09/11/2017

Jimi Hendrix

Are You Experienced?

In 1966, Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, and Noel Redding played together for the first time. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed.

I've seen just about all my favorite guitarists play live, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Jonny Greenwood, none of whom disappointed. But if only I'd been born ten years earlier, I would've seen Jimi Hendrix (well, maybe!).

Jimi did things with those six stings like no other guitarist. Never mind the gimmicks, playing with his teeth, behind his head, setting fire to the damn thing. Jimi was the guitarist's guitarist.

Did he have a vision, did he have a plan? Probably not. It was one of those 'right time, right place' moments that brought Jimi over to England after Keith Richards' girlfriend Linda Keith had told Chas Chandler from the Animals to go and check this new guitarist when he was in New York. Funny how these twists of fate happen. Did you know it was Beatle George Harrison who recommended the Rolling Stones to Decca's A&R man Derek Rowe. And it was Rowe who had turned down The Beatles!

Bassist Noel Redding was the first to audition for the Experience. Redding had been working in a variety of English groups who were going nowhere fast. Apparently Redding was chosen because Hendrix liked his attitude towards music and his 'Afro' hairstyle.

Then came drummer Mitch Mitchell, who had an acting background and had starred in a children's television programme, Jennings and Derbyshire, when he was a teenager. Now a session drummer, Mitchell had worked with The Pretty Things, Bill Knight & The Sceptres, The Riot Squad, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, and The Who (as a session drummer while the band was deciding on a replacement for Doug Sandom, their eventual choice being Keith Moon).

On the 1967 Hendrix UK package tour with Pink Floyd, The Move, and Amen Corner, the other acts didn't stand a chance, most reviews only mention Jimi and his band. He had the curtains closed on him one night after the management at the venue regarded his movements with his guitar as having sexual overtones. On another night, Hendrix was having equipment problems and in his frustration rammed his Gibson Flying V into his speaker cabinets. Like an enormous arrow, the guitar became stuck in the amplifier, which the audience greeted as part of the act.

I wonder what Noel and Mitch thought of Jimi the first time they met. Here was this softly spoken American geezer who could make his guitar do things that were totally alien to any other player.

The three gelled and went on to record three landmark albums: Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland. Again it's hard to appreciate the groundbreaking qualities of these records. All music genres normally have a bunch of artists with a similar feel. But no one sounded like this guy; just listen to works like 'Foxy Lady', 'Purple Haze', 'Manic Depression', 'Hey Joe', 'Little Wing', 'Voodoo Chile' and their blinding version of Dylan?s 'All Along The Watchtower'.

It is funny how things turn out. Hendrix was particularly fond of Elvis Presley. The 15-year-old went to see the King of Rock and Roll perform when he played a show in Jimi's hometown of Seattle in 1957. Leap forward to London in the late '60s and a young Freddie Mercury was particularly fond of Jimi Hendrix (he saw him play live over a dozen times).

On June 4, 1967, the Experience played their last show in England, at London's Saville Theatre, before heading off to America. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album had just been released and two Beatles (McCartney and Harrison) were in attendance, along with a roll call of other UK rock stardom, including: Brian Epstein, Eric Clapton, Spencer Davis, Jack Bruce, and Lulu. Hendrix and the Experience opened the show with his own rendering of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", rehearsed only minutes before taking the stage, much to McCartney's astonishment and delight.

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Dennis Stratton

November 9th 1954, Born on this day, Dennis Stratton, guitar, Iron Maiden, (1982 UK No.1 album The Number Of The Beast, 1991 UK No.1 single 'Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter').

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Joe Bouchard

November 9th 1948, Born on this day, Joe Bouchard, bass, Blue Oyster Cult, (1976 US No.12 & 1978 UK No.16 single 'Don't Fear The Reaper').

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Alan Gratzer

November 9th 1948, Born on this day, Alan Gratzer, REO Speedwagon, (1981 US No.1 & UK No.7 single 'Keep On Loving You').

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Phil May

November 9th 1944, Born on this day, Phil May, vocals, The Pretty Things, (1964 UK No.10 single 'Don't Bring Me Down').

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Tom Fogerty

November 9th 1941, Born on this day, Tom Fogerty, guitarist, Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969 US No.2 & UK No.1 single 'Bad Moon Rising', 1970 US & UK No.1 album 'Cosmo's Factory'). Fogerty died on 6th September 1990.

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Rolling Stone Magazine

November 9th 1967, The first issue of Rolling Stone Magazine was published in San Francisco. It featured a photo of John Lennon on the cover, dressed in army fatigues while acting in his recent film, How I Won the War and the first issue had a free roach clip to hold a marijuana joint. The name of the magazine was compiled from three significant sources: the Muddy Waters song, the first rock ‘n’ roll record by Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.

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Simon and Garfunkel

9th Nov 1969, Simon and Garfunkel record what would become their signature tune, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' with future member of Bread, Larry Knechtel on piano. Art wanted Paul to sing the song, but Paul insisted that Art's voice was better suited for it. It was a decision that Paul would later say he regretted. The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971, including Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

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08/11/2017

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin III 

1969 had been a landmark year for Led Zeppelin, but exhausting: four US tours, five UK/European tours, two album releases and one huge single - Whole Lotta Love - which was Gold in the US and Number 1 in Germany. 

1970 required an amount of time for recuperation and battery charging. Robert Plant had spent some childhood holidays in Wales and persuaded Jimmy Page and a couple of the road crew to spend some time in the Snowdonian mountains. The cottage known as Bron-Yr-Aur is situated three miles north of Machynlleth in Gwynedd, and had very basic facilities - no electricity, outside lavatory - so any creation would be strictly acoustic. 

It wasn't intended to be a songwriting trip per se, but the experience proved to be a positive one for all concerned, and the influence of that time was to spread over a number of compositions. 

Recorded between January and July 1970, Led Zeppelin III was released in October 1970. This album was regarded on release as representing a move towards a greater emphasis by the band on folk and acoustic sounds, and perhaps a step too far. However, this was not a correct analysis of Zeppelin's music to date, since at least a third of the content of Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II could be said to be acoustic-based, and the album is now agreed to be one of Zeppelin's finest. 

It is more likely that the huge success of Whole Lotta Love was felt to define the essence of the band, a misapprehension which Zeppelin was able to survive and disprove comprehensively from Led Zeppelin III onwards. 

As significant was the introduction of an acoustic section into the band's live shows. Zeppelin annotator Dave Lewis notes that some 40 minutes into Zeppelin's Bath Festival show of 28th June 1970, Zeppelin performed acoustically onstage in the UK for the first time, and this was to become a standard feature of their shows, even though some audiences found it difficult to keep quiet for the duration. 

'Led Zeppelin III' marked the introduction of another place that was to loom large in the Zeppelin creative process: Headley Grange in Hampshire, UK. According to Dave Lewis, it was the Zeppelin office secretary Carole Browne who suggest they check out Headley Grange, an 18th century former workhouse in Headley in Hampshire, which was then popular with rock bands for rehearsal and routining tracks prior to recording, mainly because it was far enough from neighbours to avoid noise complaints. 

Zeppelin, with the attitude of capturing the band's collective strength live in the studio as much as possible, took it one stage further and decamped there with the Rolling Stones mobile studio. They laid down 6 of the album's tracks there, the balance being recorded at Olympic in Barnes and Island Studios in London's Basing Street, Notting Hill. Island (now owned by the SARM / ZTT empire), was a former church, and Zeppelin has the distinction of being the first artist to use the larger studio there. Engineer on the whole album was Andy Johns, younger brother of Glyn Johns, who had engineered the band's first album. 

The elaborate sleeve for the original vinyl release included a cardboard wheel inside the front cover, which, when rotated, revealed various different photos of the group and other assorted designs. It was designed by Richard Drew, aka Zacron, a lecturer at Leeds Polytechnic, with photos of the band taken over a weekend by fellow young lecturer Martin Salisbury, who recalls he was paid 'about £20'. The full version of Robert Plant's photograph sees him positioned in front of the bonnet of a vintage car, while Bonham is at the wheel of his Rolls Royce. Jimmy Page had known Drew from Kingston College of Art, 7 years previously, and had contacted him re: putting a sleeve design together. Page's original idea was based on a gardening catalogue, where the wheel would indicate what kind of soil or manure would be used with a particular plant. The sleeve was elaborate to manufacture and although Page was disappointed with the results, describing them as 'teeny-bopperish', the original vinyl sleeve complete with original wheel now sells for a good price on the collectors' market. 

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Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin IV 

On 8th Nov 1971, Led Zeppelin released their fourth album. With no title printed on the album, and generally referred to as Four Symbols, The Fourth Album or Led Zeppelin IV, it has gone on to sell over 37 million copies worldwide. The 19th century rustic oil painting on the front of the album was purchased by Robert Plant from an antique shop in Reading, Berkshire, England. The 20th century urban tower block on the back of the full gatefold LP cover is Butterfield Court in Eves Hill, Dudley, England. 

No title is printed on the album, because the band deliberately wanted it to be untitled, going as far as identifying themselves with four specially-chosen symbols. Even so, it is generally referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, following the naming standard used by the band's first three studio albums, the symbols themselves having no verbal or written equivalent. 

In October 1970 Jimmy Page and Robert Plant returned to Bron-Yr-Aur, the Welsh cottage where they had composed much of Led Zeppelin III and developed new song ideas. 'Led Zeppelin III' had been released in early October 1970, but only two months later they started work on its follow-up at Island Studios, Notting Hill, London. 

Then in January 1971 Zeppelin decided to get out of town, back to the space where they could all contribute with the clock ticking a bit more slowly. For the previous album they had begun working at Headley Grange in Headley, Hampshire, UK. An 18th century former workhouse, the large house was popular with rock bands such as Humble Pie and Fleetwood Mac for rehearsal and routining tracks prior to recording, mainly because it was far enough from neighbours to avoid noise complaints. Zeppelin repeated the technique of recording there with the Rolling Stones mobile studio, continuing their working relationship with engineer Andy Johns. 

Ian 'Stu' Stewart was a founder member of the Rolling Stones and managed their mobile studio, so he was on hand to help out, most notably on piano for 'Rock And Roll', the Headley Grange sessions yielding 6 out of the album's 8 tracks. Perhaps surprisingly, the most classic and evocative track 'Stairway To Heaven', wasn't recorded at Headley Grange, although the lyrics were conceived there. Jimmy Page had worked on the structure of the song with John Paul Jones, and based on that Robert Plant came up with most of the lyrics in a burst of inspiration, apparently on the spur of the moment, around the fire at Headley Grange. The band then recorded the final version at Island after they returned to London. 

One track that certainly was recorded at Headley Grange was the much-sampled When The Levee Breaks, John Bonham's overpowering drum sound captured with just two microphones in the hallway of the house. The album was first mixed at Sunset Sound, Los Angeles but only one of those mixes (When The Levee Breaks) made it to the final version, the rest being remixed at London's Olympic Studios. 

As with the intention for the album to remain untitled, no lettering was included anywhere on the original LP sleeve, not even the catalogue number. This was an intentional move on the part of Zeppelin to be judged solely on their music, and, since the album continues to be hugely successful and influential, they probably were. The 19th century rustic oil painting on the front of the album was purchased by Robert Plant from an antique shop in Reading in Berkshire, then hung on the wall of a house in Eves Hill, Dudley, in the English Midlands, and photographed there. The original front cover showed only the painting of the old man with the bundle of sticks; only when the gatefold was opened out would the viewer see the more modern tower blocks beyond. In January 2010 the cover for Led Zeppelin's fourth album was among the ten chosen by Britain's Royal Mail for a set of 'Classic Album Cover' postage stamps. 

The inside illustration was entitled 'The Hermit', reminiscent of the Tarot card of the same name, and credited to Barrington Colby MOM, although apparently this is a misprint and the artist's surname is actually Coleby. Jimmy Page arranged the printing of the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven on the inner bag. He came across the typeface in the 19th Century art magazine 'Studio' and had an alphabet created from it, in which the 'Stairway To Heaven' lyrics were reprinted. Released on November 8th, 1971, the album has alternatively been referred to as Four Symbols, Untitled, Runes, Sticks, ZoSo and The Hermit.

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Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones (born November 8, 1954) is an American vocalist, musician, songwriter, producer, actor and narrator. Over the course of a career that spans five decades, Jones has recorded in various musical styles including rock, R&B, blues, pop, soul, and jazz.

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Bonnie Raitt

November 8th 1949, Born on this day, Bonnie Raitt, Blues singer songwriter, slide guitarist, (1994 UK No.31 single 'You', 1990 US No.1 album 'Nick Of Time’).

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Minnie Riperton

November 8th 1947, Born on this day, Minnie Riperton, US singer, (1975 US No.1 & UK No.2 with the Stevie Wonder produced single 'Loving You'). Died of cancer 12th July 1979.

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Roy Wood

November 8th 1946, Born on this day, Roy Wood, guitar, vocals, The Move, (1969 UK No.1 single 'Blackberry way'), Wizzard, (1973 UK No.1 single 'See My Baby Jive').

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John Martin

November 8th 1946, Born on this day, John Martin, The Big Figure, Dr Feelgood, (1979 UK No.9 single 'Milk And Alcohol').

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Bonnie Bramlett

November 8th 1944, Born on this day, Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney and Bonnie, (1971 US No.13 single 'Never Ending Song Of Love', worked with Eric Clapton during early 70's, acting roles in 'Fame', 'Roseanne' and 'The Doors').

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Ac/Dc

November 8th 2008, AC/DC started a two-week run at #1 on the US album chart with 'Black Ice' the bands fifteenth studio album and the second-best selling album of 2008. Black Ice went to #1 in 29 countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US.600x600bf.jpgtéléchargé.jpg

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07/11/2017

Tommy Thayer

November 7th 1960, Born on this day, Tommy Thayer, lead guitarist, took over Ace Frehley's character in KISS of the ‘Spaceman.’

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Leonard Cohen

November 7th 2016, Canadian singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen died at the age of 82 at his home in Los Angeles. Cohen pursued a career as a poet and novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s, and did not launch a music career until 1967, at the age of 33. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was followed by three more albums of folk music: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974). "Hallelujah" is a song written by Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, originally released on his album Various Positions (1984). His song 'Hallelujah' found greater popular acclaim through a recording by John Cale, which inspired a recording by Jeff Buckley.

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The Beatles

November 7th 1967, The Beatles finished recording ‘Blue Jay Way’, ‘Flying’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour.’ The Beatles have only six songs, not enough for an album so decided to issue a double-EP. Capitol Records didn’t think the double-EP format would be acceptable for the US market, so they decide to put out an album instead. The six "Magical Mystery Tour" songs with five of the six songs from The Beatles' 1967 singles went on side two.

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