Tag Archives: 1970s

5 Of The Greatest UK Hard Rock Songs You (Probably) Never Heard Of

Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)

Slade photo Paul Cox

Slade on stage photo Paul Cox

I’ve seen hundreds of rock bands live. Working in the music industry afforded me a close-up look at greatness. Unfortunately many times the public does not recognize, let alone buy greatness. Continue reading

Five Rock Songs You Didn’t Know Were Cover Versions

 Original Songs Made Popular By Other Bands

Badfinger photograph

Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland

There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.

First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.

Hanging on the Telephone

Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”

The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song  after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.

The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says,  “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me  unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”

The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.

Without You

Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including  Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.

Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.

But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.

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Classic Hollywood #87 – James Caan Gets Married 1976

James Caan and Sheila Ryan Get Married

James Caan wedding Sheila Ryan 1976

James Caan Sheila Ryan wedding ceremony photo: Gary Thompson Globe Photos

Here we see James Caan and Sheila Ryan getting married on January 12, 1976. It was a happy occasion, I guess. But why do groom Caan and bride Ryan look like they want to either call it off right then and there or deck the chaplain for saying something inappropriate? Or is just the seriousness of the solemn occasion? Continue reading

Rare 8mm Van Halen Concert Film Footage From 1978

Unseen For 41 Years – Highlights From A Van Halen Concert At Fresno’s Selland Arena, Friday, September 22, 1978

Eddie van Halen & David Lee Roth Live in concert Sept 22, 1978 I hope YouTube doesn’t take this video down.

This story would have to be deleted as well.

While I like Van Halen, I’m not an uberfan. I have all the David Lee Roth era LPs and still listen to Van Halen. But live, I always thought of Roth as a great front-man, rather than a great singer. He might agree. I wish he’d sing the lyrics!

What is the attraction to Van Halen? Besides the virtuosity and innovativeness of Eddie Van Halen, it’s probably because the band built up a huge following through touring, putting on extravaganzas and releasing unique, catchy kick-ass rock albums.

Unfortunately Van Halen has rarely released whatever footage they have of themselves when they were just starting out on their way to becoming superstars.

That is why this is special. 41 years after it occurred, here is Van Halen LIVE in concert only seven months after the release of their first album.

You may not like vocalist David Lee Roth’s showmanship, jumping around with lyrical improvisations and high pitch shrieks. Then maybe you’ll stop watching after a few minutes. Roth, however is hitting more of the notes live as recorded on the album than many of his recorded performances.

Seeing Van Halen as openers for Black Sabbath, trying to win over an audience is unique in itself. Guitarist Eddie Van is blazing on all cylinders. Bassist and harmony singer Michael Anthony is confident and steady. And drummer Alex Van Halen is holding it all together keeping  great time. They’re young and hungry and it shows. Eddie and David were both 23-years-old. According to manager Noel Monk the band was being paid $750 per show – split four ways!

Ticket stub and cassette tape Van Halen concert Fresno September 22, 1978This is what the late 1970s were about. Great music with rock band’s wanting to impress you in concert with their music and energy. Seven dollar tickets, small stage, no pyrotechnics, or giant video screens or back-up dancers.  Everyone is watching and listening to the band.

So thank you FresnoMediaRestoration for putting together audio with this 8mm film footage to come up with 20 minutes of live Van Halen in their prime.

Below the footage I’ve quoted some of the better YouTube comments.

The better YouTube comments:

It’s surprising they ever made it big. I mean, if you were a rock star in the 70s, would you hire them to open your show? – Baba Yaga

This show was the night before their memorable 9/23/78 concert @ Anaheim Stadium where Boston headlined along with Black Sabbath & Sammy Hagar. VH hired 4 skydivers to jump out of a plane. The skydivers landed behind the stage & VH — in parachute gear — jumped out of a van & rushed onto the stage to On Fire. Crowd went crazy. That was also the day that EVH met Sammy Hagar for the first time.– jpr – 030507 Continue reading

A President Behind Home Plate

Who Is That Masked Man? A Future President? Ask Chevy Chase.

Future President Gerald Ford plays baseball in 1949

No, It’s not Donald Trump. Trump did play baseball in college. But behind home plate is a career politician who later became President.

Maybe a closer look will help.

Close-up of President Ford 1949 playing catcher in a softball gameWhen catching a ball it usually helps to have your eyes open. We’ll pardon you if you didn’t recognize Chevy Chase’s favorite comedic target when starring on Saturday Night Live,  President Gerald Ford.

The 1949 photograph comes from the UPI archive. We see Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford crouching behind home plate. In the batters box Representative Glenn R. Davis of Wisconsin demonstrates how to execute a bunt improperly by gripping and exposing his right fingers around the bat directly into the path of the ball so he can break his fingers.

Contrary to popular belief, Gerald Ford was very athletic and was not clumsy or simpleminded. In 1934 Ford was named the Most Valuable Player of the University of Michigan’s football team.

Why and when did people begin thinking Ford was awkward?

Probably when President Ford fell down a few steps disembarking Airforce One in Vienna on June 1, 1975. He also stumbled a few more times on the trip. Unfortunately for Ford, network TV was there to capture the airplane moment and show it nationally.

Then, Chevy Chase capitalized on the event and began portraying Gerald Ford in comedic sketches on SNL, as absent-minded, uncoordinated, constantly falling down and being prone to accidents. Though Chase neither looked or sounded like Ford, people began to believe that Chase’s characterization was how Ford was in real life!

For a year, week after week, Chase satirized President Ford on late night TV.

Finally, Ford and Chase met each other at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner on March 25, 1976.

At the dinner in front of 1000 people at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Chase performed his Gerald Ford routine as President Ford sat at the dais and laughed at his impersonator.

Afterwards, Ford got up to speak and said Continue reading

Oh Brother! Could They Pitch – The Dean, Perry, Martinez & Niekro Brothers

Winning Brothers, Dizzy & Daffy Dean

Dizzy & Daffy Dean 1935

Hold Chat On Bleachers

Dizzy and Daffy, those two Dean boys. Paul on the left looks a little skeptical as Dizzy shows his brother the way a ball is held for a “hook”. Just before the Giants and Cardinals got going  March 15 at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida, these two boys held a chat on the bleachers. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 2-0. — 3/17/1935 Associated Press Photo

In the history of Major League Baseball there have been many brothers who have each taken the mound to be pitchers. For both of them to be successful however, is another story. Continue reading

1970s Rock – Foghat Shows What A Great Live Band Could Do

Foghat Gives An Incredible Live Performance – 1974

Why is it that the 1970s produced dozens of incredibly talented rock bands?

Certainly one reason is creative singer-songwriters proliferated and produced songs that have stood the test of time.

Foghat members Tony Stevens, "Lonesome Dave" Peverett, Rod Price, Roger Earl

Foghat c. 1974 standing: Tony Stevens, front l-r “Lonesome Dave” Peverett, Rod Price, Roger Earl photo: London Features

Foghat was one of the many bands that came from England and triumphed in America. Today it has been forgotten that Foghat was among the top grossing live bands of the 70s. Even with one double platinum and eight gold records, Foghat today have been mostly bypassed in rock history as a novelty boogie rock band.

Throughout the 1970s their albums and live performances won praise from music fans. Foghat was constantly heard on FM stations. Radio staples like Slow Ride and Fool For The City are still played today.

And boy could they put on a live show. Foghat were simply beasts on stage in front of an audience.

In this fantastic 1974 version of the Willie Dixon penned blues classic I Just Want To Make Love To You, Foghat makes eleven minutes go by awfully fast. Foghat looks like they are having the best time ever being in a rock band.

This is one incredible exuberant, fun and blistering performance from Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Unfortunately the narcoleptic audience doesn’t realize what they are seeing regardless of the added applause track.

What constitutes the ingredients of a great live performance? Continue reading

Politically Incorrect Bubble Gum Cigarettes

You Won’t See It On Candy Store Shelves – Bubble Gum Cigarettes

Salem bubble gum cigarettes – fun for kids!

If you grew up before 1980 it was common to see this package at many candy shops, drug stores and supermarkets – bubble gum cigarettes. And yes, they were intended for children. There were also chocolate cigarettes and hard candy cigarettes, also marketed to children.

I must have “smoked” over a couple of hundred packs during my childhood.

Somehow it didn’t corrupt me or make me crave a cigarette. As a matter of fact I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life.

Shaped as a cigarette with paper covering the gum, it was a way for kids to look and act like adults. The way it was displayed, was it obviously bubble gum? Only if you looked at the top and side of the packages.

For any kid, the best thing Continue reading