Posts Tagged ‘70′s’
Grace Slick, vocalist of the legendary Jefferson Airplane, besides being a beautiful woman (for those who love gossip she was credited, among others, of a classic “one night stand” with no other than Lizard King, Jim Morrison, during their joint European tour in 1968), in the late sixties she became, along with Janis Joplin, one of the most charismatic female characters of that period of dispute known as the “Summer of Love“.
The Jefferson Airplane were among the most active supporters of the Carousel Ballroom, a music center self-managed by hippie communities in a period when it the wide use among the artists and musicians of LSD, the psychedelic drug par excellence, was well known to most.
Grace also distinguished herself as an author so much that songs she wrote like White Rabbit, Somebody to Love, Wooden Ships, came right part of the history of music returning an indelible aura to the need for freedom and rights that drove the Hippie movement in those years of cultural tensions at international levels.
In this troubled atmosphere, April 24, 1970, as Trisha Nixon partner at Finch College, Grace found herself invited to the White House for a celebration of former alumni, appearing in the list with her seemingly anonymous maiden name: Grace Wing. It was an appointment which could not be missed: the Jefferson Airplane had just released the single Mexico fiercely criticizing the anti-drug policy of the president and her intent was to circumvent the security and dissolve a stamp containing 600 micrograms of LSD which she kept in her pocket in the president Nixon drink.
In this occasion Grace asked to be accompanied by Abbie Hoffman, a member of the “Chicago Seven,” famous for being accused of conspiracy and incitement to violence at the Democratic National Convention just held in Illinois in 1968. However, he was recognized and blocked at the entrance as part of the FBI blacklist. Grace instead, thanks to her true name managed to pass the entrance and just as she was to carry out its “psychedelic plan” she was intercepted by a security guard, who recognized her and called on her the attention of President staff.
Grace later confessed that just in that moment she realized that Jefferson Airplane were also part of the FBI blacklist and, in a recent interview, with her usual irony, she said: “Too bad, Nixon on acid would have definitely been a sight to see.” .
“A Doors concert is a public meeting called by us for a special dramatic discussion. When we perform, we’re participating in the creation of a world and we celebrate that with the crowd.” In light of this definition is easy to understand how the Doors refused to join the biggest personalities in the music of those years at the mega event considering the Woodstock Festival far from the philosophy of the band.
The words of Jim Morrison well explained what people would expect from a Doors concert, an event where is exactly the same Lizard King to guide the onlookers and keep them by the hand. Electricity and unquestionable charisma of the shaman-singer alone was worth the ticket price, but certainly an added attraction was made by the unpredictability, due to the multiple facets of his personality.
Fortunately, Jim was surrounded by great musicians and performers, often darkened to the general public by his cumbersome presence, and likely himself realized that as he never yielded to the blandishments of those who wanted to turn him in a solo singer: one of them, Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and bass player, also proved to be an excellent singer, and the the same Jim offered to him the ability to show all his talent in a concert in Amsterdam in 1968.
On that occasion the Doors were to perform after the Jefferson Airplane and, between the joy and amazement of the outstanding fans, Jim Morrison, in a heavily altered state raided on stage during the performance of Plastic Fantastic Lover. He began to dance to the tune of the song and the band from San Francisco began to play in gaining momentum following Jim’s dizzying dancing until he fell, unconsciousness, at the foot of Marty Balin.
Obviously he was not able to support the concert with his band, so Ray Manzarek, reluctantly, had to replace him at the voice for the whole concert, however, getting an unexpected response from the public.
They have always refused to be satanists but the way these four guys from Birmingham presented themselves to the public in 1970 branded them with a label that still survives after 40 years. Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler, owe their name to the intuition of the latter, who was passionate about black magic and horror, and realized how people were attracted by the theme of the occult.
Black Sabbath, the opening track of the debut album, Black Sabbath, by the eponymous band: formally it’s a curious and macabre triad strengthened in these aspects by a text focusing on a mysterious “chosen one” that during the Apocalypse remains completely paralyzed in front of the vision of Satan, but especially enhanced by the guitar riff that takes the “Devil’s Triad,” a tritone very famous and widely known since the times of the Middle Ages as the “diabolus in musica”. The sequence of notes (MI – F # – DO) with which Tony Iommi introduces the song was considered very difficult to perform and for this reason it was thought that those who had been able to reproduce it, they would evoke the devil. In addition to the technical problems that the performance involves, satanic aura that surrounds is reinforced by the fact that the “diabolus in musica” is one of the most famous hearing illusions: the cyclical repetition of two fundamental notes separated by a tritone (equivalent to half an octave), causes confusion also in the skilled players as it becomes impossible to determine whether the sequence is ascending or descending order.
Many know Sweet Home Alabama as one of the most famous folk song, but maybe not everyone knows the reasons that induced Lynyrd Skynyrd to write such as cornerstone of the music of the 70′s.
In 1972 Neil Young published the album Harvest including the songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama” in which the singer vividly criticize the whole southern state for its propensity to racism and wonders when they’ll finally make amends for this attitude towards blacks:“I saw cotton and I saw black, tall white mansions and little shacks. Southern Man, when will you pay them back?”
Two years later, in 1974, Lynyrd Skynyrd publish Sweet Home Alabama, and although none of the three original members were from Alabama,they respond to Young, accusing him of doing the whole lump. In an interview Ronnie Van Zant said: “We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two” and so he addressed him in the song:
Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow
Contrary to the old rock tradition that loves to create and foment rivalries, tempers subsided in the following years: Neil Young said on many occasions to admire both Sweet Home Alabama and Ronnie Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer, and to be proud to have his name in one of their most famous song: Young occasionally performed the song in his concerts and Ronnie sometimes wore a T-shirt representing Young before singing Sweet Home Alabama.
Lynyrd Skynyrd on several occasions tried to have Neil Young as a guest on stage to make him utter these words:
“a Southern man don’t need me around anyhow”
but until now, for one reason or another, this exhibition has not yet taken place.
My Sweet Lord, co-written by George Harrison and Billy Preston in 1969, was initially published as a single the following year by former Beatles only in the United States and not in England, in order not to affect the sales of the album that contained it (choice made by other ex-Beatles), then as a result of strong sales he had second thoughts and the incredible success of public brought the track at the top of the charts in both countries (first time for a Liverpool most famous quartet member ).
The main theme is a famous Hindu Vaishnava mantra connected with the cult, known as Hare Krishna and embraced in those years by the same Harrison.
Initially, the song took him a lot of pleasure about the worldwide success found, but a few months later, because of the similarity with “He’s So Fine”, song of the Chiffons dated 1963, he was accused of plagiarism and sentenced by federal court of the United States for copying “unconsciously”. Harrison was forced to give up almost entirely to the proceeds obtained from the single and also those related to the album that “All Things Must Pass.”
The former Beatle returned to the issue subsequently the purchase of Bright Music (the record company that sued Harrison) by his former manager Allen Klein. In 1976 he wrote the track “This Song” that contains a verse that says “This tune has nothing bright about it “, obviously playing on the double meaning attached to the word “bright”.