Due to the release of what is supposed to be the final final unheard cache of Jimi Hendrix recordings, People, Hell & Angels, worldwide interest has been stirred in a tantalizing bit of memorabilia currently residing in the collection of the Hard Rock Cafe in Prague: A 1969 telegram from Jimi Hendrix inviting Paul McCartney to record with him, Miles Davis and jazz drummer Tony Williams in New York.
The telegram, seen below, was sent to the Apple offices in London on October 21, 1969:
“We are recording and LP together this weekend in New York STOP How about coming in to play bass STOP call Alan Douglas 212-581 2212.
Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams.”
Beatles aide Peter Brown replied on Macca’s behalf, informing Hendrix that McCartney was on vacation and would not return for another two weeks (This was around the height of the “Paul is dead” rumor and a pissed-off McCartney was holed up with his family on his farm in Scotland trying to escape that mess).
Below, The Jimi Hendrix Experience covers “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band”(I think just two days after it was released and with more than one Beatle in attendance)—this is probably as close as we’ll ever get to knowing what this supergroup might’ve sounded like:
Extended 1968 interview with John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The pair discuss touring (and why The Beatles stopped), their time in India, McCartney’s LSD media flap, and the then-new Apple Corps and what the group were trying to achieve with the company.
There’s a question referring to Enoch Powell’s then recent anti-immigrant “Rivers of Blood” speech (not mentioned by name here, but this is what he’s talking about) that sees the interviewer go on to ask them about racial politics in England and the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King in America.
This month marks the 33rd anniversary of Paul McCartney getting busted for 7.7 ounces of pot in Japan. A half pound of pot! What was he planning to do? Have a smoke-in with Godzilla and Gamera?
I was out in New York and I had all this really good grass. We were about to fly to Japan and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything to smoke over there. This stuff was too good to flush down the toilet, so I thought I’d take it with me.
I didn’t try to hide [the pot]. I had just come from America and still had the American attitude that marijuana isn’t that bad. I didn’t realize just how strict the Japanese attitude is.”
Perhaps Paul’s bag of pot wasn’t the real issue with the Japanese. Maybe they just wanted to fuck with the guy who did this:
After spending nine days in jail, McCartney was released on January 25th.
Johnny Carson had a bit of fun at McCartney’s expense in one of his monologues which aired on January 17, 1980.
Recently I caught the famous Let It Be Beatles’ movie for the first time. Throughout, the individual Beatles are fascinating to observe – particularly George, who continually eyeballs Paul with an expression suggesting (Hare Krishna notwithstanding) he’d like to bury an axe between his old friend’s eyes. Paul, meanwhile, goes on obliviously (and perhaps pathologically) craning his neck in the direction of the nearest camera, John and Yoko seem (shall we say) rather distant, and Ringo, in the words of one witty YouTube commenter, looks on “like a kid whose parents are splitting up.”
I ain’t too keen on McCartney myself. A paradoxical chap, he managed to be both an admittedly essential component of the greatest band of all time, and one of the most vapid songwriters ever, with all the emotional sincerity of a greeting card.
That McCartney apparently “woke up” in possession of “Yesterday”– an incident singled out by others as proof of his genius –only bolsters my suspicion that some external entity was cooking up his trite little slices of whimsy before tossing them ready-made into Paul’s rubber soul. How else explain the truly perverse cause-and-effect of Paul getting into acid and shortly afterwards writing “When I’m Sixty-four” (perhaps the first installment of that grand McCartney song sequence the rest of the group christened “Paul’s granny music”)?
Yup, if the grim reaper’s visiting the Fab Four in order of talent, I’m inclined to hope Ringo’s getting his house in order…
But Paul got on no-one’s tits like he did George’s. If you go through every scrap of Beatle stuff on YoutTube (as I have these recent weeks), you can’t help but be struck by Harrison’s consistent drollery on the subject of his former band-mate. The following snippet, from Harrison’s appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, is an excellent example, and brilliantly captures Paul’s aforementioned camera addiction.
Love that little shimmy! Another fave–before I leave the topic and Sir McCartney alone–occurs during episode six of the excellent Anthology series, and concerns Paul’s “confession” to the media about his taking LSD. Paul – who staved off trying the drug for months after the rest of the band (cos he’s a pussy) – tries to make out that he was cornered by the media. In fact, he blatantly did it to look cool, which is so Paul. And also, for the record, impossible. Cue George with another zinger…
I never knew this existed until now, and I wonder what Ron Mael thinks of it?
I assume McCartney is a Sparks fan if he is willing to spoof Mael in his own video, or maybe it was just an easy impression, even if he does it well. He also does Hank Marvin, but not so well, and I assume some of the other “band” members—they’re called The Plastic Macs, geddit?—are spoofs of other musicians from the period, too.
I’m not a McCartney fan really, but this IS a cracking tune:
It’s been a good week to be Paul McCartney. His hook-up with former members of Nirvana re-kindled his rock ‘n’ roll cred in the minds of many people, young and old, who had written him off as an irrelevant old fart. Suddenly we were re-meeting the Beatle all over again and I think he may have been doing the same.
Here’s some McCartney history from 40 years ago: Broadcast in the US April 16th, 1973 on ABC and a month later on May 10th on the BBC, the “James Paul McCartney” television special is a mostly fun mix of live music, variety show shtick and man-on-the street, cinema verite goofiness (Liverpool pub scene).
Featuring the original Wings line-up:
Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar
Linda McCartney – vocals, keyboards
Denny Laine – vocals, guitar, bass, piano
Henry McCullough – guitar, vocals
Denny Seiwell – drums, percussion
Big Barn Bed, Medley: Blackbird / Bluebird / Michelle / Heart Of The Country, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Little Woman Love / C-Moon, My Love, Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey, Gotta Sing Gotta Dance, Live And Let Die, Beatles Medley, The Mess, Maybe I’m Amazed, Long Tall Sally, At The End Of Another Day, Yesterday, Hi Hi Hi
Some bits are silly, some are sublime. Overall, if you’re a fan, you’ll probably dig it. Always the showman, here’s Paul McCartney and Wings (with Linda looking like David Bowie):
“Mull Of Kintyre” was written by Paul McCartney (with Denny Laine) about his farm at the eponymous Scottish headland. McCartney bought the 183 acre High Park Farm in 1966 as an investment to foil the British tax man, and the song’s lyrics are about traveling and longing to return to his remote, beautiful home. The song was performed by Wings (well, if by Wings you mean Paul, Linda and Denny along with local bagpipe players from Kintyre’s Campbeltown Pipe Band, as by this time the rest of the group had left) and released as a double A-side Christmas single in 1977 along with “Girls School” (which was the hit in the US).
The record spent six weeks at the #1 spot on the British pop charts that year, was the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK and is still a perennial holiday favorite.
GRIMMS was a like a collision between a busload of musicians, a van full of comics and a mobile library. As Supergroups go, GRIMMS was certainly the most original, literary and possibly hirsute, with their mix of poetry, music, comedy and theater.
“I don’t know what attracted the Scaffold to the Bonzos; we were incredibly anarchic, which was probably something shared by the Scaffold as well. Hence Grimms, this leap in the dark.”
We all know about the genius of The Bonzos, so let’s jump to The Scaffold, that strange hybrid pop band made up from John Gorman (who would go onto star in the children’s show Tiswas, and its adult counterpart OTT with Chris Tarrant and Alexei Sayle in the 1980s), Mike McGear (Paul McCartney’s brother), and poet Roger McGough, who had been one of the 3 Mersey Poets, and was a member of The Liverpool Scene. The Scaffold had chart success with their novelty records “Thank U Very Much”, “Lily the PInk” and “Liverpool Lou”, the last recorded with Paul McCartney and Wings
Liverpool Scene was the Liverpool Poets: McGough (works include Summer With Monika, After The Merrymaking), Brian Patten (works include Little Johnny’s Confession and Notes to the Hurrying Man) and Adrian Henri (The Mersey Sound), and musician Andy Roberts.
GRIMMS changed shape over the years as band members left, moved on or lost hair. These were quickly replaced by hats, wigs and some very special talents, including Keith Moon (The Who), Jon Hiseman (Colosseum), Michael Giles (King Crimson), John Megginson, Gerry Conway, David Richards, Zoot Money, and future Rutles John Halsey and Peter “Ollie” Halsall.
Their first album Grimms was a lucky bag of comedy, poetry and music released in 1973, which included Innes’ songs “Humanoid Boogie”, “Short Blues” and “Twyfords Vitromant”, which was followed later the same year with Rockin’ Duck and in 1975 their final album the 5 star Sleepers.
Unlike most list documentaries today (which miss out on such diamonds as GRIMMS), the seventies was an incredible time of experimentation and risk-taking. In 1975, around the release of Sleepers, the BBC (gawd bless her and all who fail in her) produced a strange series called The Camera and The Song. It was like a collection of early pop promos, with a film-maker interpreting songs by different artists - some good, some bloody awful. Into this mix came GRIMMS, and here are 2 clips from the show (opening titles and songs) featuring the genius talents of Neil Innes and co. Lovely!
More from GRIMMS plus bonus track ‘Backbreaker’, after the jump…
On March 8th, 1973, Paul McCartney was fined $240 for growing cannabis on his farm in Campbelltown, Scotland. Outside the court house, McCartney gave a short, amusing interview to BBC journalist, David Scott - a man known for his assiduous reporting and wry sense of humor.
McCartney told Scott that he was glad he didn’t receive a gaol sentence, although that “...would have been okay if I could have taken my guitar in with me and, you know, write a few songs, and stuff, but I wasn’t looking forward to it.”
“It was said in court,” probed Scott, “That you have considerable interest in horticulture. Now this might surprise some of your friends, when did this start?”
“A couple of years ago, you know.”
“And where have you been doing your gardening, et cetera?” asked Scott, with the emphasis on et cetera.
“On the farm. My dad’s a keen gardener, you know, I think it’s rubbed off.”
“It was said that those seeds had been sent to you, how did you come to grow them?”
“Well, we got a load of seeds, you know, kind of in the post, and we didn’t know what they were you know, and we kind of planted them all, and five of them came up like - five of them came up illegal.”
In April 1970, as rumors spread of Paul McCartney quitting The Beatles, news reporters hurried to Apple HQ, hoping to make their assumptions fit the story when interviewing Beatles’ Press Officer, Derek Taylor, and the band’s recently appointed manager, Allen Klein. This rare little news clip, seemingly missing a linking voice-over, captures the moment the rumors of a Beatles split were confirmed.
This scenario from my imagination shows Jesus visiting a clinically depressed Paul McCartney. He is sitting on Paul’s right side and slides a Lamb chop Puppet in to Paul’s peripheral field of vision. Paul hasn’t bothered to get out of his robe. His white socks dangle off the ends of his toes. He is depressed and disheveled. On the wall behind him is the cause of his plight… Yoko…
Who is the happy, house-cleaning angel supposed to represent, I wonder?
The painting is currently on eBay and has a “Buy It Now” for $177,000.000.
This is sort of like the sonic equivalent of watching an aquarium full of tropical fish for hours. I wonder what kind of effect playing this for days might have in a greenhouse. Would flowers bloom more fully and plants grow taller and greener or would they just die a slow and melancholic death?
About five or six years ago, at the height of both nu-disco and the Italo revival (and while I was releasing music under the name Trippy Disco), I found myself playing more and more vintage disco records with crashing power-chords and wailing axe solos. Because of the “sell out” accusations that these kind of records attracted at the time (from both camps) it’s a side of disco that’s been neglected, even though I love those sounds. So, I decided to put together an hour’s worth of my favourite disco/rock records, and, lo, the ‘Skool Of Rock’ mix was born.
I decided not to feature anything too “New Wave” or post-punk as the disco influence on those sounds was already very obvious, though I did get to slip in a few acts who would technically be classed as “disco” but who dipped into “rock” now and again (Edwin Starr and Giorgio Moroder, for instance.) And accordingly, there’s also the obligatory disco cash-ins by some of your favourite rock acts (Queen, Bowie, ZZ Top.) Besides that, there are some real gems here, including the Patrick Cowley remix of Tantra’s “Hills Of Katmandu” which is one the most “fuck yeah!” fist-pumping disco anthems of all time.
So, you might love this mix, you might really hate it, but either way here it is:
ELO “Don’t Bring Me Down (Trippy Disco Re-Edit)”
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL “Fortunate Son”
ROCKETS “On The Road Again”
EDWIN STARR “The Rock”
CHILLY “For Your Love”
KISS “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”
TANTRA “Hills Of Katmandu (Patrick Cowley Megamix / Automan Edit)”
LED ZEPPELIN “Whole Lotta Love (Acapella)”
MATERIAL “Bustin’ Out”
ZZ TOP “Legs (Metal Mix)”
GIORGIO MORODER “Evolution”
MACHO “Not Tonight (Dimitri From Paris Re-Edit)”
SKATT BROS “Walk The Night (Album Version)”
QUEEN “Another One Bites The Dust”
DAVID BOWIE “Stay”
WINGS “Goodnight Tonight (Trippy Disco Re-Edit)”
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