Celebrations are underway marking the 200th anniversary of the start of Mexico’s War of Independence.
On 16th September 1810, a priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared Mexico’s freedom from the Spanish colonial government, in the small town of Dolores. Hidalgo’s call to arms became known as the Grito de Dolores (the Cry of Dolores), and led to the first of many rebellions against the forces of the Spanish Crown, which resulted in Mexico’s independence in 1821.
They don’t make priests like Hidalgo anymore - an intellectual revolutionary, who spoke out against Church and Crown, lived openly with his lover, fathered several children, smoked, drank, and gambled. More importantly, he was an egalitarian, who believed in the sharing of wealth. Hidalgo was eventually caught, excommunicated, tried for treason, and executed in 1811. However, his clear-sighted actions inspired a nation to reclaim its liberty.
These incredible photographs show some of the events taking place for Mexico’s bicentennial celebrations.
Rare Japanese documentary footage of The Dictators, Suicide, Bad Brains, Mink DeVille, James Chance, The Ramones and The Dead Boys at CBGB, 1978. The Plasmatics at Cbs 1980 from NYC cable show ‘Innertube’. Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, also from Innertube, 1979, at Max’s.
One hit wonders in Germany, Adam and Eve do their best Sonny and Cher in this video from 1967, “They Can Look At Us And Laugh”. The duo were Eva Bartova from Prague and American expatriate John Christian Dee.
There’s not much information on John Christian Dee that I can find. He was born in Buffalo, NY. He moved to London in his twenties. He wrote some songs for The Pretty Things and The Pink Fairies. He later married the infamous Janie Jones and together they ran a prostitution ring in London. He and Jones were busted and sentenced to prison but he fled the country. In 1975 he was jailed in Germany for stabbing his girlfriend. He escaped and disappeared somewhere in France. John Christian Dee died in London in 2004.
After Dee split for England, Eva continued to record with a new Adam, Hartmut Schairer, but the results weren’t nearly as interesting as her brief career with Dee. She died in 1989.
The video is a real oddity. The Sonny and Cher replication is pretty amazing. The song sounds like something Sonny would write, with its depiction of hippies as proud loners being ostracized and ridiculed by straight society. The first Sonny and Cher album was titled Look At Us - not much different from the title of this song. Dee has Sonny’s vocal mannerisms down pat: stretching vowels with a wiseass snarl.
Anyway, here’s Adam and Eve. If you don’t dig the song, you’ll love the wigs and bell bottoms. If you want more, buy the CD here.
Jack Kerouac reads from Visions of Cody on The Steve Allen Plymouth Show in 1959. This clip is taken from the documentary film, Whatever Happened to Keroauc? It’s often mislabeled as being a reading from On The Road, but it’s not (to add further to the confusion, there is a close up of On The Road’s cover as Steve Allen is speaking).
“The Lord’s Prayer’ was recorded in 1974 as a B-side to “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” by Sister Janet Mead and became a huge hit, first in Australia and then internationally. It sold over 3 million copies.
The whole song is pretty cool, but the first 15 seconds is sublime. The bass and drum riff, distorted phased guitar and tambourines meld into a classic slice of vintage sounding sixties psychedelia. This nun rocks!
Describing her success as “a horrible time” in her life that shook the foundations of her faith, Sister Mead managed to overcome her dark night of the soul and continues to record and perform to this day.
This video is from Australian TV show Rage and it features some documentary footage of Sister Mead between gigs.
The Singing Nun
Jeanine Deckers (17 October 1933(1933-10-17) – 29 March 1985), known in English as The Singing Nun, was a Belgian nun, and a member (as Sister Luc Gabriel) of the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Belgium. She became internationally famous in 1963 as Sœur Sourire (Sister Smile) when she scored a hit with the song “Dominique”. Although she was deeply religious, she was also increasingly critical of some of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine and eventually became an advocate of birth control. She also agreed with John Lennon’s statements about Jesus in 1966. In 1967, she recorded a song entitled “Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill” — a paean to contraception — under the name Luc Dominique. It was a commercial failure
In a last ditch bid to regain some commercial success, Deckers, once again billing herself as The Singing Nun, released a disco version of ‘Dominique”. It bombed. Her poorly managed financial world was in shambles. She was broke and deeply in debt. In 1985 she and her longtime companion, Anna Pecher, checked out with a combination of booze and alcohol. Where was God when she needed it most?
In her suicide note, Jeanine wrote:
“Am I a failure? I try to stay honest with myself. To look for the truth, and try to question everything in my life…
Ten years ago I would have said I was a loser.
Now I don’t think in terms of losing or winning…
Life is a continuum. You’re constantly on your way. One day I feel good, the next I feel bad. Altogether it’s bearable.
Would I do it all over again? That’s not a good question. You can’t.
You can’t do it all over again. Voila”
Watch a trailer for a new film that purports to tell the true tale of The Singing Nun after the jump…
This Friday, September 17th, John Schienfeld’s terrific new documentary, Who is Harry Nilsson? (And Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?) opens in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Sunset 5 for week (and maybe longer). The reviews have been stellar—and in my opinion, justly deserved—for this heartfelt and moving tribute to the great singer-songwriter.
With Brian Wilson, Jimmy Webb, Van Dyke Parks, Yoko Ono, Paul Williams, Mickey Dolenz, The Smothers Brothers, and Pythons Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle,
Above, a BBC In Concert appearance from from Harry Nilsson. Nilsson famously hated performing live and on television, but this 30 minute performance is remarkable, indeed. More from the For the Love of Harry blog:
Harry Nilsson’s finest hour on film. Taped for England’s BBC in 1971, this simple and effective set of performances has everything one could ask for when seeing the rarely seen Nilsson live - solo piano & acoustic renditions, tasteful effects, plenty of close ups, unreleased music and even live overdubbing (both audio & video). Special thanks to our friend Patrick from Germany who supplied us with this excellent - now complete - 34 minute video. This live studio performance finds Harry delivering slower, more moving renditions of some of his best work up to 1971. His somber reading of “Life Line” is simply heartbreaking. Harry performs as a live trio with himself on “Walk Right Back” and “Coconut,” where he uses lip syncing gorillas for visuals. The Citizen Kane rafters clip ending is priceless. Harry introduces two videos from The Point! (“Think About Your Troubles” and “Are You Sleeping”). There just isn’t a better, more visually pleasing representation of Harry Nilsson at work. Download the .avi video file HERE. If you want MP3s of the show (minus the two Point! audio/video files), you can get them HERE.
Songs: Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song/One, Gotta Get Up, Walk Right Back/Cathy’s Clown/Let The Good Times Roll. Life Line; Joy, Without Her. Coconut. 1941
You can watch my interview with director John Schienfeld, here.