The anticipation continues to build as we near the Thanksgiving Weekend, bringing us one step closer to the premier of the new Peter Jackson film “Get Back,” a six hour tribute to The Beatles’ plans to film the recording of their newest album (circa January, 1969) and their first live performance in almost three years.
Of course, it didn’t quite turn out that way … originally titled “Get Back,” this was supposed to be a return to the studio and a “back to basics” approach to recording, without all the fancy overdubs and enhancements.
Instead, the project was shelved (somewhat out of boredom, somewhat out of apathy and mostly because they didn’t feel they had anything good enough to release from it at the time) and sat for over a year while they regrouped to work on their NEXT album, "Abbey Road," instead.
In the interim, “Get Back” was released as a single in May of ’69, the photo taken of The Beatles recreating their 1963 “Please Please Me” album cover with their 1969 looks was used years later on the two 2-record Greatest Hits collections put out by Capitol long after the band had already split up, in 1973, “Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road” were issued as their final singles in 1970 and, in May of 1970, the documentary film, (now also titled “Let It Be”), was finally released in theaters.
By this time, the band had officially broken up. Paul McCartney’s first solo album (titled simply “McCartney”) was now competing with the last Beatles album on the charts. (Incredibly, despite all the animosity and ill-will floating around the studio at the time, most of which will be covered up and overlooked in the new Peter Jackson film, The Fab Four were able to regroup in between and record what many feel to be their finest album, “Abbey Road,” another chart-topper that spawned the #1 Hits “Come Together” and “Something” and new Beatles classics like “Here Comes The Sun,” “Oh Darling,” “Octopus’ Garden” and the incredible medley that closes Side Two.)
Now … some fifty years later … with access to nearly 60 hours of unseen footage (and close to 150 hours of recorded audio), Peter Jackson will unveil his film EXCLUSIVELY on Disney+ beginning Thanksgiving Night, November 25th.
Some are saying it’s a white-washed version of what was really happening in the studio at the time, but Jackson disagrees. He says he is only showing what the films really captured, which is four long-time friends and colleagues rehearsing and recording their brand new album, culminating with the roof-top concert that marks the last time all four Beatles actually performed together as a band. (Most critics have agreed for the past five decades that “Let It Be” essentially shows the band breaking up.) I think the original film captures a little bit of both ... and hopefully early next year we'll have BOTH films available on home video to further our own analysis of this era in Beatles history.
As I said, they regrouped to record “Abbey Road” in top form and fashion and created a collective album they could all be proud of. It was heartbreaking at the time to think that they couldn’t have worked out a way to keep things going under conditions that would have satisfied all of them, even if that meant solo albums to satisfy their creative juices between full-band get-togethers to satisfy the public.
But honestly, could they ever have topped “Abbey Road?” I’m not so sure … especially listening to some of the solo output released over the coming years.
The “Get Back” film covers not only what we have come to call the “Let It Be” period but also several run-throughs of tracks that would eventually end up on “Abbey Road” and even a few soon-to-be solo tracks. The audio and video looks exceptional, fully restored. The recent release of a book commemorating all of this and the 5-CD “Let It Be” box set has only helped to enhance the hype … but, truth be told, I can’t wait.
I know that I will be glued to my tv all three nights to take in the entire six-hour event … and will then wait for it to be released on home video (along with, hopefully, the original “Let It Be” film) next year to devour it again … maybe even with a few extras. This is a VERY big deal in Beatleland … and I can’t wait to see it. (kk)
60 Minutes ran a segment on the Beatles' new "Let It Be" / "Get Back" 6 hour film last night, upcoming on Disney+ over Thanksgiving Weekend.
1970 Flashback time:
Our Besch Boys’ tape recorder was rolling on March 1, 1970. Ed Sullivan introduced a new Beatles record to most a week before release. He had a tribute show for the Beatles on that night and with it being HIGHLY publicized ahead of time, we had the reel to reel ready. Despite already having the Get Back album on tape for months from a bootleg tape played on KEYN-FM, this would be the first time we Besch boys had SEEN the Beatles sing any of these songs. There had been nothing new released in 1970 by the band, so it was time!
We had no idea if the fabs would be singing live or not, but in hindsight now, we know it was two performances from the Get Back sessions taped for the movie "Let It Be." We had no idea they had actually broken up or that there was even any animosity. It was a thrill to see Ed presenting the band again as if it was 1964 again. Yeah, we sat thru all these "star" performances of Beatles tunes, but it was worth getting to SEE the band for the first time in years performing again -- even if on film.
We taped "Let It Be" ("there will be no sorrow" version) and "Two Of Us" (extra opening guitar notes version), which were, of course, NOT the same as the soon to be released single and LP versions, making these again rare for years. The single of "Let It Be" would be released that week on March 6th. It would be just over a month when we would be able to buy "Two Of Us" on the album, starting May 8th.
Nine days after the Sullivan show, Paul announced the Beatles’ break up. We were down at the thought, but he did NOT say permanently, so I figured "all things must pass." Well, with George's album in mind, I guess they did and they didn't.
Can't wait for the six hour special!!!
And perhaps the most in-depth look yet ...
C’mon, people now, smile on your brother … and stop trashing The Rolling Stones!!!
After Paul McCartney’s comment a couple of weeks ago about The Stones being nothing more than a blues bar cover band, now Roger Daltrey of The Who has called them “a mediocre pub band!!!” (What the hell is going on here?!?!) The Stones have outlasted virtually EVERYBODY … and are STILL putting on kick-ass rock and roll shows from start to finish, despite the fact that they’re all well into their 90’s … I mean 70’s. The World’s Greatest Rock And Roll Band still stacks up head and shoulders above any others … and I would include Paul McCartney and The Who on that list as well.
In an interview with The Coda Collection, Daltrey gave props to Mick Jagger, stating "Mick Jagger, you've got to take your hat off to him. He's the number one rock 'n' roll performer. But as a band, if you were outside a pub and you heard that music coming out of a pub some night, you'd think, 'Well, that's a mediocre pub band!'"
Ya’know, all this trash talking has gotten me thinking that
maybe it’s time to return to another tried and true tradition and foundation of the ‘60’s … a
good, old-fashioned Battle Of The Bands!!!
Something tells me that would stop all this crap once and for
all!!! (And somehow I just don't see McCartney OR The Who stacking up very well against The Stones!!!) kk
That whole "The View" episode with Freda Payne's appearance was exclusive to authenticated and Hulu viewers when I found it, but Payne's segment (teaming with chart-topper Anita "Ring My Bell" Ward!) is on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5uxG18OrOs
>>>Making the rounds to promote her new book (written with Mark Bego), Freda Payne made an appearance on “The View” last Friday to sing her #1 Hit “Band Of Gold.” (kk)
I obviously always liked that song of hers and played it often on the "Big CB Show," but was the record's tempo a bit "off speed" or something? I never knew for sure, but it always sounded "waverly" or something to me. Bugged me a bit.
I haven't read Bego's book yet. Might the answer be in there? If indeed, it IS a question!
I sent your query to Mark Bego to pass along to Freda Payne to see if this was actually an “effect” applied to the recording (or perhaps just a warped pressing you guys got!!! Let’s face it, back then if the center hole was cut even slightly off-center, it could produce a wavering effect when played.)
I asked about the limited viewership being allowed for Freda’s appearance on The View, too … as far as I know, that show has always streamed without any restrictions, so this, too, struck me as sorta odd. I'll let you know if we hear anything back on either of these topics. (kk)
Bobby Rydell visited with Cousin Brucie Saturday Night …
From the original promo …
Bobby Rydell will be headlining a special event for the East
Coast Music Hall of Fame. The “From the Heart” Benefit Concerts will help fund
their “Rising Star” program that will give new talent the opportunity to
advance their musical careers. The two day concerts, November 19th and 20th,
will be held at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City, NJ (see below).
The ECMHF concerts are Star-Packed -grab your tickets, they will go fast.
Bobby Rydell will be our Special Guest this Saturday 11/13. Make it a point to listen - when Bobby visits the Cuz, there is always good listening.
Bobby Rydell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1950, he won a TV talent show (Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club.) He stayed with the show for several years and played in bands in the Philadelphia area.
Bobby signed a recording contract with Philadelphia-based
Cameo Records. His first hit, "Kissin' Time," hit the charts in 1959. “We Got Love" was his first million
seller album … and it was followed by another million seller, "Wild One."
In 1961, Bobby. performed at the Copacabana in New York City. He was the youngest artist ever to be invited to star at the Copa.
There is a mural on the Wildwood, New Jersey Boardwalk (painted in 2014) honoring Bobby’s hit “Wildwood Days.”
Bobby Rydell visits Cousin Bruce on WABC MUSICRADIO this Saturday, 11/13
And, of course, WE gave Bobby Rydell the Forgotten Hits Star Treatment a few years ago with a week-long feature when his auto-biography came out. (You can now find it permanently posted here): Forgotten Hits - Bobby Rydell
Tony Orlando featured another Philly Hometown Idol when Frankie Avalon guested on Tony’s show Sunday Night. (kk)
And, speaking of “On The Air,” our long-time Forgotten Hits Buddy Big Jay Sorensen is back on the air again … and actually this whole station format looks rather interesting. I am DEFINITELY going to give them a shot this week to see what kind of radio variety they’re able to offer. (In fact, let's give Jay a big Welcome Back from all our Forgotten Hits Readers by tuning in this week to listen, starting today at 10 am Eastern)
This from Big Jay himself …
In case you haven't heard, I've taken the leap into doing some INTERNET Audio or Radio, depending upon your take. I invite you to listen to this work-in-progress from 10 AM to 3 PM weekdays. The best way to listen is to get the PopRadio77 free APP at either Apple Store or Android's Play Store. The TUNES are a wide variety of '60s, '70's and '80s titles, some of which are what are termed "Lost Hits." Yeah, you'll hear the usual titles, but just NOT AS OFTEN as over-the-air stations. I'm doing the BIG JAY "thing" this time around. So check out this website, www.PopRadio77.com The focused area is NY, NJ, PA, DE. The main swatch of the Northeast Corridor. More tunes are being added daily. If YOU MISS the CBS-FM and WOGL of lore, then this is for you. Satellite Radio is accused of playing the same songs 'over and over' according to many listeners. If you want to hear "Don't Stop Believin'" three times per day, this may not be for you. I can assure you MY SHOW will make you smile, laugh a little and make you think sometimes. I'd LOVE to hear your feedback. Remember, I'm ONLY on Mon-Fri from 10 AM to 3 PM, and you can listen on YOUR device of choice! Let's see where this takes us. I thank ALL of you for potentially listening to me for over 50 years! This is FUN!
Jay the Jock
It’s hard to believe that Leon Russell has been gone
for five years already. (Russell died on
November 13th, 2016)
Had Harvey Kubernik not sent me this piece to act as a reminder, I’m not sure I would have even remembered, so thank you, Harvey!
I have read SO much about him lately (you’ll find him prominently featured in Joel Selvin’s “Hollywood Eden” book I’ve been raving so much about lately) … Russell did session work for ages as a member of The Wrecking Crew … played in the house band on the TV Show “Shindig” … and even found time to have a few hits of his own. (“Tight Rope,” #11, 1972 and “Lady Blue,” #14, 1975 both made The National Top 20 … while three of the songs he wrote, “A Song For You,” “This Masquerade” and “Superstar,” were recorded by a Who’s Who list of artists over the years.
Here’s the piece Harvey sent me on Saturday …
Followed by links to our own website tribute from 2016 as well a concert review, both very ably written by FH Reader Steve Sarley …
For Leon Russell:
By Harvey Kubernik © 2016, 2021
Poet and writer Dr. James Cushing phoned me today suggesting I publish something that reminds the universe it’s the fifth anniversary of the passing of multi-instrumentalist Leon Russell, the former Claude Russell Bridges, who left the physical world on November 13th, 2016, dying of a heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee. I had just heard Russell’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” and was startled by both the song and the production.
I met Leon in 1978. I spent six weeks at his Paradise recording studio in North Hollywood. Leon was working with songwriter Kim Fowley. They co-wrote six tunes on the album Americana. Marty Balin covered “Elvis and Marilyn.” They had an unsaid bond: Both these characters survived earlier bouts with polio in different states.
I’ll always remember talking to Leon about B.B. King, who I had met at ABC Records in the seventies. I dug King’s rendition of Leon’s “Hummingbird.” I think Leon played piano on that date, too. Leon told Kim, “I make solo albums so I can get covers by significant artists.”
There were times during sessions where he had a typewriter on top of a keyboard and would write a lyric on the spot. I later learned Leon was a onetime state typing champion in Oklahoma. I first saw Leon in 1965 when I attended a taping of Shindig! in Los Angeles at ABC-TV Prospect Ave. when he was the show’s house band pianist.
During breaks in 1979, we would talk about records he guested on or tunes he penned for the Carpenters, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan and Gene Clark. Some tracking and overdubbing on Love’s Forever Changes was done at his home studio in 1967.
My friend, journalist Michael Macdonald worships Russel’s arrangements on the Clark and Gosdin Brothers’ collaboration, Echoes. Leon once played piano on a project I produced.
I felt it was very appropriate to offer a tribute to “Brother Leon,” who played keyboards on many inspirational and landmark West Coast recordings with guitarist Barney Kessel, father of David Kessel.
Over the decades I asked three musicians about Leon Russell’s highly influential piano and songwriting abilities: Jack Nitzsche, Jim Keltner and Ian Hunter.
“I met him [Leon Russell] with Jackie DeShannon; she introduced me,” remembered arranger, composer and record producer, Jack Nitzsche to me during a 1988 interview published in Goldmine magazine.
“Leon at the time was playing piano in a bar in Covina. He was an innovative piano player. He was good. I heard him on a Jackie DeShannon record. In those days it was real hard to find rock ‘n’ roll piano players who didn’t play too much. Leon talked the same language. You could really hear Leon play in the Shindig! TV band. I put him in The T.A.M.I. Show band, and he’s all over the soundtrack.
“During the [Phil] Spector sessions, a lot of the time we had two or three piano players going at once. I played piano as well. Phil knew the way he wanted the keyboards played. It wasn’t much of a problem who played. Leon was there for the solos and the fancy stuff, rolling pianos. The pianos would interlock and things would sound cohesive. I knew Leon would emerge as a band leader.
“I didn’t have to do a lead sheet for ‘He’s A Rebel,’ just the arrangement. I put the band together for the session, a lot of the same guys I had been working with for years. Phil didn’t know a lot of these people: he had been in New York in 1960-1962. Leon Russell, Harold Batiste, Earl Palmer, Don Randi, Hal Blaine, Glen Campbell: A lot of the players came out of my phone book. Phil knew Barney Kessel. At one time he had taken guitar lessons from Barney, years before."
In my 2014 book, Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972, I spoke with noted drummer, Jim Keltner, about Leon Russell about a time in his life when he joined Gary Lewis and the Playboys shortly after “This Diamond Ring” was on the charts. Russell served as an arranger and pianist under producer Snuff Garrett on those Liberty Records dates.
“Leon was the first record producer and arranger I ever worked with. I was very fortunate to have him as the first producer I came in contact with, because Leon always had a slightly different musical angle that he came from. I think Leon was always looking for something a little bit out of the box.
“At the beginning of the Gary Lewis ‘She’s Just My Style’ recording session, Leon said, ‘Don’t play any fills. Not even one fill.’ And I understood that instinctively. I thought, ‘This is the way rock ’n’ roll singles are made.’ He asked for a fill just at the beginning, and I did. Then he said, ‘Can you do that backwards?’ And I thought, ‘Oh yeah. I can do that.’ So I played the fill backwards, and opened the hi-hat in the intro. He liked that a lot. So right away, we made a connection there. During the playback, he turned to me and said, ‘You’re gonna be a great rock drummer.’
“At that moment I felt a real confidence and begun to realize that playing rock ’n’ roll was not just for morons. You really had to know what you were doing.”
In a 2011 edition of Goldmine magazine, Keltner earlier reflected on Russell to me.
“When I got to know John (Lennon) he told me he liked the Delaney, Bonnie and Friends Accept No Substitute album. George Harrison had actually tried to sign Delaney and Bonnie to Apple Records in the U.K. Leon is all over that. His piano playing on the ‘The Ghetto’ is the greatest. No one else can do that.
“At the 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh, Leon Russell made it great to be there. I had played with Leon on quite a lot of stuff: Gary Lewis and The Playboys, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs and Englishmen."
“I just love Leon’s piano playing on that first Delaney & Bonnie and Friends LP,” volunteered saxophonist Bobby Keys one evening backstage at a Rolling Stones’ concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.”
And, during a 2011 interview with Ian Hunter, bandleader of Mott the Hoople, we also discussed Leon Russell’s impact on his very late sixties’ recordings.
“On our [Mott the Hoople] first tour of America around 1969 I really discovered and got turned on to Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, especially Leon Russell. My thing was Leon. That movie, Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Leon got a lot of slack from tour and film because people kept saying he was trying to put (Joe) Cocker away. I don’t think Joe was that fit and healthy at that time, and Leon was really doin’ the business.
"The piano playing ... ‘In The Ghetto’ was the first time I heard Leon. It was on an album. I just couldn’t believe it. It was Gospel Rock. It was unbelievable. And I know where he got it from, like Dr. John and a couple of other people. But for me the style of playing. I went home and tried to do that for months. I tried to learn that song for months. I got near it but never got it right. The feel.
"When we started there wasn’t any keyboards other than piano and organ. We didn’t have these little keyboards that now can do everything. And if you wanted piano and organ at the same time on a track, you couldn’t get a guy with his left hand on one keyboard and his right on another. You had to get a piano player and an organ player. So then you had the piano and organ color. And then you had all the different guitar colors. And it was also extremely powerful. Like ‘Ballad of Mott.’ Some of those songs we would take ‘em down to zero and all of a sudden BANG, the whole lot would come in. It was easier to put dynamics in and drama, and beautiful, quiet stuff too. Sustaining stuff. Some things a guitar can’t do. It’s just that fraction too jagged. There’s a smoothness with a piano and an organ."
In case you or anyone you know might be interested:
Desirable 1/4-inch reel-to-reel tape marked on the box in felt tip by Tony Glover, "Hendrix at LA Forum / 4-25-1970 / 'Room Full of Mirrors' / 'Rubber Dubber.'" This show kicked off Hendrix's 1970 Cry of Love Tour, which brought him to 32 cities in the United States, as well as England, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. Includes two original vintage glossy 5 x 3.5 photos of Glover interviewing Hendrix, who holds his iconic black Gibson Flying V electric guitar. In overall fine condition, with fading and crazing to the candid photos, and a spot of surface loss to the lower edge of one photo (the area adhered to the glass or the original frame, which is included).