Posts Tagged ‘Parlophone’

The Hollies

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Listen: Jennifer Eccles / The Hollies
Jennifer

What on earth was Graham Nash thinking? Leaving this band?

Seems every once in a while, some visiting UK group lost a member to the lure of the Los Angeles folk contingent. None of that soft rock ever appealed to me, not to mention their unkept and drab dress sense. But probably in the 60′s, the modern living, mid-century designs that still prevail to this day were so magnetic, who could resist champagne bubble wall dividers, sparkle ceilings and aqua kitchens.

I can’t quite recall when he actually made the move, seems around ’68. Still somehow, The Hollies vocal sound didn’t really change. Not to my ears.

US radio were always very fickle when it came to their records. The wise man’s “be happy with life’s small pleasures” slogan applied here, and at least The Hollies got some airtime. I even recall, shortly after their switch to Epic, with ‘Carrie Anne’ going Top 10, former label Imperial re-released ‘Pay You Back With Interest’ as a 7″. It too got on the air, eventually charting in BILLBOARD (#28).

Luckily, all of the band’s records were played regularly on the upstate New York stations. Even WNDR, the most commercial Top 40 in Syracuse stayed loyal. ‘I’m Alive’ sounded massive over my little orange transistor, and ‘Jennifer Eccles’ was everywhere airwaves-wise during the Spring of ’68. Right there next to my other successful radio request line missions: The Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday’, Grapefruit ‘Elevator’ and The Scaffold ‘Thank You Very Much’. Oh, and Madeline Bell too.

David Bowie

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Listen: The Prettiest Star / David Bowie
The

Although re-recorded for the ALADDIN SANE album in Fall ’72, this original mono version of ‘The Prettiest Star’ came from sessions at London’s Trident Studios during January ’70 when, with his then backup band Junior’s Eyes and Marc Bolan as guest guitarist, the intent was to followup David Bowie’s first hit, ‘Space Odditiy’.

To his credit, he never gave up trying for that initial success, which took five years in the making, from “Liza Jane’ in ’64 through various attempts with Parlophone, Deram and UK Pye/US Warner Brothers. Every door was shut in David Bowie’s face. Read THE PITT REPORT sometime. It’s an eye opener.

So with ‘Space Oddity’, a #5 UK hit in the Fall of ’69, seemingly positioning him for a much smoother career ride, the original plan was to cut a new version of his final Deram submission ‘London Bye Ta Ta’, which that company had rejected as a fourth single, thereby dropping him. The story goes that during those sessions, ‘The Prettiest Star’ was also recorded and became his choice as followup.

Even more fun is the often documented detail of ‘The Prettiest Star’ selling just under 800 copies when current, a desperately shocking result off the back of a Top 10 hit. That number sounds rather exaggerated now, with even total stiffs moving more copies than 800, given loads of singles were sold regularly then.

Decades later, when included on various compilations, it’s the stereo version of ‘The Prettiest Star’ that’s chosen. To my knowledge, this original mono only ever saw the light of day on those initial pressings like the one above and a BEST OF from ’87.

The Beatles

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Listen: I Want To Hold Your Hand / The Beatles
I Want To Hold Your Hand / The Beatles

A few weeks from now will mark yet another anniversary of The Beatles’ ED SULLIVAN SHOW debut in ’64 on February 9. Yes, forty eight years have passed since. Forty eight years! Scary, especially if you recall it, like I do. I wasn’t alone, but will readily admit it changed my life, like practically everything about it, despite being a little boy in his single digits. I never thought the same way about what I wanted to do when I grew up after that night, despite endless lectures from school guidance counselors to become a Math teacher, and not peruse a career in the record business. I think some of them may still be employed giving out such insightful advice.

Apparently, that first appearance is now considered a milestone in American pop culture and the official beginning of the British Invasion in music. The broadcast drew an estimated 73 million viewers, at the time a record for US television.

The Beatles performed five songs that evening including their then, newly achieved, first US #1: ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. I might be accurate in saying I hadn’t heard this in a good five, maybe ten years. But leave it Little Steven on Sirius, suddenly there it was throbbing out of my dashboard. And it sounded fantastic. I got home and pulled the single right out, still practically untouched in it’s original picture sleeve above from so many years ago.

Not a hardcore Beatles admirer would be understating my self description for sure, but scanning over a singles discography as I did earlier, anyone would be an ignorant fool not to acknowledge their incredible run of endless stellar 45′s. Take a look sometime.

Prior to that US explosion, England was avalanched by Beatlemania during pretty much all of 1963. Having made their first appearance on Britain’s READY STEADY GO! that fall, logically, Vicki Wickham, the program’s talent manager and booker, who became the show’s producer, was serviced all the latest releases from the labels.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving weekend, 2010. Vicki, a dear friend nowadays, rang to say she’s found several thousand 45′s in her Manhattan storage unit, having completely forgotten they existed, and was I interested. Just try to guess how fast I tore over there and I’ll guarantee you it was twice that. Praise be, these were, and still are, the holy grail. I can’t even begin to describe it’s contents and revel in them constantly, filing these gems away ever so slowly. I never want it to end.

So pictured above, from Vicki Wickham’s original collection, not only the actual copy serviced to her at Rediffusion Television’s READY STEADY GO! offices, but one that very conveniently indicates the record’s November 29, 1963 UK release date. It’s also the copy streaming here, yes, the real thing.

Quite probably the same copy that secured them yet another booking on the program. I must ask Vicki to confirm that detail.

Judas Jump

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Listen: This Feelin’ We Feel / Judas Jump
This

No new info here: I’m an Andy Bown freak.

The Herd really were his band from what I can assess, having been a member before and after Peter Frampton. Not that I don’t love the Andy Bown / Peter Frampton period. PARADISE LOST is a class album, always overlooked even by the band themselves.

When it comes to an Andy Bown backing vocal, I can spot it a mile away. So after that first listen to ‘This Feeling We Feel’, I was in.

Scored the US promo above when relieving a Dewitt, NY Shopping Town Mall clothing store of a big box full with 45′s, meant for a tie-in promotion with WNDR, the local Top 40. If you bought an item, you got a 45. That box was beaming with stuff I needed, unlike their racks. A long store clerk negotiation that required me going home, on my bike, collecting a few dozen cast off singles acquired from various sources, and returning to do a one-for-one trade was well worth it.

Even though I had mail ordered for the UK pressing which arrived a week or so later, this Andrew S. Bown production hit the turntable first, and stayed, eventually switched out for Thunderclap Newman’s ‘Accident’.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed Adrian Williams

God bless Jackie Hyde at Sony in the UK. She one day thought to mention that Adrian Williams, down the other side of the building, was the singer of Judas Jump. I almost blacked out, tearing across the courtyard to do a face to face.

I don’t think anyone had ever asked him anything about Judas Jump his whole life. He was more shocked at my interest than I was with his employment at Sony. We’d spoken a lot on the phone, but never did I think he was one in the same.

What an embarrassing surprise for me, not knowing Allan Jones was a member of The Amen Corner prior to Judas Jump. I deserved the one upping that transpired. Great chap, Adrian Williams.

Ann Peebles

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Listen: I Pity The Fool / Ann Peebles
I Pity The Fool / Ann Peebles

Even for ’71 with blues-rock in powerful fashion, a pure blues song charting mainstream and crossing over was very unlikely, especially for a black female. Despite the tide, Hi Records released ‘I Pity The Fool’ that year. Against all odds, the single became one of her three to register on BILLBOARD’s Top 100, eclipsing Ann Pebbles’ more well known releases like ‘I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down’ and ‘Breaking Up Somebody’s Home’, by reaching a meager #85, but charting nonetheless.

Any version of ‘I Pity The Fool’ is a welcome addition to the collection. Easily, Bobby Blue Bland’s rendition from ’61, being the most successful chart wise, gets thought of straight away. Or for the hardcores, The Mannish Boys’ expensive Parlophone pressing from early ’65. A beat group DOA, the band broke up fast, with David Bowie moving upward and onward, while band member John Edward went on to a very brief Pirate Radio career, prior to starting Hollywood Records in the late 70′s.

The Hollies

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

HolliesAliveUK, The Hollies, Imperial, Parlophone

HolliesAliveUSA, The Hollies, Imperial, Parlophone

Listen: I’m Alive / The Hollies
I'm Alive / The Hollies

Talk about an explosive and immediate intro, here’s one of the most. This tore through my hand sized orange AM transistor radio, an item that almost needed surgically removing from my hand after a couple of years. We went everywhere together, to school, on lunch breaks, to the barber, dentist, shopping for records, the shower and even to bed.

I would wait religiously for the latest single from the UK’s Hit Parade to get an initial airing. Decades before info was a click away, we seemed to know pretty fast about new singles from the English groups, and would wait for that first listen. Many times wait and wait and wait to hear them, unsuccessfully.

I recall writing a letter to Jim O’Brien, the 7-midnight disc jockey on Syracuse’s WNDR, asking would he please play more of the new English bands and he actually read it. This was spring ’66, when playlists were fairly loose but didn’t exist at all to a kid listener. Back then, the stations took and played requests and as well, read letters on-air. I mentioned a few bands, The Alan Price Set being the only one I can recall at this moment. And he read my letter, rattled off all my requests and said “We’d love to play these but they just don’t get released in the USA”.

Not true.

I knew about these records via BILLBOARD. Not only were they printed in the HITS OF THE WORLD section of the publication, whereby they reproduced international Top 10′s and in the case of the UK, their Top 50 chart; but the magazine also listed weekly new US releases in their SINGLES REVIEW section, with label and catalog number. They were all released here, it’s why I wrote the letter.

And so, in hindsight, my mistrust of American radio officially began.

I will say this, Jim O’Brien clearly got some free plays during his shows. For a short period, he did a feature called ECHOES OF ENGLAND, during the British Invasion years. I heard some great stuff on that program: Them, The Silkie, The Yardbirds, The Honeycombs, even The Pretty Things ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’. And for a few weeks in September ’67, he opened most of his shows with The Pink Floyd ‘See Emily Play’. But he did tell a disappointing fib that night.

Regardless, to his credit, it was the grand man himself who played ‘I’m Alive’ one evening. Holy whoever, did it sound fantastic. Dwarfed the songs on either side of it. I loved ‘I’m Alive’ immediately, and excitedly thought I’d be hearing it often, but never did, not ever again.

It had an equally short lived life nationally, a one week spike at #103 on BILLBOARD’s BUBBLING UNDER THE HOT 100 chart, and that my friends, was that.

The Hollies

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

HolliesLetGoUSA, The Hollies, Imperial, Parlophone

Listen: I Can’t Let Go / The Hollies [audio:

http://www.somanyrecordssolittletime.com/records/HolliesLetGo.mp3]

Discount Records, in the mid 60′s through to the early 70′s, was what you’d call a full catalog store. Owned by CBS, the classical and non-classical titles ran very deep. It wasn’t just the bins that’d be full, so too were the ‘understock’ shelves below. These were arranged by label, then numerical within each. Almost daily, stock would need checking, business was so brisk. Not only did you have to count quantities of big sellers, but also determine missing titles by number, checking them against the respective label’s current catalog, all the while entering the quantities onto inventory sheets. The designated store buyer would eventually decide how many of each to order.

Everyone hated taking inventory, but not me. I couldn’t wait to get started on my first day in mid ’74. Within a week or so, I was on fire. I didn’t even need the catalogs. I’d been studying labels for years at that point. Basically when it came to records, I could remember every detail, still can. Bob at the second location in Syracuse was the same. To us, the catalog numbers were fun. They basically made up our entire conversations. When it came to doing anything else – I was useless. If I had to hang a picture, I’d bend the nail. But this stuff was easy.

Like anywhere, there were store regulars, all with their specific and peculiar tastes. One guy would visit almost daily, trolling the $1.99 bins for country titles. His name was Dave Disinger. We had these large, fluorescent red markdown stickers, and once something sat long enough, you’d eventually price it cheap to make it move. Plus, overstock from other locations would be shipped in for just these bins. Occasionally, some location in Michigan or somewhere would close, and we’d get boxes of their stuff – always really good finds in those. I vividly remember getting several copies of THEM AGAIN this way. It was like Christmas morning when those boxes would arrive.

Well Dave was addicted to country markdowns. I made amusement for myself by intentionally pulling full price, more obscure titles and throwing on the sticker, then wait and watch. Sure enough, he’d be joyous at these finds. One day we get to talking – I was sorting a bunch of newly arrived 45′s at the front counter. He mentions he used to be a singles guy, rock and soul, but moved on to country LP’s. He didn’t even play his singles anymore. Clearly, I was his direct opposite. Somehow or another, he mentions as a kid, he worked at WNDR, the tighter Top 40 in the market but very popular in the 60′s.

So wait Dave, do you have a lot of old stuff? Now I’m getting interested – and pretty quickly I’m offering a lot of on the spot country markdowns in exchange for some of those radio station copies from the day. He heads home then and there, returning with a box, probably 200-ish.

Fantastic! Fuck me – this was a goldmine. He brought them till his supply was dry. Only drawback was he’s written his name on every last one. Still, the stuff was crazy. That first box included The Riot Squad ‘How Is It Down’ and The Kinks ‘Waterloo Sunset’, plus, as you can see, ‘I Can’t Let Go’. It was the very copy that WNDR never did play.

Love Sculpture

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The Stumble / Love Sculpture

Listen: The Stumble / Love Sculpture LoveSculptureTheStumble.mp3

An air guitar classic waiting to be. Obviously, Dave Edmunds was a very flash player from the start. Like just about everyone else at the time, he began his professional career in a, you guessed it, blues rock combo. I had a real spot for Love Sculpture, remember seeing them scheduled to play The Fillmore East and wanted badly to go. Couldn’t, thus not sure if they ever made it over.

Listening back to that first album, BLUES HELPING, from which this single comes, the vocals are very white and don’t really fly. Now I see why purists hated these bands. But the album holds a marker sentimentally, and clearly their playing was pretty spot on, as is obvious from this instrumental cover of Freddie King’s ‘The Stumble’.

Love Sculpture’s next album, FORMS & FEELINGS, included their big UK hit, ‘Sabre Dance’, coincidentally also an instrumental, showing off more of Dave Edmunds’ virtuosity. Dave eventually found his footing in rockabilly and jangly pop, where he recorded some classics, all lined up for a later post.