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Posts Tagged ‘rock and roll

Me gotta go…

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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.)

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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.

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Written by LW

October 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

“Without music, life would be a mistake”*…

 

From great songs

… to the works of great bands

… Designer Viktor Hertz presents The Pictograms of Pop (among many other graphic delights).

* Friedrich Nietzsche

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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.

 click here or on the image above to view JLL’s July 28, 1957 appearance on The Steve Allen Show 

Written by LW

July 28, 2013 at 1:01 am

Gross!…

 

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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]

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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.

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Written by LW

September 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

The Highest Honor…

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.

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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.

Stewart in 1989, upright

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Written by LW

July 5, 2012 at 1:01 am

Lies, Damned Lies, and…

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.

More here.

 

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)

Written by LW

January 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

Just let me hear some of that Rock And Roll Music…

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Metallica + The Smiths = Iron Maiden

Weezer – Air Supply = Grateful Dead

(Europe + Asia) x Foreigner = Outkast

Rage Against the Machine + Florence + The Machine = System of a Down

The Cars + Flo Rida + Boston + Chicago + Kansas = Journey

More Band Math at McSweeney’s.

 

As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that then-emerging musician Elvis Costello bit the hand that feeds him.  Dangerous Minds reports:

Elvis Costello and The Attractions appeared on Saturday Night Live on December 17, 1977 as a last minute replacement for The Sex Pistols, who had run into problems getting into the USA because of some prior legal hassles in the UK. Costello’s performance on SNL would become the stuff of rock and roll legend.

Costello’s record label, Columbia, wanted him to perform “Less Than Zero”, the first single from his as yet unreleased (in the U.S.) debut album My Aim Is True. Elvis wanted to perform “Radio Radio,” his attack on corporate control of the airwaves – a punk move that would have been in the spirit of The Pistols. Columbia disapproved of the idea and SNL producer Lorne Michaels allegedly told Costello, on orders from his employer NBC, to not perform “Radio Radio.”

Come show time, the band started playing “Less Than Zero” and then abruptly stopped and shifted into “Radio Radio.” At the end of the tune, they defiantly walked off the set.

Michaels was furious. According to first hand accounts, he was flipping Costello the bird through the entire performance. Michaels ended up banning Costello from ever performing again on SNL. The ban lasted 12 years, which in TV years is an eternity.  SNL  was an essential promotional venue for jacking up a band’s record sales. Costello bit the hand that was supposed to feed him even before he even got a nibble of commercial success. In the long run, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of rock’s enduring forces.

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Written by LW

December 17, 2011 at 1:01 am

Slow news day…

Magnum photographer Martin Parr takes and collects photos of Boring…

BORING, Ore.—2000

..and photos that are boring…

A postcard from Martin Parr’s Collection: "Traveling on Beautiful Interstate 35," 2000

…and photos of the bored…

KOTKA, Finland—From the series "Bored Couples," 1991

See them all at Slate’s “Boring!” (photos, © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos)

 

As we meditate on the mundane, we might console ourselves that it was on this date in 1955– five months before Elvis Presley’s first appearance– that Ellas Otha Bates, better known as Bo Diddley, made his television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show… and introduced the mainstream American audience to the 4/4 wonder we would come to know as Rock and Roll.  He performed his signature tune, “Bo Diddley”– which prefigured such classics as Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and the Stangeloves’ “I Want Candy,” among countless others. In the kinescope of the show (below), the studio audience can be heard clapping heartily along.

Diddley later recalled that Ed Sullivan had expected him to perform only a cover version of “Tennessee” Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” and was furious with him for opening with “Bo Diddley”– so furious that Sullivan banned him from future appearances on his show.  But the damage was done:  as George Thorogood told Rolling Stone: “[Chuck Berry’s] ‘Maybellene’ is a country song sped up… ‘Johnny B. Goode’ is blues sped up.  But you listen to ‘Bo Diddley,’ and you say, ‘What in the Jesus is that?'”

Written by LW

November 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

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