A new stage show produced by Beatle expert Mark Lewisohn sheds some light on a story we thought we knew. From The Guardian …
They’ve wrapped up the recording of Abbey Road, which would turn out to be their last studio album, and are awaiting its release in two weeks’ time. Ringo Starr is in hospital, undergoing tests for an intestinal complaint. In his absence, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison convene at Apple’s HQ in Savile Row. John has brought a portable tape recorder. He puts it on the table, switches it on and says: “Ringo – you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing.”
What they talk about is the plan to make another album – and perhaps a single for release in time for Christmas, a commercial strategy going back to the earliest days of Beatlemania. “It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn says. “The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no – they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”
Full article here, including a link to tour dates for a show I would kill to see.
Say what you want about Sid being a shit bassist, he would have made a fucking great front man. Just look at him! And give the RUGGED MAN SONG OF THE WEEK™ a play over there while you’re at it. Horrible live recording, but he had the goods as a rock vocalist.
According to ancient punk lore, he actually came very close to fronting a band. Twice. The Damned asked him to audition when they were first getting together. Sneaky Dave Vanian had other plans, and sabotaged the rehearsal so he could try out first. Seems Vanian (or an associate) told Sid the band had canceled at the last minute, while Captain Sensible and the boys just assumed Sid no-showed.
Then one day, Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood were discussing who would make a good lead singer for this new band Malcolm was going to manage. Vivienne suggested one of the Johns who hung around the shop all the time, because he had a great look. Malcolm assumed she meant John Lydon; she really meant John Ritchie – AKA John Beverly, AKA Sid Vicious.
Would the Pistols have had the same impact without Lydon’s brilliant, confrontational lyrics? Arguably not. Still …
BONUS: Here’s an interview Judy Vermorel conducted with Sid for her book, Sex Pistols: The Inside Story. Like most 20-year-olds, Mr. Vicious is in turns insightful and moronic.
This was another Beatles song to get the Sellers treatment and its meaning takes on a whole new dimension when we hear the two characters in this recording. The voice Sellers uses for the female character is reminiscent of the one he used for Crystal Jollybottom in his long run with radio’s “Ray’s A Laugh.”
David Bowie’s single take demos he made with John Hutchinson in an attempt to get a record deal with Mercury were released recently. These are stripped down versions, and they’re great. Here they are compiled into 1 video on the You Tube. Happy Weekend ya basterds!!!
These days, however, Morrissey prefers a different kind of onstage provocation. During a recent performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (and at a number of live shows in New York), the former Smiths singer sported a For Britain badge. For those unfamiliar with it, For Britain is a far-right political party. Even Nigel Farage believes it is made up of “Nazis and racists”.
To see Morrissey embrace the far right so openly was shocking. But was it surprising? Ever since the early 90s, he has flirted with the far right and fascist imagery – wrapping himself up in the union jack, writing a song called The National Front Disco, making inflammatory comments about immigration.
Yet in the last year there has been little doubt about his views. He has claimed Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, “cannot talk properly”, and declared “Even Tesco wouldn’t employ Diane Abbott,” – the Cambridge-educated shadow home secretary and Britain’s most prominent black MP. He has described the media’s treatment of the racist Tommy Robinson as “shocking”. And he has explicitly promoted For Britain on his Morrissey Central website: “There is only one British political party that can safeguard our security.” The party’s leader, Anne Marie Waters, posted a video online thanking Morrissey for his support.
Check out “Twink” miming with The Pretty Things for a bewildered French TV audience. Ever heard of Twink? I hadn’t, so I poked around on Google. Nicknamed after a British hair product, Twink was a mime, drummer, close friend of Syd Barrett, and general scenester of the London psychedelic underground. He played drums with an early version of T. Rex, with Syd Barret occasionally, on one Pretty Things album, and with the Pink Fairies. In the early 70’s, he was in Hawkwind with Lemmy. His band The Rings were on the ground floor of the London punk scene in ’77. Some refer to their lone single, “I Wanna be Free” as England’s first punk record. It’s not very good compared to what was about to come from the Damned, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Clash, and Jam.
What led me to this video was my fondness for The Pretty Things, a very good British r&b band who never made any headway in the U.S. Their guitarist, Dick Taylor, had been in an early version of the Stones. Like the Stones, their forays into psychedelia were not always memorable, as you can hear above. You can hear them at their best here and here. Their raucous version of Roadrunner is my favorite cover of that song.