Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Money for Nothing” is a song by British rock band Dire Straits, the second track on their fifth studio album, Brothers in Arms (1985).

This song is about rock star excess and the easy life it brings compared with real work. Mark Knopfler wrote it after overhearing delivery men in a New York department store complain about their jobs while watching MTV. He wrote the song in the store sitting at a kitchen display they had set up. Many of the lyrics were things they actually said.

Sting sings on this and helped write it (he and Knopfler are the credited writers). That’s him at the beginning singing “I want my MTV.” Sting did not want a songwriting credit, but his record company did because they would have earned royalties from it. They claimed it sounded very similar to a song Sting wrote for The Police: “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”

Dire Straits recorded this in Montserrat. Sting was on vacation there and came by to help out.

The innovative video was one of the first to feature computer generated animation, which was done using an early program called Paintbox. The characters were supposed to have more detail, like buttons on their shirts, but they used up the budget and had to leave it as is. It won Best Video at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.The video was directed by Steve Barron, who also directed the famous a-ha video for “Take On Me” and Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.”

In the book I Want My MTV, various people who worked at the network explain that Dire Straits’ manager asked the network what they could do to get on the network and break through in America. Their answer was: write a hit song and let one of the top directors make a video. Mark Knopfler took the directive to write an “MTVable song” quite literally, using the network’s tagline in the lyrics. The song ended up sounding like an indictment of MTV, but Les Garland, who ran the network, made it clear that they loved the song and were flattered by it – hearing “I Want My MTV” on the radio was fantastic publicity even if there were some unfavorable implications in the lyrics.Steve Barron was dispatched to do the video, and charged with the task of convincing Mark Knopfler, who hated videos, to do one that was groundbreaking. Barron says that Knopfler wasn’t into the idea, but his girlfriend – an American – was at the pitch and loved the idea. Knopfler agreed (in part because he didn’t have to appear in it), and Barron hired a UK production company called Rushes to work on it. Said Barron: “The song is damning to MTV in a way. That was an ironic video. The characters we created were made of televisions, and they were slagging off television. Videos were getting a bit boring, they needed some waking up. And MTV went nuts for it. It was like a big advertisement for them.”

Twenty-five years after the song’s release it was banned from public broadcast in Canada after one person complained about it being homophobic. The original version included a description of a singer as “that little faggot with the earring and the make-up” plus two other uses of the word “faggot,” although a cleaned-up edition was made available, Oz-FM in Newfoundland played the first edition in February 2010 at 9:15 at night. The result was a single complaint and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that the unedited version of the song was unacceptable for air play on Canadian radio stations because it “refers to sexual orientation in a derogatory way.”Knopfler has pointed out the song was written from the viewpoint of a stupid character who thinks musicians make their “money for nothing” and his stupidity is what leads him to make ignorant statements. Speaking in late 1985 to Rolling Stone the Dire Straits songwriter expressed his feelings about people who react angrily to the song. He said: “Apart from the fact that there are stupid gay people as well as stupid other people, it suggests that maybe you have to be direct. I’m in two minds as to whether it’s a good idea to take on characters and write songs that aren’t in the first person.”Common sense finally prevailed on August 31, 2011 when the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council put an end to the ban and allowed individual radio stations to once again decide for themselves whether to play the classic rock tune.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

There are many bands that got their start at CBGB–70s punk bands that became famous by playing at CBGB in NYC. CBGB was a legendary music club located at 315 Bowery at Bleecker Street in Manhattan. While it was originally intended by its founder, Hilly Kristal, to feature Country, Bluegrass and Blues (hence the name CBGB), it became a forum for American punk, rock and New Wave bands that launched the careers of some of the most famous musicians of our time.

Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40′s, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk.

Playing with the New York Dolls and fronting the Heartbreakers, Johnny Thunders embodied punk rock from day one. Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan from the Dolls hooked up with bassist Richard Hell and guitarist Walter Lure, to form the Heartbreakers. They took CBGB napalm sound to England when they relocated in the mid-70s. Everyone from the Pistols to the Clash took note of the Heartbreakers’ nuclear Yardbirds sound and in-a-street-gang cool.

Who was Johnny Thunders. He was the New York Doll-turned-junkie poster boy who had it all.

Never one to blend into his surroundings, Johnny always stood out from the crowd: long, spiky hair, and a penchant for borrowing his girlfriend’s clothes. His style was extreme. “He had high-heeled boots, velvet jackets and pants, bowling gear,” says Heartbreaker Walter Lure. “I’d see him at all the shows – mostly the British bands, as opposed to the Grateful Deads and Jefferson Airplanes – so I’d seen him around for years. Then when the Dolls started happening I said: ‘Holy shit! There’s that guy.’”

The New York Dolls’ seismic effect on rock’n’roll has already been covered in forensic detail elsewhere. Suffice to say, in the admirably concise words of Richard Hell, “The Dolls were for New York groups what the Sex Pistols were for British groups.”

The Dolls’ rapid ascent from Manhattan drag bars to Wembley Empire Pool (now the Arena) elevated the expectations of the newly renamed Johnny Thunders through the roof.

Johnny Thunders was the first punk rock guitar hero, earning a cult following for his noisy but epic style a few years before the insouciant new music gained its name. Following in the footsteps of his idol and role model Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders lived the ultimate rock & roll life.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Since CBGB closed its doors nine years ago, there has been a gaping hole in the cultural heart of New York City. Places like this Bowery staple can never be planned; they are organic, nurtured by time, place and chance. This filthy, dirty, little club launched and cradled hundreds of performers during its 30-plus-year run — many forgettable and some downright awful. But for a small select group, it was a game changer for both the artists and music lovers everywhere.

The Cramps all got their start in this single-shop-front-sized, graffiti-scarred, ground-floor sweatbox. Its stage was tiny and toilets hellish, but its bar huge, clientele legends-in-waiting and T-shirts (until this century only available at the venue itself) badges of honour.

The Cramps stood out from the rest of the CBGB scene with their playful concoction of rockabilly, surf rock, garage, and blues, framed in retro horror imagery and raunchy, pin-up style innuendo. But make no mistake, they were every bit as punk. They even requested that a fan club started in their honour called Legion Of The Cramped, be shut down because they were “real loners.” Respect.

Its stage was tiny and toilets hellish, but its bar was huge and clientele legends-in-waiting. CBGB was the perfect antidote to glam, glitter and disco – who knows what punk would be without it!

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

This week Vinyl Lair celebrates the historical night club CBGB & OMFUG and the bands that played there. The club’s full name was actually CBGB-OMFUG which stands for “Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.” It quickly evolved from a roots music venue to the home base for many bands.

Shortly after CBGB’s opened in 1973, the music club known the world over as CBGB OMFUG became a New York City icon. Widely regarded as the place where punk rock was born, the club hosted some of music’s most iconic bands who all used the club’s stage to forge their game-changing sounds.

Originally known as Frankenstein, The Dead Boys were a punk rock band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1976 after the breakup of Rocket From The Tombs. They adopted the name The Dead Boys when they relocated to New York City in July 1976 where they were active until 1979. They briefly reunited in 1986 and again in 2004 and 2005 without Stiv Bators who passed away in 1990.

At the invitation of Joey Ramone, the Dead Boys moved from Cleveland to New York City to join the thriving punk scene. Almost instantly, Stiv Bators, Cheetah Chrome and the boys became part of the CBGB gang, and took the mantle as one of the most exciting and violent bands to regularly play the club. Hilly Kristal even became their manager. Although Sire gave them a record contract — and released two of the group’s albums — the label put increasing pressure on the Dead Boys to soften their sound and image. What had worked for Blondie, Talking Heads and (to an extent) the Ramones broke up the Boys. Lucky for us, we still have classics like ‘Sonic Reducer’ to remind us of their uncompromising rage.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

It was august 25th 1975. Another pivotal night at CBGB’s. As the NYC scene (latterly marketed as punk) gradually took shape. Richard Hell’s Blank Generation joined ex-Doll Johnny Thunders’ Chinese Rocks in The Heartbreakers’ set. David Byrne’s Talking Heads featured Psycho Killer in their 16th CBGB appearance in ten weeks, and Blondie kicked off the night with a romp through Martha Reeves’ Heat Wave and the rest they say is history.

CBGB’s The storefront and large space next door to the club served as the “CBGB Record Canteen” (record shop and café) for many years. In the late eighties, the record store was closed and replaced with a second performance space and art gallery, named “CB’s 313 Gallery” The gallery went on to showcase many popular bands and singer-songwriters who played in a musical style more akin to acoustic, rock, folk, jazz,
or experimental music, such as Dadadah and Toshi Reagon, while the original club continued to present mainly hardcore bands and post-punk, metal, and alternative rock acts.

Here are some interesting trivia facts about Blondie/Debra Harry.

Blondie originally, they had two back-up singers known only as “Jackie,” “Julie,” “Tish,” and “Snooky” which they later shed.

Blondie’s formation came from the fruitful New York neighborhood around CBGB in the 1970s, and so shared new-wave and punk roots with Patti Smith (briefly sharing guitarist Ivan Kral), Ramones, New York Dolls, and the Talking Heads.

At the beginning of Blondie’s success in 1977, producer Mike Chapman took the band under his wing. Chapman was quite experienced with punk-type female leads – he had previously worked with Suzi Quatro. With the smash-hit single “Heart Of Glass,” the group had established themselves as a consumer-friendly pop-new-wave alternative band, with just enough of a punk tinge to be edgy. Under Chapman’s care, the album Parallel Lines became their breakout success, selling 20 million copies worldwide.

Debbie Harry has said that Marilyn Monroe was an influence on her style; however, her main intention was to invoke being blonde by itself, since it is associated with glamour, success, and desire.

A number of pressures led to the breakup of Blondie by 1982. The media focused on Harry to the point where the rest of the group felt like they didn’t exist (think No Doubt). Their popularity was starting to wane and they weren’t seeing the money they were used to. Morale was low and bickering broke out.

Blondie briefly re-formed in the late 1990s to early 2000s, and again in the late 2000s, with the original members Harry, Stein, and Burke. In 2008, they toured with Pat Benatar.

Debbie Harry was a Playboy bunny at the New York City Playboy Club from 1968-1973.

Chris Stein briefly played guitar in the 1960s in the short-lived garage band The Morticians, which later became the Baroque Pop quartet The Left Banke.

Harry suggested the name Blondie, inspired by the catcalls from men after she bleached her hair.

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were in a serious relationship for many years. They broke up on the same day their friend and fan Andy Warhol died: February 22, 1987.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

CBGB was the breeding ground for the universally influential 1970’s New York City rock scene. When Hilly Kristal opened CBGB & OMFUG (Country, BlueGrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gourmandizers) in December ‘73 at the intersection of Bleeker and Bowery in Manhattan’s East Village, he transformed a dilapidated biker bar into a crucible for the most influential artists of the era. Heres some interesting trivia on the most influential punk rock band to come out of CBGB’s.

The Ramones were a very successful but most of their albums didn’t sell very well and they didn’t earn widespread acclaim until the ’90s, when their influence on the genre became clear. They earned validation when they were induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2002.

When Joey Ramone died, the surviving members vowed to never perform together again. In 2014, the last of their original members died.

In 1979, they starred in the movie Rock And Roll High School. In the film, students try to get tickets to a Ramones show and end up taking over the school.

They were the first punk band inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The Clash and The Sex Pistols were eligible the same year (2002) but didn’t get in.

The Ramones were inspired by ’60s girl groups, particularly The Ronettes. Joey Ramone helped produce Spector’s 1999 solo album, She Talks to Rainbows, and duetted with her on the track “Bye Bye Baby.”

Joey started dating a girl named Linda Danielle in the late ’70s. He took her on tour, but she started having an affair with Johnny, forming a very uncomfortable love triangle. In 1982, she left Joey, and in 1984 married Johnny, taking the name Linda Ramone. They remained married until his death.The relationship between Joey and Johnny was already tense, but this ruined it completely. They remained bandmates long after, but the animosity never abated. Johnny didn’t attend Joey’s funeral.

They appeared on an episode of The Simpsons where they perform at Mr. Burns’ birthday party. They sing Happy Birthday to him and afterwards, Mr. burns says to Smithers: “Have the Rolling Stones killed!”

In their early years, their goal was to write a new song at every rehearsal, which resulted in lots of material to choose from.

Marky Ramone was fired in 1983, shortly before completion of the Subterranean Jungle album. He was replaced by Richie Ramone until 1987. Richie wanted money from T-shirt sales, and Johnny refused, so he was replaced for a few disastrous shows by Clem Burke of Blondie (as Elvis Ramone), before Marky rejoined.

When Joey died, The Misfits removed their own content from their website and replaced it with a picture of Joey. Social Distortion did likewise, displaying a photograph of Mike Ness and Joey Ramone as tribute.

The band name came from Paul Ramon, which was a fake name Paul McCartney used when The Beatles (known then as The Silver Beatles) were touring Scotland in 1960. Doug Colvin was a big McCartney fan and was using the name Dee Dee Ramone when the band formed. The rest of the group thought it sounded like a cool name, so they decided to use it as their band name and aliases.

For the most part, they were miserable in each other’s company, which was tough because they were in such close quarters. After they played their final show in 1996, they each packed up and left without saying goodbye.

Before their concerts, the Ramones would rehearse their entire set (unplugged) backstage.

In 1978, they opened some shows for Black Sabbath’s Never Say Die! tour. It did not go well. In an interview, Marky Ramone described one of the shows: “After about five or six songs, we got booed, we got every kind of coin tossed at us, and any other thing you could imagine, and we just said, “F–k you,” and we left the stage. We gave them the middle finger and walked off.”

As quoted in the book England’s Dreaming, Revised Edition: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond, manager Danny Fields says the Ramones first album cost six thousand dollars to make, explaining, “The album was just making a statement. like the picture on the cover, you put them in the alley behind CBGBs and make sure it’s in focus. They had invented themselves, and they could have probably done the album for six hundred dollars.”

They never appeared on Saturday Night Live, although they did have an offer. In 1977 when the planned musical guest, the Sex Pistols, couldn’t get into the country, producers asked the Ramones to fill in. They turned it down, and the gig went to Elvis Costello, who left his mark by stopping his performance and launching into a song he wasn’t supposed to play.

The Ramones T-shirt has become a ubiquitous garment. It’s estimated that more Ramones T-shirts have been sold worldwide than the band’s albums.

In March 1996, the Argentine branch of Coca Cola announced they would give away free tickets to a Ramones concert in Buenos Aires in exchange for 10 caps from bottles of the soft drink. Massively underestimating the band’s appeal in Argentina, Coca Cola didn’t make enough tickets available, resulting in hundreds of Argentine youths rioting. Several Buenos Aires stores and businesses were looted and destroyed during their rampage.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Hollywood Vampires is an American rock supergroup formed in 2015 by Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry to honor the music of the rock stars who died from excess in the 1970s. The members included Alice Cooper, Bernie Taupin, Harry Nilsson, Micky Dolenz, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Keith Moon.

In 2015, Alice Cooper formed The Hollywood Vampires band with actor/guitarist Johnny Depp and Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry. Their eponymous album was released on September 11, 2015. Cooper told Digital Spy: “It was one of those things we realized that – doesn’t matter what band you’re in; The Beatles, The Stones – every band was a cover band at one time. We all started in bars and we all started by playing other people’s music. So I said, ‘Why don’t we do an album dedicated to our drinking club The Hollywood Vampires?’ “In the early ’70s we used to go to the Rainbow every night; Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, and John Lennon when he was in town, and it was just a bunch of guys who met there every night and it was last man standing,” he continued. “Everybody was at the top of their game at the time, but now there’s only three of us left. Most of the guys, John, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison are all gone, so I said, ‘Let’s do an album dedicated to all our dead drunk friends.'”

Alice Cooper penned “My Dead Drunk Friends” with Johnny Depp and producer Bob Ezrin. It is one of two new tracks written for the album, (the other songs are covers). The track does what it says on the tin by paying tribute to his late drinking buddies. “Yeah, it was sort of a bar drinking song,” said Alice. “This one goes out to the crew, this one goes out to the wives, this one goes out to all of our dead drunk friends.”

Bob Ezrin came up with the idea for the song. Cooper told Eddie Trunk: “I like the title ‘All My Dead Drunk Friends.’ It’s just offensive enough to work, but all those guys would have totally got it. They had the same sense of humor. If you told them you were going to do an album after they were gone called ‘All My Dead Drunk Friends,’ they would have died laughing.”

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

A brief history of psychedelic rock. Black light posters, trippy music and high fidelity quad speakers. Psychedelic rock as another momentary fad, pretty much dead in the water by mid-1968, the influence of psychedelic rock runs long and deep.

Beginnings: Psychedelic rock originated on the American West coast out of the hippie movement of the mid-to-late 1960s. First taking root in the San Francisco Bay area, psychedelic rock’s popularity quickly spread throughout America and to Europe.

Images of the counterculture of the 1960’s, Woodstock, and big names such as Jimi Hendrix or The Doors are what people first think upon hearing psychedelic rock. In fact, many of the bands we consider to be pillars of classic rock are considered psychedelic rock bands. Even the earliest psych albums are influential to this day, each post 1960’s decade heralding a revival of the genre. Important features are heavy reverb, a large key presence (especially electronic organs), Eastern instruments and musical themes, long instrumental sections, and surreal lyrics that often reference the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Growing up on albums like Disraeli Gears and The Dark Side of the Moon were integral in the development of my personal music taste and exploring my own definition of music. Maybe this is why we love psychedelia- it reminds us of our parents, our grandparents, or our very first album. Perhaps it reminds you of the first song you heard on the radio.

The year is 1965. A clear youth counterculture has begun to emerge, experimenting in their usage of drugs such as weed, psilocybin, and LSD. A little over a decade has passed since the term “rock and roll” has been coined. The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13thFloor Elevators is released, its liner notes and album art explicitly advocating the use of LSD as a means of freeing the soul and expanding the mind. 13th Floor members Roky Erickson, referred to as the “godfather of psychedelic rock,” and Tommy Hall are credited with coining the term “psychedelic rock”.

Hall’s use of the electric jug in particular is a key element of reproducing the feel of an acid trip in music, emulating a bending of reality and a trance-like state. The lyrics also incite a distant, out-of-body feeling, from lyrics about “liquid distant castles” to “living on monkey island”.

Although moderate in success, the album is arguably one of the most influential in establishing the genre and helped Austin grow as a hub of music in the South. Other notable artists to emerge out of the Texas psychedelic rock scene include Janis Joplin, Red Krayola and Bubble Puppy. At the same time, author Ken Kesey and a group called The Merry Pranksters were touring the San Francisco Bay Area handing out acid (not yet outlawed), accompanied by early performances by The Grateful Dead, and visuals created by oil projections in what would later be known as “The Acid Tests”. As LSD became more influential in youth culture, it became more and more clear across the nation that it would shape the next wave of music.

The following year, The Beach Boys release Pet Sounds, not only hailed as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time, but the defining album in bridging psychedelic rock and pop music.

Another pioneering album in psychedelic rock history, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club.

In response, a British psychedelic rock scene began to grow, more experimental and pop-like in its sound than the heavy American counterpart which paved the way for the birth of metal and prog.

In 1969, psychedelic rock reached the peak of its popularity. This is the year we get the Woodstock Festival, one of the most definitive moments in rock and roll. This is the height of youth counterculture, and within the same year it comes crashing down with many “acid causalities”.

Although a few psychedelia bands remained, throughout the 80’s it mostly served to influence new genres such as the alternative scene, grunge and industrial rock in the 1990’s with such acts as The Flaming Lips, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Sound Garden and Alice in Chains. Although they achieve some popular success, this “neo-psychedelia” is still decidedly underground. It is not until around 2001, with the so-called “revival” of rock and roll and a flourishing and increasingly popular alternative scene that many neo-psychedelia bands form.

As the indie scene began to take on a particularly large role with youth in 2010-onward, so did psychedelia and its influences. Today, we see the development of subgenres like acid house and trance music developing from the once again rising psychedelic rock scene. Whether a lifelong fan or a listener trying to branch out, perhaps it’s time to spin that acid rock vinyl at the bottom of the bin just one more time.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Peaches Record’s & Tapes Sunrise Florida

The Record Store Day party started this past Saturday April 23rd 2022. Music lovers and vinyl collectors flooded their local record stores world wide searching for RSD exclusives and elusives. The party went all weekend long. There has been trending posts and videos on all social media platforms where everyone shared their vinyl hauls. In honor of “Record Store Day 22 ”I will cover a brief bit of history about record store culture.

The first Peaches Records and Tapes store opened in Atlanta, GA in 1975. With the huge success upon opening and with support from their loyal fan base, they eventually opened around 45 stores… peaking in the late 70’s. By this time, they had opened up in most major markets all throughout the United States including Sunrise Florida where I frequented the establishment regularly as an avid vinyl collector and huge fan of rock music.

Peaches was THE place to be with their vast inventory, knowledgeable staff, and constant music promotions. 

The iconic Peaches logo was inspired by the California mountains and fruit groves, and was fused with a Georgia style peach crate to hold your personal vinyl collection. Today, Peaches Record Crates carries on the legacy of building these timeless crates for both old and new collectors alike. Our craftsmen quality crates are the perfect addition to your collection and are handmade in the USA.

If you were lucky enough, as we were growing up, your local Camelot had a medieval castle facade. It brought a nice Arthurian vibe to the mall. In the late 1970s, Camelot also tried to launch a chain of free-standing brick-and-morter stores called Grapevine Records and Tapes.

Folks in the Chicago area will remember this spot for CDs and tapes. The chain eventually expanded to other states.

Don’t be fooled by the cute name — this New England–based chain had ties to the mob. Strawberries was opened and owned by Morris Levy, erstwhile owner of Manhattan’s famed Birdland jazz club and president of the Roulette Records label. In 1988, Levy was convicted of extortion in Federal court. The FBI claimed he had ties to organized crime and drug dealers.

Sam Goody was one of the last on this list to survive, as the mall chain made it into the new millennium before filing for bankruptcy in 2006. The slogan proclaimed “Goody got it,” and indeed the company was able to lure big names to its New York City store. Even Laverne & Shirley showed up to sign copies of their record in 1976.

Tower was one of the last giants. Its strength was in its stock, as the big retailer was able to carry seemingly every title, including a healthy selection of imports.

Those from the Atlanta area undoubtedly picked up some wax from Turtle’s. The chain expanded around the Southeast. We remember showing up to one for a Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge release party back in the day.

Located just north of the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the landmark Capitol Records Building was designed by Welton Becket, the architect who also designed the Music Center, Cinerama Dome, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the department store that now houses the Petersen Automotive Museum. The 13-story tower, which resembles a stack of records, was the world’s first circular office building when it was completed in April 1956.

Frank Sinatra at Capitol Studios | Photo courtesy of Capitol Studios, Facebook

The Capitol Records Building is the site of the historic Capitol Studios, where Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Nat “King” Cole, Sir Paul McCartney, and many more music legends recorded some of the most treasured music in history. The first album recorded at Capitol Studios was Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color. The Capitol Studios feature echo chambers that were designed by legendary guitarist and recording innovator Les Paul. The echo chambers are subterranean concrete bunkers that are located 30 feet underground. They can provide reverb that lasts up to five seconds – the effect is perhaps most famously heard on The Beach Boys classic, Good Vibrations.

THE RED LIGHT

The building’s 90-foot rooftop spire, which resembles the needle on a phonograph, is topped by a red light that continuously blinks the word “Hollywood” in Morse code. The light was turned on when the building opened in 1956 – Leila Morse, the granddaughter of Samuel Morse, threw the switch. In June 1992, the message was changed to “Capitol 50” in honor of the label’s 50th anniversary. A year later, the light returned to blinking the original “Hollywood.”

Empire Records the movie.

Joe (Anthony LaPaglia) runs Empire Records, an independent Delaware store that employs a tight-knit group of music-savvy youths. Hearing that the shop may be sold to a big chain, slacker employee Lucas (Rory Cochrane) bets a chunk of the store’s money, hoping to get a big return. When this plan fails, Empire Records falls into serious trouble, and the various other clerks, including lovely Corey (Liv Tyler) and gloomy Deb (Robin Tunney), must deal with the problem, among many other issues.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Babylon Sisters By Steely Dan. Album: Gaucho Released November 21, 1980

  • Some lyric interpretation:”Babylon Sisters” – Fallen women, fallen and degenerate lifestyles – he realizes he is getting too old for this shallow experiences.”Cotton Candy” – Nose candy, a reference to cocaine.”Tell me I’m the only One” – A delusional reference to relationships with prostitutes, as he wants to believe he’s more than just a client. Babylon is Biblical, about a fallen people. Steely Dan uses it as an analogy to indulgent lifestyles and self-destructive behavior, a theme that also shows up in their song “Kid Charlemagne.” In this case, the narrator is indulging in prostitutes.
  • This is the first track on Steely Dan’s Gaucho album, their last until 2000 when they released Two Against Nature. Steely Dan is a rare group that would sometimes record songs that none of the band members played on. That was the case with Babylon Sisters, which has lead vocals from Donald Fagen, but no instrumental contributions from him or Walter Becker. The group always chose the players that best suited the song, and in this case the lineup included drummer Bernard Purdie, who played his distinctive “Purdie Shuffle,” and bass player Chuck Rainey. The other instruments were:Bass Clarinet: George Marge, Walter Kane
    Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Clavinet: Don Grolnick
    Guitar: Steve Khan
    Percussion: Crusher Bennett
    Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet: Tom Scott
    Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Randy Brecker
  • The duo used six talented backup singers on this track: Diva Grey, Gordon Grody, Lani Groves, Leslie Miller, Patti Austin and Toni Wine. Austin would have a #1 hit the following year with “Baby, Come To Me,” her duet with James Ingram.
  • Steely Dan are known for being perfectionists in the studio, a reputation they lived up to on this track. The song was recorded at Village Recorders in Los Angeles, which had a new Neve console, giving them lots of control of various sonic details. Donald Fagen made seemingly endless tweaks to this song, creating one mix after another. Someone in the studio must have been keeping count, because when he hit 250 mixes, the crew gave him a “platinum” disk they created just for him. Fagen kept going, and it was mix number 274 that finally won his approval. He took that mix home to New York, but heard a note in the bass line he didn’t like, so he returned to Los Angeles a week later and reconvened the team to fix it. The engineers won a Grammy for their efforts: Gaucho took the award for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical. (This story is told in Johnny Black’s article “Vinyl Icon: Gaucho,” published in Hi-Fi News & Record Review.)

Psychedelic Lunch