Monthly Archives: October 2011

October 20, 1977 – The Freebird Has Flown.

ON THIS DATE (34 YEARS AGO)
October 20, 1977 – The Freebird Has Flown. 
Three band members and the assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick were killed along with the pilot, Walter McCreary and co-pilot, William Gray when the band’s rented plane, a Convair 240, ran out of fuel and crashed into a swamp in Gillsburg, Missouri.
Ronnie Van Zant (January 15, 1948 – October 20, 1977)
Steve Gaines (September 14, 1949 – October 20, 1977)
Cassie Gaines (January 9, 1948 – October 20, 1977)
“We like to call ours “Southern Raunchy Roll” Ronnie Van Zant once said of his musical group Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“The other bands are just as bad, but we go to jail more”. Van Zant and his fightin’ Southern band prided themselves on that battling image and a hard driving blaring sound which they rode to sold out concert tours and million selling albums. They had just begun a tour on the heels of a new album when a charted plane they were on went down near McComb Mississippi, Thursday night en route to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from Greenville South Carolina.Van Zant, the groups lead vocalist and one of its founders, died along with guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie in the crash. All three were 28. Two other members, Gary Rossington another who helped form the group, and Leon Wilkeson were reported in critical condition after the crash. The other four members of the group were in stable condition.

The band came from Jacksonville Florida in the early ’70’s with Ronnie Van Zant, Rossington and Allen Collins playing together in high school and adding other members later. That school Robert E. Lee, also allegedly produced their strangely spelled group name. It seems a physical education teacher named Leonard Skinner didn’t cotton to long hair and loud music. A run-in with him helped get the boys suspended. Vowing to get even, they named there group after him, changing the vowels to avoid a lawsuit and becoming famous enough to make the story a rock legend.
Lynyrd Skynyrd first hit national prominence in 1974 with a single called “Sweet Home Alabama” which extolled the virtues of the South in general and Alabama in particular. A huge Confederate Flag became one of the bands symbols. The group went on to have two gold and three platinum albums and numerous run ins with the law on tour. “Were kind of like an old dog that ain’t housebroke” Van Zant said in a 1976 interview. “I don’t know…born under a bad sign, I guess. The band’s most recent hometown performance ended in an uproar with 16 persons getting arrested. Police later estimated that 15,000 persons took part in the disturbance at the Jacksonville Coliseum and caused $14,000 in damage.

The band included Van Zant, Gaines, Rossington and Allen Collins guitarist; Leon Wilkeson bass; Billy Powell keyboardist; and Artimus Pyle drummer. Gaines sister and Leslie Hawkins were backup singers. All were from Florida except Pyle, from Spartanburg South Carolina, and the Gaines were from Seneca Missouri.
The bands million-sellers were “Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-erd”, “Second Helping”, and “One More from the Road”. The bands latest album “Street Survivors” was released October 17 (1977)

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John Fiddler – Medicine Head is Back!

MEDICINE HEAD – “Fiddlersophical” has been released!
Medicine Head shot to fame with Hit Singles “Pictures In The Sky”, “One Is One”, “Rising Sun” and “Slip And Slide” in the 70’s all written by front man John Fiddler.
Over the next two decades John firstly fronted British Lions and wrote their stage anthem “One More Chance To Run” which has recently been re-recorded by Joe Elliot’s Down’n’Outz as well as latterly fronting Box Of Frogs whom he steered into the USA Billboard Top 10 Album chart.
Over the past year John has written and recorded the first new Medicine Head album for over 35 years and fans will not be disappointed with the trademark rich voice, harmonica and fine acoustic guitar.
2011 album from the British Blues Rock outfit led by songwriter and frontman John Fiddler. Over the past year, John has written and recorded this, the first new Medicine Head album for over 35 years. Fans will not be disappointed with the trademark rich voice, harmonica and fine acoustic guitar. Angel Air.
I’ve fallen in love! With a CD, mind you. 70s blues rock band Medicine Head have just released their first album for over 37 years and I know this is one love affair that won’t fizzle out any time soon.
Fronted by John Fiddler (who also used to be very active playing for British Lions) wrote and recorded the new material in the past year. Fiddlersophical features eleven tracks that offer his trademark rich voice, harmonica, and some damn fine acoustic guitar play. Above all, it features great songs that effortlessly slide between bluesy rock, country rock and even a bit of folk.
Let’s start with ‘Free’ – a wonderful number dominated by a distinctive harmonica sound, accompanied by an equally distinctive guitar sound. While the chorus is more on the harmonious side, the rest has echoes of Dylan and Guthrie ringing through, though it all blends just fine. Indeed, it’s like the art of blending some mature whiskies, each with its own flavour, and then putting it into a musical context.
Second number ‘Cadillacs and Diamonds’ is one of those drift off and drive into the horizon affairs that is simply irresistible. Utterly catchy and utterly addictive, you can’t help but humming along to it. It’s a song that – in style and arrangement – could have been composed by Tom Petty or Gram Parsons, for it possesses that laid-back Americana sound. Alas, it was composed by a native Brit and I tip my imaginary Stetson with even more respect.
‘The Haunting’ has more of a timeless and classic touch to it, but things get more rootsy again with the choppy beat of ‘Narcisister’.
Next is ‘Who’s Having Fun?’ which, ironically, has a more haunted sound to it then the previous number. It’s a song that would be perfect for a modern-day Wild West road movie and – consciously or unconsciously – pays homage to Ry Cooder with its excellent slide work. As brilliant as it is moody!
Brilliance remains with ‘Halfway’ and the emotionally charged ‘I’ll Turn You On’. Although ‘Sing With Me’ sure doesn’t stray from the quality of the aforementioned two tracks, it’s altogether more upbeat with a blues-orientated harmonica sound.
‘The Bermuda Triangle Of My Love’ is a slow-burning love song about – here comes something completely new – disappointment and disillusionment. Ok then, while it may be the same old sob story of love and dreams gone sour, the musical arrangement at least has lots going for it: stripped of unnecessary instrumental overload, the emphasis here is on a duet performance, executed with great feeling by Fiddler and a lady called (presumably) Claire.
The vibe stays mellow with ‘First I Lost My Mind’, a rather folkie sounding ditty. Closing track is ‘Angels and Misfits’ and almost makes for the opposite to opening number ‘Free’, with its slow-mo pace and reserved singing interspersed with humming.
It really is a terrific album, though perhaps slightly unbalanced in so far that the first half has the gear considerably cranked up and gives co-musicians Neil Conti and Laurence Archer plenty of room for their own spiel, while the second half seems to have the foot more and more off the pedal as the tracks go on. Not that it’s doing the album’s overall quality any harm of course!
TRACKS:
    Free
    Cadillacs And Diamonds
    The Haunting
    Narcisister
    Who’s Having Fun?
    Halfway
    I’ll Turn You On
    Sing With Me
    The Bermuda Triangle (Of My Love)
    First I Lost My Mind
    Angels And Misfits
John Fiddler’s Biography
Medicine Head
It’s fair to say that no one, not even us, the people who packed their shows, quite realized at the time exactly what Medicine Head were. They were great fun. They were loud. They had long hair. They were a rock band (well, two people who sounded like a rock band). And they were very personable to young chaps in their fourth year at grammar school who appreciated all of that sort of thing. Certainly by the time they’d started sneaking blues into the charts with the likes of (And The) Pictures In The Sky under the guise of beguiling pop songs, outsiders found it difficult to look beyond the fact that one of them, Peter Hope-Evans, was doing something with a jew’s harp and the other, John Fiddler, was playing his guitar while sitting behind a bass drum. What we all missed, of course, was that Medicine Head were actually the history of rock ‘n’ roll (and, as it turned out, the future) and blues and plenty of other strands of American music. All channeled unselfconsciously through two unlikely young men from the Midlands. Not something you’d understand in your teens, but with 20-20 hindsight… They were the spirit and the sound of grizzled bluesmen while at the same time their crashing, home-made two man band noise, in a period when the rest of the pop-making world was wearing Lurex trousers, was the spirit and the sound of the incoming tide of punk. One second they were angry young men, the next they were playing the sweetest songs imaginable (His Guiding Hand, from their debut album, New Bottles, Old Medicine, was even memorably played during our school assembly, during a brief period when students were invited to select appropriate music for the occasion).
Medicine Head 1974 In Medicine Head music there were definitely no guitar solos, even more definitely no drum solos, and certainly no synthesizers (except the guest appearance of a Mellotron on the One And One Is One album). Just tape-loopy, bluesy, boogieing guitar riffs coming round and round, riffs that made – and still make – you want to smile and dance, all played through the rudest of amps. And then there’s Peter’s awesome harmonica huffing and puffing, coming down like a steam train on vitamin supplements, who thought nothing of 10-minute solos, particularly on the roaring favorite To Train Time (originally on the album Heavy On The Drum with a stomping live version on One And One). Even today memories of those early thrashing, sweaty shows linger as a highpoint of youth, like going to see no other band before or since “We saw ourselves like San Francisco Bay blues guys,” says John. “We didn’t consider ourselves musicians. It almost seems sad sometimes that we had hit records, it might have been better to have stayed an album band.” Listen to any of their records – half a dozen albums between 1969 and 1976, another album’s worth of dedicated singles tracks and the recent Angel Air album Live At The Marquee 1975 – and there are road songs, and the train songs, and girl songs. The sound of America infused with English charm and innocence. John and Peter went at it for well over half a decade, through thick and thin, the group bobbling, uneasily, through different line-ups, Peter leaving and then returning, eventually going through a spell as a five-piece. But while every record was touched with that Medicine Head magic, they were never a big group at heart.
Two Man Band captures the best of their, well, two man band outlook on life but combines it with flourishes from the best of British musicians, including Ashton, Gardner & Dyke and Family piano man Tony Ashton, Mott the Hoople keyboard whiz Morgan Fisher (later to rock the States with John in British Lions and form a lasting friendship), and pedal steel virtuoso BJ Cole, who has played with everyone from John Cale to The Verve. The result is Medicine Head at their most innnocent, John’s rootsy, bluesy, poppy songs reinvented so that even the gentle rockers are imbued with a dreamlike quality. Rock ‘n’ roll for a still summer’s afternoon. It was to be the band’s final album. They went out in a laid-back fashion, the music hand-crafted to perfection. Released on CD for the first time, the album includes three bonus tracks, the freewheeling single Me And Suzie (Hit The Floor), and the almost-forgotten, under-rated B sides Moon Child and Midnight, both Medicine Head at their softest and best. “Pete Townshend helped us out on the album,” says John. “We were broke at the time, being sued by all sorts of people because we didn’t want to carry on as we were, as a five-piece. Our deal with Polydor had ended and Pete just suggested that we make a record at his Eel Pie studio. I got in touch with Chas Chandler, who had produced Slade, and he liked it and so it came out on his Barn label. It was basically Pete and myself with some friends. And we were still playing live then, just the two of us, often to punky-type audiences. We were akin to punk in spirit, and that’s where we failed as a full band. The heart and soul was so diluted that we lost direction. We’d had to draft people in because we’d got trapped by the “That’s not how the record sounds syndrome. Back in the old days we’d have just wound up the amps and had the sweat flying.” It wasn’t exactly a comeback, yet, says John: “We’d lost a lot of credence by then, what with all the changes. I felt shattered, drained but we started getting our audience back. The single off Two Man Band, it’s Natural, was getting a lot of play and got into the lower fifties.” But Pete decided, for the final, time to go his own way. That was the end of the track for John and Peter whose relationship had always been somewhat, aah, precarious, and emotionally turbulent. The pair still haven’t played together since.
British Lions
John finished the Medicine Head date sheet with the help of Morgan Fisher and guitarist Roger Saunders, only recently out of a job when the five-piece disbanded. Almost immediately John, who’d never been glimpsed without his long hair, droopy mustache and glasses, had, to everyone’s surprise, reinvented himself as a rock star frontman. Flash clothes and, it has to be said, distinctly dodgy permed hair, for the post-glam British Lions, the tail end of Mott the Hoople with a new head. Oddly, what appeared to be a culture clash actually worked, John’s supercharged chugging, strumming electric guitar and rocking romantic songs proving the perfect foil for the laddish Mott outlook on life. Of course, while early Medicine Head were the embodiment of the lo-fi punk spirit, the Lions were somewhat at odds, or at least were seen to be at odds by both public and record company, with the actuality of punk in the late Seventies. A couple of singles on the by now drifting Harvest label, one Medicine Head, one under the Fiddler name, came and went almost unnoticed. Well, not exactly true…completely unnoticed, even by the most dedicated fans.

Box Of Frogs
Then came what is the best Medicine Head album never to be a Medicine Head album, with John taking charge of yet another headless band… the Yardbirds. The irony wasn’t lost on anyone. Keith Relf, the original Yardbirds singer on songs like For Your Love had moved on to produce Medicine Head’s (And The) Pictures In The Sky, and to be bassman in the three-man, Peter-less line-up that recorded the album Dark Side Of The Moon. Before being electrocuted in a studio accident in 1976, the year of Medicine Head’s demise. But while it wasn’t a Medicine Head album it wasn’t the Yardbirds either, both record and band called – and whoever came up with it should be shot – Box Of Frogs. Anyway, with John involved in writing all the songs, singing them all and playing that chugging electric guitar, in a blind tasting nine of out ten fans would have said it was a Medicine Head record for the Eighties. Snappier and rockier than of old – given the Lions experience, no surprise – but unmistakeable. Producer Paul Samwell-Smith, veteran Yardbirds bassist, was forced to give a sizeable cover credit to John, who’d previously established his production credentials on Two Man Band, for his “assistance”. The opener, Back Where I Started, even featured harmonica from ex-Nine Below Zero ace Mark Feltham – who vies with Peter even today for the position of Britain’s premier harp sessioneer. Peter, incidentally, now stands in on occasion for Feltham in ex-Pretenders/Paul McCartney guitarist Robbie McIntosh’s band. The album was a sizeable college radio hit in the States and should have meant a life in the fast lane but the others had done the Stateside star thing before, vetoed a tour and, needless to say, the whole thing ended in tears. Relations remain fraught – at the end of the Nineties John and I went to see the Yardbirds (shortly after Ray Majors had quit as lead guitarist), and the meeting was, well, strained.
John Fiddler
While John then went on to try various abortive projects he was content to work in his home studio and watch his children grow up and it was the end of the Eighties before I stumbled on him playing solo with an acoustic guitar. But John acoustic isn’t an evening of quiet introspection… it’s a full-blown one man band rock ‘n’ roll experience. Standing alone on stage turning a half-empty hall into a jumping joint was a speciality touring with the Blues Band and the Manfreds (for whom ex-Medicine Head drummer Rob Townsend is a stalwart. Another is his regular holiday stint playing the human jukebox for hours each night in the bar of the Sporthotel Strass, owned by the rock ‘n’ roll loving Erich Roscher in the Austrian ski resort of Mayrhofen.) From the early Nineties a couple of shows stand out as being up there with the best John’s ever done. One, at London’s sweaty Mean Fiddler, with John’s chugging electric guitar ringing out once again, backed by the likes of Ray (helping out on bass) and ex-Cockney Rebel/10cc keyboard man Duncan Mackay. Shortly after that in Feltham, Middlesex, the band were joined for a steaming show by Morgan Fisher, over from his new home in Japan. Since then John’s been his own man, doing the quirkiest of solo shows. Earlier this year he took over the packed non-music bar of his local, the Marlborough, in Richmond, Surrey, and made friends with a Friday night crowd of all ages as he prowled amongst them. He’s fronted a blues club in Phoenix, put out his home-made cassette State Of The Heart and then – quite astonishing after 30 years – his first solo album Return Of The Buffalo (even bigger in its Angel Air form, The Big Buffalo). He’s now back living in Phoenix and, infused with the energy of the endless summer sun, is working on a new band, perhaps Medicine Head, perhaps not, but certainly taking Medicine Head’s rootsy, bluesy, rocking sound and creating the lasting legacy the band deserves. Curiously, given their music, John and Peter never got to play the US. Now could finally be the moment for John to pick up the music and run with it. Medicine Head with a dry, dusty desert backdrop. From the train whistle that opens Two Man Band, leading into the airy streamliner strum of it’s Natural, through the eerie, pedal steel-tinged Sun’s Sinkin’ Low and the haunting Too Much Love, this might have been Medicine Head’s finale but unlike most farewell albums it’s got the feel of a fresh new beginning. It truly is timeless music.
~By Nick Dalton (reprinted with permission)
John with friend Morgan Fisher

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The Beatles: I Feel Fine – The very first use of feedback on a rock record.

ON THIS DATE (47 YEARS AGO)
October 18, 1964…The Beatles recorded “I Feel Fine” which includes the earliest example of the use of feedback as a recording effect.


At the time of the song’s recording, the Beatles, having mastered the studio basics, had begun to explore new sources of inspiration in noises previously eliminated as mistakes (such as electronic goofs, twisted tapes, and talkback). “I Feel Fine” marks the earliest example of the use of feedback as a recording effect. Artists such as The Kinks and The Who had already used feedback live, but Lennon remained proud of the fact that the Beatles were the first group to actually put it on vinyl.
The intro to “I Feel Fine” starts with a single, percussive (yet pure-sounding) feedback note produced by plucking the A string on Lennon’s guitar. This was the very first use of feedback on a rock record. According to McCartney, “John had a semi-acoustic Gibson guitar. It had a pickup on it so it could be amplified… We were just about to walk away to listen to a take when John leaned his guitar against the amp. I can still see him doing it… it went, ‘Nnnnnnwahhhhh!” And we went, ‘What’s that? Voodoo!’ ‘No, it’s feedback.’ Wow, it’s a great sound!’ George Martin was there so we said, ‘Can we have that on the record?’ ‘Well, I suppose we could, we could edit it on the front.’ It was a found object, an accident caused by leaning the guitar against the amp.”

While sounding very much like an electric guitar, Lennon played it on an acoustic-electric guitar (a Gibson model J-160E), employing the guitar’s onboard pickup and 1960s sound effect devices to make the acoustic guitar sound more electronic. The intro riff around a D major chord progresses to a C, then a G, where the G major vocals begin. Just before the coda, Lennon’s intro riff (or ostinato), is repeated with a bright sound by George Harrison on electric guitar (a Gretsch Tennessean), followed by the more “electric” sound of John’s amped acoustic.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd: Street Survivors – Why the cover changed

ON THIS DATE (34 YEARS AGO)
October 17, 1977 – Lynyrd Skynyrd: Street Survivors is released – and why its album cover changed three days later.

ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ TWO CENTS WORTH
For me, this is one of those moments in my musical youth that had a profound effect on me.  Although always a fan of Skynyrd,especially live, I felt that this album was the beginning of their prime years.  I bought this the day it came out and did not think anything about the cover. That all changed three days later so did the album cover shortly thereafter. I mourned for not only what we lost but for what we would have had going forward…fly on Freebird.

Street Survivors is the fifth studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd, released on October 17,1977. The LP is the last Skynyrd album ever recorded by original members Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins, and is the sole Skynyrd studio recording by guitarist Steve Gaines. Three days after the album’s release, on October 20,1977, the band’s chartered airplane crashed en route to Baton Rouge, Louisiana,killing the pilot, co-pilot, the group’s assistant road-manager and three band members (Van Zant, Gaines, and Steve’s older sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines), and severely injuring most who survived the crash.

The cover was changed to an alternate photo with an all-black background, out of respect for the deceased. Thirty years later, the original”flames” cover was restored, while the alternative cover serves as the back of the case. Lead singer Van Zant is wearing a t-shirt depicting Neil Young’s album Tonight’s the Night in both photographs.

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October 14, 1977 – David Bowie: “Heroes” is released.



ON THIS DATE (34 YEARS AGO)
October 14, 1977 – David Bowie: “Heroes” is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# Allmusic 5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
# Billboard (see original review below)

“Heroes” is an album by David Bowie, released on this date in 1977. The second installment of his ‘Berlin Trilogy’ with Brian Eno (the other releases being Low and Lodger) “Heroes” developed the sound of Low in a more positive direction. Of the three albums, it was the most befitting of the appellation “Berlin”, being the only one wholly recorded there. The title track remains one of Bowie’s best known, a classic story of two lovers who meet at the Berlin Wall. The album is considered one of his best by critics, notably for the contributions of guitarist Robert Fripp who flew in from the U.S. to record his parts in one day. John Lennon was quoted as saying that when making his album Double Fantasy in 1980, his ambition was to “do something as good as “Heroes”.” It was named NME Album of the Year.

Recorded at Hansa Tonstudio in what was then West Berlin, “Heroes” reflected the zeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city. Co-producer Tony Visconti considered it “one of my last great adventures in making albums. The studio was about 500 yards from the wall. Red Guards would look into our control-room window with powerful binoculars.” Bowie again paid tribute to his Krautrock influences: the title is a nod to the track “Hero” on the album NEU! ’75 by the German band Neu!, while “V-2 Schneider” is inspired by and named after Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider. Earlier in 1977, Kraftwerk had name-checked Bowie on the title track of Trans-Europe Express. The cover photo was inspired by German artist Erich Heckel’s Roquairol, as was that of The Idiot, one of Bowie’s collaborations with Iggy Pop that was released the same year.

“Heroes” was marketed by RCA with the catch phrase, “There’s Old Wave. There’s New Wave. And there’s David Bowie…” It enjoyed a positive critical reception on release in late 1977, Melody Maker and NME both naming it ‘Album of the Year’. It made #3 in the UK and stayed in the charts for 26 weeks, but was less successful in the U.S. where it peaked at #35.

ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE & BILLBOARD REVIEWS
Heroes is the second album in what we can now hope will be a series of David Bowie-Brian Eno collaborations, because this album answers the question of whether Bowie can be a real collaborator. Like his work with Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople and Iggy Pop, Low, Bowie’s first album with Eno, seemed to be just another auteurist exploitation, this time of the Eno-Kraftwerk avant-garde. Heroes, though, prompts a much more enthusiastic reading of the collaboration, which here takes the form of a union of Bowie’s dramatic instincts and Eno’s unshakable sonic serenity. Even more importantly, Bowie shows himself for the first time as a willing, even anxious, student rather than a simple cribber. As rock’s Zen master, Eno is fully prepared to show him the way.

Like Low, Heroes is divided into a cyclic instrumental side and a song-set side. “V-2 Schneider” is an ingeniously robotic recasting of Booker T. and the M.G.’s — at once typical of Bowie’s obsession with pop dance music and a spectacular instance of an Eno R&B “study” (a going concern of Eno’s own records). “Sense of Doubt” lines up an ominously deep piano figure with Eno synthesizer washes, blending them into “Moss Garden,” an exquisitely static cut featuring Bowie on koto, a Japanese string instrument. Low had no such moments of easy exchange; Bowie either submitted his voice as another instrument for Eno to play the part of art-rock keyboard player.

The most spectacular moments on this record occur on the vocal side’s crazed rock & roll. Working inside the new style Bowie forged for Iggy Pop, “Beauty and the Beast” makes very weird but probable connections between the fairy tale, Iggy’s angel-beast identity and Jean Cocteau’s Surrealist Catholicism, a crucial source for Cocteau’s film of the tale.

For the finale, Heroes explodes into a trilogy of dark prophecy: “Sons of the Silent Age,” “Heroes” and “Black Out.” It’s a Diamond Dogs set that, this time, makes it into the back pages of Samuel Delaney’s post-apocalypse fiction, pushed by a brilliant cerebral nova among the players. Bowie sings in a paradoxical (or is it schizo?) style at once unhinged and wholly self-controlled. With a chill, the listener can hear clearly through Bowie’s compressed lyrics and the dense sound.

We’ll have to wait to see if Bowie has found in the austere Eno a long-term collaborator who can draw out the substantial words and music that have lurked beneath the surface of Bowie’s clever games for so long. But Eno clearly has effected a nearly miraculous change in Bowie already.
– Bart Testa, Rolling Stone, 1/12/78.

*****
Bowie’s newest is a musical excursion into a realm only Bowie himself can define. His songs are comprised of disparate images, haunting melodies and orchestrally chilling arrangements. Bowie’s lyrics are filled with dark forebodings buried in synthesizer electronics, courtesy of Brian Eno. His vocals have taken on various intonations, sounding erratic yet controlled. Side one is more restrained, despite interludes of confusion, while side two is mostly an instrumental journey comprised of synthesizer, percussion, light sax and guitar orchestrations. This represents an extension of Bowie’s cosmic rock vision and an extension of Low. Best cuts: “Heroes,” “Joe The Lion,” “Blackout.”
– Billboard, 1977.

 TRACKS:
All lyrics written by David Bowie; all music composed by David Bowie except where noted.

Side one
“Beauty and the Beast” – 3:32
“Joe the Lion” – 3:05
“Heroes” (Bowie, Brian Eno) – 6:07
“Sons of the Silent Age” – 3:15
“Blackout” – 3:50

Side two
“V-2 Schneider” – 3:10
“Sense of Doubt” – 3:57
“Moss Garden” (Bowie, Eno) – 5:03
“Neuköln” (Bowie, Eno) – 4:34
“The Secret Life of Arabia” (Bowie, Eno, Carlos Alomar) – 3:46

1991 reissue bonus tracks
“Abdulmajid” (previously unreleased track recorded 1976–79) – 3:40
“Joe the Lion” (remixed version 1991) – 3:08


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The Beatles infamous Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover

So, who is that on the cover of The Beatles infamous Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover

The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has a widely-recognized album cover which depicts several dozen celebrities and other images.

This album cover was created by Jann Haworth and Peter Blake. They won the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts in 1968 for their work on this cover.

The celebrities and items featured on the front cover are (by row, left to right):

Top row:
    Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
    Aleister Crowley (occultist)
    Mae West (actress)
    Lenny Bruce (comedian)
    Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
    W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
    Carl Gustav Jung (psychiatrist)
    Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
    Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
    Richard Merkin (artist)
    The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
    Huntz Hall (actor)
    Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
    Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)

Second row:
    Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
    Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
    Aldous Huxley (writer)
    Dylan Thomas (poet)
    Terry Southern (writer)
    Dion (singer)
    Tony Curtis (actor)
    Wallace Berman (artist)
    Tommy Handley (comedian)
    Marilyn Monroe (actress)
    William S. Burroughs (writer)
    Sri Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
    Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
    Richard Lindner (artist)
    Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
    Karl Marx (political philosopher)
    H. G. Wells (writer)
    Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
    Sigmund Freud (psychiatrist) – barely visible below Bob Dylan
    Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)

Third row:
    Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
    Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)
    Max Miller (comedian)
    A “Petty Girl” (by artist George Petty)
    Marlon Brando (actor)
    Tom Mix (actor)
    Oscar Wilde (writer)
    Tyrone Power (actor)
    Larry Bell (artist)
    Dr. David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
    Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
    Stephen Crane (writer) – barely visible between Issy Bonn’s head and raised arm
    Issy Bonn (comedian)
    George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
    H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
    Albert Stubbins (football player)
    Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
    Lewis Carroll (writer)
    T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”)

Front row:
    Wax model of Sonny Liston (boxer)
    A “Petty Girl” (by George Petty)
    Wax model of George Harrison
    Wax model of John Lennon
    Shirley Temple (child actress) – barely visible, first of three appearances on the cover
    Wax model of Ringo Starr
    Wax model of Paul McCartney
    Albert Einstein (physicist) – largely obscured
    John Lennon holding a French horn
    Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
    Paul McCartney holding a Cor Anglais
    George Harrison holding a flute
    Bobby Breen (singer)
    Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
    An American legionnaire[1]
    Diana Dors (actress)
    Shirley Temple (child actress) – second appearance on the cover

Other objects within the group include:
    Cloth grandmother-figure by Jann Haworth
    Cloth doll by Haworth of Shirley Temple wearing a sweater that reads “Welcome The Rolling Stones”
    A ceramic Mexican craft known as a Tree of Life from Metepec
    A 9-inch Sony television set, apparently owned by Paul McCartney – the receipt, bearing McCartney’s signature, is owned by a curator of a museum dedicated to The Beatles in Japan. [2]
    A stone figure of a girl
    Another stone figure
    A statue brought over from John Lennon’s house
    A trophy
    A doll of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi
    A drum skin, designed by fairground artist Joe Ephgrave
    A hookah (water pipe)
    A velvet snake
    A Fukusuke, Japanese china figure
    A stone figure of Snow White
    A garden gnome
    A euphonium/baritone horn

People who were originally intended for the front cover but were ultimately excluded:
•    Leo Gorcey – was modelled and originally included to the left of Huntz Hall, but was subsequently removed when a fee of $400 was requested for the use of the actor’s likeness.
•    Mohandas Gandhi – was modelled and originally included to the right of Lewis Carroll, but was subsequently removed. According to McCartney, “Gandhi also had to go because the head of EMI, Sir Joe Lockwood, said that in India they wouldn’t allow the record to be printed”.
•    Jesus Christ – was requested by Lennon, but not modelled because the LP would be released only a few months after Lennon’s Jesus statement.
•    Adolf Hitler – was modelled and was visible in early photographs of the montage, positioned to the right of Larry Bell, but was eventually obscured by Johnny Weissmuller in the final image

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October 13, 1987 – Sting: …Nothing Like the Sun is released.

ON THIS DATE (24 YEARS AGO)
October 13, 1987 – Sting: …Nothing Like the Sun is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# Allmusic 4.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone 4.5/5
…Nothing Like the Sun is a 1987 album by Sting. The title comes from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”), which Sting used in the song “Sister Moon”. He added that his inspiration for this was a close encounter with a drunk, in which Sting quoted the sonnet in response to the drunk’s importunate query, “How beautiful is the moon?”
The album was influenced by two events in Sting’s life: first, the death in late 1986 of his mother, which contributed to the sombre tone of several songs; and second, his participation in the Conspiracy of Hope Tour on behalf of Amnesty International, which brought Sting to parts of Latin America that had been ravaged by civil wars, and introduced him to victims of government oppression. “They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)” was inspired by his witnessing of public demonstrations of grief by the wives and daughters of men missing in Chile, tortured and murdered by the military dictatorship of the time, who danced the cueca (the traditional dance of Chile) by themselves, with photos of their loved ones pinned to their clothes. “Be Still My Beating Heart” and “The Lazarus Heart” approach the subjects of life, love and death and also featured Police guitarist Andy Summers. Elsewhere on the album, “Englishman in New York”, in honour of Quentin Crisp, continues the jazz-influenced music more commonly found on Sting’s previous album, as does “Sister Moon”.
The album’s first single and biggest hit, “We’ll Be Together” (reportedly not one of Sting’s favorites), sported a prominent dance beat and funk overtones; it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in late 1987 and even crossed over to the R&B charts. Overall, the album’s sales now stand at over 2 million, making it one of Sting’s best-sellers.
The album also inspired a Spanish/Portuguese counterpart, the 1988 mini-album Nada Como el Sol. It featured four of the songs from the album sung in either Spanish or Portuguese and in the case of “Fragile”, both languages.
Three years after its initial release on both the album and in single form, “Englishman in New York” was remixed in mid-1990 by Dutch producer Ben Liebrand, apparently to increase Sting’s commercial viability after a two-year absence in the charts. Providing a stronger dance beat, as well as an extended introduction, the song was a hit in clubs and reached number 15 on the UK pop charts. The maxi-single also included a dance remix of “We’ll Be Together” as a B-side.
…Nothing Like the Sun was one of the first fully digital audio recordings (DDD) to achieve multi-platinum status. It is also Sting’s biggest-selling album yet, with worldwide sales of 11 million copies as of 1997. The album won Best British Album at the 1988 Brit Awards.
ROLLING STONE REVIEW
By Anthony DeCurtis, January 22, 1997 (4.5/5)
… Nothing Like The Sun — a powerful, often hypnotic album that blends jazz and rock styles into a thoughtful suite of twelve songs about love, politics and the meaning of the individual life — avoids the self-conscious stiffness that marred Sting’s first solo LP, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. Whereas that album often seemed to be merely the sterile enactment of its fusion-jazz ambitions, … Nothing Like the Sun flows naturally.
The album’s title comes from a sonnet by Shakespeare that begins with the line “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun.” Against the extravagant imagery of much Elizabethan love poetry, that sonnet articulates a human-scale vision of love for a flesh-and-blood woman who, far from standing on a pedestal, “treads on the ground.” Similarly, on … Nothing Like the Sun, Sting resists, for the most part, his tendency to drift into the mystic. Instead he locates the LP’s songs in an uneasy three-dimensional world of unruly emotions (“Be Still My Beating Heart,” “Sister Moon”), nightmarish social systems (“History Will Teach Us Nothing,” “They Dance Alone”) and personal commitment (“The Secret Marriage”).
Sting dedicates … Nothing Like the Sun to his mother, who died recently at fifty-three, and the songs about women on the record seem informed by the mother-son bond and the double-edged impact of its breaking at birth, marriage and death. “The Lazarus Heart,” the album’s shimmering opening track, weds Freud and The Golden Bough in its mythic dream of an artist whose creativity derives from a wound inflicted by his mother. The Chilean women in the stately “They Dance Alone” dance in mournful celebration of their husbands, sons and fathers, who were jailed or killed by the Pinochet regime.
For his band on … Nothing Like the Sun, Sting has carried over saxophonist Branford Marsalis and keyboardist Kenny Kirkland from the jazz outfit that backed him on The Dream of the Blue Turtles. He plays bass himself and has recruited drummer Manu Katché, percussionist Mino Cinelu and a host of guest stars (including Andy Summers, Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler). The arrangements are airily layered, with instruments and rhythms constantly doubling and counterpointing each other but never becoming so dense as to be stifling. Lively percussive currents keep songs like “Straight to My Heart” and “Rock Steady” moving along briskly.
The instrumental textures and introspective tone of the album preclude any explosive soloing or improvisation; that is something of a shame given the presence of players of the caliber of Marsalis and Kirkland. One of the more appealing surprises on the record, however, is guitarist Hiram Bullock’s lyrical soar during a startling cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” Gil Evans and his orchestra provide the perfect atmospheric setting for Sting’s eerie meditation on Hendrix’s surreally poetic love song.
… Nothing Like the Sun is also one of those records that help define a point of technological transition. Simply stated, it must be heard on compact disc — or, as a very distant second choice, on cassette. At fifty-four minutes, it’s too long for a single vinyl album, and spread thinly over four sides, it breaks too often and abruptly to sustain its otherwise consistent mood. The CD version also allows a greater appreciation of the record’s choice sonic details.
In any configuration, however, … Nothing Like the Sun represents impressive growth for Sting. His voice is rich, grainy and more mature; his ideas are gaining in complexity; and musically he is stretching without straining. His mistress’s eyes may be nothing like the sun, but on this fine new album Sting’s intrepid talent shines on brightly.
TRACKS:
All songs by Sting except as noted.
Side one
“The Lazarus Heart” – 4:34
“Be Still My Beating Heart” – 5:32
“Englishman in New York” – 4:25
Side two
“History Will Teach Us Nothing” – 4:58
“They Dance Alone” – 7:16
“Fragile” – 3:54
Side three
“We’ll Be Together” – 4:52
“Straight to My Heart” – 3:54
“Rock Steady” – 4:27
Side four
“Sister Moon” – 3:46
“Little Wing” (Jimi Hendrix) – 5:04
“The Secret Marriage” (Eisler, Sting) – 2:03
B Sides
“Ghost In The Strand” (Englishman In New York 7″/ Maxi Single)
“Ellas Danzan Solas” (They Dance Alone Maxi Single)
“If You There” (They Dance Alone 7″)
“Conversation With A Dog” (We’ll Be Together 7″/ Maxi Single)
“Someone to Watch Over Me” (Englishman in New York 3-inch CD single)
“Up from the Skies” (Jimi Hendrix cover with Gil Evans and His Orchestra, Englishman in New York 3-inch CD single)

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