Monday, July 27, 2009

blonde redhead

So I've been contemplating a rather big change in my life for the last few months: whether or not I should change my hair color. A blonde from birth (and now with the assistance of peroxide) I've always had long, bright blonde hair. People expect you to act a certain way when you're blonde: either a ditz, harlot, innocent girl-child, or frigid ice-queen. I have come to the conclusion that I want to be a redhead. Not just that, I want that powerful bright Jane Asher red that people can see from a mile away. 
I have always envied the Lindsay Lohans of the world who were born with red hair, and I never understood why they would want to change that gorgeous color to bland blond. Some of the most powerful women throughout history have been gingers. Queen Elizabeth was a red head. So was Ginger Spice (aka Geri Halliwell). Red hair evokes the feelings of power, action, and fiery tempers. They go out and do what they want, follow what they believe, and don't take no from anybody. So tonight, I want to be a redhead. Now I just have to conjure up my inner ginger girl and actually do it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Day in the Life (Paul's "Oh Shit" Version)

Here is an early studio take of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life." Notable because it lacks the orchestral score and infamous alarm clock noise between John's first verses and Paul's bit. Also, it is a rare glimpse at the vocals not yet being perfected on the track. Paul toys around with how he sings "found a coat and grabbed my hat" and fudges the lyric "somebody spoke and I went into a dream" by singing "everybody spoke and I went into a dream... oh shit." Its quite funny to hear him make a mistake while singing, but all the while quite cute. 
The video is set to behind-the-scenes footage of a recording session for the song, attended by Pattie Boyd, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Donovan, the Monkees, and many others. The session turned into a party of sorts, with the Beatles and all their famous friends running around the studio causing mischief. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes

As with most every girl, one of my personal heroes is Miss Penny Lane, Kate Hudson's character in the flick Almost Famous. The original Band-Aide, there to inspire the music and support the band, Penny Lane has the qualities that seem requisites of a true rock muse. She is equal parts goofy, romantic, innocent, and knowing; a girl who will dance barefoot on an auditorium's stage or sing along to "Tiny Dancer" on a tour bus; she has that certain twinkle in her eyes, one that makes every man want to right their own Layla for her.
But aside from that, Penny is still a lost little girl. Underneath her curly hair and shearling coats, she is still that vulnerable Lady Goodman, someone who will be driven to Quaaludes if the guitarist with mystique turns her down.
Truth be told, I aspire to be Penny Lane. I will spend a year living in Morocco with an entirely different name and be an entirely different person. I will befriend David Bowie and his bodyguard Dennis, swoon over my own Russell Hammond, and make friends with only musicians because, truth be told, famous people just are more interesting. And when these dreams become a reality, I will turn to my fellow Band-Aides and say in awe, "it's all happening."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

i don’t know just where i’m going, but i’m gonna try for the kingdom if i can

Allen Klein, former music manager of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, the Animals, the Kinks, Bobby Darin, and tons more, died Saturday at the age of 77. He was known for his blunt and rather tenacious business style and the large fallouts he had with the majority of his famous clients, most of them ending in lengthy legal battles. He famously said in defense of his abrasive style of negotiating, “The music business is about 99 percent no-talent losers who can’t stand a winner in their midst.”
Allen Klein was the son of Jewish Hungarian immigrants who founded the label ABKCO Music & Records in the 1950s, a label that holds the copyrights to many famous groups from the sixties and seventies – including the Rolling Stones, Phil Spector, Bobby Womack, and hundreds more. Klein gained infamy when he was cited in the eventual breakup of the Beatles after John Lennon persuaded George Harrison and Ringo Starr to appoint Klein their business manager after Brian Epstein’s death. Paul McCartney resisted the change, feeling that Klein could not be trusted. Eventually that turned out to be true – Klein was ultimately unable to save the Beatles’ many umbrella projects under Apple Corps, including Zapple Records, and lost the rights to Northern Songs from a buyout by ATV, a loss that took away ownership rights and copyrights to nearly the band’s entire catalogue.
During the early '70s he was an aide to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, he was hired because "a real shark - someone to keep the other sharks away." The relationship was one that eventually cooled, and Klein was personified in Lennon's song "Steel and Glass," with lyrics like: Your phone don't ring, no one answers your call/How does it feel to be off the wall/Well your mouthpiece squawks as he spreads your lies/But you can't pull strings if your hands are tied.
He was also remembered for his tumultuous relationship with George Harrison, namely his role in the “My Sweet Lord”-“He’s So Fine” controversy during the seventies. Initially Klein was a friend to Harrison, helping him to organize the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh and offering support and legal advice to him during the initial stages of the “My Sweet Lord”-“He’s So Fine” lawsuit. Eventually, Klein betrayed Harrison by purchasing the 1963 song “He’s So Fine” and becoming his legal opponent. Ultimately, a judge ruled that Klein’s switching sides was unfair and advised Harrison to pay Klein $587,000 so that Klein would gain nothing from the suit.
Klein’s death on July 4th after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease brings to an end a lengthy and controversial career.

and hour on hour i watched in awe, no human being could match the draw of ringo

Today is Ringo Starr's 69th birthday. I'm guessing that he won't be going back on Larry King Live this year, considering how things went down on his 68th (in case you didn't see it -- Ringo got pretty mad at Larry, who said Ringo's age, 68, over a dozen times during the few minute interview, but Ringo was funny and called Larry 102 yrs. old, which in all honesty seems a possibility), but I do hope Rings keeps the message of peace and love through this birthday celebration. I haven't followed his recent career as much, but I genuinely like sixties Ringo. He seemed sad-eyed, goofy, laid-back, and fun.... He also had amazing rings (naturally) and enviable dance moves (just rent A Hard Day's Night if you need proof).

Monday, July 6, 2009

go and beat your crazy head against the sky, try and see beyond the houses and your eyes, its okay to shoot the moon

Mary Hopkin was/is/probably always will be frighteningly adorable to me. I liked her from the start after I saw a photo of her holding a guitar over her shoulder and walking across an open field. I don't know what about that photo I liked so much -- without knowing anything about her at all, I still would admire her for her folky carefree demeanor and innocent look. Also I really liked her hair, so that probably had something to do with it. Then I actually learned about her. If you can honestly say that when you were 17 or 18 years old, you had several number one singles and could call Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Donovan, and George Harrison among your nearest and dearest, then you deserve some real respect.
This Welsh folk-pop singer (born in Wales in 1950) rose to fame in the late sixties as one of the first artists to be signed to the Beatles' Apple Records. She was 'discovered' in 1968 after Twiggy caught a performance of Hopkin's on a local TV show (prophetically called "Opportunity Knocks") and immediately called Paul McCartney to check her out. After signing with Apple, her first single "Those Were the Days" was released to great success in August 1968, becoming a worldwide hit (Disclaimer: this song is a very guilty pleasure of mine. I listen to it rather obsessively). Both the single, and her accompanying album "Postcard" were produced by Paul McCartney. Also aiding in her debut effort were Beatles producer George Martin, and singer-songwriters Harry Nilsson and Donovan. Other successful singles were "Goodbye" (written by McCartney, and only kept off the top spot in the UK by another McCartney song "Get Back"), "Temma Harbour," "Qué Sera, Sera" and "Knock, Kock, Who's There?" which Hopkin performed at the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest as a representative of the UK.
After the Beatles disbanded, Paul McCartney sought a solo career and was no longer in the position as Hopkin's mentor and aide at Apple. Instead, Apple promoted Hopkin as a squeaky-clean folkish singer somewhat akin to a schoolgirl, much to Hopkin's annoyance. She grew increasingly disenchanted with the sugary pop world in which she had become associated with, and weary of the music business in general. Her second album, "Earth Song, Ocean Song" (released in late 1971) was in the style of music that she wanted to perform, but Apple didn't agree. Though it is said this album is one of Mary Hopkin's personal favorites of the work she's produced, she largely had to produce the album herself. Mary Hopkin ended up leaving Apple after completing two albums and one best-of release, and married producer Tony Visconti in 1971. She retreated from the music industry after that, instead concentrating on a family. Her unexpected retirement of sorts confused many in the music industry at the time, because Hopkin was at a high point in her career. She had a son Delaney in 1972 and a daughter Jessica in 1976. She continued recording on a more low-key basis throughout the seventies, appearing on many of her husband's productions as Mary Visconti (including tracks for Tom Paxton, David Bowie, Thin Lizzy, and many others) and participating in music festivals and concerts occasionally. She released a new album in 1976 under her own name, releasing as her first single a cover of the Edith Piaf recording "If You Love Me (I Won't Care)." This album marked the first time where the majority of the material on the album was composed by Hopkin herself. She has since regularly released albums over the last several decades, and even opened her own label Mary Hopkin Music. Despite her many albums and appearances since her impromptu 'retirement' in the early seventies, Hopkin says that with each new album she never aspires to make a comeback as a singer. She is happy enough by making music when she wants to, and travelling to different countries infitting with her admittedly nomadic lifestyle.

A big special thank-you to Pat at the Mary Hopkin News Page for so many wonderful photos!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

i don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love

Someone had said this of a post a few days ago on Keith Richard's style that they loved the "who the fuck is Mick Jagger?" tee shirt. Well, I too loved it because it is so Keith. I must admit that Mr. Richards must be in possession of the best tee shirts ever made. They are usually a little bit loud, a little bit (socially) inappropriate, and always really great. Well, I did some digging around and I found an exact copy of Keef's tee, which originated from the 1975 Rolling Stones tour of the Americas. There are a lot of imitations out there of this infamous shirt, but this is the closest I've found to the actual version. It even has a sort of faded look to the writing, so you could feasibly pass it off as a vintage original. For a cool $45, you can score this shirt for yourself. It's a little steep for just a tee shirt, but think of it as an investment in your love of the Keef; after all, you can't put a price on love.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

so sad, so sad

This week has not been too kind at all -- first Ed McMahon, then Farrah Fawcett, then Michael Jackson, and now we have learned that Karl Malden passed away today. At 97 years old, Karl was a legendary actor whose career spanned over seven decades. He often collaborated with Marlon Brando and director Elia Kazan in film and stage, his two best known screen roles were in A Streetcar Named Desire as Mitch, Stanley's friend who is interested in Blanche but is an ardent mama's boy (for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1951), and On the Waterfront as Father Barry, a man who believes works to stop the control the mob has over the docks. His most notable film appearances also include: One-Eyed Jacks (his third and last Brando collaboration); Baby Doll as Archie Lee Meighan, the frustrated husband of a sexually withholding teenage Carroll Baker; Gypsy; The Cincinnati Kid; How the West Was Won; and Patton. He also starred as a cop alongside Michael Douglas in the 1970s crime series The Streets of San Francisco.
Rest in peace, Karl. You will be sorely missed.