Category: long post

Peter Frampton with Humble Pie, “Shine On”, 19…

Peter Frampton with Humble Pie, “Shine On”, 1971

in which our 20-year-old hero helps the band find its hardest-rocking groove on their 4th album together, at exactly the time he decides he wants to head in a more eclectic, acoustic direction himself, and soon departs for a solo career. 

As a matter of fact, both Frampton and Humble Pie would quickly ascend to previously unimaginable heights once they went their separate ways that fall. Nevertheless, 1971 offered some sneak peeks at what those peaks would look like, however, including their July 3 performance in front of 100,000 fans in London’s Hyde Park,  opening for Grand Funk. (You can see a glimpse of that in the poster frame for the video above, and here below via loudersound.)

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Recorded in January 1971 and released in March, Rock On opened with Frampton’s composition “Shine On”, a mid-tempo funky groover featuring the Soul Sisters (P.P. Arnold, Claudia Lennear, and Doris Troy) on the chorus. This is the one song from Frampton’s years with Humble Pie that has been part of his concert repertoire ever since, as well it should be. 

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I’ll save for another day the story of Peter’s leaving Humble Pie (short version: drugs, which Peter wasn’t using), but the irony is, the live album he recorded with Humble Pie in 1971 was a smash, and the band was suddenly huge.

And on his first solo tour, who did Peter wind up opening for? OF COURSE, it was Humble Pie. “I thought I’d made the worst decision in my entire career,” he laughs. “They’d stand side of stage making farting noises during my set, but all’s fair in love and war. I had my Wind Of Change band and I made a point of playing ‘Shine On’. It was a very interesting tour.” [x]

As an A-side in 1971 for Humble Pie, “Shine On” failed to chart, but Peter continued to play it, eventually featuring it prominently as part of Frampton Comes Alive, and placing it as the B-side to the 1976 Top 10 single “Show Me The Way.”

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(these 2 photos via 45cat)

So yeah, you’ve surely heard THAT version of the song (my own play count is somewhere north of 10,000), but maybe not THIS one. 

This 1971 studio version really is an all-time gem. The arrangement is a bit dated, but it’s also a clarion call, the sound of Peter Frampton, age 20, finding his bedrock and stepping confidently into the light: somewhere between pop and rock, sprinkled with a bit of funk and considerable groove. From here, our boy Peter would continue to Shine On.

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Dancing barefoot: Patti Smith, 1975, by Bill King

Ummmm yall? The source for this is a foot fetish wiki??? Hello??????

ok feet

Look, my process is 1) see a picture I like, 2) look for the biggest, clearest source I can, 3) find out everything I can about when and where it was taken, and by whom, plus maybe a germane quote from either photographer or subject, 4) edit it if I think I can improve it, and 5) post with credit for the photographer and source, and note if I’ve changed it substantially from how it was originally posted. Sometimes this takes hours, sometimes days or weeks.

I probably first found a tiny version of this on Pinterest, with no details or photographer credits (typical, and aggravating af, although thanks for setting me on the hunt), and kept looking until I found the best version I could, tracked down the photographer and date, and shared all that with you. 

Citing sources doesn’t imply approval of everything on the site the picture came from, but hey, my thanks to the freaks who are so carefully preserving the artifacts of our shared musical heritage. Preservation? Maybe call it pervs-ervation, but you’re welcome for the awesome picture with proper credits.

Although I tag “barefoot” because there are often unusual circumstances at play in photos with bare feet, nothing more to it than that… my main reaction to seeing all this is a) love to everyone who interacts with my posts, and b) wondering if we should all go upvote Patti’s feet. That score just doesn’t seem right to me.

Freddie Mercury and Jane Seymour at Fashion Ai…

Freddie Mercury and Jane Seymour at Fashion Aid, 1985

So a while back, I posted some pics of Freddie Mercury, Jane Seymour, and Boy George at Fashion Aid, November 5, 1985 at The Royal Albert Hall. Organized by Bob Geldof following Live Aid, the guest list was just as impressive in its own way – Grace Jones, Jerry Hall, Kate Bush, Michael Caine, Ringo, George Michael, Zandra Rhodes, and many more.

Which made me wonder, were there more pics of Freddie and Jane in particular out there that I hadn’t found yet? OH YES THERE WERE!

(With lipstick on Fred’s cheek?)

AND THEN I FOUND THE VIDEO!!!

It turns out that the climax of the event was a faux wedding between Fred and Jane! In it, you can see that Freddie is not only shirtless but BAREFOOT as he sweeps Jane off her feet, into his arms!

You’ll see other celebs, as well as the full orchestra and choir who are dressed no less spectactularly.

This really is some pretty wild stuff. Sources for all this here, here, here, and here, all of which I did some additional editing on. Almost none had credits, but I’m thinking that most of if not all photos are by Dave Hogan.

Note that some of the sources I linked to just above had a LOT more photos in case you want to build a Freddie Mercury-Jane Seymour wedding album of your own!

Queen, “You’re My Best Friend” BY JOHN DEACON….

Queen, “You’re My Best Friend” BY JOHN DEACON. 

(The picture sleeve released in Yugoslavia in case you were wondering.)

John Deacon. That fluffy fella third from the left, seen at Ridge Farm in 1975, where the band was working on A Night At The Opera

Here’s another of him, via discodeaky (whose outstounding blog, these days known as @doktordyper, you should definitely get to know if you don’t). 

Fluffy.

He didn’t just play bass, though. When he happened upon a Wurlitzer electric piano (the Wurlitzer EP-200, NOT a Fender Rhodes as if often misidentified; they actually sound nothing alike), he asked Fred about it, who scoffed. “I refuse to play the damn thing. It’s tinny and horrible and I don’t like them. Why play those things when you’ve got a lovely superb grand piano?”

John’s response? “I took it home and I started to learn on the electric piano and basically that’s the song that came out, you know, when I was learning to play piano.“

(Quotes via songfacts, Wurlitzer detail via queensongs.info.)

The song we’re talking about is “You’re My Best Friend.” The first song he wrote when he was teaching himself to play the electric piano. 

And since Freddie refused to play the Wurlitzer, JOHN played the piano on the record that we know and love. 

He also layed down a righteous bassline (not at the same time, mind you), and the fact is, as often as we talk about John writing this really terrific song (the second single from the album), I almost never hear anyone talking about how well he PLAYED on it, too.

Not bad for a first try!

So, from the 40th anniversary re-release of A Night At The Opera, here’s the backing track for “You’re My Best Friend”. It includes some lovely vocals and some of Brian May’s sweetest guitar work (5 layers of rhythm, plus the lead, running through the legendary Deacy Amp, designed and built by John in 1972 and finally released commercially in 2010 – you can buy it online, at deacyamp.com!), but this stripped down version allows you to really hear what John was doing on piano and bass. 

TURN IT UP.

Freddie conceded that John was able to get a distinctive sound out of the Wurlitzer, but he was still having none of it. Not only did he ONLY play it on a grand piano in concert, in the official video release, we do indeed see Deacy at the piano, but it’s a GRAND PIANO, and NOT a Wurlitzer!!! Seriously, Fred was having NONE of it.

Whatever, man. It’s a heckuva track. Maximum Deacy, and don’t you forget it.

And in fairness to Fred’s dislike for the Wurlitzer, he slays this song vocally. The 1975 black nail polish look is also killer. 

By the way, John played keyboards on other tracks (notably “Another One Bites The Dust”), as well as guitar now and again (especially on his own songs for Hot Space), and really, that’s his story in Queen. Doing what he has to, and doin’ just fine, thanks for asking.

And fluffy.

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“I sold my first strap to the amazing ROBERT P…

“I sold my first strap to the amazing ROBERT PLANT 1971!” by Jan Nicolas. “I had been working in leather for a while before I started making straps.  I had a few beautiful ones hanging in my studio/office.  Led Zeppelin were in town at the Continental Hyatt ‘riot’ House Hotel.  My friend Linda and I used to spend weekends hanging out in the coffee shop to star gaze.  In the evening, they had a line winding through the lobby to accommodate all the people who wanted to meet Rock Stars.  

“This was a pretty quiet Saturday afternoon, and I grabbed a strap that I thought would suit RP and we found him hanging out in the lobby with body guards, groupies and photographers.  

“I was so shy, that my girlfriend had to call him over to look at the strap.  He loved it, he paid $100 for it and gladly posed for a photo.  Happily, one of the magazine photographers was a friend, and took this picture for me.  I was still in high school, and I was  completely overwhelmed when Mr. Plant cuddled right up to me for the picture.  Now, it is my all time favorite.”

More here. My edits to the pictures she posted, but do click through for more of her amazing story.

The Original! The Move’s 1971 banger, “Do Ya!”…

The Original! The Move’s 1971 banger, “Do Ya!”

You’ve heard the 1976 hit version from The Electric Light Orchestra, a pop classic by any measure – but this stripped-down 1971 version by The Move SLAMS! It’s obviously the same song of course, but it really sounds beamed in from another dimension as peeling back all the layers reveals the downright weirdness at its heart. 

(Seriously, one of the weirdest songs ever to become a hit.)

Presumably you’ve already hit play and heard the biggest difference between this and the 1976 ELO version: that one had an orchestra and choir, and this one is just composer Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, and drummer Bev Bevan BANGING. Although Jeff wrote it, the song’s original title was named for a spontaneous outburst of Roy Wood’s at the end of the song, “Look Out Baby There’s A Plane A-Comin’”. (Yes, that was the original title! I think “Do Ya” works better tho.)

(Tom Petty later told Jeff that he thought “Look out baby there’s a planet coming” was one of the coolest lyrics he’d ever heard, and was disappointed to learn the proper words.)

Although the song had been a staple in ELO’s live sets, they didn’t get around to recording it until 1976, after Todd Rundgren’s cover on Another Live became something of a hit itself in 1975 (with Todd repaying a favor to Jeff, who’d regularly been performing Todd’s early Nazz track “Open Your Eyes”). 

In fact, it was this original version’s complete lack of orchestration that landed the song with The Move rather than ELO. (Both Message From The Country and ELO’s debut were recorded more or less simultaneously, with the more orchestral tracks naturally landing with ELO.) 

Recorded December 19, 1971, and released as the B-side to “California Man”, it failed to chart in the UK, and in 1972, barely cracked the US Top 100, landing at #98. Its days as a chart-topper were yet to come.

I do love ELO’s 1976 version, and the 1975 version by Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (which I’ll discuss in full another day) might even be my favorite, but there’s something special and irreplaceable about the original “Do Ya” from 1971.

Turn this tf up, play it again, and let me know what you think!

Jimi Hendrix, “Hear My Train A Comin’”  You r…

Jimi Hendrix, “Hear My Train A Comin’” 

You really need to see this: Jimi Hendrix, December 1967, just turned 25 – and ever-so-slightly intimidated by a 12-string acoustic guitar! A delicate magic ensues.

Informed that they were almost out of film and needed to get this in one take, Jimi is unsure where to begin: the guitar belonged to director Peter Neal, and Jimi had never played one like it before. 

He looks up after picking around for a few bars and is startled to see the camera rolling. Clearly flustered, he stops. “Don’t waste all that film there! Stop it for a second! ‘Cause I was scared to death. Can I do it just one more time though? Can I do it just one more time?”

This time, his exploration starts on a little firmer footing as he eases into his never-quite-finished original composition, “Hear My Train A Comin’”. 

(For that matter, he never quite settled on a title. In virtually every live performance, Jimi introduced it as some variation of “Getting My Heart Back Together Again”.) 

Finding his way along as he bends the strings to follow his voice, and vice versa, he ends three minutes later with a laugh. “Did you think I could do that?” 

The answer seems obvious in retrospect, but Peter was honest later that he had no idea what to expect. “It was just one of those magic moments that happen sometimes.” More of Peter’s story behind the shoot here.

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Iggy Pop wears Jim Morrison, Los Angeles 1974, by Gijsbert Hanekroot

I thought they didn’t care for The Doors. Pretty funny.

The Doors, specifically Jim Morrison, actually inspired Iggy to start his first band! 

The relationship between Iggy and The Doors is a long one, too rarely told – so ima tell it here at length. LOL

Iggy had already dropped out of the University of Michigan, but used his student ID to get into a Homecoming dance where The Doors played. Jim Morrison came out after the rest of the band had already started playing, drunk and/or high, insisting on singing only in falsetto (wtf) and generally abusing the crowd – who booed, then left in large numbers. Details here.

Needless to say, this was right up Iggy’s alley. As he told an interviewer in 2011:

So, here’s this guy, out of his head on acid, dressed in leather with his hair all oiled and curled. The stage was tiny and it was really low. It got confrontational. I found it really interesting. I loved the performance but the music sounded terrible because they didn’t have the sound system together. They had a really unique style and it wasn’t easy for them to sound good live, at first. 

Part of me was like, “Wow, this is great. He’s really pissing people off and he’s lurching around making these guys angry.” People were rushing the stage and Morrison’s going “Fuck you. You blank, blank, blank.” You can fill in your sexual comments yourself. The other half of it was that I thought, “If they’ve got a hit record out and they can get away with this, then I have no fucking excuse not to get out on stage with my band.” It was sort of the case of, “Hey, I can do that.

(btw, “I can do that!” was also Patti Smith’s reaction to seeing The Doors in New York, although it took her a few years longer than Iggy to actually make her way to the stage, which she first did as a poet with guitarist Lenny Kaye accompanying her in – you guessed it – 1971.)

Iggy had a lot more Doors ahead of him, particularly as he developed a relationship with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

The photograph above was taken at a Jim Morrison tribute concert in LA organized by Ray Manzarek on July 3, 1974, the anniversary of Jim’s passing in 1971. After playing some of the songs off his new solo album, Ray sang “Light My Fire,” then brought out Iggy to sing “LA Woman,” “Maggie M’Gill,” and “Back Door Man.” Can you even imagine what that must have sounded like? You’ll have to, because no recordings have yet surfaced. 

More details here, but in the meantime, here’s a photo that includes Ray playing with Iggy, via old-school-fools.

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Right after this, Iggy was out of the Stooges, and signed Denny Sugerman to manage him. Denny had managed The Doors, and was managing Ray, who now retreated with Iggy for months of intensive rehearsals for a new band they hoped to form. (Info here, on Ray’s official site.) 

There was at least one more concert together in October, the “Hollywood Revival and Trash Dance” at the Palladium, headlined by The New York Dolls, and featuring Iggy, Ray, and a band they put together for the occasion – including James Williamson of The Stooges on guitar! Violence, chaos, and a general mess ensued, but, says Ray, the band “rocked like a motherfucker.” 

The band fell apart when Ray couldn’t find a way to fit his nuanced sound into James’s squall, closing what might have been a very interesting chapter in these fellas’ careers. (Details of the October show and the band here.)

I should note that a lot of information from this period is sketchy at best. There’s not even a solid consensus on who else played with Ray and Iggy at these various dates, although there’s some interesting speculation here.

Ray and Iggy apparently tried to form a band again in 1977, details here. Iggy’s 1977 tour had David Bowie playing keyboards, rather than Ray, and I have no idea what transpired between Iggy and Ray – both of whom wrote autobiographies, neither of which mentioned this period. 

In fact, Iggy’s autobiography doesn’t mention Ray at all, and Ray’s autobiography only mentions Iggy once, in the context of that University of Michigan show. “It was a total fiasco,” writes Ray, “but the sheer audacity and outrageousness of Jim Morrison convinced Iggy that a life of anarchic rebellion was the only way to fly…and he’s been doing it ever since.”

This is, needless to say, more explanation than most people need LOL but still not the whole story, not by a long shot.  Still, this is in fact the first time that I’ve seen even this much of the story gathered in one place. With the exception of the mysteries that I’ve mentioned that may never be revealed, the links I’ve included will get you a good long way down the road.

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, so thanks for giving me the excuse. 🙂

George Harrison and Bob Dylan rehearsing “If N…

George Harrison and Bob Dylan rehearsing “If Not For You” before the Sunday afternoon show of the Concerts for Bangladesh, Sunday, August 1, 1971. It’s messy, but adorable.

Like The Beatles, Bob Dylan had quit touring in 1966. Unlike The Beatles, and apart from  a 1969 TV performance with Johnny Cash, and an appearance with The Band at the Isle of Wight, Bob had all but disappeared. While he was generally up for lending a hand to George’s effort, he wasn’t sure what to sing, and was even less sure if he was going to be able to pull himself together to even show up at the appointed hour. When George introduced him that afternoon, he was by no means certain that Bob would actually walk out. 

While they were working out which songs to perform together, “If Not For You” was an obvious place to start. A lovely tune that Bob introduced on New Morning almost exactly a year earlier (August 12, 1970), George covered it on his own album All Things Must Pass, which was the #1 album in the US for the first 7 weeks of 1971, and for the months of February and March 1971 in the UK

Neither Bob nor George released “If Not For You” as a single, but in May 1971, it was the debut single for 22 year old Olivia Newton-John. Based on George’s arrangement rather than Bob’s, it reached #7 in the UK, and in the US, #25 on the Billboard Hot 200, and eight weeks straight at #1 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart! 

(Yes, I bought it. Yes, I still love it. Yes, I will post it later.)

Our boys passed on performing this for the big show(s), but this rehearsal is an enduring reminder that beyond being two of the all-time giants of popular music, and rock gods, they were also both just so incredibly fucking adorable.

Iggy Pop at New York’s Electric Circus, May 14…

Iggy Pop at New York’s Electric Circus, May 14, 1971, by Lisa Gottlieb. (Sources here and here.)

You’ll see references to these pics as from October 1970 (including the second source above), when the Stooges had indeed played Electric Circus, but nope, it was the May 14 show. This was the second of 2 nights, which the New York Times described as “triumphant” after a ragged first night. (Dig the Gerard Malanga pix as further documentation!)

Paul Trynka’s remarkable Iggy bio Iggy Pop: Open Up And Bleed adds some additional stories from legendary photographer, scenester denizen and Warhol/Bowie associate Leee Black Childers  (p. 119). “Leee savored the infamous performance at New York’s Electric Circus in May 1971, where Iggy looked particularly psychotic covered in baby oil and glitter. Gerry Miller, onetime topless dancer and star of several Warhol movies, shouted, ‘Let’s see you puke!’ at Iggy, in her squeaky, Mickey Mouse voice. ‘So he did!’ laughs Lee. ‘Right on her!’

btw, the source of that NYT clipping above is a YouTube post of a recording from that night. The vocals are nearly inaudible, but you can definitely get the gist of the more-melodic direction that The Stooges were taking that the Times described.“More melodic” for The Stooges is a relative term of course. This is still pretty damn hard core…

…so the next time you hear anyone talk about ANYTHING important about punk starting in 1977, you can laugh and laugh as you recall this wild night of stage-diving and puking on the crowd from 1971. 

I ain’t even saying anything important about punk started in 1971. Of course not. Punk was well underway by this point, and merely presented here in its full 1971 flowering for your glitter-soaked delectation.