Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Beatles: Beatles For Sale No. 2 [EP]

ON THIS DATE (47 YEARS AGO)
June 4, 1965 – The Beatles: Beatles For Sale No. 2 [EP] is released in the UK.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# Allmusic 4/5 stars
Beatles for Sale (No 2) is an EP released by The Beatles on 4 June 1965. The EP was only released in mono. Its catalogue number is Parlophone GEP 8938. It was also released in Australia.
REVIEW
Bruce Eder, allmusic
More highlights off the Beatles for Sale LP, another repackaging of existing material, but also highlighting their exquisite Buddy Holly cover “Words of Love,” plus “Baby’s in Black,” which became part of their concert set, and Paul McCartney’s exquisite “I’ll Follow the Sun,” probably his most succinct and beautiful ballad, note for note and second for second.
TRACKS:
Songs Lennon/McCartney except noted.
Side A
“I’ll Follow the Sun”
“Baby’s in Black”
Side B
“Words of Love” (Buddy Holly)
“I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party”

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Filed under 1965, george harrison, john lennon, Paul McCartney, ringo starr, The Beatles

Jimmy Ruffin: "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted"

ON THIS DATE (46 YEARS AGO)
June 3, 1966 – Jimmy Ruffin: “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” b/w “Baby I’ve Got It” (Soul S-35022) 45 single is released in the US.
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” is a hit single recorded by Jimmy Ruffin and released on Motown Records’ Soul label in the summer of 1966. It is a ballad, with lead singer Jimmy Ruffin recalling the pain that befalls the brokenhearted, and their struggle to overcome their sadness so that they can find happiness in the future of their lives. In 1996, Robson and Jerome covered the song and topped the UK singles chart with it.
The song was written by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser, and James Dean, and the recording was produced by Witherspoon and William “Mickey” Stevenson. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” was Jimmy Ruffin’s only Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and remains one of the most-revived of Motown’s hits.
Composers Witherspoon and Riser and lyricist Dean had originally written “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” with the intention of having The Spinners, then an act on Motown’s V.I.P. label, record the tune. Jimmy Ruffin, older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, persuaded Dean to let him record the song, as its anguished lyric about a man lost in the misery of heartbreak resonated with the singer.
Ruffin’s lead vocal on the recording is augmented by the instrumentation of Motown’s on-house studio band, The Funk Brothers, and the joint backing vocals of Motown session singers The Originals and The Andantes. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number six on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.
The song originally featured a spoken introduction by Ruffin, similar in style to many Lou Rawls’s performances of the same time. The spoken verse was removed from the final mix, hence the unusually long instrumental intro on the released version. The spoken verse is present on the alternate mix from the UK 2003 release “Jimmy Ruffin – The Ultimate Motown Collection” and as a new stereo extended mix on the 2005 anthology “The Motown Box”:
A world filled with love is a wonderful sight.
Being in love is one’s heart’s delight.
But that look of love isn’t on my face.
That enchanted feeling has been replaced.

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Filed under 1966, Jimmy Ruffin, motown, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

Bruce and Terry: “Summer Means Fun”

ON THIS DATE (48 YEARS AGO)
June 2, 1964 – Bruce and Terry: “Summer Means Fun” b/w “Yeah !” (Columbia 4-43055) 45 single is released in the US.
Bruce & Terry were Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher. The pair were instrumental in the development of surf rock, recording under a variety of names and created the band The Rip Chords.
They began working together while Johnston was a well-known session musician and Melcher, the son of actress/singer Doris Day and producer of The Byrds recordings, had a minor solo career as Terry Day before becoming the youngest staff record producer in Columbia Records’ history. Together, they began recording as Terry recorded and also helped produce the 1963 album “Surfin’ Round the World”.
Producing a ‘surf-frat’ band called The Rip Chords, whose “Here I Stand” had reached #51 in early 1963, they ended up taking over most of the vocal parts on that band’s hit “Hey Little Cobra” in 1964 (along with Rip Chords band members, Phil Stewart, Rich Rotkin, Arnie Marcus and Ernie Bringas). The song was the first in a series of hit singles (most of which were released under the name Bruce & Terry), reaching #4 on the U.S. pop charts.
Johnston later joined The Beach Boys, while Melcher became a full time producer. On November 19, 2004, Melcher died at his home after a long battle with melanoma. He was 62 years old.
~ William Ruhlmann, allmusic
It is easy in retrospect to listen to a lot of the vocal surf music of the early ’60s and dismiss most of it as inferior copies of the Beach Boys. But such a judgment ignores the extensive cross-fertilization of the scene. Jan & Dean’s records often sounded like the Beach Boys, it’s true, but one reason was that Beach Boy Brian Wilson often co-wrote and performed on them. Similarly, Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher, who recorded as the Rip Chords in 1963 and as Bruce & Terry in 1964, aped the sound of Beach Boys records, but also not without help; Wilson wrote the first Bruce & Terry chart single, “Custom Machine.” In July 1964, Bruce & Terry earned another chart entry with a song welcoming the season: “Summer Means Fun.” The cheery tune, which borrowed the phrase “the girls are two to one” from Jan & Dean’s “Surf City,” was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, who made their own records as the Fantastic Baggies. Johnston and Melcher gave it a typical surf music production, complete with a bouncy beat and high harmonies. It was a sound Wilson’s Beach Boys were starting to leave behind in favor of a more aggressive approach on singles like “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “I Get Around,” which may help explain why it wasn’t a bigger hit. Jan & Dean didn’t mind the lyric steal or the overall similarity to their own records, however; they immediately covered “Summer Means Fun” for their September 1964 LP The Little Old Lady From Pasadena. But the single was Bruce & Terry’s last to chart; the following year, Melcher was spending his time producing rock acts like the Byrds and Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Johnston joined the Beach Boys.

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Filed under 1964, Bruce and Terry, Summer Means Fun, The Beach Boys

Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town

ON THIS DATE (34 YEARS AGO)
June 2, 1978 – Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# Allmusic 4.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Darkness on the Edge of Town is the fourth album by Bruce Springsteen, released on this date in June 1978. The album marked the end of a three year period of forced hiatus from recording brought on by contractual obligations and legal battling with former manager Mike Appel. Although the album did not produce high charting singles it nevertheless remained on the charts for 97 weeks.
Recovering from legal troubles and the stress of the breakthrough success of Born to Run, Springsteen released a somewhat less commercial album, Darkness on the Edge of Town.
In terms of the original LP’s sequencing, Springsteen continued his “four corners” approach from Born to Run, as the songs beginning each side (“Badlands” and “The Promised Land”) were martial rallying cries to overcome circumstances, while the songs ending each side (“Racing in the Street”, “Darkness on the Edge of Town”) were sad dirges of circumstances overcoming all hope. Unlike Born to Run, the songs were recorded by the full band all at once, frequently soon after Springsteen had written them. Steven Van Zandt received a credit for production assistance for helping Springsteen tighten the arrangements from Born to Run’s epic sound.
This collection of songs, each of which Springsteen sang in the first person, was given unity by several recurring themes. The words “darkness” / “dark” appear in six of the tracks, while nine of them feature the “night” / “tonight”. “They” are mentioned in eight songs, with a general suggestion of nameless people who exert a negative influence. “Work” / “worked” / “working” form part of six songs, and so do the words “dream” / “dreams”. Six is also the number of songs in which Bruce and his characters are found “driving” / “racing” / “riding”, or mentioning the names of cars. There are references to “blood”, “born”, “love” / “loved” in four of the tracks. In the song “Racing in the Street,” Springsteen alludes to Martha & the Vandellas’ Dancing in the Street with the lyric “Summer’s here and the time is right for racing in the street,” which is similar to the Rolling Stones similar appropriation of the lyric in the song “Street Fightin’ Man”.
The album failed to generate any substantial hit singles, although “Prove It All Night” made into the Top 40 in the U.S. at #33, and follow-up “Badlands” just missed, peaking at #42.
At the time, Darkness claimed the number one slot on NME album of the year ranking. In 2003, the album was ranked number 151 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The same year, the TV network VH1 named Darkness on the Edge of Town the 68th greatest album of all time.
ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW
Occasionally, a record appears that changes fundamentally the way we hear rock & roll, the way it’s recorded, the way it’s played. Such records — Jimi Hendrix’ Are You Experienced, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Who’s Next, The Band — force response, both from the musical community and the audience. To me, these are the records justifiably called classics, and I have no doubt that Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town will someday fit as naturally within that list as the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” or Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music.”
One ought to be wary of making such claims, but in this case, they’re justified at every level. In the area of production, Darkness on the Edge of Town is nothing less than a breakthrough. Springsteen — with coproducer Jon Landau, engineer Jimmy Iovine and Charles Plotkin, who helped Iovine mix the LP — is the first artist to fuse the spacious clarity of Los Angeles record making and the raw density of English productions. That’s the major reason why the result is so different from Born to Run’s Phil Spector wall of sound. On the earlier album, for instance, the individual instruments were deliberately obscured to create the sense of one huge instrument. Here, the same power is achieved more naturally. Most obviously, Max Weinberg’s drumming has enormous size, a heartbeat with the same kind of space it occupies onstage (the only other place I’ve heard a bass drum sound this big).
Now that it can be heard, the E Street Band is clearly one of the finest rock & roll groups ever assembled. Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent and guitarist Steve Van Zandt are a perfect rhythm section, capable of both power and groove. Pianist Roy Bittan is as virtuosic as on Born to Run, and saxophonist Clarence Clemons, though he has fewer solos, evokes more than ever the spirit of King Curtis. But the revelation is organist Danny Federici, who barely appeared on the last L.P. Federici’s style is utterly singular, focusing on wailing, trebly chords that sing (and in the marvelous solo at the end of “Racing in the Street,” truly cry).
Yet the dominant instrumental focus of Darkness on the Edge of Town is Bruce Springsteen’s guitar. Like his songwriting and singing, Springsteen’s guitar playing gains much of its distinctiveness through pastiche. There are echoes of a dozen influences — Duane Eddy, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Buchanan, even Ennio Morricone’s Sergio Leone soundtracks — but the synthesis is completely Springsteen’s own. Sometimes Springsteen quotes a famous solo — Robbie Robertson’s from the live version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” at the end of “Something in the Night,” Jeff Beck’s from “Heart Full of Soul” in the bridge of “Candy’s Room” — and then shatters it into another dimension. In the end the most impressive guitar work of all is just his own: “Adam Raised a Cain” and “Streets of Fire” are things no one’s ever heard before.
Much the same can be said about Springsteen’s singing. Certainly, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan are the inspirations for taking such extreme chances: bending and twisting syllables; making two key lines on “Streets of Fire” a wordless, throttled scream; the wailing and humming that precede and follow some of the record’s most important lyrics. But more than ever, Springsteen’s voice is personal, intimate and revealing, bigger and less elusive. It’s the possibility hinted at on Born to Run’s “Backstreets” and in the postverbal wail at the end of “Jungleland,” In fact, Springsteen picks up that moan at the beginning of “Something in the Night,” on which he turns in the new album’s most adventurous vocal.
One could say a great deal about the construction of this LP. The programming alone is impressive: each side is a discrete progression of similar lyrical and musical themes, and the whole is a more universal version of the same picture. Ideas, characters and phrases jump from song to song like threads in a tapestry, and everything’s one long interrelationship. But all of these elements — the production, the playing, even the programming — are designed to focus our attention on what Springsteen has to tell us about the last three years of his life.
In a way, this album might take as its text two lines from Jackson Browne: “Nothing survives — /But the way we live our lives.” But where Browne is content to know this, Springsteen explores it: Darkness on the Edge of Town is about the kind of life that deserves survival. Despite its title, it is a complete rejection of despair. Bruce Springsteen says this over and over again, more bluntly and clearly than anyone could have imagined. There isn’t a single song on this record in which his yearning for a perfect existence, a live lived to the hilt, doesn’t play a central role.
Springsteen also realizes the terrible price one pays for living at half-speed. In “Racing in the Street,” the album’s most beautiful ballad, Springsteen separates humanity into two classes: “Some guys they just give up living/And start dying little by little, piece by piece/Some guys come home from work and wash up/And go racin’ in the street.” But there’s nothing smug about it, because Springsteen knows that the line separating the living dead from the walking wounded is a fine and bitter one. In the song’s final verse, he describes with genuine love a person of the first sort, someone whose eyes “hate for just being born.” In “Factory,” he depicts the most numbing sort of life with a compassion that’s nearly religious. And in “Adam Raised a Cain,” the son who rejected his father’s world comes to understand their relationship as “the dark heart of a dream” — a dream become nightmarish, but a vision of something better nonetheless.
There are those who will say that “Adam Raised a Cain” is full of hate, but I don’t believe it. The only hate I hear on this LP is embodied in a single song, “Streets of Fire,” where Springsteen describes how it feels to be trapped by lies. And even here, he has the maturity to hate the lie, not the liar.
Throughout the new album, Springsteen’s lyrics are a departure from his early work, almost its opposite, in fact: dense and compact, not scattershot. And if the scenes are the same — the highways, bars, cars and toil — they also represent facets of life that rock & roll has too often ignored or, what’s worse, romanticized. Darkness on the Edge of Town faces everyday life whole, daring to see if something greater can be made of it. This is naive perhaps, but also courageous. Who else but a brave innocent could believe so boldly in a promised land, or write a song that not only quotes Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” but paraphrases the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby”?
Bruce Springsteen has a tendency to inspire messianic regard in his fans — including this one. This isn’t so much because he’s regarded as a savior — though his influence has already been substantial — but because he fulfills the rock tradition in so many ways. Like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, Springsteen has the ability, and the zeal, to do it all. For many years, rock & roll has been splintered between the West Coast’s monopoly on the genre’s lyrical and pastoral characteristics and a British and Middle American stranglehold on toughness and raw power. Springsteen unites these aspects: he’s the only artist I can think of who’s simultaneously comparable to Jackson Browne and Pete Townshend. Just as the production of this record unifies certain technical trends, Springsteen’s presentation makes rock itself whole again. This is true musically — he rocks as hard as a punk, but with the verbal grace of a singer/songwriter — and especially emotionally. If these songs are about experienced adulthood, they sacrifice none of rock & roll’s adolescent innocence. Springsteen escapes the narrow dogmatism of both Old Wave and New, and the music’s possibilities are once again limitless.
Four years ago, in a Cambridge bar, my friend Jon Landau and I watched Bruce Springsteen give a performance that changed some lives — my own included. About a similar night, Landau later wrote what was to become rock criticism’s most famous sentence: “I saw rock & roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” With its usual cynicism, the world chose to think of this as a fanciful way of calling Springsteen the Next Big Thing.
I’ve never taken it that way. To me, these words, shamefully mistreated as they’ve been, have kept a different shape. What they’ve always said was that someday Bruce Springsteen would make rock & roll that would shake men’s souls and make them question the direction of their lives. That would do, in short, all the marvelous things rock had always promised to do.
But Born to Run was not that music. It sounded instead like the end of an era, the climax of the first twenty years of this grand tradition, the apex of our collective adolescence. Darkness on the Edge of Town does not. It feels like the threshold of a new period in which we’ll again have “lives on the line where dreams are found and lost.” It poses once more the question that rock & roll’s epiphanic moments always raise: Do you believe in magic?
And once again, the answer is yes. Absolutely.
~  Dave Marsh (July 27, 1978)
TRACKS:
All songs written by Bruce Springsteen.
Side one
“Badlands” – 4:01
“Adam Raised a Cain” – 4:32
“Something in the Night” – 5:11
“Candy’s Room” – 2:51
“Racing in the Street” – 6:53
Side two
“The Promised Land” – 4:33
“Factory” – 2:17
“Streets of Fire” – 4:09
“Prove It All Night” – 3:56
“Darkness on the Edge of Town” – 4:30
A box set reissue, entitled The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, was released on November 16, 2010. The six-disc set includes three CDs and three DVDs. This contains a remastered version of the Darkness on the Edge of Town album, a new two-CD album, The Promise containing 21 previously unreleased outtakes from the Darkness sessions, a documentary titled The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town and 2 DVDs of live performances.
TRACKS:
CD 1 – “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (Digitally Remastered)
Badlands
Adam Raised a Cain
Something in the Night
Candy’s Room
Racing in the Street
The Promised Land
Factory
Streets of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
CD 2 – “The Promise” (Disc 1)
Racing in the Street (’78)
Gotta Get That Feeling
Outside Looking In
Someday (We’ll Be Together)
One Way Street
Because the Night
Wrong Side of the Street
The Brokenhearted
Rendezvous
Candy’s Boy
CD 3 – “The Promise” (Disc 2)
Save My Love
Ain’t Good Enough for You
Fire
Spanish Eyes
It’s a Shame
Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)
Talk to Me
The Little Things (My Baby Does)
Breakaway
The Promise
City of Night
The Way (hidden track)
DVD 1 – The Promise: The Making of “Darkness on the Edge of Town”
A documentary directed by Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny. The ninety-minute film combines never-before-seen footage of Springsteen and the E Street Band shot between 1976 and 1978—including home rehearsals and studio sessions—with new interviews with Springsteen, E Street Band members, manager Jon Landau, former-manager Mike Appel, and others closely involved in the making of the record. An edited version of the documentary was broadcast by the BBC.
DVD 2 – “Darkness on the Edge of Town”: Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park & Thrill Hill Vault: 1976–1978
An intimate and complete album performance of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” at Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey, shot in 2009. Never-before seen archival footage from the Thrill Hill Vault including complete song performances taken from private band rehearsals, studio sessions, and live concerts during the “Darkness” era.
Badlands
Adam Raised a Cain
Something in the Night
Candy’s Room
Racing in the Street
The Promised Land
Factory
Streets of Fire
Prove It All Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Thrill Hill Vault (1976–1978)
Save My Love (Holmdel, NJ – ’76)
Candy’s Boy (Holmdel, NJ – ’76)
Something in the Night (Red Bank, NJ – ’76)
Don’t Look Back (NYC – ’78)
Ain’t Good Enough for You (NYC – ’78)
The Promise (NYC – ’78)
Candy’s Room Demo (NYC – ’78)
Badlands (Phoenix – ’78)
The Promised Land (Phoenix – ’78)
Prove It All Night (Phoenix – ’78)
Born to Run (Phoenix – ’78)
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Phoenix – ’78)
DVD 3 – Houston ’78 Bootleg: House Cut
Previously unreleased complete concert performance from the Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour.
Badlands
Streets of Fire
It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Spirit in the Night
Independence Day
The Promised Land
Prove It All Night
Racing in the Street
Thunder Road
Jungleland
The Ties That Bind
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
The Fever
Fire
Candy’s Room
Because the Night
Point Blank
She’s the One
Backstreets
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Born to Run
Detroit Medley
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
You Can’t Sit Down
Quarter to Three

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Filed under 1978, Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town

Genesis: Three Sides Live

ON THIS DATE (30 YEARS AGO)
June 1, 1982 – Genesis: Three Sides Live is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# Allmusic 3.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Three Sides Live is the third live album by Genesis, released on this date in June 1982. It reached No.2 in the UK and No.10 in the US. “Paperlate”, from 3 X 3, became a Top 10 UK hit and a smaller US success.
The title for this album comes from the original world release, which contained three sides of live material from the band’s 1981-82 tour, and a fourth side of studio tracks, three of which formed the British 3 X 3 EP and two of which were B-sides from the sessions for Duke. The studio side is no longer issued as part of the album. Only the UK release featured a fourth live side, consisting of performances recorded during previous tours.
The three live sides focus mostly on material from Duke and Abacab. The third side contains the centrepiece of their last few tours, the “Cage” medley. The medley starts with “In the Cage” (from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway), follows with an instrumental which combined motifs from “The Cinema Show” with a changing set of melodies from Wind & Wuthering and The Lamb (in the case of the album version, a few seconds of “Riding the Scree” and a rather more substantial section from “The Colony of Slippermen”), and finishes with “Afterglow”.
It stemmed from Phil Collins’ riffing on one of the lines of their 1973 song, “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight”. According to Tony Banks on the 2007 CD and DVD reissue of Abacab, “You Might Recall” was to appear on Abacab, but Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegün suggested that the band leave the track off in favour of “Who Dunnit?”
ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW
Live albums generally are a retrospective of a band’s career from the beginning, but Three Sides Live stands as testimony to what Genesis has become only very recently. Unlike Seconds Out, where the concert versions of Genesis’ songs were shrouded in virtuosic bluster, this album offers incisive, sharply focused performances uncluttered by theatrics or instrumental tedium. Where once Genesis represented art-rock at its most fatuously spectacular, they now show how lean and compelling such music can be. At the center of this change is singer Phil Collins, whose husky vocals no longer merely adorn the instrumental tracks but provide them with direction and pacing. Although Collins is hardly versatile, he is remarkably adept at projecting personality into Genesis’ music, which in turn keeps the instrumental excesses in check.
While all of this might have easily been expected after the leaner sound of last year’s Abacab, it’s still worth noting that Genesis has applied its new perspective to older material, even shrinking such songs as “The Colony of Slippermen” and “The Cinema Show” into a single, concise medley. Too bad that the fourth side of Three Sides Live, comprising unreleased material, is flat semipop that was better left in the vaults. (RS 375)
~ J.D. CONSIDINE (August 5, 1982)
TRACKS:
All songs by Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Mike Rutherford, except where noted.
Side one
“Turn It on Again” – 5:16
“Dodo (including Lurker)” – 7:19
“Abacab” – 8:47
Side two
“Behind the Lines” – 5:26
“Duchess” – 6:43
“Me and Sarah Jane” (Tony Banks) – 5:59
“Follow You Follow Me” – 4:58
Side three
“Misunderstanding” (Phil Collins) – 4:06
“In the Cage (Medley – The Cinema Show/Slippermen)” (Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett/Mike Rutherford) – 11:53
“Afterglow” (Tony Banks) – 5:14
Side four
“One for the Vine” (Tony Banks) – 11:04
“The Fountain of Salmacis” (Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett/Mike Rutherford) – 8:37
“It/Watcher of the Skies” (Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett/Mike Rutherford) – 7:22
The North American edition and some European editions of Three Sides Live had originally featured a side four containing “Paperlate”, “You Might Recall”, “Me and Virgil”, “Evidence of Autumn” and “Open Door”. The album was re-issued identically only on CD worldwide with the live performances in 1994.

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Filed under 1982, Genesis, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Three Sides Live

The Police: Synchronicity

ON THIS DATE (29 YEARS AGO)
June 1, 1983 – The Police: Synchronicity is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# Allmusic 4.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Synchronicity is the fifth and final studio album by The Police, released on June 1, 1983. The band’s most popular release, Synchronicity includes the hit songs “Every Breath You Take”, “King of Pain”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, and “Synchronicity II”.  In 2001, the TV network VH1 named Synchronicity the 50th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 455 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Pitchfork Media ranked it #55 in their list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s. In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #25 in its list of “40 Best Albums of the ’80s”.
The album’s title was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s The Roots of Coincidence, which mentions Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity. Sting was an avid reader of Koestler, and also named Ghost in the Machine after one of his works.
The album marked a significant reduction in the reggae influences that were a part of the band’s first four records, instead featuring production-heavy textures and liberal use of synthesizers that, at times, drove entire songs (“Synchronicity I”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”). The influence of World music can also be heard in songs such as “Tea in the Sahara” and “Walking in Your Footsteps”.
As with their prior album, the basic tracks for Synchronicity were recorded at AIR Studios, Montserrat. For sound engineering reasons, the three band members recorded their parts in separate rooms: Copeland with his drums in the dining room, Sting in the control room, and Summers in the actual studio. According to co-producer Hugh Padgham, subsequent overdubs were done with only one member in the studio at a time.
During the recording of “Every Breath You Take”, Sting and Copeland came to blows with each other, and Padgham nearly quit the project.
ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW
Synchronicity is a work of dazzling surfaces and glacial shadows. Sunny pop melodies echo with ominous sound effects. Pithy verses deal with doomsday. A battery of rhythms — pop, reggae and African — lead a safari into a physical and spiritual desert, to “Tea in the Sahara.” Synchronicity, the Police’s fifth and finest album, is about things ending — the world in peril, the failure of personal relationships and marriage, the death of God.
Throughout the LP, these ideas reflect upon one another in echoing, overlapping voices and instrumentation as the safari shifts between England’s industrial flatlands and Africa. “If we share this nightmare/ Then we can dream,” Sting announces in the title cut, a jangling collage of metallic guitar, percussion and voices that artfully conjures the clamor of the world.
Though the Police started out as straightforward pop-reggae enthusiasts, they have by now so thoroughly assimilated the latter that all that remains are different varieties of reggae-style syncopation. The Police and coproducer Hugh Padgham have transformed the ethereal sounds of Jamaican dub into shivering, self-contained atmospheres. Even more than on the hauntingly ambient Ghost in the Machine, each cut on Synchronicity is not simply a song but a miniature, discrete soundtrack.
Synchronicity’s big surprise, however, is the explosive and bitter passion of Sting’s newest songs. Before this LP, his global pessimism was countered by a streak of pop romanticism. Such songs as “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” stood out like glowing gems, safely sealed off from Sting’s darker reflections. On Synchronicity, vestiges of that romanticism remain, but only in the melodies. In the lyrics, paranoia, cynicism and excruciating loneliness run rampant.
The cuts on Synchronicity are sequenced like Chinese boxes, the focus narrowing from the global to the local to the personal. But every box contains the ashes of betrayal. “Walking in Your Footsteps,” a children’s tune sung in a third-world accent and brightly illustrated with African percussion and flute, contemplates nothing less than humanity’s nuclear suicide. “Hey Mr. Dinosaur, you really couldn’t ask for more/You were god’s favorite creature but you didn’t have a future,” Sting calls out before adding, “[We’re] walking in your footsteps.”
In “O My God,” Sting drops his third-world mannerisms to voice a desperate, anguished plea for help to a distant deity: “Take the space between us, and fill it up, fill it up, fill it up!” This “space” is evoked in an eerie, sprinting dub-rock style, with Sting addressing not only God but also a woman and the people of the world, begging for what he clearly feels is an impossible reconciliation.
The mood of cosmic anxiety is interrupted by two songs written by other members of the band. Guitarist Andy Summers’ corrosively funny “Mother” inverts John Lennon’s romantic maternal attachment into a grim dadaist joke. Stewart Copeland’s “Miss Gradenko,” a novelty about secretarial paranoia in the Kremlin, is memorable mainly for Summers’ modal twanging between the verses.
The rest of the album belongs to Sting. “Synchronicity II” refracts the clanging chaos of “Synchronicity I” into a brutal slice of industrial-suburban life, intercut with images of the Loch Ness monster rising from the slime like an avenging demon. But as the focus narrows from the global to the personal on side two, the music becomes more delicate — even as the mood turns from suspicion to desperation to cynicism in “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain” and “Wrapped around Your Finger,” a triptych of songs about the end of a marriage, presumably Sting’s own. As the narrator of “Every Breath You Take” tracks his lover’s tiniest movements like a detective, then breaks down and pleads for love, the light pop rhythm becomes an obsessive marking of time. Few contemporary pop songs have described the nuances of sexual jealousy so chillingly.
The rejected narrator in “King of Pain” sees his abandonment as a kind of eternal damnation in which the soul becomes “a fossil that’s trapped in a high cliff wall/ … A dead salmon frozen in a waterfall.” “Wrapped around Your Finger” takes a longer, colder view of the institution of marriage. Its Turkish-inflected reggae sound underscores a lyric that portrays marriage as an ancient, ritualistic hex conniving to seduce the innocent and the curious into a kind of slavery.
“Tea in the Sahara,” Synchronicity’s moodiest, most tantalizing song, is an aural mirage that brings back the birdcalls and jungle sounds of earlier songs as whispering, ghostly instrumental voices. In this haunting parable of endless, unappeasable desire, Sting tells the story, inspired by the Paul Bowles novel The Sheltering Sky, of a brother and two sisters who develop an insatiable craving for tea in the desert. After sealing a bargain with a mysterious young man, they wait on a dune for his return, but he never appears. The song suggests many interpretations: England dreaming of its lost empire, mankind longing for God, and Sting himself pining for an oasis of romantic peace.
And that is where this bleak, brilliant safari into Sting’s heart and soul finally deposits us — at the edge of a desert, searching skyward, our cups full of sand.
~  Stephen Holden (June 23, 1983)
TRACKS:
All songs written by Sting except where noted.
“Synchronicity I” – 3:23
“Walking in Your Footsteps” – 3:36
“O My God” – 4:02
“Mother” (Andy Summers) – 3:05
“Miss Gradenko” (Stewart Copeland) – 2:00
“Synchronicity II” – 5:02
“Every Breath You Take” – 4:13
“King of Pain” – 4:59
“Wrapped Around Your Finger” – 5:13
“Tea in the Sahara” – 4:19
“Murder by Numbers” (Words: Sting, Music: Andy Summers) – 4:36 (Not included on original LP release.)

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Filed under 1983, Sting, Synchronicity, The Police

The Rolling Stones: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

ON THIS DATE (44 YEARS AGO)
June 1, 1968 – The Rolling Stones: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” b/w “Child Of The Moon” (London 45-908) 45 single is released in the US.
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is a song by The Rolling Stones, released as a single in 1968. Called “supernatural Delta blues by way of Swinging London” by Rolling Stone, the song was perceived by some as the band’s return to their blues roots after the psychedelia of their preceding albums Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request. One of the group’s most popular and recognizable songs, it has been featured in many films and on the Rolling Stones compilation albums Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2), Hot Rocks, Singles Collection and Forty Licks.
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, recording on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” began during the Beggars Banquet sessions of 1968. Richards has stated that he and Jagger wrote the lyrics while staying at Richards’ country house, where they were awoken one morning by the sound of gardener Jack Dyer walking past the window. When Jagger asked what the noise was, Richards responded: “Oh, that’s Jack – that’s jumpin’ Jack.” The rest of the lyrics evolved from there.
Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone that the song arose “out of all the acid of Satanic Majesties. It’s about having a hard time and getting out. Just a metaphor for getting out of all the acid things.” In his autobiography, Stone Alone, Bill Wyman has claimed that he came up with the song’s distinctive main guitar riff on an organ without being credited for it.
On the studio version of the number, Jagger provided the lead vocals and maracas, Richards played acoustic guitars, electric bass guitar and the floor tom, Brian Jones sang backing vocals, Charlie Watts was on drums and Bill Wyman was on organ. Nicky Hopkins contributed piano, and producer Jimmy Miller joined in on the backing vocals.

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Filed under 1968, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, jumpin' jack flash, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones, Uncategorized