This article originally appeared in Issue 7 of Crawdaddy in December, 1966.
There’s a group you have to hear. They’re called the DOORS, and they’re the best new band I’ve heard this year. They’ve been playing at Ondine in New York, and may still be there as you read this. They have a single on Elektra (“Break on Through to the Other Side”) and an album which should be out in February. The album is a great experience: from “Break on Through” (“l found a country in your arms, island in your eyes arms are gone, eyes just lied—break on through to the other side!”) to “She’s a 20th Century Fox” to a perfect rock recording of “Alabama Song“ from Weill’s Mahagonny to (unbelievably) “The End,” a song which represents rock performing and audience-reaching and communication as it must be and never has been before. I kid you not: the Doors. They come from Los Angeles. Jim Morrison sings lead and writes most of their material; Ray Manzarek plays organ, piano, and celeste; Robbie Krieger plays guitar and occasional bass; John Densmore plays drums. I recommend their music unreservedly.
The MOODY BLUES have broken up. This is very bad news for all who appreciate good rock, particularly the many Americans who never heard the Moodies live. Consolation: Denny Laine is recording as a solo act. His first single is “Why Did You Come?” on the Deram label.
DONOVAN tours America tor two weeks in February, and is scheduled for The Ed Sullivan Show in April. Quite rightly. (And yes, that’s PAUL MCCARTNEY doing the whisper on “Mellow Yellow.”)
The BEAGLES now exist and have a CBS TV show and a Columbia recording contract. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
“Good Vibrations” is the fastest-selling Beach Boys single ever. No matter what you’ve heard, all the BEACH BOYS sing on “GV”; the instrumental work, however, is done by studio musicians. Some of the stranger sounds are from a theramin; now Brian wants a cathedral organ for the next album.
The TROGGS seem to be the victims of censorship; “I Can’t Control Myself,” an earthy but perfectly “clean” song, has reportedly been taken off the air in parts of America. My suspicion is that this quiet censorship has been more widespread than has been reported: the song made #2 in England, and made the Top 5 in numerous markets in America where it was given airplay The Troggs are an established group. But the song only went to #43 on the national charts. Apparently, radio stations all over the country never played it, or quietly dropped it, not because they found it objectionable but because they feared it might possibly be controversial. And once again, the consumer is forced out of the picture.
Mississippi John Hurt is dead at seventy-tour. Performers in the rock/blues field should note that “I’m Satisfied” is the only song of John’s on which he held the copyright. It was John‘s wish that his grandchildren have the opportunity to go to college; if anyone is interested in recording “I’m Satisfied”—say, as the B side of a single—John’s publisher has agreed to give his share of the royalties, as well as John’s share, to the Hurt family.
The YARDBIRDS play themselves in Blow Up, Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English language film. The director of La Notte saw the group at the Albert Hall in London, and asked them to appear, with Vanessa Redgrave, in his new movie. They perform an original number, “Strolling On.”
The rush is on to record TIM HARDIN songs. Tim’s “Reason to Believe” and “Hang On to a Dream” are being recorded by everyone in sight; “It‘ll Never Happen Again,” “Don’t Make Promises,” “Misty Roses,” and of course “Carpenter” are also well covered. Meanwhile, Verve-Folkways has re-released Tim’s own recording of “Hang On to a Dream”; with “If I Were a Carpenter“ on the flip side.
“Popcorn Radio” is the latest thing in exotic Georgia: deejays play a rock record, then a c&w tune, then another rock number. Response has been enthusiastic.
DION & the BELMONTS have reunited and have a single, “Berimbau,” on ABC.
A group called “The Hopeful” recorded a steal of Simon & Garfunkel’s “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night” called “6 O’Clock News/Silent Night,” and, just in case, the flip was “6 O’Clock News/America the Beautiful.” The record was never released.
JOHN SEBASTIAN is composing the score for You’re a Big Boy Now, a Seven Arts movie.
FOUR TOPS on The Ed Sullivan Show February 19.
The SPENCER, DAVIS GROUP have signed with United Artists in the U.S. Their current British hit, “Gimme Some Loving,” has just been released here. Go thou and buy.
Bootlegging is the latest evil to hit the record industry. A bootleg 45 is exactly the same as the real thing except that the company that legally pressed the song gets no return from it, the group gets no money, the songwriter gets no royalties. The profit goes to the storekeeper—or distributor or one-stopper—who bought the record for thirty cents instead of the forty-five to sixty cents he would usually pay, and to the bootlegger who paid ten to fifteen cents to have the record pressed illegally and who retains 100 percent of the profits. Centers of bootlegging seem to be New Jersey and the West Coast; the records bootlegged are largely r&b. In New York, a storekeeper was accused of buying bootlegs when a distributor found a record he hadn’t distributed yet on the shelves in this man’s store. In Boston, counterfeit copies of “Devil with a Blue Dress” and “I’m Your Puppet” abound—Bell Records indent the centers on their 45s, and the bootlegs can be identified by their lack of this indentation. Most counterfeits are not so easily identifiable, however; and we can expect things to get worse long before they get better.
The Boston rock scene is undergoing major upheavals: the REMAINS no longer exist, the LOST have lost their drummer and are on the verge of splitting, and the Essential Noise have broken up. Watch for a group being started by ex-Remain Vern Miller and Crawdaddy’s Jon Landau; watch for another group called The Bagatelle. Boston will rise again!
The BLUES PROJECT and SIMON & GARFUNKEL at Brandeis University December 10; S&G at Orchestra Hall Chicago February 10.
ABC Records has signed JIMMY REED and will record a new Reed LP on their Impulse label.
Contrary to persistent rumor, SANDY BULL is quite alive (and has been appearing at NYC’s Balloon Farm on St. Marks Place). Somebody should inform Vanguard Records of this fact.
Spain, where girls can marry at fourteen and boys at sixteen, has banned public dancing for all under eighteen.
LOVE increases. Michael Stuart has been acquired to play drums, etc.; Snoopy, formerly a concert pianist, has been moved over to the harpsichord/organ aspects of Love. And while Arthur Lee remains leader, his position as virtuoso is being threatened by another new member, Tjay Cantrelli, a woodwinds man with a strong jazz background. The second Love album, Da Capo, will be out in January.
JOHNNY RAY has a single out on Reprise, “Step Aside”; meanwhile, Ronnie Dove has recorded “Cry.”
Look for the HOLLIES on a U.S. tour with Herman’s Hermits starting December 23. Their next LP is out in England as of Dec. 2; watch for it here.
JOHN LENNON & PAUL MCCARTNEY are writing the score for the new Boulting Brothers film, All in Good Time (starring Hayley Mills). And Paul has just produced a single by the Escorts, “From Head to Toe.”
C@ WARD and the Gospel Singers are currently touring U.S. bases in Vietnam.
WHO’s “I’m a Boy” finally available here on Decca Records.
The BYRDS are without a producer. Allen Stanton has gone to A&M. Because of this, the group hasn’t recorded for months, and has no immediate plans to do so.
The KING BEES—world’s oldest underground group—have a new single on RCA: “Hardly, Part Three.”
Pete Quaife has rejoined the KINKS! Meanwhile, the group’s endless legal hassles about production contracts, etc., may have held up their latest U.S. single, “Dead End Street.” They have a new LP out in Britain, Face to Face, which by all rights should be fantastic. People are just beginning to realize how good the Kinks really are.
Next SPOONFUL single: “Nashville Cats,“ featuring ex-MFQ member Pat Diltz on banjo. Flip is “Full Measure,” a TigerLily song with words added.
Partial guest list at Brian Epstein’s party for the Four Tops November 13: John Lennon, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Charlie Watts, Georgie Fame, Donovan, Hilton Valentine, Eric Burdon.
ELVIS PRESLEY sings a Dylan song—”Tomorrow ls a Long Time”—on his latest movie album. By the way, anyone who thinks Presley has seen his day might note that Elvis‘s record sales reached an all-time high in the year 1965, and may be still higher in 1966!
Frank Sinatra forgot the words to “Strangers in the Night” opening night at the Sands.
Capitol Records has formed a folk music label, Folk World, and has signed Fred Neil as well as several new “folk-rock” acts. Folk World is intended as competition for Elektra, Vanguard, and Verve-Folkways, and is a strong indication that “folk music” is now regarded as an established facet of the music industry, one that will last as a strong market, boom or no boom.
JEFF BECK and JIMMY PAGE may leave the Yardbirds. The group’s latest single, “Happenings etc.,” almost failed to make the charts in both England and the U.S. And every day the individual members of the group seem further apart musically. Their live sound has degenerated. Fans of Dreja, Beck et al. should be happy to see them go their separate ways—it may well mean their return to creativity and professionalism.
GENE VINCENT is back with a wild single on Challenge Records.
CHUCK BERRY’s first Mercury album, expected in January, will be new recordings of his old hits, recorded with his old sidemen. Chuck is his own producer now, with studios in Berry Park.
Variety describes the crowd at an Indianapolis Beach Boys concert: “The young animals began to stir.” Tell it like it is, Variety, baby.
The flip of Bobby Darin’s follow-up to “If I Were a Carpenter’ is TIM HARDlN‘s “Reason to Believe.” The A side is not by Hardin, however.
The BEATLES are not splitting up. Look for a new single about January 6. Don’t look for a new album, though; if there’s any Beatles LP at all in the near future, it will be a greatest hits thing. Such an LP is planned for Britain, but there’s some doubt about how well it would sell here. As for this story about the BEATLES never appearing onstage again, it may turn out to be true, but it‘s by no means decided. Everything is in the rumor stage; the Beatles don’t have to tell people now what they may or may not do a year from now.
FRANKIE VALLI is the only original member of the 4 SEASONS left.
JERRY LEIBER & MIKE STOLLER have produced a Broadway comedy, Hail Scrawdyke!
The CHAMBERS BROTHERS, who will be in New England till February, then in NYC thereafter, have a single on Columbia: “Time Has Come Today”/“Dinah.” The latter is much better than the A side. The Brothers’ first hit is going to be “All Strung Out,” no relation to the Nino Tempo song, which Columbia should release in January.
Brace yourself: RAVI SHANKAR is recording the theme for BBC-TV’s “Alice in Wonderland” (which Jonathan Miller is producing).
BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND have a very nice, very commercial single called “Come On In,” written by Paul, Elvin, and Mike. Their managers, Albert Grossman and John Court, produced the record in Chicago in a very unpremeditated session just before the group went to England. The band will be in concert with Otis Rush at Boston’s Jordan Hall January 15, under the auspices of Club 47. Could be a historic event. Rush will then be at the club for a week; this is a rare chance for those on the East Coast to hear him.
SONNY & CHER’s “Little Man,“ which barely made Top 20 here, has been #1 in Norway, Belgium, and Finland, and very close to it in Germany, Denmark, Britain, and Australia.
GENE CLARK, ex-Byrd, is recording as a solo act for Columbia. His first single, “Echoes,” is now out; backing is by numerous strings, etc., but it is reported that most of the backup on Clark’s records will be done by the Byrds. “l Found You,” the flip of “Echoes,” is a considerably better song.
BIG BROTHER & the HOLDING CO. have a single on Mainstream, “All ls Loneliness”/“Blindman.”
Top 10 in England: “Good Vibrations” (Beach Boys); “Gimme Some Loving” (Spencer Davis Group); “Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. James” (Manfred Mann); “Reach Out, I’ll Be There“ (Four Tops); “Stop Stop Stop” (The Hollies); “High Time” (Paul Jones); “Green Grass of Home” (Tom Jones); “Holy Cow” (Lee Dorsey); “Distant Drums“ (Jim Reeves); “A Fool Am I” (Cilia Black). Note that neither Paul Jones nor Manfred Mann was hurt by their breakup.
Billboard magazine recently took note of the fact that “rock ‘n’ roll is now the major form of entertainment on college campuses.” One agent reported that the colleges account for 80 percent of the total concert market. This is very significant: for one thing it was sudden and unexpected (demand for rock acts at colleges has grown 400 percent in the last year!) and therefore the repercussions should just start occurring over the next year. It should mean a considerable increase in the quality of live rock: at college concerts, one expects less screaming, more concern about quality of performance, more appreciation of good performing. And the groups will probably have to play considerably more than the ridiculous twenty minutes that is standard at big teen concerts. Further, managers will have to start thinking of rock acts in terms of performing talent and not just in terms of record sales.
One thing Billboard didn’t notice: rock ‘n’ roll is slowly but surely conquering the college radio stations—and, concurrently, sales of rock LPs to college students are skyrocketing. The record industry is just beginning to realize this; when the fact sinks in, there’ll be some changes made.
The new ANIMALS are Johnny Weider, lead guitar; Danny McCulloch, bass; and—at least temporarily—Tom Parker on organ. Barry Jenkins remains on drums (“Hey Gyp” is the most brilliant white blues drumming on record) .The new Animals will be touring in the U.S.—playing college concerts—in February and March. Eric Burdon, who handpicked his new men, has an excellent article on America, race, and r&b in the December Ebony.
BRIAN WILSON calls his next single, “Heroes and Villains,” “a three-minute musical comedy, with some new production techniques that I think will surprise everyone.“ The next Beach Boys LP is now named Smile; nearly all the songs were written by Brian in collaboration with Van Dyke Parks, organist on many Beach Boys and Byrds tracks.
BERRY GORDY is trying to sign Welsh singer Tom Jones for Motown Records.
“Hello, Hello”/“Treadin’” is the first Kama Sutra single for Frisco’s SOPWITH CAMEL.
THE ASSOCIATION is currently on a cross-country tour; Renaissance, the group’s second album, is due shortly.
The MONKEES have received gold records for a million sales of “their” “Last Train to Clarksville” and their first LP, which is #1 nationally. They played a concert in Honolulu Dec. 3 for a five-figure guarantee. Money, money, money.
Los Angeles County supervisors have repealed the permit that allowed Sunset Strip clubs to admit eighteen to twenty-one-year olds who wished to listen or dance (as opposed to drink). This is a serious blow to the L.A. rock scene (currently turning out the best rock recording groups in the country); The Trip, Whisky A Go-Go, It’s Boss, Pandora’s Box, etc., have not been doing so well as it is. This new move will take away a third of their business.
The ALAN PRICE SET’s LP is out in England: The Price to Play.
The MAMAS & PAPAS failed to make the Top 20 with “Look Through My Window,” surprising almost everybody. They’re currently recording a new LP.
Sinatra’s “That’s Life” is getting airplay on r&b stations! It’s already a fantastic pop hit. The song was originally recorded by an unknown r&b singer, O.V. Smith, on Columbia; Smith’s version makes Sinatra sound like a pre-puberty teeny-bop.
TAJ MAHAL & the RISING SONS have a new single, “2:10 Train.” If the record doesn’t make it, they become Taj Mahal & Co., with somewhat different personnel from the original group, and continue to record for Columbia. Taj is too great not to make it sooner or later.
B. B. KING’s “Don’t Answer the Door” is #4 on the r&b charts. Bravo.
New Small Faces: “My Mind’s Eye.” Ask for it.
The DRIFTERS are getting quite a bit of airplay on “Baby What I Mean”; meanwhile, Clyde McPhatter has a new one on Amy: “A Shot of Rhythm & Blues.“
BOB DYLAN is most certainly not dead; he has three broken vertebrae, and will do no concerts (or anything else) for at least the next few months. There are no sessions scheduled, because he has no label at the moment. Negotiations are still going on for his re-contracting to Columbia Records, and he still might sign with someone else.
Signe Anderson is pregnant with her second child, and has disembarked from JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. Her replacement is Grace Slick (see the cover), formerly with the Great Society (the rest of the Great Society is in India).
HOMESICK JAMES and BILLY BOY ARNOLD have new albums out on Prestige, Blues on the South Side and More Blues on etc.
The Conn Corp in Elkhart, Indiana has announced that it is now prepared to amplify any instrument made.
DONOVAN’s “Mellow Yellow” LP has been recorded and should be out soon.
“Creators of Rain,” by Smokey & His Sister, may be one of ‘67’s more interesting singles.
JUNIOR WELLS’ “Up in Heah” is a smash in Chicago.
RCA has gone all out on the YOUNGBLOODS, whose “Grizzly Bear’ single is lovely.
New Albert King: “Crosscut Saw.”
All the above is necessarily the opinion of Paul Williams.