Monday, May 19, 2014

Feeling A Little Bit Less Than Satisfied

re:  See, This Is The Kind Of Shit That REALLY Pisses Me Off:   

So once again I have been GROSSLY let down by radio.  

A couple of weeks ago (Tuesday or Wednesday, May 6th or 7th I believe), Brant Miller (Morning Man on WLS-FM ... don't even ask me WHY I was listening ... but I was button-pushing as usual, trying to find something decent and worth listening to and just happened to land there), was telling the story about how The Rolling Stones' #1 Mega-Hit "Satisfaction" was recorded on that day back in 1965 at the legendary Chess Studios, right here in downtown Chicago ... and that mega-popular, legendary WLS Jock Dick Biondi was there IN THE STUDIO with the band when they laid down this legendary, landmark track ... and how Dick would be talking about this game-changing musical event later that night on his program.   

Now right off the bat, this struck me as INCREDIBLY odd ... if not virtually impossible ... and it's been bothering me ever since.  

Biondi left Chicago in 1963 in a highly-publicized (and still-talked-about) firing ... and headed out to KRLA in Los Angeles where, a year later, (after being the first disc jockey in America to play a record by The Beatles), he introduced The Fab Four live on stage at The Hollywood Bowl.   

He was still there in 1965 ... so I found it HIGHLY unlikely that he flew back to Chicago to attend a Rolling Stones recording session at Chess Studios.  

Then, purely by coincidence, later that night, I read in Harvey Kubernik's EXCELLENT new book "Turn Up The Radio!  Rock, Pop, And Roll In Los Angeles, 1956 - 1972" about how The Stones recorded their biggest hit to date, "Satisfaction", at the RCA Studios in Los Angeles.   

So next I checked the liner notes to the recently released "Out Of Our Heads" CD reissue (the album that contains the aforementioned track "Satisfaction") to see if perhaps these might shine a little more light on the subject ... only to find that the recording credits list the LP as having been recorded in Hollywood, Chicago and London.  Hmmm ... could there be more to the story?    

Rather than jump to any conclusions, I decided to read and research a little bit further ... I read through the original LP liner notes, written by Rolling Stones Manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and say that way back in 1965 he told us that this LP was recorded in three different studios across the globe:   

"From Chicago come the Otis Redding songs 'That's How Strong My Love Is', 'Have Mercy' and the Stones' own tribute to the backroom boys of the music business, entitled 'The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man'.  

"From Hollywood come the Marvin Gaye opus 'Hitch Hike', their two recent smash singles, 'The Last Time' and 'Satisfaction', 'Play With Fire', and two new inkings from song-scribes Mick and Keith, 'The Spider and the Fly' and 'One More Try'.  The boys have included a great Solomon Burke ballad, 'Cry To Me'.  The last outing from Hollywood is by way of a tribute to the late Sam Cooke (the news of whose death was reported while the Stones were recording this LP - kk), who was one of the greatest talents to emerge in the rock 'n' roll era.  The Stones have given a great treatment to Sam's 'Good Times.'    

"Last, but not least, from London, we have included a number recorded during the last Rolling Stones Concert Tour of Great Britain, a great live rendition of their own composition, 'I'm All Right'."     

Now I've gotta believe that Andrew Loog Oldham, writing this AT THE TIME, AS IT HAPPENED, would have a pretty good handle on what was going down during these sessions ... he virtually never left their side back then ... and, as such, he would have to be a pretty trust-worthy source for information at this point ... but just to be sure, I did a little more digging.   

Checking out the INCREDIBLE Rolling Stones website run by Nico Zentgraf (every detail you could EVER want to know about every day of their career), it looks like "Satisfaction" (a VERY early version that included a harmonica solo) was, in fact, recorded in Chicago on May 10th at Chess Studios.  (This version was not used or ever issued ... The Stones scrapped it and started over from scratch the following day in Los Angeles at RCA Studios, putting in sessions on May 11th and 12th and completing the final mix for single and album release.) 

Click here: The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones - Database      

So while I suppose technically The Stones DID, in fact, spend a day in the Chess Recording Studio working on "Satisfaction" (laying down tracks for a version that would never see the light of day), it was NOT the legendary hit single that we all fell in love with during The Summer of '65 ... and it did NOT happen on the date indicated by Miller (which would have been around the 6th or 7th of May, not the actual date of the 10th) ... and it was still HIGHLY unlikely (not to mention virtually impossible) that Dick Biondi would have been there for this session.   

That being said, it is ENTIRELY possible that Dick DID attend the Stones' recording session in Los Angeles, which makes a WHOLE lot more sense since that's where he was working at the time.  (Even more so when one considers that The Stones did an in-studio interview at KRLA on May 11th!!!  They very well may have invited him back to join them in the studio that evening to give him an exclusive glimpse of what they were currently working on.)    

Technically, I guess Brant, Dick and WLS just kind of "combined" the facts in order to create a whole new truth that played out a little more "listener friendly" than the truth ... and, let's be honest here ... I can't imagine that ANY other listener out there who heard this so called "fact" that morning would have taken the time to do the research that I just did ... instead, they would have just accepted Brant's information as gospel truth (and probably shared it with a few friends, family and coworkers later that day), thus spreading the fallacy even further.    

Frustrated, I wrote to Dick Biondi, confronting him with the results of my research, and asked for further clarification ... thinking that perhaps having the facts laid out if front of him might spark a moment of clarity.  (Dick knows my commitment to spreading "the most accurate truth" as it certainly benefited him when I did my "Who Played The Very First Beatles Record In America" series several years ago.)  Surely he would want to set the record straight on this front, too!    

As expected, I never heard back.