Below is an excerpt from Glyn Johns' new book, SOUND MAN: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, the Faces... (On sale now, Blue Rider Press).
The previous year, 1970, the Stones had started recording at Mick Jagger’s house out in the country, near Newbury. By this time, the Stones Truck was fully operational and we used the huge entrance hall of the Victorian pile that was Stargroves to record several tracks that were eventually used on Sticky Fingers. I had mentioned to Pete Townshend in conversation that these sessions had gone really well, so he suggested that we go there to start recording Who’s Next.
We began on the first day with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Not a bad way to start. With Pete’s permission, I edited the synthesizer track from his original demo, as it was a little too long, and played it in to the band in the studio. They performed live to it with remarkable skill, the synthesizer dictating a constant tempo for every bar of the song, with them staying locked relentlessly to it throughout. Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocal equaled ...
The biggest hit of Simon and Garfunkel's career turned into their swan song. The much-loved and critically acclaimed duo personified poetic, collegiate folk rock. Throughout the 1960s, however, Paul Simon's songs increasingly discarded formal language for more colloquial lyrics. Similarly, his music expanded from the folkie roots implicit in his guitar finger picking. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reflected these trends, besides being a typically well-manicured production. Similar qualities characterized Simon's subsequent solo career.
"'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is something of a mystery to me," notes Simon in the Rock Hall's latest exhibit, Paul Simon: Words & Music. "Because nothing prompted me to write it. I was listening to a lot of gospel quartets, particularly the Swan Silvertones and the Everly Brothers album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. I was stunned and I thought, 'that’s a lot better than I usually write.'"
With a dramatic piano introduction and majestic melody, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is a moving, spiritual song that like the Beatles' "Let It Be" evokes gospel themes without the overt trappings of that genre. Some theorize that its massive success piqued Simon, who not only wrote the tune but also was intimately involved in its ...
Who was Mrs. Roosevelt and what's her relation to Mrs. Robinson? Where did Joe DiMaggio go? Where does Paul Simon come up with his lyrics?
"So goodbye to Mrs. Roosevelt, all along the road down to glory hallelujah," Simon recites from an old handwritten lyric manuscript (pictured) featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's new exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music. "I don't think of what I do as writing poetry, but the language may have imagery in it."
Watch Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon talk about how "Mrs. Roosevelt" became the famous "Mrs. Robinson," the real background to the "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio" lyric and more:
Opening on October 30, 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland's new exhibit Paul Simon: Words & Music will feature exclusive candid commentary gathered from hours of filmed interview footage that walks the audience through the personal story of Simon’s life and his creative process. This opening marks the Museum’s first-ever exhibit anchored by first-person narration by the artist. In addition to the autobiographical films, there will be videos of select performance highlights from Simon’s ...
What do Chet Atkins, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Graham Nash, the Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Paul McCartney, Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day have in common? As the above infographic illustrates, each has a connection to the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Music Masters honorees the Everly Brothers.
Click the image above for a free illustrated history of the Everly Brothers infographic download!
"It's impossible to imagine popular music without the Everly Brothers," said 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Donovan in a recorded tribute to the brotherly duo to be honored at the Rock Hall's annual Music Masters event on Saturday, October 25, 2014. "I am influenced tremendously by Don and Phil [Everly], and their incredible recordings."
Although Donovan will not be in Cleveland for the week of events surrounding this year's Music Masters, the Saturday tribute concert will include performances by Hall of Fame Inductee Graham Nash, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, JD Souther, Emmylou Harris, Albert Lee, Keb' Mo', Shelby Lynne, Secret Sisters, Alison Krauss, Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Dawn McCarthy, Allison Moorer and more. Get details on the week of Music Masters events celebrating 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the Everly Brothers, including tickets for the tribute concert!
Watch Donovan sing a stripped-down acoustic version of the Everly Brothers' "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)."
(pictured: Donovan visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2012, the year of his induction.)
The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, revered Little Willie John, having opened shows for John early on and later recorded an entire album of his tunes, the 1968 tribute Thinking About Little Willie John and a Few Nice Things. Brown was just but one of many artists of the day who were influenced by John's gospel-charged R&B sound. The likes of Hall of Fame Inductees Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Al Green all noted a musical debt to the man behind "Fever," and hits including "Sleep," "Talk To Me, Talk To Me" and "Leave My Kitten Alone" – the latter an early Beatles fave.
Spending his formative years raised in Detroit, Michigan, Little Willie John's stature belied his powerful voice. Signed to Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King Records in 1955, John cut the haunting, sultry "Fever" in 1956 at the tender age of 18. His smooth style presaged soul music. His delivery was passionate and dramatic, which paired with his melding of styles proved the perfect foil to such evocative lyricism.
Sadly, this polished, passionate artist suffered a sad fate: convicted of manslaughter in a post-gig fracas and sentenced to prison in 1966, he died under disputed circumstances ...
No one song ever defined or redefined a group as generously as "Stairway To Heaven" did Led Zeppelin. For Jimmy Page, "Stairway" crystallized the essence of the band: "It had everything there and showed the band at its best...as a band, as a unit" he said.
"Stairway" evolved during winter 1970-71 sessions for the group's iconographically titled fourth album (a.k.a. ZOSO). It achieved an alchemical blend of the band's metal foundation with the rootsy feel of tones that decorated Led Zeppelin III. Page came up with the chord structure at the Zep retreat in Bron-Yr-Aur, Wales. After a reality check back in London at Island studios, the band regrouped at a country estate in Hampshire called Headley Grange. "Stairway To Heaven" came together as the band lounged before a roaring fire, took out the guitars and plugged into the Rolling Stones' mobile recording studio parked outside to capture the rapid flow of inspiration.
Plant in particular seemed to be channeling an active muse. According to Page: "He must have written three quarters of the lyrics on the spot. He didn't have to go away and think about them. Amazing, really." Plant himself cited British ...
Fifty years ago, in 1964, a group of musicians – Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark – came together in Los Angeles, California, calling themselves the Beefeaters. By December of 1964, the Beefeaters had recruited Chris Hillman on bass guitar and Michael Clarke on drums, and changed their name to the Byrds. Far more than a name change, the group charted a new course in rock and roll history, pioneering the folk rock sounds that would become so emblematic of an era and influential generations later.
Folk rock didn't necessarily begin with the Byrds' "Mr Tambourine Man" – four months before they recorded it, the Animals were topping the pop charts with "The House of the Rising Sun" – but its combination of song and performance epitomized the genre, with the happy effect of giving Bob Dylan (as songwriter, at least) a Number One hit. The only Byrd playing on it, though, was electric 12-string guitarist McGuinn. Producer Terry Melcher, doubtful of the new band's abilities, hired session musicians to back up the vocals of McGuinn, Crosby and Clark. Perhaps Melcher had heard the group's originally private 1964 recording of the tune, which sounds like an arrangement for a music ...