Music: Do What You Want – Billy Preston

The That’s The Way God Planned It album was produced by one George Harrison

Do What You WantIn May of 1971, I hitchhiked from Binghamton to New Paltz to see my girlfriend. Long story short, she broke up with me, and I was pretty devastated.

She did kindly drive me to a boarding school in nearby Poughkeepsie, where I saw my friend Steve. I had met him in Binghamton Central High School a couple years earlier. I don’t remember much about what we talked about, except he was really looking forward to seeing this great new singer named Bonnie Raitt again. I’d never of her.

At some point, he played the 1969 Billy Preston album That’s The Way God Planned It, produced by one George Harrison and released on Apple Records, with pikers such as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Ginger Baker playing on it. Naturally, I knew who Preston was from the Beatles Get Back session.

The first track on the album, Do What You Want, I loved instantly. It’s a wonderfully imperfect recording that starts off much slower than it ends. (The song When You Dance, I Can Really Love by Neil Young from that era does the same thing.)

Recently, I was looking for Do What You Want To on YouTube, and I came across a DIFFERENT recording on Billy’s eponymous 11th album from 1976 on A&M. It’s not a BAD song, but I find it far inferior.

it’s rather like the lyrics to the B-side of Outa-Space, one of Billy’s A&M hits, I Wrote a Simple Song:
I wrote a simple song
With simple words and harmony
Wasn’t very long
Before a star, I was bound to be

They took my simple song, yes, they did
They changed the words and the melody
Made it all sound wrong, yeah
Now it sounds like a symphony

There are very few people – Dustbury is probably one – who has such a specific memory of music in a time and place as I do.

Listen to
Do What You Want (1969)
Do What You Want (1976)

That’s The Way God Planned It (#62 pop in 1969, #65 pop in 1972)

I Wrote a Simple Song (#77 pop in 1972)

I saw Billy Preston live at the Elting Gym at the college in New Paltz in 1971 or 1972. He would have been 72 this month.

2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee fan vote

That first Steppenwolf album I listened to constantly

the_cars_-_the_essentialsFor the past couple years, you, the popular music fan, have been allowed to select up to five Nominees you think should be Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, from the admittedly flawed list of candidates. The aggregate vote get tallied as one vote, along with the experts.

Last year, I rooted for Chicago, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, The Spinners and Yes. Chicago, which won the fan vote last year made it into the Hall, though popularity there did not assure induction. Los Lobos and the Spinners are not even on the ballot this year.

The 2017 Nominees are:

Bad Brains Continue reading “2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee fan vote”

Music throwback Saturday: Those Were The Days

mary-hopkinBack in 2010, the year it came out, I purchased Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records. The CD was “the first commercially issued multi-artist compilation in the label’s history.” It didn’t cost the nearly $40 it’s now going for presently on Amazon, though you can get the MP3 for $9.50.

It’s a fun 21-track compilation of singles from 1968 to 1972, though not truly the “best of Apple.” For one thing, there are no Beatles songs, nor any of their solo material. Still, the Fab Four are well represented, often as songwriters and/or producers.

Those Were The Days / Mary Hopkin (1968, produced by Paul), or HERE. The debut 45 by Mary Hopkin was a huge hit, UK No. 1 for six weeks, #2 for 3 weeks in the US. I remember I purchased this 45 because Continue reading “Music throwback Saturday: Those Were The Days”

Billy Preston would have been 70

I continue to nag that Billy Preston should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,

billy-prestonWhen I was in college at SUNY New Paltz, WAY back the spring of 1972 (I think), I saw Billy Preston in concert, probably the second live concert of a “name” artist that I ever saw, after Seals & Crofts. He must have played in the Elting Gym. I took pictures, but from where I was seated, in the rafters, all I got was shadows and the backs of people’s heads.

You SHOULD know Billy Preston, keyboard player extraordinaire. Continue reading “Billy Preston would have been 70”

Put Billy Preston in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

on what would have been Billy Preston’s 65th birthday, I’m making a pitch for him to make it into the rock hall as a session musician.

Billy Preston, George Harrison, President Gerald Ford, all deceased.

While I’m less and less caring about who gets selected for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the performer category, I’ve become more and more interested in categories such as early influences and non-performers. I’m especially intrigued by the sideman category since Leon Russell was inducted in 2011. After all, he was a performer of some commercial success, but not enough to make it as a performer. But he played on a lot of albums for other artists, and was inducted based on that.

The late Billy Preston is similarly situated. He had greater singles success than Russell Continue reading “Put Billy Preston in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!”