portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Friday, August 31, 2018


conquered in car seat . . . . . 

oh my friend I see you . . . 

hark now hear the sailor's cry . . . . . . . 

Born on this day: August 31, 1945 - Singer, songwriter and musician Van Morrison (born George Ivan Morrison in Belfast, Northern Ireland). 

Happy 73rd Birthday, Van!!!
'Southern Man'

On this day in music history: August 31, 1970 - “After The Gold Rush”, the third album by Neil Young is released. Produced by Neil Young, David Briggs and Kendall Pacios, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA, Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA and Neil Young’s Home Studio in Los Angeles, CA from August 1969 - June 1970. Having recently joined his former Buffalo Springfield bandmate Stephen Stills in Crosby, Stills & Nash, the band name is amended to add Young. CSNY release the classic “Deja Vu” album in the Spring of 1970, before the individual band members embark on solo projects. Young records a sizeable portion of his third release in his home studio in Topanga Canyon with members of his band Crazy Horse, including a then eighteen year old guitarist named Nils Lofgren. Overdubs and vocals are recorded at Sunset Sound and Sound City Studios. It spins off two singles including “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (#33 Pop) and “When You Dance I Can Really Love” (#93 Pop), though the albums centerpiece is the track “Southern Man”, a sharp rebuke against racism. Originally released on CD in the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2009 with HDCD encoding and is reissued on vinyl. “After The Gold Rush” peaks at number eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

more relevant now than it was then sadly . . . . . .and the preposterous response from Lynnurd Skinnerd was no help . . . . protest all you like but where were the black faces in your band, in your audience? No didn't think so . . . . . 

Great guitar on this one from Jimi Hendrix's favourite guitarist! Alongside a teenage Nils Lofgren now almost permanent Bruce Springsteen sideman

now your crosses are burning fast and southern man,  they are still alight on the lawns of America and who knows the Whitehouse lawn before long . . . . . .how long, how long? 

Apparently summer is coming to a close (you wouldn't know it here with the temperature climbing and set to soar up to the high twenties by the weekend!) so 'getting your mind on winter time' may be a difficult one but hey, it's the Byrds! Lovely song for a Friday!

Stay cool won't you!?

On this day in music history: August 30, 1968 - “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”, the sixth album by The Byrds is released. Produced by Gary Usher, it is recorded at Columbia Studios in Nashville, TN from March 9 - 15, 1968, and Columbia Studios in Hollywood, CA from April 4 - May 27, 1968. Their first album following the departure of original founding members David Crosby (leaving to form Crosby, Stills & Nash) and Michael Clarke. The Byrds move further away from their trademark electric folk-rock/pop sound, and go in a completely different musical direction. This evolution, having begun on their previous album “The Notorious Byrd Brothers”, sees them experimenting with bluegrass and Appalachian music. The album introduces guitarist and vocalist Gram Parsons as well as guitarist Clarence White as permanent members of the band. While in Nashville, The Byrds perform on Grand Ole Opry, where they are met with derision from the conservative audience who sees the band as “hippie longhairs”. They also have a similar reaction from WSM DJ Ralph Emery when he interviews the band on his show, acting in a condescending matter toward them and initially refusing to play an acetate copy of the just recorded “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” on the air. Though not a commercial success upon its release, its hybrid sound of country and rock music is highly influential on many musicians in the years that follow including the Eagles, Poco, Emmylou Harris and Pure Prairie League to name a few. “Sweetheart” is reissued twice on CD over the years. First in 1997, as a remastered CD with eight bonus tracks, and again in 2003 as 2 CD Legacy Edition featuring more rehearsal takes and alternate recordings. In August of 2016, it is also remastered and reissued by Sundazed Music as a 180 gram vinyl LP (black vinyl), and by Friday Music, pressed on gold vinyl and limited to 1,000 copies. “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” peaks at number seventy seven on the Billboard Top 200, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2000.


Now we're talking! What do you want on a Friday morn?! Why some Ryland Peter Cooder that's what!
Over at Big O this very morning from the time of the release of 'Chicken Skin Music' often considered (though not by me as it happens) to be his best album, the Record Plant radio broadcast quality (KSAN) recording comes fer yew!

Enjoy! You know you will!

Have you HEARD his new album!

Ry Cooder - on YouTube here . . .

"It's yours go out and get it!"

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Speaking of Bobs! . . . . . here's a compilation of His Bobness worth a listen and before you pooh-pooh a compilation, let me say it is from the redoubtable soniclovenoize so a labour of love you can be sure of that! I haven't posted anything new from him for a while but to refresh your memories, he compiles albums that never came came to be . . . . . . . . . at his blog albums that never were

Bob Dylan Medicine Sunday - Albums That Never Were

What soniclovenoize does is meticulously research the sources for tracks that reconstruct albums that were intended for release but for a wide variety of reasons never came to fruition. I first came across his wonderful blog when searching for Captain Beefheart material and found his beautifully reconstructed ' . . . Plain Brown Wrapper' . . . . now again let me be clear, I was sceptical at first but after checking out the Beefheart I 'got' what he was doing and it has to be said the text accompanying his projects is worth checking out alone let alone availing yourself of the download! He is simply a master at at! Have it mon braves! Enjoy! I know I did . . . . . . . . ;)

He says "hello i am soniclovenoize. because i have too much time on my hands, i waste it by reconstructing famous unreleased albums. here are some of them. enjoy." he's not wrong! They're fab!

For my avid (rabid?) fans [you haven't got ANY you poor deluded fool! - ED] the Beefheart I mention is here 

It come to you in a plain brown wrapper . . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Think we need a bit of Bob! . . . . . . haven't had any reggae for a while . . . . . . . so . . . . .

More D-Evolution!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Definitely bought this when it came out after 'Jocko Homo' (which probably stands as one of the strangest singles I ever bought) but 'Satisfaction' was a hoot . . . Great stuff I miss them . . . . .various folks went on to work on The Rugrats cartoon which I adored and watched with my kids . . . . . . 

On this day in music history: August 28, 1978 - “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!”, the debut album by Devo is released. Produced by Brian Eno, it is recorded at Conny’s Studio in Köln, Germany and Different Fur Studios in San Francisco, CA from October 1977 - February 1978. The groundbreaking first album by the Akron, OH based new wave band quickly establish their unique sound and visual image. The band record the album with producer Brian Eno before they are actually signed to a record label. Their demo tape is heard by David Bowie and Iggy Pop (by way of Tin Huey bassist Michael Aylward’s wife). After seeing Devo perform in New York, an excited Bowie initially plans to produce their album, but scheduling conflicts prevent him from taking more than a minor role in its creation. Working with Bowie during this period, Eno steps in and takes over the main production duties, financing the project himself. The album is anchored by their innovative cover of The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction”, which earn the band a large and loyal fan base. The albums iconic cover art features a caricature of pro golfing legend Chi Chi Rodríguez. In 2009, when “Q: Are We Not Men?” is reissued by Rhino Records (on CD and clear yellow vinyl), Devo performs it live in its entirety when they embark on a tour to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its release. The CD edition also includes a live performance of the complete album recorded at the HMV Forum in London in May of 2009. “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” peaks at number seventy eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold by in the US by the RIAA.

Not sure entirely what the notes from Jeff Harris' blog 'Behind The Grooves' are going on about the cover here but it came out first in the UK and singles on Stiff and Virgin picked them up after the interest from Brian Eno and Bowie.
The album looked like this:

The first single I bought was on Stiff and looked like this . . . . . . 

Been Down So Long (It Looks Like Up For Me) alternate take . . . time to revisit my favourite band above all others . . . . . . . . . last sessions . . . . . The Doors

This is an alternate version of "Been Down So Long", taken from The Doors' L.A. Woman (40th Anniversary Edition). The musicians on the track are:

Jim Morrison - vocals 
Robby Krieger - slide guitar
Ray Manzarek - keyboards
John Densmore - drums 
Jerry Scheff - bass
Marc Benno - rhythm guitar

Produced by The Doors and Bruce Botnick

warden, warden, warden, won't you break your lock and key . . . . . . ?
Remembering blues guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan (born Stephen Ray Vaughan in Dallas, TX) - October 3, 1954 - August 27, 1990 
Robbed of one of the most hauntingly ethereal voices of our generation at least we have sources like this . . . . . 

A fine fine set from two heroes this morning from Aquarium Drunkard

not entirely sure who is on this set and yet it sounds like Dave Swarbrick on tracks like "Who know
s . . . " but it is not Fairport but billed as a solo concert at Eltham Well Hall Open Theatre hence the open air sound quality but it's worth it . . . Sandy her usual chatty self and that voice peerless and ringing out across the afternoon . . . . .Richard of course needs no introduction here quite simply our best guitarist bar none and singer songwriter without equal!

At rest now

The Lady
Alexandra Elene
MacLean Lucas
(Sandy Denny)
6·1·47 – 21·4·78

Denny died in 1978 at the age of 31 due to injuries and health issues related to alcohol abuse as she was unfortunately an alcoholic
Oops nearly missed this and I did buy this when it came out . . . . . . we loved the B-52s and the first album and 12" single of 'Love Shack' is a classic but this track is great too!

On this day in music history: August 27, 1980 - “Wild Planet”, the second album by The B-52’s is released. Produced by Rhett Davies and The B-52’s, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau in The Bahamas in April 1980. Following the critical and commercial success of their self-titled debut, the Athens, GA based New Wave band return to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell’s studio in the Bahamas, to record the follow up. Much of the material on the album are songs The B-52’s have been performing live since 1977, but did not make the final cut of the first album. Recorded in just a few weeks, it produces a number of songs that become staples of the band’s repertoire including “Private Idaho” (#74 Pop, #5 Club Play), “Party Out Of Bounds”, “Quiche Lorraine” and “Give Me Back My Man”. It is well received by fans and critics upon its release, and today is regarded as a New Wave classic. The album is remastered and reissued on vinyl in 2011 by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, as part of their Silver Label series. It is reissued again in July of 2018, as part of Rhino’s “Back To The 80’s vinyl reissue series, pressed on red vinyl. The limited edition colored vinyl pressing replicates the original album packaging, including the custom labels and inner sleeve. "Wild Planet” peaks at number eighteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Classic pop songs of all time - Number 162

I didn't buy this when it came out and it wasn't really 'til much later we really HEARD it over here but this is what country and pop combined to make story songs that beat any other genre IMHO. Great song, great singer, if a tad one of the one hit wonders over here in the UK

On this day in music history: August 26, 1967 - “Ode To Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the R&B singles chart on October 21, 1967. Written by Bobbie Gentry, it is the biggest hit for the Mississippi born singer, songwriter and musician born Roberta Lee Streeter. The cryptic story song about a young man committing suicide for unknown reasons, is an immediate smash. Recorded at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, CA in Studio C on July 10, 1967, the track is completed in less than an hour of studio time. Arranger Jimmie Haskell adds the songs crowning touch by overdubbing violins and cellos to the spare arrangement. The unedited version runs over seven minutes and it pared down to just over four minutes. Originally issued as the B-side to her debut single “Mississippi Delta”, DJ’s very quickly favor the flip side. Entering the Hot 100 at #71 on August 5, 1967 it rockets to the top of the chart just three weeks later. The song also propels Gentry’s album (also titled “Ode To Billie Joe”) to number one for five weeks (unseating The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”), and winning her two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968. In 1976, “Billie Joe” inspires a feature film titled “Ode To Billy Joe” based on the songs story line starring Robby Benson in the title role and is produced and directed by Max Baer, Jr. (“The Beverly Hillbillies”). The song is also widely covered by numerous artists including Howard Roberts, Cal Tjader, Tammy Wynette, Frank Sinatra & Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Donaldson, Lorrie Morgan, and Sinead O'Connor among them. As Bobby Gentry’s original version is on the R&B singles chart, it is surpassed by a competing instrumental version by King Curtis, which peaks at #6 on October 28, 1967. “Ode To Billie Joe” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Thanks to Jeff Harris' wonderful blog Behind the Grooves
I posted this the other day when Aretha passed away and it stands as my very favourite song by her. It is such a sexy song and I am always amazed it wasn't banned. Listen to the lyrics . . . . it is a love song I grant you but sheesh! I am glad it's anniversary came around now and I am happy to post it again. It would feature on any compilation of naughty songs about love and would be my number one. A troubled early life and never the most pretty of women, but as soul singers go, that VOICE! Peerless!

On this day in music history: August 26, 1967 - “Baby I Love You” by Aretha Franklin hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on September 9, 1967. Written by Ronnie Shannon , it is the third R&B chart topper for Memphis, TN born, Detroit, MI raised R&B icon. Penned by Ronnie Shannon, the writer behind Aretha Franklin’s breakthrough smash “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”,  the song is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City on June 23, 1967, and features musicians such as Jimmy Johnson and Joe South (guitars), Tommy Cogbill (bass), Roger Hawkins (drums), Spooner Oldham (electric piano), Truman Thomas (organ), as well as a horn section led by saxophonist King Curtis, and Aretha’s sisters Carolyn and Erma Franklin on background vocals. Following up the hugely successful “Respect”, “Baby I Love You” is issued as first single from her second Atlantic album “Aretha Arrives” in July of 1967. It quickly becomes the third smash hit in a row from Aretha Franklin in just five months, becoming another million seller for the then newly dubbed “Queen Of Soul”. In 1990, director Martin Scorsese features Franklin’s recording in his film “Goodfellas”. “Baby I Love You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Behind the Grooves - Jeff Harris' blog
Of course I bought this when it came out and still have it down in the vaults I played this to death and it is probably pretty much ruined by now but I treasure it! I think this is going round and round now pretty sure we have posted this before but you know what? There's a reason. It's ACE!
The rhythm guitar riff on this fascinated me for years (still does) and Dave at his rockingest best. 

On this day in music history: August 26, 1964 - “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks is released. Written by Ray Davies, it is the first major hit for the North London based rock band. Having released two previous singles that fail to make an impact, The Kinks are pressured by their UK label Pye Records to deliver a hit record, or be dropped from the label. After Davies writes “You Really Got Me”, he and the band try the song with a number of different arrangements before finding the right one. The Kinks record the track with American producer Shel Talmy at IBC Studios in London in July 1964. The singles trademark overdriven distorted guitar tone is achieved by lead guitarist Dave Davies slicing the speaker cone of his guitar amp with a razor blade. It is also one of the first rock songs to feature power chords (perfect 5ths and octaves) rather than major or minor triads. This lays the template for the hard rock and heavy metal music genres that follow in the years to come. The song hits #1 in the UK and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28, 1964. One of the records that help define the 60’s “British Invasion” era, it has also been covered many times over the years. Most notably by Van Halen on their self-titled debut album in 1978. Ray and Dave Davies also record a live version of “You Really Got Me” with The Smithereens in 1991. “You Really Got Me” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

thanks Jeff Harris' blog : Behind The Grooves

Sunday, August 26, 2018



In the 1963 film The Birds, Tippi Hedren was required to really slap Doreen Lang, who played the hysterical mother that called Melanie “evil.” Hedren was hesitant, having never slapped anyone before but Lang convinced her to do it. I find that rather endearing. Hedren had difficulties which are well documented elsewhere but that icy coldness in her character seems to bely her true nature from this anecdote . . . . . 
speaking of classic pop songs  . . . . . . . I didn't buy this but enjoyed all the films . . . . . . . and on reflection this IS classic pop (of course)

On this day in music history: August 24, 1985 - “Power Of Love” by Huey Lewis & The News hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Huey Lewis, Chris Hayes and John Colla, it is the first chart topping single for the Marin, CA based rock band fronted by lead singer Huey Lewis (born Hugh Anthony Cregg III). In late 1984, film producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton approach Huey Lewis about writing and performing a song for the film “Back To The Future” directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”, “Cast Away”) and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Initially, the band write a song called “In The Nick Of Time” which Gale and Canton love. But the song is given away to the Richard Pryor comedy “Brewster’s Millions”, when negotiations between Lewis’ manager, lawyers and Universal take too long. In place of “In The Nick Of Time”, Lewis and the band offer up the songs “Back In Time” and “Power Of Love” for the “Back To The Future” soundtrack. The producers of the film are not fond of “Love” initially, but quickly warm up to it. Lewis himself also makes a brief cameo appearance in the film as a school administrator that rejects Michael J. Fox’s band, who in a bit of tongue in cheek irony are playing a hard rock cover of “Power Of Love” in an audition to the play the school’s dance. Released in tandem with the films June 1985 opening, the song is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #46 on June 29, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. The single also receives an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song in 1986, though it loses to Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me”. “Power Of Love” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Jeff Harris' blog - Behind The Grooves
Classic pop songs of all time . . . . . 

On this day in music history: August 25, 1962 - “The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on the same date. Written and produced by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the R&B/Pop vocalist from Belhaven, NC. Little Eva (aka Eva Boyd) is the seventeen year old babysitter for the husband and wife songwriting team. One day, King hears Eva singing around the house and asks the teenager to sing on the demo of a new song that she and her husband have written. The demo is heard by music publisher Don Kirshner who releases it “as is” on his newly established Dimension Records imprint. Entering the Hot 100 at #86 on June 30,1962, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “The Loco-Motion” proves to have great staying power as it is covered numerous times over the years, with the band Grand Funk Railroad also scoring a number one pop hit with their cover version in May of 1974. Australian pop singer/actress Kylie Minogue also takes the song to number three on the Hot 100 in November 1988 with her version. Little Eva’s original recording is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2016. “The Loco-Motion” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Jeff Harris' Behind The Grooves

and no NOT the Kylie version . . . . . . .  
and DEFINITELY not the the Grand Funk Railroad version either!!  😡

(oh and it's written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King so I would forgive listening to Carole's version!! )

the author's version


lovely set from Big O this Sunday morning . . . . . . I thought I had this Carnegie Hall concert on boot somewhere down in the vaults but not of this quality it is pre-FM broadcast quality and well worth checking for James Taylor fans and for those who maybe need to be! 

"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

Track 01. You Can Close Your Eyes 2:50

check the line up:

James Taylor - guitar, piano & vocals
Hugh McCracken - guitar & harmonica
Dave Spinozza - guitar
Andy Muson - bass
Don Grolnick - keyboards
Rick Marotta - drums, vibraphone & percussion
Jon Faddis- trumpet
Alan Rubin- trumpet
Barry Rogers - trombone
George Young -alto saxophone
Frank Vacari - tenor saxophone
Kenny Berger- baritone saxophone
Howard Johnson - tuba
Carly Simon - vocals
Peter Asher - vocals

"practice . . . . . . . . . "

Saturday, August 25, 2018


I have always had a keen interest and enjoyment of the work of Romare Bearden. 

Romare Bearden (September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988) 
was an African-American artist.  Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, educated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bearden moved to New York City after high school and went on to graduate from NYU in 1935. He began his artistic career creating scenes of the American South. Later, he endeavored to express the humanity he felt was lacking in the world after his experience in the US Army during World War IIon the European front. He later returned to Paris in 1950 and studied Art History and Philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1950.
 After a period during the 1950s when he painted more abstractly, this theme reemerged in his collage works of the 1960s, when Bearden became a founding member of the Harlem-based art group known as The Spiral, formed to discuss the responsibility of the African-American artist in the struggle for civil rights.

Details and preliminaries from The Block, 1971 by Romare Bearden 
Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite

“I listened for hours to recordings of Earl Hines at the piano. Finally, I was able to block out the melody and concentrate on the silences between the notes. I found this was very helpful to me in the placement of objects in my paintings and collages. Jazz has shown me ways of achieving artistic structures that are personal to me.”
Bearden Foundation

a favourite track from Lou, from a favourite album . . . . . . . . again we miss him and this is truly folk music right? Tells a story illustrating people's lives and hangs some political truths on there too. . . . . . 
I just came across this . . . . . . . Aretha singing one of my favourite songs of all time . . . The Dark End of The Street by Chips Moman / Dan Penn it is story telling blues at it's very best and from James Carr's original to Ry Cooder's instrumental (from whom I first heard it ) then sung with his band the Chicken Skin Band by Eldridge King, Terry Evans and Bobby King and  and I have started collecting them but found this today . . . . . . .

we will miss her . . . . .

and here's my favourite which I dedicate to her memory

the finest guitar break solo I have EVER heard!
Speaking of classic pop songs here's the UK charts from 1952-2017 . . . yes really!

still reckon something happened in 1963 . . . . . . . . . . . 

Classic pop songs 

- I have said before that I didn't really like Queen but the video is a first as the first full pop music video* for a hit single seven years before MTV made the genre so viable and it has reached iconic status and makes me smile every time I hear it (largely thanks to Wayne's Worlds) It's histrionic camp overblown nonsense is hysterical
I also seriously respect the musicians in this and the work gone into the overdubbing not least the guitar playing from Brian May . . . . . and I always tend to overlook how well Freddie played the piano  . . . but its is bloody funny!

On this day in music history: August 24, 1975 - Queen begin recording “Bohemian Rhapsody” at Rockfield Studio 1 near Monmouth, Wales, UK. Written by Freddie Mercury, the band start the process of recording the complicated and intricate song after three weeks of rehearsals. The remaining sessions for the track takes place at four different studios (Roundhouse, SARM (East), Scorpion, and Wessex Studios in London) over the next three weeks that it takes to complete the song. The most complex portion of the track, the multi-layered vocal harmonies sung by Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor, spend anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day, perfecting their parts. Some parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody” feature as many as 180 separate overdubs. Due to the limited number of tracks available on the 24-track master, makes it necessary to bounce the vocal and instrumental tracks up to eight times. In fact, at one point it is necessary to transfer the entire two inch reel to another fresh tape when master begins shedding oxide due to the numerous times the tape is run over the record and playback heads during the tracking and mixing process. When the song is completed, it clocks in at nearly six minutes. When Queen presents the finished track to their UK label EMI Records, they immediately insist that the band edit it down to a more radio friendly length. The band get around this by leaking a tape copy of the song to Capitol Radio DJ Kenny Everett who immediately loves the track, and plays it on his show fourteen times in two days. Public reaction is swift and overwhelmingly positive, forcing EMI to release the record as is. Word of the sensation the record has created in England reaches Paul Drew of RKO Radio in the US, who acquires a dub copy of the still unreleased song. This in turn forces Queen’s US label Elektra Records to release the song as a single, in its complete, unedited form. “Bohemian Rhapsody” goes on to top the UK singles chart for 9 weeks in late 1975, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1976. The record is re-released after Freddie Mercury’s death, returning to the top of the UK singles chart for another five weeks, and is featured in the comedy “Wayne’s World” which puts it back on the US Hot 100, peaking at #2 in May of 1992.

* "Bohemian Rhapsody" remains one of Queen's most popular songs and is frequently considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The single was accompanied by a promotional video, which many scholars consider ground-breaking.[9] Rolling Stone stated that its influence "cannot be overstated, practically inventing the music video seven years before MTV went on the air."[10] The Guardian ranked the music video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" number 31 on their list of the 50 key events in rock music history,

Friday, August 24, 2018

What Happened to Picasso’s 

Forgotten Teenage Muse?

from the wonderful Messy Nessy
For a few Spring months in 1954, a melancholy Picasso found himself enraptured by 19-year-old Sylvette David. Of all the muses who bookmarked his life — and there were many — she’s fallen to the wayside of history as one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood. For years, critics wrote the body of work she inspired that summer as a footnote in the artist’s career. Yet the volume of pieces he made in homage to Sylvette, and her signature ponytail, was unmatched by any other woman in the artist’s lifetime. So who was Sylvette? And what made Picasso choose her over Brigitte Bardot? (True story).
The French Sylvette, now 83 and going by the name “Lydia Corbett” (but more on that later), came from arty stock. Her mother was an oil painter, and her father, an art dealer. “As a small child, she grew up free on a naturist island, Île du Levant, off the southern coast of France, moving during the war to a safe enclave in the eastern mountains,” reads her official site. 

At one point she was living in a town called Vallauris on the Côte d’Azur with her fiancé, Toby Jellinek, who took many of these photographs. In other words, Picasso’s neck of the woods. 

Later, he’d recall how Sylvette, this mystery girl with her charming high pony-tail, would walk past his studio every day and catch his eye. He began painting her from his memory, until she happened to see the artist holding up a sketch of what was a portrait of her face. “It was like an invitation,” she later said about the moment. She proceeded to waltz right into his studio, and Picasso, being Picasso, just said, “I want to paint you, paint Sylvette!”


It was kismit. She would come over for hours on end, often posing in his rocking chair while he painted her, sketched her, sculpted her — you name the medium, he dabbled in it for Sylvette. That giant Picasso sculpture on Bleeker Street in New York City? That’s Sylvette. She was young but a whole lot of woman, with an energy that felt both relatable and ethereal. Also, that ponytail:


“I did it for my dad, whom I didn’t see very much because he was remarried,” revealed Sylvette. He had told her as a young girl, that he’d seen a Greek drama in Paris, and the girl in the play had a beautiful hairstyle, of a ponytail very high up, in the Greek manner. “That’s why I did it – for him.”

Picasso presented his collection of over 60 works in Paris to great acclaim, if not only because the art world wondered who this budding Mona Lisa really was. Even Brigitte Bardot, according to the muse, started sporting the look when she saw Sylvette donning it around Cannes.
In Brigitte’s biography, the screen siren wrote, “I went to see Picasso, but as he had already done Sylvette David, he didn’t want to do me.” (Finally, we discover why Picasso was the only man to resist Miss Bardot!)

© Toby Jellinek

“Once, he took me into the barn where he kept his car”, recalled Sylvette to photographer Rosie Osborne in 2016. “It was an old Hispano Suiza, covered in dust. It was an amazing car. He opened the door and sat on the back seat. I hesitated, thinking, ‘shall I sit in there with him?, and then thought, ‘oh come on, don’t be silly.‘ So I did. He sat there talking about all sorts of things and told me stories. He told me that creativity was happiness, and that any object can be interesting – that they all give you ideas. But he never touched me. He knew that if he had touched me, I would be off, like a deer!”

“I thought that was very funny,” Sylvette later said in an interview for her own biography. “My life crossed their path – Bardot and Vadim – on the Croisette, in Cannes. We used to go there to look at the film festival, Toby and I. And we noticed each other, walking. She had brown hair, and she turned blonde after that. She became a beautiful blonde… I suppose she saw Paris Match, with me in it, and then went to see Picasso. She was more beautiful than me in a way: more sexy really. I wasn’t sexy; I was running away from sex! Funny, isn’t it? And Picasso could see that.”

“Maybe it was her resistance to be seduced by him that made him need to see her,” he continued, “because he didn’t conquer her, he needed to conquer her on canvas and on paper and in sculpture…But even in the very sketchy portraits, where he tries to capture Sylvette in just a few lines and strokes, there is always great painterly expression. So one has to be very careful not to be judgemental.” Those in defence of the “Sylvettes” say they’re a testament to Picasso’s genius creative ability. “Suddenly, Picasso goes back to sheet metal,” adds Grunenberg about the range we get from the works, ” which he had used in his Cubist assemblage Guitar [1914]”: 

Grunenberg’s observations are, in many ways, on the nose. But his vision of these muses as “conquests” is something Arne Glimcher of NY’s Pace Gallery would likely disagree with: “We’ve seen so much about Picasso as a misogynist,” he told The New York Times in 2014, “But someone who has so many women in his life doesn’t hate women. I think that’s ridiculous. Maybe he was not very good at maintaining relationships with women.” After all, he remained friends with Sylvette for the rest of his life. So what became of Sylvette?

Today, she’s a talented painter and ceramicist in her own right, living and working in South Devon, England, under the name “Lydia Corbett” (she didn’t want to ride on Picasso’s coat tails). She told Country and Townhouse in a 2016 that the painter was like a father figure to her, and that the time they spent together influenced her own creativity more than she realised. “Picasso didn’t do small talk,” she said, “We would sit together in silence while he painted; this is where the artist goes – to an inner space, the visionary side of life. Through contemplation you go into another world…closer to your own soul…When you work spontaneously like this, beautiful things happen. ” 
Check out her some of her wonderful art: 
She has on online shop, where you can buy her beautiful oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics and prints.
There’s even a book “I was Sylvette“, an engaging memoir documenting their time together.

Discover more on her website.