Posts Tagged ‘music’

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

By today’s standards, or even by the criteria of rock benefit concerts later that decade, George Harrison had no idea what he was doing as a benefit organizer. The Concert for Bangladesh, initiated after the former East Pakistan suffered from massacres and famine, happened because the former Beatle saw the effect the tragedy had on his friend and teacher Ravi Shankar, a Bengali.

Harrison was able to line up Ringo Starr. Would there be a Beatles reunion, the press wondered? Er, no. The mysterious Klaus Voorman, who designed the Revolver cover, and played bass on John’s Live Peace in Toronto, was on board. But John wanted Yoko there too and that was the end of that. The only place the Beatles would all be together would be on the charts.

Longtime session musician Leon Russell was hot off Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. A drug-addled Eric Clapton was such an uncertainty that George had Peter Frampton show up at the rehearsals, just in case. Keyboardist Billy Preston, drummer Jim Keltner, the band Badfinger, and some of Russell’s cohorts completed the band. Both Harrison, who never had to be the front man before, and Bob Dylan, who had been out of the spotlight for some time, were nervous.

August 1 was the only available date at Madison Square Garden for the Bangladesh concert before Disney on Parade took over. Two shows at 2:30 and 8 pm. “There were no plans to broadcast the show live on radio or to record for TV.” Of the three cameras used to capture the show, “what survives is largely thanks to the camera that was in the pits.”

Meanwhile, Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles was signing up artists with seemingly little concern for their immediate commercial viability. Randy Newman, Lowell George of Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder. Asylum Records, under David Geffen, was signing Jackson Browne and an unnamed group that would become The Eagles.

There were lots of accidental meetings of troubadours. Graham Parsons finds Emmylou Harris. Kris Kristofferson and Paul Anka meet on a plane, see each other’s gigs, and this led to the signing of Steve Goodman and John Prine. Jerry Jeff Walker hears an Anna McGarrigle song and pitches it to Linda Ronstadt; it was Heart Like a Wheel.

It was a magic, synchronistic time.

Listen to:

What is Life – George Harrison here or here

Willin’ – Little Feat here or here

City of New Orleans – Steve Goodman here or here

Hello In There – John Prine here or here

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers here or here

Heart Like A Wheel – Kate and Anna McGarrigle here or here

“Elvis has left the building” has become such a cliche, or as the Wikipedia puts it, “a catchphrase and punchline,” if you’re young enough, you may not know that people actually said it of Elvis Presley in an unexpected way .

It was “announced at the end of [his] concerts to encourage fans to accept that there would be no further encores and to go home. It is now used more widely to indicate that someone has made an exit or that something is complete.”

From Phrases:

“Oddly, although the phrase was routinely used to encourage the audience to leave, the first time that it was announced it was to encourage them to stay in their seats. That first use was in December 1956 by Horace Logan [listen], who was the announcer at the Louisiana Hayride show, in which Elvis was a regular performer.

“Presley had very quickly become very popular with teenagers but had previously taken a regular lowly spot at the Hayride, which was his first big break. He was on the bill quite early in proceedings but after his performance was over and the encore complete, the crowd of teenagers, who weren’t Hillbilly enthusiasts, began to leave. Logan announced: ‘Please, young people … Elvis has left the building. He has gotten in his car and driven away … Please take your seats.'”

Throughout the 1970s, the phrase was captured on record several times, spoken by Al Dvorin.

Now, it is “used to refer to anyone who has exited in some sense. For instance, it might be used when someone makes a dramatic exit from an argument, to relieve tension among those who remain. Baseball broadcasters on radio and/or television sometimes use the phrase as a humorous way to describe a home run, which is typically hit over the outfield fence, leaving the field of play.”

There is a movie called Elvis Has Left the Building (2004): “A fugitive Pink Lady rep hooks up with a bored ad exec as she’s trying to avoid going down for the murder of several Elvis impersonators.”

The phrase is referred to in the Dire Straits song Calling Elvis [listen].

Calling Elvis
Is anybody home?
Calling Elvis
I’m here all alone
Did he leave the building?
Or can he come to the phone?
Calling Elvis
I’m here all alone

The Wikipedia lists several pop references to the phrase, including the films The Usual Suspects and Independence Day. But it doesn’t mention Elvis is Dead by Living Colour [listen], which is the strongest reference for me.

Elvis is dead, 40 years today. Or as I read 40 years ago tomorrow, Elvis HAS left the building. Right? RIGHT?!


The first time I became really aware with Glen Campbell was when he became the host of something called the Summer Brothers Smother Show, the summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in late June through early September 1968. It even featured the Smothers’ Presidential “candidate” Pat Paulsen. I watched it and liked it.

He had already had a couple crossover hits: Gentle on My Mind was penned by John Hartford, a regular on the show. By the Time I Get To Phoenix was written, as many of Glen’s recordings were, by Jimmy Webb. Plus he had a couple country hits.

Then he starred in the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from January 1969 to June 1972, which I also viewed. It coincided with more hits such as Wichita Lineman, which has possibly THE most romantic couplet in pop music. Also Galveston, the Texas city I visited in 1995 or 1996 and kept singing in my head.

Sometime around this time, I learned that he had filled in for Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys tours for six months in the 1960s, and I thought that was cool.

I never saw him in the movie TRUE GRIT with John Wayne, for which the Duke won an Oscar. And I stopped paying attention to him as he went through what my buddy Johnny Bacardi called “his excessive wild man ’70s and ’80s-up phases, coke, and Tanya Tucker and all that nonsense.” But like Johnny, I learned he was part of the legendary Wrecking Crew of session musicians, and I developed a huge, newfound respect for him.

In this 2007 interview, Glen Campbell discusses his forgetfulness, which he attributed to his wild lifestyle of the past. But in 2011, it was announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

Then he, along with three of his six children, went on one final tour, recorded for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which I thought was extraordinary.

On Facebook, Jimmy Webb wrote: “I watched him in awe executing his flawless rendition of ‘“The William Tell Overture’ on his classical guitar in his Vegas show. Jazz he loved. He claimed he learned the most about playing the guitar from Django Reinhardt.”

Glen Campbell died at the age of 81. Here’s an interview with Alice Cooper talking about his late good friend.

Listen to

Turn Around Look at Me, pop #62 in 1961, his first charted hit
Brenda, the B-side

Gentle on My Mind, pop #62 in 1967, #39 in 1968; country #30 in 1967, #44 in 1968

By the Time I Get To Phoenix, pop #26, country #2 in 1968

Wichita Lineman, pop #3, country #1 for two weeks
“And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” – Jimmy Webb

Galveston, pop #4, country #1 for three weeks in 1969

Rhinestone Cowboy, pop #1 for two weeks, country #1 for three weeks, his signature song

Some Dustbury links, including Adios, recorded in 2015 but released in July 2017.


In the early 1990s, Paul McCartney appeared on Later with Bob Costas, a late night program on NBC-TV. The host asked Paul what Beatles covers that he most enjoyed. We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder was named, as well it should be.

Paul also mentioned Roy Redmond’s version of Good Day Sunshine, which he acknowledged was a rather obscure track. In fact, the ONLY reason I know it is because it appears on one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders that I collected in the 1970s. COOK BOOK, from 1977, focused “on Warner’s black acts,” which were negligible only a few years earlier.

This version was released as Loma 2075 way back in July 1967. The B-side of the single was That Old Time Feeling. Oddly, It would appear that Roy Redmond recorded two 45s – both on Loma… – and then, mysteriously, nothing more.

The other single, from April 1967, was Ain’t That Terrible/A Change Is Gonna Come. Yes, the latter is the Sam Cooke song.

“Loma Records was established in 1964 in order for Warner Brothers to capitalize on the emerging soul market – but almost exclusively as a singles label. Bob Krasnow, who ran the San Francisco branch of King Records from 1958-1964, was tapped by Warner Brothers to run Loma Records from its founding until the label ceased operations in 1968.”

Redmond’s Good Day Sunshine was in the middle of three Beatles songs on COOK BOOK, codifying yet again that the effect black music had on the Beatles was reciprocated.

Randy Crawford’s version of Don’t Let Me Down appears on her 1976 album Every Must Change. The Long and Winding Road was a 1976 B-side to a song called Hurry, Hurry by New Birth, “the Detroit band that helped invent American funk music.”

Listen to:

Don’t Let Me Down – Randy Crawford here or here

Good Day Sunshine – Roy Redmond here or here

The Long and Winding Road – New Birth here or here

Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland

Lamont Dozier is “one of the greatest songwriters of the last century. His writings have been covered by a huge array of performers over the decades.

“As part of Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, the trio scored 25 top ten pop hits between 1963 and 1968, which included the Supremes,” the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and Martha and the Vandellas.

That link well tells Lamont’s progression from vocalist to becoming part of a writing and production team with Eddie Holland and his brother Brian. Success followed big time, but eventually HDH left the Motown roster, writing more songs.

Lamont Dozier recalls he and Brian [Holland] came up with “Band of Gold” and “Give Me Just a Little More Time”, but “we didn’t put our names on ’em because we were in a lawsuit and couldn’t use our names.”

There’s a description of Heaven Must Have Sent You… the Holland/Dozier/Holland Story anthology, which lists some of their biggest hits, with a tease of those songs at the website. HDH were interviewed when that came out.

The trio was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

“Lamont is married to Barbara Ullman Dozier and has 3 children (two sons and one daughter with Barbara).
His sons are named Beau Alexandre and Paris Ray and his daughter is named Desiree Starr.”

Listen to:
(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave – Martha & the Vandellas
Mickey’s Monkey – The Miracles
Can I Get a Witness – Marvin Gaye
Quicksand – Martha & the Vandellas
Leaving Here – Eddie Holland

When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes – Dusty Springfield
Where Did Our Love Go – The Supremes
Baby I Need Your Loving – The Four Tops
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) – Marvin Gaye
Nowhere to Run – Martha & the Vandellas

Back in My Arms Again – The Supremes
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) – Kim Weston
It’s the Same Old Song – The Four Tops
This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You) – The Isley Brothers

Love’s Gone Bad – Chris Clark
Reach Out I’ll Be There – The Four Tops
Heaven Must Have Sent You – The Elgins
I’m Ready For Love – Martha & the Vandellas
(Come ‘Round Here) I’m the One You Need – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

Standing in the Shadows of Love – The Four Tops
Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone – The Supremes
Jimmy Mack – Martha & the Vandellas
Bernadette – The Four Tops
Give Me Just a Little More Time – Chairmen of the Board

Band of Gold – Freda Payne
Don’t Do It – The Band
Forever Came Today – The Jackson 5
My World Is Empty Without You – Lamont Dozier
You’ve Got It – Simply Red, written by Lamont Dozier

More Supremes songs can be found at the 20140306 post of this blog.

‘The Supremes A’ Go-Go’ Reissue: Mary Wilson, Lamont Dozier Look Back on the Landmark Girl Group Album.

For ABC Wednesday

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