Yes, it’s an original 1974 promo clip for Sparks’ classic glam-era chart topper! Not enough people know that this video exists, which includes even a lot of Sparks fans - I only discovered it myself quite recently. It’s not amazing but it is fun, and is worth a watch to see Russel’s uber-camp flying leap at 0:35. Not to be too down on Queen, but a lot of people assume that “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both Of Us” was a cash in on the opera-pop of “Bohmenian Rhapsody”, which is not the case. “This Town…” was released a whole year before Queen’s smash, and this video pre-dates their “Bohemian Rhapsody” promo too - in fact Queen supported the Mael brothers on some of their first ever UK dates in 1973, so it’s pretty safe to assume the influence was the other way around. But, hey, this isn’t a competition, both bands were high-class acts, I’m sure Queen fans will find a lot to like in this clip:
Photographer Robert Whitaker, known for the infamous Beatles’ raw meat photo shoot, has died at the age of 71 of cancer.
The album cover of “Yesterday And Today” (1966) featured a photograph taken by Whitaker of The Beatles in butcher smocks covered in slabs of raw meat and a beheaded baby doll perched on Paul McCartney’s shoulder. It created a firestorm of controversy and the album was immediately pulled from the marketplace by Capitol Records when distributors complained that it was offensive. 750,000 copies of the record were in warehouses ready to be shipped but it’s estimated that only 25,000 copies of the album were actually sold with the original cover, ultimately making it one of the most collectible albums in rock history.
Rather than destroy all the sleeves, Capitol instead chose to slap a much more conservative photo of the lads posed around a steamer trunk over the original art and then re-issue the records to retailers. It didn’t take long for fans to figure out how to peel the trunk photo off to reveal the Butcher photo underneath, which eventually lead to a cottage industry of professional peelers. A collectors’ jargon evolved to distinguish “First State” (original uncovered version), “Second State” (paste-over version) and “Third State” (peeled) copies.
Whitaker proudly took credit for the cover concept saying that the idea was entirely his own…
though he was never consistent in explaining it. Sometimes he said he was not sure why he had posed the Beatles that way; other times he said the butcher theme was meant to suggest that the Beatles, so worshipped by their fans, were real flesh-and-blood people. On another occasion he said the image was to be one of three that would tell a story.
Among the other rock stars and artists that Whitaker photographed were Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Allen Ginsberg, Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Eric Clapton. But it was his iconic photos of The Beatles that brought his vision to millions and millions of people and for which he will be best remembered.
When Tara and I were traveling last month, I read George Carlin’s splendid, posthumously published autobiography Last Words on the plane. I’m a mega George Carlin fan. There is very little of his material that I haven’t heard and I just miss his voice more and more with each passing year. Sure we’ve got some contemporary greats like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert taking on the political and cultural issues of the day (I happen to like Joe Rogan’s stand-up a lot, too, he’s really underrated) but just like there will only ever be one Mark Twain, one Lenny Bruce or one Richard Pryor, there will never be another George Carlin, either. Carlin was a wise-acre product of Depression-era New York City. It was the no-bullshit (yet filled to the brim with hypocrisy!) New Yawk Irish-Catholic milieu that George Carlin was raised in that produced such a unique comic mind. I think he was a great artist and a great American. If you want to understand how Carlin became Carlin, I can’t recommend Last Words more highly.
By the end of his life, George Carlin had become more than just a mere comedian or humorist, he’d become a stand-up philosopher equal parts Nietzsche, Karl Marx and Céline. The material of Carlin’s later years is the work he was the most proud of, and indeed, it was the finest comedy he ever gave us. The darkest, most nihilistic, most rip your face off and shove it down your fucking throat stand-up comedy…. probably of all time. How could you top it? Who would dare try?
The terminal view of mankind, religion and Capitalism expressed in his 1999 HBO special You Are All Diseased and 2005’s Life is Worth Losing was so bleak it was thrilling. There were several times during these broadcasts when I recall thinking “WOW, I can’t believe I just heard someone articulate that thought and in that way.” I wondered, too, what would happen to the brain of a conservative or religious person who might be unwittingly exposed to Carlin’s sneering premium cable mindfuck! (I mean how many Christians accidentally tuned into his HBO special with no idea of what to expect except cursing and watched him do “Religion is Bullshit” and promptly rethought how they’d been behaving for their entire lives? For certain people, hearing the ideas expressed in that one impassioned ten-minute-long rant must have been like having a nuclear bomb go off in their heads. It’s a more powerful argument against religion than anything Richard Dawkins has ever come up with, that’s for sure, and funnier, too!).
Carlin was never much of a topical comedian, so much of his material is evergreen and will stay that way because it expresses deep societal truths and expose hypocrisy so ruthlessly. No surprise then, that his rant about Wall Street, corrupt politicians and end-stage Capitalism is still so on the money. Watch this:
Lucy In London starring Lucillle Ball was a TV special that aired in 1966. It was directed by Steve Binder who helmed the legendary T.A.M.I. Show, arguably one of the best filmed music concerts ever. Lucy In London occupies an entirely different universe than the T.A.M.I. Show, a universe where fading stars go to get their sparkle back. In this case, it only dulled Lucille’s image. But she was not alone among the many celebrities that were trying to get hip in the Sixties only to end up looking mildly ridiculous.
In this particular clip we get to see The Dave Clark 5 dancing with a gaggle of mod chicks and some King’s Road grooviness. None of which is particularly noteworthy if it weren’t for the fact that the whole thing is choreographed to a tune called “Lucy In London” which was written, produced and sung by Phil Spector.
The audio in the clip doesn’t do justice to the Spector “wall of sound” but if you turn up the speakers you can hear it. Spector’s voice isn’t all that bad. Sounds like Jan and Dean.
Oh, and that’s Anthony Newley manning the motorcycle.
Another delectable mix of vintage clips of go-go and exotic dancers set to a rock and roll beat. Customized from old vinyl and decaying video tape for Dangerous Minds.
“Intercontinental Super Grind” features psychedelic, garage, pop, rock and funk from all over the globe.
01. “Srey No” - Lady Named No
02. “Saman Doye” - The Black Brothers
03. “Shake Me” - AKA
04. “Cumbia Pop - Los Beltons
05. “Generations” - Variations
06. “Songs Of A Sinner” - Top Drawer
07. “It Happens Every Day” - The Lemon Drops
08. “Paint It Black” - Patti Smith
09. “Lorke Lorke” - Siluetler
10. “Slave” - Sabana Breeze
11. “Leila” - Chiitra Neogy
12. “Pink And Green” - Shirley Hughey
13. “Treat Her Right” - The Bombshells
14. “Rule The Nation” - U Roy
15. “Kick Out The Jams” - Tubthumper
16. “Shake A Tail” - Big Wheel
17. “Caterpillar Crawl” - The Lively Ones
18. “Hold Me Now” - The Rumours
19. “Look At The Owl” - Sat Tee Touy
20. “Cat Walk” - The Soul Emissaries
Watch this in a darkened room with speakers at full volume. Burn some incense and a few candles to add the appropriate ambiance. Slathering yourself with precious oils is optional. NSFW.