Posts Tagged ‘rock and roll’
In 1963, a Portland high school band called the Kingsmen covered the song “Louie Louie,” originally recorded by Richard Berry eight years earlier. Their version has become a classic– though almost no one has any idea what the actual words are. (Hear it here.) As it happened, the band had a one-hour recording session in which to lay down both the A and B sides of their first record. To simulate a live performance, singer Jack Ely was forced to lean back and sing into a microphone suspended from the ceiling. “It was more yelling than singing,” Ely said, “’cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments.” It didn’t help that he was wearing braces at the time of the performance, further aggravating his infamously slurred words. Still, the raw recording worked– it sold over 1 million copies, going gold.
It probably helped that Indiana Governor Matthew E. Welsh, assuming that obscurity meant obscenity, banned the song. Soon after, an angry parent wrote to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, insisting that the lyrics were dirty. Kennedy put FBI on the case; but the crime lab concluded, after four months of investigation, that the the recording could not be interpreted, that it was “unintelligible at any speed.” The lyrics are in fact innocent; but the FBI missed something: at about 0:53 into the song– audibly, but not obviously– Lynn Easton, the band’s drummer, drops a drumstick… and drops the f-bomb. (Hear it here.)
As we mind our manners, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980 that AC/DC earned their first Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long.” The maiden voyage of Brian Johnson (who’d replaced the band’s original lead singer Bon Scott after Scott’s untimely the prior year), it was the lead single on Back in Black, an album that has sold over 20 million copies.
From great songs…
… to the works of great bands…
… Designer Viktor Hertz presents The Pictograms of Pop (among many other graphic delights).
* Friedrich Nietzsche
As we smile semiotically, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that rock and roll’s first great wild man, “The Killer”– Jerry Lee Lewis– appeared on television for the first time.
Michael Gross, the art director of the National Lampoon in its 70s heyday and creator of the (in)famous work above, also created a parody issue of Print.
Read all about it in “The Cutting Humor of Michael Gross” in ImPrint…
[TotH to J.J. Sedelmaier]
As we reach for the rubber cement, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that Richard Wayne Penniman– better known as Little Richard– recorded Tutti Frutti.” As History.com reports,
“Tutti frutti, good booty…” was the way the version went that Little Richard was accustomed to performing in his club act, and from there it got into lyrical territory that would demand censorship even by today’s standards. It was during a lunch break from his first-ever recording session that Little Richard went to the piano and banged that filthy tune out for producer Bumps Blackwell, who was extremely unhappy with the results of the session so far. As Blackwell would later tell it, “He hits that piano, dididididididididi…and starts to sing, ‘Awop-bop-a-Loo-Mop a-good Goddam…’ and I said ‘Wow! That’s what I want from you Richard. That’s a hit!’” But first, the song’s racy lyrics had to be reworked for there to be any chance of the song being deemed acceptable by the conservative American audience of the 1950s.
An aspiring local songwriter by the name of Dorothy La Bostrie was quickly summoned to the Dew Drop Inn [in New Orleans] to come up with new lyrics for the un-recordable original, and by the time they all returned from lunch, the “Tutti frutti, all rooty” with which we are now familiar was written down alongside lyrics about two gals named Sue and Daisy. In the last 15 minutes of that historic recording session on September 14, 1955, “Tutti Frutti” was recorded, and Little Richard’s claim to have been present at the birth of rock and roll was secured.
Who among us has not dreamt of achieving that apex of achievement, having a sandwich named for us.
John Peck has imagined the menu in the ultimate rock and roll cafe, where one can select among such sandwiches as…
ABBA: Reindeer paté, candied rose petals, white bread.
Sex Pistols: Deep-fried Frank Sinatra LP, Russian mustard, spackle, tacks, stale rye bread.
Guns ’n Roses: Bacon-double cheeseburger, bittermelon jelly, Rogain aioli, sliced glazed donut.
Neil Young: Cubed ham, Kraft macaroni and cheese, blackened Anaheim peppers, 18-grain Anasazi bread.
Rolling Stones: Beef tongue, caviar, platinum-coated fried onions, ketchup, white bread.
Beach Boys: Grilled chicken breast, mustard, lettuce, SPF-50 sunscreen aioli, crispy fried peyote bits, white bread.
The Doors: Beer-battered fried chicken, mescaline ketchup, Navajo fry bread.
Huey Lewis and the News: Butterflied hot dog, pizza sauce, Cheez-Whiz, Dutch crunch.
Hall and Oates:Tuna salad, diet coleslaw, pomade, hamburger bun.
Prince: Braised peacock cheeks, lavender spread, mustard, mayo, baguette.
Grateful Dead: Lemon verbena sorbet, peanut butter, clarified hemp butter, deep-fried brownie bites, M&Ms, stale focaccia.
David Bowie: Curried snow leopard, mayo, garlic naan.
The Kinks: Roast beef, balsamic cigarette-butt reduction, dark rye.
John Cage: Silence, warmth, indirect sunlight, the memory of lettuce, the idea of bread.
Velvet Underground: Salami, cheddar, shredded pre-war 1000-Deutschmark bills, oil paint, heroin gravy, French roll.
Depeche Mode: Chicken breast, Swiss cheese, grilled suede, fried onions, mascara aioli, seeded baguette.
Ramones: Sliced hot dog, amphetamine ketchup, mustard, relish, white bread.
Many more delights at “Bandwiches,” In McSweeney’s.
As we ask for extra mayo, we might recall that it was on this date in 1989 when Rod Stewart (pulled-pork, shredded cabbage, Newcastle Brown Ale- Vaseline barbeque sauce, white bread) hit his head while on stage and knocked himself out in the middle of a performance.
From Vali Chandrasekaran, on BusinessWeek.com: Need to prove something you already believe? Statistics are easy: All you need are two graphs and a leading question. Correlation may not imply causation, but it sure can help us insinuate it.
As we recalibrate our conclusions, we might send amplified birthday wishes to musician, composer, and inventor Les Paul; he was born on this date in 1915. Paul was an accomplished jazz and country songwriter and guitarist; but he is surely best remembered as a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar (and an early adopter of techniques like over-dubbing, tape delay, and multi-track recording)– that’s to say, as a father of rock and roll.
Les Paul, playing a Gibson Les Paul (source)