Archive for the ‘Music Feature’ Category

The Monkees Feature with Vintage Photos & Videos

February 23, 2010

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees, even today, still go down as the most successful TV rock show idea ever. That was how they came about, as an idea for a TV show molded after the Beatles movie, A Hard Days’ Night. A TV show about four poor hippie band members, with lots of slapstick comedy, and of course, music too.The fact that this manufactured group turned into a real band and had a whole bunch of big hits is really, well, far out!

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Screen Gems executive Don Kirshner came up with the idea after seeing the Beatle movie and hired producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to begin auditions for the show in 1965. An ad was placed in Variety, and amongst the 437 applications were Stephen Stills, Danny Hutton (later of Three Dog Night ), Harry Nilsson and Paul Williams. Only one Monkee would be found from the auditions, guitarist and songwriter Michael Nesmith, who’s song “Different Drum” was a then current top ten hit for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys. Hired later from other sources were folk singer – guitarist Peter Tork, and actors Mickey Dolenz (who started out as a child actor), and Davy Jones, who didn’t know how to play a note of music. They were hired first and foremost as actors for the TV show; with no plans to have an actual real life band come about. It was decided for the show that the members would be portrayed as followed: Nesmith as the lead guitarist, Tork as the bassist, Dolenz, who could play guitar, was at first going to be the rhythm guitarist, but Jones, who was to be the drummer, was deemed by the shows producers as to being too small to sit behind the drum kit and still be seen. So Dolenz, who never before played the drums, took that part and Jones, well, he was placed out front as the cute one. All four would take turns at lead vocals, but as it turned out, the two actors, Jones and Dolenz, were the better singers and in time would get more of the lead vocals, with Nesmith handling the vocals for the country rock tunes (which me mainly wrote). Yet the truth of the matter was that Dolenz was the group’s true lead singer, even if that fact was never advertised.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

On September 12, 1966, the first episode of The Monkees was aired by NBC-TV and in an short time the show was a hit both in the US and the UK. Their self titled debut album was also a huge hit, selling over a million copies, as was its single, “Last Train To Clarksville”, which made it to number 1 on the US charts. Most of the songs were written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and Carole King and Gerry Goffin, with just one song, “Papa Gene’s Blues” written by Nesmith. But the truth was, the Monkees not only were not a band yet and didn’t play as one on this album, but they were not even a true singing group yet, as they didn’t work together even in that department when the disc was put together. Dolenz not only sang most of the lead vocals on the LP, but he also, alone, sang most of the backing vocals for the songs, too. Nesmith’s self penned song was the only tune on the album which was close to being a true “Monkees” number, as he, Dolenz and Tork, all performed on it. The rest of the music on the album was played by session musicians.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Their next album, More Of The Monkees, also was a big hit, and its single, “I’m A Believer”, went to number one in both the US and UK. On this LP they were a true singing group at least, and suddenly they were the latest and biggest pre-teen and teen phenomenon around. However the group did not like the fact that they were still not allowed to play on their albums, and they came clean to their fans about this on their own after the second album’s release. Like the first LP, Nesmith and Tork were allowed to play their guitars only on the Nesmith penned songs; so when they let their fans know they weren’t happy with this fact, their management listened and gave in, since the TV show was now a huge hit. So the Monkees got what they demanded, that being that for the next album, Headquarters, they all would play most of the instruments as a true band, with just a couple of guitar session players backing them.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Headquarters would go on to prove that the Monkees did indeed have more than just acting talent, by far it was their best album. Nesmith would supply three new songs plus lead and steel guitar to the album. Tork added guitar, keyboards, banjo, bass and one penned song. Dolenz by now was not bad on the drums, yet he didn’t care to play them, in part because he still was the main lead vocalist. Yet he still played drums on every track on the LP, along with playing rhythm guitar and keyboards, too; plus he wrote the album’s closing number. Jones, well, he learned to shake the maracas real nice, but really, he was the band’s second lead singer and the main ladies man in the group. Headquarters was released in May of ’67 and was a huge hit and a really nice piece of work from the boys. The Monkees were not just a TV singing group anymore, but now a real band. They went on tour after the album release and played for real in front of their fans. This tour featured the famous, if not totally out of aliment pairing of the Monkees and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, who was still unknown, opened for the Monkees. In November of ’67 the Monkees released their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones Ltd. which, dare I say, was a psychedelic masterpiece. The album did have a bit of country rock on it, but more psychedelic tunes. One of those psychedelic songs “Daily Nightly”, was the very first rock song to use the new Moog synthesizer (which was the very first synthesizer), played by Dolenz. “Pleasant Valley Sunday” was another number one hit and the Nilsson cover song “Cuddly Toy” was also well received.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Things would start to wind down for the group in 1968. On March 25, their final TV episode was screened and the next month their next album, The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees was a disappointment as they returned to using more session musicians to record most of the album. But the album did spawn two big hit singles “Daydream Believer” and “Valleri”, with most of the lead vocals on these two sung by Jones. “Valleri” in fact had been recorded back in ’66 and only featured Jones and Dolenz singing on it. Next, The Monkees embarked on a feature film, Head, which upon its release got poor reviews and seemed to be viewed by noone. Tork left the band after Head’s release and the remaining trio continued on without him. They released two more albums that bombed and the band, now going nowhere fast, broke up in ’69. They reunited in 1985 (minus Nesmith) for a successful tour, but the new studio album they released, Pool It, was horrendous and they broke up the next year. In 1995 all four of the Monkees reunited for an UK tour and released a new studio album in ’96, Justus. The album was the first Monkees album to feature all original material from the group members and was produced by Nesmith. It got good reviews and was a minor hit. It was nice to see the entire band back together recording again after so many years.

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

Various Videos Of The Monkees

The Monkees – I’m a Believer Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/XfuBREMXxts&hl=en_US&fs=1&

The Monkees – Mary Mary Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/grd-iHznoGM&hl=en_US&fs=1&

The Monkees – Goin’ Down Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/URb8h4dLKps&hl=en_US&fs=1&

The Monkees, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Davey Jones, Classic Rock Music,

The Monkees Discography

2005 Summer 1967: The Complete U.S. Concert Recordings
2004 Missing Links
2003 The Best Of The Monkees
2003 Extended Versions
2002 Live Summer Tour
2002 The Essentials
2001 Music Box
1998 Daydream Believer and Other Hits
1998 The Monkees: Anthology
1997 I’m a Believer and Other Hits
1996 Justus
1996 Missing Links Volume Three
1991 Listen to the Band
1987 Live 1967
1986 Pool It
1986 Missing Links Volume Two
1982 More Greatest Hits
1976 Greatest Hits
1975 Hit Factory
1970 Instant Replay
1970 Changes
1969 The Monkees Present: Micky, David & Michael
1968 Head
1968 The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
1967 Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
1967 Headquarters
1967 More Of The Monkees
1966 The Monkees

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- Retro Rebirth

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Cream Feature with Vintage Photos & Videos

February 8, 2010

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

It is really hard to believe that Cream was only together for a little more than two years. They were rock’s first power-trio and in their short history would sell millions of records and sell out concert halls everywhere. The band was formed as a blues-rock outfit in late 1966 with Eric Clapton on guitar and occasional lead vocals, Jack Bruce as its main songwriter, lead singer and bassist, and drummer Ginger Baker. Clapton was already pretty well know as a guitar hero in the UK and with Cream would soon be an international guitar playing superstar. He had been in bands like the Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before Cream. Bruce also had been a member of the Bluesbreakers along with Clapton for a short time and had just left Manfred Mann when he joined up. Baker was the drummer for the Graham Bond Organisation , yet another band that Bruce had also been a member of. All three Cream members were looking to expand their music experiences and play music other than what was standard for the time period. No question that was what they ended up doing, playing long blues jams and extended solos live including everything from blues, to psychedelic, to hard rock.

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Their first album, Fresh Cream was released in December of ’66. Mainly a blues album, it was a hit reaching the British Top Ten in early 1967. Almost a year after their first release came the album Disraeli Gears. It was loaded with hits and made them big in the US, reaching number five. The hard rock song “Sunshine of Your Love,” was the album’s biggest hit with its great guitar and haunting vocals. “Strange Brew” was another hit and songs like “Dance the Night Away,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “S.W.L.A.B.R.” all got substantial radio play. In June of ’68 the double album Wheels of Fire topped the American charts and they were now considered one of rock biggest bands. One disc of this double album was recorded in the studio, the second recorded on stage in San Francisco. On this live disc Clapton fans would get to hear the Robert Johnson cover “Crossroads” for the first time. The studio disc contained the top ten single, Bruce’s “White Room” (number 6 on the charts) as well as a grand cover of Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

It seem unreal that a band so hot would break up while at their peak, yet that is just what happened to Cream. Once again the three members wanted to break out and do something new. Cream played their last concert on November 26, 1968, at London’s Royal Albert Hall. There would be one last album after the breakup to be released in early 1969 , Goodbye, it consisted of three studio tracks and three live tracks. One of those studio tunes would be the Eric Clapton-George Harrison composition “Badge” which is the album’s best track. Goodbye may not have gotten the greatest reviews but it did hit number two on the charts.

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Life after Cream was most rewarding for Clapton with a huge solo career. He did briefly belong to two supergroups, teaming up again in ’69 with Baker in Blind Faith and then in 1970 he formed Derek & the Dominos. Bruce went on to form several different bands with several big name musicians and covered everything from blues, rock, folk and jazz. After Blind Faith, Baker formed a couple of bands including Ginger Baker’s Air Force which put out a couple of albums. He was later in a few other bands and then got back with Bruce in BBM in 1994. He retired from the business in late ’97 and bought a horse farm in Colorado which he ran until late ’99 when he was being force out of the country.

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

The group performed a brief set during the 1993 ceremony in which they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jack Bruce nearly died after a liver transplant in 2003. In May, 2005 the group reunited for a series of concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the same venue where they played their farewell concert in 1968. Another series of reunion concerts is booked at Madison Square Garden in New York City in October 2005.

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Significant Facts About Cream:

* Produced just seven original studio and live albums, and three compilations, yielding sales of more than 35-million. By comparison, Styx, with 22 studio and live albums and six compilations also have sales of 35-million.

* Performed more than 300 live shows in less than 30 months on tour.

* Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, PhotoCream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Classic Rock, Rock Music, Photo

Cream Discography

Fresh Cream (1966)
Disraeli Gears (1967)
Wheels Of Fire (1968)
Goodbye (1969)

Various Cream Live Videos


Cream Live – I Feel Free Live Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/SObv1nsQB38&hl=en_US&fs=1&

Cream – I’m So Glad Live Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/iEKai8PGomg&hl=en_US&fs=1&

Cream – Tales Of Brave Ulysses Live Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/-BGlFsf9DM8&hl=en_US&fs=1&

Cream – Anyone For Tennis Live Video

http://www.youtube.com/v/MB2f6-U72Zk&hl=en_US&fs=1&

Have a groovy day :)

Peace and Love,
Retro Rebirth

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