Some Highlights Of The Late, Great, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, Guitarist Of Motörhead
The “classic” Motorhead line-up on stage circa 1980 (l-r) Phil Taylor, Eddie Clarke & Lemmy Kilmister photo: Simon Fowler
When “Fast” Eddie Clarke (October 5, 1950 – January 10, 2018), guitarist with Motörhead from 1976-1982 died from pneumonia last week at the age of 67, it closed the book on what many consider Motörhead’s greatest line-up.
In the space of a little over two years, Eddie Clarke, singer-bassist and founder Lemmy Kilmister and drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, all died.
The trio put out albums that are considered the high points of Motörhead’s career: Motörhead (1977), Bomber (1979), Overkill (1979), Ace of Spades (1980), No Sleep ’til Hammersmith (Live 1981) and Iron Fist (1982).
After being forced out or leaving Motörhead in 1982 (stories conflict on the departure), “Fast” Eddie formed Fastway with bassist Pete Way of UFO. Continue reading →
Here’s how the CBS Evening News covered the death of the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. This three minute clip reflects the simplicity of Harry Truman.
Throughout his life Harry Truman spoke his mind and was honest and ethical, highly unusual traits for a politician.
How much of a straight shooter was Harry Truman? The following story clearly illustrates it.
President Nixon tours Truman Library with President Truman March 21 1969 photo: Harry S. Truman Library
When he retired from public life in 1953, President Truman and his wife Bess moved into his mother-in-law’s house in Independence, MO. They had almost no money.
Truman had been offered many jobs, but turned them all down. Truman had not exploited his fame or former power of the high office he had held for monetary gain.
“I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency,” Truman would later write of his refusal to influence-peddle to get by.
No president received a pension until 1958 when Congress established a law giving former presidents a pension of $25,000 per year.
Truman would frequently recite this prayer…and mean it:
“Oh! Almighty and Everlasting God, Creator of Heaven, Earth and the Universe: Help me to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right; make me truthful, honest and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me. Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving and patient with my fellowmen—help me to understand their motives and their shortcomings—even as Thou understandest mine! Amen.”
Though there is a band called AC/DC and they are still recording and touring, the 2008 Black Ice album was the last that Malcolm Young had a hand in writing. Musically, that is what is important.
Guitar players are replaceable. Great songwriters are not.
As great as a rhythm guitar player he was, writing music is what Malcolm Young did best.
Not just writing amazing songs, but incredible memorable riffs and jaw dropping solos performed by his brother Angus. They are deceptively simple, yet undeniably catchy songs and riffs that changed rock n’ roll and influenced, and will continue to influence generations of musicians.
Proof? Listen to the magical 1977 AC/DC album Let There Be Rock.
As hard as it may be, ignore Bon Scott’s brilliant tongue in cheek lyrics and just listen to the main riff of every song.
How many rock albums have two memorable songs? Let There Be Rock has, “Go Down”, “Dog Eat Dog” ,”Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Problem Child”, “Overdose”, “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”, and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Eight catchy songs, heard once – remembered forever.
Lead guitarist Angus Young, the only remaining original band member, has continued AC/DC.
I feel sorry for Angus Young. Angus certainly keeps AC/DC going not for the money, but because honestly what else is there for him to do? An entertainer, a performer has a need to perform.
However without retired bassist Cliff Williams, the unceremoniously dispatched lead singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd and the late rhythm guitarist and main songwriter Malcolm Young, this is not AC/DC.
This is like calling Paul McCartney and his recent 2017 touring band The Beatles. It’s not and McCartney knows better.
The touring AC/DC is is basically a juggernaut of explosions, lights,and sound. Even with the great Angus Young heading them up, AC/DC are truthfully now no better than an AC/DC tribute band.
How many post-1982 songs were in AC/DC’s live set list in 2016 with Axl Rose on lead vocals? Continue reading →
Gene “Stick” Michael Was More Responsible For The Yankee Championship Teams In The Late 90s Than Anyone Else
Gene Michael awaits the throw to second base as Chicago White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio makes his slide (1970).
Former Yankees shortstop, manager and general manager Gene Michael died today September 7, 2017 at the age of 79 of a heart attack at his home in Oldsmar, FL.
Michael was a slick fielding light hitting shortstop who played on Yankees teams from 1968 – 1974, that were a shadow of the former Yankee teams. From 1921 -1964 the Yankees had appeared in 29 World Series, winning 20 of them.
If The New York Yankees futility of the late 1960s and early 1970s was epitomized by their second baseman Horace Clarke, then Gene Michael would unfairly be attached to that failure with his double play partner. Horace Clarke, was a career .256 hitter and average fielder who hit a total of 27 home runs with the Yankees from 1965 – 1974. Because Clarke’s career coincided with that of Michael’s the two were paired together unfairly as the face of Yankee ineptitude.
But there was never any question that Gene Michael was a decent ballplayer and a great competitor.
The “Stick,” as the six foot two skinny shortstop was nicknamed, had baseball smarts and could execute the plays a lot better than an average player. That is what kept Michael on the team. A .229 lifetime average usually won’t ensure your spot on a major league roster unless you can hit thirty or more home runs a year. Yet Michael was valued by teammates and some fans as a hard-nosed, crafty ballplayer.
One thing that Michael did that you rarely see anymore was pull the “hidden ball trick.”Michael said he would only pull it if his pitcher was in trouble.
Michael would have the ball in his glove as the pitcher would be getting ready to pitch and Michael would sneak up on an unsuspecting runner as he began to take a lead off second base and apply the tag. It’s called a bush league play today. Completely unprofessional. I disagree. It showed smarts and initiative to pull it off and I question why it is not tried more often today. I once witnessed Michael do this in person and didn’t realize what had happened.
Michael was smart in other ways. In a May 25, 1973 game against the Texas Rangers Continue reading →
Genius At Work – Handwritten Lyrics From Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Paul Simon, Rush, The Beatles and Others
Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to Mr. Tambourine Man
Maybe you’ve wondered; how did some of the greatest songs in the history of rock ‘n’ roll get written? When a creative artist puts pen to paper in a moment of inspiration, what does it look like?
If you are Paul McCartney or Keith Richards, sometimes melodies and words come in a dream.
McCartney’s melody for “Yesterday” was penned right after he dreamed about it. The original words he thought of were very different from the final version. Instead of,
“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.”
the words McCartney originally thought of were,
“Scrambled eggs. Oh, my baby, how I love your legs. Not as much as I love scrambled eggs. Oh, we should eat some scrambled eggs.”
MCartney obviously worked on those lyrics for what has become one of the all-time great Beatles songs, with John Lennon apocraphally changing the title to “Yesterday.” Unfortunately there is no trace of McCartney’s original handwritten lyrics for Yesterday.
Keith Richards said he recorded Satisfaction, the breakout song for The Rolling Stones while dreaming as well. Instead of a pen, Richards had a tape recorder by his bed in a hotel while on tour in 1965. In the morning he checked his portable recorder and was surprised it was at the end of the tape. He rewound it to the beginning and discovered he had laid down the main riff and chorus and the words “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” He had no memory of actually recording the song, but surmises he woke up while dreaming it and proceeded to record what he had dreamed and went back to sleep! Richards presented the song to the band, and singer Mick Jagger later helped with the lyrics.
Outside of dreams, words come to musicians in a variety of ways. We will not look at the story behind the songs, but the actual drafts of the lyrics to those songs.
Searching the internet for the early drafts of songs with corrections yielded few results. But this assemblage is still interesting to look at.
Jim Morrison singer and poet of The Doors wrote the haunting Riders on the Storm, and it was placed as the last song on the final album Morrison performed on, L.A. Woman. It was also the last song to be recorded for that album.
Interestingly guitarist Robbie Krieger’s name is crossed out. Well, we know Morrison didn’t write the entire melody, but Krieger quite possibly contributed some of the words. It is the only song on the album where all four band members receive writing credit.
Next, Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel with The Boxer from the 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Here you can see Simon’s thought process at work with most of the words never making it into the final version.
Cary Grant Never Won An Academy Award For Best Actor
The Academy Awards were held February 26, 2017. Millions of people watched. Millions more did not. The Oscars have been declining in TV viewership steadily over the years. It’s true that there are more choices to divert your entertainment time. But could it be that today’s stars don’t measure up to the stars of yesteryear and many people like myself could care less about the Academy Awards?
There are movie stars and then there are Movie Stars. Cary Grant was a Movie Star. Women fantasized about being with him and men wanted to be him.
In 1952 Cary Grant starred with Ginger Rogers (seen above) in Monkey Business, a zany comedy about a scientist (Grant) discovering a potion that when consumed will make you young again. An escaped chimpanzee is responsible for concocting the “successful” potion. The film also had Marilyn Monroe playing a sexy secretary. Monkey Business was made right before Marilyn’s breakthrough film Niagara.
4/7/70 Hollywood – As singer Frank Sinatra claps for him, actor Cary Grant holds his hands as he accepts a special achievement award at the 42nd annual Academy award presentation at the Music Center. The Board of Governors of the Academy voted the special award for Grant. photo: UPI Telephoto
Cary Grant was nominated only twice for Best Actor in a leading role; Penny Serenade (1941) and None But The Lonely Heart (1944), neither of which are among his best films. Continue reading →
The Bad News Bears – The Best Baseball Movie Ever Made
The approaching end of the regular baseball season got me thinking, what is the best baseball movie ever made? The clear winner for me would be the The Bad News Bears, hands down.
Some might disagree and say Field of Dreams, The Natural, A League of Their Own or Pride of The Yankees are better films. While those are all excellent movies, the 1976 Bad News Bears has an honesty and appeal that has endured for over 40 years. It’s also not just about baseball, it is about real life and overcoming challenges and disappointments. By the way, you can forget the lame remake in 2006 that failed at every level.
Yes, it’s been 40 years since the release of The Bad News Bears. That just blows my mind. I was a kid in 1976 and could very strongly relate to the action on the screen with things happening in my little league and off the field experiences.
Viewing the film now, I believe this exact version, line for line and scene for scene, could not and would not be made today. The world has become too politically correct and “sensitive.” The kids use the “n” word liberally. Pre-teens drink alcohol. 12 kids ride with beer drinking Walter Matthau (while he’s behind the wheel) in an overloaded convertible, all of them not wearing seat belts. The fact that the film mirrored the way kids behaved and talked like in real life would probably upset too many people nowadays. Continue reading →
An Unlikely Trio – Alice Cooper, Ethel Kennedy and Andy Williams at The Rainbow Room – 1974
An odd assortment of celebrities gathered together at the Rainbow Room in New York on October 16 1974. Rocker Alice Cooper (r) sits with Ethel Kennedy widow of Robert Kennedy, as singer Andy Williams stands between them.
Andy Williams is smiling in spite of having been robbed the day before at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel. While Williams was showering, a maid let a woman into the room who claimed she was Williams’s wife. Among the items the woman stole were Williams’s checkbook, four tuxedos and two leather jackets. Continue reading →
A Look Back At Food Prices In 1976. How Much Have Food Prices Really Increased In The Last 40 Years?
If you do the supermarket shopping and pay attention to prices, you may have noticed that most items seem to have gone up in price significantly or shrunk in size over the last few years. But have prices really gone up that much over the long run?
We decided to take a look back at three supermarket ads from September 1, 1976 in the Evening News which covered the Hudson Valley in the suburbs of New York City.
The advertisers were Grand Union Supermarkets which were spread throughout the northeast and in business from 1872 – 2013. A&P Supermarkets were in business from 1859 until last year. And ShopRite Supermarkets, founded in 1946 which is still in business and going strong.
Here are closeups of portions of the full page ads and below that is a chart with 1976 supermarket food prices versus 2016 prices. Continue reading →
A Look Back At The 1970s With Great Funky Songs Performed Live
The 1970s music scene. It wasn’t just the hairstyles, costumes or clothes. It wasn’t just the sheer magnitude of the musicianship. It wasn’t just that the songs were actually saying something. It wasn’t that these bands had multi-talented singer-songwriters.
It was a combination of these things and something else. There was something intangible about the 1970s: that great music like this was written, performed live and recorded for posterity. It makes me feel really sorry for the 2016 generation: kids who have not discovered this music and think that Pitbull, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber or Kanye West are the greatest.
As with all good music, appreciating it meant you were colorblind. You couldn’t care less if the band was white, black yellow or polka dotted. All that mattered was that it was great music.
Here are 5 great funky songs from the 70s performed live.
Let’s start with one of the most underappreciated musicians of all-time, Billy Preston (1946-2006). Preston, known by many music fans for playing with the Beatles on the Get Back sessions, had his own successful solo career that never reached the heights it should have. In this ebullient performance, Billy Preston delvers the goods and belts out Will It Go Round In Circles on The Midnight Special in 1973. Will afros ever come back? Preston and his drummer make them look cool.
There is not much more that can be said about Stevie Wonder that hasn’t already been said. He’s one of the greatest songwriters and performers of all-time. Most fans of Led Zeppelin know that Stevie’s 1972 song Superstition heavily influenced Zeppelin’s 1975 hit Trampled Under Foot. The Doobie Brothers 1973 Long Train Running also bears a striking similarity as all three songs have a similar main hook.
On the LP recording, Stevie Wonder played clavinet, drums, and Moog bass! Here live in 1973 on the show, Sesame Street (yes, the children’s PBS show Sesame Street!) is Stevie Wonder with his phenomenal live band performing Superstition. The whole band is fantastic and the mix is great, but take note of drummer Ollie Brown who keeps perfect time while making it all look too easy.