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Kick out the jams: Blue Öyster Cult covers the MC5, Doors, Yardbirds & The Animals
09.30.2016
10:33 am
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More guitars than most rock bands had back in 1970, the mighty Blue Öyster Cult.
 
Like the young Patti Smith, I am a huge fan of one of the greatest bands ever to slither out of Long Island, the Blue Öyster Cult. Since getting their start in the late 60s, BÖC has put out over 20 albums including three live records on which the band test drives tracks from the MC5, The Yardbirds, The Animals and the sleazy, acid-coated jam by The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” with Robby Krieger on guitar. Damn.

So full disclosure—I had never heard BÖC’s version of the adrenalin charged 1969 MC5 track “Kick out the Jams” before. Recorded in Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater in 1978, its a very strange oversight that I can’t really comprehend as not only is the MC5 rocker one of my go-to songs when I’m running but so are other covers of the track by Bellingham, Washington band Mono Men and Monster Magnet. So the fact that my rock-seeking radar somehow missed this gem from BÖC’s 1978 live album Some Enchanted Evening (which also features the band’s cover of 1965’s “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by The Animals) is really beyond me.

The rest of the covers appear on On Your Feet Or On Your Knees (“I Ain’t Got You” by The Yardbirds and “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf), and Extraterrestrial Live on which BÖC’s cover of “Roadhouse Blues” appears—and the story of how that came to be goes like this. According to vocalist Eric Bloom, BÖC was playing a gig at the Starwood in LA when Krieger showed up and asked to “sit in” with the band. But instead of having Krieger play along to one of their own tunes, BÖC ran with The Doors 1970 classic.

More Blue Öyster Cult after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.30.2016
10:33 am
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The day the music died: Vintage ads of pop stars selling shit

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‘When You’ve Heard Lou, You’ve Heard It All’ Lou Rawls advertising career covered insurance and booze.
 
Musicians have long depended on patronage from the rich and powerful to sponsor their careers as artists. As far back as composers such as Haydn or Mozart, who earned his keep with a string of patrons starting with Prince-Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg. It’s the same today with pop stars taking the cash offered by brands like Coke and Pepsi to pay for their tours or alimony or undisclosed bad habits.

While some stars promote things they believe in—guitars, charities—there is always a longer list of those who would sell out for some unbelievably low rent shit—Rod Stewart pimping shoes, Elton John peddling pinball, the Yardbirds shilling toiletries. Occasionally, there are those who are smart enough to use the brand to sponsor their ambitions, like Lou Rawls who sold Budweiser but used the brand to sponsor his telethons. Neat, but not all of the following are in that category.
 
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When Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck sold perfume in sexist sixties ads: ‘She’s among the Yardbirds. She goes for groups. They go for her. She has her own group too. Named after her. Miss Disc. A very ‘in’ group indeed…’
 
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Late 1960s, Dave Brubeck attempts to convince the gullible to buy Sears-Kenmore products in ads for magazines like Better Homes and Gardens.
 
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Rod the Mod was once famous for his sartorial elegance, but here he is dressed as if Walt Disney puked on him.
 
More mighty musos shilling for money, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.02.2015
02:12 pm
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Take a look at The Rolling Stones 1966 tour program

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The even numbered years seemed to have been more successful for the Rolling Stones than the odd. The band formed in 1962, had their first number one album and number one single in ‘64, made their breakthrough album in ‘66, released Beggar’s Banquet, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man” in ‘68, released Exile on Main St. in ‘72, Black and Blue in ‘76 and Some Girls in ‘78. While the odd numbers came at a price—in 1965 Richards was nearly electrocuted onstage, then came the drugs bust, chaos and disintegration of Their Satanic Majesties Request in ‘67, Brian Jones’ death and the murder of Meredith Hunter at Altamont in ‘69, the fires at Richards’ homes in ‘71 and ‘73, or his arrest for heroin in Canada in 1977—it’s all enough conspiracy to make a numerologist’s head spin.

1966 was a good year for the Stones—they released their fourth studio album Aftermath, which was their first album to be compiled of songs written solely by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; they had successfully toured Australia, Europe and America before returning to England for a tour of the UK and were well out of the shadow of their rivals The Beatles. 

The band was also in negotiations to make a movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, adapted from the novel by Dave Wallis, and to be directed by Nicholas Ray of Rebel Without a Cause fame.
 
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According to the Stones, they had “waited a long time and spent a lot of time trying to find the right story for [their] first film,” and seemed to have hit on the right subject with Wallis’s sci-fi tale of tribal youth gangs terrorizing London. It was topical, apt, and tapped into both the hopes and fears of what the swinging sixties’ youth revolt may bring. Alas, the deal fell through and no movie was made until Jean-Luc Godard’s One plus One (aka Sympathy for the Devil) or The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus both 1968.

The Stones’s ‘66 tour had incredible support from the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, The Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page) and Long John Baldry, whose band around this time had included Elton John on keyboards. It was a lineup worthy of a mini-festival. A copy of the tour program can fetch $125 a copy, but why pay that when you scan through the pages here?
 
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More pages from the Rolling Stones’ past (darkly), after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.01.2015
09:47 am
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Dazed and Confused, indeed: the true story behind the Led Zeppelin classic?
03.14.2012
02:43 pm
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“Dazed and Confused” is thought of as a Led Zeppelin original and Jimmy Page’s dramatic use of the violin bow during his extended soloing made the song a centerpiece of the Zeppelin live experience. But the song actually debuted during Page’s tenure in the Yardbirds, and apparently before that as well. From The Thieving Magpies: Jimmy Page’s Dubious Recording Legacy:

On August 25, 1967 the Yardbirds caught an acoustic act fronted by Jake Holmes at the Village Theatre in New York’s Greenwich Village. Holmes and his two sidemen played a song about a love affair gone dreadfully wrong. The song was called “Dazed & Confused.” It’s often been described as a song about a bad acid trip. Jake Holmes set this author straight in a 2001 interview.

“No, I never took acid. I smoked grass and tripped on it, but I never took acid. I was afraid to take it. The song’s about a girl who hasn’t decided whether she wants to stay with me or not. It’s pretty much one of those love songs,” Holmes explained.

Asked whether he remembered opening for the Yardbirds, Holmes laughed.

“Yes. Yes. And that was the infamous moment of my life when ‘Dazed & Confused’ fell into the loving arms and hands of Jimmy Page,” he said.

 

 
The Thieving Magpies: Jimmy Page’s Dubious Recording Legacy (Perfect Sound Forever)

Part II (which is even juicier than part 1)

Hear Dazed and Confused by Jake Holmes on his Myspace page

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.14.2012
02:43 pm
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Rock Cameos: When bands guest star in films

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You can picture the scene, lunch somewhere, another glass, and then the producer says. “I know this band, they’re hot, they’re what the kids want, let’s get them in the movie.”

It’s a win-win situation. Surely? The band starts their film career and receive major media exposure; while the movie has cachet from the group’s fans. This, of course, all depends on the quality of the film and the songs.

Does anyone remember what The Yardbirds were playing in Blow-Up? All I recall is Jeff Beck going Pete Townshend on his guitar, while a white trousersered David Hemmings intently joined a rather bored-looking audience.

Amen Corner had topped the UK pop charts with “If Paradise is half as Nice” and must have seemed a perfect call for the Vincent Price, Christopher Lee schlock fest, Scream and Scream Again. Singer Andy Fairweather-Low is beautifully filmed in the background as loopy Michael Gothard prowls a nighclub in search of fresh blood. The trouble is the song’s a stinker.

Sparks were allegedly second choice to Kiss for the George Segal, Timothy Bottoms, Richard Widmark dull-a-thon, Rollercoaster. The brothers Mael had moved back to the US after four successful years in the UK, and had just released their album Big Beat, from which they played “Fill Her Up” and “Big Boy” to a wildly over-enthusiastic crowd. The audience obviously hadn’t read the script, as the film is turgid, and the band’s cameo is its only highlight. When asked about the biggest regret in their career, Sparks said appearing in Rollercoaster. Understandable.

Brian De Palma stopped copying Hitchcock form a few minutes in Body Double to make a pop promo for Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax”, right in the middle of the movie. Surprisingly, it works. But perhaps the best, almost seamless merging of pop singer / artiste in a film is Nick Cave in Wim Wenders in Wings of Desire. Cave is perfect, as is the film, and he was a resident in West Berlin at the time, writing his first novel And the ass saw the Angel.

Of course, there are plenty of others, (Twisted Sister in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Tubes in Xanadu, anyone?), but oddest may be Cliff Richard and The Shadows in Gerry Anderson’s puppet movie Thunderbird Are Go. Difficult to tell the difference between puppet and the real thing.
 

Michelangelo Antonioni originally wanted The Velvet Underground for ‘Blow-Up’ (1966), but a problem over work permits led to The Yardbirds, with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck playing “Stroll On” in the cameo.
 
More pop and rock cameos after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.13.2011
11:27 am
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The Pretty Things:  Britain’s R&B Badasses

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Formed in London in 1963 by singer Phil May and guitarist Dick Taylor, The Pretty Things played raw R&B that shook up the English music scene. In addition to being musical pioneers, The Pretty Things were among the first of the Brit bands to experiment with LSD (they recorded a song of the same name) and the first to be arrested for drugs.

Sounding like an American garage band with a punk attitude, the Things were the least celebrated of the bands on the scene at the time, which included The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and The Yardbirds. It wasn’t until the late 60s / early 70s that group had both commercial and critical success with Parachute (1970 Rolling Stone Album of The Year) and concept album SF Sorrow. David Bowie covered two of their tunes for his Pin Ups album. Phil May left the group in 1976, but the band continued with shifting personel.He later rejoined the group and he and Taylor continue to perform till this day with various sidemen.
 

 
In this video from 1966 (a pristine master copy), The Pretty Things exude an effortless cool that makes Mick Jagger’s tar baby shtick seem absolutely vaudevillian.

Posted by Marc Campbell
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07.13.2010
06:44 pm
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