Okay, so something else important happened 50 years ago this weekend.
While the 8th is mine, I joke I was the Beatles opening act, having arrived on the Saturday before the Sullivan show. I thought it was the height of decency that I let them have the news cycle for today. CBS This Morning ran a piece last week that caught my eye. It was less about celebrating the Beatles’ arrival and more about who they inspired. Billy Joel and Steven Van Zandt (Little Steven) were among those they interviewed. So, even if you were a fan of them, they might have ignited somebody who you do like. Being a sucker for a good hook, I think Paul probably is my favorite just based on how many CDs sit in my record collection, always respected George as a guy who mostly made music for the sake of making music. And while true, Ringo is probably one of history’s luckier fellas, I suspect he knew it and had the good sense to enjoy the ride.
I have my favorites (mid period stuff for me, Revolver, Rubber Soul, and the like), but this was lightning in a bottle and somebody took the cork off…
The stuff isn’t old, doesn’t sound from a period, because they did evolve pretty quickly from the Sullivan shows. Where you like or don’t, they didn’t repeat themselves, each record seemed to move forward from the previous and you got to respect that.
I plan to look at CBS’s tribute tonight, just so we can see them one more time as it was, and thankfully Paul and Ringo now (as both haven’t lost a step).
My best childhood chum and I are headed into the city in the splendid comfort of my Mom’s land yacht of a 1972 Catalina Wagon. Ten Buffalo winters hadn’t done the Queen Mary much good, but we had wheels. It is December 1981, and we are pulling through the snow into the lot at Kleinhans Music Hall. I moor the boat into a parking space, turn off the engine and in no time, we are greeted with a rapid knock at the passenger side window. It being dark outside and the Music Hall lot wasn’t very bright (apparently neither were we), it was a little tough to see and imaginations run a little amuck. I thought we were about to get kicked out of the lot. It turns out, we were just encountering our first unlicensed vendor of concert t-shirts. $5 got you a black baseball jersey style J. Geils Bandtshirt! Of course, we bought em. You HAD to wear your trophy to school the next day and who’d have these.
This was already a little special because of the setting. Who’d a thunk J. Geils would have been at Kleinhans? A month earlier, the conductor stopped a Philharmonic performance to yell at an audience member for coughing?!?
Centerfold hadn’t arrived yet, but radio, okay, 97 Rock, was playing a lot of the wild r&b stuff J. Geils did and it was awesome to my ears. Never had much thought about Freeze Frame or Centerfold, more of a Musta Got Lost or Whammer Jammer fan myself, but I remember them putting on a really fun show, and maybe being in Kleinhans made you feel like you blasting some party tunes the folks’ stereo while they were away and a friend snuck some drinks over. J. Geils disappeared not long after that and haven’t recorded since, but periodically get together for some shows. Apparently, the namesake guitarist isn’t with them this time out, but I’m pretty sure if you head to the Harbor to hear them, a good time awaits. Hell, might even be a Houseparty.
Best part? In school next day, “Where’d you get that shirt?”
Like anybody who writes a blog, I follow links to who is reading me to see what interests them. I was looking over a recent posting on Notes from an Inquisitive Mind and am currently kicking myself a little for having missed a recent run of Marxism of the Groucho kind on Turner Classic Movies. I have a few of the DVDs, but there is a certainly indescribable joy to stumbling across any one of the jewels from the attack on Fredonia, the state room scene to the crumbling walls of Casablanca.
I caught the bug early. The cream of the Marx Brothers lexicon is almost 75 years old and while some things are admittedly dated, who wouldn’t want Groucho’s spot on wit, Harpo’s joy or even Chico’s one handed piano playing (although the Man did have a way with a malaprop.)
They used to show up on Ch. 7’s (remember them?) old “Movie for a Sunday Afternoon and I remember seeing “A Night at the Opera” for the first time and was instantly hooked.