLANT who brought along his drummer friend JOHN BONHAM . Page called his studio buddy JOHN PAUL JONES for bass and keyboards and after a short tour of Scandinavia, the NEW YARDBIRDS hit the studio to record what would become LED ZEPPELIN’s debut.

The album is released January 12,1969 and some of the tunes hit the New York FM airwaves after the band’s now legendary performance as the opening act for IRON BUTTERFLY at FILLMORE EAST January 31 and February 1, 1969, this being Led Zeppelin’s first US tour.Legend has it, but I have not verified it, that after LED ZEPPELIN played their set the boys in Butterfly decided to just do one song, their hit IN A GADDA DA VIDA, an FM staple  at the time. The crowd cheered for more Led Zep so the British foursome hit the stage again to close out the night.

That leads me to May 30, 1969. A Friday holiday weekend night with me at FILLMORE EAST with a five dollar ticket awaiting to see LED ZEPPELIN in their first FILLMORE EAST headlining show. The underbill was WOODY HERMAN and His THUNDERING HERD, and DELANEY BONNIE AND FRIENDS. Too cool. The Friday early show which according to some who attended the other three shows, the set list I saw was a shortened one but impressive nonetheless.

From the opening howl of I CAN’T QUIT YOU, through the violin bow smacking strings on DAZED AND CONFUSED, acoustic WHITE SUMMER/BLACK MOUNTAIN SIDE, followed by BABE,I’M GONNA LEAVE YOU, YOU SHOOK ME, and the closer HOW MANY MORE TIMES, Led Zeppelin owned this audience. The encore was short, yet loud, COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN. The performance bar was now set for this 17 year old youngster on his musical journey.

NEXT TIME: THE WHO/CHUCK BERRY/ALBERT KING

GREGG ALLMAN (1947-2017)

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My journey as a fan of the Allman Brothers Band began on a cold March night in 1971. Awaiting the arrival of a friend I stood among a throng of people on the corner of Second Avenue and Sixth Street. In my pocket I was holding two tickets for the Johnny Winter late show at Fillmore East. It was a few minutes before eight, and my friend was late as we were to have met an hour ago to get a bite to eat. As the early show ticker holders slowly moved into the theatre, a guy whom I never saw before walked over to me and asked if I wanted his spare ticket for the early show. With my friend nowhere in sight, and it being extremely cold, I pocketed the ticket, but remained outside in hopes of seeing my friend show up.

At 8:30, now extremely cold, and with no crowd left outside, I entered the building. Ticket torn in half by the usher, and with program in my hand I walked to the upper balcony where I would sit. The opening act, The Elvin Bishop Group, was ending and the intermission began.

Walls of amplifiers, a Hammond B-3 organ and TWO sets of drums were taking their place on the stage. While a black and white cartoon played over the big screen located directly behind the equipment, I could hear the sounds of guitars tuning up. The house lights still dimmed and with the cartoon now over, a single spotlight hit the stage and a simple announcement was made, “Ladies and gentlemen, The Allman Brothers Band”. Not the headliners for that night but after playing for a bit over an hour, you could have fooled me.These guys were good.

After the first show ended, I finally met up with my friend. It was about 11:15 p.m. and he was a bit angry that I had taking the opportunity to see the first show leaving him alone and out in the cold. After he calmed down, we went to get something to eat. Sitting in the pizza shop across the street I told him about this incredible band I just saw. While at first he did not believe me as he was there to see the headliner Johnny Winter,  he changed his allegiance by 6:30 a.m. when we left the late show.

The late show started very late at about midnight. The first act ELVIN BISHOP GROUP  had to cut their sey short due to a bomb scare. The entire audience had to vacate the venue and then reenter a bit later. By 2 a.m. we were back in our seats entertained by a very short set from Johnny Winter. I was confused. I thought, due to the time and the scare, the “Brothers” would be cancelled. Thankfully I was wrong.

Same cartoon as the early show intermission, same equipment being set up, and then “thanks for waiting, we will make it up to those still here”. It was a different voice. No spotlight, and now a “1, 2, 3…” Statesboro Blues. The sun up when we left the theatre, with two ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND shows under my belt, knowing there would be more to come.

Here I am 46 years later, now with 47 ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND shows under my belt, and I hear the news that BROTHER GREGG ALLMAN passed away today. As my wife said, “You knew it was coming, he was very sick”. Yes, I knew but I was not ready, not ready to never hearing the live version of his bluesy vocals. Not ready to never see him behind a Hammond B-3, not ready to end the run. As he sang so many nights  “the road goes on forever”…but not tonight.

Rest in Peace, my Brother, thanks for all the great nights I watched you grace the stages.Thanks for all the wonderful music.Just….THANKS.

All prayers and thoughts go out to your family and friends at this time.

BOND THEMES

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It is such sad news that SIR ROGER MOORE passed away yesterday, May 23, 2017. While personally I find the original James Bond films with Sean Connery more to my liking and the James Bond of today more suspenseful than the Moore films, it appears that I am in the minority as Mr. Moore was voted “BEST BOND” in an Academy Awards poll, and in 2008 still had 62% of the votes.  My thanks to Sir Roger for keeping the franchise thriving.

Sir Roger, knighted by QUEEN ELIZABETH in 2003, played Bond seven times, starting with LIVE AND LET DIE in 1973 after Connery left the role. Sir Roger continued in the role with THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977), MOONRAKER (1979), FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981), OCTOPUSSY (1983) and A VIEW TO A KILL (1985) when at 58 years of age Sir Roger announced his retirement from the role.

Now, what does this have to do with music one might ask? BOND has everything to do with music. After Shirley Bassey’s incredible version of GOLDFINGER which soared up the charts in 1964, most artists begged for a shot at “the title”. And here they are for better or worse, in chronological order as to see who was popular at the time. Interesting to note Shirley Bassey returned for a grand total of 3 and Chris Cornell passed away a few days before Sir Roger.

1962: DR.NO The James Bond Theme by The John Barry Orchestra

1963: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: From Russia With Love by Matt Monro

1964: GOLDFINGER: Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey

1965: THUNDERBALL:Thunderball by Tom Jones

1967: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE: You Only Live Twice-Nancy Sinatra

1967:CASINO ROYALE:Casino Royale-Herb Albert and The Tijuana Brass

1969:ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE: We Have All The Time IN The World-Louis Armstrong

1972: DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER:Diamonds Are Forever- Shirley Bassey

1973:LIVE AND LET DIE: Live And Let Die-Paul McCartney and Wings

1974:THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN: The Man With The Golden Gun:Lulu

1977:THE SPY WHO LOVED ME: Nobody Does It Better-Carly Simon

1979:MOONRAKER:Moonraker-Shirley Bassey

1981:FOR YOUR EYES ONLY-For Your Eyes Only-Sheena Easton

1983:OCTOPUSSY: All Time High-Rita Coolidge

1983:NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Never Say Never Again-Lani Hall

1985:A VIEW TO A KILL: A View To A Kill-Duran Duran

1987:THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS: The Living Daylights-a-ha

1989:LICENSE TO KILL: License To Kill-Gladys Knight

1995:GOLDEN EYE: Golden Eye-Tina Turner

1997:TOMORROW NEVER DIES:Tomorrow Never Dies-Sheryl Crow

1999:THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH:The World Is Not Enough-Garbage

2002:DIE ANOTHER DAY:Die Another Day-Madonna

2006:CASINO ROYALE:You Know My Name-Chris Cornell

2008:QUANTUM OF SOLACE: Another Way To Die-Jack White & Alicia Keys

2012:SKYFALL:Skyfall-Adele

2015:SPECTRE:The Writing’s On The Wall-Sam Smith

SPIRIT SEEKER by Gary Golio

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During a Q and A session directly after CHASING TRANE, a superb documentary on the life and times of JOHN COLTRANE, one of the audience members asked the film maker where did some of the graphics used in the movie, and especially the poster for the movie, come from. The answer was direct and simple: “From a  children’s book, SPIRIT SEEKER ,written by a wonderful author Gary Golio who utilized the amazing art work of a guy out of New Jersey named RUDY GUTIERREZ”.

The very next day I searched for the book and lo and behold found it available on line. BINGO, I ordered two. The package arrived today and I can honestly say this purchase of two is well worth the money spent. The story chronicles the life of Coltrane from his humble, religious upbringing, through the deaths of his father and grandfather, to the time where he first picked up and instrument, and ultimately the musical leaps that occurred throughout his short career. The reason for two books ordered…THE PERFECT GIFT.

Mr. Gutierrez’s artwork is as stated “amazing” and somewhat breathtaking. I’m looking forward to sitting down with my grandchildren, putting on COLTRANE’S GIANT STEPS, and reading to them THE MUSICAL JOURNEY of JOHN COLTRANE.

CHASING TRAIN

What a wonderful evening it was. My bride accompanied me first to a nice dinner and then a short car ride to the CINEMA ARTS CENTER in Huntington ,New York  to view greatness, the superb documentary CHASING TRANE. We arrived a bit early as I knew the theater was SOLD OUT. Fortunately , when we arrived, the line was short and the crowd was being seated. Many seats were reserved for “dignitaries” AKA The Board of Trustees for THE COLTRANE HOME, and a few musicians.

To my surprise I was across the aisle from one of my favorite drummers, 92 years young Mr. ROY HAYNES.Seated directly behind him was bassist REGGIE WORKMAN. This was going to be a evening of memories which will last a lifetime for me.

After a lengthy, and late starting introduction of purpose, mission (To raise funds for The COLTRANE HOME), etc. etc, the film began. This documentary chronicles the life and times of JOHN COLTRANE and his influence on ALL types of music. In light of the fact that this was a fundraiser for the “saving” of the COLTRANE HOME in Dix Hills, a neighboring town, many paid close attention to the music written in that home by both John (A LOVE SUPREME) and his wife ALICE COLTRANE, a musician in her own rite.

After the film, to huge applause,REGGIE WORKMAN answered a few questions, and a SKYPE call was made to the director of the film, JOHN SCHEINFIELD who also fielded questions and gave insights to the making of the film including a humorous tale as to how DENZEL WASHINGTON was chosen to narrate the film and DENZEL’S response.

Special thanks to the CINEMA ARTS CENTER in Huntington for hosting this worthwhile and educational endeavor.

#CHASINGTRANE,#CINEMAARTSCENTER,#JOHNCOLTRANE,#ALICECOLTRANE,#THECOLTRANEHOME,#REGGIEWORKMAN,#ROYHAYNES,#JOHNSCHEINFIELD,

 

Dreaming The Beatles

Dreaming The Beatles is my current read. Written by Rob Sheffield, I am amazed at how each new chapter grabs my interest, makes me think back to a time moons ago, and ultimately  has me pulling up the music to verify my feelings about the music. Nice job Rob. Particularly, the juxtaposition of RUBBER SOUL and REVOLVER, which like Rob would be my two favorite collection song, and how the “chaps from Liverpool” developed as artists in the recording studio during that period. Experimentation aside, each Beatle brought a unique mindset to the sessions, and as Sheffield states, “you keep changing, letting your perspective get altered by time and drugs….and IMAGINATION”.#BEATLES,#SHEFFIELD,#RUBBERSOUL,#REVOLVER.