Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

Elite Eight Part 2 – Beatles vs. Wilson Pickett and Bob Dylan vs. The Rolling Stones

27 Mar

Something about the favorites. The initial voting on the #1 vs. #8 match and #4 vs. #5 match has proven that the favorites get most of the love. Will this extend into our second round of Elite Eight voting? I guess we will find out soon.

Just a few housekeeping notes prior to the match-ups. Yes, this was supposed to be up yesterday, but an unfortunate bout of food poisoning left me curled up in bed for most of the day. I will be traveling on business from tomorrow until Saturday so I will most likely not have a chance to post in that time span. On to the matches!

#2 Seed: Revolver by The Beatles vs. #7 Seed: The Exciting Wilson Pickett by Wilson Pickett

 

 

 

 

Wilson Pickett was so excited that he crushed The 13th Floor Elevators debut in a shutout. Revolver almost did the same to The Rascals. The battle of two first-round powerhouses. Do the Beatles have too much for Pickett to handle?

#3 Seed: Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan vs. #6 seed: Aftermath by the Rolling Stones

While Blonde on Blonde had an easy time taking down The Who in its first round match-up, the 6-seeded Rolling Stones album Aftermath was almost upset by Donovan’s Sunshine Superman, only beating the trippy Dylan-like album by a vote. While I offer a hearty congratulations to the Stones’ album, I would have been interested to see a battle between Bob Dylan and the British Bob Dylan. Alas, we have this great match between a classic Dylan album and a solid Stones composition. I see Dylan taking this one easily, though.

The Birds Who Knew How to Spell – The Birds’ Story

26 Oct

If there are two things I’d like for you, my faithful and always wonderful reader, to get from this Obscure Classic Rock post (besides the fact that I must come off as an obsequious music writer – I do have unpopular sentiments, trust me), it is that a band name is exceptionally important and that bands that famous classic rock musicians played in prior to the pinnacle of their success often go understated. We will get to the name part a little later. For now, I want to provide some commentary on the latter point.

Before talented artists hit it big in popular bands, they almost always start in another band. The band may contain members of the ultimately successful line-up, but, it is exceptionally rare that every member of the known line-up grew up and formed the band together. Now, usually the first band is fallow, raw, and, therefore, understandably unsuccessful. But we are talking about the 60s and 70s, man. Even the bands before the bands were awesome. So why didn’t they just succeed at the outset?

Remember a few posts ago I mentioned how the Seeds experienced decreased popularity by mid-1968. The Seeds, a very talented band that in a lesser talented year may have been among some of the top acts, were going up against bands like, hmm, let’s see, The Doors, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel – need I really continue? Quite simply, the talent was incredible, and unfortunately bands frequently fell between the cracks. One such band (keeping with the semi-Fall theme) was the Birds. No, not the Byrds. The Birds.

These Birds

And now we come back to the first thing I wanted you to take from this post. When you name your band, be original. Choose something that some other group (perhaps from across the pond) won’t think of. It is, though, rather impossible to anticipate same-name problems, so sometimes you must go on luck. The Birds and the Byrds were producing music at the same time, and at the height of The Birds’ British success, The Byrds’ version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” was just released (1965) by the British CBS Records. And, unfortunately for the Birds, it went to town on the UK single charts. A slight issue, right. While both bands might have spelt the avian animal’s common name differently, they pronounced the name the same, and that’s what did the Birds in.
 
The Birds are known as being Ronnie Wood’s first band. Wood later played with The Creation, Faces and, now, the Rolling Stones. Bassist Kim Gardner also got his start with the Birds, later playing in The Creation with Wood. The Birds, though, unfortunately get that “first band” title too often. They were a talented act that, in 1964, were labeled as the next big thing, receiving equal billing with the Who at some concerts.
 
The Birds were formed in 1964 when the members were teens in Yiewsley, London. In addition to Wood and Gardner, the band featured vocalist  Ali McKenzie, guitarist Tony Munroe, and drummers Bob Langham and Pete McDaniels. They originally called themselves the Thunderbirds (which was actually the name of a 60’s band from Iowa, but, one that did not achieve success equaling the Byrds, so if the Birds kept their original name, both bands would have probably been able to coexist.) They changed their names because they were to play a show on the same bill as Chris Farlowe whose backing band was named the Thunderbirds. Whole lotta’ name problems, hah?
The band earned a recording contract with Decca after a “Ready Steady Go” Battle of the Bands, and they released their first two singles “You Don’t Love Me” and “Leaving Here.” They would continue to release music (including “That’s All I Need You For” which was a never recorded track from the 1967 movie Deadly Bees)  until a lack of success led to the group, which at once held much promise, disbanding. But, like I mentioned, a lack of success did not mean that the band wasn’t good, and the Birds represent another great band that was not able to have sustainable success during what was both the best and worst time to be a musician (the mid-late 60s).
 
 
“That’s All The I Need You For” (which as you can see was only partially done for the movie. The end features Ali McKenzie’s reformed Birds line-up playing the song.) features McKenzie’s excellent R&B/Mod rock voice mixed with some quality guitar work.
 
 
“Leaving Here” is an excellent first release. Lively energy is emitted from the song in the fast-paced chord-heavy guitar track and the turned-up note-striking guitar solo. You can hear that British R&B (“maximum R&B”) much in the style of the Who, the Creation, the Smoke, and other Mod-style bands playing at the same time as the Birds. The music was dance-able, hyper and melodious (even with the fuzzy, loud guitar). And the Birds were excellent at creating it for the short time that they did play together.

Tangled Up in Blue: The Bands

8 Sep

The Beatles were the most popular rock band throughout the 60s, and many believed their reign of supreme rock band could not be challenged. Well, I’m going to give you two bands that definitely could put up a legitimate fight.

Led Zeppelin wasn’t just a band of musicians, but a conduit to the dark side.  They didn’t have to tune down to ungodly low notes or play loud or fast for their music to be bad ass because they weren’t mere mortals.  Jimmy Page wasn’t a guitar god, Robert Plant didn’t sing like an angel, John Bonham didn’t play drums like a sissy and John Paul Jones’ bass lines weren’t stairways to heaven.  Page was a demon, Plant howled like a Viking warrior, Bonham played like he was at war with his drum set and Jones’ bass lines were chutes to hell.  Check out How the West Was Won for 10 minute drum and guitar solos from some of the most talented musicians who ever lived!

The Rolling Stones are one of the few bands that could compete with Zeppelin and the Beatles for popularity.  In fact, the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll band was formed as an anti-Beatles (despite singing Lennon/McCartney songs on their first few albums). They contrasted the Beatles’ finely tailored suits and mop-tops with rugged and dirty looks.  Their image, however, wasn’t just a front.  Their music was the blues with attitude and I don’t mean Tony Robbins keep a positive outlook on life attitude.  It was at times mean (check out “Bitch” on Sticky Fingers) and at times tender (check out “Angie” on Goat’s Head Soup) but they always played with Attitude with a capital A.  The Stones are recognized for their sustained popularity, but I want to bring up a band that was just as good.

Faces played a similar Honky Tonk blues style and they played it exceptionally well, albeit for lesser years.  Check out pre-pop Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood (future member of the Stones) on guitar as they play a no-nonsense song about a one night stand.

The Stones and Zeppelin sold millions of studio records in their rise to popularity, but it was a live album that skyrocketed the Allman Brothers Band to stardom.  Unlike the previous bands, the Allman Brothers’ blend of blues was purely Southern and helped to create a Southern Rock sound emulated by many.  That album, Live at the Fillmore East, features two of the greats in the line of talented Allman Brothers Band guitarists.  Duane Allman’s slide guitar is unmatched and the interplay with Dickey Betts defines early Allman Brothers’ sound.  Current guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks are no slouches either.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey guys, Matt here. I just wanted to give Aaron Shipper, the author of this post, a full Music Court welcome. Aaron, a blues aficionado and lover of good music, has joined the small editorial staff at the Music Court and will be bringing you music posts in his “A Different Drummer” category two days a week. So, everyone please make Aaron feel at home!

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