The Queen is dead. Aretha Franklin, born in Detroit 76 years ago, and destined to be acknowledged as ‘The Queen Of Soul’ following her late-‘60s breakthrough, was the daughter of minister C.L. Franklin, developing her vocal prowess in the church, before embarking on a secular career in 1960, when she was 18.
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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.
ARTIST: THE KLF
ALBUM: CHILL OUT
LABEL: KLF COMMUNICATIONS
This Sunday (September 2nd) 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 week. See update here:
One of the sassiest sights of the early ’70s has to be the sheer dynamism of the force of nature that is Tina Turner, with backing singers / dancers, The Ikettes, as they raunchily strutted their stuff on stage to what was the signature song back then for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue – their showstopping rendition of ‘Proud Mary’. I came across this wonderful performance footage of the song on YouTube the other day – not sure where it’s from (looks European), or what year, but it’s a stunning example of one of the greatest live acts of the era kickin’ it up, as outlined in the spoken intro of the song, ‘nice and rough’. Forget all the talent show impersonations – this is the raw-assed real deal:
I feel fully in the throes of festival season following last weekend’s Movement Detroit – it was a great way to make my debut in the city, with a Saturday main stage appearance in an impressive amphitheatre location.
Before I headed off on tour I pulled out my recently acquired copy of Bob Dylan’s autobiography ‘Chronicles: Volume One’ (2004), which I’d specifically earmarked for this trip. However, on my connecting flight from Manchester to London I realised that rather than packing it in my hand baggage, as intended, I must have put it in my suitcase, so, with my luggage checked through to Hong Kong, when I arrived at Heathrow I went into WH Smith to see if I could find something else to read on the journey. I was really looking forward to the Dylan book, so, when I saw it on the shelf I decided to get another copy, and pass the spare one on somewhere along the way.
Looking deeper into Folk and Country music has been a case of overcoming the final prejudice in many respects. These were always genres I shied away from, even though I’ve happily cherry picked tracks that I’ve liked along the way. I suppose I dismissed Folk as antiquated, and Country as over-sentimental, and although I’ve had a basic understanding of their roles in shaping popular music, I’ve never had the inclination to look beneath the surface. Until more recently that is.