40 years ago, you could go into a club and have no idea where the DJ was, let alone who they were. Often set out of the way in some dark corner, the DJ booth was generally crude and cramped, whilst the sound system reflected this lack of attention to what most people nowadays agree is the most important aspect of all when it comes to a club space – how the music sounds, and the way in which it’s presented.
ARTIST: THE BEATLES
ALBUM: SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
This Sunday (January 6th) at 9pm, you’re invited to share a listening session with some likeminded souls, wherever you might be. This can be experienced either alone or communally, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home to participate. If it’s not possible to make the allotted time, hopefully you can join in at your convenience at some point during the following weeks. See update here:
It’s my 200th blog post, so, in contrast to my 100th post, which was about the club where, as I’ve previously stated, ‘I experienced my greatest DJ highs’, Legend in Manchester, this time I wanted to to share something that symbolises a time when the garden wasn’t so rosy, and I was struggling with life, both externally and internally. ‘The Monastic Mix’, from 1996, was a much needed catharsis for me, both an ending and a fresh starting point – it was the last mix I ever tape edited, putting it together on my original Revox B77 reel-to-reel, which I’d bought 14 years earlier, back in 1982, in order to record / edit my Piccadilly Radio mixes in my home DJ studio.
On October 5th 1962 the first single by The Beatles, ‘Love Me Do’ c/w ‘P.S. I Love You’, was released in the UK on the Parlophone label. Principally written by Paul McCartney a few years earlier, when he was 16 (John Lennon added the middle-eight), and based around 3 chords, it was the first of a run of 3 singles that featured John Lennon on harmonica – the others being ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘From Me To You’, both released the following year (the instrument, a signature of the early Beatles sound, was retired by Lennon 1965). The harmonica used had been pinched from a music shop 2 years previously in Arnhem, Holland, whilst The Beatles were on their way to their first stint in Hamburg, Germany (Aug – Dec ’60). A photograph was also taken of them that day by Barry Chang, the brother-in-law of then manager Allan Williams, as they passed through Arnhem, which would later prove to be somewhat prophetic – the then unknown band, minus Lennon, with their pre-Ringo drummer Pete Best and original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, Williams and his wife Beryl, along with Williams’ one-time partner Lord Woodbine (aka Harold Phillips), who drove the minibus they were travelling in over from Liverpool. The snapshot was taken in front of the War Memorial, on which the legend ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ was carved. Lennon had stayed in the van, opting out of the photo opportunity, whilst apparently declaring himself, in another portent of the future, a pacifist.
Whilst DJ obsessives in this country could tell you the minutia with regards to New York’s celebrated club culture of the ’70s, I’m often surprised to find that they know precious little about what was happening here in the UK at the same time David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Larry Levan and the other NY legends of the ’70s were bringing Disco to the fore. Maybe they think that there wasn’t much happening here, and that UK DJs were simply following the US lead, whilst, to the contrary, nothing could be further from the truth – go back into the ’70s, before Disco hit its stride, and you’ll find hugely influential figures including Ian Levine, Colin Curtis and Les Spaine in the North, Chris Hill, Bob Jones and George Power in the South – DJs with a wealth of knowledge between them, who made their mark on popular culture here at root level. These are giants, upon the shoulders of which subsequent generations of British DJs stand, whether they know it or not.
ARTIST: THE STONE ROSES
ALBUM: THE STONE ROSES
On New Years Day at 9pm, you’re invited to share a listening session with some likeminded souls, wherever you might be. This can be experienced either alone or communally, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home to participate. Full lowdown here:
What was your favourite number 1?
Stayed in a mad hotel last Friday, the Karim Rashid designed Nhow in Berlin. If you like pink, then this is the place for you – it’s literally everywhere. Not really my cup of tea, all a bit garish and, as someone put it ‘Barbie girl in a Barbie world’, but certainly somewhere you’re not going to forget in a hurry. Described as a ‘music and lifestyle hotel’, you can have guitars and keyboards delivered to your room, and the upper section of the building houses two recording studios, which are run by the company that manage Berlin’s legendary Hansa studio (best known for David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s patronage in 1977 – ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lust For Life’, both recorded there, and ‘Low’ and ‘The Idiot’ partly recorded).
More than interested to recently hear that Liam Gallagher has acquired the rights to one of my favourite Beatles related books, ‘The Longest Cocktail Party’ (1972), and plans to make it into a film.
Filmed by Granada TV in 1964, this is a wonderful piece of footage of Liverpool’s The Chants performing on Merseyside – there’s something very heartfelt about it, especially the close-ups showing some of the girls swooning over them. The song is ‘I Could Write A Book’ and was written by Rodgers & Hart, originally appearing in the 1940 musical ‘Pal Joey’ (later, in 1957, made into a movie, where it was sung by Frank Sinatra). It would be the second single by The Chants, released on PYE records, and famously given the thumbs up by all four Beatles on the TV show Juke Box Jury (Dec 7th 1963), although even the Fabs’ wholehearted endorsement failed to help it break into the charts.