Recently, while listening to Halloween favorites like “Dinner with Drac” by Zacherle and “Monster Mash,” I suddenly realized that there haven’t been any good novelty records released lately. For decades, but especially during the heyday of top forty radio, there were hundreds of very popular records that made you laugh or least brought a smile to your face.
Maybe because of political correctness or the current state of the world, we have loss our ability to make light of everyday things. It seems we can’t even laugh at ourselves. Perhaps we should.
Billy Joel had a hit song called “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” that was part the story of an infamous outlaw and about himself. At a glance, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any parallels.
One recurring part of the many of the interviews of stars I have done over the years has been the childhood of these future stars. Most seem to have been born and raised in less than luxurious fashion. I often hear stories of having no bathrooms, heat or other things that are considered standard essentials today. In many cases, it served as a driving force in becoming Rock stars.
Two things happened recently that made my mind wander back to when I first met Linda Ronstadt. The first came from my own website. I was looking at the daily rock calendar and noticed that Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys were listed as being at the Main Point on a certain day in 1968.
In a flash I was back there seeing her on stage. Between shows we chatted for a bit. She was so bubbly-almost hyper. I don’t know why, perhaps because Linda was so friendly, I asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner. Much to my surprise, yes said she’d loved the idea.
August 16th marks the anniversary of a very special event. On that date in 1967 a new form of radio was born in Philadelphia.
In 1967 there was an explosion of new music. It was the Summer of Love. Much of it centered in San Francisco where flower power was born along with a whole host of new music acts the likes of that no one had ever seen before. In the clubs of the city by the bay you could see and hear The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Big Brother &The Holding Company and a host of other exciting new groups.
History is filled with mistakes and accidents. Sometimes these mishaps lead to major changes like wars, but often they lead to something good that was totally unexpected.
This is true about music as well. People, being only human, will sometimes do the wrong thing.
Record companies have made a lot of mistakes over the years. It isn’t easy picking hit songs. Unless you have tried it with your job on the line, don’t say “how could they be so wrong” when you read just some the mistakes they have made over the years.
The most famous mistake centers around The Beatles. It is common knowledge that they flunked their first record company audition. But there’s much more to their story.
During the course of my many years of playing music on the radio & TV, writing about it in Newspapers, magazines and books as well as just listening or watching music for fun, I have collected many related items. Those of you who have looked at this website at some of the memorabilia that is posted are looking at the tip of the iceberg.
For example, when people ask me how many vinyl records do I have in my collection, I can’t give them an honest answer. Generally, my answer is over 20,000. The truth is that I don’t know since they have never actually been counted. It would take far too long.
When Bob Dylan announced that he was releasing his first new original song in a several years, I was more than anxious to hear it. I make no pretense about being a huge Dylan fan. When I found out he was letting everyone hear it for free, I was not that surprised. He had his reason. What was a little more surprising was the length of the song called “A Murder Most Foul”. A seventeen plus minute song being released as a single? You could almost fit four of his lengthy big hit “Like a Rolling Stone” into it. Now I really must hear this.
Listening to Bob Dylan songs made a huge impact on me while I was in my teens. So much so, that like many others I spent countless hours pouring over the lyrics of his songs. That was especially true when his lyrics became more complicated. It got to the point where colleges were offering courses on Bob Dylan.
For those who were not around when IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING was released, it will be very hard for you to imagine what a huge impact this album had when it was released in 1969. It was nothing like anything that had ever been done before. Certainly nothing like anything done in the Rock world. The sound of the record was far more advanced than anything ever heard prior to its release.
When The Who was formed in 1964, not even the members of the band could predict that they would be around in 2020. This had nothing to do with 20/20 vision, but the reality that most Rock bands just fade away after a couple of hits.
From the time they called themselves The Detours, they have always displayed a flare for dynamic music and explosive stage shows. They were the first band to destroy both guitars and drums on stage. In one of their most memorable TV appearances ever, they even scared their hosts, The Smothers Brothers, by blowing up Keith Moon’s drum kit. Their album LIVE AT LEEDS remains one of the best live albums ever. Despite all the improvements in recording, the sound quality of the record is fantastic.
As time went on Pete Townshend proved to be a very skilled song writer and storyteller when he created the first ever Rock Opera in TOMMY. It was followed by one great album after another until 1978. The release of WHO ARE YOU marked the end of the original band. Keith Moon who had well known problems got to the point where he was unable to play some of the drum parts on the record. He died soon after.
From the very beginning of the Rock era there has been a great deal of flair, outrageous behavior and gimmicks that have been a major factor in the presentation of the music. Some of it was by nature, but most of it by design. Some of it was original; much of it was copied.
At the outset it was the Elvis Presley wiggle that caused to him to be censored on TV. His act was mild compared to what followed. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins belted out his classic “I Put a Spell on You” while coming out of a coffin. Little Richard wore makeup while pounding the keys.
Roy Wood, often known as the Wizard, is an iconic music figure in England. Unfortunately, for some completely mystifying reason, his talents were never appreciated by the Rock fans in the United States.
During the late 60’s when so many British bands were enjoying huge success in the US, his band called The Move never caught on. This was true despite Roy’s leadership that guided The Move in scoring several songs on the UK charts.
The closest thing to hit that The Move had in the US was called “Do Ya”. The complete story of the song and the band was already posted on this website (story). While the song never got past the lower levels of the charts, it was enough to cause a split in the band. Roy, using most of the same Move members, started an off shoot that he called The Electric Light Orchestra.
The actual store address is 550 N Reading Rd. (272 highway) just outside the Lancaster county town of Ephrata, PA. At this unlikely address you will find a real gem. I hadn’t visited the store myself in several years and was absolutely amazed at how much the store has grown and improved since my last venture into the shop.
I had a long conversation with the store’s owner Andy Kamm, and he explained why. When I first talked with Andy, I expressed my surprise on how much larger the store was. He was able to explain why since he has been the sole store owner for over thirty years.
We continue our search for record stores with Vinyl Revival Records. The name of this store tells only part of the story.
In a day and age when all the major record stores have closed due to lack of sales, why does someone decide to invest in opening a small local record store. Each store owner has a different story.
So why did Andrea DiFabio take on the task of trying to make a go of selling records at 35-37 N Lansdowne Avenue in Lansdowne, PA? Here’s what she had to say about the genesis of the idea.