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Cream, Tales Of Brave Ulysses Album: Disraeli Gears (1967)

This song was inspired by trips Eric Clapton took to the Greek Islands. Ulysses, also known as Odysseus, is a character of Greek Mythology. A hero of the Trojan War, he was the subject of the novel The Odyssey, and the basis for the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Cream switched to a more psychedelic sound for their second album Disraeli Gears, which was helmed by producer Felix Pappalardi, who pushed them in this direction. Their first album, Fresh Cream, was produced by Robert Stigwood and was filled with Blues material.

“Tales Of Brave Ulysses” is one of the trippiest songs on the album, thanks in part to the wah-wah pedal Eric Clapton used on his guitar. According to Pappalardi, their first attempts to record the song fell flat. Taking a break, he and Clapton went to Manny’s Music store, where they found some wah-wah pedals – Clapton only agreed to use them because he heard Jimi Hendrix was experimenting with one (he was – Hendrix used one on his song “The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp”). This guitar effect became a distinguishing feature of the song.

An Australian painter named Martin Sharp helped Clapton write this. Sharp painted the album cover of Disraeli Gears.

Like most early Cream songs, this one has lead vocals by their bass player Jack Bruce.

Clapton was in his phase where he was experimenting with distortion devices on his guitar. He used a fuzz-box and wah-wah pedal on this, as well as some echo. This was Eric Clapton’s first use of the wah-wah pedal. He used it again for background effects and an extended solo on “White Room.”

Most of Disraeli Gears was recorded in just three days during the second week of May 1967 at Atlantic Studios in New York (the band had to return to England because their work visas were expiring). The album didn’t come out until November, but “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” was used as the B-side of “Strange Brew,” which was issued in June. “Ulysses” fit the soundtrack to the Summer of Love and became one of Cream’s best-known songs. It got lots of airplay on Album Oriented Rock (AOL) radio stations, as well as on some of the more adventurous Classic Rock stations.

Psychedelic Rock

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The Doobie Brothers Band Artist Facts

McDonald was brought in when Johnston fell ill and could not tour in 1975. He and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter both recorded with Steely Dan.

The Doobie Brothers from 1970 to 1975 featured most vocals from Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons. The band was more rock-oriented and was heard on what is now known on Classic Rock stations. From 1976 to 1982 the band had a new lead singer in Michael McDonald who turned the band more towards blue-eyed soul.

In a 1986 Los Angeles Times poll, the Doobie Brothers were the band that readers most wanted to reunite, behind Led Zeppelin.

A benefit concert they played for the Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation at the Hollywood Bowl in 1987 was the fastest show to sell out there since the Beatles played in the mid-1960s.

Despite their multitude of members, the Brothers began as a trio.

Johnston and Hartman met each other through mutual friend and Moby Grape guitarist Skip Spence. They wanted to emulate that band. Future sax player Bumpus was in a late version of Moby Grape.

The new band’s name, suggested by a friend (apparently as a joke), was taken from a slang term for a marijuana joint. “Doobie” was a popular word in California culture.

Baxter and McDonald had been with Steely Dan. They joined the Doobies when they shifted their focus from touring to studio work.

Hartman left the band to tend his California ranch.

LaKind was a Doobie Brothers lighting man before joining the band. He died of cancer in 1992.

McFee and Knudsen joined Country group Southern Pacific with Creedence Clearwater Revival bassist Stu Cook.

Before landing on the name The Doobie Brothers, the band originally went by Pud.

Following his stints in the rock bands Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers during the 1970s and Spirit in the 1980s, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter became a self-taught ballistic missile expert who went on to chair a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense.

Psychedelic Lunch

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Like many British bands in the ’60s, Fleetwood Mac started as a blues group that paid tribute to the American bluesmen they loved. Fronted by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, the band went through several lineup changes over the years before two Los Angeles singer-songwriters, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, joined in 1975 and made Fleetwood Mac one of the biggest bands on the planet. For the next dozen years, they dominated the charts with their blend of classic rock and SoCal pop. Their 1977 blockbuster ‘Rumours’ remains one of the best and bestselling albums ever made, a breakup record informed by real-life tension among the band’s five members (singer-songwriter Christine McVie rounded out the group). Buckingham and Nicks’ solo careers eventually led to the split of the classic lineup, although they’ve occasionally reunited over the years for tours and records.

Fleetwood Mac co-founder and influential blues rock guitarist Peter Green has died at the age of 73, his family’s legal representatives confirmed on Saturday.

The English singer-songwriter and guitarist, from Bethnal Green in East London, formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967.

In 1965, Green filled in for Eric Clapton in the band John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers — in which Fleetwood played the drums. Two years later, Green and Fleetwood left the band to form Fleetwood Mac, later convincing Bluesbreakers bassist John McVie to join them. 

Green wrote some of the band’s most notable hits, including “Albatross,” “Black Woman Magic,” and “Man of the World.”

He left the band in 1970, after it had released three albums. Fleetwood Mac eventually expanded to include Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and others.

Green and the other members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Fleetwood posted a tribute to Green on Facebook on Saturday, calling his former bandmate “my dearest friend.”

Psychedelic Rock

Today in rock history: On this date in 1983, up-and-coming thrash metal band Metallica released its debut album, Kill ‘Em All. Released on the independent metal record label Megaforce Records, the album quickly made waves across the world of heavy metal and was met with overwhelmingly positive reaction. The band’s brand of fast, aggressive rock and roll was branded thrash metal and, in no time, other bands with a similar sound and delivery started popping up. Metallica’s raw and powerful live shows helped bolster its reputation as a fiery, young, powerful band which in turn helped boost record sales. Featuring two songs that were released as singles, “Whiplash” and “Jump in the Fire,” the album’s success led to Metallica being signed to a major label, Elektra Records, and eventually becoming one of the best-selling rock bands of all time. The original working title of Kill ‘Em All was Metal Up Your Ass, but the band was convinced to use a less offensive title for fear that many distributors would not be willing to carry and market the record.

CLIFF BURTON CAME UP WITH THE TITLE KILL ‘EM ALL.

Of course he did. The title came to the Metallica bassist after being upset with “timid record distributors” and saying “why don’t we just kill ’em all?”

Seven of the songs from Kill ‘Em All came from Metallica’s 1982 demo “No Life Til Leather” which they recorded with guitarist Dave Mustaine, and which got them signed to Megaforce. Then, after booting Mustaine from the band and replacing him with Kirk Hammett, they added “Whiplash, “No Remorse” and Burton’s distorted bass solo “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth).” The band also changed “Mechanix” to “The Four Horsemen,” extracting Mustaine’s lyrics about a horny mechanic and replacing them with lines about the Biblical apocalypse.

We were gonna have a hand coming through a toilet bowl, holding a machete, dripping with blood. And the toilet had barbed wire around it. That would’ve gotten everyone squirming uncomfortably.

Unfortunately – or fortunately – that idea was ditched.

“Our record label [Megaforce] told us that record distributors in America had strongly objected to the title and the planned sleeve. And we ran the real risk of not having our product stocked,” Ulrich explained at the time. “That wouldn’t have helped us at all.”

So the band decided to modify their sleeve art concept, but while still making sure the new design retained a certain underground edge.

Ulrich: “We wanted something that would shock everyone – except the fans. The title Kill ‘Em All was our way of getting back to the distributors, who were trying to censor us.”

The design itself was again very much down to the band themselves. While making it acceptable enough to ensure the album was freely available, they were also determined to introduce an element of gore and violence into the graphics.

“Once we had the title, it was obvious to have a sleeve that featured a lot of blood. It didn’t take much to think of having a weapon on there as well.”

Being careful to avoid the actual act of blood-letting, the band hinted at what might have happened, with the outline of a hand releasing a hammer.

“There’s a cartoon element to the whole thing that was element,” admitted the drummer. “After all, if you’re not showing any violence, who was gonna object? So we got our own way – and so did the music industry.”

Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All turns 37 years old today, but do you know what the original album title was going to be?

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The story behind Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here cover photo

Themes of absence and void of meaning play out as an executive-looking gentleman greets his doppelgänger with a firm handshake. And did we forget to mention one of the guys is on fire?

The concept started for design team Hipgnosis, as it often did, with close examination of the music. “We just sit in a very ordinary room, listen to Floyd music, and talk,” Hipgnosis co-founder Storm Thorgerson explained in his 1997 book, “Mind Over Matter: The Images of Pink Floyd.”

“We discuss what the music feels like to us. Or the intention of the lyrics. Or what the album may really be about, even if the Floyd haven’t said it, or don’t yet know it.”

“‘Wish You Were Here’ was a different story altogether,” he added. “Lengthy discussions, particularly with the band, much internal focusing, and repeated exposure to the haunting brilliance of ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ led inexorably to one point, led to one theme, in fact to the one word, ‘absence.’”

The team devised a concept for the cover involving two men — record execs fashioned in a style suggested by the album’s “Have a Cigar” — shaking hands to seal some unknown deal. Hipgnosis explained a handshake is often seen as an empty gesture, void of meaning or purpose. And the flames? A visualization of people’s tendency to remain emotionally withdrawn (or absent) for fear of “being burned.”

They continued the theme of absence throughout the album’s back cover, inside gate-fold and liner bag with photos of a faceless pitchman hawking a transparent LP record, a diver making no splash, and a floating veil masking nothing. (Or is it?) A shot not used for the original album showed a swimmer — the same model who posed as the faceless pitchman — doing the crawl stroke in an ocean of sand devoid of water.

Hipgnosis, responsible for the majority of Floyd’s album covers during the band’s long history, chose to shoot the photo on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank for a reason. After all, Thorgerson and designing partner Aubrey “Po” Powell explained, it’s “the land of make-believe; where nothing is real and all is absent.”

The precise location of the photo would seem to be the intersection of Ave. D and 5th St. on Warner’s back lot. The massive hanger-like buildings in the background are soundstages used for film and TV work. (The Warner Bros. front lot, to the northeast and closer to California St., is where the studios’ faux exteriors reside.)

Map of Warner Bros. studios in Burbank

The numeral 20, visible on a building in some versions of the photo, would seem to verify the theory: Stage 20 would indeed appear two buildings back and on the right, if the photo had been shot at Ave. D and 5th.

“Floydian Slip” took the official Warner Bros. tour in October 2011. Upon request, the tour guide took us to what he said was the photo location. (At the time, we hadn’t yet consulted a map.) The drainage grate was there, but, otherwise, it was impossible to be certain we stood at the real location, since the property is a maze of nearly-identical structures and intersections.

Photos published on the Web purport to show the location today looking very much as it did in ’75.

Hipgnosis hired Hollywood stuntmen Ronnie Rondell Jr.(pictured) and Danny Rogers (inset) to pose for the photo. Rondell arguably had the tougher job of being lit on fire, which, no surprise, presented challenges.

“I’d been doing a lot of fire work in those days, and I had the special suits and all this stuff for fully enveloped fire,” Rondell explained in the 2012 documentary “Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here.”

“But a partial is basically pretty safe, pretty easy one to do,” he added, “in most cases.”

Though he was protected by a fire-retardant layer underneath his business suit — which extended over his head underneath a wig — Rondell didn’t make it out of the shoot unscathed.

After being dowsed with gasoline, sparked up and taking position, Rondell withstood 15 shots before being singed. “The flames were blown back and ignited his real moustache for an instant,” Thorgerson recalled. “A close shave, one might say.”

“There’s a funny thing about fire,” Rondell said. “When it gets in your face, you’re going to move.”

“He fell to the ground, absolutely smothered with foam and blankets and everything like that, and he got up, said, ‘That’s it. No more,’” according to Powell, who was behind the camera. “Luckily, I got it in the can.”

As told by Thorgerson and Powell in “100 Best Album Covers,” wind direction presented a problem. To allow Rondell to appear on the right with Rogers on the left, Rondell actually posed on the left, Rogers on the right, and the two shook hands using their left hands. Hipgnosis then reversed the image in the darkroom.

If this is true, we presume some darkroom trickery must have been applied to un-reverse the number 20 that is seen on the building in some versions of the photo.

In the end, it was just another job for Rondell. “It was pretty easy to do, not too life threatening, and paid well,” he said.

Two photographs from the shoot were used for the album cover. One, shot using 35mm color transparency film, was used for the album’s U.K. release. Another, using 120mm transparency, appeared on the U.S. release.

They can be distinguished by one’s leaning forward and down by the flaming man; and the other’s leaning back and up by the flaming man, who is consumed by much more flame than in the alternate shot.

Wish You Were Here photo shoot outtakes

Outtakes from the “Wish You Were Here” cover photo shoot

Decades later, with so many reissues of the album having been released, which photo corresponds to which edition of the album, is uncertain — to us, at least. Furthermore, several photo outtakes have been made public in the interim.

As a final act of commitment to their theme and a bold coupe d’grâce, Thorgerson and Powell remarkably chose to conceal the fruits of their labor inside an opaque black wrapper. A graphic designed by Hipgnosis’s George Hardie — the same man responsible for Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” prism design — was the only identifying mark on the album’s exterior as it was originally displayed on store shelves. The graphic depicted a twist on the cover image: a mechanical shaking of hands. “Welcome to the Machine,” indeed.

“I have heard it said that some folks carefully cut the edge with a blade and slid the record out,” Thorgerson said. “Thus they have the album to this very day still wrapped in black plastic and have never seen the burning man on the front.

“How absent can you get?”

“There’s nothing better at Christmas than you get a present that’s wrapped up and you tear off the wrapping paper, you look inside, and then the box, and you open the box and there’s your present,” Powell told us in our 2015 interview with him. “Well, the same thing applied when we did ‘Wish You Were Here.’”

Drummer Nick Mason said the shrink-wrap was delicious icing on the cake for the band, which, at that point, had begun to view the industry with no small amount of cynicism. “I suspect we probably enjoyed the shrink-wrapping more for the trouble it caused in the boardroom than its artistic excellence,” he said. “It was obvious that the record company was not familiar with the work of Christo.”

The band’s reception to the artwork was swift and enthusiastic.

“I was very self-conscious,” Thorgerson said. “Luckily they thought it was fine.”

After Thorgerson presented the it to the band, management, producer, engineer and others at the EMI’s Abbey Road Studios commissary, he received a round of applause. “Very moving, for me,” he said.

The label’s reaction was less enthusiastic. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when EMI executives learned the new album from Pink Floyd would be nearly as black as Spinal Tap‘s “Smell the Glove.”

In the early-’80s, Thorgerson, Powell and third Hipgnosis partner Peter Christopherson, aka Sleazy, began to focus on film-making, eventually founding film company Greenback. Shortly thereafter, “a very difficult financial situation had occurred due to our own bungling mismanagement,” Thorgerson explained to us in our 1997 interview. “We were in a state of severe financial loss in ’85,” he added, and their financial difficulties exacerbated the partners’ differences of opinion.

“I don’t think any of us, particularly me, behaved very well,” he admitted. They eventually went separate ways. Thorgerson continuing doing design work under the moniker StormStudios; Christopherson went on to a career in music with Throbbling Gristle and Coil; and Powell continued film work using the name Hipgnosis.

Thorgerson passed away on April 18, 2013, succumbing to cancer at age 69. Christopherson had died a few years prior: Nov. 25, 2010, at age 55.

Rondell was already an accomplished stuntman when he posed for the album cover. Rogers’ career was just beginning. Both continued their work in Hollywood for many years following “Wish You Were Here.”

Both seem to have stopped performing stunt work in the mid ’00s. Rondell’s resume boasts more than 150 stunt-related projects; Rogers’ includes nearly 100.

“Wish You Were Here” went on to become a platinum-selling album for Floyd many, many times over. It’s considered by many, along with “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall,” to be one of the band’s best works.

Psychedelic Lunch

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

The Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request

When The Rolling Stones released Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967, it immediately drew comparisons to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released earlier in the same year. Both records feature psychedelic music and very colorful album art, but Their Satanic Majesties Request actually features images of all four of the Beatles hidden in the foreground. It is believed that this was a response to The Beatles’ album, which featured a Shirley Temple doll wearing a sweater that reads, “Welcome The Rolling Stones Good Guys.”

Fun fact: Photographer Michael Cooper shot both covers for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Psychedelic Lunch

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“The Magical Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album Art Mystery”

In the “Paul is dead” mythology, if Abbey Road is the funeral procession, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the burial. The Beatles had decided to stop touring and focus on experimenting with new sounds in the recording studio. It was Paul’s idea that the Beatles immerse themselves in an alternate identity for this 1967 release. The name “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” was a play on verbose hippie-era band names. As Paul explained in The Beatles Anthology,

It was at the start of the hippy times, and there was a jingly-jangly happy aura all around in America. I started thinking about what would be a really mad name to call a band. At the time there were lots of groups with names like ‘Laughing Joe and His Medicine Band’ or ‘Col Tucker’s Medicinal Brew and Compound’; all that old Western going-round-on-wagons stuff, with long rambling names. And so in the same way that it ‘I Am The Walrus’ John would throw together ‘choking smokers’ and ‘elementary penguin’, I threw those words together: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. I took an idea back to the guys in London: ‘As we’re trying to get away from ourselves – to get away from touring and into a more surreal thing – how about if we become an alter-ego band, something like, say, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts”? I’ve got a little bit of a song cooking with that title.’

The cover photo, then, shows the Beatles assuming this new identity and laying to rest their earlier image as the Fab Four. People looking for clues of Paul’s death, however, interpreted the cover of Sgt. Pepper as representing Paul’s burial and the end of the Beatles as we had known them. With its iconic cover featuring so many images from popular culture, Sgt. Pepper is rife with “Paul is dead” clues.

The new psychedelic Beatles stand at the center while wax images of the younger Beatles look mournfully on the gravesite because the Beatles were no longer the same band.

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Looking at the older, psychedelic Beatles, you’ll notice a couple of odd things. While the rest of the Beatles are standing at an angle, Paul is facing the camera as though he were being supported by his bandmates standing at his sides. While the rest of the Beatles are holding brass band instruments, Paul’s cor anglaise is black (death) and wooden (coffin). A hand is over Paul’s head, as though he were being blessed by a priest before being interred. In Strawberry Fields Forever #51, Joel Glazier points out that this hand belongs to Stephen Crane, who wrote a short story called “The Open Boat” based on his experience of surviving a shipwreck. He and three other men made it to a lifeboat, but one of the men drowned when the boat capsized. In his fictionalized version of the story, though Billie (the only character referred to by name) is the strongest of the four men in the boat, he drowns when they try to swim to shore. Glazier also notes that Stephen Crane died in his 20s, and a number of the other figures depicted on the cover died tragic deaths, as well, including Jayne Mansfield who was decapitated in a car crash.

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Across the gravesite is a bass guitar oriented the way Paul, who was left-handed, would play it. The strings of the instrument are made of sticks but there are only three sticks rather than four, just as there would only be three Beatles without Paul. With a little imagination you can see that the yellow hyacinths spell out “PAUL?” or, looked at another way, the flowers form the letter “P”.

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Joel Glazier points to perhaps the most imaginative interpretation of an image on the cover of Sgt. Pepper. If you hold a mirror across the middle of the words “LONELY HEARTS” written across the center of the bass drum, you will see “IONEIX HE<>DIE”. When arranged as “I ONE IX HE <> DIE,” this image suggests the date (11-9, or November 9, 1966) that Paul died, as the diamond between the words “HE” and “DIE” points directly at Paul. One problem with this interpretation is that the British write dates as day-month-year rather than the American month-day-year, which would make this date September 11th rather than November 9th. You could read this, then, as “1 ONE 1 X”, meaning that one of the four is gone, and then the “HE DIE” points to Paul as the missing Beatle.

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The doll at the right side of the picture–the cloth figure of Shirley Temple–wears a sweater that reads “WELCOME THE ROLLING STONES”. Joel Glazier asserts that the Rolling Stones helped to cover up Paul’s death and the reference on the cover was a thank you from the Beatles. This message also suggests that without the Beatles the Rolling Stones would have been the undisputed leading rock and roll band. A model of an Aston-Martin, the type of car that Paul was supposedly driving at the time of his fatal accident, is leaned against the doll’s leg. The interior of the car is red, symbolizing Paul’s bloody accident. Also, the cloth grandmother figure, on whose lap the Shirley Temple doll is resting, is wearing a blood stained driving glove.

The Japanese stone figure at the feet of the wax images of the younger Beatles has line on its head, representing the head wounds that Paul sustained in his fatal accident. The four-armed Indian doll at the front of the picture is Shiva, symbol of both destruction and creation. Two of the doll’s arms are raised, one pointing at the wax image of the younger Paul and the other pointing at Paul himself. The television set on the ground to the right of the Beatles is turned off, suggesting that the news of the tragedy had been suppressed.

The album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band was innovative in several ways. It was one of the first to feature a gatefold sleeve, which allowed the Beatles an especially large space for a band photo.

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In the photo Paul is wearing a patch with the letters “O.P.D.”, interpreted as “Officially Pronounced Dead.” In his article in Lifemagazine, John Neary reported that this phrase is the equivalent of “Dead On Arrival” in British police jargon.

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In the same Life magazine article Paul stated, “It is all bloody stupid. I picked up the O.P.D. badge in Canada. It was a police badge. Perhaps it means Ontario Police Department or something.” This explanation didn’t help to clarify anything, however, because there is no such thing is the Ontario Police Department (well, except in California, that is). The badge Paul was wearing actually reads “O.P.P.”, which stands for the Ontario Provincial Police. The angle of the photograph makes the final “P” look like a “D”.

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Another distinguishing feature of Sgt. Pepperwas that it was the first album to have the song lyrics printed in full on the album cover. On the original LP the song lyrics are printed on the back cover over a picture of the Beatles. Unlike the rest of the Beatles, Paul has his back turned to the camera, the three black buttons on the back of his coat representing the mourning of the other Beatles. Though John, Paul and George were all about the same height, Paul appears taller than the other Beatles, suggesting that he is ascending. Next to Paul’s head are the words “WITHOUT YOU” from the song title “Within You Without You”.

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Also, George appears to be pointing at the words “Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins”, which was supposed to have been the time of Paul’s fatal accident.

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George positioned his hand in this way not to point to the printed lyrics, but to make the letter “L”, the first letter in the word “LOVE”, as the Beatles appear to be spelling out the word “LOVE” with their hands. In addition to George pointing his fingers in the shape of an “L”, John’s hands are arranged in a “V” shape, and Ringo’s clasped hands form an “E”. The “O” is missing as Paul’s hands are not visible.

The lyrics themselves seem to be revealing information about Paul’s death and replacement by a lookalike. The title song introduces Billy Shears, who then tells the audience in “With a Little Help from My Friends” “Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song/And I’ll try not to sing out of key”. Paul’s replacement, William Campbell, but here referred to as “Billy Shears,” was still working on perfecting his singing voice. Several songs have references to a tragic accident. “Good Morning, Good Morning” opens with the line “Nothing to do to save his life call his wife in.” One story of Paul’s fatal accident was that he had picked up a woman named Rita and she became so excited when she realized she was in a car with Paul McCartney that she threw herself on him. As told in the song “Lovely Rita,” “I took her home/I nearly made it”. In “A Day in the Life” John sings ominously of a car crash. “He blew his mind out in a car/He hadn’t noticed that the lights had changed/A crowd of people stood and stared/They’d seen his face before/Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords”. Paul McCartney Dead: The Great Hoax asserts,

On the album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” one of the songs, “A Day in the Life,” has been interpreted as Paul’s official death announcement. In the lyric of the song is the phrase: He blew his mind out in a car. This is to support the theory that Paul did die in an automobile accident in November, 1966-more precisely, that he was decapitated.

Also, according to Joel Glazier, toward the end of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” you can a voice shouting “Paul is dead, yeah, really really dead!”. This one is very much open to suggestion, however, as Andru Reeve has the voice shouting, “Paul McCartney is dead, everybody! Really, really dead!”

Psychedelic Lunch

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Five months ago was the 50th anniversary of the 1970 debut self-titled album from Black Sabbath. The iconic record bore an equally iconic cover-art, which would go onto inspire the tropes of metal imagery for decades to come.

50 years on, photographer Keith “Keef” Macmillan goes behind the scenes of the iconic first Black Sabbath album cover, revealing the identity of the mysterious woman.

The woman featured on the cover of Black Sabbath is Louisa Livingstone. Livingstone was about 18 at the time and working as a model.

“She was a fantastic model,” Macmillan describes. “She was quite petite, very, very cooperative. I wanted someone petite because it just gave the landscape a bit more grandeur. It made everything else look big.”

For the location, Macmillan picked a 15th-century Mapledurham Watermill in Oxfordshire, about an 80-minute drive from London. In the final image, Livingstone is depicted as a witch-like figure dressed in all black, standing amongst trees in front of an eerie white building.

“Nowadays it’s very much more modernized, beautified, and touristed,” Macmillan describes. “Then, it was quite a run-down and quite spooky place. The undergrowth was quite thick and quite tangled, and it just had a kind of eerie feel to it.” 

Macmillan decided to use Kodak infrared aerochrome film, usually used for aerial photography. In order to capture infrared light, they started the shoot as early as possible. Macmillan then did “a little bit of tweaking in the chemistry to get that slightly dark, surrealistic, evil kind of feeling to it.” He would then boil and freeze the film to make it grainy and undefined.

Now the artist behind the work, Keith “Keef”Macmillan, has spoken about the photo, finally revealing the identity of the woman in the image.

Incredibly, Livingstone herself was recently tracked down. Speaking on the image she recalled: “I had to get up at about four o’clock in the morning, or something as ridiculously early as that.”

“It was absolutely freezing,” she continued. “I remember Keith rushing around with dry ice, throwing that into the pond nearby, and that didn’t seem to be working very well, so he was using a smoke machine. But it was just one of those very cold English mornings.”

Apparently Macmillan brought along a taxidermy crow and a real black cat. Macmillan says that Livingstone is holding the cat in the final shot, although Livingstone herself has no memory of the cat.

“When I saw the cover, I thought it was quite interesting, but I thought, ‘Well, that could be anybody,’ so it’s not like I got any kind of ego buzz out of it,” described Livingstone.

Check out the iconic artwork below.

Psychedelic Lunch

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

West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, If You Want This Love. Album: Part One

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (WCPAEB) was an American psychedelic rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1965. The group created music that possessed an eerie, and at times sinister atmosphere, and contained material that was bluntly political, childlike, and bizarre. Representing different musical backgrounds among band members, the group, at times, resembled a traditional Byrds-esque folk rock ensemble, but the WCPAEB also, within the same body of work, recorded avant-garde music marked by multi-layered vocal harmonies.

Aspiring musician and scenester Bob Markley managed to join the group the Laughing Wind in exchange for his connections in the music industry and substantial bankroll. The original five-piece line-up consisted of Michael Lloyd (rhythm guitar, vocals), Shaun Harris (bass guitar, vocals, Danny Harris (lead guitar, vocals), John Ware (drums), and Markley (tambourine, vocals).

The band debuted with the album Volume One in 1966 on the small FiFo record label. In the early years of the group, much was made of the WCPAEB’s elaborate psychedelic light shows, which became the focal point of their live performances in Los Angeles. Following the release of Volume One, the WCPAEB signed with Reprise Records, recording three albums with the company, including arguably their most accomplished work Volume 3: A Child’s Guide to Good and Evil in 1968. Two additional albums, Where’s My Daddy? and Markley, A Group, were distributed on independent labels before the group disbanded in 1970.

Psychedelic Lunch

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

The Easybeats, Album: Friday On My Mind (1966)

  • This song was co-written by Easybeats guitarists George Young and Harry Vanda, who were the primary songwriters in the group (Young is the older brother of Malcolm and Angus Young from AC/DC). Vanda described the song as reminiscent of the days where the band members lived in hostels in Sydney as “new Australians.” They would hang out for the end of the week because that’s when the fun began.
  • Previously, the band’s main songwriting team had been George Young and lead singer Stevie Wright. Vanda and Young produced The Easybeats’ later albums and after the group broke up in 1969, formed their own group, Flash And The Pan, which had a few successes during the late ’70s and early ’80s. They also continued writing and producing hits for other artists like AC/DC and John Paul Young.
  • This song has quite a buildup. After the opening cymbal crash, its just a staccato guitar for the next 20 seconds underscoring Stevie Wright’s vocal where he runs through the days of the week, explaining why Monday-Thursday don’t excite him. The bass finally comes in as he gets closer to the weekend. Finally, 30 seconds into the song, we hit Friday and the drums come in to play.

    This energy carries into the chorus, where we hear about the plans for the weekend. But then it’s back to Monday, and we do the “five-day drag once more.” This time, however, the tempo is faster and he’s even more optimistic, knowing that his time will come. The second chorus is even more energetic and repeats to close out the song. All of this is packed into 2:47, making it one of the more distinctive and energetic hits of the era.
  • The Easybeats were already huge in their native Australia when they recorded this song, but this was their first hit outside of that country. After scoring several Aussie hits in 1965, they got an international distribution deal in 1966. In the UK, “Come And See Her” was their first single, and in the US, “Make You Feel Alright (Women)” was chosen. Their second single in each territory was “Friday On My Mind,” which was their breakthrough (the song was also a monster in Australia, where it was #1 for eight weeks).

    The group was not able to capitalize, falling victim to drug abuse, management struggles, and internal strife. It was six month before their next single, “Who’ll Be The One,” appeared, and listeners were underwhelmed.
    They never had another US hit and in the UK managed just one more: “Hello, How are You,” which made #20 in 1968.
  • The group recorded this song in London with producer Shel Talmy, who had previously worked with The Who and The Kinks. “They approached me via their then-manager,” Talmy told Songfacts. “I liked what I’d heard, but I didn’t like the songs. So, I said to them, ‘Guys, go home and write a bunch of songs, come back once a week, and play me what you got.’ This went on for about seven weeks. I kept rejecting stuff until after the seventh week I heard ‘Friday on My Mind,’ and I said, ‘That’s the one we’re doing.'”
  • David Bowie did a popular cover on his 1973 album Pin Ups, and Peter Frampton recorded a version for his 1981 album Breaking All the Rules. The only artist to take it back to the charts is Gary Moore, who reached #26 UK with his 1987 rendition.
  • “Friday on My Mind” has been on the minds of Australians since 1967, earning the #1 position on APRA’s list of Ten Best Australian Songs.
  • This was also released as a single by Australian singer Peter Doyle in 1976. He produced an incredibly punchy version, but it was never a hit.

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