We lost Moody Blues Drummer Graeme Edge on Thursday (November 11th)
Edge was with the band from their early blues bar band days, when Denny Laine was still onboard and they cut the Top Ten Hit “Go Now” in 1965. He was also their go-to guy for all the voice over narration that The Moodies liked to include in their albums.
Forever Bandmates John Lodge and Justin Hayward shared these memories of Graeme …
To me he was the White Eagle of the North with his beautiful poetry, his friendship, his love of life and his ‘unique’ style of drumming that was the engine room of the Moody Blues … I will miss you Graeme …
It’s a very sad day. Graeme’s sound and personality is present in everything we did together and thankfully that will live on.
When Graeme told me he was retiring I knew that without him it couldn’t be the Moody Blues anymore. And that’s what happened. It’s true to say that he kept the group together throughout all the years, because he loved it.
In the late 1960’s we became the group that Graeme always wanted it to be, and he was called upon to be a poet as well as a drummer. He delivered that beautifully and brilliantly, while creating an atmosphere and setting that the music would never have achieved without his words. I asked Jeremy Irons to recreate them for our last tours together and it was absolutely magical.
Graeme, and his parents, were very kind to me when I first joined the group, and for the first two years, he and I either lived together, or next door to each other – and despite us having almost nothing in common, we had fun and laughs all the way, as well as making what was probably the best music of our lives.
Graeme was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again.
My sincerest condolences to his family.
Harvey Kubernik sent us this snippet of an interview he did with Justin Hayward back in 2017.
In 2017 I interviewed Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. We discussed their epic "Days of Future Passed" album, a collaboration with the London Festival Orchestra, conducted by Peter Knight. It was Decca Records Executive, A&R man, and Record Producer Hugh Mendl who had first championed their joint sound endeavor that was initially intended to showcase his new Deram progressive music record label, a Decca subsidiary. The pairing would showcase the label’s new “Deramic Sound System,” expanded channel separation, for a combined rock version of Dvorak’s 9th Symphony.
Mendl served as executive producer of the project and later penned the liner notes to the first pressing and reprinted for all subsequent editions.
The group agreed to participate but with no interference or session visits from the Decca executives, plus the guarantee of producer Tony Clarke and engineer Derek Varnals on their creative audio team.
Hayward’s principal songwriting contributions, “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin,” further helped propel the LP over the two million sales mark, and it is still considered to be one of the first and most influential symphonic rock albums.
Hayward’s haunting and memorable “Tuesday Afternoon” effort was originally coupled with John Lodge’s “(Evening) Time to Get Away,” of “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?).”
Q: Take me through the process of writing “Tuesday Afternoon” and then doing it for “The Days Of Future Passed” LP.
A: We had the idea for a stage show and then it really came from Mike, who had written a song, ‘Dawn is a Feeling,’ which I really loved. And then we got round to sort of thinking about this would be quite a good idea for a sort of thematic stage show about the day in the life of one guy. And I just sort of chose, ‘I’m gonna do the afternoon.’ And I had already done ‘Nights in White Satin,’ written and recorded. So I went back to where my parents lived in the west country in England with a guitar and went out that afternoon, sat in the side of the field and smoked a joint and then came back with ‘Tuesday Afternoon.’ That was about it. I thought it was kind of a cheeky little song that wouldn’t really mean much.
Q: Did your early tunes like “Tuesday Afternoon” and ‘Nights in White Satin” even as you first wrote them and cut them with the Moodies always have such inherent cinematic qualities? Even without the orchestration, they are quite visual numbers. For example, your mono recording of “Nights in White Satin” is included in the bonus disc of the 2006 deluxe edition -2CD set of “Days Of Future Passed.”
A: I wish I could say I thought of it in those terms. But it was probably more to do with just the sort of, I hope this doesn’t sound too pretentious, I’m sure it is, the kind of search for enlightenment that young people do, and psychedelic experiences that I was going through. And it has more to do with that probably than thinking of it in a contrived way, you know, in a film sort of way. Interesting enough, Tony Clarke used to think like that all the time. But in truth, I thought we were making a kind of arty album that I might get invited to a cocktail party and might meet some nice lady from ‘The Observer’ and that’s about it. That was as far as a thought. So I wasn’t completely overwhelmed by it. I thought it was a limited appeal album. And really, the people who were in charge of it were the Decca stereo people. It was their album. A demonstration record. And we weren’t even asked into the control room.
Q: I always enjoyed that on your albums there were bits of spoken word and narration integrated in some of the songs. Recitation and talk. Was that part of the process when you were preparing the projects or doing pre-production? I know drummer Graeme Edge was a big part of the narrative segments.
A: It wasn’t so much by design. It was Graeme wanted to contribute. He was a good lyric writer. He was good at spoken word. He was a poet. And we had to get it in there somehow. And he would often try and bring the whole album theme together with his spoken word stuff. And he did that very well. So that’s where that came from. There was also that album called "The Zodiac Cosmic Sounds” on Elektra Records. (incorporating moog synthesizer from Paul Beaver and narration by Cyrus Faryar.) That really turned us on. And we have to give that album some credit for really influencing us.
This is a terrific review ... have just shared it with Joel and his publisher.
Based on your rave review of "Hollywood Eden," it looks I'll be shelling out some more cash.
I want to read ‘Hollywood Eden’ after your glowing review.
I just finished reading a good book on the California Sound from the 50's and 60's called "Hollywood Eden" by Joel Selvin. Very interesting stories about how some of the hit records became to be. Much credit given to Jan and Dean for their contribution to Surf Music, before the Beach Boys ... Fun reading.
I’ve heard about this book but never in the detail that you described it. Now I can’t wait to read it. (I love how you stir our interest without giving too much away … so that we can enjoy and discover these stories just as you did when you read it!)
There are SO many great stories in this book. (Not even in the wildest episode of "The Twilight Zone" ever could I imagine Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis, Jr. entertaining at Nancy Sinatra's Senior Dance!!!)
You'll meet the REAL Gidget ... you'll observe a lifestyle that only exists in movies ... unless, of course, you actually live in Hollywood, too!
Highly recommended. (Scroll back to see our full review from earlier this week.) kk
>>>I COULD be encouraged to listen to novelty Christmas songs (Clark Besch)
In the days of Real Oldies in Chicago, Ron Smith had a Christmas Countdown for which he took requests ... I submitted "Snoopy's Christmas," "Monsters' Holiday" and "Santa Claus Is Watching You."
All three made the countdown. Ron played them, but he was mocked mercilessly for this by "Superjock" Larry Lujack.
So it seems, Clark, that Uncle Lar deemed our favorite Christmas songs "lame."
Makes you rethink everything, doesn't it?
Uncle Lar also used to protest the 50's and 60's only playlist of Real Oldies by occasionally playing a particular 70's song. The song he always chose was "Dead Skunk," so I don't know what to make of that.
Hmm … other Lujack favorites seemed to be “The Water Was Red” by Johnny Cymbal, a song that never even made The Top 100 on any of the national charts (although it WAS a #12 Hit here in Chicago, albeit YEARS before Uncle Lar ever hit town) and Walter Brennan’s “Old Rivers,” which he always referred to as “the first rap song.” (kk)
Chuck Buell brings us this Holiday Update from Mariah Carey!
“All I want for Christmas is . . . a McDonald’s Cheeseburger!”
Cuz it’s FREE! Kinda.
Beginning December 13th, McDonald's begins their "Mariah Menu" in which you spend a Buck on something and then you can get another different select menu item for FREE each day between the 13th of December through Christmas Eve.
"Some of my favorite memories with my kids are our family trips to McDonald's, and of course, each of us has our go-to order. Mine is the cheeseburger, and I get it with extra pickles," --- Mariah McCarey
Then there’s Kent!
CB ( which stands for “Cheeseburger Boy!” )
[Yeah well, believe it or not, when Buell goes to McDonald’s, he almost always gets a … Filet-o-Fish Sandwich! I’m NOT Kidding Here!!!] kk
Full Disclosure ...
Actually after Chuck first told me about this new Mariah / McDonald’s promotion and the idea that EVERYONE has a “go-to” order when it comes to McDonald’s, he said, “What do YOU get every time you go to McDonald’s??? And you can’t pick the fries, because, EVERYBODY gets the fries. So what do you get whenever you go there?” ... to which I had to answer, truthfully … Diarrhea!!! (It’s just not my favorite … although as a kid I swear I would have eaten there every day if only I could.) Watching “Super Size Me” didn’t help to paint a prettier picture for me either and I have to admit that these days I would probably go to White Castle for essentially the same end result but a better taste going in!!! (Honestly, I try to avoid White Castle, too … but I absolutely get “The Crave” a couple of times a year.)
I have decided that the best time to eat White Castle is the night before your colonoscopy … it’ll clean you out better than ANYTHING your doctor might give you.
I’ve also learned that the best and most economical and efficient way to eat them is to just sit right on the pot while dining nd let ‘em just pass right on through!
(OK … enough “dirty talk” for one day!!!) kk
THIS AND THAT:
The Monkees Farewell Tour wraps up this weekend at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles. It’s been one heck of a ride for these guys. Micky and Mike may be the last two standing but their music still shines all these years later. (Would love to see their full band reunion at The Greek several years ago … decades really … released on high-quality dvd/blu-ray at some point in time. What an incredible keepsake that would be for all us die-hard fans!) I’m sure we’ll have new reviews to post next week once the guys take their final bows. (kk)
And, as always, you can’t talk about The Monkees and NOT talk about Jimi Hendrix!!! (lol) Look for a great review / interview with Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik about their new “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” book in the latest edition of Record Collector News. (This book looks absolutely amazing!!!) Harvey assures me that my copy is on its way so I’m looking forward to reading that. (kk)
(All of a sudden I have about 60 pounds of books stacked up to read!!!) Lol
Everything seems to be a massive, oversized, hard-cover edition these days and I’m working through them as best I can. Right now I’m heading deep into the new book about The Carpenters, which is already WAY better than I expected it to be. (I’ve never been a big fan of Richard Carpenter … always felt he was taking a little more credit than he deserved for the duo’s success … but I’ve got to tell you that so far this book is just as engaging and entertaining as hell … and Richard is an AMAZING story-teller. I swear he has kept every piece of memorabilia throughout their career … the most complete “scrapbook” ever … and it truly was an incredible journey as their careers just exploded practically overnight. (The Carpenters had a total of twenty Top 40 Hits between 1970 and 1981, including 17 that made The Top 20, seven of which went all the way to #1.)
If you’re a collector like me, you’ll want to pick up a copy of this one …
Thanks to all of you who "attended" my FaceBook concert on Sunday. More than 500 views so far if you count the scads of shares. And a whole mess o' likes, loves and comments. More responses continue to come in as more and more people catch it on the rebound. (They tell me that more people tend to catch these things after the fact than watch them live ... so I'm looking forward.)
To those of you who missed it and would like to see it, it's still up and will be for some time. So stop by and watch it and leave me a "reaction" or comment so I know you were there.
Just go to my FaceBook Page, scroll down if you have to, and click on the icon.
Love to you,
We heard from a few people who were there and enjoyed it … and even ran a couple of versions of “Truly Julie’s Blues” the other day! Scroll back if you missed it. (kk)
Lots of buzz this week about this “newly discovered Beatles song” from 1968 … except that it’s not a Beatles song at all … it’s just a track that George and Ringo sat in on during the record of The White Album and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” single. They were just session guys on this track, things they both did all the time back then, especially after The Beatles officially split. (Heck, by this time Ringo was already off making movies and George was about to go out on tour with Delaney and Bonnie … so this is hardly what I would consider to be a revolutionary discovery!)
But it’s SURE being played up as one. (There didn’t seem to be this much fuss when George and Ringo contributed tracks to Cheech and Chong a few years later! Nor was that considered to be “a Beatles record.”)
Anyway, if you want to hear it, you can do so here …
If anything, it makes me wonder if recording this track in some way inspired Harrison to write “My Sweet Lord.” (No wait, he copped the melody from “He’s So Fine” for that one!!! Lol) kk
Speaking of The Beatles, there were some interesting observations being discussed on Chris Carter’s Breakfast With The Beatles the other day on Sirius / XM’s Beatles Channel …
Things that I have often thought about (or given some thought to) … but not the kind of thing that typically comes up in Beatles conversations.
For example, because the US versions of the albums were always different than the UK versions, I always found it odd that on OUR version of “Revolver,” John Lennon only had to tracks. (“She Said, She Said” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” … both OUTSTANDING cuts … but it almost implies that John was either absent or not particularly inspired at the time.) I mean, even GEORGE had three cuts on this LP! (“Taxman,” “Love You To” and “I Want To Tell You”) meaning that Paul had the lion’s share of material represented. (And not a dog in the bunch either: “Eleanor Rigby,” “Here, There And Everywhere,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “For No One” and “Got To Get You Into My Life” … all outstanding tracks. (Ringo was represented as well with the big hit single from the LP, “Yellow Submarine.”) That put Ringo at 9%, John at 18%, George at 27% and Paul at 45%! (Of course, John actually had a few more tracks on the British version of the LP … but those cuts … “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “Dr. Robert” and “I’m Only Sleeping” … had been advance-released here in The States on Capitol Records’ “Yesterday … And Today” album. (Still a pretty amazing concept when you think about it … you’ve really got to wonder how that decision was made … and whose decision it was to select those three tracks … ALL John tunes.
Still, things seem a little more balanced out now, don’t they, with Lennon represented with FIVE of the LP’s 14 tracks (36%), now equaling Paul’s diminished tally, while still holding three for George and one for Ringo. (Due to the extra tracks, their percentages fall slightly … George to 21% and Ringo to just 7%.)
Displaying the exact OPPOSITE statistics, consider The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” album as it was released in Great Britain. (Here in The States, these tracks were distributed between the official movie soundtrack album and Capitol’s “Something New.”
For starters, did you know that “A Hard Day’s Night” is the ONLY album The Beatles ever released that featured all Lennon and McCartney songs? (True, after “Beatles For Sale” they stopped doing covers … but this distinction is made because while their other LPs throughout their careers included nothing but original material, these tracks now incorporated the songwriting talents of George Harrison and Ringo Starr!
“A Hard Day’s Night” featured John Lennon singing NINE of the album’s thirteen tracks! (That’s 69%!) George sang one (that John wrote), “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” (7.5%) and Paul sang the other three (again, not a dog in the bunch … “And I Love Her,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Things We Said Today,” good for 23%.
Anyway, I just found it interesting that somebody else picked up on this. (In all fairness, I wouldn’t have had the vaguest clue as to where to go to pick up an import pressing of “Revolver” back in 1966 … and although WLS Disc Jockey Ron Riley always made it a point to play the “discrepancy tracks” on his program … this is how I first fell in love with The Beatles’ version of “Kansas City” before “Beatles VI” was released … I was otherwise constricted by the US pressings of all of these albums. (Hey, it’s the way we heard these tunes here in America … the US sequencing is forever burned into my brain … as is the added echo on “I Feel Fine” and “She’s A Woman” … they just don’t feel right any other way!
And, because I know I’ll get asked if I don’t tell you, John’s nine contributions to the “A Hard Day’s Night” LP were the title track, “I Should Have Known Better” (the B-Side to the US single … in Great Britain, “A Hard Day’s Night” was backed with “Things We Said Today”), “If I Fell” (an absolute classic), “Tell Me Why,” “Any Time At All” (another favorite of mine), “I’ll Cry Instead” (released as a US hit single), “When I Get Home,” “You Can’t Do That” (B-Side to Paul’s “Can’t Buy Me Love”) and “I’ll Be Back,” which wouldn’t come out on a US LP until the end of the year when Capitol stuck it on “Beatles ’65.” (And now I wanna go out and listen to ALL of these tracks!!!) kk
After all the fuss of Benny and Bjorn explaining that “this is it” for ABBA … the tracks that they never completed will REMAIN unfinished … Anni-Frid Lyngstad is saying that she might not be opposed to continuing the sing with the group and explore the magic a little bit further. (The feeling was always that it was the women who wanted no part in revisiting their past … but now that the album is complete … and selling better than any of their previous efforts … I can see how this might give one pause to reconsider!!!)
In an interview last week with BBC 2, Anni-Frid said:
“I have learned never to say never. This year we have probably said this must be the last thing we do because … [we’re] thinking of our ages, you know. We are not young any longer, but I’m saying you never know. So don’t be too sure.
And let’s face it … eventually those avatars are going to need some new material!!! (kk)