America / George Martin

1974’s Holiday was the first America album pro...

1974’s Holiday was the first America album produced by Sir George Martin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After their first self-titled album, ‘America’, for no apparent reason, released six consecutive albums with titles starting with the letter H. After the band America released their third album ‘Hat Trick’, not selling as well as its predecessor, ‘Homecoming’, they decided to hire some big names to put together their next project. Enter George Martin and Geoff Emerick, producer and recording engineer for the Beatles. The sessions were recorded at Martins studios in London and Montserrat in the Caribbean. Adding Stings and brass to the basic acoustic guitars and vocals of America, George Martin took America in a new direction. The resulting album ‘Holiday’ put the band back in the charts with the songs lonely people and Tin Man. The success brought George Martin back to produce their next album ‘Hearts’ and even more hits…Woman Tonight, Daisy Jane and a song that’s opening guitar was inspired by George Harrison’s my sweet lord…Sister Golden Hair.

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Allman Brothers – Eat a Peach

 

Cover of "Eat a Peach"

Cover of Eat a Peachne

In the fall of 1971, Duanne Allman died in a tragic motorcycle accident. After the passing of Duane Allman, the other members of the Allman Brothers band went their separate ways.  However, they all felt a void that needed to be filled. They found themselves calling each other, wanting to get together and jam.  Finally, the five remaining members came back together with Dickey Betts filling in the oversized shoes of Duanne. Using the three tracks completed with Duanne, some unreleased Fillmore recordings, and a side of new songs, the revised Allman Brothers band finished their fourth album, Eat a peach.  Simultaneously, it was a sad ending and a bright new beginning.You can hear more stories like this and the great music behind it at deep end radio.com

Altamont Speedway – December 6, 1969

The 1960s as a cultural phenomenon did not conform to a calendar. The 60s began in 1964 and ended at a Raceway near San Francisco in December of 1969. 69 was the year where it all came to a head. The summer of 1969 saw the moon landing and Woodstock. By December of that year that flower power and peace signs had been replaced by a clenched fist in the air.

Nowhere was this more visible than at an outdoor concert headlined by the Rolling Stones just outside of San Francisco at the Altamont Speedway. Earlier in the year the Rolling Stones had given a similar concert in London. There, the British version of Hells Angels provided security. What they hadn’t factored in was the extreme difference between the teddy boys on motorcycles that were called Hells Angels in England and the hard edged harley-loving Hells Angels of California. The concert featured Ike and Tina Turner, Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with the Rolling Stones taking the stage as the final act. The co-organizers and promoters of the festival, the grateful dead were scheduled to play but opted out at the last minute because of the growing violence at the event. Around 300,000 people attended the concert. Although peaceful at first, over the course of the day, the crowd slowly grew agitated, intoxicated and violent. The security, the California Hells Angels, had been drinking free beer all day standing at the front of the stage. As the crowd became angry and unpredictable, attacking each other, the performers and the hells angels, the Angels reacted in kind. By the end of the concert, there were many injuries, 4 deaths, and extensive property damage. As beautiful and hopeful as Woodstock was, that was how ugly and hopeless Altamont was.
You can find more stories like this and the music behind it at deependradio.com

Crosby Stills and Nash-Album Cover

Crosby, Stills & Nash (album)

Crosby, Stills & Nash (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a look at the photo on the cover of the first Crosby stills and Nash album. For their first album, Crosby stills and Nash wanted a cover that would reflect the intimacy of the music.  They wanted it to look real and natural, just like their music. While driving around Hollywood, Graham Nash spotted an old abandoned house at the corner of palm and Santa Monica boulevard.  They called photographer Henry Diltz who met them there.  Nothing was added to the photo…everything was there…the house, the couch, the palm.   When they got the proofs back, they realized they were sitting out of order…Nash stills and Crosby.  So they went back to do a re shoot…but there was no couch, no palm, no house.  It had been torn down and only a pile of rubble remained. They took it as a sign and used the original shot.

Get more stories like this and the music behind it on deep end radio and at deependradio.com

Blue Öyster Cult

Blue Öyster Cult (album)

Blue Öyster Cult (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The name Blue Öyster Cult came from a poem written by their manager. The band’s manager Sandy Perlman originally came up with the band’s first name of “Soft White Underbelly”. He also provided them with song lyrics from his own poetry. A bad review at a Fillmore east show caused them to look for a new name. The name Blue Öyster Cult was part of Perlman’s poetry. In the poem, the “Blue Oyster Cult” was a group of aliens who had assembled to secretly guide Earth’s history. At first, The band didn’t like the name, but settled for it, in order to start recording. The addition of the umlaut over the O was suggested a short time later. It was reportedly to enhance the German Wagnerian aspect of their music. Other bands later used the umlaut in their own names but with their debut self titled album, Blue Öyster Cult became the first.

You can hear more stories like this and the music behind it at deependradio.com

More Cowbell

More Cowbell

More Cowbell (Photo credit: rzrxtion (pronounced resurrection))

At one time, it was a bell that hung around the neck of a free roaming cow. It’s ring would allow the farmer to keep track of his herd. The use of a cowbell as a musical instrument started in the 1920’s, in traditional American Hillbilly music. Then, in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the cowbell started showing up in popular music like the Chambers brothers song “time has come today” and Hugh masekala’s “grazin in the grass”. The more it was heard on hit songs, the more it grew in popularity. It started appearing in one song after another, “Low Rider” by War, Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”, “I’m a man” by Chicago, the Stones “Honky Tonk Woman”, “hair of the dog” by Nazereth, Grand Funk’s “American Band”. The list continued to grow like wildfire. The cowbell gained such attention that it eventually became the subject of a Saturday night Live skit called ‘More Cowbell’ featuring comedian Will Farrell. It was a side splitting parody about the recording of the Blue Oyster Cult song “Don’t fear the Reaper”. The use of the cowbell as a musical instrument has way overshadowed its use hanging from a cow’s neck. So much so, that if future archeologists dig up the bones of a cow with a cowbell on it, they will think it was a member of a bovine rock band. click here to take a look at the SNL “More Cowbell” skit with Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken.

For more stories like this and the music behind them, listen to deep end radio at deependradio.com

Lou Reed

Cover of "Transformer"

Cover of Transformer

In the late 60s, Lou Reed was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of artist Andy Warhol’s band Velvet Underground.  After quitting the Velvet Underground in August 1970, Lou took a job at his father’s tax accounting firm as a typist, earning $40 a week. Rather than spend the rest of his life swimming around in the secretarial pool, a year later, lou signed a recording contract with RCA.  Joined by some of the top session musicians of the time, including guitarist Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman keyboard player for the band, Yes, Lou recorded his first solo album in London.  The self-titled “Lou Reed” album contained several re-recorded, commercially produced versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs. Rolling Stone Magazine called it “almost perfect”.  Then, with the help of David Bowie and
Mick Ronson, Lou Reed recorded and released the album, “Transformer”.  On it was a song about the exploits of the hustlers and transvestites that were frequent guests of Andy Warhol’s Factory. ‘Walk on the wild side’ became Lou Reed’s signature song. Lou Reed passed away Sunday, October 27, 2013.
You can hear more stories like this and the music behind it at deependradio.com