Hello and Happy New Year!
Last week, we left off at just about the time the Beatles invaded America in 1964. By the end of the year and the begnning of 1965 there was a lot going on in LA.
The Sunset Strip is the name given to the mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California. It extends from West Hollywood’s eastern border withHollywood at Crescent Heights Boulevard, to its western border with Beverly Hills at Doheny Drive. The Strip is probably the best known portion of Sunset, embracing a premier collection of boutiques, restaurants, rock clubs, and nightclubs that are on the cutting edge of the entertainment industry. It is also known for its trademark array of huge, colorful billboards and has developed a notoriety as a hang out for rock stars, movie stars and entertainers. Glamour and glitz defined the Strip in the 1930s and the 1940′s,
by the early 1960s, the Strip lost favor with the majority of movie people and in the mid-1960s into the 1970s it became a major gathering-place for the counterculture — and the scene of the Sunset Strip curfew riots in the summer of 1966, involving police and crowds of hippies, serving as the inspiration for the
Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth
As the Strip became a haven for musical artists in the 1960s and 1970s, the Hyatt West Hollywood, as it is known today, became a hotel of legend. Many musicians lived or stayed at the hotel for the easy access to the live music venues on Sunset Boulevard. This is how the hotel became known by names such as the “Riot Hyatt” and the “Riot House”, thus serving as a redolent location for the Cameron Crowe film Almost Famous.
There were garage bands like The Standells, Beatlesque bands like The Byrds psychedelic bands like The Electric Prunes pop groups like The Turtles folk rock bands like The Mamas & the Papas still some surf music Jan and Dean and the transformative sound of the The Beach Boys with Pet Sounds
I did not like the Doors. I found them rather dark and, they had no bass player! How could any band have no bass player? Did I say there was no bass player, however, an old friend of mine Doug Lubahn did perform and work live with them. The End
My two favorite LA bands were Spirit with Fresh Garbage and I Got A Line on You Babe, The first Spirit album was purchased just because I thought the cover was cool. When I got home, I was immediately taken by both the songs and the musicianship! The original lineup of the group evolved from an earlier Los Angeles band, The Red Roosters, which included Randy California (guitars, vocals), Mark Andes (bass) and Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion). With the addition of Ed Cassidy (drums) and keyboard player John Locke the new band was originally named the Spirits Rebellious (after a book by Khalil Gibran) but was soon shortened simply to Spirit. Randy California had also played with Jimi Hendrix(then known as Jimmy James) in Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in 1966. Spirit were offered the spot right before Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, but they were advised to turn it down and concentrate on a promotional tour for their third album. Record company managers felt that the festival would not be significant, as it did not seem so at that time, and so they missed out on the massive international exposure that the festival and the subsequent film documentary generated.
and Love with Arthur Lee
7 and 7 is, Alone Again Or, and of course My Little Red Book which I have to thank the late Lloyd Thaxton for playing on his show. One of the first racially diverse American pop bands, their music reflected different influences, combining elements of rock and roll, garage rock, folk and psychedelia. Lee, who had lived in Los Angeles since the age of five, had been recording since 1963 with his bands, the LAG’s and Lee’s American Four. He had also produced a single, “My Diary”, for Rosa L Brooks in 1964 which featured Jimi Hendrix on guitar. FUnny how both these bands had a Hendrix connection! After viewing a Byrds performance, Lee determined to join the newly minted folk-rock sound of the Byrds to his primarily rhythm and blues style. Love started playing the L.A. clubs in April 1965 and became a popular act. At this time, they were playing extended numbers such as “Revelation” (originally titled “John Lee Hooker”) and getting the attention of such contemporaries as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. The band lived communally in a house once owned by horror actor Bela Lugosi, and their first two albums included photos shot in the garden of that house.
The first 3 LP’s Love, Da Capo, and Forever Changes were important records for me growing up in the 60′s.
Other bands I used to listen to include:
The Association who besides being a very successful “sunshine pop” band were the first band to play the Monterey Po Festival in 1967.
The Seeds with Sky Saxon were one of the progenitors of “garage band” rock which later became punk rock.
The Music Machine were also a proponent of the “garage band” sound.
The Monkees What can you say about the “Prefab Four” that hasn’t been said before. I must tell you, I liked their music and loved the show. It is amazing to me that when my daughter is watching the Jonas Brothers, I expect to see Mickey Dolenz and the boys.
Iron Butterfly In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is the 31st best-selling album in the world, selling more than 25 million copies. Doug Ingle is reported to have said the title was an alcohol-slurred version of “In the Garden of Eden”, although this may be a bit of whimsy!
The Leaves The band was founded by bass player Jim Pons, inspired by hearing The Beatles while a student at Cal State Northridgein Los Angeles. Originally called The Rockwells, they werefraternity brothers who formed a group and then taught themselves how to play. Their first actual show was in the school gym with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. They were discovered by popular singer and actor Pat Boone, who got them their first record contract.
Sonny and Cher started their career as backup singers for Phil Spector.
Dino, Desi, and Billy was a 1960s singing group featuring “Dino” Martin (Dean Paul Martin, the son of traditional popsinger Dean Martin), Desi Arnaz, Jr. (Desiderio Arnaz IV, the son of television stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball), and their friend Billy Hinsche. Hinsche went on to tour, record and musical direct the Beach Boys
Gary Lewis and the Playboys were a pop group fronted by Jerry Lewis’s son Gary and their first hit “This Diamond Ring” was written by Al Kooper! The group auditioned for a job at Disneyland, supposedly without telling Disneyland employees about Lewis’ celebrity father. They were hired on the spot, audiences at Disneyland quickly accepted them, and the Playboys were soon playing to a full house every night. Band leader Les Brown had known Jerry Lewis for years, and he told record producerSnuff Garrett that the younger Lewis was playing at Disneyland. After listening to the band, Garrett thought using Gary’s famous name might sell records. Garrett took them into a recording studio with the song “This Diamond Ring” in a session financed by Jerry Lewis’ wife Patti. However, according to Lewis, the Playboys weren’t allowed to play their instruments except on the backing tracks. Garrett wanted to maximize the chances for a hit, so he insisted on using experienced studio musicians for the overdubs, which included guitar and keyboard solos, additional bass and drum overdubs, and timpani. These musicians included Tommy Allsup on guitar, Leon Russell on keyboards, Joe Osborn on bass, and Hal Blaine on drums. Session singer Ron Hicklin did the basic vocal track. Garrett then added Gary’s voice twice, added some of the Playboys and more of Hicklin. Ed Sullivan had a general policy that all acts appearing on his show were to perform live (although one of his frequent guests, The Dave Clark Five, had lip-synched from their second appearance on, in early 1964) Since so many studio tricks had been used on the record, the Playboys could not re-create its sound. In compromise, Lewis sang along with pre-recorded tracks as the Playboys pretended to play their instruments.
The Merry Go Round is best known for producing singer/songwriter Emitt Rhodes
The Yellow Balloon was an American sunshine pop band, notable for featuring Don Grady (sometimes billed as “Luke R. Yoo”) of Mouseketeers and My Three Sons fame.
The group took its name as anhomage to theBeatles’psychedelic hit”Strawberry Fields Forever”. They are often thought of as a “one-hit wonder” although they charted five Top 100 songs as well as two Top 40 songs. The band was instrumental in the development of bubblegum pop music in the United States
Have a great week and tune in next week for
They’re An American Band Part 3 San Francisco