Lee Hazlewood gets his heart broken and records the ultimate break-up album, 1971
10.23.2017
06:37 am
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Suzi and Lee (courtesy Suzi Jane Hokom)
 
It was 1971 and Lee Hazlewood had recently left Los Angeles and his label, LHI Records, far behind, having relocated to the Scandinavian nation of Sweden. He’d also split with his girlfriend of six years, singer Suzi Jane Hokum (that’s Lee and Suzi in the above photo). Prior to their parting, they recorded a number of duets, such as the Hazlewood-penned “Summer Wine,” which Lee would re-make with Nancy Sinatra. Here’s the original Lee and Suzi version:
 

 
Following their break-up, Lee wrote a collection of songs detailing the pain of losing a romantic partner. After a first attempt at getting the tracks down on tape in Sweden didn’t work out to his liking, L.H. flew back to L.A. to record in more familiar surroundings. Supported by a small group of musician friends, including Jerry Cole of the Wrecking Crew, the album was captured in a single day—May 11, 1971. 

The subsequent LP, Requiem for an Almost Lady, was released later in the year, though initially just in Sweden and Australia. Lee sets the scene before each of the stripped-down tracks, then proceeds to sing each of the songs in his distinctive dry-as-the-desert-but-still-sweet-sounding baritone, which aches like never before. The album is full of a very relatable form of heartache that’s sad, wistful, witty, vengeful, poetic, painful, and real. It speaks to the particular form of emptiness that comes when the one you love leaves. Pop music has had its share of break-up albums, but none are as spot-on as this.
 
Requiem for an Almost Lady cover
 
Lee wrote some notes about the record, which appeared on the back cover of the original LP. Here’s an excerpt:

This is a group of songs about one lady…her name is not important…she knows who she was…There was no pleasure (as there usually is) in writing this album…there was only the dull “thud” of realization that something you once took for granted is gone…

On November 3, Light in the Attic Records will reissue Requiem for an Almost Lady, along with two other Lee Hazlewood records, Forty, and the album L.H. did with Ann-Margaret, The Cowboy & The Lady; all three have bonus tracks. Various goodies are available to those that pre-order through LITA’s website. If you pick up the colored vinyl editions of each, the label will throw in a nearly hour-long cassette containing two previously unreleased Hazlewood sessions from 1969—how cool is that? If you instead decide to go the Amazon route, click on the above album titles.

Thanks to Light in the Attic, we’ve got the remastered premiere of “I’d Rather Be Your Enemy,” the song that closes Requiem for an Almost Lady. It’s delivered with the kind of wounded venom that will ring true to many, ending with a classic Hazlewood turn of phrase.
 

 
In 1999, nearly 30 years after Requiem was released, Lee once again wrote about the album, but his view of the material had changed. A selection of those thoughts:

In retrospect…These songs were not written about or for one lady or two or even three…They are a composite of all my memories, of ladies, since I became aware of memories and ladies…After breathing in and out for seven decades (as I have), you start to believe you’re wiser…You ain’t…You’re just more cautious…Here’s to the ladies…Here’s to the memories…And here’s to the songs…

 
Lee and Suzi (courtesy Mark Pickerel)
 
As a companion piece to Requiem for an Almost Lady, a short film with the same name was produced and aired on Swedish television. Directed by Torbjörn Axelman, who first collaborated with Lee on a similar project for Hazlewood’s Cowboy in Sweden LP. Both are forerunners of the video album. The Requiem movie includes most of the tracks from the record, plus a couple of added segments that were surely attempts to lighten the mood for the TV audience.
 
Watch it, after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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10.23.2017
06:37 am
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The B-52s bring their mess around to the popular soap opera ‘Guiding Light,’ 1982
10.23.2017
06:35 am
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Guiding Light holds the record for the longest run of any soap opera. It debuted in 1952 as a narrative doled out in 15-minute increments and made it all the way to 2009, when it was replaced by Let’s Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady. When a show is around that long, it’s tempting to say that “everything” happened on it, but that category doesn’t intuitively include appearances by influential new wave bands. Yet that did happen too.

In 1982 the B-52s appeared on an episode during a promotional tour for their David Byrne-produced EP Mesopotamia. The premise was that there was a venue in the town, which bore the name of Springfield (yes, Springfield), in which musical artists would appear. Apparently Judy Collins appeared in another episode. 

The two YouTube clips below capture the musical performances but not the parts in which Cindy, Kate, and Fred appear in a scene with some character from the show who aspires to be a professional musician. You can see the barest snippet of that scene in the VH-1 clip below. Oddly, the band ended up playing a non-single cut called “Throw That Beat in the Garbage Can” (at the request of the Guiding Light people, it seems) and “Private Idaho,” a track off of 1980’s Wild Planet.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what song they play, you know exactly what it’s going to be like and that it’s going to be great. 
 
Watch it all after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.23.2017
06:35 am
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Breathtakingly beautiful Autochromes of women from the early 1900s (NSFW)
10.20.2017
10:08 am
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The lowly potato gave the world sustenance, French fries, and would you believe color photography?

In 1903, two French inventors and photographers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, used the potato as the basis for their patented process in creating color photographs, or Autochromes as they were called. It was a simple but ingenious technique—crush potatoes into tiny particles; separate these minuscule starch particles into three; add red, violet and green dye; mix onto a glass plate; brush off the excess; flatten the dyed particles onto the plate between two rollers—thus creating microscopic color filters; fill in any gaps with soot; brush with light-sensitive silver bromide. Voila! You have a photographic plate ready to take color pictures.

The Lumières were also behind early advances in motion pictures but the brothers thought there was no future in movies and stuck to developing color photography. By 1907, the Lumières’ technique had proved so successful it infected the photographic world with “color fever.” Photographers across Europe and America (including talented amateurs like Gustave Eiffel better known for his Parisien tower) started producing a gallery’s worth of pictures—from portraits to nudes. To get an idea of scale, take for example just one repository the National Geographic Society which currently has “more than 15,000 glass plates in its archives, most of which are autochromes.”

What I love about Autochromes is the richness of color matched by a literal grittiness caused, in fact, by the potato starch. It gives the pictures a painterly quality, a depth, and resonance that digital photographs can rarely match. There were so many Autochromes taken after 1907 that sometimes the identity of the photographer is not known. Where possible in the following selection, I’ve tagged the person behind the camera.
 
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Gustav Gain.
 
More beautiful Autochromes, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.20.2017
10:08 am
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The never before told story of the man in the infamous ‘FUCK THE DRAFT’ posters
10.20.2017
09:58 am
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Of the many stories of official government suppression that came out of the Vietnam War era protest movements, one of the most compelling is the saga of Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s indelible “Fuck the Draft” poster. Kuromiya procured—how is unclear—a photo of a hippie burning his draft card, looking almost religiously captivated by the flame, and set his slogan in the plainest possible type. It was a hit, but his mail order sales gave feds seeking to suppress its message a strong angle of attack—using the mails to send obscene materials over state lines. The designer spent three years fighting those obscenity charges, and my Dangerous Minds colleague Jason Schafer crafted a fascinating deep-dive of that story about two and a half years ago. I unconditionally recommend reading it before proceeding here.

A crucial part of that story has gone untold until now—the perspective of Bill Greenshields, the man in the photograph. He’s only ever been publicly identified as the face of “Fuck the Draft” once before, practically in passing in a 1968 issue of an underground magazine. He’s agreed to tell his story for the first time to Dangerous Minds, to mark the 50th anniversary of his immortal rebellious action—the photo was taken on October 21, 1967, at the notorious war protest at the Pentagon, the one during which Abbie Hoffman famously attempted to levitate the building.

Dangerous Minds was put in contact with Greenshields by longtime Detroit art/punk provocateur Tim Caldwell (we’ve told you about him before.) Caldwell has known Greenshields for decades, but only just found out about his friend’s connection to the poster. It’s a story best told in Caldwell’s words:

Tim Caldwell: I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit for this exhibit called “Sonic Rebellion,” for the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots in July of 1967. There are all these artifacts, like magazines, protest posters, books, and photographs, and people’s interpretations of all that in their artwork. And also there’s this idea of music as a force of expressive resistance. And there was this poster of my friend Bill. It was really weird, because he’d always told me he’d had a very different life before we met, and I didn’t really know what he looked like as a teenager—he’s almost 70 and I met him about 30 years ago, doing films and things like that. But so I saw this poster, in a case, and I was like “WOW, that’s him!” He looks kind of goofy and crazed in it, because that’s just the moment they caught him, he wasn’t posing or anything. I hadn’t seen him in about five or seven years, so I called a mutual friend who’s a musician who he knew Bill from film societies going back to the ‘80s. And he confirmed that it was Bill in the poster, and I asked if he was OK with talking about it, since he’d never mentioned it. So finally I called Bill and, yeah, it’s him! And every time we talked after that he’d have more and more crazy stories about stuff he did in the protest era that I’d never heard about before, he had this whole secret life before I met him—I started to wonder how well I’d really known him for those 30 years!
 

Bill Greenshields reliving a key moment from his past

Greenshields broke his decades-long silence on his experience in a phone conversation last weekend.

DM: So let’s start at the beginning—the protest itself. What were the circumstances, and do you know who shot the picture?

Bill Greenshield: I have no idea who took the picture or how I was selected to be on a poster. There were some people around with cameras, some of whom I thought were probably government spooks.

DM: Some of them probably were!

BG: There were friendlies too, with cameras, though. This occurred at the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, and it was part of the march on the Pentagon.

DM: This was the day that Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon?

BG: Yeah, that occurred at the same time, you might say, around sundown. The march started at the Lincoln Memorial. People were bussed in from all over the country, and it was kind of a virgin thing, the first really big national march. If you’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial, you know there’s a giant long reflecting pool between that and the Washington Monument obelisk. At that particular time, I was part of a group of draft resistors in the Detroit area, and one of us had made a mock-up of a sign, a really large draft card. The name on it was “Loony Bird Johnson,” since LBJ was president at the time. Another fellow and I took off our shoes and sock and walked into the reflecting pool, which was slippery as hell. So we’re slipping and sliding, trying to be really careful, taking this gigantic draft card out into the middle of it, and suddenly everyone looked a lot smaller, except Lincoln, who was still very imposing. We got out a butane lighter and tried to light it, and it took a while, because there was a breeze and it was poster board. But we got it lit and immolated the whole thing. Then slid all the way back and put our shoes on to go hear all the speeches.

Then there was a march across the Potomac to the Pentagon. I don’t know how many miles it was, but it was slow going. I don’t know how many people were there but it was a long line of them, and the first people there went to where the public entrance was, that large staircase, and they went up there and got stuck up there, surrounded by Federal Marshals, who were not very nice [laughs], with billy clubs and whatnot, and Federal troops, who were our age, and were very nice. They were armed, but you could talk with them. It was starting to get dark, and like I said, they were stuck up there. Then some of the Yippies were doing like an invocation to levitate the Pentagon…

DM: So did it go up?

BG: Well, WE levitated! [laughs] Anyway, what happened was someone threw a rope up to the next level, because the stairs were blocked, and nobody was grabbing it to climb it, and I thought “what the hell,” and I started to go up. And as I’m going up I’m thinking various things, like “I hope someone up there keeps holding the other end of this,” and “A sniper could pick me off pretty good right now.” And when I got all the way up some people saw me and helped me over the ledge. People were pretty crammed together, and about 50 of them had put their draft cards in a soldier’s helmet and burned them all, and I had just missed it. So I took mine out and lit it up individually, and it lit a lot better than the big cardboard one. That was when someone took my picture. And that picture somehow got to Kiyoshi Kuromiya who made the poster.

I had no knowledge of the poster until an article in May of 1968, in The Fifth Estate, an underground paper that still exists, by the way, Harvey Ovshinsky was the editor. I was a childhood friend of his, all the way through junior high school, and he recognized me on the poster right away, and even named me in the article.
 

click to spawn a more readable enlargement

DM: The look on your face in that poster is a little demented, like you’re some kind of twisted fire-worshipper.

BG: Yeah, like there’s this GLEE of some kind! That’s probably why it was selected, but you gotta remember, I had just climbed this rope after walking from the Lincoln Monument to the Pentagon, and so I probably WAS really enjoying burning that card at the time. [laughs]

DM: So after the poster came out, the Federal obscenity charges came up against Kuromiya. Did the feds try finding you, too?

BG: Yes, they did.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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10.20.2017
09:58 am
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