Monthly Archives: November 2011

Michael Des Barres

Marquis Michael Philip Des Barres was born on 24. January 1948, in Sussex, UK. He was the only child of Marquis Philip Des Barres and his third wife Irene.
The Des Barres family had its origins in France, and the noble rank of Marquis is a heriditary title that can be traced back to 12th century France, when Guillaume Des Barres was given the title after rescuing the King of France from an enemy attack.
Michael’s parents separated shortly after he was born, and he grew up living with his mother who was a jazz singer.
Michael first got into acting at the age of eight, in 1956. He found an agent by looking in the phone book and soon he was appearing on television and in national advertising campaigns. One of his early TV-appearances was in an episode of the BBC comedy show “Whack-O!” in 1960. But his acting career was put on hold at the age of thirteen when his parents sent him to the Repton boarding school, where he stayed until he was expelled at sixteen because his hair was too long.
Michael Des Barres as “Williams”
in To Sir, With Love (1967).
Michael then attended the Corona Stage Academy in London for two and a half years, where he acquired a strong background in Shakespeare and classic theatre. It was during this period that he began songwriting and took up the guitar. He formed his first band called The Orange Illusion together with some fellow drama school students, including future punk pioneer Darryl Read. With Michael on vocals, the band played a few concerts at youth clubs around London in 1967 – 68.
Around this time, Michael guest-starred on several popular UK television shows, including Z Cars and Dixon of Dock Green. He also appeared with Tony Curtis in the movie Drop Dead Darling and as one of Sidney Poitier’s students in To Sir, With Love.
After drama school, Michael appeared in several stage productions, worked as a mime and formed a “mixed media” group called The Electric Church. He also continued to appear in guest-roles on various TV-shows. Eventually he was asked by Robert Stigwood to play a role in a controversial musical called The Dirtiest Show In Town. This led to a meeting with Andrew Lloyd Webber, who offered him a contract after Michael had performed a few of his self-written songs.
He was also given the chance to sing the part of Judas on the original demo recordings of Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.
Wanting to form a band, Michael put an ad in Melody Maker in early 1972 looking for musicians. “Originally it was just me. I didn’t want to be a Bowie-Bolan figure, but then I decided I wanted a ballsy rock band”, Michael said later.
Nigel Harrison and Rod Davies were accepted into the band at the first day of auditions, and were later joined by Pete Thompson and Steve Forrest (who was later replaced by Robbie Blunt).
(l. to r.: Pete Thompson, Michael Des Barres,
Rod Davies, Steve Forrest and Nigel Harrison)
The band was named Silverhead, and became signed to Deep Purple’s label Purple Records. They released two studio albums, Silverhead (1972) and 16 And Savaged (1973). A live album called “Live at the Rainbow” was also recorded in 1973 and later released in Japan.
Silverhead toured Europe, Japan and the U.S., and played support for bands like Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Uriah Heep, Kiss and Nazareth. Silverhead split in the summer of 1974, before they had finished work on their third album (working title Brutiful). This was followed by a couple of unsuccessull solo-attempts by Michael later the same year.
After relocating to Los Angeles, Michael teamed up with former Steppenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch to form the band Detective in March 1975. Other members included Tony Kaye (Yes, David Bowie) and Jon Hyde (Hocus Pocus).
(left to right: Bobby Pickett, Michael Monarch,
Tony Kaye, Michael Des Barres and Jon Hyde)
Detective were signed by Led Zeppelin’s label SwanSong and released two studio albums in 1977, Detective and It Takes One To Know One.
In 1977 Michael also married Pamela Miller, whom he’d met while on tour with Silverhead three years earlier. Their son Nick was born the following year.
Detective split in the fall of 1978, before they had finished their third album.
In October 78, Michael appeared on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinatti – his first acting job on American TV. He played “Dog”, the vocalist in the “punk”-band “Scum of the Earth”, singing Detective songs. More guest-roles on TV followed, with appearances on The Rockford Files and Hart to Hart.
Michael’s first solo album I’m Only Human was released in 1980, produced by the legendary Mike Chapman. Throughout the 70s Michael had been battling with drugs and alcohol, but in 1981 he stopped completely and has stayed sober ever since. He would later create the “Rock Against Drugs”-program together with his friend and manager Danny Goldberg.
In September 1982, Michael formed the band Chequered Past together with Clem Burke, Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison from Blondie and Steve Jones from Sex Pistols. Shortly after, Frank Infante left the band and was replaced by Tony Sales (Iggy Pop, Tin Machine).
Chequered Past
(left to right: Steve Jones, Clem Burke, Nigel
Harrison, Michael Des Barres and Tony Sales)
The name of the band was not completely new, as Michael had already done a solo tour as “Michael Des Barres and his Chequered Past” the previous year.
Chequered Past did extensive touring in the US in the following years, and they also did support jobs for bands like Duran Duran, INXS and Little Steven. They released a self-titled album in 1984 which received good reviews, especially in Europe.
In 1983, Michael wrote and recorded the song “Obsession” together with Holly Knight, which was released without much success. But when the band Animotion covered it in 1985, it became a huge worldwide hit.
In June 1985, just after Chequered Past had split, Michael was asked to replace Robert Palmer in the band Power Station. John and Andy Taylor knew Michael from when Chequered Past had been support for Duran Duran. They were just about to start a big tour when Palmer decided to leave, and Michael had to learn all their songs in just a few days.
Power Station played almost 40 concerts on their summer tour of the US and Canada. They also performed at the historic “Live Aid”-concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia – a career highlight for Michael.
Power Station
(left to right: Michael Des Barres, John Taylor,
Tony Thompson and Andy Taylor)
During the tour, Michael arranged for the band to appear on his friend Don Johnson’s hit TV-show Miami Vice. He also co-wrote and did the vocals on a Power Station song called “We Fight For Love”, which was included in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Commando.
1986 saw the release of Michael’s second solo album, Somebody Up There Likes Me. It featured contributions from Steve Jones, Andy Taylor and Dave Stewart (Eurythmics).
After that album, and solo concerts in support of it, Michael started focusing more on his acting career. He appeared in several movies, including Ghoulies, Nighflyers and Midnight  Cabaret (where he had a leading role).
One of his most famous roles was as the professional killer Murdoc on the TV-show MacGyver, where he appeared in 7 episodes from 1987 to 1991.
He also made guest-appearances on TV-shows like Sledge  Hammer, J.J. Starbuck, 21 Jump Street and ALF. And in 1989 he starred opposite Clint Eastwood in the action/comedy movie Pink Cadillac.
Throughout the 1990s, Michael continued to guest-star on a wide range of different TV-shows, including Roseanne, Seinfeld, L.A. Law, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Northern Exposure, Ellen, JAG and Nash Bridges.
Michael, Pamela and Nick Des Barres (2002).
He was also part of the main cast in season 1 of The New WKRP In Cincinnati, had a recurring role on Melrose Place, and did lots of voiceover work for animated shows.
During the 90s Michael didn’t focus as much on recording and performing music as earlier. But he did form the bands Vince Lightning and the Spectaculars (with Slim Jim Phantom and Jamie James) and The Usual Susspects (with Steve Jones and Mick Rossi).
He performed with these bands at various clubs in the Los Angeles area between 1996 and 2000.
In 2001 Michael formed the band Down Boy, which included Paul McCartney’s guitarist Brian Ray. He also found time to write a rock musical about the life of Marquis De Sade.
In 2002, he starred alongside Mick Jagger, Andy Garcia, Anjelica Huston and James Coburn in the critically acclaimed movie The Man From Elysian Fields. Michael received very good reviews for his role in the film, which film critic Roger Ebert named “one of the best movies of the year”.
That same year he also won the award for “best actor in a feature film” at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival, for his role in the movie Ocean Park.
Since then, he has had recurring roles on the TV-shows My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star and Four Kings, and made guest-appearances on shows like Charmed, Gilmore Girls, Frasier, JAG and Alias. He also received much attention for his role in the movie Catch That Kid and his appearance in George Hickenlooper’s documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip.
Live on stage with
Free Love Foundation (2006).
In recent years Michael has helped organize and host the annual “Don’t Knock The Rock” film festival. He has also written several original screenplays and held a writing course at Santa Barbara University.
In 2006 he formed Michael Des Barres and Free Love Foundation, a 12-piece soul rock band that performed in the Los Angeles area and received a lot of attention.
His portrayal of a plastic surgery addict on the hit show Nip/Tuck in 2007 caused TV Guide’s reviewer to remark that he “did a fabulous job”.
The following year he once again teamed up with old songwriting partner Holly Knight. He also formed the all-star band Crash! Boom! Bang! and worked on the techno project Zodiax.
Michael and Pamela Des Barres divorced in 1991, but remain close friends. Pamela was a member of Frank Zappa’s all-girl group The GTOs and is famous for her groupie adventures in the 60s and 70s. She has written several critically acclaimed books, including the memoirs I’m with the Band (1987) and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up (1993). Michael and Pamela have recently been working on turning I’m with the Band into a TV-series. The project is currently in development.
The Michael Des Barres Band
Michael Des Barres – vocals and guitar
Paul Ill – bass 
Eric Schermerhorn-guitar 
Jebin Bruni-Keyboards
David Goodstein-drums
In 2010 Michael recorded a new solo album with Texas producer Jesse Dayton called Frontman, which will be released soon. “It’s the album I’ve always wanted to make”, Michael says.
This was followed by the formation of The Michael Des Barres Band in 2011. “I’m playing all these new songs evoking the musical world I grew up in… A world of blues-based dandies: The Faces, Free, Humble Pie…”, Michael says.
The MDB Band will soon be coming to a venue near you. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter!
Solo Albums
* I’m Only Human (1980)
* Somebody Up There Likes Me (1986)
with Silverhead
* Silverhead (1972)
* 16 and Savaged (1973)
* Live at the Rainbow (1975)
with Detective
* Detective (1977)
* It Takes One To Know One (1977)
* Live from the Atlantic Studios (1978)
with Chequered Past
* Chequered Past (1984)


Phoenix: “Phoenix (Henrit – Rodford – Verity)” (1976)
Michael does some vocals on this album.
Gene Simmons: “Gene Simmons” (1978)
Michael sings the chorus on the track “See you in your dreams”.
Robby Romero & The Boys From Belen (1979)
Michael does some backing vocals on this album.
Phoenix: “In Full View” (1980)
Backing vocals by Michael on the track “Fooling Myself”.
Suzi Quatro: “Rock Hard” (1980)
Michael does some backing vocals on this album.
Keel: “Final Frontier” (1986)
Michael sings together with Ron Keel on the track “Raised On Rock”.
Don Johnson: “Heartbeat” (1986)
Backing vocals by Michael on the track “Coco Don’t”.
John Taylor: “I Do What I Do” (1987)
This song was co-written by Michael and he also does some backing vocals on it. Included on the “9 1/2 Weeks” movie soundtrack and released as a single.
E. G. Daily: “Seduction” (1987)
This song was written by Michael and included on the “Summer School” movie soundtrack.
Alisha: “Nightwalkin'” (1987)
Michael wrote the song “Girls Don’t Lie” together with Paul Chiten. “Girls Don’t Lie” was also recorded by George McCrae for his 1991 album “Rock Your Baby”.
“Midnight Cabaret” (1988)
A musical production number narrated/sung by Michael in the movie of the same name, where he played the leading role.
Akina Nakamori: “Femme Fatale” (1988)
Michael wrote the song “Paradise Lost” together with Robert Etoll for this female Japanese artist. Released on LP and CD in Japan.
The Heat: “Too Far Too Fast” (1988)
Michael and Paul Chiten wrote this song, which was featured in the 1988 movie “Distant Thunder”. It was also used in the 1991 movie “True Colors”. In 2007 the song was included on The Heat’s compilation CD “Untold Story Vol. 1” in two versions; “Movie Version” and “Original Version”.
Masahiro Kuwana: “It’s Only Love” (1988)
Michael wrote the song “The True Hearts” together with Jack Conrad for this Japanese rock singer. The song is also known as “The Truth Hurts”. Released on LP, Cassette and CD in Japan.
Don Johnson: “Let it Roll” (1989)
Michael co-wrote the song “Angel City”, which also appears on the re-release of Johnson’s earlier album “Heartbeat”.
“Cleo Rocks” (1989)
Musical production number sung by Teri Hatcher’s character “Penny Parker” in the “MacGyver”- episode of the same name. Michael wrote the song’s lyrics, and also appeared as Murdoc in the episode.
Various Artists: “Spirit of the forest” (1989)
Michael is among the many artists featured on this benefit single for Earth Love Fund. The song was later included on the CD and VHS-compilation “Earthrise” in 1992.
Various Artists: “HollyWord” (1990)
A compilation cassette of celebrities reading their own poetry. Michael reads the poem “Let’s put the stones back together”. Also includes a poem by Pamela Des Barres.
Various Artists: “The Christmas Album – A Gift of Life, Vol. 4” (1992)
Michael sings “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” on this Christmas album, released by Children’s Records to benefit “Hospitals for Children”.
Michael Des Barres: “Wall of Sound” (1994)
Rock song performed by Michael as “Lenny Stoke” in the “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”-episode of the same name.
Michael Des Barres: “Gravy Stain Girl” (1999)
Michael is the lead vocalist on this song, which was used in the movie “Sugar Town” where he plays the rock singer “Nick”.
Swing Cats: “A Special Tribute to Elvis” (2000)
Michael is the lead vocalist on the songs “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Steamroller Blues”. Released on CD by Cleopatra Records.
Michael Des Barres: “Marquis De Sade – The Musical” (2001)
An ambitious rock musical written by Michael Des Barres and Roger Greenawalt. Was planned to be performed at the West Coast Ensemble Theatre in May 2001, but that never materialized. A 26- track demo CD was recorded, which features Michael on vocals or backing vocals on most of the songs.
Michael Des Barres: “Eve Of Destruction” (2004)
Michael provided the vocals on an updated version of Barry McGuire’s classic 60’s hit. With Billy Morrison, Steven Perkins and Chris Chaney on guitars, drums and bass. Produced by Billy Morrison and Michael. The song remains unreleased, but was played a few times on Indie 103.1’s Camp Freddy Radio.
The Automatics: “Britannia” (2006)
Michael does some backing vocals on the title track of this album, released in June 2006. Michael and Automatics frontman Dave Philp also wrote several other songs during the recording sessions, which may be released at a later point.
Bellylove: “Peace, Love & Understanding” (2007)
Michael does the voice of the “American Idol”-judge on the opening track “I’m Too Old For American Idol”.
Michael has appeared in a number of movies over the years. Some of the actors he has worked with include Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Gabriel Byrne, Beverly D’Angelo, Rosanna Arquette, Nastassja Kinski and Andy Garcia.
With Clint Eastwood in Pink Cadillac (1989).


Michael has had a long career on television, since he first appeared on British TV as a young kid. His starring role on The New WKRP In Cincinnati, recurring roles on MacGyver and Melrose Place, plus dozens of guest-appearances on other hit shows, including Roseanne, Seinfeld, Frasier, Alias, and Nip/Tuck, have made him into one of the most recognizable and versatile actors on TV today.
Below is a list of more than 120 television episodes that he’s appeared in from 1960 up until today. (There are probably still some early UK TV credits missing.)
* Whack-O! (BBC, UK) as Floyd
– Episode #6.1: “The New Uniform”, 13 May 1960
* The Bruce Forsyth Show (ITV, UK) as unknown
– Episode #1.3, 28 August 1966
* Mrs Thursday (ITV, UK) as Lawrence
– Episode #2.11: “The Old School Tie Up”, 6 March 1967
* Z Cars (BBC, UK) as Young drunk
– Episode #6.24: “When Did You Last See Your Father? – Part 4”, 23 May
* You And The World (ITV, UK) as Tim
– Episode #3.2: “Terry”, 6 May 1968
* The First Lady (BBC, UK) as Barry Wainwright
– Episode #1.11: “King of Furness”, 16 June 1968
* Dixon of Dock Green (BBC, UK) as Philip Baker
– Episode #15.5: “The Brothers”, 5 October 1968
* Six Days of Justice (ITV, UK) as Glover
– Episode #1.6: “Open House”, 15 May 1972
* WKRP in Cincinnati (CBS) as Sir Charles ‘Dog’ Weatherbee
– Episode #1.4: “Hoodlum Rock”, 9 October 1978
* The Rockford Files (NBC) as Keith
– Episode #5.13: “With the French Heel Back…”, 5 January 1979
* The Rockford Files (NBC) as Gordon Flack
– Episode #6.2: “Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs: Part 1”, 12 October 1979
* Hart to Hart (ABC) as Sid Sado
– Episode #1.16: “Downhill To Death”, 5 February 1980
* Cagney & Lacey (CBS) as Malcolm Kingley
– Episode #2.20: “The Gang’s All Here”, 28 March 1983
* Miami Vice (NBC) as Power Station vocalist
– Episode #2.2: “Whatever Works”, 4 October 1985
* St. Elsewhere (NBC) as Donald
– Episode #4.10: “Loss of Power”, 11 December 1985
* The Insiders (ABC) as Jimmy Randall
– Episode #1.12: “Den of Thieves”, 8 January 1986
* The Hitchhiker (HBO) as The Wise Man
– Episode #2.8: “O.D. Feelin”, 28 January 1986
* My Sister Sam (CBS) as Emmett Gentry
– Episode #1.3: “Shooting Stars”, 27 October 1986
* Sledge Hammer! (ABC) as Sir Guy
– Episode #1.19: “Sledgepoo”, 14 February 1987
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #2.18: “Partners”, 2 March 1987
* Free Spirit (ABC) as Oliver Faraday
– Unaired TV-pilot, 1987
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #3.8: “The Widowmaker”, 16 November 1987

Michael as Murdoc in the MacGyver
episode Strictly Business (1991).

* Miami Vice (NBC) as Shane DuBois

– Episode #4.14: “Baseballs of Death”, 19 February 1988
* J.J. Starbuck (NBC) as Benny Bijou
– Episode #1.15: “Rag Doll”, 19 April 1988
* Ohara (ABC) as Roderick McConnell
– Episode #2.18: “Seeing Something That Isn’t There”, 30 April 1988
* Life on the Flipside (NBC) as Elliot Weedle
– Episode #1.1: “Pilot”, 29 August 1988
* ALF (NBC) as Eddie
– Episode #3.6: “Promises, Promises”, 31 October 1988
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #4.9: “Cleo Rocks”, 6 February 1989
* 21 Jump Street (FOX) as Mr. Karst
– Episode #3.16: “High High”, 23 April 1989
* 21 Jump Street (FOX) as Gavin McHugh
– Episode #4.3: “Eternal Flame”, 2 October 1989
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #5.6: “Halloween Knights”, 30 October 1989
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #5.12: “Serenity”, 8 January 1990
* Father Dowling Mysteries (ABC) as Alex Sawyer
– Episode #2.2: “The Exotic Dancer Mystery”, 11 January 1990
* Super Force (Syndication) as Jesse Caldwell
– Episode #1.6: “As God Is My Witness”, 2 November 1990
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #6.19: “Strictly Business”, 8 April 1991
* Roseanne (ABC) as Jerry/Steven
– Episode #3.23: “Dances With Darlene”, 30 April 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.1: “Where Are We?”, 14 September 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.2: “Where Are We Going?”, 21 September 1991
* MacGyver (ABC) as Murdoc
– Episode #7.3: “Obsessed”, 30 September 1991
* The Adventures of Superboy (Syndication) as Adam Verrell
– Episode #4.1: “A Change of Heart (part 1)”, 30 September 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.4: “Then Came Nessman”, 5 October 1991
* The Adventures of Superboy (Syndication) as Adam Verrell
– Episode #4.2: “A Change of Heart (part 2)”, 7 October 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.5: “Lotto Fever”, 12 October 1991
* Roseanne (ABC) as Jerry/Steven
– Episode #4.5: “Tolerate Thy Neighbor”, 15 October 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.7: “Cincinnati’s Favorite Couple”, 26 October 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.8: “Here Comes Everybody (Part 1)”, 2 November 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.9: “Here Comes Everybody (Part 2)”, 9 November 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.10: “The Real Thing”, 16 November 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.11: “Good Old Radio Days”, 23 November 1991
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.13: “Hip Hop KRP”, 18 January 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.14: “You Are My Sunshine…”, 25 January 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.15: “Razor D Rules”, 1 February 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.16: “Jennifer And The Prince”, 8 February 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.17: “Long Live The King”, 15 February 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.18: “Mamma Was A Rolling Stone”, 22 February 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.19: “Number One Fan”, 29 February 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.20: “Chicken a la Russe”, 2 May 1992
* The New WKRP In Cincinnati (Syndication) as Jack Allen
– Episode #1.21: “Where’s Jack?”, 9 May 1992
* Batman: The Animated Series (FOX) as Carl Fowler/Nostromos
– Episode #1.22: “Prophecy of Doom”, 6 October 1992**
* Legend of Prince Valiant (The Family Channel) as unknown
– Episode #2.3: “The Black Rose”, 1992**
* The Hat Squad (CBS) as Carlton Fischer
– Episode #1.12: “The Twelfth Victim”, 30 January 1993
* The Jackie Thomas Show (ABC) as Documentary director
– Episode #1.13: “Strike”, 23 February 1993
* Seinfeld (NBC) as Restauranteur
– Episode #4.21: “The Smelly Car”, 15 April 1993
* L.A. Law (NBC) as Mr. Allesio
– Episode #8.17: “Silence Is Golden”, 14 April 1994
* Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (ABC) as Lenny Stoke
– Episode #2.2: “Wall Of Sound”, 25 September 1994
* Northern Exposure (CBS) as Feliks Dzerzhinsky
– Episode #6.6: “Zarya”, 31 October 1994
* Marker (UPN) as Beau Brazilicus
– Episode #1.3: “Cloud Warriors”, 31 January 1995
* The Commish (ABC) as Aaron DeFord
– Episode #4.17: “Cry Wolf”, 2 March 1995
* Renegade (Syndication) as Michael St. John
– Episode #3.22: “Hit Man”, 8 May 1995
* Freakazoid! (WB) as Man In Hole
– Episode #1.3: “The Sewer Rescue”, 23 September 1995**
* Ellen (ABC) as Nigel/Director
– Episode #3.9: “The Movie Show”, 22 November 1995
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #4.27: “Triumph of the Bill”, 18 March 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #4.28: What Comes Up, Must Come Down, 1 April 1996
* Too Something aka. “New York Daze” (FOX) as unknown
– Episode #1.20: “Meter Feeders”, (unaired) 1996
* The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (Cartoon Network) as Merlin
– Episode #1.12: “The Alchemist”, 10 September 1996**
* Spider-Man (FOX Kids) as Jackson Weele
– Episode #3.5: “Sins of the Fathers, Part 5: The Rocket Racer”, 14 September 1996**
* The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (Cartoon Network) as Rodney
– Episode #1.17: “The Spectre of the Pine Barrens”, 17 September 1996**
* Sliders (FOX) as Vincent Cardoza
– Episode #3.6: “The Dream Masters”, 18 October 1996
* Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (USA Network) as Kano
– Episode #1.6: “Familiar Red”, 26 October 1996**
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.5: “Un-Janed Melody”, 28 October 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.6: “Jane’s Addiction”, 4 November 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.7: “Young Doctors in Heat”, 11 November 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.8: “Mission: Interpersonal”, 11 November 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.9: “Farewell Mike’s Concubine”, 18 November 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.10: “Nice Work If You Can Get It”, 25 November 1996
* Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (USA Network) as Kano
– Episode #1.11: “Amends”, 30 November 1996**
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.11: “Sole Sister”, 2 December 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.12: “Quest For Mother”, 9 December 1996
* Melrose Place (FOX) as Arthur Field
– Episode #5.16: “Eyes of the Storm”, 20 January 1997
* Adventures from the Book of Virtues (PBS Kids) as Haman/Royal Guard
– Episode #1.8: “Loyalty”, 9 February 1997**
* Roseanne (ABC) as Dr. Phillips
– Episode #9.19: “The Miracle”, 25 February 1997
* JAG (CBS) as King Josif
– Episode #2.9: “Washington Holiday”, 28 February 1997
* Ellen (ABC) as The Patient
– Episode #4.21: “The Clip Show Patient”, 8 April 1997
* Hitz (UPN) as unknown
– Episode #1.14: “What’s Your Name, Who’s Your Daddy?”, (unaired in the US) 1997
* Just Shoot Me! (NBC) as Nick Hewitt
– Episode #2.15: Nina in the Cantina, 24 February 1998
* The Pretender (NBC) as Douglas Willard
– Episode #3.3: “Once In A Blue Moon”, 31 Oct. 1998
* Nash Bridges (CBS) as Niles Maynard
– Episode #4.14: “Superstition”, 12 February 1999
* Dead Last (WB) as J. L. Crawford
– Episode #1.12: “The Crawford Touch”, (unaired in the US) 2001
* Providence (NBC) as Yule
– Episode #4.14: “All the King’s Men”, 1 February 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.1: “Pilot”, 14 March 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.2: “The New Drummer”, 14 March 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.6: “Inspiration”, (unaired in the US) 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.7: “The Yoko Factor”, (unaired in the US) 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.9: “The Competition”, (unaired in the US) 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.10: “The Wedding Singers”, (unaired in the US) 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.12: “The Betrayal”, (unaired in the US) 2002
* My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (WB) as Eric Darnell
– Episode #1.13: “The Deal”, (unaired in the US) 2002
* Charmed (WB) as Dark priest
– Episode #4.19: “We’re Off To See The Wizards”, 25 April 2002
* She Spies (NBC) as Dr. Zirby
– Episode #1.3: “Poster Girl”, 3 August 2002
* The Gilmore Girls (WB) as Claude Clemenceau
– Episode #3.9: “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”, 26 November 2002
* Frasier (NBC) as Georges
– Episode #11.20: “And Frasier Makes Three”, 20 April 2004
* JAG (CBS) as Howie Black
– Episode #9.22: “Trojan Horse”, 14 May 2004
* Dead Like Me (Showtime) as Gideon Jeffries
– Episode #2.6: “In Escrow”, 29 August 2004
* Hawaii (NBC) as Preston Tucker
– Episode #1.6: “No Man is an Island”, 29 September 2004
* Alias (ABC) as Miles Devereaux
– Episode #4.10: The Index, 9 March 2005
* Four Kings (NBC) as Nick Dresden
– Episode #1.4: “Tale of the Tape”, 26 January 2006
* Four Kings (NBC) as Nick Dresden
– Episode #1.5: “The Elephant in the Room”, 2 February 2006
* Four Kings (NBC) as Nick Dresden
– Episode #1.8: “House Rules”, (unaired in the US) 2006
* Four Kings (NBC) as Nick Dresden
– Episode #1.9: “Bobby’s Song”, (unaired in the US) 2006
* Four Kings (NBC) as Nick Dresden
– Episode #1.11: “Check, Please”, (unaired in the US) 2006
* Nip/Tuck (FX) as Everett Poe
– Episode #5.3: “Everett Poe”, 13 November 2007
* Bones (FOX) as Simon Graham
– Episode #5.19: “The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle”, 29 April 2010
The Michael Des Barres Band

TO BOOK: Frank Gironda @ Lookout Management: 310-319-1331

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The Beatles: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1

November 16, 2004 – The Beatles: The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 (Box Set) is released.
# Allmusic 3.5/5

The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 is a box set compilation comprising The Beatles’ 1964 American Capitol Records releases. The set, which features the official stereo versions of a number of tracks on compact disc, was released in late 2004. The CDs were mastered from submaster tapes from the Capitol Records vaults which were prepared by Capitol A&R executive Dave Dexter, Jr, who added reverb to several tracks and simulated stereo (“fake stereo”) on mono tracks.

The box set debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart on 4 December 2004 at number 35 with sales of 37,303 copies. It spent 6 weeks on the chart. The box was certified with gold and platinum awards on 17 December 2004 by the RIAA.

ESSAY from Bruce Spizer
Capitol records recently announced the Nov.16, 2004, release of its first four Beatles albums on compact disc in a limited edition box set. “The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1” includes the four Beatles albums issued by the company in 1964: “Meet The Beatles!”, “The Beatles’ Second Album,” “Something New” and “Beatles ’65.” These were the albums that Americans grew up with not only in the sixties, but also in the seventies and eighties when these landmark albums continued to sell as catalog items introducing the Beatles to second and third generation fans. Although these albums exposed millions of Americans to the Beatles, they are sometimes criticized for not being what the Beatles intended. Beatles historians and fans have passionate feelings about these albums. Recent commentaries and postings on the internet by Beatles fans and scholars not only demonstrate the strong opinions held regarding these albums, but also show that these albums are misunderstood.

Those condemning the Capitol albums often claim that the company remixed the songs, added echo and issued everything in Duophonic fake stereo. That is simply not true. While some songs were altered, most were not. As detailed below, 38 of the 45 songs appearing on the first four Capitol albums are true stereo mixes prepared by George Martin. While the eight stereo songs appearing on “The Beatles’ Second Album” have added echo, the others do not.

The important thing to know is that “The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1” marks the stereo debut on CD of 32 Beatles songs. Hearing George Martin’s stereo mixes of songs such as “And I Love Her,” “If I Fell,” “Things We Said Today,” “No Reply”and “I’ll Follow The Sun” on CD will certainly be a treat.

Some people have unfairly accused Capitol of greed when discussing the box set. Each of the four albums is presented in both mono and stereo, a decision that was made to please fans even though it increased the royalties and cut significantly into Capitol’s profits. That doesn’t sound like greed to me. It sounds more like the Beatles practice of giving fans good value for their money. (As of this date, none of the Beatles British albums have been released in both mono and stereo versions on CD.)

Most of the negative comments regarding the Capitol albums are general statements criticizing the running order of the songs and the horrendous mixes. When each album is carefully examined, it becomes clear that these albums are neither travesties nor sonic disasters.

”Meet The Beatles!” features the same striking Robert Freeman cover photo as the British LP “With The Beatles.” However, for financial and marketing reasons, Capitol made alterations to disc’s lineup. In order to save on song publishing royalties, the company limited its LP to the American standard of 12 songs rather than the British standard of 14. (In the U.K., publishing royalties are calculated on a per disc basis where each publisher shares pro-rata in the royalties paid on album sales. Thus, there is no additional cost to the record company for having extra songs. In the U.S., royalties are calculated on a per song basis. Each extra song costs the record company money. That is why the U.S. standard was a lesser number of songs.)

While Brian Epstein and producer George Martin believed that singles should not be placed on albums because it forced consumers to buy the same songs twice, Capitol believed that hit singles made hit albums. Thus, Capitol opened its first Beatles album with both sides of its Beatles single, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” followed by the British B-side “This Boy.” The remaining tracks selected by Capitol were the British album’s seven Lennon-McCartney originals, George Harrison’s “Don’t Bother Me” and the Broadway show tune “‘Till There Was You,” a song even mom and dad could appreciate. By choosing original compositions and dropping five cover versions of songs originally recorded by American artists, Capitol could exploit the song writing talents of the group. In sequencing the songs from ”With The Beatles,” Capitol followed the running order chosen by George Martin, except, of course, for the tracks dropped from the lineup.

”Meet The Beatles!” was the perfect album to introduce the group to America. Capitol’s marketing strategy of placing the hit single I Want To Hold Your Hand on the album paid off. In two months time, “Meet The Beatles!” sold over 3.6 million copies–ten times more than even Capitol’s most optimistic sales forecasts. The album went on to sell over 5 million copies.

It should be noted that in the early sixties, teen albums rarely sold in excess of a few hundred thousand copies. Capitol’s success with its reconfigured Beatles albums containing hit singles changed that. Record companies soon realized that well-crafted rock albums could be big sellers. A few years later, thanks to the Beatles and Capitol, the album replaced the single as the dominant pop and rock music format.

”The Beatles’ Second Album” is admittedly a pieces-parts album, containing the five leftover songs from “With The Beatles” (“Roll Over Beethoven,” “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “Devil In Her Heart,” “Money” and “Please Mister Postman”), three B-sides (“Thank You Girl,” “You Can’t Do That” and “I’ll Get You”), two freshly recorded songs that would later end up on the British “Long Tall Sally” EP (“Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name”) and the hit single “She Loves You.” That said, it is an amazingly effective album full of great rock ‘n’ roll songs such as “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Money” and “Please Mister Postman” anchored by the hit single “She Loves You.” It was number one on the Billboard Top LP’s chart for five weeks and had certified sales of over two million units.

”Something New” is arguably the weakest album of the bunch. Capitol was faced with a dilemma brought on by United Artists’ film contract with The Beatles that covered A Hard Day’s Night. UA had the exclusive right to issue a soundtrack album in America, so Capitol had to come up with something new to compete with the soundtrack LP. Capitol’s album mixed songs appearing on the UA disc (“I’ll Cry Instead,” “Tell Me Why,” “And I Love Her,” “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” and “If I Fell”) with a few songs from The Beatles latest British album (“Things We Said Today,” “Any Time At All” and “When I Get Home”), the two remaining rockers from the “Long Tall Sally” EP (“Slow Down” and ”Matchbox”) and a version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” sung in German titled ”Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand.” Although “Something New” was unable to knock the UA soundtrack album from the number one position, the Capitol album stayed at number two for nine weeks and sold over two million copies.

”Beatles ’65” featured eight songs from the group’s latest British LP, “Beatles For Sale” (namely “No Reply,” “I’m A Loser,” “Baby’s In Black,” “Rock And Roll Music,” “I’ll Follow The Sun,” “Mr. Moonlight,” “Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby”), and both sides of their latest single, “I Feel Fine” and “She’s A Woman,” plus “I’ll Be Back,” which was on the British “A Hard Day’s Night” LP but had yet to appear in America. Capitol did not completely deviate from the running order of the songs on “Beatles For Sale,” with side one bearing a strong resemblance to the British disc. So much so that the album can be described as “Beatles For Sale, Part 1.” The disc held down the number one spot on the Billboard Top LP’s chart for nine straight weeks and sold over three million units.

As for Capitol’s alleged remixing of the songs, here are the facts. EMI did not send Capitol original two-track or four-track master tapes, so Capitol could not have “horrifically remixed” the stereo songs even if Capitol had wanted to. Capitol used the same stereo mixes for its albums as those sent to Capitol by George Martin. In a few instances, the U.S. mixes sent by Martin differed from those that ended up on the Parlophone albums. Sometimes this was intentional on Martin’s part. Other times it was a case of Capitol getting an earlier mix that was later improved upon.

On the first two albums, the stereo mixes have the instruments on one channel and the vocals on the other. This was not done by Capitol. This is a result of how the songs were recorded. George Martin recorded those songs on a two-track recorder. To ensure he could get a proper mono mix that had the vocals at the proper level, he recorded the instruments on one track and the vocals on the other. So if you don’t like the stereo mixes on the first two albums, don’t blame Capitol. The company used what it was sent. The stereo mixes on “Meet The Beatles!” are exactly the same as those appearing on the stereo version of “With The Beatles.”

For the stereo version of “The Beatles’ Second Album,” Capitol did add echo to the stereo masters. The box to the stereo master tape for the Capitol album indicates that the songs were dubbed with E/Q and limiter plus echo. This explains why the songs on the stereo album have significantly more echo than those on the mono album or the British version of the songs. This is particularly noticeable on the cover songs, such as “Roll Over Beethoven” and ”Please Mister Postman.”

The stereo mixes found on the Capitol albums “Something New” and “Beatles ’65” use stereo mixes sent by George Martin. With a few exceptions, they are the same as the stereo mixes on the British LPs “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Beatles For Sale.” Except for the songs “I Feel Fine” and “She’s A Woman,” Capitol did not add echo to the masters tapes of those U.S. albums.

Three of the Capitol stereo albums contain a few duophonic fake stereo mixes. This was in keeping with the practice at the time that every song on a stereo album should either be a true stereo mix or a simulated fake stereo mix. Engineers took a mono recording and placed in on two tracks, with the bass being boosted on one track and the treble being tweaked on the other. Sometimes the two tracks were slightly out of phase to add to the illusion. Capitol was not alone in this practice. All record companies did it, including George Martin’s Parlophone label. The stereo version of the “Please Please Me” LP has simulated stereo mixes of “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.”

While some critics give the impression that all of the four Capitol stereo albums are full of duophonic echo-drenched mixes, this is clearly not the case. Capitol only made duophonic mixes for the seven songs that had no stereo masters at the time the albums were compiled. Most of these songs, especially “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You,” are effective simulated stereo mixes. However, the duophonic mixes for “I Feel Fine” and “She’s A Woman” are truly horrendous.

For the songs taken from “With The Beatles” that appear on the mono versions of “Meet The Beatles!” and “The Beatles’ Second Album,” Capitol created its own mono mixes by reducing the stereo master in a 2-to-1 mix-down. As the stereo master for the album was nothing more than a balanced copy of the original two-track master tape, Capitol’s engineer merely duplicated what George Martin had done in mixing the mono master. Why Capitol did this is not entirely clear. It is possible that Capitol did not initially have the mono master tape for the album, but that seems unlikely. A Capitol engineer who has been with the company since the fifties told me that 2-to-1 mix-downs of stereo masters were sometimes made under the belief that this gave the mono songs a fuller sound.

Those who rightfully point out that the Beatles had no part in compiling the Capitol albums often downplay or ignore the involvement of George Martin and Brian Epstein. While George Martin did not program the Capitol albums and did not approve of the practice, he and Brian Epstein were fully aware that Capitol was reconfiguring Beatles albums specifically for the American market and understood Capitol’s reasons for doing so. They cooperated with Capitol’s plans by supplying the label with songs to place on the American albums. When Capitol needed a few more songs to round out “The Beatles’ Second Album,” George Martin, with Brian’s approval, sent the company “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name.” For “Beatles VI,” George Martin sent Capitol four new songs, namely “You Like Me Too Much,” “Tell Me What You See,” “Bad Boy” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzie.” The latter two songs were recorded specifically for Capitol. “Dizzy Miss Lizzie” ended up on the British Help! LP because the group needed an extra song. “Bad Boy” was slapped on a British greatest hits collection. When Capitol was compiling its “Yesterday…And Today” album, George Martin sent the company three songs from the upcoming “Revolver” album.

By the time the Beatles submitted “Sgt. Pepper” to Capitol, the practice of re-configuring albums had stopped. Capitol knew the Beatles had recorded a brilliant album that needed to be left intact. Capitol’s engineers did, however, deviate slightly from the British album by not adding the high pitch whistle or the inner groove gibberish attached to the end of the British albums. Thus, the end-of-the-world feeling one gets from the final sustained chord of “A Day In The Life” is not disturbed by the extras tacked onto the British LPs.

For “Magical Mystery Tour,” Capitol ripped off fans by converting the convenient double EP set into an album by padding the record with filler such as “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “Hello Goodbye” and “All You Need Is Love.” (Tongue firmly in cheek for the last sentence.) Nine years after the release of Capitol’s “Magical Mystery Tour LP,” Parlophone issued the same album, even using the same Capitol master tapes, which included duophonic mixes of three of the songs! (When the album was issued on CD, true stereo mixes were used for all of the songs.)

It has often been said that Capitol butchered the Beatles carefully crafted records. Some Beatles authors and fans have speculated that the infamous butcher cover was created for Capitol’s “Yesterday…And Today” LP as a not-too-subtle dig at Capitol for butchering the group’s albums. While this makes a good story, it is simply not true. The butcher photos were conceived by photographer Bob Whitaker as part of a bizarre series of images titled “A Somnambulant Adventure.” John chose the butcher photo for the cover as a subtle protest against the Vietnam War. After the recall of the cover he stated, “It’s as relevant as Vietnam. If the public can accept something as cruel as the war, they can accept this cover.” Capitol made changes to the Beatles albums to help sell the albums in America. The company’s strategy of placing hit singles on the albums clearly contributed to the huge sales generated in America. Capitol did not butcher the Beatles; Capitol marketed the Beatles.

Some critics of these albums have gone so far as to say that Capitol’s recent decision to release the albums on CD is an act of greed committed under the guise of giving American baby-boomer fans “what they want.” The only truth in such comments is that Capitol is giving Beatles fans “what they want.” This is not a case of Capitol telling baby-boomers what they want. It is a case of baby-boomers telling Capitol what they want and Capitol responding accordingly. Anyone who checks out Beatles-related posts on the Internet or reads Beatles magazines such as Beatlefan and Beatlology knows that fans have been clamoring for these albums on CD for over 15 years. We grew up with and loved these albums. We are grateful they are
finally being released on CD. It is unfair to criticize a record company for appropriately responding to fan requests.

It is also unfair for people to criticize what the CDs will sound like without first hearing the CDs. Although I have yet to hear the final approved versions of the CDs as of this time, I am willing to bet a box of Krispy Kreme donuts that even the most vocal critics of the Capitol albums will enjoy hearing the George Martin stereo mixes of “And I Love Her,” “If I Fell,” “Things We Said Today,” “No Reply” and “I’ll Follow The Sun” on CD for the first time.

For those that believe the release of the Capitol albums on CD is an insult to the efforts of the Beatles, George Martin and Brian Epstein, I strongly disagree. While I understand the merits of standardizing the Beatles catalog throughout the world and presenting the albums as the Beatles intended, the issuance of the American albums in a limited edition box set does not compromise either. By restricting the U.S. albums to box sets, consumers will not be confused by seeing “With The Beatles” on sale next to “Meet The Beatles!” or finding two different versions of “Rubber Soul” in the CD bins in music stores. I think Capitol and Apple came up with a great compromise by maintaining the U.K. catalog as the standard and releasing the U.S. albums in a limited format for those who want to hear what Americans heard in the sixties, seventies and eighties. After all, America was and still is the Beatles biggest market. The Beatles legacy is not harmed by the release The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1. To the contrary, an important part of the Beatles legacy has now been preserved.

BRUCE SPIZER is a first generation Beatles fan and well-known Beatles author/historian. He is considered the leading expert on the group’s North American record releases. He has an extensive Beatles collection, concentrating primarily on American and Canadian first issue records, record promotional items, press kits and posters. A “taxman” by day, Spizer is a board certified tax attorney and certified public accountant. A “paperback writer” by night, he is the author of the critically acclaimed books “The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay,” “The Beatles’ Story on Capitol Records, Parts One and Two,” “The Beatles on Apple Records” and “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.” His articles have appeared in Beatlology Magazine, Beatlefan, Day Trippin’, Goldmine and American History. He maintains the popular Beatles collectors internet site Mr. Spizer has been serving as a consultant on the Capitol Beatle albums box set project.


All tracks written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, except where noted. 

Side one
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” – 2:24
“I Saw Her Standing There” – 2:50
“This Boy” – 2:11
“It Won’t Be Long” – 2:11
“All I’ve Got to Do” – 2:05
“All My Loving” – 2:04

Side two
“Don’t Bother Me” (George Harrison) – 2:28
“Little Child” – 1:46
“Till There Was You” (Meredith Willson) – 2:12
“Hold Me Tight” – 2:30
“I Wanna Be Your Man” – 1:59
“Not a Second Time” – 2:03

All tracks written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, except where noted. 

Side one
“Roll Over Beethoven” (Chuck Berry)
“Thank You Girl”
“You Really Got a Hold on Me” (Smokey Robinson)
“Devil in Her Heart” (Richard Drapkin)
“Money (That’s What I Want)” (Janie Bradford, Berry Gordy, Jr.)
“You Can’t Do That”

Side two
“Long Tall Sally” (Robert Blackwell, Enotris Johnson, Little Richard)
“I Call Your Name”
“Please Mister Postman” (Robert Bateman, Georgia Dobbins, Garrett, Fred Gorman, Brian Holland)
“I’ll Get You”
“She Loves You”

All tracks written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Lennon/McCartney), except where noted.

Side one
“I’ll Cry Instead”
“Things We Said Today”
“Any Time at All”
“When I Get Home”
“Slow Down” (Larry Williams)
“Matchbox” (Carl Perkins)

Side two
“Tell Me Why”
“And I Love Her”
“I’m Happy Just to Dance with You”
“If I Fell”
“Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” (Lennon/McCartney/Nicolas/Heller)

All tracks written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Lennon/McCartney), except where noted.

Side one
“No Reply” – 2:15
“I’m a Loser” – 2:31
“Baby’s in Black” – 2:02
“Rock and Roll Music” (Chuck Berry) – 2:32
“I’ll Follow the Sun” – 1:46
“Mr. Moonlight” (Roy Lee Johnson) – 2:35

Side two
“Honey Don’t” (Carl Perkins) – 2:56
“I’ll Be Back” – 2:22
“She’s a Woman” – 2:57
“I Feel Fine” – 2:20
“Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” (Perkins) – 2:24

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Led Zeppelin: IV – 40 YEARS AND COUNTING…

November 8, 1971 – Led Zeppelin: IV (ZOSO) is released.
# Allmusic 5/5
# Rolling Stone, Billboard, Circus, Playboy (see original reviews below)
The fourth album by Led Zeppelin was released on this date in November 1971. No title is printed on the album, so it is generally referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, following the naming standard used by the band’s first three studio albums. The album has alternatively been referred to as the Four Symbols logo, Four Symbols, The Fourth Album (those two titles each having been used in the Atlantic catalog), Untitled, The Runes, The Hermit, and ZoSo, the latter of which is derived from the symbol used by Jimmy Page for the album sleeve.
Upon its release, Led Zeppelin IV was a commercial and critical success. The album is one of the best-selling albums worldwide at 32 million units. It has shipped over 23 million units in the United States alone, making it the third-best-selling album ever in the US. In 2003, the album was ranked 66th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
The album was initially recorded at Island Records’s newly opened Basing Street Studios, London, at the same time as Jethro Tull’s Aqualung in December 1970. Upon the suggestion of Fleetwood Mac, the band then moved to Headley Grange, a remote Victorian house in East Hampshire, England, to conduct additional recordings. Here they used the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Jimmy Page later recalled: “We needed the sort of facilities where we could have a cup of tea and wander around the garden and go in and do what we had to do.” This relaxed, atmospheric environment at Headley Grange also provided other advantages for the band. As is explained by Dave Lewis, “By moving into Headley Grange for the whole period of recording, many of the tracks [on the album] were made up on the spot and committed to tape almost there and then.”
Once the basic tracks had been recorded, the band later added overdubs at Island Studios, and then took the completed master tapes to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles for mixing. However, the mix ultimately proved to be less than satisfactory, creating an unwanted delay in the album’s release. Further mixing had to be undertaken in London, pushing the final release date back by some months.
Three other songs from the sessions, “Down by the Seaside”, “Night Flight” and “Boogie With Stu” (featuring Rolling Stones cofounder/collaborator Ian Stewart on piano), did not appear on the album, but were included four years later on the double album Physical Graffiti.
After the lukewarm, if not confused and sometimes dismissive, critical reaction Led Zeppelin III had received in late 1970, Page decided that the next Led Zeppelin album would not have a title, but would instead feature four hand-drawn symbols on the inner sleeve and record label, each one chosen by the band member it represents. “We decided that on the fourth album, we would deliberately play down the group name, and there wouldn’t be any information whatsoever on the outer jacket”, Page explained. “Names, titles and things like that do not mean a thing.”

Page has also stated that the decision to release the album without any written information on the album sleeve was contrary to strong advice given to him by a press agent, who said that after a year’s absence from both records and touring, the move would be akin to “professional suicide”. In his words: “We just happened to have a lot of faith in what we were doing.” In an interview he gave to The Times in 2010, he elaborated:

It wasn’t easy. The record company were sort of insisting that the name go on it. There were eyes looking towards heaven if you like. It was hinted it was professional suicide to go out with an album with no title. The reality of it was that we’d had so many dour reviews to our albums along the way. At the time each came out it was difficult sometimes for the reviewers to come to terms with what was on there, without an immediate point of reference to the previous album. But the ethic of the band was very much summing up where we were collectively at that point in time. An untitled album struck me as the best answer to all the critics — because we knew the way that the music was being received both by sales and attendance at concerts.

Owing to the lack of an official title, Atlantic initially distributed graphics of the symbols in many sizes to the press for inclusion in charts and articles. The album was one of the first to be produced without conventional identification, and this communicated an anti-commercial stance that was controversial at the time (especially among certain executives at Atlantic Records).

The idea for each member of the band to choose a personal emblem for the cover was Page’s. In an interview he gave in 1977, he recalled:

After all this crap that we’d had with the critics, I put it to everybody else that it’d be a good idea to put out something totally anonymous. At first I wanted just one symbol on it, but then it was decided that since it was our fourth album and there were four of us, we could each choose our own symbol. I designed mine and everyone else had their own reasons for using the symbols that they used.

Page stated that he designed his own symbol and has never publicly disclosed any reasoning behind it. However, it has been argued that his symbol appeared as early as 1557 to represent Saturn. The symbol is sometimes referred to as “ZoSo”, though Page has explained that it was not in fact intended to be a word at all.

Bassist John Paul Jones’ symbol, which he chose from Rudolf Koch’s Book of Signs, is a single circle intersecting three vesica pisces (a triquetra). It is intended to symbolise a person who possesses both confidence and competence. 
Drummer John Bonham’s symbol, the three interlocking rings, was picked by the drummer from the same book. It represents the triad of mother, father and child, but also happens to be the logo for Ballantine beer.

Singer Robert Plant’s symbol was his own design, being based on the sign of the supposed Mu civilisation.

There is also a fifth, smaller symbol chosen by guest vocalist Sandy Denny representing her contribution to the track “The Battle of Evermore”; it appears in the credits list on the inner sleeve of the LP, serving as an asterisk and is shaped like three triangles touching at their points.

During Led Zeppelin’s tour of the United Kingdom in winter 1971, which took place shortly following the release of the album, the band visually projected the four symbols on their stage equipment. Page’s symbol was put onto one of his Marshall amplifiers, Bonham’s three interlinked circles adorned the outer face of his bass drum, Jones had his symbol stencilled onto material which was draped across his Fender Rhodes keyboard, and Plant’s feather symbol was painted onto a side speaker PA cabinet. Only Page’s and Bonham’s symbols were retained for subsequent Led Zeppelin concert tours.

Releasing the album without an official title has made it difficult to consistently identify. While most commonly called Led Zeppelin IV, Atlantic Records catalogs have used the names Four Symbols and The Fourth Album. It has also been referred to as ZoSo (which, as noted above, Page’s symbol appears to spell), Untitled and Runes. Page frequently refers to the album in interviews as “the fourth album” and “Led Zeppelin IV”, and Plant thinks of it as “the fourth album, that’s it”. Not only does the album have no title, but there is no writing anywhere on the front or back cover, or even a catalogue number on the spine (at least on the original LP release).
In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Led Zeppelin IV the 26th greatest album of all time; in 2000 Q placed it at #26 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. 
In 2003, the album was ranked number 66 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. 
It is ranked at #7 on Pitchfork Media’s Top 100 Albums of the 1970s.

In 2006, the album was rated #1 on Classic Rock magazine’s 100 Greatest British Albums poll.
Also in 2006, it was voted #1 in Guitar World 100 Greatest Albums readers’ poll and was ranked #7 in ABC media’s top ten albums.
It might seem a bit incongruous to say that Led Zeppelin — a band never particularly known for its tendency to understate matters — has produced an album which is remarkable for its low-keyed and tasteful subtely, but that’s just the case here. The march of the dinosaurs that broke the ground for their first epic release has apparently vanished, taking along with it the splattering electronics of their second effort and the leaden acoustic moves that seemed to weigh down their third. What’s been saved is the pumping adrenalin drive that held the key to such classics as “Communication Breakdown” and “Whole Lotta Love,” the incredibly sharp and precise vocal dynamism of Robert Plant, and some of the tightest arranging and producing Jimmy Page has yet seen his way toward doing. If this thing with the semi-metaphysical title isn’t quite their best to date, since the very chances that the others took meant they would visit some outrageous highs as well as some overbearing lows, it certainly comes off as their most consistently good.
One of the ways in which this is demonstrated is the sheer variety of the album: out of the eight cuts, there isn’t one that steps on another’s toes, that tries to do too much all at once. There are Olde English ballads (“The Ballad of Evermore” with a lovely performance by Sandy Denny), a kind of pseudo-blues just to keep in touch (“Four Sticks”), a pair of authentic Zepplinania (“Black Dog” and “Misty Mountain Hop”), some stuff that I might actually call shy and poetic if it didn’t carry itself off so well (“Stairway to Heaven” and “Going To California”), and a couple of songs that when all is said and done, will probably be right up there in the gold-starred hierarchy of put ’em on and play ’em agains. The first, coyly titled “Rock And Roll,” is the Zeppelin’s slightly-late attempt at tribute to the mother of us all, but here it’s definitely a case of better late than never. This sonuvabitch moves, with Plant musing vocally on how “It’s been a long, lonely lonely time” since last he rock & rolled, the rhythm section soaring underneath. Page strides up to take a nice lead during the break, one of the all-too-few times he flashes his guitar prowess during the record, and its note-for-note simplicity says a lot for the ways in which he’s come of age over the past couple of years.
The end of the album is saved for “When The Levee Breaks,” strangely credited to all the members of the band plus Memphis Minnie, and it’s a dazzler. Basing themselves around one honey of a chord progression, the group constructs an air of tunnel-long depth, full of stunning resolves and a majesty that sets up as a perfect climax. Led Zep have had a lot of imitators over the past few years, but it takes cuts like this to show that most of them have only picked up the style, lacking any real knowledge of the meat underneath.
Uh huh, they got it down all right. And since the latest issue of Cashbox noted that this ‘un was a gold disc on its first day of release, I guess they’re about to nicely keep it up. Not bad for a pack of Limey lemon squeezers.
– Lenny Kaye, Rolling Stone, 12-23-71.
The fourth powerhouse album release for Led Zeppelin offers all the play and sales potency of the other three smash hit packages. Heavy cuts include “Rock and Roll,” “Misty Mountain,” “Going to California,” and “Black Dog,” all of which will put the package at the top of the charts.
– Billboard, 1971.
Some rock stars want to do folk. Some folk stars yearn to be rock ‘n’ rollers. Led Zeppelin seems to want both. So much for the schizoid nature of Led Zeppelin. The group’s roots have always been in hard bluesy British rock, and on this LP there are several good examples of this — the most outstanding is “When The Levee Breaks.” But, as with the third album, they have spliced in some folky things and these provide a pleasant contrast. “Going To California” is a dreamlike acoustic piece which segues in and out of the echo chamber. Ex-Fairport Convention lead singer Sandy Denny shows up on “The Battle of Evermore” lending a shimmeringly beautiful voice to what is already a splendid selection. Then, for all the no-nonsense freaks out there, comes “Rock and Roll” — three minutes and forty of the stuff of which livin’ lovin’ maids are made. If you don’t mind shifting moods suddenly from the heavy to the soft, and vice versa, you should find this a relatively satisfying set.
– Ed Kelleher, Circus, 1-72.
Call it Led Zeppelin IV, since it carries no printed information on its cover, only a picture of a bent old gent bearing a great faggot of sticks. Inside are four arcane-looking symbols that, word has it, are ancient runes that Jimmy Page may have used to represent each of the four members of the group. But the real mystery here is that the old Zepp has become so good. The group finally has made its own brand of high-volume tastelessness into great rock, and not all of it is at high volume, either. Besides the flamboyant Page solos and the typical, heavily layered sounds of tunes such as “Rock and Roll,” there are subtle instrumental effects (the dulcimer on “The Battle of Evermore,” for example). With “Stairway to Heaven,” the group ascends into the realm of seriousness — getting into madrigals, yet, and quasi-poetry — and does it without stumbling.
– Playboy, 3-72
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 Black Dog (Jimmy Page/Robert Plant/John Paul Jones) 4:54
2 Rock and Roll (Page/Plant/Jones/John Bonham) 3:40
3 The Battle of Evermore (Page/Plant) 5:51
4 Stairway to Heaven (Page/Plant) 8:02
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5 Misty Mountain Hop (Page/Plant/Jones) 4:38
6 Four Sticks (Page/Plant) 4:44
7 Going to California (Page/Plant) 3:31
8 When the Levee Breaks (Memphis Minnie/Page/Plant/Jones/Bonham) 7:07

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BEACH BOYS: The Pet Sounds Sessions and/or How a Classic was Made

The Beach Boys: The Pet Sounds Sessions

November 4, 1997 – The Beach Boys: The Pet Sounds Sessions (Box Set) is released.
# Allmusic 5/5
# Rolling Stone (see review of “Pet Sounds” from 1972 below)

The Pet Sounds Sessions is a 4-CD boxed set released on this date in 1997 which compiles tracks from The Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds, and its recording sessions. The album is included in its entirety in its original mono mix, as well as a stereo mix. The set also contains instrumental tracks, vocals-only tracks, alternate mixes, and edited highlights from the recording sessions for many of the album’s songs, as well as several songs not included on the album.

After a tumultuous period when it seemed the Beach Boys were going to add yet another “lost” album to their canon, The Pet Sounds Sessions were finally released, and well worth the wait. More of a high-minded set than the “Good Vibrations” box, “The Pet Sounds Sessions” is an education on how what is considered to be one of the all-time best rock albums ever was made. Taking a recording-booth view, a listener gets treated to several different versions of the album, pulled apart in different ways, hearing stereo versions, studio outtakes, backing tracks, vocal tracks, alternate takes, and a remixed mono version. It can be daunting. The booklet is even more comprehensive, listing interviews with everyone involved with the project, plus admirers like Sirs Paul McCartney and George Martin (it also includes a snide prologue by Mike Love, the inclusion of which was apparently the reason the set was delayed.) At times, reading the booklet is a bit much, all the participants extensively laud Brian and Pet Sounds, it’s easy to feel quickly jaded, (and creepily almost like reading a eulogy) but it’s still very impressive. But then sit back and listen to the depth and sparkle of the newly-mixed stereo version, or soak in the HDCD-mastered mono version, or wonder at the incredible blend of voices singing of bittersweet longing, or hear the alternating sigh and thunder of the unearthed orchestral tracks, and prepare to be… transported.

Stephen Davis, June 22, 1972

Recorded and released in 1966, not long after the sunny, textural experiments of California Girls, Pet Sounds, aside from its importance as Brian Wilson’s evolutionary compositional masterpiece, was the first rock record that can be considered a “concept album”; from first cut to last we were treated to an intense, linear personal vision of the vagaries of a love affair and the painful, introverted anxieties that are the wrenching precipitates of the unstable chemistry of any love relationship. This trenchant cycle of love songs has the emotional impact of a shatteringly evocative novel, and by God if this little record didn’t change only the course of popular music, but the course of a few lives in the bargain. It sure as hell changed its creator, Brian, who by 1966 had been cruising along at the forefront of American popular music for four years, doling out a constant river of hit songs and producing that tough yet mellifluous sound that was the only intelligent innovation in pop music between Chuck Berry and the Beatles.

Previous Beach Boy albums were also based on strong conceptual images — the dream world of Surf, wired-up rods with metal flake paint, and curvaceous cuties lounging around the (implicitly suburban and affluent) high school. It was music for white kids; they could identify with the veneration of the leisure status which in 1963 was the ripest fruit of the American dream. It wasn’t bullshit, you could dance your silly brains away to “Get Around” or “Fun Fun Fun” if you felt like it.

But Pet Sounds….nobody was prepared for anything so soulful, so lovely, something one had to think about so much. It is by far the best album Brian has yet delivered, and it paradoxically began the decline in mass popularity that still plagues this band. It also reflected Brian’s preoccupation with pure sound. In fact, the credits on the new edition of Pet Sounds read: “This recording is pressed in monophonic sound, the way Brian cut it.” It’s a weird little touch. The tone of it is so mythologizing it sounds as if Brian were no longer among us.

The love songs of Pet Sounds begin with the gorgeous theme of frustrated mid-Sixties blueballed adolescence, “wouldn’t it be nice to stay together, hold each other close the whole night through?…” That question lays the entire premise of the album immediately in front of us. “You Still Believe In Me,” with Brian’s lovely harpsichord playing, carries the affair a little farther, through and past indescretion into the reconciliation of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder),” sung in Brians’ wrenching, melting butter falsetto with the gentle lyrics of Tony Asher, Brian’s major collaborator in this period, at the top of their form. There are also the perceptive songs of anxiety, malaise and self-doubt — “That’s Not Me,” “I’m Waiting For the Day,” a tribute to the larger-than-life echo chambers of Phil Spector, the striking choral ensemble of “God Only Knows” and the angst-laden “I Know There’s An Answer.” Each of these tunes has its own singular flavor, one little brilliant touch — the slur of a baritone saxophone or the luxuriant tintinnabulation of Brian’s omnipresent chimes — that puts it apart from the body of the whole record.

The Pet Sounds story ends unhappily, or at least stoically. “Here Today” is an angry blaster, and portrays a pessimism and disaffection that jars with the previous optimism. It is the end of the affair, and our persona is clearly pissed. “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” is an expression of general disenchantment with just about everything, rendered politely of course, in a low-key manner. These two tunes, like the rest of the record are great not only because of the lush, dramatic arrangements, but because the strangest of the brothers Wilson has his psyche on the pulse of universal subjectivity. Being extremely aware of fantasy himself, Brian knows how most people think.

Three cuts are impossibly dated and don’t even enter into consideration: a boring cover of “Sloop John B.” that had some success as a single (with all the genius on this record, Capitol Records chose this as the single because it probably sounded truest to preconceptions about the Beach Boy “formula”). The two instrumentals, “Pet Sounds” and “Let’s Go Away For Awhile,” are pretty mood pieces and that’s all.

The final episode of Pet Sounds is “Caroline, No,” three minutes of heartbreaking pathos, a haunting ballad that is the guts of hapless melancholy, the hollow and incredulous feeling at the loss of a lover.

Ah, Pet Sounds. Ah, the wonderful 20 second trailer right out of Thomas Hart Benton with the barking dogs, the signal bells and at the railroad crossing as a fast diesel roars by towards where you are not, the barking in the distance again and then silence. Ah, Brian.

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic
There’s little arguing that Pet Sounds is one of the greatest albums in rock & roll, and its cult, if anything, has only grown in the decades since its intial release. Part of the fascination with Pet Sounds lies in its detailed, multi-layered arrangements, in which all the parts blend together into a symphonic whole. The richness of the music is one of the reasons hardcore fans have desired a set like The Pet Sounds Sessions, a four-disc box that presents an abundance of working mixes, alternate takes, instrumental tracks, and rarities, as well as the first true stereo mix of the album. Certainly, a set this exacting is only of interest to serious fans, and even they might find the endless succession of work tracks tedious. Nevertheless, there’s something fascinating about hearing the album broken down to its individual parts; after hearing horn lines, vocals, and percussion tracks out of their original context, the scope and originality of Brian Wilson’s vision becomes all the more impressive. (Make no mistake about it, Pet Sounds is entirely Wilson’s project, despite what Mike Love states in his self-serving liner notes.) The original mono mix of Pet Sounds (included here in a minature, cardboard record sleeve) remains the best way to appreciate Wilson’s gifts, but for fans already convinced of his genius, The Pet Sounds Sessions.

All songs by Brian Wilson/Tony Asher, except where noted.

Disc one
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Stereo Mix) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:33
“You Still Believe in Me” (Stereo Mix) – 2:36
“That’s Not Me” (Stereo Mix) – 2:31
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (Stereo Mix) – 2:58
“I’m Waiting for the Day” (Stereo Mix) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 3:06
“Let’s Go Away For Awhile” (Stereo Mix) (Brian Wilson) – 2:24
“Sloop John B” (Stereo Mix) (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 2:59
“God Only Knows” (Stereo Mix) – 2:54
“I Know There’s an Answer” (Stereo Mix) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Terry Sachen) – 3:18
“Here Today” (Stereo Mix) – 3:07
“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” (Stereo Mix) – 3:21
“Pet Sounds” (Stereo Mix) (Brian Wilson) – 2:37
“Caroline, No” (Stereo Mix) – 2:53
“Sloop John B” (Highlights from tracking date) (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 1:04
“Sloop John B” (Stereo backing track) (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 3:18
“Trombone Dixie” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson) – 1:26
“Trombone Dixie” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson) – 2:50
“Pet Sounds” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson) – 0:57
“Pet Sounds” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson) – 2:48
“Let’s Go Away For Awhile” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson) – 2:20
“Let’s Go Away For Awhile” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson) – 2:51
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 7:20
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:34
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Stereo track with background vocals) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:34
“You Still Believe in Me” (Intro – session) – 1:39
“You Still Believe in Me” (Intro – master take) – 0:15
“You Still Believe in Me” (Highlights from tracking date) – 1:11
“You Still Believe in Me” (Stereo backing track) – 2:37

Disc two
“Caroline, No” (Highlights from tracking date) – 4:16
“Caroline, No” (Stereo backing track) – 2:53
“Hang on to Your Ego” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson/Terry Sachen) – 4:47
“Hang on to Your Ego” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson/Terry Sachen) – 3:23
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (Brian’s instrumental demo) – 2:20
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (Stereo backing track) – 3:11
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (String overdub) – 1:48
“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” (Highlights from tracking date) – 2:59
“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” (Stereo backing track) – 3:47
“That’s Not Me” (Highlights from tracking date) – 1:52
“That’s Not Me” (Stereo backing track) – 2:46
“Good Vibrations” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 2:41
“Good Vibrations” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 3:15
“I’m Waiting for the Day” (Highlights from tracking date) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 5:25
“I’m Waiting for the Day” (Stereo backing track) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 3:14
“God Only Knows” (Highlights from tracking date) – 9:25
“God Only Knows” (Stereo backing track) – 3:06
“Here Today” (Highlights from tracking date) – 6:37
“Here Today” (Stereo backing track) – 4:55

Disc three
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (A cappella) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:37
“You Still Believe in Me” (A cappella) – 2:47
“That’s Not Me” (A cappella) – 2:28
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (A cappella) – 3:07
“I’m Waiting for the Day” (A cappella) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 3:02
“Sloop John B” (A cappella) (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 3:09
“God Only Knows” (A cappella) – 2:49
“I Know There’s an Answer” (A cappella) (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Terry Sachen) – 2:19
“Here Today” (A cappella) – 3:29
“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” (A cappella) – 3:22
“Caroline, No” (A cappella) – 1:54
“Caroline, No” (Promotional Spot #1) :32
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Mono alternate mix) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:29
“You Still Believe in Me” (Mono alternate mix) – 2:23
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (Vocal snippet) – 0:56
“I’m Waiting for the Day” (Mono alternate mix, Mike sings lead) – (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 3:02
“Sloop John B” (Mono alternate mix, Carl sings lead) (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 3:05
“God Only Knows (Mono alternate mix, with sax solo) – 2:49
“Hang On to Your Ego” (Brian Wilson/Terry Sachen) – 3:13
“Here Today” (Mono alternate mix, Brian sings lead) – 3:07
“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times (Mono alternate mix) – 3:11
“Banana & Louie” – 0:05
“Caroline, No” (Original speed, stereo mix) – 2:24
“Dog Barking Session” (Outtakes) – 0:34
“Caroline, No” (Promotional spot #2) – 0:28
“God Only Knows” (with a cappella tag) – 2:56
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Mono alternate mix) (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:28
“Sloop John B” (Brian sings lead throughout) (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 3:04
“God Only Knows” (Mono alternate mix, Brian sings lead) – 2:42
“Caroline, No” (Original speed, mono mix) – 3:03

Disc four (Original mono Pet Sounds)
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (Brian Wilson/Tony Asher/Mike Love) – 2:33
“You Still Believe in Me” – 2:36
“That’s Not Me” – 2:31
“Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” – 2:58
“I’m Waiting for the Day” (Brian Wilson/Mike Love) – 3:06
“Let’s Go Away For Awhile” (Brian Wilson) – 2:24
“Sloop John B” (Trad. Arr. Brian Wilson) – 2:59
“God Only Knows” – 2:54
“I Know There’s an Answer” (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Terry Sachen) – 3:18
“Here Today” – 3:07
“I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” – 3:21
“Pet Sounds” (Brian Wilson) – 2:37
“Caroline, No” – 2:53


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PROFILE ARTIST – Pat Dinizio / The Smithreens

The Smithereens are still rocking after 30 years.
Every band can point to its share of early events that played an important role in the musicians meeting and joining forces in the first place. For The Smithereens, one moment included a notebook plastered with photos of The Who. Another involved an ad in a weekly music publication. The New Jersey-bred band has experienced many other significant moments along the way to reaching its 30th anniversary this year. During that time, The Smithereens have also left a melodic, muscular mark on rock ’n’ roll history, producing a discography rivaling that of its contemporaries while continuing to be a steady presence on the concert circuit. A new school year brings with it infinite possibilities, and in September 1971 at New Jersey’s Carteret High School, drummer Dennis Diken was hoping to meet musicians who also wanted to start a band. It didn’t take him long to find someone who would fit the bill. During the first week of Earth Science class, Diken spotted fellow freshman Jim Babjak. “He seemed like he might have been hipper than the average kid,” recalls Diken. “There was something about him.”
Part of that “something” was Babjak’s loose-leaf notebook, the inside of which had color photos of The Who from Hit Parader magazine. Most of Diken’s other friends at the time were into Top 40, and he says those Who pictures made him think this Babjak kid must be cool. Diken introduced himself, and he says they hit it off immediately. When Babjak said he was a guitarist, their newfound friendship was cemented.
Long before The White Stripes or The Black Keys made it hip, Diken and Babjak went with the guitar-and-drums-only format, which they stuck with through their high school years, playing Who and Kinks favorites in the Babjak family garage. Meanwhile, roughly 12 miles west in a township called Scotch Plains, fellow teenager Pat DiNizio was honing his guitar and singing chops. Like many people of his generation, he was blown away when he saw The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” By the late 1970s, he also was enamored with one of the band’s big influences, Buddy Holly. Around 1978, DiNizio placed an ad seeking musicians in The Aquarian, a publication in New Jersey, and that put him in touch with Diken. “My first impression was that he had very clear ideas of what he wanted,” Diken says, “and I was pleased to learn that our musical taste and sensibilities paralleled each others’ very closely.”
Their first project together was a New Wave-ish cover band called The Like, which played songs by Devo, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, The Jam, Nick Lowe and others, according to DiNizio. But after nine or 10 months of rehearsing and playing just one show, the band broke up.
Following a year of searching for musical direction, DiNizio contacted Diken about playing drums on some songs he had written. They went to Odyssey, a studio in Long Branch along the Jersey Shore, and recorded a handful of DiNizio originals. Around the same time, DiNizio says, he was developing a version of The Smithereens that included a different drummer. But the band’s name came from Diken, who had compiled a lengthy list of group names by the late 1970s and had given DiNizio the OK to use the moniker. When that version of The Smithereens fell apart, DiNizio retained the previous bassist, Ken Jones, and recruited Diken to play drums. One day, Diken showed up for rehearsal at DiNizio’s father’s house in Scotch Plains with Babjak in tow.
“Jimmy had taken it upon himself to learn perfect George Harrison-type leads to my songs — songs in which I purposely left the leads out because I was in a very minimalist frame of mind,” says DiNizio. “Jimmy was never formally asked to join the band — he just stayed.”
The first Smithereens gig —- featuring the lineup of DiNizio, Diken, Babjak and Jones — was in March 1980 at Englander’s in Hillside, N.J. Soon after that, DiNizio says he was approached with the idea of replacing Jones with Mike Mesaros, a friend of Diken’s and Babjak’s whose relationship with the former went back to third grade. Seeing the benefits of adding Mesaros while also feeling a sense of loyalty to his good friend Jones, DiNizio moved Jones over to rhythm guitar to make room for Mesaros. The five-piece Smithereens landed some gigs at the legendary Kenny’s Castaways on Bleecker Street in Manhattan, but another lineup change became necessary. It didn’t take long to realize that Jones, who had more of a funk and R&B orientation, didn’t fit in with the rock direction the band was headed, so DiNizio was encouraged by the others to dismiss him. The remaining Smithereens didn’t really feel as though they fit in with any trend or scene in the early 1980s, and the band gigged wherever it could. “We were making music we cared about,” Diken says. “Our template was the classic rock ’n’ roll combo, like The Crickets or The Beatles. [At Kenny’s Castaways], we were somewhat out of our element. It seems like we always were, yet we were able to make a good go with just being ourselves and doing what we loved.” On Oct. 31, 1980, The Smithereens released “Girls About Town,” a four-song EP that they produced themselves at Manhattan’s Chelsea Sound Studio and released on the band’s own D-Tone label. For 1983’s “Beauty and Sadness” EP, the group pulled in some real pros to handle the production and the engineering — respectively, Alan Betrock (who had worked on early efforts by Blondie and Marshall Crenshaw) and Jim Ball (whose credits included albums by John Lennon and The Go-Go’s).
During the “Beauty and Sadness” sessions, which were recorded at New York’s famed Record Plant (previously used by Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie, among others), Ball remembers four close-knit guys who already had their musical vision, took a straight-ahead approach to recording and wanted a “live feel in the studio context.”
Highlighted by its title track (featuring a drum pattern lifted from The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”) and the rockabilly flavored “Much Too Much,” the “Beauty and Sadness” EP was released in June 1983 on Little Ricky Records. The band’s concert itinerary picked up significantly afterward, with a lot more gigs taking place much farther from home, including Scandinavia, where “Beauty and Sadness” had found an audience after its release there. During this time, The Smithereens also served as the backing band for Otis Blackwell, best known for writing “All Shook Up” for Elvis Presley and “Great Balls of Fire” for Jerry Lee Lewis. Backing Blackwell was a valuable experience, DiNizio says, because it “put us in front of audiences who were, in general, a very tough sell.” DiNizio adds, “I think that we kept Otis honest by refusing to do modern or bastardized arrangements or interpretations of classic rock ’n’ roll songs.” By the mid-1980s, as other bands were being signed to label deals, frustration was mounting for The Smithereens, Diken says. Between band gigs, each member held a day job: At one time or another, DiNizio was a garbage collector, Babjak had his own record store, Diken ran a silk-screen printing business and Mesaros worked in a food warehouse. The group’s fortunes changed for the better when DiNizio sent a cassette of Smithereens material to Enigma Records, a California-based label that was distributed by Capitol/EMI. Despite its lack of a photo or press kit, the cassette managed to catch the attention of Enigma’s Scott Vanderbilt, who remembered the band from his days as a college radio DJ. By the time The Smithereens signed with Enigma, they were already hard at work recording their first full-length album at The Record Plant with engineer Ball, who says he would squeeze the band in whenever he could. “I’d be in between sessions, and they’d have a couple of hundred dollars cash together, so we’d get in the door and stay as late as we could,” Ball says. Roughly half the album was recorded when producer Don Dixon, who had become a hot commodity thanks to his work with R.E.M. and Let’s Active, became involved. Getting Dixon to commit wasn’t easy. He had heard a few songs from “Beauty and Sadness” and really liked the group, but initially he was having a hard time making his schedule match what The Smithereens needed. While in New York for a gig of his own with fellow singer/songwriter Marti Jones (now his wife), Dixon remembers being “shamed” into the job, “but in a good way” by the clever DiNizio.
“When we showed up to play, he just had the [rest of his] band show up, and a photographer took a picture of us backstage,” Dixon says. “And the next thing I knew, there was a picture of us in Billboard magazine announcing that I was going to produce the record. … That [DiNizio move] actually made me like them all a lot more.”
With Dixon aboard, the rest of the work on the album (recording and mixing) took about 10 days, with everything wrapping up on New Year’s Eve 1985. Enigma released the album, titled “Especially for You,” in July 1986. Two of its songs became hits on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks chart: the tension-filled “Blood and Roses” (which was anchored by Mesaros’ ominous bass line) reached No. 14, while the driving “Behind the Wall of Sleep” (in which DiNizio name-checks 1960s model Jean Shrimpton and Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman) peaked at No. 23.
Dixon and Ball joined The Smithereens at the Capitol Records tower in Los Angeles to record the band’s second album, “Green Thoughts.” Dixon doesn’t remember hearing any demos prior to the sessions — just snippets of songs that DiNizio played for him a few days before they were to record. “He was still writing a lot of words and still trying to figure a lot of stuff out,” Dixon says. “I still hadn’t heard the band play any of the stuff, but we met in some little house in L.A. and went through everything, and I tried to help them figure out which songs we should do.” Diken feels DiNizio really rose to the occasion as a songwriter for that album, and as a result, the band avoided the dreaded sophomore slump. “Green Thoughts” (Enigma/Capitol) dropped on March 16, 1988, and it spawned the Billboard Album Rock Tracks hits “Only a Memory” (which spent a week at No. 1 and also hit No. 92 on the Billboard Hot 100), “House We Used to Live In” (No. 14) and “Drown In My Own Tears” (No. 34). For the third Smithereens album, 1989’s “11’’ (Enigma/Capitol), the band hooked up with Jersey-bred producer Ed Stasium, whose resumé up to that point included engineering, mixing and/or producing essential albums by The Ramones and Talking Heads, among others. “A Girl Like You” was written on assignment by DiNizio for the film “Say Anything …” but apparently was passed over for revealing too much of the plot, according to Diken. The song also was oh-so-close to featuring one of the biggest stars of the decade. In the late 1980s, The Smithereens and Madonna had the same manager, and DiNizio had talked to her about singing on “A Girl Like You.” “We had the microphone [all set up], and we had a hidden video camera because we didn’t want her to know that we were going to videotape her [vocal session],” Stasium says.
Madonna canceled her first scheduled session, and then she blew off the second without calling, according to Stasium. Veteran background singer Maria Vidal got the job instead, and she would go on to nail the vocal part in one take.Although “A Girl Like You” missed the cut for “Say Anything …” and was overlooked by Madonna, the hook-filled, guitar-heavy tune had more than enough going for it. The song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks chart and at No. 3 on the magazine’s Modern Rock chart. In 1990, “A Girl Like You” became the band’s first Top 40 entry on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 38 and spending 20 weeks on the chart. For DiNizio, who grew up listening to the pop and rock hits of the day on New York’s powerhouse AM radio stations in the 1960s, the Top 40 success of “A Girl Like You” left him with a mixed reaction. “It was a tremendous struggle to get it there,” he says. “It was almost a feeling of ‘We worked so hard for this’ — we were almost angry about it. I know that Capitol Records had pulled radio promotion at a certain point. They said, ‘We already worked this song … it’s not making it.’ ” Drawing from its early do-it-yourself roots, DiNizio says the band agreed to take its touring revenue and pay independent radio promoters to keep plugging “A Girl Like You,” and that move was what pushed the song into the Billboard Top 40. In June 1990, the “11’’ album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
While the song “Blues Before and After” stalled at No. 94 on the Hot 100 in spring 1990, The Smithereens avoided the one-hit wonder tag within the pop Top 40 universe in 1992. That’s when “Too Much Passion,” from 1991’s Stasium-produced “Blow Up” (Capitol), peaked at No. 37, spending a total of 14 weeks on the Hot 100.
“Blow Up,” which also contained the Billboard Album Rock Tracks and Modern Rock chart hits “Top of the Pops” and “Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong,” was the band’s last for Capitol. After being dropped in 1993, The Smithereens signed with RCA, and in 1994, the label released “A Date With The Smithereens,” which was co-produced by Dixon and the band and contained the rock radio hit “Miles from Nowhere.” A label switch wasn’t the only notable adjustment the band dealt with during the mid-to-late 1990s. Whenever Mesaros was unavailable for a gig, The Smithereens would use a fill-in bassist, and that presented a window of opportunity for Los Angeles native Severo Jornacion. Jornacion says he became an instant Smithereens fan in 1986 when a friend loaned him “Especially for You.” He first saw the band in 1987 at the Greek Theatre in L.A. and met the band a year later during its tour supporting “Green Thoughts.” Around 1997, while Mesaros was on a leave of absence to attend culinary school, Jornacion says DiNizio asked him if he could learn 20 Smithereens songs in three weeks. He accepted the challenge, and Jornacion’s performance at the 1997 San Diego Street Scene festival was his first with the band.
The Don Fleming-produced “God Save the Smithereens,” released in 1999 on the Velvel label, became the last new Smithereens studio album to feature the DiNizio/Diken/Babjak/Mesaros lineup. By late 2005/early 2006, Jornacion — nicknamed “The Thrilla” — replaced the retired Mesaros as a full-time member of the band, which kicked off a prolific recording period with “Meet The Smithereens!” (Koch).
The 2007 album (a track-by-track interpretation of 1964’s “Meet The Beatles!”) was “done by design,” says DiNizio.“I knew it had been many years since we had put out a new album,” he adds. “We needed something really interesting with a hook built into it that would bring the requisite amount of attention to the band. … I knew exactly what we were doing with that.”
Other recent Smithereens releases include “Christmas With The Smithereens” (2007, Koch) and “B-Sides The Beatles” (2008, Koch), plus “The Smithereens Play Tommy” (2009, E1 Music), the band’s take on select songs from The Who’s 1969 rock opera.
In March, The Smithereens were among the artists who participated in a Who-themed benefit concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The band’s plans for the rest of 2010 include scheduled shows in Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota and Virginia, as well as a return to the studio with Dixon in the fall to record the first all-new Smithereens studio album in more than a decade.
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