Archive for August, 2008

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It Was 40 Years Ago Today

August 30, 2008
 

 

The picture sleeve of the British release of the historic 45 single released on August 30, 1968

The picture sleeve of the British release of the historic 45 single released on August 30, 1968

It was (40!) years ago today that the Beatles issued their first release on their own Apple record label in Britain, a 45 single, Hey Jude with Revolution on the B Side (or were they both A sides?). (Yes, the USA version was issued on August 26 but it didn’t have a cool picture sleeve that is seen here, the USA 45 single releases, for a period, had no picture sleeves, just the new Apple logo.)
 
It was a huge, huge hit for the Beatles that eventually became the biggest-selling debut release for any record company. It has been estimated that the single sold over eight million copies worldwide. It was the number one song in 11 countries.

 

Here in the USA Hey Jude remained in the number one position on the Billboard charts for nine consecutive weeks (September 28 – November 23). Another unusual element about the record was it shattered the standard 3-minute limit radio stations almost demanded in a song, clocking in at seven minutes and 11 seconds. It was recorded on July 30, 1968 during the Beatles’ White Album recording sessions at EMI Studio 2 although the band chose not to put it on the double disc set.
 

 

The USA version of the historic 45 record.
Something else that was unusual was the flipside, Revolution, was being flipped over and played by radio DJs and it was charted at number two in the Record World charts.
So what’s the big deal about this particular single? It was the song played (several times) at a school dance (in Apple Creek, Ohio) I attended that year where I slow danced with a girl (actually two) for the first time. At that dance I recall ‘slow’ dancing with Denise and Brenda (I was still in grade school and nervous) although as the song played on I got more ‘comfortable’ to the point that a teacher walked up to Denise and I and decreed we stand apart a bit more (we were getting a bit….too close….).

Wonderful memories set to song.And it’s the only vinyl 45 single record I still have in my possession after all these years. You can catch the Beatles during the recording sessions of the White Album on a YouTube clip.

 

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Run-Run-RUNAWAYS!

August 29, 2008

A publicity photo of the Runaways taken a couple months before I saw them in Massillon, OH.

Recently while driving down the road with my youngest son (25-years-old) the song ‘Tush’ by ZZ Top came on the radio. I mentioned to him how I liked Joan Jett’s version and we started talking about her. He had no idea she was in a band, The Runaways, prior to forming Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. So I told him about having all their albums, a few 8-tracks and seeing them live a couple times back in the day.

 

The next day I surfed online for some Runaways information to see what LPs were available on CD and came across the news that drummer and co-founder Sandy West had passed away on October 21, 2006 at the age of 47 of lung cancer. I had no idea. It was a sad moment because I instantly flashed back to a night in 1976 when Sandy took the time to talk to myself, Flash, Mott and Bug.

 

Joan Jett and Sandy West formed The Runaways in August 1975 and by the first of the year rock magazines like Creem, Circus, Hit Parader, Who Put The Bomp!, Cleveland Scene and even a British paper or two (I got them all back then) had begun writing about a new LA band made up of teenage girls who weren’t bubble gum or sugar coated, they were hardcore rockers (the term punk was also being bandied about). That new band was The Runaways and producer Kim Fowley, who always made the magazines, was their producer.

 

In March ’76 they entered the studio, recorded their first album, The Runaways, and went on tour amid lots of hype and media coverage. On June 1, 1976 The Runaways’ debut album was released and I dutifully bought it, I think at Far East Audio in Wooster, OH. I also picked up the 8-track for the Lincoln (I had a all black ’63 Lincoln Continental Towncar with suicide doors in mint condition).

 

Soon after word filtered out that The Runaways were going to be playing at The Wine Cellar in Massillon, OH, a nightclub. When the night came Flash, Bug, Mott and myself headed east to Massillon and caught their show. My Gawd, it was true! They were only 16 and 17! Jailbait!

 

It was a hot, sweaty, sticky night with a full crowd in attendance and while a bit sloppy I guess, The Runaways rocked the house by sheer enthusiasm, tenacity and guts. You couldn’t help but like them even though they were on par with some of the local bands talent-wise at that time.

 

After they were done we hung around for a couple more drinks and while getting ready to head out we walked by Sandy West who apparently was coming out for a cigarette before they closed The Wine Cellar for the night. We stopped and complimented her and the band and she was, looking back, gracious enough to stop and talk to us for a good 15 or 20 minutes.

 

She was fun, cute, friendly and loved rock ‘n roll.

 

That was a night we had a ton of fun. The original line-up of The Runaways that night consisted of Joan Jett (16), Sandy West (16), Lita Ford (17), Jackie Fox (16) and Cherie Currie (16).

 

I saw them one other time, on March 13, 1978 (three days before my oldest son was born and a day or two before a HUGE blizzard hit this area) at the Flying Machine in Akron, OH. The band line-up at that time included, Jett, West, Ford and Vicki Blue.

 

Apparently there is a film, Edgeplay, a Runaways documentary. I need to find that. One caveat is Joan Jett reportedly refused to have anything to do with the documentary personally.

 

After The Runaways broke up in 1979, Sandy West formed the Sandy West Band as a singer, drummer and guitarist. She released one solo EP.

 

For more information on Sandy, Rocket City Records has a great tribute online, the Sandy West Tribute.

The late Sandy West in action. Tom Golden Photo

The late Sandy West in action. Tom Golden Photo

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It’s All In The Name Pt. II

August 29, 2008
The Bandit from the '77 film. I named my second grandson after this character. It fits!

The Bandit from the 1977 film. I named my second grandson after the character in this movie. It turned out to be appropriate!

 A week or two ago we informed you how my wife and I were given the honor of naming our two oldest grandsons born to our daughter and son-in-law (we have a total of four grandsons and another grandbaby due February ’09. The last three belong to our oldest son and daughter-in-law). Our oldest grandson, Hunter, was named after rock ‘n roll great Ian Hunter. With our second grandson the name fell upon me after M-O-N-T-H-S of arguing, negotiating and bargaining about names between my wife and daughter. Fed up, they bestowed the honor on me to make the selection.
 
One Friday night, almost five years ago, my wife and daughter were still arguing over the name when Hunter and I jumped on the couch to watch a movie. I wanted him to see one of my favorite movies from the 70’s, Smokey & The Bandit (c’mon, Gleason is a genius!). As we were watching the movie they came to the part where the Bandit (Burt Reynolds) had just gotten Frog (Sally Field) in the car and as he was relating his life story she asked him about the name Bandit, It was then that the Bandit said, ‘My name is Beau Darville’ and it hit me! Beau!
 
A cool name (in my opinion), a masculine name and hell, the Bandit, in the first movie, was a pretty cool dude with some attitude that is not unlike some members of my family (the first time I saw Smokey & The Bandit back in 1977 I swore it was a loose adaptation of my older brother Don’s life!). So Beau it was!
 
And yes, as it turns out, my grandson Beau does have some of the Bandit’s attitude!
 
He will be five years old next April so look out school!

 

 

My second grandson, Beau 'The Bandit'. Photo taken a little over three years ago. He is definitely has some 'Bandit' attitude and it's all good!

My second grandson, Beau. This pic was taken a little over 3 years ago. He definitely has some ‘Bandit’ attitude so the name is very much appropriate!

 

 

 

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(Richfield) Coliseum Rock(ed)!

August 17, 2008
The Richfield Coliseum 1974 - 1994 20 years of the greatest rock 'n roll.

The Richfield Coliseum 1974 – 1994 20 years of the greatest rock ‘n roll!

 Back in the early 70’s for the most part all of us concert-goers went to see the big name acts at relatively smaller venues, like the Akron Civic Theatre, Cleveland Public Hall, Music Hall, Canton Civic Center and others. With the advent of arena rock concerts nationwide northeast Ohio got their own when in 1974 the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, OH, halfway between Akron & Cleveland and the brainchild of businessman and NBA franchise owner Nick Mileti, opened for business and served as home for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders, NHL’s Cleveland Barons, MISL’s Cleveland Force, MISL & NPSL’s Cleveland Crunch, the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks, and the AFL’s Cleveland Thunderbolts.
 
Music, particularly rock ‘n roll, figured prominently into the mix thanks to an arrangement with Ohio super-promoters Belkin Productions. The first musical performance to open the Richfield Coliseum was Frank Sinatra. The first rock concert was held soon after with Elton John headlining on November 4, 1974. From there on out during the next two decades it was a non-stop carousel of nearly ever and any band that had a tour bus coming to play the ‘big house’ (seating 22,000).
 
It was a big, big place but, and others may disagree, for the most part the acoustics weren’t that bad (except anytime Aerosmith played). And me and my pals, and dates, and whoever else, were there for the best bands. For instance: KISS, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Who, J. Geils Band, Queen, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson, Rod Stewart, Thin Lizzy, Tubes, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Foghat, Starz, Sammy Hagar, Boston, Ted Nugent, Babys, Rick Derringer, Angel, Peter Frampton, Black Oak Arkansas, Journey, Michael Stanley Band, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Mother’s Finest, Heart, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, and the list goes on and on.
 
Most of my experiences were all positive. The police and security were pretty cool as long as you weren’t obvious or just a dumbass. There were plenty of restrooms with the mandatory pools of piss-on-the-floor of course and lots of eye candy and easy access to seats.
 
And you also had the opportunity over the years to see certain favorite bands multiple times.
 
Some of my memories of the Richfield Coliseum:
 
A big brouhaha immediately after the 1974 Elton John concert erupted when Richfield Zoning Commissioner Richard Crofoot went ballistic after seeing someone light up a joint during Sir Elton’s performance. He attempted to pass legislation to ban rock concerts at the Coliseum. He failed. It made all the local newspapers and regional and national rock publications.

My cousin Sue had two extra tickets to the Eagles in 1975 so I snatched them up for myself and a date. We ended up sitting next to my cousin and her date, a young fellow who eventually became a Mayor, State Representative and State Senator here in Ohio. (Dan Fogelberg, who recently passed, was opening act).


KISS mania had taken hold at high schools all across Ohio and everyone had KISS Alive and Destroyer. We hardcore KISS fans had everything they had done of course. For the March 9, 1976 KISS/Artful Dodger appearance at the Richfield Coliseum Flash and I went to the Ticketmaster location at the Belden Village Mall and bought three complete rows of seats. One row was around six rows below the other two rows. So we went to Orrville and sold most of them (at cost) to our pals (so we could control who we sat with). I had people in school (my senior year) who never spoke to me coming up asking if I had any tickets left and pleading for one. The power! A few tickets we gave away to some very charming young ladies and we kept two each. (I’d tell you the ‘details’ of that night but I have five grandchildren who may read this someday.)

Led Zeppelin on January 24, 1975 that saw a mini-riot erupt and thousands and thousands of dollars worth of broken window glass by a group outside who were unable to get tickets. That made the papers.

The Who on December 9, 1975. Nuff’ said.

I think I saw Aerosmith there at least four times at the Coliseum and only once was the sound working right and you could actually hear the band. Guess they were just jinxed there.
 
After a Ted Nugent/J.Geils Band show Bug, Mott & myself shaking hands with Peter Wolfe. As we came out of the Coliseum we walked by a couple limos and in the back of the first one with the window down was Peter Wolfe sitting between two lovely ladies with a drink in hand. We stopped, told him, “You guys kicked ass!” His response? “I know!” He slapped us each a high five and off we went.

I remember the Foghat/Starz show on February 20, 1978 because my pal Rog caught a flying drumstick from Foghat drummer Roger Earl. The two bands always kicked ass live.
 
I remember not expecting much out of Rod Stewart on November 4, 1977 because he didn’t have Faces with him (they were killer in ’75 at the Stadium). Wrong. Stewart kicked ass that night, had everyone out of their seats and had the audience n the palm of his hand.

Led Zeppelin on April 27 and April 28, 1977. Tickets were available via mail order only with a minimum number of tickets per order. So Flash and I got our money orders prepared and each ordered the maximum number allowed for both nights. We went to the Richfield Post Office and at midnight of the date orders could be postmarked we dropped our order in the mail (along with probably 100 others lined up). We got lucky and each got four tickets for both nights. First night was with dates, second night with buddies. The April 27 performance is a huge bootleg bestseller on the black market. Full details on this night can be found here: https://doclehman.wordpress.com/2008/03/09/

New Year’s Eve 1977 was celebrated at the Richfield Coliseum seeing Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and Derringer. A friendly law enforcement officer stopped us on the way home and inquired about our health and sent us on our way after promises of getting to Orrville ASAP and staying there. Derringer owned the night.
 
I remember taking three or four people for their first Angel concert on March 8, 1978 and them being blown away by Angel’s stage show.

I remember the January 8, 1978 KISS concert at the Richfield Coliseum because it took 20-25 minutes to get there and after the show we went to the car to be greeted by a mountain of snow. We had two blizzards that year (the second one, even bigger, in March) and the night of KISS was the first one. It took nearly three hours to get home, dodging sliding cars going backwards down Route 21 past us as I kept the hammer down on the Cutlass trying to get up those big hills with what seemed like five feet of snow and more coming down. We made it back to Orrville and were snowed in for three days.

I remember seeing Alice Cooper again later that year in ’78 because that was the first concert my older sister Cheryl had ever been to (we broke her in with that one!). That was May 5 and Jay Ferguson opened. A good time was had by all, as is the case anytime you see Alice Cooper.

Boston and Sammy Hagar on my birthday in 1978. Boston was good but Sammy laid the smackdown.

In 1978 went to see Black Sabbath and Van Halen. Had heard maybe one or two Van Halen songs on the radio at that point and none of us that went gave them much thought. We were there for Sabbath. Result: Van Halen whipped Black Sabbath performance-wise and musically like a bastard redheaded stepchild.

New Year’s Eve 1978 at the Richfield Coliseum: Bruce Springsteen. Nuff’ said.
 
Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson on September 22, 1979. One of my favorite concerts at the Coliseum. Too many reasons to list. But what a night!

Ian Hunter & the late, great Mick Ronson

Ian Hunter & the late, great Mick Ronson

There’s more, lots more (Tubes, Babys), but you get the idea. I’d like to hear from others about their experiences at the Richfield Coliseum.


 I know I saw well over 100 bands there during the 70’s and very early 80’s. A couple performances I missed that I always regretted were not seeing George Harrison (’74) and Paul McCartney (’76) on their respective tours because tickets were mail order and my orders didn’t get picked. I also went as far as making plans to buy tickets to see Elvis in 1977. One of my cousins saw him at the Coliseum in ’75 and convinced me I had to see him at least once. But right before the Cleveland tickets went on sale he died.
 
Lots of good memories there and lots of good bands came through many times. I think I saw KISS there four or five times, Aerosmith the same, Alice Cooper four times, Fleetwood Mac four times, the list goes on….
 
With the opening of Gund Arena in Cleveland the Richfield Coliseum was doomed. It shut down in 1994 and in 1999 was demolished and the property returned to woodland and under stewardship of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  You can find more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richfield_Coliseum  


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C’Mon! It’s Time!

August 16, 2008

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(Sir) Mac Meets (King) Jack

August 16, 2008
Paul & Linda McCartney meet Jack Kirby, known as the 'King of Comics', in 1976 at the LA Forum. McCartney was (and is) a huge fan of Kirby's artwork and creations. Photo (c)2008 Jack Kirby Estate

Paul & Linda McCartney meet Jack Kirby, known as the ‘King of Comics’.

It’s no secret the Beatles were, and are, comic book fans. Remember that spread of vintage Golden Age Superman comic books spread across the front of the piano that Paul was playing on in the hotel scene in the film HELP!? And during the 60’s Stan Lee would occasionally namedrop the Beatles in his monthly columns. But one night n 1976 comic book collector Paul McCartney met one of his favorite comic book creators, artist-writer Jack Kirby. The song Magneto & Titanium Man was on Sir Paul’s 1975 release as Wings, Venus & Mars. Both, of course, are bad guys in various Marvel comic books. And Jack Kirby is perhaps the greatest comic book creator….ever!

 

During Wings’ Wings Over America tour in ’76 the band was slated for three nights at the Los Angeles Forum and Kirby associates Steve & Gary Sherman set up a meeting backstage between Sir Paul and ‘King’ Kirby. Kirby gave Sir Paul & Linda a 14” x 17” pencil drawing featuring Magneto and the band. (Visit THIS website to see drawing.) During the concert Kirby and his family and associates sat near the front row and during the band’s performance of Magneto & Titanium Man McCartney dedicated the song to Kirby.

 

Jack Kirby (1917 – 1994) was a huge part of my childhood growing up being an avid comic book reader & collector back during the 60’s. This is the man who created or co-created Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Silver Surfer, Hulk, New Gods, Ironman, Challengers of the Unknown and so many others. Truly a extraordinary talent and visionary. 

 

If you visit the online Kirby Museum you can check out all the photos that Kirby’s daughter Lisa Kirby has posted as well as the pencil drawing given to McCartney in addition to some video clips from that night’s performance:  JACK KIRBY MUSEUM

 

If you are a fan of Jack Kirby you need to buy the new Kirby: King of Comics book by Mark Evanier.  You can get info HERE.

 

 

Mark Evanier's new book on Jack Kirby. One of two.

Mark Evanier

 

 

 

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It’s All In The Name

August 15, 2008
Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter

The previous post with Ian Hunter commenting on Marc Bolan reminded me of the time I emailed Ian Hunter’s The Horse’s Mouth to let him know the first of my four grandsons was named Hunter in his honor, something that I am sure has happened a bazillion times over the years. (Our daughter and son-in-law gave my wife and I the duties of selecting their two sons’ first names.) Ian Hunter’s reply was funny and reminds us of how time flies:

 

“Bloody hell – it used to be babies – now its grand babies! Congrats!” – Ian Hunter

 

The photo of ‘my’ Hunter (below) was taken when he was two years old. He is now seven and enters the first grade next week. I used an older photo because it’s colorful (like his namesake), he is standing in front of his cousin’s race car, and I just like the pic.

 

Grandkid #5 due February-March 2009!

"My" Hunter, named after the great rocker. And yes, he has a guitar!

“My” Hunter (Grandson #1 of 4), named after the great rocker. And yes, he has a guitar!

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