Saturday, July 30, 2022

PHIL NEE - July 30th

Today I am pleased to highlight more 1972 memories.  
Gallery was a group that hailed from the Detroit area.  They became a three hit wonder with a trio of songs that were all released during '72 and all were from the same album.  They sold a lot of 8 tracks that year!  Jim Gold was the leader of the band and he joined me on the air in 2006.
Gallery got a lot of airplay and were featured on a couple of K-tel commercials that seemed to air all the time on local t.v. Jim Gold is happy that he got a brief moment in the national spotlight.
I feel the debut album by Gallery is an overlooked gem from 1972. 
Three hits on one album guaranteed that my $3.99 was well spent at the record store.  The group's version of I Believe In Music was released in early August. 
Gallery's three hits came back-to-back-to-back in 1972 ... and all three of them made The National Top 12.
"Nice To Be With You" went all the way to #1 in Cash Box Magazine.  (It topped out at #4 in Billboard and Record World ... but charted for an incredible 22 weeks ... virtually unheard of at the time when a long-running record MIGHT spent 16 weeks on the chart.)
"I Believe In Music," a Mac Davis song, followed it up the charts, peaking at #12 in Record World, #13 in Cash Box, but only #22 in Billboard.  It still seems to be the definitive version of this tune, even fifty years later.
"Big City Miss Ruth Ann" wrapped up the trifecta by also gong to #12 (this time in Cash Box), while peaking at #21 and #23 in Record World and Billboard respectively.  All three recordings still hold up very well some five decades later.  (kk) 

Be sure to listen to Phil Nee's THOSE WERE THE DAYS radio program tonight … and EVERY Satuarday Night on WRCO ... 6 pm – Midnight (Central):

WRCO AM FM Radio Richland Center Wisconsin

Just click on the 100.9 headphones and start streaming!



JIMY SOHNS:  Sadly, the official news of Jimy Sohns' passing started circulating Friday Night ... this second stroke was just too much for him ... so Chicago (and the world) has lost one of its favorite '60's singers.

I have updated yesterday's piece to include the news of his passing ... (just scroll down to see it) ... and will put something together to run on Tuesday (August 2nd) recapping the story of Jimy Sohns and The Shadows Of Knight.  In 1966, he recorded a rock and roll classic ... and I believe that people will be spelling his biggest hit for many years to come.  (kk)

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Friday Flash

As expected, Tony Dow did officially pass away within 24 hours of the false announcement of his death.  Doesn’t make it hurt any less … he was such a huge part of all of our lives growing up.

And no sooner did we receive this news than we started hearing rumors of Jimy Sohns’ death (lead singer of The Shadows Of Night and a long-time friend of Forgotten Hits.)

These, too, were apparently greatly exaggerated … although Jimy did suffer another stroke.  (He recovered remarkably well from the first one … but I hear this one may have knocked him down a peg.)

Back in 2012 when we polled our readers in order to determine their All-Time Favorite Garage Band, The Shadows Of Knight came out on top of the heap.

After taking the title, Jimy had this to say …

A few years ago ... I don't know, 2007 or 2008 ... Rolling Stone Magazine named us as the Greatest Garage Band Ever ... of course that was thanks to my good friend Little Steven ... I've known him forever ... but we still came out on top and that's all that mattered ... to be recognized for your work all those years later.

You know when we started out there weren't a lot of clubs here in Chicago ... we were the house band at The Cellar in Arlington Heights and we would sometimes play there for six months at a time. Little Jimmy Peterik told me that he used to catch the train to come up there to see us. Then little by little, more clubs began to open up and more bands came around to become the "house band" at these different clubs ... The Cryan' Shames had their place and The Buckinghams had their place ... and more and more clubs started to open up where the kids could come out and listen to music being played live. But we played there at The Cellar for about six months straight. In fact, once we got big enough to go out on the road ... and by "out on the road" I mean like Rockford ... or Valparaiso, Indiana ... The Cellar actually had to shut down for a while until they could find some other bands to fill in while we were gone. Once we finally moved out of there, the band that took over for us ... that took our spot ... was Jimy Rogers and the Mauds. God bless Jimy ... one of the greatest voices in Chicago rock right up until the day he died ... and nobody ever knew ... because he never said a word.

People talk about "Gloria" being the big break-through hit in 1966 ... and there've been stories going around for years about how WLS and Clark Weber got us to make that record ... and I love Clark, he's a great guy ... but people remember things differently. All I know is we were playing "Gloria" for a year before the record came out so nobody had to ask us to go out and learn that song in order to put a record out. We actually learned that song in a gas station up in Arlington Heights ... now if that's not a garage band, I don't know what it is ... and then we went out and played it that same night at The Cellar. Don't get me wrong ... the radio support here in Chicago was great and it became a #1 Hit here.
We picked up on "Gloria" very early on ... and that was actually the B-Side of a Them record. The A-Side was Them's version of "Baby, Please Don't Go" ... and "Gloria" was on the B-Side ... and, as such, they let a lot of things go on that record because it was just a B-Side. There are a lot of little mistakes in that ... and here's a little bit of trivia for you ... you know who plays that guitar solo there in the middle on Them's version of "Gloria"? That's Jimmy Page! He sat in with a lot of bands back then in the studio and played on records by The Kinks, Them, "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan ... a whole bunch of 'em. He was doing his studio thing ... and then, later on, a few years later, The Shadows started doing some studio gigs, too, when we went over to Buddah Records. The "Shake"-era Shadows Of Knight ... there were usually at least two or maybe three of us on those records ... we were on "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "Chewy Chewy" and "Down At Lulu's" and a whole bunch of those records that were very popular at the time with this new style of music.
Critics and journalists have always referred to us as "America's Rolling Stones", which was right on the money ... that's what we were at the time ... but we never saw any royalty money from those records we recorded ... nobody did back then. At least when we went over to Buddah Records, we KNEW we weren't going to get any royalty money, playing as the "house band" ... but we thought we were going to get rich and famous with a hit the size of "Gloria" ... and that just never happened.
People always want to ask me about the original band ... and the original band was great ... don't get me wrong, we were a great band and that's the band that made the records ... but we were only together for about three years! I've been doing this now for 46, 47 years. Those other guys didn't really stick with it, but I've done SO many things over the past 46 years ... played with so many great musicians and I've kept in touch with many of them. Some of them have moved on or gotten into other things, but we're still rockin' ... I've got gigs lined up all the time and I still tear it up on stage ... it just takes me a little bit longer to get going the next day, that's all!
But I'm glad the fans still love and appreciate the music of The Shadows Of Knight, as indicated by your poll. You told me that we were ahead by a landslide and it's great to hear that ... that people still know and love this music.

Seriously, come out and see us some time and tell me what you think.
Click here: Home

-- Jimy Sohns

You can view all of the results here:

From my understanding, Jimy had another stroke. Contrary to was originally posted on Facebook, he has not passed away. Let's all say some prayers for Jimy.

Mike De Martino


From The Shadows Of Knight Facebook Page …


We are sorry for the relaying the miscommunication regarding Jimy’s health situation. He is currently in the hospital after suffering a stroke on Friday. He has not passed away, but can certainly use the love and support from his friends and fans.


UPDATE:  7-29-22:

Sadly, this second stroke was too much for Jimy - he passed away Friday afternoon (7/29)


Due to committed pre-posts, we will run our tribute to Jimy Sohns on Tuesday, August 2nd.  But we did receive a couple of emails after the news of Jimy's passing started to circulate ... including this one which came just BEFORE the story hit the news ...

Hi Kent,

So sorry to hear about Jimy Sohns.  I hope he gets better.  I’m actually a Shadow of Knight fan from the “Shake” era.  I heard that on the radio and couldn’t get enough of it.  I know it’s not a complicated tune but something raw and fun about it gets me every time.  It got played in the Rochester, NY area, but didn’t make a big impression nationally I guess.  From there, I went back and found other SOK stuff.  To this day I still have the original Gloria album on Dunwich and the Super K (Buddha) album with a different mix of “Shake” on it.  It seems to me they were probably better live than the records represent.

So many of the artists we grew up with are leaving us.  Very sad but understandable.  People say “Why don’t the Rolling Stones hang it up?”  And I’m like “Noooo!!”  They’re one of the last from the golden era and I love that Mick and Keith are still running around the stage and rocking!  It’s an inspiration and when it ends, we will all feel a litter emptier in my opinion.  These songs are classics and why shouldn’t they do them if they can?

On another note, I’m listening to the new James Holvay EP, This Girl. Wow, if you miss the Impressions, Holvay has nailed their sound.  Wonderful soul music and vocals.  I listen to the earlier one, Sweet Soul, quite often, too. Funny, his web site doesn’t mention the new EP. I love Chicago soul and rock from the classic era.  I live in NH but still search out lost bands and tunes from Chicago and other areas. 

Thanks for keeping it all going consistently Kent!!

Jim Culveyhouse

From our friend David Lewis down in Nashville, who on Wednesday already had heard that Jimy had passed away and was checking to see whether or not it was true.  (It wasn't ... the news of Jimy's second stroke was getting around ... and his own Facebook Page had reported that he died!  You can see their apology / retraction above)

Having just gone thru this exact same scenario with Tony Dow the day before, David wrote:

Second false death announcement in as many days! When has this happened before?


The truly amazing part about all of this is that we live in the most instantaneous age ever - news circulates within SECONDS these days thanks to all of the various ways people communicate today.  So to have the WRONG information spreading around the world would seem to be unheard of in this day and age of social media ... and yet David's right ... TWICE in two days the announcements were off the mark.  (Jimy's daughter Raechel made the official announcement at 5:10 pm on Friday, July 29th ... but then again it was Tony Dow's own wife who falsely reported that he had died a day before it was actually true!!! ... so I guess you really don't know WHO to believe!)

And then, also from David, Friday evening ...

Jimy's passing is official, too, two days later.
Sad times for Boomers.

Just heard from Jimy's daughter Raechel through The Shadows of Knight ... Jimy passed at 5:10 pm, just three hours ago.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Sad to hear that lead singer of the Shadows of Knight, Jimy Sohns, passed away a couple hours ago. What a band he led for 50+ years.
Clark Besch
Again, look for more on Tuesday in FH  (kk) 


The Origins of ELO

The song was earmarked to be another Jeff Lynne penned b-side for the Midland's homegrown supergroup, The Move. That is until multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood added a cheap Chinese cello to the unfinished track. It was the missing ingredient the two good mates had been searching for to introduce a Move side gig they were calling the Wood-Lynne project.

Wood had envisioned creating a working band able to perform complex arrangements live on stage similar to what The Beatles had only done in the studio. It was a concept that had enticed Lynne to join The Move in 1970. The idea itself might have germinated from a Tchaikovsky riff that Wood had used on The Move's first hit, "Night Of Fear" (UK #2), in 1967. At the time, Wood described it as a classical rave up.

On July 29, 1972, "10538 Overture" was finally released in the UK by the project, now renamed The Electric Light Orchestra. A December,1971, album release containing the track had bombed but was revived by the single. Meanwhile, The Move's top ten and longest charting single, Wood's "California Man," a pastiche to fifties rock 'n roll, was still in the charts, backed by Lynne's "Do Ya."  But apparently two maestros wasn't working for Wood. Before "10538 Overture" was even released, he dissolved The Move, left ELO to Lynne, and formed another band, Wizzard, that would embrace pop-oriented glam rock.

Wizzard debuted at Wembley Stadium's first ever Rock And Roll Show on August 5th that was headlined by several American rock 'n roll legends from the fifties. At this point, no one knew if ELO might be anything other than a one hit wonder, especially after Wood's departure. After all, Lynne's innovative previous band, The Idle Race, had never had a hit record. He had replaced Wood in that one.

"10538 Overture" could have easily been mistaken as something new by the Sgt. Pepper crew in yet another disguise. It peaked at UK #9 but failed to chart in the US, as hadn't The Move's swansong,"California Man."  But a few months later, "Do Ya" was re-released as the plug side and became The Move's only stateside chart single. Earlier, a Disc And Echo UK music critic had called "Do Ya" one of the greatest rock 'n roll masterpieces ever recorded. It would be over a year before another Lynne original, "Showdown", would follow a Chuck Berry cover into the UK charts. By then, Wizzard had already topped the UK charts not once, but twice. Major transatlantic success would remain elusive until Lynne's perseverance transformed ELO into something more than a Beatles tribute band.

In 1975, a live version of "10538 Overture" was released as the b-side of "Evil Woman."  In 1977, a reworked "Do Ya" became an ELO hit in America, 69 positions ahead of the original in Billboard. Cheap Trick would cover "California Man" and release an original tribute titled "ELO Kiddies."  Despite two number one albums in the UK, ELO's only chart topping single was as Olivia Newton-John's backing band on "Xanadu" in 1980. In the US the band holds the record for most Hot 100 hits without a number one. In 2017, the group, including original mastermind Roy Wood, was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Mike Gentry

I still love the story about how United Artists Records was trying to break ELO here in America.  Culling tracks from their British releases to be used for their first LP, the big wigs didn’t want to take any chances by missing something that The Brits had already latched on to that might help to make an immediate connection with what they hoped would be their new fanbase.  So, one of the UA executives told one of his office boys to get on the phone with the band’s record company over in The UK and find out what the name of their first LP was over there so that UA could replicate it here Stateside.

I don’t know if it was the time change or just a slow business day, but this kid made repeated calls to the UK all day long and never got anybody to pick up the phone.  Finally, at the end of a long day, he figured that rather be reprimanded by his boss for not coming thru with the information, he would instead just leave him a note explaining the reason for his failed mission.
So, right before leaving for the night, he took a post-it note, scribbled down his explanation and stuck it on his boss’ phone.

All it said was “No Answer” … the end result of all his efforts.
When his boss came in the next morning and saw the note, he was beaming that his young associate had come thru for him … and immediately made plans to release Electric Light Orchestra’s first US album.  Just like it had been in the UK, their American debut would be called “No Answer” … never realizing for a second that the note he found stuck to his telephone receiver the following morning could possibly be anything other than the information he had asked his young assistant to find out.  (kk)


After making headlines with her surprise appearance at The Newport Folk Festival, Joni Mitchell is back in the news today as Rhino prepares a new box set called "The Asylum Years, 1972 - 1975," featuring all four of her albums released for the label: "For The Roses" (1972), "Court And Spark" (1974), "Miles Of Aisles" (Joni live in 1974) and "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns" (1975).  It'll be available as either a 4-CD or 5-LP set ... and compliments last year's release, "The Reprise Years, 1968 - 1971."

The Asylum years were Joni's "hit years" ... during that time she placed five songs in The National Top 50, starting with "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio" (#18, 1973), "Raised On Robbery" (#50, 1973), "Help Me" (#7, 1974), "Free Man In Paris" (#22, 1974) and the live version of her first Reprise chart single, "Big Yellow Taxi" (#24, 1975).   (kk)

The new Paul McCartney book, "The McCartney Legacy, Volume 1:  1969 - 1973," has been pushed back to a December 13th release date ... and has also increased in size from 592 pages to 720 pages.  (And this is only Part 1!!!)  Sounds like the perfect Christmas Gift for me!  (hint - hint)  kk

Thursday, July 28, 2022

A Two-fer from Harvey Kubernik

Just like Ernie Banks used to say, "Let's play 2."

- HK

And that's exactly what we're gonna do!

First up ... 

A vintage interview from Harvey Kubernik with Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane / Starship … and you guys already know how I feel about the music from 1967!!!

Jefferson Airplane / Starship’s Marty Balin on the Heaven That Was ’67

by Harvey Kubernik


The late singer and songwriter Marty Balin, founder of Jefferson Airplane, hitmaker with Jefferson Starship, and well-received solo performer, was at the epicenter of the emerging and nascent San Francisco musical community beginning in 1965. The regional buzz on Jefferson Airplane in 1966 yielded their debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Take Off, issued by RCA Records that year. He continued to make music until his death in 2018, at age 76. 


Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio, on January 30, 1942, Balin moved to the Bay Area at age four with his parents Joe and Jean Buchwald. Joe was a lithographer, and printed more than 200 different posters for late ’60s music shows at San Francisco’s Matrix, the Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms. Marty briefly attended San Francisco State University, initially pursuing a career as a painter. He then turned to music and, in 1962, renamed himself Marty Balin, recording the singles “Nobody But You” and “I Specialize in Love” for Challenge Records.


Balin subsequently became the lead singer of a folk music quartet called the Town Criers, followed by a brief stint with the Gateway Singers in 1965. He then mulled over an electric folk sound. “I wanted to play with electric guitars and drums, but when I mentioned that notion in clubs that I played, the owners would say, ‘We wouldn’t have you play here. Not with drums and electricity. This is a folk club.’ So I decided to open my own club.”


Jefferson Airplane in 1966, pre-Grace Slick (l. to r.):

Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner, Jack Casady, Marty Balin,

Signe Anderson, Spencer Dryden


Balin, with the help of financial backers, opened the Matrix on August 13, 1965, featuring his new band Jefferson Airplane. Over the next several years, numerous local bands, as well as visiting acts like the Doors, the Blues Project and the Velvet Underground, would play his venue.  “Marty is the one who started the San Francisco scene,” said former Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship manager, and one-time Balin roommate, Bill Thompson., who has since passed away.


“Back in those days, Marty was quite the businessman,” stated Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner, who died two years before Marty. “He was the leader of the band on that level. He was the one who pushed us to do all the business stuff, orchestrating, thinking ahead, looking for managers and club opportunities. He was very good at it.”


Initially a folk-rock outfit, Jefferson Airplane came to epitomize the psychedelic scene that was reflected in their 1967 second album, Surrealistic Pillow. He remained with the band through the albums After Bathing at Baxter’sCrown of CreationBless Its Pointed Little Head and Volunteers, then left in 1971, frustrated by the band’s musical direction.


By 1975, he was ready to rejoin his former bandmates Kantner and Grace Slick in their offshoot band Jefferson Starship, and his voice powered their biggest hits, including “Miracles,” “Count on Me,” “Runaway” and “With Your Love.”  Balin left Jefferson Starship in 1978, then, in 1981, he released his first solo album, Balin, which spawned the hit single “Hearts.” In 1989, he joined Jefferson Airplane for a reunion tour and, in 1993, Marty reunited with Kantner in a new lineup of Jefferson Starship.


Marty Balin: I got to see all the beatniks and all the jazz cats in the clubs. I was a friend of Ralph Mathis, Johnny Mathis’ brother. They had a house in San Francisco. Johnny would have Erroll Garner in there, [jazz singer] Nancy Wilson, the Jazz Crusaders, and they’d just perform. Because Ralph was Johnny’s brother, we could get into any club. I saw John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk. Plus, I saw all the great writers and poets. This is before 1967 and the Summer of Love. It started with the beatniks and poets. I don’t know if it’s the geomagnetic forces of the earth and the ocean, but something went on there. It’s a lot different than the rest of the world.


HK:  Jefferson Airplane originally had a female singer named Signe Anderson, who was replaced by Grace Slick. How did that change come about?  


MB:  Grace Slick was real popular at the time with her own band, the Great Society. She had her brother-in-law [Darby Slick] and her husband [Jerry Slick] in that band. We needed to get a new girl, because Signe was pregnant and she didn’t want to tour outside San Francisco. There were only two girls around singing: Janis Joplin in Big Brother and the Holding Company and Grace with the Great Society.   

We had this meeting and I said, “Who can we ask?” [Airplane bassist] Jack Casady said, “I’m gonna ask Grace Slick.” I kind of chuckled at that. But Grace used to come to the Matrix and sit out in the audience, right in front of the stage, and watch me. She would stare me down. She would just sit there. Jack asked her that afternoon and that evening she left her band and joined us. Can you believe that? That’s amazing.


HK:  Tell me about the first Airplane single, “It’s No Secret.”


MB:  I originally wrote it with Otis Redding in mind. I used to hang out with Otis and follow him around like a little puppy dog and watch his shows. I wanted to write him a song that had his kind of groove thing, but Otis never did it. I’ve never seen anybody handle an audience like him and rock the joint. The energy level was amazing with this guy. For me, a highlight of the Monterey International Pop Festival was Otis. He staggered the crowd.


HK:  The Airplane had a traveling light show (Glenn McKay’s Head Lights). Was that an essential component in bringing the message and the sound to the audience?


MB:  You can see us and the light show in the Monterey Pop movie. The light show was important. There were times we played in a museum and the light show would be the main thing and they would turn the lights out on us on stage so that we would be in shadow so they could just concentrate on the light show. It was getting talked about more than anything else at the time.


HK:  The Doors played the Matrix in very early 1967 and then in 1968 you toured the U.S. and Europe together.


MB:  We worked and played with them many times. We did some high school and college shows together. I loved the Doors. Oh, my God! I thought Jim Morrison was fantastic. I fortunately became a friend and hung out and got to drink with him. He’d read me his poems all the time. I thought that was funny. I thought Jim was great as an artist. The guy was a good-lookin’ dude, man. I’d go out with him and try and pick up chicks and I was like invisible.


HK:  Why does the music of 1967 still resonate so strongly this century? 


MB:  They are good songs that people grew up with. I’ve had people tell me they were married to one of my songs, their father died the year of one of my songs. Some soccer game in Boston, they use “Volunteers” for their theme. You don’t think about whether a song will last. Every time I do a song, it still moves me and takes me to the place I want to go. It puts me in a trance. That’s the way I write ’em or why bother to play them for people? In Jefferson Airplane, somebody might give me a chord change and make something out of it and write a song to it. How can I sing to this? What kind of melody would I put to it? Over the years, I learned to get out of my way and let the words come. I don’t try to write it. I just try to transcribe what I hear in my head.


HK:  Do you have a specific songwriting process?


MB:  Sometimes it will be a lyric I write out because I have some words I like. And then I sometimes play the guitar and write to it. Or someone will come to me, “Hey, man. I just came up with these changes,” and I’ll say, “That’s interesting. I wonder if I can sing that?” I listen to the music and the song is telling me things. I let the words come out. “What is it saying?” As simple and as easy as it comes. The more you play something simple and direct like that it gets bigger, enlarges and increases.


HK:  I would be remiss if I didn’t ask about your number one hit with Jefferson Starship, “Miracles.”

MB:  I was reading these Persian poets who had these poems about making love to a woman but they’re really talking about God. That gave me this idea. And I had been involved with a living avatar, Sathya Sai Baba. They called him the man of miracles. So I started playing and out came this thing about making love to a woman but also about God. I put it all together and played it for the band and they kind of looked at it and went, “I don’t know about that … There’s something wrong with that.” Nobody really liked it. And I thought, gee … I don’t know. Maybe they’re wrong. I liked it, fortunately for them.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Next up ...

A vintage visit with our old FH Buddy Al Kooper ...

Al has contributed a number of times over the years to Forgotten Hits and at one point paid us one of the highest compliments we've ever received ...

"Thank you for spreading the truth."

We have always striven to present "The Most Accurate Truth" possible after sorting thru all the different versions of stories (and number of ways they've changed over the years) ... so Al's words truly mean a lot.

Take it away, Harvey!!!


Al Kooper to Harvey Kubernik on recording with the Rolling Stones on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Archival 2018 Interview   

Copyright © 2022 Harvey Kubernik 


In Al's own words ...


I saw the American debut of the Rolling Stones in June of 1964 at Carnegie Hall. It was hard to hear them because of the fuckin’ women going berserk.  Different from the Beatles. And I caught them on The Ed Sullivan Show. I later knew Brian Jones from the June, 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival where I was the assistant stage manager. 


After I completed The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper, I went to London and I was picked up at the airport by my good friend Denny Cordell. He then said, "The Stones’ office called me and asked if I felt like playing on a few recording sessions with them. They want you to play on some sessions."


And I said, "How did they know I was gonna be in England?" And Denny replied, "I didn’t say a fuckin’ word. And I don’t even know how they figured out I was involved. But they called me for Tuesday and Wednesday night at Olympic Studios."


The next day we left the hotel and went shopping on Kings Road and ran into Brian Jones in a shirt store who asked, "Are you gonna play the session, Al?" I could never say no to these people. So I went. The main reason they wanted me was that Nicky Hopkins, their regular keyboardist was in the United States.


I went to the studio. Bill and Charlie were there. I met them before with Bob Dylan. I sat at the organ and met Jimmy Miller, the producer. Mick and Keith bolted through the door. Mick wore a gorilla coat and Keith a hat with a long feather. Everyone sat around and they passed out acoustic guitars to anyone who could play acoustic guitar. Then Mick and Keith played acoustic guitar ran down the tune for everybody with the chord changes and the rhythm accents. There was a conga player in the room who rolled hash joints. It was decided that I would play piano on the basic track and later do an organ overdub.  


I got a groove going which I heard on an Etta James cover version of "I Got You Babe" that worked. It had nothing to do with Sonny & Cher. I could not believe the Etta version. I heard it on the radio and thought it was unbelievable. I wanted to own it and bought it. They played the song in the studio to learn.


Keith picked up on it with a guitar part that meshed with my organ part. Jimmy Miller showed Charlie an accent and he just couldn’t get the part. Jimmy sat down at the drums and stayed there and played on the take. Charlie was unhappy but he hid it completely. Very graceful. He didn’t throw a temper tantrum but said "Why don’t you just play the drums?" He said it sincerely. He didn’t say it like I would have. (laughs).  Bill played bass, I played piano. Mick and Keith played acoustic guitars.  Keith then did a lead electric guitar part and I overdubbed the Hammond organ. We were out there together. Brian Jones was in the corner on the floor reading a magazine.


The recording went on for about four hours. Then all sorts of food arrived later in the night: Racks of lamb, salads, wines. Not a cheeseburger break like back in the States.


I told Mick that if he ever wanted to have horns on the record to call me. Over a half a year later an eight-track master tape showed up at my office at CBS Records. The note said "Dear Al, You once mentioned you could put some great horn parts on this. Well, go ahead and do it and send us the tape back. Love, Mick."


They were working on an album, and the record had an intro on it that we didn’t do. That was a separate piece that they tacked on to the front. I wrote a horn chart and hired a horn section and left a spot in the intro for a French horn solo. I was coached by Ray Alonge. I sent the tape back to Mick. Around a year later it came out without all the horn parts except the French horn at the intro. I think they really liked what I did and gave me credit. But I failed at what I set out to do which was putting horns on it like the Etta James record.  I thought it was really great and I was able to play, what I think is some of my best playing I ever did in retrospect.


The next night Mick and Keith picked me up at the hotel, they were in the lobby, and we cut a track for Performance, the film Jagger was working on.  It’s not the version in the movie or soundtrack. I played guitar.     


Photo Credit:  Roz Levin - Sony Music Entertainment


Keith Richards - Photo Credit Henry Diltz

(taken at Peter Tork's house)