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Territorial Pissing: The 19th century public urinals of Paris

A man entering a public urinal or ‘pissoir’ at Place Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, Paris, 1875.
The photos in this post were taken by one of the most notable and gifted photographers of the nineteenth century, Charles Marville. So revered was Marville in his native France that he was chosen by the city of Paris to document the changing city, especially landmarks that were built by Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann who had been tasked with the job of giving Paris a makeover of sorts. According to details found in Haussmann’s biography, he was also responsible for the introduction of new and improved water supply and drainage for the overcrowded city in an effort to remove “foul odors” from the streets. Which brings me back to Marville’s fascinating photos of public urinals—or as they were called during this time period pissiors—that were located all around Paris during the late 1800s and well into the turn-of-the-century.

The pissoirs were conceived in 1834 by Claude-Philibert Barthelot, Comte de Rambuteau—a French official who pioneered and implemented improvements to the existing sewer system in Paris. Barthelot was convinced that the poor, unhealthy conditions of the streets were directly correlated to a massive cholera outbreak in 1832. However, it would be Haussmann that would be instrumental in helping install pissoirs of varying styles and sizes all around Paris, which helped confine the stench of urine that before their arrival was overwhelming the city. Thanks to Marville’s camera lens, this transformative time in Paris was beautifully chronicled in his photographs.

Most of the pissoirs that Marville photographed are quite beautiful despite their lowly utilitarian purpose, while others are not much more than a slab of carved concrete for Parisian men to relieve themselves on instead of a wall. At one time approximately 1,200 pissoirs stood around Paris and according to some the more private varieties were also used during WWII as places to discuss private matters without worrying if a Nazi was eavesdropping on you (or perhaps this was just what the men who frequented them told their wives?) By the time the 60s arrived, the city of lights had begun the process of removing its pissoirs, and only one still stands in the city on Boulevard Arago near the intersection of Rue de la Santé. Photos of Paris’ elegant pissoirs follow.

Boulevard Sébastopol 1875.

A large, elegant pissoir located at Champs-Élysées 1874.
More period pissoirs of Paris after the jump…

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Intimate photographs of post-war Paris
10:07 am


Robert Doisneau

A young Parisian couple dancing to Bebop in the Bebop Cellar at Vieus Colombier
A young Parisian couple dancing to Bebop in the Bebop Cellar at Vieux Colombier, 1951

“I had fun throughout my lifetime, building my own small theater”
—French photographer Robert Doisneau

When he passed away at the age of 81 in 1994, photographer Robert Doisneau had amassed a collection of 450,000 negatives that captured Parisian and French history throughout his 50-some odd years as a photographer.

Tarot card reader and occultist, Madame Arthur, Paris, 1951
Tarot card reader and “occultist”, Madame Arthur, Paris, 1951
A female worker at the Ouvrière de Renault, Boulogne Billancourt (the Renault car factory)
A female worker at the “Ouvrière de Renault”, Boulogne Billancourt (the Renault car factory)
At the age of nineteen, Doisneau took a job as an assistant to modernist photographer André Vigneau (who spent much of the early 1930s taking photos of fashion models, surely a dream job for a young, aspiring photographer). In 1934 Doisneau accepted a position as a photographer at the Renault car factory. Due to his habitual lateness to his day job, Doisneau was fired—an event that launched his career as a freelance photographer that would last for nearly his entire life.
One of Robert Doisneau many photographs of the gargoyle statues of Notre-Dame
One of Robert Doisneau’s many photographs of the gargoyle statues of Notre-Dame
Le Pendule (The Pendulum), 1945
“Le Pendule” (The Pendulum), 1945
Les potins d'Elsa Maxwell (Parisian gossip queen, Elsa Maxwell) 1952
“Les potins d’Elsa Maxwell” (American gossip queen, Elsa Maxwell, pictured in the center), 1952
A young Parisian couple dancing at Au Saint Yves, Paris, 1948
A young Parisian couple dancing at “Au Saint Yves”, Paris, 1948
While Doisneau’s name may not be familiar to you, his photograph “Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall)” is one of the most popular—and romantic—photographic images of the entire 20th century. His famous photos of the gargoyle statues that adorn Notre-Dame (one of which is pictured above) should look familiar, too. Doisneau’s post-war images, taken during the 40s and 50s captured candid moments shared by the collective residents of Paris. From members of high-society at parties, to its vagabond “tramps,” street performers, elegant circus clowns, to passionate Parisian youth dancing to “Bebop” in the clubs of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter.

To say that Doisneau’s photographs are stunning, would be to vastly understate the fact that his images easily rank as one of the greatest contributions to the curation of 20th century French history. Doisneau’s work has been the subject of several books such as, Robert Doisneau, by Jean Claude Gautrand and, Robert Doisneau: A Photographer’s Life, by Peter Hamilton. I’m sure you will enjoy perusing the remarkable images that follow.
Les Megots (
“Les Megots” (“Butts). A “tramp” harvesting tobacco from used cigarettes in an alleyway in Paris, 1956
Coco Chanel,
Coco Chanel “Aux Miroirs” (The Mirrors), Paris, 1953
More after the jump…

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The super-kinky illustrations of the mysterious French fetish artist known only as ‘Carlo’
10:09 am



A book cover for a fetish publication called “Dolly Slave” by Carlo, late 1920s/1930s

I’m sad to say that I wasn’t able to dig up much information about the artist featured in this post, a French fetish illustrator from a century ago who went by the moniker, “Carlo.” However, Carlo’s illustrations themselves are very well-known in the world of vintage fetish. His strong sadomasochistic images and bondange-themed drawings adorned erotic magazines and the covers of naughty novels. Carlo’s first illustrations may have been seen in French erotic print as far back as 1909, and he was fairly prolific from about that time, and well into the 1930s.

“Slave” a fetish book cover illustrated by Carlo, late 1920s/1930s
Here’s what I do know about the somewhat mysterious “Carlo”—he was French and he seemed to be very, very well acquainted with the world of hardcore BDSM. His style is very much in line with another French erotic illustrator who was active at the same time known as “Esbey.” Both artists’ work appeared in several publications put out by Select-Bibliothèque, one of the very first publishing houses to put out fetish-oriented material, as well as other French publishing houses that catered to the thriving fetish community in Paris back in the very early 1900s (”spanking fiction” was especially popular back in those days, mon dieu!).
A fetish book cover illustrated by Carlo

“The Dominator”
When I first saw Carlo’s work, it was hard to conceive that this kind of high-level kink was a thing so long ago. I mean, we’re not just talking whips, chains and stilettos here (although there is no lack of those accessories, either): Carlo’s world as he portrayed it to be in his illustrations is full of sophisticated bondage contraptions, and S&M gear and scenarios that would make Caligula blush. And if it would make Caligula blush, it’s safe to assume what you are about to see is NSFW.

If this is your kind of thing (I don’t judge and neither should you), try to track down the 1984 book Carlo, by Robert Merodack.
Bondage fetish illustration by Carlo

“The Triumphant Leather”
Fetish illustration by Carlo
More vintage BDSM smut from ‘Carlo’ after the jump…

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Photographs of the ‘supreme Beatnik chick’ who inspired Patti Smith (NSFW)
11:19 am

Pop Culture

Ed van der Elsken
Vali Myers

In the early 1950s, a young Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken arrived in Paris to begin his career as a photographer. By day he worked for Magnum, by night—inspired by Weegee’s photographs in Picture Post—Van der Elsken documented the emerging underground youth culture of the city’s Left Bank.

In 1954, Van der Elsken compiled a volume of photographs Love on the Left Bank that followed a young Beatnik girl “Ann” through the gangs of bohemians, musicians and vagabonds who hung around the bars, clubs and flophouses of St Germain-des-Prés. Ann was in fact “played” by Vali Myers—an Australian artist, model, muse and associate of Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet, who Patti Smith later recalled as:

...the supreme beatnik chick—thick red hair and big black eyes, black boatneck sweaters and trench coats.

As described on its first publication in 1956, Love on the Left Bank was “a story in photographs about Paris”—a freeform impressionistic tale of Ann and her life among the “young men and girls who haunt the Left bank”:

They dine on half a loaf, smoke hashish, sleep in parked cars or on benches under the plane trees, sometimes borrowing a hotel room from a luckier friend to shelter their love. Some of them write,or paint, or dance. Ed van der Elsken, a young Dutch photographer, stalked his prey for many months along the boulevards, in the cafés and under the shadow of prison walls. Whatever may happen in real life to Ann and her Mexican lover, their strange youth will be preserved ‘alive’ in this book for many years.

Ed Van der Elsken‘s photographs changed perceptions about youth culture and anticipated the changes a younger generation brought to culture during the 1960s. Love on the Left Bank is available again, having been republished by Dewi Lewis publishers.
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
What a dick: The porniest grave in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery
11:30 am


Père Lachaise

The Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, some who simply walk the beautiful grounds indiscriminately, others on single-minded pilgrimages to visit the tombs of great historical figures like Maria Callas, Marcel Proust or… Jim Morrison. Among these more internationally famous graves is a little-known political journalist, Victor Noir, who was unceremoniously shot dead in a duel by Prince Pierre Bonaparte. Noir is actually pretty well known with Parisians; as a victim of imperial swine, he became a martyr of the people, and his funeral was attended by over 100,000 people.

Oh, and he has a massive crotch bulge.

Noir’s member is so pronounced and popular, it actually has a cult following. The legend is that a little kiss and grope will bring sexual luck, which is why Noir’s groin and face are smooth and coppery, the green patina that coats the rest of the sculpture worn away by randy ladies. Maybe he was actually packing, or maybe sculptor Jules Dalou (the craftsman charged with immortalizing him) just took some artistic license with Noir’s physique. The only thing we know for sure is that this is the most famous—and beautifully rendered!—trouser snake in Père Lachaise.

More phallic fun in Paris after the jump…

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Vintage Paris ‘pleasure guides’ for horny tourists
10:20 am



Despite suffering so many casualties in WWI that its military-eligible population was still decimated when WWII came around, France’s economy bounced back fairly quickly in the wake of Europe’s devastation in the “War to End All Wars.” That 1920s recovery was partly based on two enduringly popular items which were made abundantly available in Paris: alcohol and women’s bodies. Americans, flush with cash in a stock bubble and weary of the prudery that led to alcohol prohibition, visited Paris for cocktails and cockteases. Paris’ sexualized entertainments ran the gamut from mere topless revues to outright sex for sale, and the publishing industry capitalized with “Pleasure Guides” for horny tourists.

Now, some of these were pretty much ordinary tourist guides tarted up with sexy cover art. This English-language guide below, via, is a browser widget that lets you actually flip through the book. (The entry on page 79 for the notoriously gory Grand-Guignol is priceless, as it’s demure to the point of deceptiveness.) It picks up a bit of steam on page 121, a chapter titled “The Worst Parts of Paris.”



In front of the Métro Combat, a little to the right, after nº 120, stretches up towards the Buttes-Chaumont the small rue Moniol, which the rue Asselin cuts across, cutting out from the centre of said cross a block of dingy houses called the «Monjol fort», a citadel of love in which a dozen groundfloor rooms each hide in the mouldering walls three or four women, all fallen to the last degree of the vilest prostitution.

Bepainted, scarcely clad in a mere unfastened dressing-gown of oriental colours, they await, watch and call the stevedores and the «sides» who swarm at that hour in the bars around, and who prowl about and succeed one another at their half-closed doors, bespattered with a wan light from within.

You’re just crazy-horny now, aren’t you? Say what you will, that second ‘graf is poetry.

But of course, while the tamer guides were legit tourist resources with a few references to the sex trade—disguised as warnings to provide cover to both the reader and the publisher—other books were just straight-up lists of bordellos. UC Berkeley professor Mel Gordon, in his forthcoming Feral House book Horizontal Collaboration: The Erotic World of Paris, 1920-1946, writes

Paris, universally referred to as Paname by the locals because of de rigueur hats worn by male fashion plates, was back in business. By 1923, over 250,000 American tourists had made their way across the Atlantic to explore the French capital. Fleeing their country’s draconian Prohibition laws and flush with wads of hard currency, the worldly trekkers weren’t just there to inspect the landmarks and museums or ferret out its fine dining establishments. They were drawn to la Ville-Lumière for a more unconventional list of enticements, many of which were primly catalogued in the city’s official directories or featured in the voyagers’ naughty guidebooks.

The classifications of the brothels in many ways resembled those of hotels or restaurants. In general, they were broken into three categories: mammoth luxury establishments, where customers might spend the better part of an evening (masons de tolérance); intimate, more personal-sized dwellings (maisons de ren- dez-vous); and dirt-cheap lairs that mimicked the speed and efficiency of a factory assembly line (maisons d’abattage).

Annual directories and business cards advertised and updated the latest additions to the maisons closes. Smaller houses relocated with some regularity and, occasionally, the names of competing brothels — based on street addresses or landladies’ nicknames — were confusingly duplicated. So there were multiple Château d’Eaus, Chez Billys, Chez Suzys, Le Hanovres, Le Panier Fleuris, and Temples of Beauty. Guidebooks, like the ubiquitous Guide Rose or Guide-Indicateur des Maisons de Plaisirs et d’Art de Paris, were essential aids.


More après le jump…

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Le Cabaret de L’Enfer: Turn of the century Paris nightclub modeled after Hell
09:53 am



As a general rule, theme bars are embarrassing affairs. You have your corny waitstaff, your overly literal decor and a sense of forced performance that’s… annoying. Once in a blue moon though, there has been a theme bar so fucking cool you would sell your soul to get in. Tragically, you would have to strike some kind of deal with the devil to go to Le Cabaret de L’Enfer, since the Paris red light district nightclub opened around the turn of the last century and closed sometime during the middle of it. Very little information exists on L’Enfer, but the detail in the decor is absolutely gorgeous—almost Boschian elements of twisting human, animal and skeletal forms—couldn’t you just die?

An entry from National Geographic says that the doorman and waiters dressed as Satan and an order of coffees with cognac was translated as “seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier.” Okay, so that’s a little bit corny, but come on, it’s a goddamn hellmouth! If you’ll notice the external photographs, some cheeky (or possibly just opportunistic) mind opened a club next door called “Ciel,” the French word for “Heaven.” I appreciate the consistency, but let’s be honest-which bar would you rather go to?









Roughly translated: “L’Enfer (Hell), the only cabaret like it in the world, every night from 8 to 2:30 in the morning, devilish attractions, torment of the damned, round of the damned, the boiler (whatever that was), metamorphoses of the damned
Via Retronaut

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Oh, la, la: 19 incredible color photographs of Paris from the early 1900s
10:37 am


Early Photography

These beautiful and fascinating color photographs of Paris were taken between 1907 and 1930, using the Autochrome process devised by the Lumière brothers.

Therichly colored images are like a mini-time machine taking us back to a world long gone, though the landmarks and streets are still instantly recognizable.
More after the jump…
Via Curious Eggs

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Performance artist arrested after dancing around Eiffel Tower with a chicken tied to his penis
01:01 pm



As one does, right? Looking like a cross between Leigh Bowery and a whacked-out Vegas showgirl, South African performance artist, Steven Cohen thought it would be a reasonable idea to dress in a bird-like costume with a rooster tied to his penis on a long ribbon and shimmy around the Eiffel Tower. Why not? Lots of reasons…

“He danced with the cock for around ten minutes, before being arrested by the police,” his lawyer Agnes Tricoire told French daily Le Parisien.

Cohen was held by Paris police on charges of indecent exposure.

His lawyer expressed her disgust with the duration of his arrest, telling Le Parisien: “It’s a disgrace. With this performance, Steven Cohen wanted to evoke his situation, split between two countries.”

“South Africa, his native land, and France, where he lives at the moment,” she explained. “France is throwing artists in prison,” she added.

Cohen was released Tuesday evening and is expected to appear in court on December 16th.

Sadly, there is no video evidence.

Via Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Legendary poet Christopher Logue reads: ‘I shall vote Labour’

In 1964, The British Labour Party was elected into government with a slim majority of 4 seats. Such a small majority made governing the country difficult for canny Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Therefore, after 17 months in power, Wilson called a second election. In support of winning re-election, the Labour Party’s magazine, Tribune asked a selection of writers and artists who they would vote for in the 1966 General Election. In response, sensing Labour might not hold to their socialist ideals, poet Christopher Logue wrote the poem “I shall vote Labour.”

I shall vote Labour

I shall vote Labour because
God votes Labour.
I shall vote Labour to protect
the sacred institution of The Family.
I shall vote Labour because
I am a dog.
I shall vote Labour because
upper-class hoorays annoy me in expensive restaurants.
I shall vote Labour because
I am on a diet.
I shall vote Labour because if I don’t
somebody else will:
I shall vote Labour because if one person
does it
everybody will be wanting to do it.
I shall vote Labour because if I do not vote Labour
my balls will drop off.
I shall vote Labour because
there are too few cars on the road.
I shall vote Labour because I am
a hopeless drug addict.
I shall vote Labour because
I failed to be a dollar millionaire aged three.
I shall vote Labour because Labour will build
more maximum security prisons.
I shall vote Labour because I want to shop
in an all-weather precinct stretching from Yeovil to Glasgow.
I shall vote Labour because
the Queen’s stamp collection is the best
in the world.
I shall vote Labour because
deep in my heart
I am a Conservative.

Christopher Logue was a poet, writer, journalist, dramatist, screenwriter, actor and performer. Born in Portsmouth, in 1926, Logue was an only child of middle-aged parents. After school, he served in the Black Watch regiment, from which he was given a court-martial for selling stolen pay books, and given a 16-months’ jail sentence.

On release, he moved to Paris and started his career as a writer and poet, ‘out of complete failure to be interested by what was happening in London at the time.’

‘It was so drab. There was nowhere to go. You couldn’t seem to meet any girls. If you went up to London in 1951, looking for the literary scene, what did you find? Dylan Thomas. I thought that if I came to the place where Pound flourished, I might too.’

In Paris, Logue met writer Alexander Trocchi (who saved Logue from an attempted suicide), and the pair set-up and edited the legendary literary magazine Merlin, which premiered work by Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Chester Himes, as well as Logue and Trocchi. The pair also wrote pornographic novels for Maurice Girodias’ Olympia Press, and briefly met William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso in the late 1950s.

George Whitman, propietor of Shakespeare and Co., described the pairing of Trocchi and Logue as:

‘True bohemians, Beats before Beats officially existed. Christopher was the scruffy poet, quite down and out most of the time. He definitely fancied himself as Baudelaire or somebody like that.’

In Paris, Logue toyed with Marxism, and was once famously put down by the author Richard Wright.

‘You’ve got nothing to fight for, boy—you’re looking for a fight. If you were a black, boy, you’re so cheeky you’d be dead.’

But Logue lost none of his mettle, or his socialist convictions and he continued to be a gadfly throughout his life. In the 1960s, he collaborated with Lindsay Anderson, giving poetry readings at the National Film Theater between features. He was a pacifist and a member of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, taking part with Bertrand Russell on the marches to Aldermarston.

He appeared at Peter Cook’s club The Establishment and wrote songs for jazz singer Annie Ross, and had one recorded by Joan Baez. He also appeared at the Isle of Wight Rock Festival, and contributed the wonderfully bizarre “True Stories” to Private Eye magazine. He acted for Ken Russell in The Devils, wrote the screenplay for Russell’s Savage Messiah, and acted in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky. Logue’s poetry was incredibly popular, even appearing in posters throughout the London Underground. His most famous works were Red Bird, a jazz colaboration with Tony Kinsey, and War Music, a stunning and critically praised adaption of Homer’s Illiad. He was awarded the 2005 Whitbread Poetry Prize for his collection Cold Calls.

Logue died in 2011, and Wilson won the 1966 election with a majority of 96 seats.

This is Christopher Logue reading “I shall vote Labour” in 2002, as filmed by Colin Still.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The impulse to dress as a pirate: Woody Allen talks film-making and ‘Manhattan’

Film-making is about having something to say—something that can only be said in a film and not a short story, or a play, or a novel.

That’s how Woody Allen described his movies—it’s the best way for him to express and explore his ideas, his feelings, and well, because he has ‘to do something for a living.’

It was June 1979, Woody Allen was said to be hiding in Paris. His latest film Manhattan, had opened in New York to overwhelming critical acclaim. As the reviews filtered back to his hotel suite, Woody talked about the movie and film-making to Barry Norman, for the BBC’s Film ‘79.

As Allen explained to Norman, Manhattan was inspired by a dinner conversation with Diane Keaton and cinematographer, Gordon Willis, where they discussed the idea of making a film in Black & White.

‘And as we talked about it, gradually a story spun out in my mind about it. And, you know, it could be anything, it could be a sudden anger over something or, the impulse to want to dress as a pirate. You know, any one of those things could do it.’

But why Manhattan? asked Norman.

‘I live in Manhattan and wouldn’t think of living anywhere else, really,’ said Allen, before going on to explain it’s a great place to live—‘because you know you’re alive.’

With thanks to NellyM


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kraftwerk: ‘Kometenmelodie Eins & Zwei’ performed live in Paris, 1976

Audio of Kraftwerk performing 2 tracks from their album Autobahn, “Kometenmelodie Eins” and “Kometenmelodie Zwei”, as recorded in Paris, 1976.

“Kometenmelodie” (“Comet Melody”) was inspired by the Comet Kohoutek (which proved to be a rather “spectacular dud” as far as comets go), and the track became Kraftwerk’s first single, released in December 1973.

Comet Kohoutek also inspired Sun Ra to perform a special concert for the comet in December 1973, while singer Burl Ives hoped to increase his bank account with the release of his single “The Tail of the Comet Kohoutek” in 1974. But it was Children of God founder David Berg, who received the most column inches when he pronounced Comet Kohoutek as a sign that a Doomsday event would destroy America in January 1974.

With thanks to John Kowalski

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Anne Pigalle: Performing at David Lynch’s club Silencio

An exclusive clip of the fabulous Anne Pigalle performing to a packed house at David Lynch’s Parisian night club Silencio, where she sang a selection of songs from her recent album, L’ Ame Erotique, and a some of her classic early work. Ms. Pigalle was performing at a special event, created by Diane Pernet, to celebrate the international Festival A Shaded View on Film Festival.

Bonus clips of Anne Pigalle, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Let There Be Rock’: AC/DC live in Paris, 1979
10:25 am


Bon Scott
Angus Young

Let There Be Rock is a film version of one of AC/DC’s greatest concerts. Recorded during their Highway to Hell tour, at the Pavillon de Paris, France, on December 9th, 1979, this concert contains a great selection of some of the band’s best known early numbers (“Highway To Hell,” “Let There Be Rock,” “Whole Lotta Rosie”), together with stunning performances from an unstoppable Angus Young (only pausing for some oxygen) on guitar, and blistering vocals from Bon Scott.

Track Listing:

01. “Live Wire”
02. “Shot Down in Flames”
03. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”
04. “Sin City”
05. Interview
06. “Walk All Over You”
07. Interview
08. “Bad Boy Boogie”
09. “The Jack”
10. Interview
11. “Highway to Hell”
12. “Girls Got Rhythm”
13. “High Voltage”
14. Interview
15. “Whole Lotta Rosie”
16. “Rocker”
17. “Let There Be Rock”

Tragically, 2 months after this concert, Bon Scott died, his body found in the back of car outside a friend’s house in London.  His demise started the version of AC/DC we know today, with former Geordie singer, Brian Johnson on lead vocals.

With thanks to Miles Goodwin

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Otis Redding: Electrifying performances in Paris and London, from 1967

Otis Redding was a child when he started singing and playing with the Vineville Baptist Choir. He also tried out his skills playing with the school band. His obvious natural proficiency led him to enter talent competitions at the Douglass Theatre. You see, Otis was more than just prodigiously talented he was thoughtful and kind-hearted and wanted to earn money for his family. That he did and after winning the $5 top prize 15-times in a row, he was banned from the competition.

The ban led him to start out playing with his idol Little Richard’s backing band The Upsetters, and by the early 1960s, when he was performing with The Pinetoppers, it was clear Otis was a dynamic and unstoppable talent.

In 1962, after recording tracks with The PInetoppers at Stax Records, co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Otis to cut some solo material. The result was “These Arms of Mine”.

From there, Otis Redding went onto become one of the biggest stars of the 1960s—especially in Europe where he was viewed as one of the greatest artists on the planet. In 1967 Redding outsold that year’s combined record sales for Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and kicked Elvis Presley’s sorry ass from the top of the Melody Maker‘s World’s Greatest Male Vocalist chart. Then he eventually conquered America with his mind-nlowing set at the Monterey Pop festival—where he turned on thousands of hippies to the joys of R’n'B and soul. It should have been the start of an even greater career but it was tragically cut short when redding died in a plane crash in December of that year.

All these years later, you can still have sunshine on a cloudy day with Otis Redding. Here he is a selection of The Big O, the King of Soul at his best in Paris and London performing some of his best known and biggest hits “Respect”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, “Shake”, “My Girl”, and “Try a Little Tenderness”.

Push back the chairs, turn it up and cut a rug.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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