Posts Tagged ‘Fanny’

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UPBEAT: TV THAT ROCKED

April 18, 2012

If you were a young person in the 1960’s and early 1970’s who loved rock ‘n roll and lived in northeast Ohio and if you were anywhere near a television on Saturday’s at 5:00 PM from 1964 – 1971 you were more than likely tuned into the Upbeat TV Show that aired weekly over Cleveland’s WEWS Channel 5. Upbeat was a weekly music program that featured the top national, international and regional bands of the day.

“It was the first show of its kind that really wasn’t a dance party,” said David Spero to WEWS not long ago. David Spero is the son of Herman Spero, producer of the WEWS program The Old Dutch Polka Review, which would later be known as Polka Varieties. “Instead of having, like American Bandstand, where they’d have Frankie Avalon come on and sing two songs, all the rest was kids dancing to the records, he said ‘Let’s have 10 acts.'”


 Upbeat was a trendsetter having appeared long before Hullabaloo, Shindig, Where The Action Is and later, In Concert, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and the Midnight Special. It debuted on August 29, 1964 as The Big 5 Show, named so because it aired on Channel 5 at 5:00 PM on Saturdays. It was hosted by a variety of Cleveland area disc jockeys until Spero decided a permanent host was needed. Spero saw a young Don Webster hosting a Canadian dance party show and hired him to take over the soon-to-be-renamed Upbeat show.
 
After being hired by WEWS one of Webster’s first duties was to interview The Beatles during their Cleveland appearance.

                                       Don Webster & The Beatles – 1964
 
Soon after Upbeat’s popularity grew so large that Spero and WEWS began syndicating the show around the country, eventually appearing in 105 television markets.
 
Bands/performers would be brought in on a Friday and Spero, Webster and their staff would try to get them a booking at a local High School or club so they’d get some extra pay out of it.

The McCoys (Rick Derringer – left) w/ Don Webster

“We would tape it on Saturday afternoon, rehearsal started at nine, took a break at noon, came back at 1:30 and shot the show and hopefully it was done by five o’clock when you had to see it,” Spero explained. The videotape of one-hour “Upbeat” episode would be copied nine times and then sent to a station in each of the top ten markets (such as New York, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas) broadcast and then that station would sent to a station in the next lower market size, shipped or “bicycled” from market to market.

It didn’t take long for acts who appeared on Upbeat to eventually be seen nationally after a month or so of the tapes making the rounds.

Eric Burden & The Animals appeared

Over the years a virtual who’s who of national, international and regional bands performed numerous times on Upbeat, a few examples included Marvin Gaye & Tammie Terrel, Music Explosion, Velvet Underground, McCoys, Yardbirds, Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, John Kay, Steppenwolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Monkees, Sonny Geraci and The Outsiders, Canned Heat, Paul Revere & The Riders, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tommy James, Sly and The Family Stone, Terry Knight and the Pack,  Johnny Nash, Billy Joe Royal, Stevie Wonder, Gene Krupa, Steam, Box Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Eric Burdon, Lou Christie, The 5th Dimension, Gene Pitney, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Otis Redding, Bar-Kays, the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Fanny, Scott MacKenzie, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Circus, The Toys, American Breed, Steve Colt, The Chylds, The Fifth Estate, The Sonics, Doughboys, Pleasure Seekers, Tiffany Shade, London & The Bridges, The Debutantes, Cyrus Erie, Kickin’ Mustangs, John Sebastian and The Lovin’ Spoonful, Bob Seger, GTO’s, The Shangra-La’s, Spanky and Our Gang, Peter and Gordon, Simon and Garfunkel, Chubby Checker, Grasshoppers, Gary Puckett and Union Gap, Pete Best, Left Banke, Raven, James Gang, Eric Carmen, Choir, Damnation of Adam Blessing.

The legendary BB King

One memorable guest who appeared performed for the last time. On December 9, 1967, after appearing on the Upbeat show and doing a gig in Canton, OH, Otis Redding subsequently died in an airplane crash on the way to his next gig in Madison, WI. “The end of the show was him (Redding), with the Bar-Kays and Mitch Ryder singing ‘Knock On Wood’,” Spero said.
 
Over the years Upbeat featured several ‘house bands’ to back up solo performers. Upbeat house bands were Dave C and the Sharptones, The Grasshoppers (of which the late Ben Orr of the Cars was a member), Rapid Transit and the People’s Choice (Puzzle People).

The Cowsills

Another selling and focal point to the Upbeat show were the ‘Upbeat Dancers’ who performed during various guests’ performances. Maurice “Hank” Nystrom, who went on to national acclaim, was Upbeat’s choreographer (1968 – 1971) when the show was televised to 105 cities nationwide.

Over the years Upbeat Dancers included Jean Hagedorn. Linda Mulcahey, Arline Burks, Jacquelyn Carson, John Magill, Mary Lynn Curnayn, Arlee Gibson, Constance Gibson, Michael Ray, Linda Mulcahy, Kim Havrilla, Arline Burks, Mary Lynn Curnayn, Jacquelyn “Jackie” Carson, Peggy Miller, and Diane Rini, among others.


 After Upbeat ended in 1971 Webster remained at WEWS until his retirement in 1999. He did weather, hosted the Ohio Lottery show, Academic Challenge, The Gene Carroll Show, Bowling for Dollars and anchored Live On Five. Webster is now enjoying his retirement in South Carolina.

Mitch Ryder, Webster, Otis Redding

Ironically, Upbeat founder Herman Spero, who died in 1979 at the age young of 55, proposed to cable networks the idea of a music TV channel just before his death. HBO turned him down. Within a couple years MTV was born.

UPBEAT honored by Hall of Fame

Alex Chilton & The Boxtops appeared several times

The UPBEAT DANCERS

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Suzi Quatro & Sisters Reunite For Detroit Music Awards

April 9, 2012

(NOTE: Click on images to enlarge!)

Suzi Quatro and her sisters, Patti, Arlene & Nanci, who played together as The Pleasure Seekers, will be reuniting for a special appearance at the 2012 Detroit Music Awards on Friday April 27 starting at 6:00 PM at the Fillmore in Detroit.


 Grosse Pointe-born sisters Suzi, Patti, Nanci and Arlene Quatro formed
Detroit’s first and most famous all-girl garage-rock group, the Pleasure
Seekers, in 1964. After just a few weeks practice, the band dared Dave Leone to give them a slot at his popular teen nightclub, The Hideout, in Detroit. He put them on stage two weeks later and they never looked back.


These days most people are familiar with the 61-year-old Suzi Quatro, who’s well known for her string of U.K. and Euro hits.
 
“Our era rocked!” Patti Quatro told Bangagong! “Detroit was an explosion of music and groups at that time.”


 After starting out at The Hideout they were soon touring the Midwest and eventually even USO shows to Vietnam in 1967. Their first single, on the local Hideout label, was Never Thought You’d Leave Me. The flipside, What A Way To Die, was spotlighted in the cult drive-in film Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls.


They were also the first all-girl rock band to sign to a national label. Mercury Records inked the band in 1968 and they immediately released the single, Light Of Love that was aired nationally. The flipside was Good Kind of Hurt. I remember we had it in our 45 collection not long after it came out.


 Another early recollection I have of the band is seeing them on the Upbeat TV show based in Cleveland, OH on WEWS Channel 5. After seeing them it finally hit me, Hey! Girls can rock n roll and play guitar too! What a novel concept!


 The original line-up included Suzi Quatro (bass & vocals), Patti Quatro (guitar), Nancy Ball (drums) and Mary Lou Ball (guitar), and Diane Baker (keyboards). Eventually Arlene Quatro came on as keyboardist through 1969. (Of note, Arlene married manager Leo Fenn and their daughter is actress Sherilynn Fenn.) Other replacements included sister Nancy Quatro, Darline Arnone on drums and vocals and Eileen Biddlingmeier on rhythm guitar.


By 1970 they adapted the name Cradle and went with a much harder sound. Soon after Suzi left for England and a solo career and Patti went to California (in ’74) to join the all-female rock band Fanny while Suzi launched her solo career that continues to this day.

While they never achieved national superstardom, The Pleasure Seekers rocked the house, with attitude, throughout the Midwest and the east coast during the freewheelin’ sixties and helped pave the road for other all-female bands to come along and be taken seriously as hard rockers.


 In 2011 the Quatro sisters issued two retrospective CDs in an attempt to
finally document the history of the two bands they were involved in during the 60’s and early 70’s. The Pleasure Seekers: What A Way To Die covers the singles on Hideout and Mercury along with unreleased cuts from 1964 to 1969.  Cradle: The History is a live collection of unreleased original material recorded at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit.


 In December 2005 a documentary chronicling Suzi Quatro’s life, Naked Under Leather, directed by former member of The Runaways, Victoria Tischler Blue, appeared. In March 2007, Quatro released a version of the Eagles song Desperado followed by the publication of her autobiography, Unzipped.

Suzi Quatro has sold over 45 million records and was voted into Michigan Rock and Roll Legends in 2011.

                                                      SUZI QUATRO today
 
Tickets to the 2012 Detroit Music Awards are $20. Other musicians on
the bill will include Hip-hop hero Black Milk, garage-girl Amy Gore & Her Valentines, throwback crooner Ben Sharkey, swing group Planet D Nonet and country-twanger Paulina Jayne will all perform. Info at: http://www.detroitmusicawards.com

(c)2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!

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Pleasure Seeking in the 60’s

September 12, 2008

Don’t you just love those mini-skirts and go-go boots? The all girl band featured above isn’t the Runaways, the Go-Gos or the Bangles, the band pictured above is The Pleasure Seekers, formed in 1964 in Detroit, Michigan by 17-year-old Patti Quatro and her 15-year-old sister Suzi Quatro. They gained a reputation during the 1960’s as perhaps the best all-female garage rock band.

 

The band started out at a teen club called The Hideout and soon after were touring the Midwest and eventually even USO shows to Vietnam in 1967. Their first single, on the local Hideout label, was Never Thought You’d Leave Me. The flipside, What A Way To Die, was spotlighted in the cult drive-in film Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls.

 

They were also the first all-girl rock band to sign to a national label. Mercury Records inked the band in 1968 and they immediately released the single, Light Of Love that was aired nationally. The flipside was Good Kind of Hurt. I remember we had it in our 45 collection not long after it came out.
 
Another early recollection I have of the band is seeing them on the Upbeat TV show based in Cleveland, OH on WEWS Channel 5. After seeing them it finally hit me, Hey! Girls can rock n roll and play guitar too! What a novel concept!
 
The original line-up included Suzi Quatro (bass & vocals), Patti Quatro (guitar), Nancy Ball (drums) and Mary Lou Ball (guitar), and Diane Baker (keyboards). Eventually Arlene Quatro came on as keyboardist through 1969. (Of note, Arlene married manager Leo Fenn and their daughter is actress Sherilynn Fenn.) Other replacements included sister Nancy Quatro, Darline Arnone on drums and vocals and Eileen Biddlingmeier on rhythm guitar.

 

By 1970 they adapted the name Cradle and went with a much harder sound. Soon after Suzi left for England and a solo career and Patti went to California (in ’74) to join the all-female rock band Fanny.

 

By while they never achieved national superstardom, they rocked the house, with attitude, throughout the Midwest and the east coast during the freewheelin’ sixties and helped pave the road for other all-female bands to come along and be taken seriously as hard rockers.

 

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