1975

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM Sounds, November 8, 1975

This article really shows you how incredibly BIG a star Elton John was in the middle of the 70s. His fame have remained almost constant since then and he certainly still is one of the most well-known people on this planet today. Well done, Elton!

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The Artful Dodger

Nobody has played Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles since the Beatles in 1966. Elton John changed all that last week. To celebrate the occasion he chartered a jet and flew 120 people over there. Among those on board was Elton`s mum – and Mick Brown.

I FIND out this is Elton John Week in Los Angeles on the 10 o’clock sleazo-input news. Wedged between an item linking bacon with cancer and a story about a 13-year-old girl being shot in all-girl gang war, there is film of Elton in a chartreuse suit and sequined bowler hat inaugurating his star on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard. The stars on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard extend for some three miles, both sides of the street. They were planted in the Thirties, a monument to Hollywood’s infatuation with itself and the Dream. It is probably the only shred of tradition you will find in this town.
Everybody who was ever anybody in Hollywood has a star — Myrna Loy, Bob Hope, Clarke Gable, Doris Day, even Lassie. But Elton’s is the first rock star. He looks pleased: makes a speech. England’s in a bit of a bad way at the moment, he says, so it’s a bit of a boost in the old arm for this to be made Elton John Week. He jumps around and makes jokes and laughs a lot and waves to the crowd. Then back into his limousine and up to his house in Beverley Hills.

Unholy

Elton lives up in Beverley Hills in a house he bought from the head of Warner Bros pictures. On a clear day those hills are like paradise. with the city spread out below, as far as the eye can see. Other days the smog hangs in a thick grey/yellow blanket and the view over Babylon is obscured. This is Elton John’s town, and for him the Dream is made real. What Elton wants, Elton has.
Occasionally he may descend from his chateau to distribute the largesse of his presence like bread on the waters of this unholy town. Into Tower Records on the Strip, the largest record-store in the world, to spend — what 500, 1,000 dollars? on albums. Elton is a fan, and isn’t that every fan’s dream? Or to phone up a local radio station and become a dee-jay for the day? He does that too…
Sometimes a 60 ft facsimile of Elton peers down on Sunset Strip where all the world — or all those who matter — pass in their Coup de Villes and English Bentleys. But this is Elton John’s town, and Elton John Week and on Saturday and Sunday he plays the 60,000 seater Dodger stadium and all the tickets were sold out in an hour and a half, so who needs his facsimile on Sunset Strip? Right now it’s Bruce Springsteen — rock ‘n’ roll’s future the billboard says.

Gossip

Nonetheless, it is impossible to escape the sense of Elton’s presence. You can’t go more than 15 minutes without hearing one of his songs on the radio; every record shop has an Elton John display in its window or his record catalogue on special offer, and the street and the business grapevines are crawling with rumour, gossip and high anticipation. This is, after all, the biggest — the very biggest — thing to hit LA in ages.
Southern California is Elton John territory. It was his appearance at the Los Angeles Troubadour five years ago which catalysed the metamorphosis of Reg Dwight, journeyman musician into Elton John superstar, and neither Elton nor Southern California are about to forget it. He has performed in California each year for the past five years now. Last year he played five consecutive nights at the Angeles forum, packing 18,000 paying customers a night. In a special commemorative six-show charity engagement at the Troubador earlier this year, Elton raised 150,000 dollars (£75,000) for the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. High-rollers like Cher, Ringo and Mae West paid 250 dollars a ticket for the show, and there were 100,000 postcard applications for 25 dollar (£12.50) tickets.
And now, just two mont later, two shows at the Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium! Nobody has played Dodger since the Beatles in 1966, a fact which is inevitably inviting comparison between the two acts, dividing loyalties between the old and the new music.
But they are unnecessary. Suffice it to say Elton is un questionably the biggest-selling, biggest drawing and biggest money-making performer in America at present. He has earned seven gold singles, nine gold albums and nine platinum albums. His last album ‘Captain Fantastic’ set a precedent by entering the US albums charts at No 1 in its first week of release.
The sceptical look for a chink in the armour, a sign — no matter how slight — that his star is on the wane. October 12, one notes, marked the first week Elton didn’t have a single in the American Hot 100 for two years. A disappointment, apparently, as he was hoping to break Pat Boone’s record of four unbroken years in the singles charts. One remembers that the last time one saw Pat Boone he was taking time off from Jesus to do commercials for underwear on the sleazo-input. But then just this week Elton’s new album ‘Rock Of The Westies’ has emulated the record of ‘Captain Fantastic’ by entering the charts at No 1. May the circle be unbroken …

THIS is Elton John Week, and the biggest Superstar in the business is playing Dodger Stadium. To celebrate the occasion he has chartered a jet at a cost of £50,000 and flown in a party of 120 people from England. There is Elton’s mum, and the lady who used to live next door in Pinner, aunts, uncles (one cynic suggests you can tell Elton’s relatives by the Cartier jewellery), friends, staff of Elton’s record company, Rocket (the one he owns, but not yet records for), accountants, lawyers, business associates and a handful of journalists. Russell Harty has come along with a film crew to make a documentary for `Aquarius’; Rodney Marsh has come along too, for the ride.
The party are doing LA, Disneyland and Universal Studios, and the swish boutiques of Beverley Hills or the Roxy Theatre and the Rainbow Bar; a hang – out – cum – meat market where piranha groupies cruise, eyes like grappling hooks, their 16-year-old brains charred by coke; where one sees Robert Plant and Mick Ralphs and half of Three Dog Night and the waitress says in this place if you’ve got a name you can get anything you want, but personally if she were a guy she wouldn`t lay 99 per cent of the girls here, not knowing what you`d catch into the bargain and as far as she`s concerned they can stick their 200 bucks a week with tips because she`s had enough of all this ego-bullshit.
And outside in the parking-lot, where the hipsters pose beside their Mercedes or Ferraris and bodies are bought like so much super-market merchandise, one notices two girls, their heads shaved, wrapped in dung-grey blankets, sullen and vacant-eyed. One carries a small kitten; and somebody says they are followers of Charles Manson. But that`s Hollywood…
Everybody is trying to get to Elton John, but the shutters are up. Rolling Stone want to do a story, but Elton’s office aren’t co-operating. But then Stone did do a story last year that was — a little too close to the knuckle for Elton’s liking …
Requests for interviews from the English contingent are similarly deflected. Elton is rehearsing; a bit tied-up right now; he did interviews for the English weeklies before the Wembley Show earlier this year and has nothing to add to what he said; perhaps at some unspecified time … Even the taxi driver finds it strange: Elton always seems so amenable to publicity when he’s in town, he says; you’re always reading interviews in the newspapers; or likely to hear him doing live broadcasts with even the smallest radio stations. Perhaps he’s afraid of over-exposure? Perhaps …

Cheap rooms

One has come to respect the taxi-drivers here. Lawrence Ecrlinghetti, the beat poet, was in town last week, saying he came to visit a city and found one big freeway instead. He’s right. Los Angeles is a city of roads and cars — not of people. Nobody walks and there are few buses. If you don’t have a car you take a cab. Driving around all day, radio cranked up, one ear on the conversation going on in the seat behind them, cab drivers have their finger on the pulse of the city and the pick of the grapevine. They are oracles, prophets, informers.
This cabby had picked up Elton five years ago, immediately before the Troubador breakthrough, when Elton was still making do with cheap hotel rooms. Funny that, because he’d never have thought Elton would make it, not as big as he has anyway. He’d found him kind of uninteresting as a person, not much conversation. But, hell, he writes good songs and look at his following. There’s no knocking the guy: no knocking him at all …
Elton is unavailable (or unwilling) to do interviews, but a meeting with John Reid, his manager, is arranged. Reid has managed Elton since 1970. A former label-manager for Tamla Motown in England, he was in America for a sales convention at the same time as Elton’s Troubador breakthrough, and became his manager three months later. Reid is quiet and polite, friendliness tempered with the sort of defensive wariness that manager sometimes have around journalists. One senses that he doesn’t trust too many people, which in his line of business is probably just as well.

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Contracts

His Beverley Hills office is functional rather than luxurious; on the wall there are colour blow-ups of Elton, fine-art originals and a large map of North America with flag-pins indicating the venues for the present tour. There are 13 pins — all west of the Rockies, 16 shows, with an average attendance of 19,000 for each gig.
Reid declines to estimate how much Elton eventually will earn from the tour — he hasn’t been paid for any live performances in America since 1973 when the US Internal Revenue Service froze payments pending the settlement of a double-taxation agreement between America and Britain.
1975 has been an important year for Elton. says Reid, with unprecedented sales and live performance successes. On a more practical level, he is now free to record for his own label, Rocket. ‘Rock Of The Westies’ is his last new album for DJM (a compilation album will fulfill his contractual obligations to that company). Furthermore, his American contract with MCA originally reported to be worth some eight million dollars to Elton  -(less than the actual figure, says Reid) has been extended, and the distribution deal for other acts on Rocket with MCA is also about to be extended. His new contract will stipulate only one album per year, as opposed to two at present.
Although Reid describes Elton as being “very productive naturally” he feels the two-album-a-year contract was too tight. “There is danger of the music being prejudiced by an artist having to produce two albums. I don`t think to date it has been damaged by that. There is a lot of prejudice in the eyes of the press though, some reviews suggested he’d made ‘Rock Of The Westies’ simply to complete a contract commitment, which is absolutely not true. It upsets him for people to write things like that without checking their facts.
“The fact is that ‘Captain Fantastic’ was actually recorded in August 1974 and released nine or 10 months later, and by the time it was released he just wanted to get back into the studio and make a new album.”
Elton himself subsequently introduced the new album to the 60,000 audience at Dodger with a peculiarly defensive preamble in which he explained that he had been criticised for releasing `Westies’ so soon after ‘Captain Fantastic’, but when a musician gets a new band together the first thing he wants to do is make music with them, right? Right.
“With the new contract”, Reid continues, “we have a more flexible situation where he can work at his own pace. If he wants to make two albums a year he can do it, but then he doesn’t have to make another one for a year after that if he doesn’t want to.”

With less pressure from recording commitments Elton will be able to spend more time touring, and also devote more energy to his activities within Rocket. There are plans to tour Europe and the Far East next year, and promoter Mel Bush is putting together an itinerary for a comprehensive tour of Britain. Reid describes Elton`s last English appearance, at Wembley, as “3-2 to the Beach Boys – a mistake, but not a disaster…”
For Rocket, Elton has already produced one Kiki Dee album and was responsible for signing Neil Sedaka to the label. And there are plans to increase the label roster further. Rocket were, in fact, offered the contract of an ex Beatle – “he didn’t play guitar or write many songs,” says Reid – but passed on the ‘financial aspects’ of the deal. Reid thinks the offer was made “more out of courtesy than anything else.”
Reid baulks at evaluating his personal contribution to Elton’s success. “I don’t know how responsible I am. He’s responsible obviously, but the team-work that goes on around him is the important thing. People like Gus Dudgeon and myself just give him the machinery to carry out what he does. I can persuade him from making silly decisions. He’s terrible at choosing album titles and picking singles, for example. `Island Girl’ was originally scheduled as a single; then it was pulled back and ‘Dan Dare’ scheduled in its place; then that was pulled back and ‘Island Girl’ released. That’s one occasion where we came to loggerheads.

Eccentric

“He wanted to call ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road` `Vodka And Tonic’ and ‘Rock Of The Westies` `Bottled And Brained`. He’s not irresponsible; he just doesn’t know where to draw the line…”
Why, one wonders, does Elton sell more records than anybody else in the world? “Because he works harder. He tours a lot, makes frequent public appearance, and, of course, his music is good.” That good? “People can identify with him too, which is important. I think they sees him as an amiable, very talented eccentric — which is what he is.”
One remarks that there is something unnaturally wholesome and untainted about Elton`s image. He appears too pure — almost pristine — to be true, curiously lacking either the raunchiness, sexuality or innate agression — that renegade impulse – which fires most rock stars. “Harmless faggotry”, one Hollywood rock manager called it. “He doesn’t threaten like Bowie or promise like Jagger.” In fact, it is more of an asexuality, not in the sense of having transcended sexuality, but of never really having awoken to it at all. “He sometimes calls himself the Cliff Richard of rock and roll”, says Reid. “I don’t think it’s pristine really. He has a very ‘fun’ image. But the days are gone where you can build an image like that for someone. It just happens to be what he is.”

THE stadium nestles in the hills above downtown Los Angeles, a sweep of three tier stands around the baseball triangle. Fans have been camping out overnight to get stage-side seats and by mid-day the stadium is almost full. The audience is predominantly young but very mellow — archetypal sun-kissed California teenagers. There is little evidence of dope or even drink and none of the underlying tension, ugliness or discomfort which often characterises stadia gigs. Obviously this audience is here to have a good time.
Emmylou Harris opens the afternoon with a selection of songs from her last and her forthcoming albums. Emmylou has a sweet, high voice and a fine country band behind her, but the sound is too light — great for clubs, but not for religious festivals, which is what one senses today will turn into …
Joe Walsh is next on, standing amongst some tacky plastic palms and cacti, two drummers and a bass-player (Joe Vitale, Andy Newmark and Willie Weeks), behind him; keyboards to the left; guitarist and the Clydie King trio to his right. From the outset something is obviously wrong. The sound-balance is terrible; as if everything on stage is being miked through the bass and snare drums; the singers are mixed too high, and Walsh too low, effectively muting his lead-guitar lines. The sound perks up as the set progresses, but Walsh and band never really get on top.
Walsh is obviously a good guitarist and an occasionally accomplished song-writer, but he really needs to start composing or at least performing more varied material if he is ever to build on his reputation; while his songs may work in the studio, on stage they sound forced and over-stylised. Only on ‘Welcome To The Club’ and ‘Rocky Mountain Way’, both aggressive enough to steam-roller aside any reservations, do Walsh and the band really start to cook and by then their set is over.

It is 2 pm now, Elton is not scheduled to appear for another hour. The crowd amuse themselves building pyramids, pitching frisbees, hustling for souvenirs. The smog has risen from the city below the stadium now, and the hills behind the stage are softened by a yellow haze. The stadium itself is packed, and you can almost reach out and touch the excitement in the air.
At 2.45 the first bars of ‘Your Song’ can be heard from a piano. The curtain across the front of the stage parts to reveal Elton and the piano on a platform, gliding forward on rollers. Dodger Stadium erupts in a vast, breathtaking surge as everybody rises, jerked upright by sheer release of nervous excitement as Elton is at last visable.
The platform halts; Elton continues the song: the crowd quieten slightly, contenting themselves with a deafening round of applause after each verse, and a tumultuous barrage of appreciation at the end of the song.
“Don’t worry’. says Elton. “We’ll play as long as you want to … ” More applause. ‘I Need You To Turn To’, from the ‘Elton John Album’ follows, with Elton again accompanying himself on piano, before introducing the rest of the band and three back-up singers. ‘Take Me To The Pilot’ follows, with Elton’s piano, James Newton-Howard’s iconoclastic synthesiser squirls and some blisteringly assertive guitar-work from Davey Johnstone all combining with obvious relish to give the song height and weight.
This is one hell of a band to have here; Roger Pope and Kenny Passerelli have the rhythm section tightly buttoned down; the addition of Caleb Quaye on guitar gives Johnstone the freedom to fire-off some freewheeling leads, against Elton’s piano runs; while Ray Cooper bobs from one piece of percussion to another, hitting bells, blocks, and chimes with artful abandon.
The beat goes on. ‘Country Comfort’, `Levon’, ‘Rocket Man’. During ‘Dan Dare’ Elton throws his white sequined bowler-hat into the audience; there is a mad scrummage, a sea of flailing hands before the hat is sucked under and the crowd readjust themselves. There is a curious discipline about this audience: sitting down as the songs begin, rising in unison as they build, to sing and dance along with the choruses, and sit down again at their conclusion.

Up, down, up, down in perfect harmony; it is controlled abandon; a mellow, happy, almost loving, collective loosening-up. People hug each other in excitement as favourite tunes begin, arms sway in time, the atmosphere is extraordinarily good. Elton finishes the first set with `Hercules’ and ‘Empty Skies’. He has played for just over an hour. “We`ll be back with the rock`n`roll set…”, he promises.
He reappears after 20 minutes, in a sequined baseball outfit in local team colours. Such taste! Such respect! The crowd bay delightedly. He plays ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and ‘Bennie And The Jets’, ‘Gotta Get A Meal Ticket’, and ‘The Bitch Is Back’, for which Billie Jean King joins in the chorus while Elton leaves the piano to strut and mince around stage, beside himself with the thrill of it, and fall to his knees to play Davey Johnstone’s guitar with his teeth and hurl his piano-stool to the back of the stage, with childlike abandon rather than adolescent petulance.
Behind me on the field, two Blacks, one with the legend ‘YOU’RE BETTER OFF DEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ELTON’ printed on his shirt, attack imaginary pianos, mouth every word of every song and fall to their knees in supplication at the end of each number. When the first strains of ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ strike up both will burst into uncontrollable tears …
For ‘Lucy In The Sky With Dimonds’ Elton reminds his audience not to forget the Beatles (how many other artists could get away with doing that?) and pays further tribute with `I Saw Her Standing There’, complete with the guitar-riff from ‘Day Tripper’. Ringo is apparently backstage, but he does not appear.

Reminder

‘Philadelphia Freedom’ follows and then ‘We All Fall In Love Sometimes, with another curtain parting behind the band to reveal the James Cleveland Choir, like a band of black angels in white satin splendour. “Elton saves …” scream the black guys as they break into sobs. Then it’s ‘Saturday Night’ and the entire stadium is on its feet, boogieing, clapping, singing along, the tiers literally trembling under the strain. The energy is incredible, unbelievable: there are 60,000 people here and every one of them must be singing.
Elton has left the lead vocal to the Holy Choir and is now up on the piano brandishing a baseball bat at the audience, taking hapless swings at tennis-balls being thrown on from the wings. This goes on for five, perhaps 10 minutes — this mass song, hysterical mantra — `Saturday, Saturday, Saturday night’s all right’ before collapsing into wild applause and an equally frenzied and extended version of ‘Pinball Wizard’.
Then finally it is over. It is 6.25. Elton has played some three dozen songs for almost 3 1/2 hours. The audience don’t ever bother to call for more. To deliver it would be impossible.
“Elton Saves, Elton Saves”. As the crowds drift slowly out of the stadium the two black guys remain on their knees, chanting, crying, mind-confused by the sheer magical overwhelming power of it all. “Elton Saves.” One can almost believe it.
I take a cab to Hollywood Boulevard to look at Elton’s star, maybe take a photograph for posterity. The taxi driver lights himself a joint (only in LA …), takes a couple of deep hits. It’s a funny thing, he says, about music … you got heavy metal freaks and country freaks and acid rock freaks and whatever the hell else kind of freaks. But everybody likes Elton John. Isn’t that right? We stop to look at the star. It’s nothing special; just a star in a slab of concrete; tourists snapping off pictures. Y’see, says the taxi-driver, even intelligent people like Elton John. That’s what makes him different.
The next day feminists in Los Angeles call a one-day strike on womanly duties to celebrate ‘Alice Doesn’t’ Day. Elton John leaves for Paris, and a four-month holiday. The Hollywood idyll is over for now, but the Dream, one thinks, has begun.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM Sounds, November 8, 1975

A good, honest interview the way I like it. This one should be great for anyone interested in this band.
Read on.

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The magic had begun to dwindle… but now we`re shit-hot. We`re back to the stage where we can go anywhere and do a good show.

The Who`s verdict on The Tour and The Album. By Barbara Charone

PETE TOWNSHEND has a point. A very good point. `Where do you fit in magazines where the past is the hero and the present a queen’, he wrote for Roger Daltrey to sing on ‘They Are All In Love’ from the `Who By Numbers’ album. And it’s quite a valid question.
Where do the Who fit? So The Sunday Times safely locks them away in the sixties time capsule, remnants of something that was. In one neatly constructed paragraph they dismiss Pete Townshend as a writer who exhausted his topic after three songs. Jaded disbelievers file the Who under nostalgia, bringing them out of the closet with caution, fondly thinking of them much like you’d look at an ancient family scrapbook. But why concentrate exclusively on the past when the present is just as good and the future could possibly be even better?
Some 70,000 paying customers caught the Who on their recent romp round Britain. Not one of them was an aging geriatric patient bent on reliving youthful memories.
Maybe the kid standing precariously high atop a steel beam at Wembley likes Queen. Maybe he goes to see Status Quo when they’re in town. But right now this kid is imitating every Townshend gesture down to the last guitar swoop and leap across the stage. This kid never saw them at the Marquee or the Scene Club. This kid doesn’t even own a copy of ‘My Generation’ let alone ‘Who’s Next’. But this kid almost falls off his steel beam during the ‘Tommy’ finale. That’s today. Y’see the kids are all right.
With the Who inspiration isn’t rehearsed. Neither are the mistakes. Pete Townshend’s guitar strap falls down during the `Won’t Get Fooled Again’ finale. Roger Daltrey forgets the first verse to ‘Summertime Blues’ leaving John Entwistle a vocal solo. Playing with headphones to hear the ‘Baba O’Reilly’ backing tapes, Keith Moon gives one final percussive assault just after the rest of the band have finished the song. Townshend falls over during some visual acrobatics and Daltrey laughs.

But that’s exactly what makes the Who great. There’s an ominous sense of danger that permeates every concert, that very real knowledge that chaos could break out momentarily. Equipment fails, guitars feed back, tempers flair, the band threaten to break up in the dressing room after a show, disaster lurks overhead. Take the first night of their British tour.
Six thousand pounds had been spent on risers for the equipment and the drums to give the band more room on stage, to heighten the visuals. So there’s Keith Moon playing only to himself because the rest of the band can’t hear. Six thousand pounds and they threw it all away after the show.
“I think the first gig could have blown the whole thing,” John Entwistle admits. “There was absolutely no communication. We were just playing stuff we’d memorised and hoped it fit. The risers cut the band off from each other. It’s always like that. When we haven’t been working for a long time we try to do something new. And every time we do something the whole sound just goes. The times we’ve stuck Keith on rostrums and pulled him off the next night,” John sighs.

Tolerant

“The Who is a band that’s got to hear each other. If we don’t the whole thing falls to pieces. We’ve got to be on the floor with the amps close so we can hear what we’re doing. We’re more confident now because we can actually hear each other!”
Just a few years ago the first night in Stafford could have been the beginning and the end of the tour. Then the Who could have easily locked themselves in their dressing room and battled out the problem. Now they’ve matured because they`re determined to survive.
“We’re a lot more tolerant towards each other now. There’s still flare-ups, arguments, and screaming matches. But at least now we know what makes us tick,” Entwistle slyly beamed. “Now we know we can do a good show. That second night in Stafford cured us all. We just hadn’t done a show like that for ages.”
Prior to this recent period of productivity, the Who had grown collectively disillusioned and depressed over live performances. They had lost the enthusiasm and inspiration integral to elevating a show from the routine to the sublime. Playing five concerts in June of 1974, four at New York’s Madison Square Garden and one at London’s Charlton Athletic ground, the Who despised themselves for mechanically going through onstage motions.
“I nearly walked out of the band after the Charlton show,” Entwistle recalls. “I just couldn’t take it anymore, couldn’t take the lack of enthusiasm onstage. Since `Quadrophenia’ it’s been very difficult. Pete hasn’t wanted to particularly work onstage. He felt he wasn’t giving anything. Now he feels better than he has the last five years.
“Before we all wanted to keep the band together, but now we all want to work. Concerts had become straight Who gigs. We’d come offstage and say ‘Well that’s another one gone’. We`d never say ‘that was an amazing thing you played’. There was absolutely nothing there. The magic had begun to dwindle.”
“It got to the point where it just wasn’t fun anymore,” Daltrey said, echoing Entwistle’s statements. “And if it ain’t fun why bother?”
Yet the fun was a long time coming. A disturbing lack of good times permeated strained atmospheres during the first painful weeks attempting to record what eventually became ‘The Who By Numbers’. Normally optimistic Daltrey became depressed over the recording progress.

Traumas

“It just got to the point where I began to think that maybe we had done as much as we could within our framework. I kept telling myself that wasn’t true,” he said somberly.
But that tenuous maybe held steady. The Who felt like they had exhausted their framework during the first album sessions. Part of the problem revolved around differing rates of individual growth.
“We found it very difficult to record at first,” Entwistle recalled. “We couldn’t play well together and kept falling back on oldstyle Who playing without trying to put anything new into it. In the end we just had to takea break from recording, do a rehearsal and just jam between numbers to prove we could play again. We took a mobile down to Shepperton which did us a lot of good.”
Even more despondent that the group was producer Glyn Johns who had worked with them laughed. “Who’s Next’ was time however, beginning traumas and problems seemed insurmountable.
“Glyn had to go through a lot in those early sessions,” John admits; “When you get to a session and no one turns up I imagine you get somewhat disillusioned.
“I’ve had more fun making other albums,” Glyn Johns laughed. ” ‘Who’s Next’ was made under more satisfying conditions. This was more of a challenge because the atmosphere was far from relaxed. When they first arrived in the studio they weren’t a band. When they left the studio, they were. The album speaks for itself.”
While the rehearsals proved they could still play well together, the Who almost discarded the album much to Glyn Johns, horror when they heard the final mixes. About to scrap the entire project and return to the studio to record additional tracks, the band realised the problem lay in the album running order and subsequently worked out a more rationale line-up.
“The first album order just seemed to go down and down,” Entwistle said seriously.
“But the second order was like a new album. It’s the type of album we needed after the grandeur of ‘Quadrophenia’. We needed to prove that we`d done something since ‘Tommy’ as it had been regurgitated and thrown up again. We needed another album to let people know we were playing new music.
“Personally I think the next album should be live so people will know that we`re still touring,” he laughed ahout their recent onstage holiday. “We tried to do a live version of ‘Tommy` once and maybe we could include some selections from that. We need some new onstage numbers. We can’t play ‘Summertime Blues` for the rest of our life. But by the time we tour America again in the Spring we should be able to do another live album.”
Although it won’t be included on another live album, much of the new studio album translates easily to stage. Unlike the bulk of ‘Quadrophenia’ with its complex backing tapes, the more basic material from `The Who By Numbers’ finds the group returning to their original format.
“The synthesizer was the one thing I missed,” John admits. “I could have seen it on several tracks. But Roger doesn’t like synthesizers, he thinks they’re fake. Still I like to use them to colour the songs theme.”

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In tears

Deceptively low profile on first listening, much of the new album is charged with Who aggression and emotion. Several observers have remarked that they wished Townshend had been in a more optimistic frame of mind when writing the songs. Others insist the record is not indicative of group morale and believe Townshend should have released the material as a solo album. These complaints seem equally deceptive as first listenings.
The songs are stuffed with more genuine feeling and emotion than some of the bands better known work. Underneath the disillusion, lies a promising future optimism. Either Townshend writes words the band personally identify with or the band play merely emotionally. Or both.
“In a lot of ways I feel the same as Pete,” John said. “I could really relate to ‘How Many Friends’ and so could Keith. Moony was nearly in tears when he heard that song. Still, before we did ‘Squeeze Box’ and ‘Blue, Red and Grey’ the album had a different identity. Those songs brighten the whole thing up. I was personally more restricted on this album because complicated bass parts didn’t seem to fit so I simplified a lot of it.”
In many ways the cover caricature of the group, drawn by Entwistle, neatly parallels the inside contents. When the Who are apart friction and break-up rumours circulate but when they are joined together, the combination is unbeatable.
“That cartoon of the group has been around for about eight years. The first time I ever drew cartoons was on our American tour with Herman’s Hermits,” John laughs. “Pete and I were doing a comic strip. Pete’s was the Duchess versus Plum. We used to call Roger the Duchess because of his big, floppy hat and fur coat. Bob Pridden (sound engineer) was Plum, scruffy little man. My comic strip was Dr Jekyl and Dr Noom which was Moon, a monster that chased old ladies in wheel chairs.

“When it came round to this cover the band turned to me and said it’s your turn, so I just drew the cartoon updating the clothes and appearances as they have changed. Pete’s used to have more hair and no beard. I changed his nose as well, flattened it up. Roger’s had the same hair with different clothes. Keith’s is more or less exactly the same. Mine’s different cause I drew in an extra scar.” he laughs fiendishly. “Originally I was going to have birth signs with scales but then I thought that was a bit too far but.”
Astrology would have been too cosmic for the Who verging dangerously close to Yes or the Pink Floyd. Instead they stuck to a stark cover to compliment the authentic insides. It is the brute force of the Who that comes through onstage and record whether’s it’s the gentle frustration of ‘However Much I Booze’ or the vulnerable truths of ‘Dreaming From The Waist.’
“Making that album wasn’t easy in any way at all,” Glyn Johns admitted. “Reflecting on it, the greatest thing is that the end result is very healthy. That’s worth it. The Who came out of those album sessions full steam ahead and that’s very important.”
Full steam ahead means that the Who are earning their reputation as rock’s greatest performing band. Revitalised and invigorated, they are not living off the past. They play with a vengeance because they are determined to prove their worth. Even ‘Tommy’ is being done for a reason, not to capitalise on Ken Russell’s Technicolour glory but because they enjoy playing it. The days the Who walked offstage, and said ‘Well that’s another one gone’ are thankfully over.
“Actually it was our idea to do `Tommy’ onstage again. The reason I agreed to it was because everyone expected us to drop ‘Tommy’ from the act because of the film so instead we thought we’d do more of it,” Entwistle said with amused irony.
“We’re determined not to let anything worry us and try to do perfect shows. It’s obviously very important for us to keep the Who going. But I’d like to see the solo careers continue. I missed playing with the Who during the Ox tour but that’s what allows us to bring something extra to the band when we get back together. That’s what helps us grow.

Jamming

“We haven’t played this well since the ‘Live At Leeds’/`Tommy’ era,” John said proudly. “I suppose you could say we’re shit-hot. We’re back to the stage where we can go anywhere and do a good show. Before we’d just jam at rehearsal or in the studio and it was unbelievable but we could never do that onstage. We haven’t been able to jam onstage since we stopped doing ‘Tommy’. Now, ‘My Generation’ onwards is all off the top of our heads.”
The good shows are paying of with handsome results. Normally cold, sterile and cavernous, the Who transformed Wembley into one giant mass of sweating bodies all moving on the same rhythms. I can`t even remember `Brown Sugar` doing that to people. The kid on the high steel beam nearly fell over. What`s most positive is the future. While fondly paying homage to the past, the Who are impressively saying hello to the present.
As one observer astutely remarked: “They almost look like they love each other.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT Blue Oyster Cult FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

This band were on the verge of their big breakthrough at the time of this concert. Mr. Barton was not as impressed with the opening band…
Read on!

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Concert review from Hammersmith

By Geoff Barton

Support act Lemmy`s Motorhead played the second worst set I`ve ever seen. The only past concert I can think of that surpasses it, in terms of musical ineptitude, was of course the same band`s first gig some while back at the Chalk Farm Roundhouse.
Blue Oyster Cult`s long-awaited British debut at Hammersmith Odeon on Sunday couldn`t have been further removed: far from careless and clumsy, the US band turned in the slickest, most professional, most finely honed `metal set` I have ever seen.
The Cult are a five piece: three guitars (mainly), keyboards and drums. The front line is shared more or less equally between unassuming lead guitarist Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser and `stun` guitarist Eric Bloom.
Musically, they are excellent: overall, the concert made the band`s recent live album `On Your Feet Or On Your Knees` sound like a demo record.
All the Cult faves are there, and an enthusiastic audience knew it: `Od`d On Life Itself`, `Havester Of Eyes`. `Buck`s Boogie` (overlong, in retrospect, and featuring the only lowspot of the evening, a heavy handed drum solo) and the encore to end all encores – a triple dose of `Dominance And Submission`, `Hot Rails To Hell` and an awesome `Born To Be Wild`.
The effects were impeccable: flame shooting from Bloom`s fingertips, massed revolving strobes, diz-busting explosions and, during the five – count them, five – guitar showcase `ME 262`, enough dry ice smoke to make Bradford look like a Green Belt area.
To say that Blue Oyster Cult lived up to my expectations would not do them justice. To predict that, when they return to do more dates in November, they`ll have the country on its knees, would be no rash thing. Od`d on the Cult themselves.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Butterfly Ball FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

I have archived this one under “Deep Purple” as it seems the better category considering Glover`s involvement along with other members of that band.

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Concert Review from London

By Phil Sutcliffe

What a pleasantly different experience! After all the doubts and warnings of impending disaster `The Butterfly Ball` live was just about as good as it possibly could have been oratorio-style without the costumes and full trapplings of a dramatic production.
A full orchestra sounding in high spirits put a brassy weight behind most of the numbers. The rock band, including a gaggle of keyboard players and Eddie Jobson in joyful form on the electric violin, made it all a lot more raunchy than the rather precious imagery of the `Ball`s` sundry packaging would suggest. And the infinite queue of eager lead singers suggested an opulence of talent such as is too rarely gathered together on a British stage. The musical edifice sustaining all this, last year`s Mr R. Ex-Purple Glover`s album is nice rather than magnificent, but there were times when most of the Albert Hall and your reviewer got quite carried away.
Members of the Purple family like Coverdale, Hughes and Gillan did their bits in friendly, self-effacing fashion like Dylan at the Bangla-Desh, not wanting to steal anyone`s thunder, but the stars of the night came from the `I-know-the-face-but-who-the-hell-is-it?` set featured as the show came down the home straight.
Tony Ashton (A, Gardner and Dyke) swaggered on like Graham Bond reincarnated, greasy hair, shades and leather jacket, and proceeded to rip away the last vestiges of formality from the proceedings with some sleazy blues piano and matching bar-room vocals that took the musicians as well as audience by surprise. Then he yanked his jacket back off his shoulders for a break of Little Richard razzle-dazzle, cooled it again for his coda, burped loudly and departed to a mixture of applause and hilarity.
John Gustafson (Roxy`s current bass guest) had to follow that with `Watch Out For The Bat` and he met the challenge with revetting vocal energy, high, sinister and savage – why isn`t he a lead singer rather than a session bassist? Then John Lawton (who? A Les Humphrey Singer) set the seal on a jolly, almost flower-powerish, evening with two renditions of `Love Is All`, on the encore, his flat-out professional tenor hitting the high notes exultantly where some of his celebrity companions wavered.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Lynyrd Skynyrd FROM SOUNDS, October 25, 1975

After a very hectic period when I needed a break from all this blogging, I am trying to continue my project with this article. I hope you missed me! 😉

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Lynyrd skynful

Concert review by John Ingham

The correct term is schnapps; guitarist Gary Rossington calls it `snaps`. It was the catalyst for a group fight that left singer Ronnie Van Zandt with a broken hand and bruised windpipe and Rossington with two slashed wrists. The next night they played the first concert of their European tour.
This review is hopelessly entwined in comments and arguments heard after the gig. Early on Peter Rudge had commented that Skynyrd are either brilliant or abominable, never in between. Afterwards he commented that it wasn`t worth coming 3,000 miles to see, and Van Zandt continued the theme until the early hours of the morning. Perhaps it was disgust because their sorry condition was self inflicted…
Because from this unbiased viewpoint, never having seen them before, they were pretty good, especially considering the condition of Rossington. (He said afterwards that it felt as though his hands were being knifed the entire time). Not inspiring, certainly, and not without sound problems, but hardly of the magnitude and ear-splitting volume that Van Zandt insisted had been the case.
Their repertoire consisted of oldies – `Saturday Night Special`, `Give Me Three Steps` and the obligatory `Free Bird` – as well as numbers that will be on the new Tom Dowd-produced album. Like most boogie bands their forte isn`t virtuosity, but unlike most others, they fill the space with riffs and rhythms that lift and exhilerate and are never boring. Pianist Billy Powell, especially, was knocking out fiery runs whenever he could be heard, and the interaction between Rossington and other guitarist Allen Collins, on a good night, would have been awesome.
So if what they think is bad is in reality quite good, think what they`ll be like on a good night. Barring any more rounds of schnapps, of course.

Lyn

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.