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Sly And The Family Stone’s High Priestess Of Funk Cynthia Robinson R.I.P.
04:39 pm


Sly and The Family Stone
Cynthia Robinson

Cynthia Robinson stood out in a band in which every member stood out. She was a funky high priestess wielding a trumpet like a thaumaturgic ramsinga. And she wore a crown, a black afro, that was epic in its sculpted glory. Her presence was majestic. She was one of the first black women trumpet players in a rock band and set the tone for others to follow. But beyond the music, Robinson was a commanding figure, not content to stay in the shadows. She was the one that implored us to “get up and dance to the music” and showed us how it was done. Robinson died of cancer this past Monday.

When learning of Robinson’s death, Roots drummer Questlove wrote…

... she wasn’t just a screaming cheerleading foil to Sly & Freddie’s gospel vocals. She was a KICK ASS trumpet player. A crucial intricate part of Sly Stone’s utopian vision of MLK’s America. Cynthia’s role in music history isn’t celebrated enough. Her & sister Rose weren’t just pretty accessories there to “coo” & “shoo wop shoo bob” while the boys got the glory. Naw. They took names and kicked ass while you were dancing in the aisle. Much respect to amazing CynthiaRobinson.

In this rarely scene promo video from 1968, Robinson (in a perm destined for a blow-out comb) growls “all the squares go home” and her voice practically melts the microphone. It’s not a suggestion. It’s an order. And when she unleashes the full artillery of her trumpet the whole band revs its engine and the roof begins to wobble and shake.

The video is particularly noteworthy for putting Robinson in the foreground where she really belonged. She’s every bit the front person as Sly and during the brief moments she’s featured in this film she totally upstages the rest of the group. She was one of those women who knew her place. Everywhere.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Punish your Fox News-watching relatives this Thanksgiving with 2 hours of Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’
08:52 am


Barry Manilow

Here’s one to take home to the family for Thanksgiving.

When your Fox News-watching parents or drunk racist uncle starts slipping the talk about Syrian refugees or Black Lives Matter protesters into the holiday dinner conversation, you’ll need to diffuse the situation fast—and as music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, Barry Manilow’s music is the most soothingest.

Here we have a lovely remix of Barry Manilow‘s 70s AM radio classic, “Mandy,” normally 3:14 minutes long, here extended to a punishing two hours and fifteen minutes.

Delight or threaten your family with this timeless ballad, now seamlessly drawn out to inhumane lengths.

Make it a game. Anytime someone brings up how much they appreciate how Trump “tells it like it is,” give ‘em fifteen more minutes of “Mandy.” If Rush Limbaugh’s name comes up, that’s probably worth a half hour of “Mandy” waterboarding. If anyone says they “like that Ben Carson,” well, just make them leave.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for YouTube user Richard Shuping‘s remorseless gift that, like the titular Mandy, came and gave without takin’...

And it keeps giving and giving and giving… IT DOESN’T STOP GIVING:

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse

Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.

Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.

‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”

The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.

Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
“The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Jimi Hendrix’s Excalibur and the Secret Teachings of Heavy Metal
08:48 am


Jimi Hendrix
Monica Dannemann

This coming Friday is Jimi Hendrix’s birthday. In honor of that event, guest blogger Adam Ganderson contributed this bit of heavy metal history to Dangerous Minds.

Jimi Hendrix gave his final performance on September 6, 1970 on the Isle of Fehmarn, Germany at an event called “The Love and Peace Festival.” By most accounts, the fest was a disaster. Heavy rain had delayed Hendrix’s performance and when he did play it was on the following day and at a much earlier time slot than expected. There were reports that the ticket office was robbed and the promoter’s trailer burned to the ground. In the audience at the show was a fourteen-year-old guitar player named Ulrich Roth. His father, a photojournalist for a German paper, had hooked the kid up with a free pass. Roth had a camera with him, and he took photos of the event, though none have ever been published. Eventually the kid found his way backstage to try and meet Hendrix, who was there in the middle of a chaotic scene surrounded by various hangers-on and bikers. Thinking there would probably be another opportunity to meet Hendrix at an upcoming show in Hanover, Ulrich held back on approaching the guitarist.

The Hanover show never happened, because thirteen days later, on September 18, Jimi Hendrix was dead. He had been in London at the apartment of his girlfriend, a young German artist and former professional figure skater named Monika Dannemann. She took photos of him on the afternoon of the 17th, drinking tea and holding the Fender Strat he had named “Black Beauty,” supposedly his favorite guitar, and the one he had played at most of his 1970 concerts, including Fehmarn. He spent that night at Dannemann’s flat, having dinner, talking. But on the morning of the 18th, something had gone terribly wrong. Hendrix exited the third rock from the sun.

Jimi with Black Beauty photographed by Monika Dannemenn on her patio.
Several years after Hendrix’s death, Ulrich Roth, soon to be called Uli Jon Roth, became fixated on a guitar style that combined classical music structures with the outer space blues transmissions pioneered by Hendrix. He also formed a band called Dawn Road which eventually took on the name Scorpions after merging with guitarist Rudolf Schenker and singer Klaus Meine. Scorpions made four albums with Uli Jon Roth including what many consider to be their best, 1977’s Taken By Force.

In 1976 Roth met Monika Dannemann in London and the two became close, bonded by a connection with Hendrix. For Uli the connection was purely musical, the beginning of a philosophy damn near impossible to pin down with words, but that was deeply influenced by Hendrix and classical music. Even though there is maybe no other guitarist as well versed in the sonic language of the Hendrix musical realm, Uli’s style is more a continuation of what Hendrix started, rather than an imitation. Dannemann, for her part, believed she had been imparted with a kind of mysterious spiritual message from Hendrix, a message that she wanted to share with Roth and which he, already a Jimi fanatic, embraced to such a degree that it eventually led to him leaving Scorpions to form Electric Sun, a band where this higher level classical/Hendrix vibe could be more fully expressed.

But before all that, in 1977, Scorpions went into the studio to record Taken By Force, a pivotal album for the band that marked a transition to the more direct tactics required for conquering the overseas (i.e. American) market. Simpler lyrics, more straightforward assault, more METAL. It was an approach initiated in part by drummer/lyricist Herman Rarebell and rapidly embraced by the other members, though the album still holds some of Roth’s most famous eclectic bizarro rock compositions, including the evil flamenco saga “Sails Of Charon.”

The second track on Taken By Force is a song called “Burn The Sky.” Most of the music was written by rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker, with leads by Roth, and lyrics by Monika Dannemann, who by this time had become inseparable from Uli. It’s a tune that weighs in at several different classes all at once. Lyrically, it is what Roth has described as “Monica mourning for Jimi” but at the same time it used phrases that act as a negation of the finality of death. More pathos than any typical flower power hippie jam. Not stoned, but H-E-A-V-Y. This song is the dark melodic hard rock at the heart of Scorpions’ central nervous system, the elemental stuff from where their sound circulated outward through the mid 70’s to their greatest commercial triple entendre sex anthems of the 1980s.

Roth and Dannemann lived together for around seventeen years during which time she continued writing and became an accomplished painter. Eventually they split and she became entangled in a court battle with a woman named Kathy Etchingham which basically consisted of the two trading accusations and casting aspersions about who was the “real” girlfriend of Jimi Hendrix. It was a mess that culminated with Dannemann being held in contempt of court. In 1996, two days after that verdict, she was found in her car, a victim of what was ruled suicide from carbon monoxide poisoning.

As for what happened at Monika Dannemann’s apartment on the September 17th and 18th of 1970, there is no way to know any more than what has already been said. Uli Jon Roth has always maintained Dannemann’s version of events as she told them to both him and Scotland Yard. Basically, that there had been a tragic accident. Unable to sleep, Hendrix had taken some pills called Vesparax, a very strong German barbiturate that had been prescribed to Dannemann. The recommended dose for that stuff is one pill. Unaware of the potency and apparently without her knowledge, he took nine.

Following the death of Jimi Hendrix, the Black Beauty Strat fell into the care of Monika Dannemann. Today, like a magic sword guarded by an acolyte, it’s in the stewardship of Uli Jon Roth. There has been occasional speculation by some whether Roth actually has the instrument, but roughly two years ago he confirmed to me in a phone interview that he was, in fact, “the guardian of the guitar” though it was in a vault because “too many people were after it.” He then said he is hoping to one day exhibit it as part of an event that would also incorporate Monika Dannemann’s paintings.

This year, Scorpions are celebrating their 50th anniversary and though Uli Jon Roth is no longer a member, he tours with his own band and has become an innovator in guitar design and instruction. Through seminars called Sky Academy he teaches guitar via a technique derived from the philosophy he began imagining years ago, a type of musical metaphysics. The rough explanation of it would be imagining how emotion is affected by vibrating frequencies, frequencies in an octave, with each octave represented by a color. Strange? Guitar players are weird people. But maybe it’s not so weird if one were to consider certain theories. Like a theory where the entire world, down to the movements of the smallest particle, is a form of music. A type of six string theory, if you will. It’s even less weird if one were to consider that a manifestation of these moving particles, these frequencies, is an instrument, a guitar, a device constructed to broadcast sounds through speakers, over crowds, through time, and onto the fields of an outdoor concert where trailers get burned down, and ticket offices robbed, and a guitar player walks backstage hoping to meet his idol. Now can you dig it?

After the jump, Scorpions perform “Burn The Sky” on German television in 1977…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Meet Bobbie McGee AKA ‘Gladys Glitter’: Glam rock’s ‘lost’ none-hit-wonder

A few weeks ago Cherry Bombed, one of my co-conspirators here at Dangerous Minds, was working on a post about vintage Swedish rock and roll trading cards and contacted me to ask if I knew who “Bobby McGee” was. As well-versed in glitter and glam as I like to consider myself, I was at a loss. The Swedish trading card of the chick in lame′ spandex and leopard-print stand-up collar on the back of a chopper was an intriguing mystery.

It wasn’t an easy bit of searching to reveal the identity of this early ‘70s mystery artist either—as searching for any musically-related “Bobby McGee” (or more properly, as I’d learn, “Bobbie McGee”), was bound to return thousands of Janis Joplin and Kris Kristofferson entries.

Eventually “Bobbie McGee” revealed herself as Lady Teresa Anna Von Arletowicz, who was also dubbed by the music press of the day as “Gladys Glitter” for her musical and sartorial similarities to Gary Glitter.

Click on image for larger, readable version.
Arletowicz was born in London, but lived in South Africa for a time where her recording career seems to have begun with the release of the 1972 pop single “Zanzibar.” 

Her 1973 UK glam rock single, “Rock and Roll People,” brought her some degree of cult status which resulted in a few TV appearances, music press articles, and at least one vintage Swedish rock and roll trading card—but not much else. It seems that the UK music industry was only interested in elevating one glam rock queen to superstar status and it wasn’t in the cards for Gladys Glitter—Suzi Quatro was to be the anointed one. A shame, in fact, because you can’t really have enough ‘70s badass rocker chicks. Bobbie McGee released four more singles that went nowhere before completely disappearing from music history’s radar.

Still, thank glob for unearthed Swedish trading cards to set us on journeys of pop-archaeology and YouTube for preserving what has become my favorite song of the moment. It may also be yours too—if you don’t think too hard about it. There’s some big dumb hooks in there.

Here’s to you Gladys Glitter, wherever you are

Listen to the almost-coulda-been-a-hit “Rock and Roll People”:

After the jump, listen to it again…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Got $4000 Germs-burning a hole in your pocket? Buy signed (pitiful) royalty checks of Germs members!
08:59 am


Darby Crash
The Germs
Pat Smear

Let’s say you’re an ageing ex-punk who’s made it in the world of high finance. You’re on top of the world, but still something is missing. You’ve got the McMansion and the porsche and the cabin cruiser, but you still wear your FEAR shirt on the weekends up at the lake and there’s always that Germs-burn on your inner wrist which serves as a constant reminder of your rebellious roots. You still feel connected to those glory days, but time has built a wall between you and your lost youth. If only this great wealth could somehow help you reconnect…


Allow me to direct your attention to three pieces of punk rock memorabilia currently for sale on eBay that would be considered absolutely priceless if it weren’t for the fact that they have an actual price: $3,998.00.

Germs’ royalty checks. Click on image for larger version.
These three royalty checks were made out by What? Records owner Chris Ashord to Paul Beahm (Darby Crash), Teresa Ryan (Lorna Doom), and Georg Ruthenberg Jr (Pat Smear) for sales of the first Germs’ single “Forming”, which was released in July, 1977. They are endorsed on the reverse side by the band members.

Endorsements. Click image for larger version.
What’s most remarkable about these artifacts is the fact that the royalty checks are made out for $3.00, $2.57, and $2.56. One is reminded of the Opti-Grab lawsuit scene from The Jerk in which Steve Martin’s character is reduced to writing hundreds of settlement checks for “one dollar and nine cents.” A $2.56 check seems hardly worth writing, but considering the value of that check now, there’s at least one eBay seller that’s satisfied that the payments were made in a timely manner. 

Money can’t buy you authenticity, but these checks do seem to prove the street-cred of early punk bands like The Germs. No one was in it for the money, and here’s the evidence! These items prove that, at least once-upon-a-time, there were some things more important than money—and you can have that proof to hold in your very own hands today for only $3,998.00.

After the jump, the hit What? Records single from whence the Germs got filthy rich. Listen to it and ponder, “What happened to Don Bolles’ check?”

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
What do you get the collector who has everything? How about Ringo Starr’s ‘White Album’ No.0000001?
08:11 am


Ringo Starr
White Album

Ringo Starr has been doing some mighty heavy house cleaning lately, and a HUGE collection of personal effects, decorative objects, and of course Beatles memorabilia belonging to him and his wife Barbara Bach is being auctioned on the first weekend in December. The auction takes up 55 pages of Juliens’ web site, and while it features a lot of kinda humdrum rich-people housewares and jewelry, and a stash of religious tchotchkes ranging from Eastern to Catholic, there’s also a rather nice art collection represented here, and some rather marvelously goofy Beatles stuff, certainly fit for the most marvelously goofy Beatle: a “Sgt. Pepper” upholstered leather chair, an extremely cool “Yellow SubmarineRock-Ola jukebox, a script from the movie “Help!,” a certain highly recognizable drum kit, and the single most charming lot in the entire collection (yeah, I went through it all, I’m a professional dork), the “Ringo Starr Press Archive Compiled By His Mother!”

Thanks, Ringo’s Mom.

There’s also this. Click to spawn a readable enlargement in a new browser tab.

But the most jaw-dropping item here is something I’d dare say could be THE ultimate trophy for a record collector: the very first numbered copy of The Beatles. That album is widely known as “The White Album” because of its minimalist packaging—a plain white sleeve, each stamped with a unique number. It’s long been accepted lore that copies 1-4 were in the possession of the Beatles themselves, but it’s been assumed just as long, and obviously incorrectly, that rather than being Ringo’s copy, No. 0000001 was claimed by John Lennon. This misapprehension was shared even by Sir Paul McCartney himself, who “confirmed” the rumor in Barry Miles’ 1998 bio Many Years From Now:

[LP cover designer] Richard [Hamilton] had the idea for the numbers. He said, ‘Can we do it?’ So I had to go and try and sell this to EMI. They said, ‘Can’t do it.’ I said, ‘Look, records must go through something to put the shrink wrap on or to staple them. Couldn’t you just have a little thing at the end of that process that hits the paper and prints a number on it? Then everyone would have a numbered copy.’

I think EMI only did this on a few thousand, then just immediately gave up. They have very very strict instructions that every single album that came out, even to this day, should still be numbered. That’s the whole idea: ‘I’ve got number 1,000,000!’ What a great number to have! We got the first four. I don’t know where mine is, of course. Everything got lost. It’s all coming up in Sotheby’s I imagine. John got 00001 because he shouted loudest. He said, ‘Baggsy number one!’ He knew the game, you’ve gotta baggsy it.



Now, you might be thinking, ‘HEY, wasn’t White Album #1 just sold a couple of years ago?” You are a VERY astute student of popcult ephemera—or a regular Dangerous Minds reader (which is the same damn thing, of course, he said with a wink). DM’s own Paul Gallagher reported on the sale of White Album A0000001 in July of 2013. So here’s the deal: every plant that pressed the record had its own numbering system, and there could be as many as 12 different #1s. The “A” on the serial number indicates that that one was one of several U.S. pressings. This is complicated and highly messy shit, and the online White Album Registry is an excellent resource for sorting it all out. (In case such information interests you, my White Album is A1557636, which, combined with the fact that the poster is long lost, means it’s utterly worthless to collectors. Still sounds great, though!)

Obviously, the fact that this has been in Ringo Starr’s possession (well, in his bank vault, anyway) since day 1 gives it an unassailable provenance—this is clearly THE White Album #1 from the first UK pressing. Starting bid is $20,000, and the final sale estimate is set at $60,000. Good luck. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Ringo and Barbara’s own Lotus Foundation, a charity that, according to its about page, is devoted to “advancing social welfare in diverse areas.” It’s worth mentioning that Starr is also raising money for the Lotus Foundation with proceeds from the new book Photograph, a collection of his personal photos annotated with his reminiscences.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
This Melvins rehearsal tape from 1985 features drummer Dale Crover’s pissed-off mom
08:15 am



A wonderful artifact just popped up on YouTube this week—a 1985 Melvins rehearsal tape, of pretty high quality for a boombox recording, bookended by the complaints of band member Dale Crover’s mom that the band is drowning out the TV!

Melvins, as constituted in 1985, were already on their second lineup. Founders Buzz Osborne and future Mudhoney member Matt Lukin (the first in Melvins’ Spinal Tap drummer-like procession of bassists) had recruited drummer Crover the year before to replace original member Mike Dillard. Osborne was 21 at the time, and Crover only 18, and the band practiced in Crover’s mother’s Aberdeen, Washington home. But despite their youth, the soon-to-be-influential band were already burgeoning road warriors. After the rehearsal tape, I’ve included footage from a concert that same year, in Calgary, Alberta.

Here’s part one of that concert in Canada. Part 2 is here, and 3 is here.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
U2’s amazing ‘lost’ early single: ‘A Celebration’
05:21 pm



I have a grudging respect for U2, although I am not really a fan of their music. I say “grudging respect” because a) they are one of the biggest rock bands in history and plenty of people love them and b) I can’t overlook the fact that of any “classic” rock act, they’ve probably been consistently better than almost any band you can name, and for a longer period of time, too. Compare U2 to the Rolling Stones. The Stones’ classic period begins in 1966 and is over by the time fucking Ronnie Wood joins. Eight good years out of what, 90 or something? Even the towering genius of David Bowie’s peak creative years have got nothing on U2 who have never really been “bad” in over 35 years.  U2 have had a remarkably good run of it. Put them next to any longterm rock superstars, and they acquit themselves admirably.

Still, they are just not my cup of tea. I think I feel a little guilty about putting them on DM, I guess, because, frankly, I’ve always found them a bit naff and Bono, although he’s undeniably done some good things in the world, strikes me as a man who absolutely loves himself, like Sting does.  For the record, I like Boy (but don’t own it) I like the Zooropa-era material (but don’t own it), and I thought “It’s a Beautiful Day” was… just beautiful. But there are only really two tracks by them that I am absolutely nuts over: “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” from 1995’s Batman Forever soundtrack, which just completely blew me away, and the least-known single of their career, 1982’s “A Celebration.”



“A Celebration” does not appear on any U2 album and was deleted six months after it came out. According to a 1983 interview with drummer Larry Mullen Jr.:

“We did a video of it. We went to this prison in Dublin, where the 1916 uprising took place, called Kilmainham Jail, and filmed it with the idea of breaking out. It was very much a look at ourselves. Like when we were in school and everyone was telling us ‘you’re crap’ and we couldn’t get a record dealit was the triumph of breaking through.”

The reason for the record’s cold shoulder from the group who recorded it—and were presumably proud enough of it to shoot a video for the song—have to do with the way Bono’s lyrics were misinterpreted. From a transcript of a 1983 radio interview

Interviewer: I wanna play the other side of that, which is ‘A Celebration’, since we have no hope in the world of hearing this tomorrow, since the band’s forgotten it we’re gonna play that. This is a terrific track, is it ever going to appear on an album?

Bono: No…(laughs) I don’t think so. It ah -

Interviewer: Do you not like it?!

Bono: No I do like it actually, I’m… sometimes I hate it, I mean it’s like with a lot of music, if I hear it in a club it really excites me, and I think it is a forerunner to War and a lot of the themes. It was great in Europe because… A song like ‘Seconds’ people thought was very serious - on the LP War ‘Seconds’ - it’s anti-nuclear, it’s a statement. They didn’t see the sense of humour to it, it’s sort of black humour, where we were using a lot of clichés; y’know It takes a second to say goodbye, blah blah, and some people took it very seriously. And it is black humour, and it is to be taken sort-of seriously, but this song had the lines in it, I believe in a third world war, I believe in the atomic bomb, I believe in the powers that be, but they won’t overpower me. And of course a lot of people they heard I believe in a third world war, I believe in the atomic bomb, and they thought it was some sort of, y’know, Hitler Part II. And Europeans especially were (puts on outraged French accent) Ah non! Vive le France! and it was all like, all sorts of chaos broke out, and they said, What do you mean, you believe in the atomic bomb? And I was trying to say in the song, I believe in the third world war, because people talk about the third world war but it’s already happened, I mean it’s happened in the third world, that’s obvious. But I was saying these are facts of life, I believe in them, I believe in the powers that be BUT, they won’t overpower me. And that’s the point, but a lot of people didn’t reach the fourth line.

It’s too bad, because this is a fucking corker of a song with an amazing guitar riff. Like I say, I’m not a big U2 fan, but I used to play this record over and over and over again back then. MTV on a rare occasion would play the video (and Vh1 Classics probably still does) but it’s still tragically the least known song in U2’s large catalog. Eventually it was released on CD in 2004 on The Complete U2.

“A Celebration” live on Dutch television in 1983:


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Rolling Stones’ 1989 ‘Steel Wheels’ tour was only rock & roll, but I liked it
12:36 pm


Rolling Stones

One Sunday afternoon in Fall of 1989 I was walking around Greenwich Village and I popped into Bleecker Bob’s record store to see if my old friend Nate Cimmino was working that day. He wasn’t and so I used a pay phone (remember them?) to call him to see if he wanted to have lunch and go record shopping. As the phone was ringing, I saw him walk briskly past me and make for the phone right beside the one I was using.

“Hey! I was just calling you!” I said.

“And oddly enough, I was just about to call you,” he replied. “Guess where you’re going?”


“To see the Rolling Stones at Shea Stadium.”

“Really? When?”

Right now. Let’s get on the subway and go. We’ll get there in time for the opening act if we leave right away.”

Via Stufish Entertainment Architects

Although I was bummed that I didn’t have any pot on me—yes, I still recall this tiny detail a quarter of a century later—we jumped on the subway and made our way out to Shea Stadium in Queens—then home of the NY Mets—to see “the world’s greatest rock and roll band.” This was the “Steel Wheels” tour, a trek that some wags in the media had termed “Steel Wheelchairs.” The band first started getting called “The Strolling Bones” around then, too. Ah, if they only knew then what we now know… But this was when the Stones were really only just starting to get shit about getting too old to rock and roll. Recall that at one point Mick Jagger was saying in interviews that he couldn’t picture himself still singing “Satisfaction” onstage over the age of 30. In 1989 he was 46 and still singing it, but as the Stones hadn’t toured since 1982—Mick and Keith had been feuding for seven years at this point—they got a pass because everyone wondered, as the rumor mill had it, if this would be the final Rolling Stones tour.

That seems farcical now of course, but I will contend that this was the final tour before the Rolling Stones simply became a Rolling Stones cover band. It was the final tour that bassist Bill Wyman made with the group. It was also the last time they’d tour with both a hit album and a hit single. The Steel Wheels album went to #2 on the Billboard chart and the single “Mixed Emotions” was a top five hit. The video played constantly on MTV and radio loved the song, but again it was this implied threat that “this could be the last time” that made people flock to these shows the way they did, I think.

Via Stufish Entertainment Architects

“Steel Wheels” was one of the most successful tours of all time. And the biggest, carted around on 80 trucks. It was the very first stadium rock show I’d ever seen and it did not disappoint. What a spectacle. The Stones have long had a (well-deserved) reputation for being an extremely sloppy live band, but they were a well-rehearsed music machine—with many quality side musicians augmenting the band—on the “Steel Wheels” tour. The stage was huge. The light show and pyrotechnics were impressive and they were simply damned good.

So with my fond memory of the show, I was curious to see the latest installment of the Stones archival “From the Vaults” series, Live at the Tokyo Dome 1990. The band’s first ever dates in Japan saw the end of the “Steel Wheels” tour in 1990 with ten shows, one of them taped for television broadcast. I wanted to see if it meshed with my own recollection of the show. It did! The quality of this new release is excellent and although the Blu-ray disc’s content is in standard (nicely uprezed) video definition, the Tokyo Dome show is absolutely superb. My favorite Stones on film will always be Ladies & Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, then Gimme Shelter, but lemme tell ya, the sequence of songs that begins with “Paint It Black” followed by “2000 Light Years From Home” (this was the only tour this song was ever performed on a nightly basis, and I thought it the absolute highlight of the set) “Sympathy For The Devil” and then “Gimme Shelter” is pretty impressive here. Dramatic, with a wow factor the Stones haven’t really mustered since.

This show has been bootlegged a lot over the years but the new release by Eagle Rock, with its 5.1 HD DTS Master Audio soundtrack mixed by Bob Clearmountain is definitely worth the upgrade. It sounds simply fantastic. In fact it’s much better than I thought it would be, to be honest. On every level. If you’re a Stones fan, especially if you saw this tour, this DVD is a must.

Buy Live at the Tokyo Dome 1990 on Amazon.

Here’s a clip from Live at Tokyo Dome 1990 for what was then the Stones big hit single, “Mixed Emotions”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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