This article contains Vinyl spoilers. For a spoiler-free review, click here. This is a continuing anthology and will be regularly updated.
HBO dropped the needle on Vinyl on Valentine’s Day. Produced by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter, Vinyl is set in the studios, radio stations and clubs of seventies New York. In this series, we will explore the sounds and sights of the time, lay some backstories on you and give some background on how it came down.
The music and the rock excesses of the period should be covered fairly well, because Jagger wasn’t only there, he was the reason a lot of it was happening. Look at any photo of David Johansen of the New York Dolls and try and see him as anything other than a young Mick in Salvation Army toss offs. Mick was also a blues purist when the Stones started out, so there will be a particular attention to detail on the racial divide in the industry.
You can always count on a diverse mix of hits and misses in a Martin Scorsese movie. Scorsese has been using the Stones since Mean Streets and to great effect. As soon as permission became available, Scorsese featured John Lennon’s music, and stories, in The Departed. Scorsese directed what is considered to be the greatest concert movie ever produced, The Last Waltz, which featured the band The Band.
Vinyl has access to music from Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. records, which cut a wide variety of sides in all genres. Hit the drop down for the reference guide for each individual episode! Click the blue episode titles to get taken to our full review!
Please note that we had to break this up over multiple pages because of all of the media embedded in the article.
Vinyl Episode 1: Pilot
Bobby Cannavale plays Richie Finestra, the label head of the fictional American Century Records. He is at least partially based on Marty Thau. Six months after Thau quit his job at Paramount records he took his wife to see “five guys dressed as women in horrible makeup and jewelry” play at the Mercer Arts Center. He was managing the New York Dolls almost before they got off stage.
Thau got the New York Dolls a residency at The Mercer Arts Center. This was a small trend at the time. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention played every Wednesday afternoon at the Garrick Theater on Bleecker St. The Fugs played seven nights a week at the Players Theater on MacDougal Street. The Velvet Underground played around the block twice a night, five days a week at Max’s Kansas City. The New York Dolls had a regular Tuesday-night gig in the Oscar Wilde Room of the Mercer Arts Center.
The Mercer Arts Center kicked The New York Dolls out in 1972 because they didn’t want rock music in the small theaters that earned the space a reputation as “the Lincoln Center of Off-Broadway.” The building the center was housed in, the Grand Central Hotel, was 123 years old. It was built on the site of the old Lafarge Hotel, which housed the Winter Garden Theatre and was destroyed in a fire on March 23, 1867. The Grand Central was one of the largest and most magnificent hotels on the Western Continent when it was built. It had degenerated into a welfare hotel by the late ’60s. The building collapsed just after five p.m. on Friday August 9, 1973.
The New York Dolls were not playing when the building came down. They were out of town. The collapse happened hours before the theaters were due to be filled. Hotel residents Herbert Whitehead, Kay Parker, and Arthur and Peggy Sherwin were killed in the incident. It prompted Mayor John Lindsay to have the building commission evaluate the safety of all pre-1901-structures in the city.
Led Zeppelin, guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham, formed out of the ruins of the Yardbirds. Session guitarist Page joined replacef bassist Paul Samwell-Smith in 1966 and switched to guitar. He traded his bass to Chris Dreja and leads with Jeff Beck. When Beck quit to go solo in October 1966 and drummer Jim McCarty and vocalist Keith Relf left, the New Yardbirds became a supergroup that jammed with the Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle, Steve Winwood and Steve Marriott before the pulled in session bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones to cut “Beck’s Bolero.” Page and Dreja wanted Terry Reid to sing lead, but he suggested Robert Plant from the Band of Joy and Hobbstweedle. Plant brought in Band of Joy drummer John Bonham.
In 1973, when Vinyl takes place Led Zeppelin filmed three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York for the film The Song Remains the Same. Just before the last show, $203,000 was stolen from the band. The band sued the Drake Hotel.
Vinyl also mentions the Mile-High-Club, or in Ray Romano’s character’s cast, the four-foot-blub. Led Zeppelin hired a former United Airlines Boeing 720B passenger jet called The Starship for thee tour. Zep broke the record set by The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965 on that tour when they played to 56,800 fans at Tampa Stadium, Florida, on May 5, 1973.
– Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant was pretty much as you see him. An angry Brit. He started out as a stagehand for the Croydon Empire Theatre until 1953 when he got drafted and rose to the rank of corporal in the RAOC. Grant used to wrestle under names “Count Massimo” and “Count Bruno Alassio of Milan” for a while and acted in such films as A Night to Remember, The Guns of Navarone and and appeared on TV shows like The Saint, Crackerjack, Dixon of Dock Green, and The Benny Hill Show between 1958 and 1963.
In 1963 promoter Don Arden hired Grant as the British tour manager for artists such as Bo Diddley, the Everly Brothers, Little Richard, Brian Hyland, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and the Animals. Grant then started managing such bands as Nashville Teens, She Trinity, the New Vaudeville Band, The Jeff Beck Group, Terry Reid and Stone the Crows.
In November 1968, Grant secured Led Zeppelin a $143,000 advance contract from Atlantic Records, which was then the biggest deal of its kind for a new band. The contract gave the band final say on tours, album releases, songs and album design of each album. Zep formed Superhype to handle their publishing. Grant put the brakes on unauthorized live bootleg recordings. He was also the driving force in establishing Swan Song Records in 1974. Grant died of a heart attack on November 21, 1995. He was 60 years old.
The theme from Vinyl is Sturgill Simpson’s “Sugar Daddy.” The first song we hear in Vinyl, after Richie chops up a quarter of sugar, snorts a few lines and contemplates calling the homicide detective, is “Stranded in the Jungle.” The heavy drum patter and rock and roll riff comes bleeding through bricks at the Mercer Arts Center where the New York Dolls are playing. The version we hear is by David Johansen.
“Stranded in the Jungle” was written by Ernestine Smith and James Johnson, lead tenor of the doo-wop group the Jay Hawks, who recorded the original version. The best known version of the song is by The Cadets, although it was also covered by the Gadabouts, The Rhythm Rockets, and the Johnston Brothers the same year, 1956. It was revived the Fearsome Foursome in 1965, Shorty Long in 1968, and Jett Powers in 1970. The New York Dolls released their version on their Too Much Too Soon album from 1974. It was also its lead single. The band then segues into what would be their defining single “Personality Crisis.”
Finestra’s ears are the only ones to perk up at the sound of Abba.
“Saturday in the Park” by Chicago is heard in the radio station while Zak was passing off the bolivian dancing dust.
The albums we see floating in the Hudson River are Edwin Hawkins Singers and Donny Osmond albums. The Zeppelin songs in the Pilot episode are not by Zep.
“Mama We’re All Crazee Now” by Slade is the song that Jagger’s son, the lead singer of the Nasty Bits, hates.
One of the young A&R guys is sentenced to spend a marathon recording session with England Dan & John Ford Coley. They were a soft rock duo composed of Danny Wayland “England Dan” Seals and John Edward “John Ford” Coley from Texas.
“Cum On Feel the Noize,” which Slade dropped in 1973, is also on rotation at American Century Records. It was written by Jim Lea and Noddy Holder and produced by Chas Chandler. “Cum On Feel the Noize” was also a 1983 hit for heavy metal band Quiet Riot nd covered by Oasis as the b-side to “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
The funky music that the white boy Finestra hears as he’s going to visit the former Little Jimmy Little is “Hand Clapping Song” by New Orleans proto-funk band The Meters.
We also hear Rare Earth’s “I Just Want to Celebrate” and James Brown’s “Give it up or turn it loose.”
Chris Kenner’s “I Like It Like That” and Ty Taylor’s “Cha Cha Twist” play while the bluesman learns to write dance hits.
Ruth Brown’s “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean” plays while the rock and roll record company is about to treat Little Jimmy Little mean.
Ty Taylor’s “The World Is Yours” is playing at the bar where Richie is pouring drinks.
Sylvia’s sexy disco melter “Pillow Talk” plays during Andrew Dice Clay’s first scene.
Mott the Hoople’s “All The Way From Memphis” plays at American Century while Finestra clears his head and decides to offer the ultimatum to his staff.
Soda Machine’s “Want Ads” and “Slippin’ Into Darkness” play at Richie’s party.
We also hear Kaleo’s “No Good”; Otis Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful”; Dee Dee Warwick’s “Suspicious Minds”; “Black Coffee” by Humble Pie; The Jimmy Castor Bunch’s “It’s Just Begun”; Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” and Foghat’s cover of “I Just Want To Make Love To You.”
The Nasty Bits’ song “Rotten Apple” was written by James and Mick Jagger, Luis Felber and James Dunson.
Keep going for more!
Vinyl Episode 2: “Yesterday Once More”
“With German Polygram executives in town to complete the deal for American Century, Richie (Bobby Cannavale) delivers a bombshell that shocks the prospective buyers, as well as his partners, Zak Yankovich (Ray Romano), ACR’s head of promotions, and Skip Fontaine (J.C. MacKenzie), head of sales. When the dust settles, the Germans storm out of the ACR offices, leaving Richie to face the ire of Zak, Skip and company attorney Scott Levitt (P.J. Byrne).”
Richie opens the episode at the Kung Fu movie Enter the Dragon, which was written, directed by and starred Bruce Lee. Lee died at age 32 on July 20, 1973. The actor and martial-arts expert suffered a brain edema possibly caused by a reaction to a prescription painkiller. Lee was born on November 27, 1940, which makes him two years older than Jimi Hendrix, in San Francisco. His father was a Chinese opera star. Bruce started his career on the television program The Green Hornet playing Kato, the chauffer who didn’t need a stunt double. He taught martial arts to Steve McQueen. Lee’s 28-year-old son Brandon died in an accidental shooting on the set of the movie The Crow on March 31, 1991.
While stalling the Polygram executives who are waiting to sign the deal selling American Century Records, Zak regales the suits with a classic, and often retold rock and roll story. Keith Moon was famous for dropping TVs out of hotels. The Who’s drummer also drove cars into swimming pools and deafened guitarist Pete Townshend when he put too much gun powder in his drums for the finale of “My Generation” on The Smothers Brothers Show. Moonie started out as a surf drummer, which influenced his busy rhythms and gave them drama.
We have a complete playlist of the tunes you can listen to while you keep reading about the songs right here…
The episode opens with the music from the Bruce Lee martial arts film Enter the Dragoon.
1965’s “Night Life” was by The Del-Tinos, a garage band from Michigan farm country. They started playing out in 1963 at teen dances everywhere from high schools to tennis courts and finally the rock circuit. Their first single came out in 1963, a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Go! Go! Go!” “Nightlife” had the song “Pa Pa Ooh Mau Mau” on the flip side and came out through Sonic Records. Cub Koda, who started the band went on to form Brownsville Station and wrote the song “Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room.”
David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” came out in November 1972 as the lead single for the album Aladdin Sane, which came out in 1973. This is another clue to a new direction. The genie that Bowie unbottles is protopunk Iggy Pop. The promotional film for the song featured Cyrinda Foxe who was one of Andy Warhol’s factory assemblies. Foxe, who died in 2002, starred in Andy Warhol’s Bad and was married to The New York Dolls’ David Johansen and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
The Who’s “Is It In My Head” comes off Quadrophenia, their sixth studio album which dropped October 26, 1973 by Track Records. Jimmy, the main character, could be Tommy’s cousin. This was the Who’s second rock opera. It was set during the Who’s High Number days, when Mods and Rockers were still Mockers in Ringo Starr’s mind.
Jerry Lee Lewis recorded “Breathless” in January, 1958 at the famous Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tennessee, where a young Elvis Presley once recorded a song for his mom’s birthday. This is Lewis’ third record. Billy Riley is on guitar, J.W. Brown plays bass, and Jimmy van Eaton beats the drums. “Breathless” was written by Otis Blackwell, who also wrote “Great Balls of Fire,” and Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel”, “All Shook Up” and “Return to Sender;” Little Willie John’s “Fever;” and “Handy Man, which was a hit for Jimmy Jones and redone by James Taylor.
Toots & The Maytals’ “Sweet & Dandy” was recorded in late 1967 or early 1968 but didn’t get international play until 1970. Toots and the Maytals were a ska or rock steady band out of Jamaica. The Maytals were very influential. They started in the early 1960s and Toots Hibbert was the island’s Otis Redding. The sessions for “Sweet and Dandy” came after Hibbert’s got out of jail on drug charges, which he said had nothing to do with ganja. He wrote about his jail time in the song “54-46 That’s My Number.” It was produced by Chinese Jamaican Leslie Kong, who also recorded the band’s “Do the Reggay,” “Pressure Drop”; and “Monkey Man.”
The Osmonds’ “Down by the Lazy River” was written by Alan and Merrill Osmond came out on January 15, 1972. It was on The Osmonds’ 1972 album Phase III. The song was produced by Alan Osmond and Michael Lloyd.
“Magic in the Moonlight” was from the glam punk band The Magic Tramps, which was one of the first bands to play CBGB. The original lineup was Sesu Coleman on drums and Lary Chaplan on electric violin, who were mainstays in the band, and YoungBlood, AKA X on guitar. The band formed in Los Angeles and were originally named Messiah. They were the house band at the Sunset Boulevard club The Temple of the Rainbow. The Magic Tramps had various line-ups over the years, including bassists Alter Ego and Tom Manuel and guitarists Steve Cavaretta and Ben Mitchell. The lead singer was Andy Warhol Superstar Eric Emerson, until he was replaced by singer Jay Mala. Emerson’s body was found next to his bicycle on the West Side Highway on May 28, 1975. Later stories said he was dumped there after overdosing at a different location. He was 30 years old. His wake was thrown by Max’s Kansas City owner Mickey Ruskin. It lasted a week.
The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” was an ode to S&M written by Lou Reed for the band’s 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico. The song gets its name from a book by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Reed is on lead guitar, tuned down half a step for dissonance, and what he called ostrich guitar, which was a guitar with all the strings tuned to one note, perfect for droning. John Cale is on electric viola, Sterling Morrison plays bass and Maureen Tucker keeps the rhythm with just a tambourine and a bass drum. It was recorded in May 1966 at the same sessions that produced “Heroin” and “I’m Waiting for the Man.”
“Run Run Run” comes off the album The Velvet Underground & Nico from March 1967. It was written on the back of an envelope by Lou Reed and produced by Andy Warhol. Teenage Mary, Margarita Passion, Seasick Sarah and Beardless Harry score themselves some fine religion. Check out Reed’s guitar runs on top of that rock and roll backbeat in the solo.
“Yesterday Once More” was written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis for The Carpenters’ 1973 album Now & Then. Most people only know the single, but the album version takes up all side 2. It is a slow jam through nine radio hits from the sixties all in the key of E. Karen Carpenter wasn’t just the singer, she played the drums. Richard Carpenter plays a few pianos and did the orchestration. The Carpenters started in 1965 as a jazz trio with Wes Jacobs on stand-up bass. Aimee Mann sung the version on the episode.
The album that Richie broke over his knee was Passion Play by Jethro Tull. It was written by Ian Anderson, but pretty much put together by the keyboardist John Evan. Critics called Tull’s Aqualung a concept album, when it was only a group of songs loosely connected by a theme and only for one side. Thick As A Brick and Passion Play fused movements together through impossible time changes and pushed instrumentation to new heights. Passion Play followed Thick as a Brick, an album length song that was purportedly written by a twelve year old prodigy named Gerald Bostock and came with a full foldout newspaper. Passion Playwas about the afterlife and came with a playbill. The sides were broken by the allegorical fable “The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.”
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” was written by John Fogerty as the lead single from the Green River album. It came out in April 1969. It was the band’s second gold single. Fogerty wrote it after the classic hellish courtroom drama The Devil and Daniel Webster. Fogerty said it was about the upcoming apocalypse but that didn’t mean he was too heavy. In his concert versions he sings the line “there’s a bathroom on the right,” which people sang by mistake after hearing it on the radio. “Bad Moon Rising” wasn’t only heard on the radio, it is featured in the movies An American Werewolf in London, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Blade, Sweet Home Alabama and The Big Chill as well as TV shows like Supernatural and The Walking Dead.
Stevie Wonder recorded “Higher Ground” after he came out of a coma following a bad car accident. A song about ultimate second chances, it is one of the funkiest spiritual tunes ever written and Stevie knows how to funk with God. It was on the former 12-year-old genius’ 16th studio album Innervisions. The whole song was done in three hours in May 1973 and Stevie did everything on it from the clavinet to the Moog synthesizer bass lines to the drums. 16th studio album. Innervisions competes with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album as the music that brought Motown into revolutionary and contemporary art.
Jackson 5’s “ABC” debuted on American Bandstand on February 21, 1970 before it dropped as a single. It knocked the Beatles’ “Let It Be” off the number one spot on the hit parade and has one of the shortest titles of any number one hit. It also comes first alphabetically. Lead vocals were shared by Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Tito Jackson, and Jackie Jackson. The bass is played by Wilton Felder, the drums are smacked by Gene Pello. David T. Walker, Louis Shelton and Don Peake played guitar and Freddie Perren laid down the keyboards. It was written and produced by Berry Gordy, Jr., Alphonzo Mizell, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards.
“Love Train” as written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. “Love Train” is the last song on album Back Stabbers. It was The O’Jays’ only number-one record and came out on January 27, 1973, the same day the Paris Peace Accords were signed. It was recorded at Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios with the house band MFSB on the instrumental tracks. When Zak is checking out the wedding hall, he is treated to a cover version by the house band Charisma, so listen to it here.
“For there is no doubt in my mind, I know what I want to do and just as sure as one and one is two. Oh, you know I’ll take care of you.” Bobby Bland’s cover of “I’ll Take Care of You” by Brook Benton came out in 1959. The song was also recored by Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Roy Hamilton, Etta James, Mick Hucknall, Irma Thomas, O. V. Wright, Mark Lanegan and Gil Scott-Heron.
“Under My Thumb” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for The Rolling Stones 1966 album Aftermath. This was the song that was playing when Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by security guards Hells Angels at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert. Check out that fuzz bass by Bill Wyman. Brian Jones plays the marimba riffs.
The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” followed the structure of “You Really Got Me” and took it to the charts. Dave Davies switched from Marshall amps to twin Peavey amps starting with this song. In concert, The Kinks used to play snippets of the 1968 song “Hello, I Love You” by The Doors instead of suing them for snatching the riff. Robby Krieger said he actually stole the riff from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” The Kinks were barred from touring America after their first summer 1965 tour after Ray Davies punched a union delegate and stiffing the American Federation of Television and Recording Artists from their cut of the band’s Dick Clark appearance.
“Ride Captain Ride” by Blues Image was written by Mike Pinera and Frank “Skip” Konte for the band’s 1970 album, Open. It was written after Konte counted the keys on his Rhodes piano.
“Far More Blue” was off The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s 1961 album Time Further Out. It had the same lineup as Time Out: Dave Brubeck on piano, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello. The Dave Brubeck Quartet continued the mining of odd time signatures. “Far More Blue” and “Far More Drums” are both in 5/4.
“Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)” was recorded by Lee Dorsey, who had R&B hits like “Ya Ya” and “Working in the Coal Mine,” in 1969. Dorsey was from New Orleans and was friends with Fats Domino since childhood. Dorsey was back by the funk band the Meters and produced by Allen Toussaint. Dorsey sang on Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes’ 1976 album I Don’t Want to Go Home, which led to a comeback. He opened for The Clash, James Brown and Jerry Lee Lewis.
“Night Comes Down” by The Mickey Finn was written by Shel Talmy.
Keep going for more!
Vinyl Episode 3: “Whispered Secrets”
“As Richie cuts down his roster to free up money to sign and promote new artists, junior A&R rep Clark Morelle (Jack Quaid) courts Alice Cooper (Dustin Ingram) in an attempt to sign him to a solo deal. Trying to find purpose in the suburbs, Devon (Olivia Wilde) turns to an old friend in hopes of raising funds to renovate a Greenwich barn that could house a displaced Russian ballet company. Approaching Lester (Ato Essandoh) about releasing some of his old blues demos, Richie reopens old wounds instead. The revamped Nasty Bits fail to win over Richie, prompting Jamie (Juno Temple) to change up their set list. Written by Jonathan Tropper and Debora Cahn & Adam Rapp; directed by Mark Romanek.
The episode opens with a cover of The Raspberries’ “I Wanna Be With You.” The Raspberries were a Cleveland band from the early 1970s that were kind of stuck in the early sixties. The group was made of Eric Carmen who sang and traded bass and guitar duties with Dave Smalley, along with guitarist Wally Bryson and drummer Jim Bonfanti. They wore matching suits on stage and patterned their melody works after master harmonizers like The Beatles and The Hollies. They were at the forefront of the power pop movement with hits like “Go All the Way”, “Let’s Pretend” and “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” until they left Eric Carmen all by himself.
Ran Kan Kan Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
Johnny Winter’s “Rock & Roll” comes off his fifth studio album, 1973’s Still Alive And Well. Yes, Winter is an albino, he is also a multi-instrumentalist who Rolling Stone magazine named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” The lineup is all muscle but no shoals. Randy Jo Hobbs is on bass, Richard Hughes is on drums. Rick Derringer produced the album and shredded his fingers on guitar for three tracks.
Picadillo Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.
“The Joker” is off the Steve Miller Band’s 1973 album The Joker. Really. No joke. It hit number one on Billboard’ Hot 100 in early 1974. The “Space Cowboy” that they used to call him was actually a song off the Brave New World album. “Gangster of Love” was off Steve Miller’s Sailor LP and “Enter Maurice” came from the album Recall the Beginning…A Journey from Eden.
Homer Simpson did a very memorable cover in the fade-out of a Simpsons episode.
Little Willie “Sweet.”
“Funky Stuff” was off Kool & the Gang’s fourth album, Wild and Peaceful, from 1973. Kool was Robert “Kool” Bell and he sang and played the Fender Bass. The Gang was “Funky” George Brown on drums; Ricky west on electric piano; Clay Smith on guitar; Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas on alto saxophone, flute and congas; Ronald Bell on tenor and soprano saxophones; Robert “Spike” Mickens on trumpet. They all sang except Clay. The band started out in 1964 as the Jazziacs in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“Jungle Boogie” by Kool & The Gang.
“Sex Machine,” which dropped in 1970, introduced James Brown’s funky regrouped backing band The J.Bs: Bootsy Collins on bass and his brother Catfish Collins on guitar and Jabo Starks on drums; Clayton “Chicken” Gunnells and Darryl “Hassan” Jamison on trumpets; Robert McCollough on tenor sax; Bobby Byrd on organ and vocals with James on piano, singing lead and living up to his reputation as the hardest working on man in show business. Brown was already a musical legend and solidified his status by embracing the new beat-driven sound that started “on the one.” Rock always rolled on the backbeat, James flipped that and asses commenced a-shaking.
Simone’s The Milk Carton Kids.
England Dan & John Ford Coley’s “Simone” came out in 1971. They released 11 albums and nine singles and best known for the single, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight.” See above for more on the Texas soft-rock duo.
“Smokin’ in the Boys Room” was on Brownsville Station’s 1973 album Yeah! Brownsville Station was a Michigan band that consisted of Cub Koda and Mike Lutz on vocals and guitars; drummer T.J. Cronley and Tony Driggins on bass and vocals. Mötley Crüe covered it in 1985. So did country singer Leann Rimes.
“All Day and all of the night” is also covered above.
“Heavy Makes You Happy” by The Staples Singers.
The 1956 track “I Can’t Quit You Baby” was written by Willie Dixon and was also covered by Led Zeppelin on their first album. Bass playing guitarist Dixon, along with Muddy Water, brought Chicago blues to the world and helped put Chess Records on the map. Dixon also wrote “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Little Red Rooster”, “My Babe”, “Spoonful”, and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover.”
Howlin’ Wolf recorded “Smoke Stack Lightning” in 1956. Wolf had been kicking the song around since the early 1930s. The song appeared on Wolf’s From Moanin’ in the Moonlight album from 1959. That riff never changes chord or key. It was based on Tommy Johnson’s “Big Road Blues” from 1928, Mississippi Sheiks’ “Stop and Listen Blues” and Charley Patton’s “Moon Going Down” from 1930.
“Oh Babe, What Would You Say” by former Beatles engineer Norman “Hurricane” Smith from 1972.
“Sister Ann” by Ann Arbor, Michigan band MC5. vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, who would marry punk goddess Patti Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson. A potent political machine in the late sixties, these guys kicked out the jams.
“I Love the Dead” was off Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper’s sixth album. Robert Christgau called Billion Dollar Babies the band’s “most consistent album” in Creem magazine. Songs were recorded in both Connecticut and London. We do a full Alice Cooper piece here.
“Just Because” was written and performed by “Mr. Personality” Lloyd Price in 1957. Remember this one? Why? John Lennon must have been 17 when it came out, though he could have been 12 or twenty, at least he had the sense to put two basses on the cover version he put on his Rock and Roll album.
Lloyd price was a New Orleans artist who was responsible for such hits as “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” Price’s backing band included Fats Domino on piano. Price got drafted and went to Korea in 1954 and when he came back he found that he’d been replaced by Little Richard and his former chauffeur Larry Williams, was writing and recording hits like “Ya Ya” and “Short Fat Fannie.” Price also had hits with the blues standard “Stagger Lee” and “I’m Gonna Get Married.”
Rigoletto Act I, Sc 2, Gualtier Malde… Caro Nome Maria Callas.
“The Rocker” by Thin Lizzy.
“Danny’s Song” was written by Kenny Loggins who couldn’t afford to buy a present for his brother Danny when his son was born. Loggins put it on the Gator Creek album. Jim Messina liked it so much it was also on the Sittin’ In album by Loggins and Messina. Anne Murray, who might be best known for her song “Snowbird,” had a top ten hit with it in 1972.
Keep going for more!
Vinyl Episode 4: “The Racket”
“In lieu of attending a funeral, Richie (Bobby Cannavale) takes out his anxieties on a couch during a marriage-counseling session with Devon (Olivia Wilde). Later, over the course of a chaotic day at the office, Richie courts funk superstar Hannibal (Daniel J. Watts), agrees to let Robert Goulet (Matt Bogart) record an original song on his upcoming Christmas LP, and gets fired up after an acrimonious meeting with Lester (Ato Essandoh). Meanwhile, Zak (Ray Romano) and Scott (P.J. Byrne) ruminate on their futures in the aftermath of the lost deal with German Polygram. On the verge of signing with American Century, Kip (James Jagger) and the Nasty Bits enlist a new manager to work out a favorable deal with Richie. Armed with photos from Richie’s temper tantrum, Devon visits a divorce attorney. Skip (J.C. MacKenzie) looks to unload an overrun of bootleg albums, but finds no takers. As he’s about to be detained by two new detectives, Richie learns from Cece (Susan Heyward) that Hannibal is being courted backstage by Jackie Jervis (Ken Marino), and orders his assistant to do whatever it takes to keep the singer in the stable. Later, Richie visits a downtown jazz club in search of an alibi, while Devon has a meltdown at home.
I couldn’t place that opening song, with the opening line “Lord Lord Lord, Please Help Me Get Home.” These numbers will hopefully all get straightened out when HBO finally releases the Vinyl soundtrack, which they promised to do for each episode. The American Century Records executive team also talked over the two songs that the chauffer chose, so throw suggestions in the comments section and I’ll spin them up here.
The first song that Julie Silver (Max Casella) tells the chauffer to change the station for is Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Candida,” the group’s first single which dropped in July 1970. “Candida” was written by Irwin Levine and Toni Wine, who also wrote Dawn’s follow-up hit, “Knock Three Times.” “Candida” was produced by Dave Appell and Hank Medress, from the Tokens, the band that sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
Orlando had been singing since the early 1960s and said on a radio interview I heard, probably on the oldies station CBS FM, that he’d approached Ben E. King about singing the song, because it was so reminiscent of the former Drifter’s sound. King, who’d moved into some burning slow soul music, gave his blessing. “Candida” was originally recorded by a blues singer named Frankie Paris, but the producers scratched his vocal and put on Orlando’s for a more ethnic feel. Orlando didn’t want his name on it, for fear he’d be fired from his gig managing April-Blackwood Music, Columbia Records’ publishing division. But he figured no one would hear it. “Candida” was a hit, but foretold bad things. Rockers hated it even before they realized it paved the way for The Partridge Family, also on Bell Records.
“Lookin’ For A Love” by soul great Bobby Womack.
“Everything Is Beautiful” was written and performed by Ray Stevens, famous for novelty tunes like “The Streak,” “Gitarzan,” “Ahab the Arab” and the wildly effective country version of the standard, almost-torch song “Misty.” The kids singing on the chorus all went to Nashville’s Oak Hill Elementary School including Stevens’ two daughters. Ray Stevens real name was Harold Ray Ragsdale and he was very influential in both country and pop music.
“Psychedelic Shack” was the title track off the Temptations’ twelfth studio album, put out by Gordy Records in 1970. Gordy Records was Motown and this album was Motown on drugs. But with every song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and the Temptations as a delivery system, these were drugs of the highest grade. Backed by a hard rocking band with guitarists who knew how to step on a Wah Wah peddle, The Temptations – Dennis Edwards, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams – move into Family Stone territory. Paul Williams was fighting alcoholism and sickle-cell disease and some of his parts were recorded by Richard Street. The Temptations, who’d had hits on Motown almost since its founding, saved the best for last, because they broke up in 1971.
The horns that Richie promised Hannibal were played by Les McCann and Eddie Harris for the song Freedom Jazz Dance – Eddie Harris.
“Money” was Pink Floyd’s first U.S. hit single and shares an odd distinction with Jethro Tull’s first hit single, “Living in the Past”: It is recorded in an odd time signature, 7/4. Although the twelve-bar blues tune switches to four for the guitar solo. “Money” opened Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. It was written by bassist/vocalist Roger Waters. Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright formed Pink Floyd in London in 1965. Their first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn came out in 1967. David Gilmour joined as a second guitarist in December 1967 and Barrett disappeared in April 1968.
Bobby Womack’s “Hairy Hippie.”
“Pusherman” was off Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly soundtrack album which came out in July 1972 on Curtom Records. Blaxploitation film Super Fly was directed by Gordon Parks, Jr. and starred Ron O’Neal as the reluctant pusherman Youngblood Priest. The title track and the single “Freddie’s Dead” were both huge hits. The album did better than the movie.
Super Fly was a groundbreaking soul record that kicked open the same doors as Stevie Wonder’s Innvervisions and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On in lyrical content. Before he went solo, Mayfield was the singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer for The Impressions, which he joined when he was 14 years old in 1956. Mayfield had been sneaking social relevance into soul hits since 1965, when he wrote “People Get Ready.” Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after he got hit by lighting equipment while performing at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, on August 13, 1990. He died in 1999 at the age of 57.
Janis Joplin’s soul stirrer “Cry Baby” was written by Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy. It was originally recorded by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters in 1963.
The Texas-born “Queen of Psychedelic Soul” Janis Joplin fronted the San Francisco band Big Brother and the Holding Company before she went solo with the backing of The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. Janis knocked out the audience at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and again at the Woodstock festival in 1969. She only had one number one, “Me and Bobby McGee,” but she ruled FM radio with songs like “Down on Me,” “Summertime,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Ball ‘n’ Chain,” “Maybe,” “To Love Somebody,” “Kozmic Blues,” “Work Me, Lord,” and the a capella “Mercedes Benz.” She died in 1971.
“Politicians In My Eyes” came off Death’s 1974 album For The Whole Word To See.
“Only You Know and I Know” by Delaney & Bonnie, a truly all-star couple.
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who.
“Life Is Just What You Make It” by Donny Osmond.
“Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be)” by Sly and The Family Stone came out in 1973.
“Sinnerman” by Nina Simone.
“Bluette” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
The credits roll over the song “Strychnine” by The Sonics, a garage band from Tacoma, Washington, who’d formed in the early 1960s.
The Sonics had a major impact on punk, but also on goth and were one of the first horror rock bands. With songs like “Psycho,” “The Witch” and the satanic “He’s Waitin'” mining dark subjects with aggressive guitars. The original Sonics consisted of guitarist Larry Parypa, drummer Mitch Jaber, and guitarist Stuart Turner, with Parypa’s brother Jerry sometimes sitting in on sax and his mother laying down the bass until Parypa’s brother Andy replaced her and Tony Mabin took on sax duties. By 1964, most of the band had changed and Gerry Roslie was singing lead.
Their first single was “The Witch,” which Etiquette Records released in November 1964. It became a hit in the Northwest even though radio stations wouldn’t play it. The Sonics’ debut album Here Are The Sonics came out in early 1965. Their second album, Boom, came out in February 1966. It was recorded on a two-track without the benefit of soundproofing, which the band removed to get a “live-er” sound.” They cleaned up their sound when they were signed by Jerden Records in late 1966 and released Introducing the Sonics. That was enough to break up the band.
Keep going for more!
Vinyl Episode 5: “He In Racist Fire”
Richie (Bobby Cannavale) visits a close relative in order to leverage a favor to his advantage. Devon (Olivia Wilde) agrees to join Richie for dinner with Hannibal (Daniel J. Watts) and Cece (Susan Heyward), playing up the vixen role to keep one of her husband’s biggest clients signed. Kip (James Jagger) faces a tough dilemma in the wake of the Nasty Bits’ recent signing: fire one of his VINYL_JamieVinebandmates or lose a prime gig opening for the New York Dolls. Desperate to shore up PR at American Century, Richie tries to recruit Andrea Zito (Annie Parisse), a former employee and flame who now works for Jackie Jervis (Ken Marino). Clark (Jack Quaid) gets a new job after an emotional meeting with Julie (Max Casella), while an indignant Jamie (Juno Temple) ends up keeping her old one. Richie has an inspiration for the name of his new label.
Free Form Radio
In episode 5, Richie Finestra wrangles the Nasty Bits an interview with Scott Muni, the legendary rock DJ who started out as one of the MCA “Good Guys.” Muni rocked New York City for nearly 50 years. After leaving Top 40 AM radio, Scottso transformed FM with a free-form approach to music, allowing the DJs to play whatever they wanted and to talk to the audience conversationally rather than in the famed DJ voices of the time. Muni himself had quite a distinctive voice.
Muni was born in Wichita, Kan., and grew up in New Orleans. He got his start reading “Dear John” letters to Marines on Radio Guam during the Korean War. He replaced rock and roll radio legend Alan Freed on WAKR in Akron, Ohio, in 1955. Muni moved to New York’s Top 40 station WMCA and then switched to the WABC-AM in 1960. Muni joined WOR-FM, New York’s first commercial free-form radio station, in 1966. He then moved to his true home, progressive radio station WNEW-FM.
While Muni was famous for his in-depth, on-the-air rock star interviews, one of his finest moments came in August 1972 when bank robber Cat Olson called Muni on the air to request the Grateful Dead. Muni ended his career at WAXQ “Q104.3.” He died of a stroke in early 2004.
I couldn’t place that opening song but will update when applicable.
“Let’s Get High” was from songwriting blues singer Rosco Gordon, whose piano was at the forefront of Memphis blues. “The Rosco rhythm,” which emphasized the off-beat, earned Gordon a place recording at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records. He wrote and recorded the R&B hits “Booted” and “No More Doggin'” in 1952 and “Just a Little Bit” in 1960, on Vee-Jay records, which also released early Beatles records in America. Gordon died of a heart attack at his apartment in Rego Park, Queens at the age of 74 in 2003.
“Stand Back,” written by Gregg Allman and Berry Oakley, was off the classic 1972 Eat a Peach album by the Allman Brothers Band. This was the band’s third album and the last with guitarist Duane Allman, who died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia during the recording. The album included both studio cuts and live performances recorded at the Fillmore East in 1971. The album included “Melissa,” Dickey Betts’ “Blue Sky” and “Mountain Jam,” which takes up a full side.
“Will It Go Round in Circles” was written by Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston for Preston’s 1972 album Music Is My Life. The organist was almost a Beatle. He’d been invited to the bring peace to the band’s Get Back sessions, which became the album Let It Be, after George Harrison caught him playing in Ray Charles backup band. The Beatles knew Preston when he was just a teenager playing for Little Richard. Preston came out on his own with a truly funky band of his own while always seemingly on call to lend his fingers to any friend in a recording studio. “I’ve got a story, I ain’t got no moral. Let the bad guy win every once in a while,” could be the theme song for Vinyl.
The Spencer Davis Group’s take of Bobby Parker’s 1961 song “Watch Your Step” was off The Second Album from 1966. The Spencer Davis Group was formed by British brothers Steve and Muff Winwood, singer Spencer Davis and Jackie Edwards. Steve Winwood left in 1967 to form Traffic, and then left that to join Blind Faith with Eric Clapton.
Bobby Parker was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, but raised in Los Angeles. He started with Otis Williams and the Charms but was also Bo Diddley’s lead guitarist. He also backed Paul Williams, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, LaVern Baker, Clyde McPhatter, and the Everly Brothers in concert. Parker was a regular at the Apollo Theater toured with Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Little Richard.
Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” was a song written by John Marascalco, who wrote all Richard’s early hits, and Robert Blackwell, who put his name on all of them. Little Richard dropped his version in June, 1956 shortly before Bill Haley and his Comets put out their version, which was in the 1956 jukebox musical Don’t Knock the Rock, in which Little Richard played his hits “Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti-Frutti.” Little Richard was one of the architects of rock and roll, wedding boogie woogie with blues in the some of the highest octane shows of the time.
“Conquistador,” with lyrics by Keith Reid and music by Gary Brooker, must be one of Scorsese’s favorite songs. He used it in his segment of the film Manhattan Stories, as a way for Nick Nolte’s painter character to comment on the sexual choices of his muse, played by Rosanna Arquette.
It’s no wonder, this version, from the 1972 album Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, is a musically exciting rendition. Procol Harum recorded the album live at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on November 18, 1971. The conductor, Britain’s Lawrence Leonard, hated rock music so much, he took his name off the liner note credits. He’s dead now, so we can give him his due. “Conquistador” was on Procol Harum’s debut album from 1967, which is best known for the hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The lineup of the band was Chris Copping on organ, Alan Cartwright on bass, B.J. Wilson on drums, Dave Ball on guitar and Gary Brooker singing and playing piano.
“Rock Steady” was written and performed by Aretha Franklin for her 1971 album Young, Gifted and Black. The B-side was the equally exciting “Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby)” Aretha can sing anything. Best known as the Queen of Soul, she grew up singing at her father minister C. L. Franklin’s church and even stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti to perform the aria “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot, Pavarotti’s signature song. Franklin’s voice really opens up when she’s actually sitting at a piano. She did the vocal takes on most of the tracks she put out while playing live. She started on Columbia Records and broke out on Atlantic Records in 1967. Otis Redding, who wrote Aretha’s hit “Respect,” said she took full ownership of that song when she covered it. Franklin also covered Carole King’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Spanish Harlem,” which was a hit for Ben E. King.
“Thirteen” was written by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell of Big Star a Memphis power pop band featuring Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel. The song on the 1972 album #1 Record., which it might have been if this song was put out as a single. Rolling Stone called it “one of rock’s most beautiful celebrations of adolescence,” and that was when teenagers still read it. Big Star broke up in 1974.
“Pillow Talk” was written and performed by Sylvia in 1973. Sylvia sent a demo of the song to Al Green in 1972, but he turned it down for religious reason. “Pillow Talk” spent two weeks at number one on the Soul charts and was one of the first disco songs. It even has the moans and heavy breathing that Donna Summer would use on Giorgio Moroder’s 1975’s production of “Love to Love You Baby.” Sylvia is a very influential figure in music. Born as Sylvia Vanderpool in 1936 in New York City, she started out in 1950 on Columbia Records as Little Sylvia. She learned guitar from her partner, Kentucky guitarist Mickey Baker. Mickey & Sylvia are best known for their cover of Bo Diddley and Jody Williams’ “Love Is Strange,” from 1957. She became Sylvia Robinson after she married Joe Robinson. The Robinsons founded Sugar Hill Records, named after a particularly artsy neighborhood in Harlem. Sugar Hill broke “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugar Hill Gang, the first rap hit.
The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship” was off their 1967 debut album The Doors. It the B-side of “Light My Fire.” The Doors formed in 1965 and consisted of the mythic and mystic vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore. The first album included the song “The End,” which got the Doors were fired from the Whisky A GoGo on August 21, 1966.
The Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat” is the title track of their second album, which came out on Verve Records in 1968. The album was recorded in two days and was steeped in avant-garde experiments and feedback. It was very influential on early punks.
Keep going for more!
Vinyl Episode 6: “Cyclone”
Devon (Olivia Wilde) seeks refuge at the Chelsea Hotel with Ingrid (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), a friend from her Warhol days. Meanwhile, Richie (Bobby Cannavale) falls into a deeper well of drugs and depravity, enabled by Ingrid’s nihilistic boyfriend, Ernst (Carrington Vilmont). Andrea Zito (Annie Parisse) rejoins American Century and immediately outlines her plans to revive the label. Kip (James Jagger) follows an unlikely path towards recruiting Alex (Val Emmich), a new lead guitarist for the Nasty Bits. Zak (Ray Romano) allows his raw emotions to surface at the end of his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.
The episode was dedicated, and featured the character, David Bowie.
The 1958 hit “Tequila” was written by The Champs’ sax player Danny Flores, under the name Chuck Rio, who is known as the “Godfather of Latino rock.” The rest of the band was Dave Burgess and Dale Norris on guitars, Chris Hils on bass and Gene Alden on drums.
Buddy Holly’s 1958 scorcher “Rave On” was written by Bill Tilghman, Norman Petty and Sonny West, who put out the first version in February 1958. Holly’s hit the charts later that year. Unlike most of Buddy Holly’s recordings, which Norman Petty produced in New Mexico, “Rave On” was Milton DeLugg in New York City. The B side was Holly’s “Take Your Time.” Blues guitar virtuosos Stevie and Bobby Ray Vaughn both changed their names after the singer-songwriter from Lubbock, Texas’s smash. Holly blended gospel with country and sped up 12 bar blues to create his own brand of rock and roll. He even had signature glasses while most acts toughened their looks. Before he signed with Decca Records and then Brunswick Records, Holly opened for Elvis Presley, and Bill Haley & His Comets. Holly died in February 1959, in a plane crash that also killed Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.
“With A Girl Like You” was a 1964 single by the British garage band The Troggs, best known for “Wild Thing.”
“Tezeta” was written and performed by Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatque who is considered to be the father of Ethio-jazz.
“Outlaw Blues” was written by Bob Dylan. This version is by Dave Edmunds off his first solo album Rockpile which came out in 1972 after he left Love Sculpture. The album had the hit cover of “I Hear You Knocking,” written by Dave Bartholomew and Earl King.
“Keep A-Knockin’ (but You Can’t Come In)” is a kind of standard. Like Stagger Lee, songwriters have been putting their tag on it since the Roaring Twenties. Perry Bradford and J. Mayo Williams wrote the original tune, but it went through transitions when it was reimagined by James “Boodle It” Wiggins in 1928, Lil Johnson in 1935, Milton Brown in 1936 and Louis Jordan in 1939. Little Richard’s 1957 version threw it into overdrive and that opening drum riff is the same one Bonham is playing on “Rock and Roll.”
Fleetwood Mac’s “The Way I Feel” was written and sung by Christine McVie for the album Mystery to Me (1973).
James Brown recorded “I Got Ants in My Pants (and I Want to Dance)” in 1971 and put it out as a two-part single in November 1972. It was remixed and compiled for the 1988 album Motherlode.
Richie sings the opening line to the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There,” written by McCartney and Lennon, for the Please Please Me, album which dropped on March 22, 1963. In America, it was the B-to “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It was produced by George Martin and engineered by Norman, who Lennon called Normal, “Hurricane” Smith.
“Rocket 88” is the first rock and roll song. There were songs that came close before it, uptempo blues numbers tinged with gospel and rhythm, but Rocket “88” put rock together with roll for the first time on wax on March 3 or 5, 1951 in Sam Phillips’ famed studio in Memphis. It was written by Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm and credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats. Brenston sings the lead. Willie Kizart’s guitar amp was damaged on the infamous Highway 61, but he liked the sound and it’s the first time fuzz guitar was recorded. Willie Sims played drums. The tenor sax player Raymond Hill was 17. Pianist Ike Turner was 19 and like many fifties teens, he loved his wheels which propelled an Oldsmobile “Rocket 88.” It was an updated version of the 1947 song “Cadillac Boogie” by Jimmy Liggins. It was released by blues label Chess Records. Bill Haley and the Saddlemen did a version of it on June 14, 1951. Little Richard copped the opening piano lick to propel “Good Golly Miss Molly.” “Rocket 88” gave Sam Philips the idea to give Elvis Presley a little extra studio time.
That opening piano also propelled the first Bowie song we heard on episode 6 of Vinyl. “Suffragette City” was the second to last song on David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album from 1972. Bowie wrote it in an effort to keep his droogs Mott the Hoople together, but they put out “All the Young Dudes” and broke up instead.
Iggy Pop and The Stooges’ “Raw Power” was the title track for their third album. Pop had begun hanging with Bowie by this point and was getting ready to go solo. But after he couldn’t put together the right backing band, he reunited The Stooges.
“No Good” by Kaleo.
“Here Comes The Night” was off Lulu’s Shout album. The British singer and actress also sang the theme for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
“Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby)” was the only hit Lulu had when she recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in September 1969 for her New Routes album for Atco Records. Lulu sang the hit theme song for the Sidney Poitier film To Sir With Love. “Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby)” was also recorded by Aretha Franklin.
Dionne Warwick’s version of “One Less Bell to Answer” was off her 1972 Warner Bros. album Dionne. The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Keely Smith in 1967. Rosemary Clooney recorded it in 1968. The 5th Dimension’s hit was a single off their first album Portrait which came out on Bell Records in 1970. Marilyn McCoo sang lead. It was recorded by Barbra Streisand as part of a medley with the song ” A House Is Not a Home.”
“No Fun” was written by Lee Ranaldo, Matt Sweeney and The Stooges for band’s eponymous debut album, which came out on August 5, 1969. The Stooges were Iggy Pop on vocals, Ron Asheton – guitar, vocals, Dave Alexander on bass and Scott Asheton on drums. The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, who produced the album, contributed some piano and viola.
“Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” was from the Jersey shore band Looking Glass. It came off their self-titled 1972 debut album. It was written by Elliot Lurie. Looking Glass started at Rutgers University in 1969. The lineup for the song was Elliot Lurie on lead guitar and vocals; Jeff Grob on drums, Larry Gonsky on piano and bassist Pieter Sweval.
“Cherish” is a word I use to describe how much I look forward to the ending of this Terry Kirkman-penned number. Made famous by The Association in 1966, who recorded it in a garage with studio sessions (Yeah. Go figure, it’s a garage rock ballad.), it was also covered by David Cassidy for his Cherish album from 1971. Dizzy Gillespie and The Four Tops recorded it too. It made for an annoying moment on the Chilton graduation episode of Gilmore Girls, “Those are Strings, Pinocchio.” Go out with some dignity, Brad, really. Bom bom my ass.
“Here Comes The Night” was released by Them in March 1965. The song was written by Bert Berns, who co-wrote “Twist and Shout,” which was a hit for the Isley Brothers and the Beatles. Them was a band out of Northern Ireland that was fronted by Van Morrison and included Alan Henderson, Ronnie Milling, Billy Harrison and Eric Wrixon.
“Life on Mars?” was a single off David Bowie’s 1971 album Hunky Dory but it has a history that’s equally out of this world. There was a French song, written by Claude François and Jacques Revaux, called “Comme d’habitude,” that both Bowie and Paul Anka got a crack at writing the English lyrics to.
Bowie wrote “Even a Fool Learns to Love,” but never recorded it. Anka put the words to “My Way” to it and it became one of many signature hits for Frank Sinatra. Some say it is the defining song of Sinatra’s career. But had too long a career for any one song to define him.
Although the liner notes say “Life on Mars” was “inspired by Frankie,” Bowie didn’t like Anka’s schmaltzy take on the song so he took the chord progression, got Yes’s Rick Wakeman to play it on piano and wrote new words and a melody to it. The string part was done by guitarist Mick Ronson in an orchestra of power chords.
Keep going for more!
Vinyl episode 7: “The King and I”
Looking to raise cash for his label, a newly sober Richie (Bobby Cannavale) flies to LA with Zak (Ray Romano), hoping to sell the company jet to Lou Meshejian (John Ventimiglia), a rival record exec. After attending a beachfront party teeming with many of Lou’s music clients, Richie and Zak head to Las Vegas in hopes of somehow convincing Elvis Presley (Shawn Klush) and his manager, that the King should ditch his label and sign with American Century. The detour includes a steamy encounter in which Zak’s fantasies come true, at a price. Written by David Matthews; directed by Allen Coulter.
This version of “Strychnine” is sung John Doe of the pioneering Los Angeles punk band X. “Strychnine” appeared on the Sonics’ 1965 debut, Here Are the Sonics!!!.
“Southbound” was off the Allman Brothers’ fourth album Brothers and Sisters which came out in August 1973.
Jan and Dean’s “Surf City” was written by the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Jan Berry. It was the first surf song to hit number one on the charts. “Surf City” came out in in May 1963. Jan Berry and Dean Torrence wanted to record Wilson’s “Surfin’ U.S.A.” after hearing him play it on the piano at a party. Berry instead finished off Wilson’s nearly completed “Surf City.” Torrence contributed a line or two but didn’t ask for songwriting credit.
“Funky Stuff” was off Kool & the Gang’s Wild and Peaceful album from 1973.
British singer Albert Hammond wrote “It Never Rains in Southern California” with Mike Hazlewood. The backing band is the legendary Wrecking Crew, which included the even more legendary Leon Russell and Glen Cambpell. The Wrecking Crew played on so many hits after they started at Phil Spector’s house band. The song came off the album, It Never Rains in Southern California.
Dr. John’s “Big Chief” was written by Earl King and was a local New Orleans hit for Professor Longhair in 1964. The song detailed the African American musical Mardi Gras tradition where Indian Nation “gangs” performed on Super Sunday, the Sunday before St. Patrick’s day. The African American Indian gangs paid tribute to the Native American tribes in the area who took in runaway slaves in the pre-Civil War era.
Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me” was off her 1974 album Court and Spark which had the backing of Tom Scott’s L.A. Express.
“Doctor My Eyes” is off Jackson Browne’s eponymous debut album from 1972. The guitar solo is done by Jesse Ed Davis and the backing vocals are sung by David Crosby and Graham Nash.
“Do It” by The Pink Fairies was off the English psychedelic rock band’s debut album Never Never Land in 1971.
America’s “Ventura Highway” was off their 1972 album Homecoming. It was written by the band’s singer Dewey Bunnell.
“Funk 49” was off James Gang’s second album James Gang Rides Again from 1970. The James Gang featured future Eagle Joe Walsh on guitar, Dale Peters on bass and Jim Fox on drums.
Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” was written by Les Reed and Gordon Mills and came out in 1965. The guitarist is then-studio guitarist Jimmy Page who would go on to turn the New Yardbirds into Led Zeppelin.
“Lovely Stranger” is by Taiwanese singer Feng Fei-Fei, who was known as the “Queen of Hats.” Fong released more than 80 albums in her career.
“Do It Again” was written and recorded by Steely Dan, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, from their 1972 debut album Can’t Buy a Thrill. Trivia factoid: Chevy Chase drummed with Steely Day.
“Backstabbers” was the title track of the O’Jays 1972 album, which also included the hit “Love Train.
Elvis Presley’s “Polk Salad Annie” was written and first performed by Tony Joe White in 1968. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. White also wrote “Rainy Night in Georgia.”
Wayne Newton’s hit “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” was written by Peter Callander and Geoff Stephens. It was the title track of Newton’s 1972 album, which The song was produced by Wes Farrell and arranged by Mike Melvoin.
The Isley Brothers released “That Lady” in 1973, nine years after they recorded the original “Who’s That Lady?” Don’t miss that fuzz solo. Check out those drums when the horns kick in on the ending.
B B King’s “Bad Luck” was the b-side to “Sweet Little Angel from 1956. Riley “B.B.” King was called “The King of the Blues.” Along with Albert King and Freddie King he was one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar.” King died on May 14, 2015 in Las Vegas at the age of 89.
B.B. King’s “3 O’Clock Blues” was a cover of Lowell Fulson 1948 hit. King recorded it in 1952 for his firs album Singin’ the Blues.
“The Weight” was written by Robbie Robertson for The Band’s 1968 album Music from Big Pink. Aretha Franklin covered it for her 1969 album This Girl’s in Love with You album. It was also recorded by Jackie DeShannon’ and Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations in 1969. Here’s Martin Scorsese pointing his camera at The Band for the film The Last Waltz, the film of their last concert.
“18 Yellow Roses” was the title track of Bobby Darin’s 1963 country album. Darin was born Walden Robert Cassotto, as any fan of The Sopranos might remember, in the Bronx. He was one of Connie Francis’s songwriters until he released his own “Splish Splash” in 1958 and became a rock and roll star in his own right. Darin was extremely versatile and even more adventurous in the studio. He sang over an insane arrangement on “Mack the Knife,” recorded folk and country albums and even did a good job acting. He, along with another Bronx rock and roller Dion, were some of the original rock and roll stars to go political, Darin worked on Robert F. Kennedy’s Democratic presidential campaign and was atat the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 4/5, 1968, when the former president’s brother was assassinated. Darin mentored guitarist Roger McGuinn of the Byrds.
Dutch prog rock group Focus’s guitarist Jan Akkerman and keyboardist Thijs van Leer wrote “Hocus Pocus” for the band’s second album Focus II, also called Moving Waves, in 1971.
Okay, they didn’t play Elvis’ “Mystery Train” on the episode, but Zak was so insistent, let’s hear what all the fuss was about.
Oh, so that’s what started the whole thing.
Vinyl episode 8: “E.A.B”
Rebuffed by a loan officer with high-school ties to Zak (Ray Romano), a desperate Richie (Bobby Cannavale) approaches Maury (Paul Ben-Victor) about doing a deal with Galasso (Armen Garo). Devon (Olivia Wilde) and Ingrid (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) make the scene at Max’s Kansas City, where Devon impresses photographer Billy McVicar (Richard Short) with her ability to charm a major celebrity into giving up his photo.
Tasked by Richie to come up with a new song, Kip (James Jagger) and the Nasty Bits get a crash course in the blues from Lester (Ato Essandoh). Andrea (Annie Parisse) fires a longtime American Century employee, angering Richie. Clark (Jack Quaid) finds musical enlightenment from Jorge (Christian Navarro), his onetime mailroom nemesis.
Written by Riccardo DiLoreto & Michael Mitnick; directed by Jon S. Baird.
“Here Comes the Sun” was written by George Harrison for Abbey Road, the last album The Beatles recorded, even though Let It Be was the last album they released. Harrison’s songs were sidelined by the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, usually only getting one or two songs per album. When the band broke up Harrison released a three-record-LP, All Things Must Pass, to partially cover his backlog. “Here Comes the Sun” is deceptively intricate, running through time changes and fully realized chord phrasings. Ringo, who was a natural beatkeeper rather than a trained musician, played the song by feel rather than committing the timings to memory. Harrison also plays the synthesizer on the song. The instrument was new at the time and most rock musicians who were experimenting with it for the effects it could produce. Harrison, who had also released a solo instrumental album called Electric Sounds, uses it melodically.
The easy listening instrumental “Midnight Cowboy” was released by Ferrante and Teicher in 1969 and made it to number 10 on the pop charts. Music prodigies Arthur Ferrante and Louis Teicher met at NYC’s Juilliard School of Music and hit the nightclub circuit. They made the charts with “Theme From The Apartment” and “Theme From Exodus.” The two pianists experimented with the sounds they could get out of the instrument. Teicher died in 2008, Ferrante in 2009.
“Where Are You Now” is by the British rock duo Royal Blood, who have been kicking around since 2013.
“Am I Human” is sung by Ran Shaw, formerly of the band Fabulous Soul Shakers. Columbia Records dropped his first album, This is Ryan Shaw, in 2006.
The Triplett Twins’ “Get It” came out on Fervor Records in 1970. Leon and Levi Triplett were part of the Chicago Soul sound of the sixties, along with artists like Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler. The Triplett Twins were staff writers for The Brunswick Label and penned hits for Jackie Wilson, The Chi-Lites and Tyrone Davis.
“Alex’s Song” is performed by the actor Val Emmich, who actually came up through the New Jersey music scene.
More cowbell you say? You get it on “Mississippi Queen” off Mountain’s 1970 debut album Climbing! The band featured music vets Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, Steve Knight, and Corky Laing.
“Maybellene” was written and recorded by the duckwalking guitarist Chuck Berry, who retooled Bob WIlls and His Texas Playboys’ 1938 hit “Ida Red” into a teen car anthem in July 1955 for Chess Records. Berry loved singing the Bob Wills song so much that Muddy Waters told him to commit it to tape.
“The Twist” was written and first recorded by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters in 1959. It was the flipside to “Teardrops on Your Letter.” Chubby Checker got the whole shaking when he covered it in 1960. Here’s the original performed by Hank Ballard and The Midnighters.
Ray Charles released “What’d I Say” in 1959 and created soul music. The song started as jam to kill time after a show in 1958. Charles was a master of every genre and was as great a country music singer as he was a gospel or R&B singer.
“In the Summertime” was the first single by Britain’s Mungo Jerry in 1970. It was written in ten minutes by Ray Dorset, the lead singer, during a coffee break from his day job at Timex. The song worked in rehearsal too.
“Travelin’ Band” was written by John Fogerty for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory. Almost every side from that album hit the charts when they came out as singles. “Travelin’ Band” was the flip side to “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” Little Richard’s publishing company sued Fogerty in 1972, because they thought it sounded too close to “Good Golly, Miss Molly.”
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” was written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert and John Denver, who put it on his 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises. You can’t go anywhere in West Virginia without hearing it to this day. It opens football and basketball games, political rallies and states of the state. It may be sung after the pledge of allegiance in some schools and good for them. Denver was more than the guy who traded quips with George Burns in Oh God. He was a versatile songwriter, though this song was originally written for Johnny Cash and Denver only contributed after a version of song had already been finished.
“One Way Ticket” was written and performed by John Lee Hooker, one of the first artists to electrify Delta blues and slap a boogie-woogie rhythm under it. This one is a slow, deliberate moan of pain and accusation that is the other side of his later stomper “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”
“Got that Feeling” is by ssixties soul singer Harry Krapsho, who I know nothing about and would appreciate some links in the comment section to help me remedy that. I can’t find a version of that song to share yet but don’t worry, he’s got that feeling on this track.
Hyperbolicsyllabicsequedalmistic is off Isaac Hayes second solo album Hot Buttered Soul which dropped on September 23, 1969. Before he was the Chef on South Park, Isaac Hayes was the Black Moses and he was a bad mother. I’m talking about the guy who wrote “Shaft.” But before that he was a stable songwriter at Stax Records.
Conway Twitty wrote “It’s Only Make Believe” with Jack Nance, according to legend, on a Toronto hotel fire escape because it was too hot to stay inside. Twitty was invited to Canada by Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins, whose backing band would grow up to be The Band. Many people think this is Elvis when they hear it, but he never even covered it. Fiona Apple has been doing a sultry slowed down version in concert. Twitty is best known as a country music artist, but he also loved the blues and gospel and made the pilgrimage to Sun Records to record rock and roll. Twitty released “It’s Only Make Believe” on MGM Records in July 1958.
“Believe Me” was written and recorded by Bergenfield, N.J., rock and roll band The Royal Teens, best known for that crazy song “Short Shorts.” The Royal Teens were Bob Gaudio on piano, Tom Austin on drums and the occasional wolf-whistle, Billy Dalton on guitar, and Larry Qualiano, who replaced Dumont boy Billy Crandall because he was only 14, on saxophone. “Believe Me” came out in 1959. It was produced by Leo Rodgers for Power Records with Lee Silvers. Before the record was released on Power, Leo made the Royals change their name to Royal Teens because there was another group called The Royals. The group reluctantly added Teens to its name.
Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “Kinky Reggae” was off their Catch A Fire album from 1973. This was the Jamaican reggae band’s fifth album. Producer Chris Blackwell added four on the floor and guitarist Wayne Perkins to the album’s tracks which were written by either Marley or the equally legendary Peter Tosh. Bunny Wailer was also in this band, thank Jah.
“Spanish Eyes” was sung by Al Martino who is probably best known for getting slapped and told to “act like a man” as Johnny Fontane in The Godfather. Martino changed his name from Gasparino Cini.
“Get Up, Stand Up” was written by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh for the 1973 album Burnin’. Both Tosh and Marley were outspoken political songwriters and both took bullets for their influential activism.
Marley wrote “Stir It Up” for his wife Rita in 1967. Johnny Nash had the first hit with it as a single off his 1973 album I Can See Clearly Now, which included quite a few Marley songs and Wailers musicians.
“Gypsy Queen” was off Van Morrison’s 1970 album His Band and the Street Choir which followed Moondance. His Band and the Street Choir was recorded at A&R Studios on 46th Street and a local New York City church. The album was originally envisioned as an a cappella record.
“Wild Safari” was off the Spanish band Barabbas’ 1971 album of the same name. “Wild Safari” was written by José Fernando Arbex Miró, who started out as a drummer in the mid-sixties Madrid band Los Estudiantes. After drumming in Los Brincos, which he formed in 1965 and was popular enough to be called the “Spanish Beatles,” he was in the Latin prog trio Alacran before rocking Latin disco with Barrabás. Arbex also wrote songs for Jose Feliciano, who is a favorite of Vinyl’s mob friend, Corrado Galasso.
Vinyl episode 9: “Rock and Roll Queen”
After an unsettling visit with Devon and the kids, Richie weighs his options as the heat surrounding the Buck Rogers murder case is turned up. Thrown out of her aunt’s townhouse, Jamie crashes with Kip as the Nasty Bits finish their record and do a photo shoot. At American Century, Maury Gold pitches a ’50s compilation LP, while Zak tries to fund a band for his wedding singer, Gary, aka “Xavier.” Clark and Jorge bond over an Indigo tune.
“What is Hip” came off Oakland, California, band Tower of Power’s third album, which came out in May 1973. The eponymous album was Lenny Williams debut as lead vocalist It also feature future Saturday Night Live band leader Lenny Pickett. “What is Hip” was written by Emilio Castillo, Stephen “Doc” Kupka and David Garibaldi.
“Jewel-Eyed Judy” was off Fleetwood Mac’s 1970 album Kiln House. It was written by John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, and Danny Kirwan, with uncredited lyrics written by Christine McVie.
Richie is listening to a cassette demo of Patti Smith doing “Hey Joe,” which was first, and second, electrified by the LA garage band The Leaves. They recorded it with in 1965 and did it again in 1966. The Jimi Hendrix Experience covered it in 1966 as their debut single. “Hey Joe” is a traditional folk song that was written by Scottish writer Billy Roberts, who gave the rights to Dino Valenti, who was know professionally as Chet Powers, to give him a source of income when he got out of jail. Patti Smith’s version was also her debut. The B-side was “Piss Factory” which they recorded at Electric Lady Studios, the famed studio Jimi envisioned, on June 5, 1974. Smith opened with a poem and additional music was written by Richard Sohl. It was produced by guitarist Lenny Kaye. Tom Verlaine of Television also plays guitar.
“Journey to the Center of the Mind” by the Amboy Dukes came out in April 1968, whose lead guitarist was Ted Nugent. The Amboy Dukes formed in 1964 and dropped their first album in late 1967.
“Further Away” by Don Debrauwere.
“Whiskey Train” was off Home, Procol Harum’s fourth album, which came out in June 1970. It was recorded by their former organist Matthew Fisher at London’s Trident Studios and then re-recorded by producer Chris Thomas and engineer Jeff Jarratt at Abbey Road Studios. “Whiskey Train” was written by guitarist Robin Trower with lyricist Keith Reid.
“(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” came off the Blues Magoos Psychedelic Lollipop album which came out in November 1966. It was written by Ron Gilbert, Ralph Scala and Mike Esposito.
Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody” came out in 1958. It was written by Cochran and Jerry Capehart. Cochran played guitar and overdubbed some drums, Connie Smith played bass, Earl Palmer played drums and Ray Johnson did the piano. Cochran is probably best known for “Summertime Blues.”
Cochran died at 21 in April 1960 after a performance at the Hippodrome theatre in Bristol, England. Songwriter Sharon Sheeley, who was also in the car, broke his pelvis. Gene Vincent was also in the cab, but survived and performed with a pronounced limp for the rest of his career. The taxi driver was named George Martin, the same name as the Beatles producer. John Lennon used to do a mean Gene Vincent during the Beatles early years, over emphasizing the limp, kind of like how John Belushi did Joe Cocker. Some people claim the Quarry Men were playing “Be Bop A Lula” when Lennon met McCartney, though McCartney remembered the song as “Come Go With Me” by the Del Vikings, which Lennon was mangling the lyrics into a prison song. But McCartney did play Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock” at that meeting. And knew all the words. George Harrison saw Eddie Cochran during that final tour but got to know Vincent better. Vincent grabbed Harrison while the Beatles were playing in the Star-Club bar, pulled him into his apartment on the Reeperbahn and told Harrison to hold his gun while he pummeled the tour manager for bonking his girlfriend.
“Point of No Return” is covered by Elvis Costello. The original came off the Lookin’ For a Love Again album by Bobby Womack. Bobby and Harry Womack started in the band The Valentinos in the early sixties.
“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” was written by Allan Clarke, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway for The Hollies 1972 album Distant Light. The Hollies were part of the British Invasion of the early 1960s. It was formed by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash, who went on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash and occasionally Young. After a few hits, The Hollies missed with their cover of George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” Paul McCartney said Nash’s high harmony sounded like a trumpet and that the song sounded like it was done by session men who had never met before.
“Shootout at the Fantasy Factory” was the title track of Traffic’s 1973 album which followed The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.
“Beale Street” was off Donald Byrd’s 1967 album Blackjack which featured Sonny Red, Hank Mobley, Cedar Walton, Walter Booker and Billy Higgins on the Blue Note jazz label.
“Blues Run the Game” was written by Jackson C. Frank for his eponymous album. This version was performed by Simon and Garfunkel, who produced the record in London. Frank survived a furnace exploded at Cleveland Hill Elementary School in Cheektowaga, New York on March 31, 1954 and killed fifteen of his fellow students. Frank suffered burns over 50% of his body and went to England after he got the insurance money when he turned 21.
“Rock and Roll Queen” was written by Mick Ralphs for Mott the Hoople’s first album, Mott the Hoople, which came out in 1969. The lineup was Ian Hunter on vocals, piano and rhythm guitar, Mick Ralphs on lead guitar, Verden Allen on organ, Pete “Overend” Watts on bass, and drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin.
“Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango.
“Can’t Kick the Habit” was off Champion Jack Dupree’s debut 1957 album Blues From the Gutter.
“The Windmills of Your Mind” was written by Michel Legrand with English lyrics written by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. It was first heard in the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Dusty Springfield recorded this for her Dusty in Memphis album.
“Hey Joe” was off Lee Moses’s Time and Place album from 1971.
“A Woman Like You” by The Nasty Bits
“Stay With Me Baby” is covered by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.
Vinyl Episode 10: “Alibi”
Feeling betrayed by Richie, Zak maps out a dangerous plan to bring down his partner as the Alibi label launch approaches. Kip’s jealousy toward Alex threatens to derail the Nasty Bits just as they’re about to take the stage for the most important gig of their career. Clark and Jorge’s efforts pay off. Richie is privy to the birth of a legendary music venue. “Alibi” was written by Terence Winter and directed by Allen Coulter.
“Psychotic Reaction” was the title song off The Count Five’s only studio album from 1965. John “Mouse” Michalski was on lead guitar; Roy Chaney was on bass guitar; John “Sean” Byrne sang and played rhythm guitar; Kenn Ellner played the blues harp and banged a tambourine and Craig “Butch” Atkinson played drums. The band wore vampire capes in concert. “Psychotic Reaction” is a garage band classic.
“You’ll Be There” was the “B” side to “Rock And Cry” by Clyde McPhatter, who’d been singing since the 1950s. Best known for the songs “Little Bitty Pretty One” and “A Lover’s Question,” McPhatter started out in gospel before he sang for Billy Ward and His Dominoes and formed the Drifters. McPhatter died of a heart attack on June 13, 1972 at the age of 39.
“Treasure of Love” was a 1956 hit for Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters. McPhatter put The Drifters toghether as a backing group in 1953 with an eye toward mixing gospel and secular music. The singers he assembled were William “Chick” Anderson, Charlie White, David Baldwin (who was the brother of writer James Baldwin), James “Wrinkle” Johnson and David “Little Dave” Baughan with Willie Ferbee on bass and Walter Adams on guitar. The Drifters went through hundreds of singers in their half century and counting career, produced three specific golden periods and produced the late, great Ben. E. King.
“Glad” was off John Barleycorn Must Die, the fourth album by Traffic, which came out in 1970.
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren in 1933. It was one of Tony Bennett’s first records when he put it out in 1950 and rerecorded it in 1952.
“Pitiful” was off Soul ’69, the 16th studio album by Aretha Franklin.
“Without You” opened side two of the Doobie Brothers third album The Captain and Me from 1973. The song has two drummers.
“Ain’t Wastin’ no Time No More” was off The Allman Brothers Band’s Eat a Peach album.
“Hum Along and Dance” was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown’s the Temptations to scat to. The Jackson 5 closed side one of 1973 album G.I.T.: Get It Together. Jackie Jackson and Tito Jackson take the early leads and Michael and Marlon, who were probably dancing during the first verses, take to the mics at the end. Public Enemy sampled the track for “Prophets Of Rage,” which came out in 1989.
“Fencewalk” was written and recorded by Mandrill, a Brooklyn funk band formed in 1968 by Wilson brothers Carlos on trombone, Lou on trumpet and Ric on sax. All three sang. They were augmented by Claude ‘Coffee’ Cave II on key, percussion and vocals and Bundy Cenac on bass for the first album and Fudgie Kae Solomon (bass, vocals); Charles Padro (drums, percussion, vocals); Neftali Santiago (drums, percussion, vocals); Omar Mesa (guitar, vocals), Doug Rodriguez (lead guitar, vocals). Mandrill’s mix of funk and Latin beats had a big impact on Hip Hop.
Santana’s performance of “Soul Sacrifice” was one of the most exciting moments of the Woodstock festival and because it is one of the band’s most exciting songs. And they have a lot of exciting songs. Carlos Santana’s guitar is so lyrical that when people ask me what my favorite lyrics are, I say “Samba pa ti.” Carlos wrote “Soul Sacrifice” to welcome David Brown on bass for the band 1969 debut album, Santana.
“The Night Comes Down” was written by Brian May and comes off Queen’s first album Queen, which came out in July 1973. The classic rock band consisted of lead singer Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon or Deacon John, depending on his early mood. Queen recorded this song, along with five others, after they got a gig testing recording equipment at De Lane Lea Studios. It was re-recorded by producer Roy Thomas Baker, but the original demo was the track that made the album. The other version was never released – or even leaked.
“Penetration” was off Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power album, which came out on February 7, 1973.
The ballad “Gimme Danger” was also off Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power, which was mixed by David Bowie.
“Woman Like You” by the Nasty Bits.
“Reet Petite and Gone” was recorded by rock and roll precurser Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five for the 1947 movie of the same name directed by William Forest Crouch. Louis Jordan was the “King of the Jukebox” from the 1930s to the early 1950s. Jordan brought jump blues to the big-band swing era of the 1930s.
“Kick Out the Jams” was off MC5’s debut album from February 1969. The album was recorded live at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom over two nights, Devil’s Night and Halloween 1968. HBO’s Vinyl season 1 happens every Sunday at 9.