One wonders what Joe Strummer would think of his first Clash record being released on blue / white split vinyl for Black Friday… My interjections of Joe’s disdain for this release aside, she does make for a perfectly viable reason to fork over $29 for an album one already owns three times over. One never, ever goes wrong with The Clash, and this was, most certainly, $29 very well spent.
It’s become overly apparent that Only the Good Die Young, the 2nd track on the 2nd side, garners some east coast Catholic schoolgirl sentimentality. Let’s not overlook the obvious here (the lyrics… I’ll leave that observation, and optional endeavor up to you). I leave this as elusive as I can, as to allow myself the opportunity to touch upon such a subject at yet, an undisclosed time. Do the good die young? If you ask Catholic schoolgirls, the answer is a resounded “YE-AH!”
A lot of my idiot friends dog Roger Moore as James Bond (I’m looking in your direction, Hardwick), but I find him to be an adequate agent of the secret nature. 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, and its motion picture soundtrack, is a fitting, and worthwhile example of classic, James Bond goodness. Take that, Brosnan.
With fall in full, gravitational swing, slip into some Fresh Aire, by Omaha-based, rock ‘n classical music fusioned, Mannheim Steamroller. There are leaves on the cover, so… NATURALLY, this is a fall album, right?!
Anyway, Mannheim is solid, across the board, and also makes for comforting open, and yes, fresh air autumn music.
Dead only a month after his final album’s release, Elvis Presley, and his insert to Moody Blue, serves as a bullet-pointed checklist of entertainment tombstones celebrating this legendary performer’s luxurious career. Not a fan per se, I acknowledge his esteemed importance throughout recorded music history, and although his music has never connected with me, appreciation and respect must be given.
From 1956 (left) to 1977 (right), he was king, and we were his kingdom. Coming up on 37 years from the day in which his highness fell (August 16), he is no less commanding now than he was 58 years ago. He was never a favorite of mine, but that didn’t stop me from giving him all the respect he deserves.
RIP Elvis Aaron Presley
Q: What’do’ya get when you mix two parts 1977 dansco (dance-disco), one part swing / big band, and a fist-full of ice? A: If put into a shaker, shook until your arms felt numb, then poured into a martini glass, you’d get the perfect, intoxicating blend of traditional American fanfare with the (then) modern, club-packing, rhythmic-gyrating, pelvic-thrusting, controlled substance-ingesting roars of disco.
Days, and posts, like this really make me happy I started this little time-suck (the PG). I found this album several years back, and doubt if I’d ever listened to it… until right now. Attracted to its alluring, golden glow, the first in my (then) budding collecting, I snatched it up like a thief with an opportunity, then got distracted (probably by Image Comics, work, or God forbid, tech school) and forgot all about it. Listening to it now, with crestfallen, virgin ears, I can say it’s certainly not a record this collection needs, but it’s a fun trip to take, even if the ticket was purchased some 17 years ago.
What thrilling day it must have been back in 1977 at 51 N. 425 E. in Smithfield, Utah (zip 84335). Probably having just returned home from the local K-Mart with his newly acquired Star Wars original motion picture soundtrack, a young (probably high school-aged) Mark couldn’t wait to relive the intergalactic adventures on his parents’ home stereo system while leafing through all the bonus goodies that accompany this amazing two LP set. Aside from the legendary masterworks of John Williams, 20th Century Records’ release also included an epic poster, a credits insert, and this mail in offer for an official Star Wars t-shirt. Mark is a size large, by the way.
The specifics surrounding the immediate and gleeful filling out of this order form that prevented a space drama-loving Mark Eskelson to NOT send it in will forever be pondered and (over) analyzed by its current owner (me). If only for a brief moment, it must be stated that Mark’s true reason for not forking over $5 for this gem of necessary fashion can only truly be understood by him, in a galaxy far, far away.
It’s The Clash kind of morning, kids; specifically their 1977 self-titled debut (1979 in North ‘Merica). The original UK cover, as you can plainly see just to the left there, showcases the sassy mainstays (until all hell broke lose with 1985’s Cut the Crap, of course) Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. Missing in all three cover variations (scroll down to see the others, won’t you?) is the 2-headed drummer, Tory Chimes and Topper Headon.
Credited on the back as Tory Crimes (misspelling?), Tory Chimes was the exclusive drummer on the UK release. Topper Headon (credited here as “Nicky Headon”) is featured on 5 of the 15 non-UK releases. Both drummers are missing from this now iconic cover because, as wikipedia neatly puts it, during the time Kate Simon took this photo, Tory Chimes had (for whatever reason) decided to leave the band. So, there you have it. Mystery solved. Someone should remaster this album sans percussion, featuring just the three sods on the cover. That would make for an interesting listen, no?
So, a bit of interesting information… Chimes, Jones and Simonon were all in the band London SS before clashing with Strummer and future Public Image Ltd. guru Keith Levene to form The Clash. Mr. Levene co-founded Public Image Ltd. with Sex Pistols’ frontman, John Lydon, or as he is more commonly known, Johnny Rotten. So you see, it’s like, all tied up and connected, man! Clash it up today. It’ll help to keep the mental demons busy for at least the next 35 minutes.
It’s not every day an obsessive-compulsive collector is reunited with his first turntable. Today was that immortal day. While on holiday in the muggy bayou that is (currently) Southern Wisconsin, I (actually, my father found it) discovered a crucial piece of my record loving history, this late 70s, Disco Mouse, Sears, Roebuck and Co. phonograph.
Still in working, albeit cosmetically challenged, condition, this little guy provided countless hours of Pac-Man adventures, abridged versions of my favorite Star Wars, and Star Wars related fantasies (think The Ewoks Join the Fight), and spun my very first picture disc, 1977’s Main Street Electrical Parade. (It was most recently the spinner of Louie Louie by The Kingsmen, Volare by Dean Martin, and Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. Oh how times have changed.)
A collector exhausts many a turntable throughout their lives. Some rest in unrepaired ruin, while others lay in storage for over 30 years, waiting to once again offer a plethora of new memories.
Many thanks to my folks for introducing me the wonderful world of recorded music.
Remember when Fan Clubs were a thing? Neither do I, but apparently, there was enough of a buzz going around the many successes of this Orchestra of Electric Light, that they felt an inherent need to cash in on these mouth-watering fans by offering exclusivity by means of an ELO Fan Club.
For only $5 ($18.68 by today’s means), you would receive the following unique and fashionable ELO swag:
– An autographed poster. This is an EXCLUSIVE OFFER, people! This point is made abundantly clear by EXCLUSIVE OFFER being typed in all caps. Also, as if you needed clarification, this is only available to Appreciation Society Members (a fancy term for Fan Club geeks).
– Nine color photos of the band (offered in various sizes… including wallet sized, because, you never want to be caught without six photos of your favorite Birmingham Symphonic rock band).
– An official Appreciation Society Membership Card (personalized and embossed) entitling you to special offers for belt buckles and other icons of late 70s fashion.
– A personal bio of each band member (so you could launch your career as a celebrity stalker).
– An Official Appreciation Society Membership Certificate… are you ready? “Suitable for framing.” Because, you know, that faded picture from your wedding day has been hogging the wall-space for a bit too long.
– And a “beautiful” folder. When I think of beauty, my mind immediately goes to a cardboard folder with an ELO logo on it. Doesn’t everyone?
The crazy thing, is that I’d probably join the Electric Light Orchestra Appreciation Society. Now the hunt for an ELO belt buckle begins…
Are you an ELO fan? I’m sorry… of course you are. Then why not parade your adulation for Rock-and-Classical-fused-future-pop by ordering one of these exquisite Electric Light Orchestra t-shirts? They come form-fitted and ready to rock your next Saturday night Farrah Fawcett marathon (don’t be coy, we all do it), and will guarantee more than a few waves of enamored attention from a certain special someone you’ve had your ensorcelled eyes on.
Found wedged in my copy of the unconsciously hypnotizing Out of the Blue double LP (you know, the one with Turn to Stone and Mr. Blue Sky on it), this mind-blowing insert begs for the yearning of an era just a few short years before I was born… an era of Farrah Fawcett hair, suggestive smiles, and sensationally groovy licks.
When the physical force from the hand-shakers, the whistle-stoppers, the marketing executives and the self-proclaimed pretty faces (telling you what toothpaste “real” men prefer) strong-arms the poor, the isolated, the abhorred, the shunned and the ugly (a term invented by pushers of beauty products as a counter for what constitutes “beauty”), the thin line separating the “ordinary” from the “irregular” breaks. Wars are started over such actions. Lives are lost and serenity is disfigured.
“Anger can be power.” – Joe Strummer of The Clash
From the charred rubble of society rockets a familiar phrase longing to reach the ears of the desperate that question if such a powerful phrase could exist. A phrase silenced and eradicated by the powerful, yet so innate to our most basic of human instincts. The phrase: It doesn’t have to be this way. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols gave a voice to that phrase; a voice that, because of legal battles with the Magistrates’ Court, record label arrests, and outcries from the feeble masses, almost wasn’t heard.
I’m a believer in giving credit where credit is due. The Ramones are often credited as the first “official” Punk band, so, yay Ramones, but they don’t come close to matching the social impact unleashed by the Sex Pistols… and the Sex Pistols only released one studio album! Surprisingly tame by today’s standards, the music on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols is secondary to its message. The tracks are catchy, the lyrics are in-your-face and often intentionally hilarious. Well produced and professionally executed, this album isn’t near as abrasive as one would think given all the trouble surrounding its release.
Punk is present to force the masses to question their decisions. The hoi polloi hate Punk because it makes them look at themselves and recognize their abundant shortcomings and their sheepish declarations. They know they’re feeding a corrupt and biased system but they don’t want to be bothered to remember. I know. I’m one of them. But the idea behind Punk, albeit a nightmare for some, is the saving grace for those whose voices are subdued.
Greed is a learned trait. The desire for power and wealth by means of silencing those who oppose you is the backbone of a Capitalist society. The Sex Pistols recognized this. They stood atop a mountain of vehement listeners and shouted, “It doesn’t have to be this way!”
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols is Shakespeare to authors, columnists and poets alike. It stands as one of the most monumental moments in music, and was a turning point in 20th Century history. It is, by all means, a necessity.
It’s Monday, and you know what that means… it’s time to push that rock of content up the endless hill of life. It’s also time to revel in the rhythmic delights of Declan Patrick MacManus (AKA Elvis Costello) and his solemnly realistic fantasy-bursting reality-screamer, Welcome to the Working Week.
Arriving at track one, side one from his debut album, My Aim is True, Welcome to the Working Week is a playful pass of judgment to the 9-to-5’ers; the head-crushing business men and women of our land pushing papers so that the fat have the means to get fatter.
If you haven’t spoiled yourself with the sweet musical nectar of “the other Elvis,” I’ll pass judgment and offer these words spoken by the man himself:
You gotta’ do it till you’re through it so you better get to it.
On October 17, 1977 the Southern Rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd) released their fifth studio album, Street Survivors. What’s Your Name and That Smell were two of the many highlights from this Double Platinum album (meaning it sold over 2 million copies in the United States alone… sorry if you already knew that).
On October 20, 1977 a plane carrying the band (who had just finished performing a show in Greenville, South Carolina) ran out of fuel and crashed in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, legendary guitarist Steve Gaines, Steve’s sister and Lynyrd Skynyrd backup vocalist Cassie Gaines, the band’s assistant road manager and both pilots were killed on impact. The remaining band members and their crew sustained serious injuries.
At the request of Teresa Gaines, Steve’s widow, and out of respect for the fallen members of the band, MCA Records withdrew the original “flame” cover and reissued the album with a similar image of the band amongst a basic black background.
Kicking off with a spry, ethereal bleep followed by the vacant ringing of a telephone doomed to be acknowledge, Telephone Line is a lulling journey through the sung cries of our hero (Jeff Lynne) as he attempts to regain contact with a former lover, but you know, told amongst a charming bed of orchestral Rock ‘n Roll accompanied by elegant back-up vocals.
Telephone Line is a sad tale of that (oh so familiar) slow burn that inevitably comes when the love between two treasured sweethearts fades away, only to die a slow, excruciating death while both parties curse the heavens in complete emotional anarchy. I’m over it now, but there was a time when this song hit home a bit too aggressively.
Telephone Line is from ELO’s monumentally successful 1976 album, A New World Record. This single however was released on green vinyl in 1977. If you’ve ever heard ELO, chances are you’re hooked. If you haven’t, (WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?) I’d humbly suggest starting with A New World Record and its awe-inspiring single, Telephone Line.