Saturday, February 12, 2011

Beatle People: David Peel

David Peel is a New York-based musician who first recorded in the late 1960s, with Harold Black, Billy Joe White, Larry Adams and Dean White performing as The Lower East Side Band. Though his raw, acoustic "street rock" with lyrics about marijuana and "bad cops" appealed mostly to hippies at first, the sound and DIY ethic make him an important early performer of punk rock. He has performed with artists ranging from B. B. King to Stevie Wonder and the Plastic Ono Band.

The band was one of the first to regularly perform on cable TV in Manhattan on the public access channel of Manhattan Cable Television, as well as at the first Smoke-In Concerts sponsored by the Yippies in New York City in Central Park. John Lennon devoted the first stanza of his "New York City" to David Peel. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono subsequently produced Peel's third album, The Pope Smokes Dope. Concerned about major label censorship, Peel founded Orange Records to release his own recordings and also those of other independent artists such as: GG Allin & The Jabbers and Mozarts People. As of 2006 Peel is still actively recording and performing his music, planning the release of a CD-ROM-based book of photographs and enjoying a new audience through online services such as iTunes. The Japanese label, Captain Trip Records, has released an extensive boxed set of his music.

Peel has appeared in various films as himself, including Please Stand By (1974), Rude Awakening (1989) and High Times Potluck (2004).

Lennon once compared Peel to artist, Pablo Picasso. The former Beatle also confided in Andy Warhol's interview magazine that producing David Peel for Apple Records -- was one of the highest points in his life.

David Peel recorded two successful albums on Elektra records: "Have a Marijuana" and "The American Revolution" , clearly establishing him as one of the founders of what was to become the punk and new wave movements in England and America. Danny Fields recalls in Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, "I signed David Peel and The Lower East Side, who embarrased them [Elektra] with his record, "Have a Marijuana", which sold close to a million copies and cost three thousand dollars to make."

John Lennon recalled first seeing David Peel perform in front of a large crowd in Washington Square Park in 1971. ``he was shouting: why do you have to pay to see stars? I was embarrassed. I thought surely he must know we are here. Yoko and I love his music, his spirit, and his philosophy of the street."

Ignoring the objections of certain members of the Beatles, John and Yoko, signed Peel to apple records. David's first effort for Apple -- an LP entitled: "The Pope Smokes Dope", immediately set off an international furor. The record was banned in nearly every country of the world, except the United States and Canada.

In a memorable appearance on the nationally televised David Frost Show in 1972, John and Yoko let David Peel and The Lower East Side have the spotlight, choosing instead to perform behind the group while an artist friend of Yoko's tossed paper airplanes from the stage. Peel was partly instrumental in getting John and Yoko and himself as part of the Plastic Ono Band choir to perform at the famous "one to one" concert at Madison Square Garden. He also shared the stage with them at the John Sinclair benefit "ten-for-two" at the University of Michigan's Crysler auditorium in Ann Arbor. John Sinclair was freed from prison a few days after the show.

Later, John Lennon and Yoko Ono produced and recorded David Peel's "America" -- the theme song for Jack Milton's film: "Please Stand By", in which David Peel portrays and stars as a media hippie revolutionary, who hijacks a network television van and jams the airwaves with unauthorized radical broadcasts to the nation.

At one point in their relationship, David Peel, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, seemed practically inseparable -- so much so that john and yoko thought that they should have used David Peel's photograph as the middle picture on their Some Time in New York City record. John noted that Peel always wore round sunglasses that were a perfect duplicate of the glasses that had become John Lennon's trademark. Lennon also took to wearing Peel's black leather jacket -- a jacket similar to the kind that The Beatles used to wear in the cavern, a small music club in Liverpool, England - where the Beatles got started.This closeness in appearance caused Bob Dylan to refer to a photograph of David Peel as John Lennon, which also fooled the FBI. A photograph of Peel identified as Lennon turned up in the John Lennon FBI files.

David Peel's close association with John Lennon propelled him to celebrity status once again and paved the way for him to perform with such top acts as: Alice Cooper, Dr. John, Elephant's Memory, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Herbie Mann, Rod Stewart, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, B.B. King and other great acts at the "Mar y Sol" rock festival, on the island of Puerto Rico, in the spring of 1972. David Peel has also performed on the same billing with artists such as: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Tangerine Dream, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, MC5, Arthur Lee and Love, John Lee Hooker, Roger McGuinn, Richie Havens, Odetta, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, Rick Derringer, Stevie Wonder, Archie Shepp, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Cypress Hill The Ramones, Vince Martell and many more.

When Apple records did not renew David Peel's record contract, he decided to form his own independent company: orange records, which has produced over seventy-five albums, cassette tapes, video tapes, and cds - including the whole rock catalog and the rock street journal magazine.

Several years ago, David Peel and his band took their act from Washington Square Park to Mill’s Tavern, a Greenwich Village pub. More recently, Peel headlined a recent John Lennon tribute concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City. David Peel continues to make public appearances on the concert, college, and nightclub circuit. He also sometimes performs at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York City, on John Lennon's birthday.

David Peel's song "I Like Marijuana" was sampled by Technohead in 1995. The single "I Wanna be a Hippie" earned David and Technohead a Gold Record.

Partial Discography

* Marijuana Christmas
* I Love New York
* World Peace
* Rotten To The Core
* Happy America
* Terror In Amerika
* Have a Marijuana
* The American Revolution
* The Pope Smokes Dope
* Santa Claus - Rooftop Junkie
* An Evening With David Peel
* Bring Back the Beatles
* King of Punk
* Death to Disco
* John Lennon for President
* 1984
* Search to Destroy
* John Lennon Forever
* Anarchy in New York City
* The Battle for New York
* War and Anarchy
* Legalize Marijuana
* Long Live the Grateful Dead
* Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw
* World War III
* Live from Japan
* David Peel's Greatest Hits


Friday, February 11, 2011

"I Forgot to Remember to Forget"

"I Forgot to Remember to Forget" is a country song written by Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers. It was recorded at Sun Studio July 11, 1955 by Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Johnny Bernero on drums, and released on August 20, 1955 along with Mystery Train (Sun 223). It was re-released by RCA Victor (#47-6357) in December 1955.

Moore's guitar had a Nashville steel guitar sound, and Black played a clip-clop rhythm. Elvis sang a brooding vocal. This is the closest the trio came to a tradtional country song while at Sun.

The song reached the Billboard national country music chart #1 position by February 1956, and remained there for 5 weeks. It was the first recording to make Elvis Presley a national known country music star. The song remained on the country charts for 39 weeks.

The flip side of this release, Mystery Train, peaked at the #11 position on the national Billboard Country Chart.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded the song in 1957 and the 1960s. Johnny Cash covered this song in Survivours Live on 1981. Composer Charlie Feathers has also recorded it.

The Beatles covered this song once for a BBC radio show, From Us To You, on 1 May 1964. The recording was included on the Live at the BBC album in 1994.

Single by Elvis Presley
B-side: "Mystery Train"
Released: August 20, 1955
Recorded: Sun Studios
Label: Sun 223
Writer(s): Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"I Feel Fine"

"I Feel Fine" is a riff-driven rock song mainly written by John Lennon (although credited to Lennon/McCartney) and released in 1964 by The Beatles as the A side of their eighth UK single. The song reached the top of the charts on 12 December of that year, displacing The Rolling Stones' "Little Red Rooster," and remained there for five weeks. The b-side was She's a Woman, mainly written by Paul McCartney. It also reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1964.


"I Feel Fine" burgeoned from its distinctive guitar riff, written by Lennon while in the studio recording "Eight Days a Week." "I actually wrote 'I Feel Fine' around the riff which is going on in the background," Lennon recalled. "I told them that I'd write a song specially for this riff so they said, 'Yes. You go away and do that,' knowing that we'd almost finished Beatles for Sale. Anyway, going into the studio one morning, I said to Ringo, 'I've written this song but it's lousy,' but we tried it, complete with riff, and it sounded like an A side, so we decided to release it just like that." Lennon's riff was influenced by a riff in "Watch Your Step", a 1961 release written and performed by Bobby Parker and covered by The Beatles in concerts during 1961 and 1962. The two songs also sharing a remarkably similar Latin-style drum pattern, although Paul McCartney has claimed that the drums on I Feel Fine were inspired by Ray Charles's "What'd I Say." The Beatles would continue to feature guitar riffs in their songs, most notably in numbers like "Day Tripper", "Ticket to Ride", "And Your Bird Can Sing", and "Paperback Writer".

At the time of the song's recording, The Beatles, having mastered the studio basics, had begun to explore new sources of inspiration in noises previously eliminated as mistakes (electronic goofs, twisted tapes, talkback). "I Feel Fine" marks the earliest example of the use of feedback as a recording effect—artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, and The Who used feedback, but Lennon remained proud of the fact that The Beatles were the first group to actually put it on vinyl. This subtle shift in their approach to recording became a lasting element of the group's later career, making itself widely apparent on albums like Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.


The intro to "I Feel Fine" starts with a single, percussive (yet pure-sounding) note (a high "A" harmonic) played on Paul's Hofner bass guitar that sustains, perhaps beyond any song previously recorded. It is then (famously) transformed and distorted via feedback. According to Paul McCartney, “John had a semi-acoustic Gibson guitar. It had a pick-up on it so it could be amplified… We were just about to walk away to listen to a take when John leaned his guitar against the amp. I can still see him doing it… and it went, ‘Nnnnnnwahhhhh!” And we went, ‘What’s that? Voodoo!’ ‘No, it’s feedback.’ Wow, it’s a great sound!’ George Martin was there so we said, ‘Can we have that on the record?’ ‘Well, I suppose we could, we could edit it on the front.’ It was a found object– an accident caused by leaning the guitar against the amp.” While sounding very much like an Electric guitar, John played it on an acoustic (a Gibson model J-160E), employing 1960s sound effect devices to make the acoustic guitar sound more electronic. The intro riff around a Dmaj chord progresses to a C, then a G, where the G major vocals begin. Just before the coda, Lennon's intro riff (or ostinato), is repeated with a bright sound by George Harrison on electric guitar (a Gretsch Tennessean), followed by the surprisingly more electric sound of John on amped acoustic.

Other releases

In the US, the song was released on their Capitol album Beatles '65, and is presented in a duophonic mix featuring a layer of reverb added by executive Dave Dexter, Jr..

In the UK, the song was released on the LP format on A Collection of Beatles Oldies. A true stereo version can be found on the Past Masters Vol 1 and Beatles 1 CDs.


* John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, lead/rhythm guitar
* Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass
* George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead/rhythm guitar
* Ringo Starr – drums

Cover versions

* Queen - In the Mannheim, Germany leg of the Magic Tour, Brian May played the opening riff of the song.
* The Sweethearts of the Rodeo recorded a country version of "I Feel Fine" in 1988, releasing their version as a single.
* In 1998, The Punkles did a Punk cover of this song on their first album.
* Les Fradkin has an instrumental version on his 2005 release- "While My Guitar Only Plays".
* Take That member Mark Owen performs I Feel Fine in the Beatles Medley

B-side: "She's a Woman"
Released: 23 November 1964 (US), 27 November 1964 (UK)
Format: 7"
Recorded: Abbey Road, 18 October 1964
Genre: Rock and roll
Length: 2:18
Label: Parlophone R5160 (UK), Capitol 5222 (US)
Writer(s): Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"

"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" is a song by The Beatles, written by John Lennon but credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was released on the album Beatles for Sale in the United Kingdom in 1964 and on the album Beatles VI in the United States in 1965. It was the B-side of "Eight Days a Week", which went to #1. The B-side song reached #39 in the U.S. It was also released in 1964, on side 2 of the Beatles for Sale (No.2) 45 extended play on Parlophone/EMI in mono.


The lyrics revisit Lennon's familiar themes of alienation and inner pain. In this song, he is at a party, waiting for his girl to show up. When it becomes clear that she has stood him up, he decides to go, rather than spoil the party for everyone else.


The Beatles recorded the song on 29 September 1964 in 19 takes, the last of which was released.


* John Lennon – lead vocal, acoustic guitar
* Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass
* George Harrison – lead guitar
* Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine

Rosanne Cash version

The song was covered by Rosanne Cash for her Hits 1979-1989 compilation. It went to #1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in 1989. It is also Cash's last No. 1 hit to date.

Album: Beatles for Sale
Released: December 4, 1964
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 29 September 1964
Genre: Beat, Country rock
Length: 2:33
Label: Parlophone, PMC 1240 (mono). PCS 3062 (stereo), CDP 7 46438 2
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin

B-side to "Eight Days a Week" by The Beatles
Released: 15 February, 1965 (US only)
Label: Capitol 5371 (US)


Monday, February 07, 2011

Modern Jazz Quartet

The Modern Jazz Quartet was established in 1952 by Milt Jackson (vibraphone), John Lewis (piano, musical director), Percy Heath (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums). Connie Kay replaced Clarke in 1955. Through the years the quartet had performed in several jazz styles, including bebop, cool jazz and third stream.


Milt Jackson, John Lewis, and Kenny Clarke had originally played together in a quartet while in the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra from 1946 to 1950. Together with Ray Brown they played during interludes designed to give the trumpeters time to recover from the challenging upper register trumpet parts. This line-up recorded as the Milt Jackson Quartet in 1951.

Bassist Percy Heath joined the line up in 1952 and the group became known as The Modern Jazz Quartet. Jackson and Lewis originally shared the role of musical director but Lewis eventually took over the entire responsibility of this position.

In their middle years the group often played with classical musicians, but their repertoire consisted mainly of bop and Swing era standards. Among the original compositions from the band's book are "Django" by Lewis (a tribute to the Belgian jazz guitar player Django Reinhardt), "Afternoon In Paris," also by Lewis, and "Bags' Groove" by Jackson (Bags was his nickname).

The group was first signed by Prestige and later in the fifties with Atlantic. In the late 1960s, in between their two periods with Atlantic, they signed with Apple, the Beatles' label (the sole jazz group on the label), and released two albums: Under the Jasmin Tree (1968) and Space (1969).

Jackson left the group in 1974 partly because he liked a freer flowing style of playing and partly because he was tired of playing for little money (compared to rock and roll stars). As there could be no Modern Jazz Quartet without the two principals Lewis and Jackson, the group disbanded. In 1981 the MJQ reorganized to play festivals and later on a permanent six months per year basis. The MJQ's last recording was issued in 1993. Heath, the last surviving member, died in 2005.


The enigma of the MJQ's music-making was that each individual member could improvise with an exciting vibrancy but in toto the group specialised in genteel baroque counterpoint. Their approach to jazz attracted promoters who sponsored "jazz packet" concerts during the 1950s. One show would consist of several contrasting groups. The MJQ were ideal participants because no other group sounded like them. They provided a visual contrast as well, attired in black jackets and pin-striped trousers.

The group played blues as much as they did fugues, but the result was tantalising when one considered the hard-swinging potential of each individual player. Their best-selling record, Django, typified their neo-classical approach to polyphony.


* M.J.Q. (1952) Prestige Records
* Ben Webster and MJQ - An Exceptional Encounter (1953)
* Django (1953-55)
* Concorde (1955) (first recording featuring Connie Kay on drums)
* Fontessa (1956) (first album on Atlantic Records)
* No Sun in Venice (1957)
* Modern Jazz Quartet: 1957 (1957)
* Third Stream Music (1957)
* Pyramid (1959)
* Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
* Longing For The Continent (1959)
* European Concert (1960)
* The Modern Jazz Quartet & Orchestra (1961)
* Lonely Woman (1962)
* The Comedy (1962)
* In a Crowd [Live] (1963)
* Collaboration with Almeida (1964)
* Plays George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (1964)
* The Sheriff (1964) (Atlantic Records)
* Place Vendôme The Modern Jazz Quartet and The Swingle Singers (1966)
* Blues At Carnegie Hall (1966)
* Under The Jasmin Tree (1969) (Apple Records)
* Space (1969) (Apple Records)
* Plastic Dreams (1971)
* Paul Desmond with the Modern Jazz Quartet, Live in New York (1971)
* Blues on Bach (1974)
* The Complete Last Concert (1974)
* Echoes (1984)
* For Ellington (1988)
* Dedicated to Connie (Released 1995. Recorded live in Slovenia in 1960)
* La Ronde: A Proper Introduction to the Modern Jazz Quartet (Released 2006)


Sunday, February 06, 2011

"I Call Your Name"

"I Call Your Name" is a song by The Beatles written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon/McCartney.


Lennon wrote the song prior to the formation of The Beatles. In 1963, he gave the song to Billy J. Kramer of The Dakotas, another Liverpool band who was signed to Parlophone by George Martin. Kramer released it as the B-side of the single "Bad to Me", another Lennon/McCartney composition.

Lennon was reportedly dissatisfied with the Dakotas' arrangement of his song as well as its position as the single's B-side, so The Beatles recorded and released it on the 1964 Long Tall Sally EP. The song's middle eight is the Beatles' first attempt at ska.


* John Lennon – vocal, rhythm guitar
* Paul McCartney – bass
* George Harrison – lead guitar
* Ringo Starr – drums
* George Martin – producer
* Norman Smith – engineer


* The Mamas & The Papas covered "I Call Your Name" in 1966 on their debut album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. In their version of the song, which they perform as more of a ballad than a rocker, Mama Cass calls out for John (Lennon) as a way of acknowledging Lennon for writing the song, or it's a reference to group member John Phillips. The group closes the song with, "I call your name... ye-ah!" The Beatles were well-known for the phrase "Yeah, yeah, yeah" from "She Loves You."

* Ringo Starr recorded a version of the song for a television special marking the 10th anniversary of John Lennon's death and the 50th anniversary of his birth. The track, produced by Jeff Lynne, features a supergroup composed of Lynne, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh & Jim Keltner.

Single by Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
A-side: "Bad to Me" (Lennon/McCartney)
B-side: "I Call Your Name"
Released: 26 July 1963
Recorded: 26 June 1963 (both sides)
Genre: Pop music, Beat music
Label: Parlophone R5049
Writer(s): Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin

Song by The Beatles
Released: 19 June 1964
Recorded: 1 March 1964
Producer: George Martin