Category: psychedelic

On this day in music history: August 23, 1967 …

On this day in music history: August 23, 1967 – “Are You Experienced?” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience is released in the US (UK release date is on May 12, 1967). Produced by Chas Chandler, it is recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, CBS Studios, and Olympic Studios in London from December 13, 1966 – April 3, 1967. Released two months after his star making performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, the groundbreaking album makes inroads on FM underground radio stations around the country. Many of the tracks become rock radio staples including “Purple Haze”, “Foxy Lady”, “Fire” and the title track. US release of the album differs significantly from its original UK counterpart. Though both contain eleven songs, the US version omits the tracks “Remember”, “Red House”, and “Can You See Me”, replacing them with “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe” and “The Wind Cries Mary”, all first issued as singles in the UK. The running order is also shuffled for US version. The omitted tracks from the original UK LP  subsequently surface on the US version of the compilation album “Smash Hits” in April of 1968 (again with the UK version containing a slightly different track listing). The US release of the album also features completely different cover artwork than the UK release, replacing the original cover photo with the now famed “fish eye lens” shot of the band taken by photographer Karl Ferris. The front and back cover graphics are designed by Warner Bros/Reprise Records art director Ed Thrasher. Over the years, “Experienced” is regarded as one of the most influential rock albums of all time.The album is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and is added to the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress in 2005. “Are You Experienced?” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200 fourteen months after its release, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 16, 1968 …

On this day in music history: August 16, 1968 – “Fire” by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown is released. Written by Vincent Crane, Arthur Brown, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker, it is the second single (US debut) and biggest hit for the rock band from London, UK. Formed in 1967, original line up of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown consists of Arthur Brown (lead vocals), Vincent Crane (organ), Sean Nicholas Greenwood (bass) and Drachen Theaker (drums). The band quickly attract attention not only for their music, but for the antics of their flamboyant front man. Boasting an impressive vocal range of four octaves, Brown also becomes known for outlandish on stage theatrics, inspired in part by American R&B singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. He dresses in long flowing robes, either wearing heavy ghoulish make up or metallic masks covering much of his face. Then for an even more striking touch, wearing a metal helmet that is doused in lighter fluid and set on fire. The band are signed to Track Records in the UK, after Pete Townshend sees them at the UFO Club in London. Having grown up in post-war England, Brown comes to know many people who were adversely affected by the horrors and hardships brought on by war, including post traumatic stress disorder. The band compose a cycle of songs about a man facing his inner demons, forming a loose concept for the album. “Fire” is written as the centerpiece of “Tales From the Neurotic Nights Of Hieronymous Anonymous” aka the “Fire Suite”. “Fire” features Brown on vocals, Crane on organ and organ bass pedals and Theaker on drums. After its completed, Lambert and Stamp seek US distribution for the record. They play it for Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records, who immediately loves the music and concept of the band, but notices drummer Theaker’s problems with keeping time. Lambert and Crane add horns and strings to make the tracks sound fuller, and in many cases cover up the scattershot drumming. Released in the UK first on June 14, 1968, “Fire” is an immediate sensation, leaping to number one within a month. Issued in the US a month later, the single follows a similar trajectory. Entering the Hot 100 at #81 on September 7, 1968, it rockets to #2 six weeks later on October 19, 1968, unable to budge The Beatles’ epic “Hey Jude” from the top spot. In spite of this major success, the band does not reach the charts again. Their second album “Strangelands” is shelved after the band implodes in June of 1969. Though their time in the spotlight is brief, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’s influence endures, inspiring future shock rockers like Alice Cooper, KISS, Mercyful Fate and Marilyn Manson. The song later adds co-writing credits for Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker, when they discover “Fire” uses part of the melody of their song “Baby You’re A Long Way Behind”. “Fire” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 12, 1968 …

On this day in music history: August 12, 1968 – “Cheap Thrills”, the second album by Big Brother And The Holding Company is released. Produced by John Simon, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City (studio tracks) and the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA (live tracks) from March – May 1968. Following the bands breakthrough performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967, they are approached by Clive Davis, then the head Columbia Records who is eager to sign them. At the time, Big Brother are signed to independent label Mainstream Records, who release their self titled debut album in August of 1967. It takes several months for the band to be extricated from their Mainstream contract and sign with Columbia, which takes place in early 1968. Once freed from their prior obligations, they are paired with producer John Simon (The Band), and begin work on their second album. The initial plan is to record Big Brother in concert, producing an album that captures the band’s electric live performances. When the results are lackluster due to the band’s inability to consistently play in tune and in time, they record much of the album in Columbia’s New York recording studio, with the closing track “Ball And Chain” being recorded at Winterland in San Francisco (though the original release erroneously credits it being recorded at the Fillmore East in New York). Originally titled “Sex, Dope, and Cheap Thrills”, Columbia Records refuses to release it with that title, and make the band revise it. The albums iconic cover art by underground artist Robert Crumb (Zap Comix) is first intended to appear on the back of the LP jacket with a photo of Janis Joplin on the front. Joplin is so enamored with Crumb’s artwork that it is put on the front instead. Anchored by the hit single “Piece Of My Heart” (#12 Pop), it is major success. When Columbia originally issues the LP along with the standard stereo version, the label presses a very limited amount of the mono version (an estimated 3000 – 5000 copies only), before quickly deleting it, turning it into a highly priced and sought after collector’s item. The rare mono mix of the album is reissued in November of 2012 as a limited edition 180g vinyl LP pressing for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Cheap Thrills” spends eight weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 11, 1969 …

On this day in music history: August 11, 1969 – “Barabajagal”, the seventh album by Donovan is released. Produced by Mickie Most, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London in May 1968, and American Recording Company in Los Angeles, CA November 1968 and May 1969. The album features musical backing by The Jeff Beck Group (on the title track) as well as background vocals from Graham Nash, Mike McGear (aka Michael McCartney), Rod Stewart, Lesley Duncan and Madeline Bell. It spins off two singles including the double A-sided single “Atlantis” / “To Susan On The West Coast Waiting” (#7 Pop) and the title track (#36 Pop). The album also marks the end of Donovan’s long term collaboration with producer Mickie Most, with Most shifting his attention to his newly formed label RAK Records, signing artists such as Hot Chocolate, The Arrows, Smokie, and Suzi Quatro. “Atlantis” is later used in a memorable scene in director Martin Scoresese’s “Goodfellas” in 1990. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued in 2005. The album is also remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl in 2013, the first release of the album in that format in nearly thirty years. “Barabajagal” peaks at number twenty three on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: August 7, 1990 -…

On this day in music history: August 7, 1990 – “Bellybutton”, the debut album by Jellyfish is released. Produced by Albhy Galuten and Jack Joseph Puig, it is recorded at Bill Schnee Studio, Studio 55 and Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1989 – Early 1990. Formed out of the remains of the band Beatnik Beatch, drummer and lead vocalist Andy Sturmer and keyboardist Roger Manning co-found Jellyfish in 1989, adding guitarist Jason Faulkner to the line up. The critically acclaimed debut album by the San Francisco based band draws upon a number of musical influences, most notably the harmonically driven pop sounds of such artists as The Beach Boys, Queen, XTC, Badfinger, and Wings. With their record label (Charisma/Virgin) unsure how to market the innovative and eclectic bands debut, it only finds minimal commercial success. However, the band attracts a passionate and loyal following, based on its spirited live performances and radio support they receive from College and Alternative Rock radio. The album spins off three singles including “The King Is Half Undressed” and “That Is Why”. After being out of print for many years (with the exception of a Japanese import CD released in 1999), the album is remastered and reissued in 2012 by Omnivore Records as a limited edition vinyl LP (on blue vinyl), making it available for the first time in more than twenty years in that format. In 2015 it is reissued as a double CD deluxe edition, also featuring live recordings and original song demos. “Bellybutton” peaks at number one hundred twenty four on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: August 5, 1966 -…

On this day in music history: August 5, 1966 – “Revolver”, the seventh album by The Beatles is released (US release date is on August 8, 1966). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from April 6 – June 21, 1966. The album marks the beginning a new phase in the bands’ career musically and artistically, and is praised as one of their greatest works. Standing in stark contrast to their previous release, the largely acoustic based “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver” sees The Beatles exploring new musical and sonic territory, with most of the songs being electric guitar based. Though others touch on the use of orchestral instruments (“Eleanor Rigby”), Indian music (“Love You To”), brass (“Got To Get You Into My Life”) and psychedelia (“She Said, She Said”, “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”). It spins off the double A-sided single “Yellow Submarine” (#2 Pop) and “Eleanor Rigby” (#11 Pop). Paul McCartney receives a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Solo Vocal Performance for “Eleanor Rigby”, and artist Klaus Voorman receives a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts for the albums innovative cover artwork in 1967. Some original UK mono pressings contain an alternate mix of “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Doctor Robert” printed “Dr. Robert” on the side two label, which is withdrawn and corrected on subsequent re-pressings. First issued on CD in 1987, the album is remastered and reissued in 2009, with the stereo version being available both individually, and as part of the stereo box set. The original mono mixes (out of print since the late 60’s, with the except of a limited UK vinyl LP reissue in 1982) is released on CD for the first time as part of “The Beatles In Mono” box set. The eleven track US edition is released in January of 2014 both individually, and as part of the “The Beatles – The US Albums” box set. And the UK mono LP is reissued as part of the mono LP box set in September of 2014, and as an individual release. “Revolver” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, for its ongoing historic and cultural significance. “Revolver” spends six weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

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On this day in music history: July 18, 1968 – …

On this day in music history: July 18, 1968 – “Anthem Of The Sun”, the second album by The Grateful Dead is released. Produced by Dave Hassinger and The Grateful Dead, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studio A in Hollywood, CA, American Recording Company in Century City, CA, Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, CA, Eureka Municipal Auditorium in Eureka, CA, Eagles Auditorium in Seattle, WA, Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR, Coast Recorders in San Francisco, CA, Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco, CA, Kings Beach Bowl in Lake Tahoe, CA, Century Sound Studios and Olmstead Studios in New York City from September 1967 – March 31, 1968. Once again working with recording engineer and producer Dave Hassinger, The Grateful Dead begin work on their sophomore release, just six months after their debut. Determined to capture their live on stage sound in the studio, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh painstakingly piece together the tracks, using parts that have been recorded in a controlled studio environment along with parts of live performances of the same material. Frustrated with the extremely slow pace that the band is working at, Hassinger quits the project midway through. The Dead recruit their sound man Dan Healy to assist them, and the sessions resume back in San Francisco. “Anthem” also marks the first appearance of longtime Dead and Jerry Garcia collaborator Robert Hunter, who pens the lyrics for the song “Alligator”, co-written by bassist Phil Lesh and keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. Taking full advantage of their contract with Warner Bros which allows them unlimited studio time, they continue tweak and rework the songs over a period of six months. The resulting album is a wide ranging psychedelic collage mixed specifically to emphasize that intent. Though reaction to it is mixed upon its release, in time the experimental “Anthem” is regarded as groundbreaking, laying the groundwork for the follow up “Aoxomoxoa” which brings The Dead’s musical vision into clearer focus. “Anthem” is remixed and reissued in 1972 with alternate cover artwork, changing the cover background from purple to white, changing the title and artist graphics. It is remastered and reissued on CD (with HDCD encoding) in 2001, using the original 1968 mix, restoring the original cover art and containing three live bonus tracks. Though the high definition digital download release uses the 70’s remix version. In 2011, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records, also using the original mix. The album is reissued again for its 50th anniversary on July 13, 2018. The 2 CD edition features the original mix and 1971 remix versions on disc one, and a live concert set recorded at Winterland in San Francisco on October 22, 1967 on disc two. A limited edition LP, pressed on yellow and orange swirl vinyl is issued as an exclusive through Barnes & Noble. “Anthem Of The Sun” peaks at number eighty seven on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: July 17, 1968 – …

On this day in music history: July 17, 1968 – The Beatles third film “Yellow Submarine” has its world premiere at the London Pavillion Theater in London. Directed by George Dunning and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, and Erich Segal (“Love Story”), the animated feature is a joint venture between King Features Syndicate, United Artists Pictures and The Beatles company Apple Corps. The band contribute four new songs to the films soundtrack (in addition to eleven previously released songs) is not released until January of 1969. The films US release does not take place until November 13, 1968. “Yellow Submarine” is well received upon its release, and is regarded as a classic today. When The Beatles company Apple Corps regains ownership of “Yellow Submarine”, the film undergoes a major restoration in 1999 and is released on DVD for the first time. It is digitally enhanced and receives further restoration work before it is reissued a second time on DVD, and on Blu-Ray for the first time in 2012. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the film is re-released for a brief theatrical run in various major cities. Apple Records also releases a limited edition 7″ picture disc of “Yellow Submarine” b/w “Eleanor Rigby” on July 6, 2018.

Jimi Hendrix at the Schiller Hotel in Amster…

Jimi Hendrix at the Schiller Hotel in Amsterdam after his performance at the Hippy Happy Festival in 1967.   

Photos by Rob Bosboom