Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 10th

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" begins its 27-week run at #1 on the UK Album Chart.  (It would hold the #1 spot for 15 weeks here in America.)  It would also go on to win The Grammy for Album Of The Year and eventually sell upwards of 30 million copies worldwide.  Ringo Starr (who was bored during most of the lengthy recording sessions … and later said he learned to play chess during the making of "Pepper") would later boldly refer to this landmark album as "a bunch of songs … and you stick two bits of 'Pepper' on it and it's a concept album.  It worked because WE said it worked."   

The Beatles were used to setting trends in the recording industry.  A year later, they were advised by everybody in their record company and production staff that "Hey Jude" needed to be trimmed to under four minutes because "NOBODY will play a seven minute single on the radio."

John Lennon's response to that?   

"They will if it's us."   

And play it they did … "Hey Jude" topped The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart for nine straight weeks!  

The Monkees begin recording the Carole King song "Pleasant Valley Sunday".  (It will be completed a few days later.)  The track will be released as a single in a few weeks and later appear (in a remixed form) on their "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd." LP.  

Screen Gems honcho Jackie Cooper tells The Chicago Daily News "I think The Monkees is going to be the most popular show in the history of television."  (Ironically it will be cancelled a few months later ... but it HAS managed to stay on the air for 50+ years in reruns and syndication ... and in 2016 The Monkees enjoyed their first Top 20 Album in nearly fifty years!)  

Jimi Hendrix (soon to be touring as an opening act for The Monkees) was denied entry into London's Botanical Gardens today because "people in fancy dress aren't allowed."  

Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" (another one of my favorite songs of all time) hits #1 on The British Pop Singles Chart.  37 years later (2004) the United Kingdom performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited recognized this record as the most-played record by British Broadcasting of the past 70 years.  (How it never made it to #1 here in The States is beyond me … but it DID make The Top Five on all three national charts.)   

The song takes its classical feel from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Orchestra Suite in D" … and the matter regarding just who helped contribute to the writing of the Procol Harum hit has come under much debate the past several years.  

Gary Brooker (who also sang the tune) and Keith Reid were listed as the original song writers when the record was first released in 1967.  However Matthew Fisher has also since laid claim to having a hand in the writing of this brilliant piece … he played organ on the tune, around which the song's unique sound is based.  (If this is true, shouldn't Johann Sebastian Bach ALSO be credited???)  When Fisher's case was first thrown out of court (making a claim like this some 40 years AFTER the song has become one of the most recognized compositions in pop history), he figured all was lost … but in 2009 The House of Lords overturned that decision … and granted him a share of all future royalties.  

Brooker therefore claims credit for the rest of the tune built AROUND the organ part (one cannot help but wonder exactly what part THAT is!!!) and Reid continues to receive credit for the inspired lyrics.  Fisher claims he only wanted credit for what he had done and wasn't seeking anything in the way of back royalties.  He seems content to make whatever he makes moving forward from the ruling.  He says he first received a call from the band when they responded to an ad he ran in Melody Maker, stating that he had access to a rare Hammond Organ.  He was immediately brought on board as a member of the band.  

Actor Spencer Tracy died today.  He was 67.  His last film, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", was completed just prior to his death.  Tracy would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Matt Drayton.  Costar Katharine Hepburn won the honor for Best Actress for her role as his wife Christina in this classic film … she claimed she never watched the completed film as it was just too painful to see Spencer Tracy in his final role. 
(By the way, "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" was the NINTH pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy on film)

Although he wasn't nominated, Sidney Poitier was just OUTSTANDING in his role of Dr. John Wayde Prentice, Jr.    
It remains one of my favorite films of this or any other era.