I spent a weekend with Harry [Nilsson] and John Lennon, who was a great man. I mean that as a fella; he was a nice person. I have a great satisfaction that I did not offend John Lennon. I was so happy that I got invited into their company and spent a foolish weekend together.
Pitchfork: What did you guys do?
None of your damn business. [laughs]
— Van Dyke Parks, in his 5-10-15-20 Pitchfork featurette

 

I spent a weekend with Harry [Nilsson] and John Lennon, who was a great man. I mean that as a fella; he was a nice person. I have a great satisfaction that I did not offend John Lennon. I was so happy that I got invited into their company and spent a foolish weekend together.

Pitchfork: What did you guys do?

None of your damn business. [laughs]

— Van Dyke Parks, in his 5-10-15-20 Pitchfork featurette

Session player to the stars, Nicky Hopkins’ second album The Tin Man Was A Dreamer (1973) is an understated gem. It’s piano-driven songwriterly pop that oscillates between Paul Williams-type tunes like "Waiting for the Band" and a harder rockin’ Apple Records power pop instrumentals like "Edward".
Suck on his iso’d piano track on The Stones’ "Love In Vain" and "Angie".
(image via billboardingparty)

Session player to the stars, Nicky Hopkins’ second album The Tin Man Was A Dreamer (1973) is an understated gem. It’s piano-driven songwriterly pop that oscillates between Paul Williams-type tunes like "Waiting for the Band" and a harder rockin’ Apple Records power pop instrumentals like "Edward".

Suck on his iso’d piano track on The Stones’ "Love In Vain" and "Angie".

(image via billboardingparty)

My most-listened to song of 2011 so far is Harry Nilsson’s "Many Rivers to Cross" from the John Lennon-produced Pussy Cats (1974). With the Plastic Ono Band backing him up, and John as his hard-partying muse and co-conspirator, Harry belted out one of the most thrilling vocal performances of his wild career with this Jimmy Cliff tune. Certainly worthy of John’s post-primal scream therapy first album, it actually landed Harry’s golden (& alcohol-soaked) throat in the hospital with polyps post-session.

My most-listened to song of 2011 so far is Harry Nilsson’s "Many Rivers to Cross" from the John Lennon-produced Pussy Cats (1974). With the Plastic Ono Band backing him up, and John as his hard-partying muse and co-conspirator, Harry belted out one of the most thrilling vocal performances of his wild career with this Jimmy Cliff tune. Certainly worthy of John’s post-primal scream therapy first album, it actually landed Harry’s golden (& alcohol-soaked) throat in the hospital with polyps post-session.

myfamilyalbum:

David Bowie, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Yoko Ono, and John Lennon, Grammys 1975

Conscious party.

myfamilyalbum:

David Bowie, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Yoko Ono, and John Lennon, Grammys 1975

Conscious party.

Very few songs bring me back to those early flights of youthful poignancy as does Bill Withers’ "Lean on Me". It’s up there with “Imagine”, “Desperado” and “(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay” as one of those songs that gave me goosebumps on a profoundly deep pre-adoloscent level; the sort that’d stop me dead in my tracks and give me that thousand locker stare. A true contemporary standard. On very first listen it communicates something very sacred. And unlike those other three songs, it continues to take me to a very human place each & every time I hear it today. While I want to attribute that staying power to Withers’ timeless voice, I must admit that it was Club Nouveau’s version of the song that first grabbed me, which says something about the sturdiness of the song itself.
 
Sometimes in our lives we all have painWe all have sorrowBut if we are wiseWe know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me, when you’re not strongAnd I’ll be your friendI’ll help you carry onFor it won’t be long'Til I'm gonna needSomebody to lean on
(image from May 27, 1972 issue of Billboard via billboarding)

Very few songs bring me back to those early flights of youthful poignancy as does Bill Withers’ "Lean on Me". It’s up there with “Imagine”, “Desperado” and “(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay” as one of those songs that gave me goosebumps on a profoundly deep pre-adoloscent level; the sort that’d stop me dead in my tracks and give me that thousand locker stare. A true contemporary standard. On very first listen it communicates something very sacred. And unlike those other three songs, it continues to take me to a very human place each & every time I hear it today. While I want to attribute that staying power to Withers’ timeless voice, I must admit that it was Club Nouveau’s version of the song that first grabbed me, which says something about the sturdiness of the song itself.

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

(image from May 27, 1972 issue of Billboard via billboarding)

Billboard, December 25, 1971


(via billboardingparty)

Billboard, December 25, 1971 (via billboardingparty)

Billboard, December 20, 1980
(via billboardingparty)

Billboard, December 20, 1980

(via billboardingparty)

Oh Yoko!by John Lennon, 1971
In the middle of the nightIn the middle of the night I call your nameOh Yoko, my love will turn you on In the middle of the bathIn the middle of the bath I call your nameOh Yoko, my love will turn you onMy love will turn you on In the middle of a shaveIn the middle of a shave I call your nameOh Yoko, my love will turn you on In the middle of a dreamIn the middle of a dream I call your nameOh Yoko, my love will turn you onMy love will turn you on In the middle of a cloudIn the middle of a cloud I call your nameOh Yoko, my love will turn you on
 (photo via anneyhall)

Oh Yoko!
by John Lennon, 1971

In the middle of the night
In the middle of the night I call your name
Oh Yoko, my love will turn you on 

In the middle of the bath
In the middle of the bath I call your name
Oh Yoko, my love will turn you on
My love will turn you on 

In the middle of a shave
In the middle of a shave I call your name
Oh Yoko, my love will turn you on 

In the middle of a dream
In the middle of a dream I call your name
Oh Yoko, my love will turn you on
My love will turn you on 

In the middle of a cloud
In the middle of a cloud I call your name
Oh Yoko, my love will turn you on

 (photo via anneyhall)

One of my favorite reggae jams of all time is Toots Hibbert’s "Loving Spirit", as performed by The Maytals (1970). It ranks up there with Lennon’s "Oh Yoko" and Talking Heads’ "The Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" for its ability to broadcast sheer, unadulterated joy.
Though he washed my people’s slate And he make it white as snow He plant his footsteps on the sea And he rides upon a star So consecrate this now I say I got the loving spirit deep down in my soul 

One of my favorite reggae jams of all time is Toots Hibbert’s "Loving Spirit", as performed by The Maytals (1970). It ranks up there with Lennon’s "Oh Yoko" and Talking Heads’ "The Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" for its ability to broadcast sheer, unadulterated joy.

Though he washed my people’s slate 
And he make it white as snow 
He plant his footsteps on the sea 
And he rides upon a star 
So consecrate this now 
I say I got the loving spirit deep down in my soul 

Here’s a recording of a scan around the NYC radio dial on December 8th 1980, the night John Lennon died, courtesy of WFMU’s Beware of the Blog.

(via marathonpacksperpetua)

John & Beverley Martyn’s shared spotlight

Listening to John Martyn’s The Tumbler (1968, Island Records) for the first time, I’m taken back to the first time I heard this gorgeous voice. I was in high school, music-obsessed and was devouring about anything that had made the US or UK pop charts from the late ’60s to late ’70s. Martyn’s sixth album Solid Air (1973, Island Records) — propelled by the surprise hit title track (which had been dedicated to his friend and contemporary Nick Drake, just a little under a year before his death by overdose) — had become a canonical British work from the ’70s and ended up in my LP stack (perhaps after having heard it on a compilation LP released by K-Tel, bless their souls). While I didn’t make it much deeper than the opening title track back in those days, the entire album has become an oft-traveled staple in my cockpit over the past three to four years, with “Over the Hill" and "May You Never" (which Eric Clapton brought to a much broader audience on his ‘77 album Slowhand) becoming bonafide folk-jazz classics to mine ears.

Over the past few years, as I’ve gradually brought myself up to speed on the rest of Martyn’s body of work (which ranges from ‘67 to the present), I’ve kept my ears especially focused on his first decade of recorded work (ten albums), which includes two albums he did with his then wife Beverley. For some reason I’m especially drawn to albums made by married (or nearly married) couples (see also: John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Richard & Linda Thompson, Buckingham Nicks, Gregg Allman & Cher, Leon & Mary Russell, Victoria Williams & Mark Olson’s The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers, among others). There seems to be a certain degree of down-letting of the guard that occurs when a famous public artist opts to share the spotlight with his or her new lover, something by which I’m fascinated, especially as I’m naturally fascinated by the soft white underbelly of an otherwise control-hungry poet beast. John & Beverley’s two albums (Stormbringer! and The Road to Ruin) maintain the Drake/Bert Jansch-like folk-blues hybrid of his first two solo albums, but lean in a decidedly more rock direction, still veering south of the jazz territory that he’d perfect in a few years with Solid Air. I wish there were major revelations as stirring as the Stormbringer! album cover on these two John & Beverley albums, but alas, these are subtle albums with the revelations coming in small packages the shape of “Sweet Honesty” and “Stormbringer”, better suited for the lone road trip or the quiet dinner party than your next ecstatic haiku party.

Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot

By the look of his stache, my best guess is that this photo was snapped sometime around 1973, right at the start of Connery’s awkward-yet-fascinating post-Bond period. It begs the question: Where does a king of the hill go when he leaves the franchise hill from whence he came? Some leave the limelight altogether (Seinfeld comes to mind), some dig deep into their guts and get personal (John, Paul, George and even Ringo) and some do weird films based on Wizard of Oz sci-fi mythos as Connery did with his baffling-yet-rad film Zardoz. If this was Connery’s awkward period professionally, it sure doesn’t appear to have registered on the visage of his personal life, which I’m confident was thriving on levels that most lack the vocabulary to adequately imagine. I’m trying very hard to do so and keep hitting a Bardot-shaped wall.