Truly one of the most ravishing and mindblowing songs ever recorded: epic, beautiful, cinematic. Hearing it for the first time in 1967 was one of the lifechanging events in my life as a young rock and roller. ‘A Day In The Life’ altered my sense of what a rock song could be, it expanded the scope and vision of rock and roll in the way that Walt Whitman enlarged poetry, it opened the field for future artists to experiment on a new scale of creative imagination that was fresh to the form. The extraordinary Pet Sounds had preceded it by a year. But, as groundbreaking as Brian Wilson’s masterpiece was, The Beatles took things to the next level (argue amongst yourselves).
Released both in stereo and mono as a track on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, here’s the 2009 stereo remaster of ‘A Day In The Life.’
Thunderbird is the crack cocaine of wines. It’s fortified with additional alcohol to get you drunk quicker. If you drink enough of the swill it will turn your tongue black, incinerate your gut and napalm your liver. The Gallo Wine Co. designed their firewater with the ghetto in mind. Their radio ads featured a song with a proto-rap vibe, “What’s the word? / Thunderbird / How’s it sold? / Good and cold / What’s the jive? / Bird’s alive / What’s the price? / Thirty twice.” It is said that…
Ernest Gallo once drove through a tough, inner city neighborhood and pulled over when he saw a bum. When Gallo rolled down his window and called out, “What’s the word?” the immediate answer from the bum was, “Thunderbird.
In a move that seems almost surreal, actor James Mason was recruited by Gallo to pitch its poverty punch. He was given a Rolls Royce as payment. Years later, Mason went on to star as a vicious slave owner in the soft-core blaxploitation potboiler Mandingo. Thunderbird shill to sleazoid slave owner ain’t much of a stretch character wise and probably didn’t earn him any dividends in the karma department.
The first ad in the following video tries to glamorize Thunderbird as a sexy, hip and happening cocktail for young stylish Blacks. The second is Mason trying to keep a straight face as he describes Thunderbird as “not quite like anything I’ve ever tasted.’
In 1983 Dennis Hopper went to Rice University in Houston, Texas ostensibly to screen his latest film Out Of The Blue. But little known to anyone, other than Hopper and a handful of his buddies, he had another agenda entirely. While he did indeed screen his movie, Hopper had actually come to Houston to blow himself up.
After screening Out Of The Blue, Hopper arranged to have the audience driven by a fleet of school buses to a racetrack on the outskirts of Houston, the Big H Speedway. Hopper and the buses arrived at the speedway just as the races were ending and a voice was announcing over the public address system “stick around folks and watch a famous Hollywood film personality perform the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. That’s right, folks, he’ll sit in a chair with six sticks of dynamite and light the fuse.”
Was famous Hollywood personality Dennis Hopper about to go out with a bang?
Hopper apparently learned this stunt when he was a kid after seeing it performed in a traveling roadshow. If you place the dynamite pointing outwards the explosion creates a vacuum in the middle and the person performing the stunt is, if all goes according to plan, unharmed.
After bullshitting for awhile with the crowd and his friends, a drunk and stoned Hopper climbed into the “death chair’ and lit the dynamite.
Rice News correspondent describes the scene:
Dennis Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he looked like Wile E. Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own petard. Then billowing smoke hid the scene. We all rushed forward, past the police, into the expanding cloud of smoke, excited, apprehensive, and no less expectant than we had been before the explosion. Were we looking for Hopper or pieces we could take home as souvenirs? Later Hopper would say blowing himself up was one of the craziest things he has ever done, and that it was weeks before he could hear again. At the moment, though, none of that mattered. He had been through the thunder, the light, and the heat, and he was still in one piece. And when Dennis Hopper staggered out of that cloud of smoke his eyes were glazed with the thrill of victory and spinout.
In this video footage shot by filmmaker Brian Huberman, we see Hopper in all his intoxicated glory before and after his death defying stunt.
Huberman on the film clip:
The large guy making the sign of the cross is the writer Terry Southern and the jerk threatening to blow up my camera is the German filmmaker, Wim Wenders.
It lives! Richard and I have taken the leap and are aiming to post a new episode of Dangerous Minds Radio Hour every two weeks. It’s serious fun for us to sit around and play records and chat about them, so listen in and know the pleasant feeling of being in a small room in Granada Hills with a couple of total music nerds for an hour or so.
Sir George Martin: “Theme One” (BBC Radio One theme)
The Fall: “Fit and Working Again”
Material w/ Nona Hendryx: “Take a Chance”
Nervous Gender: “People Like You”
The Turtles:“Somewhere Friday Night” (produced by Ray Davies of The Kinks)
Lilys: “And One (On One)”
Meredith Monk (with Don Preston): “Candy Bullets and Moon”
Love: “Willow Willow”
Firesign Theater: “Station Break”
Tyrannosaurus Rex: “Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart”
Marsha Hunt: “(Oh No! Not) The Beast Day”
Klaus Nomi: “Za Bak Daz”
Talk Talk: “It’s Getting Late in the Evening”
The Goon Show:“The Ying Tong Song” (Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan & Harry Secombe. Produced by Sir George Martin)
Orchid Spangiafora: “Dime Operation”
To download this episode or subscribe to the podcast please go to our internet radio partner Alterati.com
‘The One On The Right Is On The Left’ appeared on Johnny Cash’s Everybody Loves A Nut album released in 1965. The lyrics by Jack Clement are deftly written and witty, but a load of bullshit. In an attempt to trivialize sixties protest music the message of the song, and the album as a whole, discounts the political roots of folk music. The song suggests that folk music is simply a style of music when it was actually much more than that. It was the music of the people (folks) and it spoke to real issues and feelings. Cash’s pandering to right wing, beatnik-hating rednecks was not one of his brighter moments. Cash’s tune would change with time.
But, it’s not the music that I find compelling in Johnny’s performance, it’s the way he looks and moves. The footage was shot during Cash’s Benzedrine years and he appears wired: tight-jawed and jumpy. His face is skeletal and his eyes seem haunted, distracted, frightened. I see a little bit of death in this video.
How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.
According to XLR8R, Dangerous Minds pal Madlib has come out with his own brand of designer espresso:
OK, we know the dudes at Stones Throw like to get creative with their merchandise, but this might be a hip-hop first. Madlib and Intelligensia Coffee are teaming up to make a custom espresso blend inspired by the Beat Konducta. The limited-run blend is being debuted tonight at the cafe’s Pasadena location, and Intelligensia is calling the product “a syrupy, sweet offering that has kept (Madlib) awake long enough to average an album-per-day over the past three years.” We can’t vouch for the taste, but we’re certainly intrigued, and more importantly, we’re wondering how Diddy or Jay-Z did not come up with this first. Apparently, the hip-hop underground is leading the way in both beatmaking and brand-building.
During a 1968 promo shoot for Apple Records, Peter Sellers visited The Beatles in the studio and some impromptu drug talk ensued. Lennon reminds Sellers of the time “when I gave you that grass in Piccadilly.” Sellers response: “it really stoned me out of my mind.”
Listen for Yoko’s remark about “shooting as exercise,” a none too subtle reference to her and John’s heroin use.
The second video is Sellers performing ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in the style of Laurence Olivier’s Richard the Third on the Granada TV special The Music of Lennon & McCartney. Sellers goofy take on The Beatles’ tune was actually released as a single and made the pop charts.
Sellers performs ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ after the jump…