Podcasts about Les Paul

American jazz guitarist, country guitarist, songwriter and inventor

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Latest podcast episodes about Les Paul

Chewing the Gristle with Greg Koch

Guitar player extraordinaire and internet leviathan Rhett Shull joins Greg this week! His sensational YouTube channel is one of the most popular sources for all things guitar, but Rhett's canorous content creation doesn't stop there. You'll find him on TikTok, Instagram, hosting the Dipped in Tone podcast with Zach Broyles, creating excellent online courses, and touring the world with his band. We aren't sure when he sleeps!  Greg and Rhett cover many gristle-infused guitar and internet topics on this podcast!2:21 - Life in Atlanta, a studio build, and oiling the YouTube machine6:06 - The importance of engaging with your audience, and the power of the internet15:24 - The glory of the Les Paul, and its evolution over the years24:07 - Controversy aside, Eric Clapton holds his place his history 28:32 - Connecting the dots between your heroes, their heroes, and their heroes heroes34:34 - Being your own boss vs being the hired gun39:47 - Tone woods, and does it matter?55:17 - One must not forget Albert King, and appreciating the guitar greats of our kindTotal Length: 63:00Fishman Dedicated to helping musicians achieve the truest sound possible whenever they plug-in. Wildwood Guitars One of the world's premier retailers of exceptional electric and acoustic guitars.

Working Drummer
393 - Shawn Pelton: Drumming on SNL, Shawn's Physical Presence Behind the Kit, Attitude Over Chops

Working Drummer

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2022 84:59


Shawn Pelton has recorded with a wide range of artists and has been a first call player since moving to New York in the late 1980s. Shawn has recorded with artists such as Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Natalie Merchant, Ingrid Michaelson, Billy Joel, Van Morrison, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Pink, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson, Five For Fighting, Michelle Branch, Regina Spektor, Tears for Fears, Citizen Cope, Matisyahu, Jonatha Brooke, David Byrne, Edie Brickell, Marc Cohn, Richie Havens, Joan Osborne, Hall and Oates, Odetta, Pavarotti, Phillip Phillips, George Michael, Carly Simon, Dixie Chicks, Chris Botti and Buddy Guy, and has played on several Grammy winning albums for artists including Ray Charles, The Brecker Brothers, Shakira, Shawn Colvin, Les Paul and the Hank Williams tribute album with Bob Dylan. Shawn is also the longtime drummer in the house band for Saturday Night Live. Since 2007, Pelton has been regularly appearing as the drummer on Daryl Hall's internet concert series Live from Daryl's House. Pelton also served periodically as the substitute drummer in the CBS Orchestra on Late Show with David Letterman during regular drummer Anton Fig's absences. Pelton is also a founding member of the NYC-based band The Cringe. In this episode, Shawn talks about:    Powerful insights from his teachers    Utilizing multiple styles in his day to day    Shawn's chart writing tips    Reading the room and acting accordingly    Managing the back and forth with remote tracking    When to employ your unique voice and sound    Shawn's physical presence behind the kit    Attitude over chops   

Rig Doctor Podcast: Tone Tips, Pedalboard Tricks, & Easy DIY Hacks

Episode 29: Do Pickups Matter? //SPONSORS// Gear Exchange (Sweetwater) - https://sweetwater.com/used The Guitar Sanctuary - https://theguitarsanctuary.com Pedal Genie - https://pedalgenie.com (use discount code "board" for 50% off your first month) Best-Tronics - https://btpa.com (use code "dachairs" for 10% off) Creation Music - https://creationmusiccompany.com (use code "chairmen15" for 15% off) //HOSTS// Grant Klassen (Goodwood Audio) - grant@goodwoodaudio.com Brian Omilion (Omilion Audio) - omilion@theguitarsanctuary.com Mason Marangella (Vertex Effects) - mason@vertexeffects.com //YOUTUBE// Watch COTB Podcast live: https://bit.ly/3VhbNea

Dipped In Tone
Dipped in Nerdville with Joe Bonamassa

Dipped In Tone

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2022 89:38


10:19 We Dip Chris Shiflett's Rig! 25:00 Zach's New Pedal 28:29 Joe Bonamassa Live from Nerdville Big thanks to StewMac for sponsoring this episode. Head to http://stewmac.com/dippedintone (http://stewmac.com/dippedintone) to get 10% off! Go see Joe's Dumbles in person: https://jbonamassa.com/tour-dates/ (https://jbonamassa.com/tour-dates/)  Dipped In Tone begins its partnership with Premier Guitar with Rhett Shull and Zack Broyles visiting Joe Bonamassa in Nerdville East, his Nashville home and museum. They talk vintage gear, guitar obsession, innovation versus tradition, and Dumbles. Many Dumbles … including a rare—even among these ultra-rare custom-built amps—example with a DI port for acoustic guitar made for the late songwriter Hoyt Axton. Bonamassa also explains his philosophy about taking guitars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on the road and to local gigs, and what the future holds in store for his collection of 500 instruments—every one with a story. Also, our hosts “dip” Chris Shiflett's rig, offering the Foo Fighters guitarist a few “pointers” on rebuilding his massive pedalboard while ogling his refinished 1957 Les Paul and his custom-built Telecaster called “the Cleaver.” But before they dive deep, Schull shows off his recently acquired 1989 R9 Les Paul from Norm's Rare Guitars, and Broyles shows off the new super-Muff style Positron Cascading Amplifier Distortion. Subscribe, like, and leave us a comment Sign up on our mailing list: http://eepurl.com/iaCee5 (http://eepurl.com/iaCee5) Support us on Patreon for access to our discord server and other perks! https://www.patreon.com/dippedintone (https://www.patreon.com/dippedintone) MERCH: https://teespring.com/stores/dipped-in-tone (https://teespring.com/stores/dipped-in-tone) Follow us on Instagram: https://instagram.com/dippedintone (https://instagram.com/dippedintone)   Dipped in Tone is: Rhett Shull  https://www.rhettshull.com/ (https://www.rhettshull.com/) Zach Broyles / Mythos Pedals  https://mythospedals.com/ (https://mythospedals.com) Premier Guitar https://www.premierguitar.com/ (https://www.premierguitar.com/)

Everyone Loves Guitar
Barry Richman - Dad said "CUT SCHOOL today TO CHECK OUT this guy, JIMI HENDRIX”

Everyone Loves Guitar

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2022 77:01


On this Barry Richman Interview: Tons of stories about playing with John Lee Hooker (his first gig), Buddy Miles, Eric Johnson, Greg Allman, Clapton, Derek Trucks flipping baseball cards at age 12, Roy Buchanan, Warren Haynes… not selling his ‘57 strat to Jerry Garcia, his cool vintage guitar and amp collection, playing Duane Allman's ‘59 Burst for 6 months… his dad, who was a top NYC session sax player, western wear and all kinds of cool stuff: Cool Guitar, Music & ELG T-Shirts!: http://www.GuitarMerch.com In a career that's spanned 50+ years, Barry has played, toured or recorded with John Lee Hooker, Allman Brothers, Eric Johnson, Gov't Mule, Eric Clapton, Les Paul, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Derek Trucks, Jimmy Herring, Steve Morse, Roy Buchanan, Sonny Landreth, Lee Ritenour, Stanley Jordan, Vivian Campbell, Rick Emmett & others Subscribe & Website:  https://www.everyonelovesguitar.com/subscribe Support this show: http://www.everyonelovesguitar.com/support

The High Gain
Episode 234 - Les Paul Custom Silverburst with Zach Blair of Rise Against

The High Gain

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 30:30


THE HIGH GAIN PODCASTWEBSITEwww.thehighgain.comPATREONBecome a SubscriberDISCORDhttps://discord.gg/XUMEzkjYOUTUBEhttps://www.youtube.com/thehighgainTHE SOCIALSInstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedInEMAILthehighgainpod@gmail.comPRODUCED BYVerkstad - Seattle, WA

Rig Rundowns
Foo Fighters' Chris Shiflett

Rig Rundowns

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 36:42


When Chris Shiflett left No Use for a Name and joined the Foo Fighters in 1999, he almost had no gear. The band was rehearsing to support their third album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, and leader Dave Grohl was doing an inventory check on their newest member. “Dave asked me how many guitars I had, and I said, ‘Well, I have two, but one has a broken headstock,'” recalls Shiflett. “Dave chuckled and said, ‘We gotta get you a few more guitars.'” The duo ventured down to Sunset Boulevard hitting all the guitar shops and Grohl gifted Shifty a pair of Gibsons (that we'll meet later). (This story is even more proof that Grohl is one of the coolest rock stars ever.) “I had been going to some of those Sunset stores since I was a teenager, and they're never nice to you because they know you're not buying anything. So, when I went in there with Dave Grohl and his AmEx card, it was a real moment for me. Here I am joining my dream band, and he's like, get whatever you want … and he really meant it!” Shiflett's gear germination didn't stop there. “When I joined the band, I didn't have any pedals. And now my bandmates constantly make fun of me for the size of my pedalboard—it's ridiculously big and there are a lot of pedals on it—but my view has always been, ‘as long as I don't have to carry it around, bring them all [laughs].'” But they all serve a purpose and allow Chris to stand out in a three-guitar band. “I do love that my role in Foos over the years has become the color guy with all these pedals.” His growth as an artist doesn't stop there. Shiflett's put out punk albums in Jackson United and for nearly 25 years, he sparked endless good times in the best punk-rock cover band (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes). In 2010, he shifted his creative outlet to busting out alt-country twangers and Bakersfield barroom bruisers as Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants, and then, later, solo. Since 2013, he's been hosting a podcast (https://walkingthefloor.com/ (Walking The Floor with Chris Shiflett)) that's featured conversations with https://www.premierguitar.com/videos/rig-rundowns/mammoth-wvh (Wolfgang Van Halen), https://www.premierguitar.com/artists/mike-campbell-rides-again (Mike Campbell), https://www.premierguitar.com/videos/rig-rundowns/greta-van-fleet-2021 (Greta Van Fleet), https://www.premierguitar.com/rig-rundown-billy-strings (Billy Strings), and recent Rig Rundown subject https://www.premierguitar.com/videos/rig-rundowns/marcus-king (Marcus King). Where does the dude find the time?! Following Foo Fighter's recent Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert at L.A.'s Kia Forum to honor their dearly departed drummer, Shiflett carved out some precious time and invited PG's Chris Kies to the Foo's HQ, Studio 606. The laidback conversation covered his essential live guitars (including a not-so-golden '57 Les Paul and a few gracious gifts from Grohl), some custom Friedmans, and a pair of unusual AC30 stacks that only he and Sir Paul have … and all his pedals that sting, sparkle, shimmer, and sizzle.

Guitar Nerds
Thorpy Talks Victory V1 Effects & Les Pauls

Guitar Nerds

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2022 62:57 Very Popular


Welcome back to another episode of Guitar Nerds. This week, Matt and I are joined by Adrian Thorpe of Thorpy FX to talk all about his new collaboration with Victory Amps, and his Les Paul collection.AND you get 10% off ALL Izotope suites and plugins with discount code: NERDS10 - visit izotope.com to check out their massive range of mixing, mastering, instruments and effects plugins. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Forever Ago
Guitar stars: Strumming through the ages

Forever Ago

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2022 27:42 Very Popular


Get ready to shred! Joy and cohost Buddy are building the most epic guitarchestra (aka guitar orchestra) in this week's episode — so they're auditioning some of history's most notable guitar players. Jazz innovator Charlie Christian shows off his strumming solos, which made scores of people want to buy electric guitars. Les Paul not only plays the electric guitar, he updates the look and sound, paving the way for rock and roll. And musician Sima Cunningham from the band Ohmme stops by to show off the special pedals she uses to push the boundaries of what a guitar even sounds like. Of course, the biggest question is: will Joy's air guitar chops earn her a seat in the guitarchestra? All shredding aside, see if you can put this First Things First in the correct order: record players, headphones and pianos. Also, why do movie trailers come at the beginning of movies? Didja Know makes sense of it all! This episode was sponsored by: Fabric Insurance (Meetfabric.com/forever - Apply today in just 10 minutes at meet fabric dot com slash forever. Policies issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company. Not available in certain states. Prices subject to underwriting and health questions.)

Wisconsin Drunken History
Ep. 123 - Halloween Series: Wisco Haunts pt.1

Wisconsin Drunken History

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 16, 2022 64:27


Exploring Wisconsin's most haunted places, with music from Les Paul & Mary Ford, and a review of Raised Grain "Guitar City Black".

Pili, Raul and La Musica
Cesar Gueikian “Everything is in service to music made with guitars”

Pili, Raul and La Musica

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022 45:59


Almost halfway through the 4th season of Jack Daniel's presents Pili, Raúl & La Música, we had the pleasure of interviewing Cesar Gueikian, president of the prestigious Gibson guitar company.  In celebratory fashion, this year marks the brand's 120th anniversary! Whether it's reminiscing about vinyl, guitars, and the wonderful Les Paul, the rocky start that shaped his work ethic, or the story of how he came to meet his ultimate musical idol, Cesar took us on a journey through his engaging life in an unmissable interview for this new episode of our Behind The Industry series.

Ongoing History of New Music
Driven By Her 4: Guitar Heroes

Ongoing History of New Music

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2022 27:42


Once upon a time, musical instruments were divided into two groups: those appropriate for women to play and everything else...  That first group was very small...playing the piano was considered feminine...the violin?...yes, providing it was done gently and with ladylike comportment...and then—well, that's about it... Drums?...forget it...too physical and sweaty...brass instruments were out...in fact, so were all wind instruments, not even the flute...however, the acoustic guitar was okay...it wasn't very loud and produced tones delicate enough to be appropriate for a young lady to play...  This, of course, was silly...women had been doing amazing things with guitars stretching back to the invention of what became the modern acoustic guitar back in the early 1800s..and we can go back through the stringed instruments in history: the lute, the kithara, the chartar, the tanbur, the oud, the mandolin, the cittern, and so on...women played all of them—although we know almost nothing about them... That's the way it was for decades...and let's not even talk about the electric guitar...even as late as the 1980s, there was this sexist attitude that girls just couldn't play like the boys...they did not know how to rock out with a Les Paul or a strat or whatever... In 2003, Rolling Stone published a list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time...you know how many women were on that list?...two...two! Today we know that's crazy...there are plenty of excellent guitars with double-x chromosomes...and thanks to them, people are exploring the history of the guitar heroine, women advanced the cause of the six-string, public preconceptions be damned...   This is a look back at the women who made the guitar sing... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

95 KGGO
Joe Bonamassa Interview

95 KGGO

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 15:47


Today on the show, B-sox was joined by Joe Bonamassa to talk about his upcoming tour that will be stopping in Des Moines, plus what the Swiss Army Knife of guitars is and Joe's Guitar collection.    https://www.kggo.com/ https://jbonamassa.com/ https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/events/joe-bonamassa/  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

60 Cycle Hum: The Guitar Podcast!
Does Tony Iommi Deserve a signature Epiphone? Les Paul Personal, Whatever Happens, Big Guitar

60 Cycle Hum: The Guitar Podcast!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2022 78:21


Episode 447 is brought to you by... Stringjoy: https://stringjoy.com/partner/60cyclehum/ Demonic Machines: https://demonicmachines.com/ Big Ear Pedals: https://www.bigearpedals.com/ Chase Bliss Audio: https://www.chaseblissaudio.com/ Support this channel: https://www.patreon.com/60CycleHumcast Want to send us mail? 60 Cycle Hum #615 9450 Mira Mesa Blvd. San Diego, CA 92126 SKA SKA SKA SKA SKA?   0:00 Ryan and Steve have some differing opinions on the new Tony Iommi Epiphone SG 24:15 Gibson Les Paul Personal 35:35 Ryan talks about the nature of making demos and being a paid demoer Steve talks about getting into a Phil McKnight video Want to send us shirts? We wear XL 57:00 Whatever Happens, Happens 1:05:05 BIG GUITAR This week's song was from Ian Ferguson and is called "Chode Boy" ***************************** 60CH on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/60CycleHumcast Buy Something with our affiliate links: Buy a Shirt - https://teespring.com/stores/60-cycle-hum Sweetwater: https://imp.i114863.net/rMb1D Thomann: https://www.thomannmusic.com/thlpg_1a2l8gl9bs.html?offid=1&affid=405 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PaUKKO Ebay: https://ebay.to/2UlIN6z Reverb: https://reverb.grsm.io/60cyclehum6164 Cool Patch Cables: https://www.tourgeardesigns.com/discount/60cyclehum +++++++++++++++++++++ Social Media Stuff: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/60cyclehum/ Discord: https://discord.gg/nNue5mPvZX Instagram and Twitter @60cyclehum TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@60cyclehum? Hire us for Demos and other marketing opportunities   https://60cyclehumcast.com/marketing-packages/ #60cyclehum #guitar #guitars #shameflute

Song of the Day – KUTX
Nolina: “Tourist”

Song of the Day – KUTX

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2022 3:57


Decades after acts like Les Paul & Mary Ford, Captain & Tenille, and Ike & Tina had their heyday, seeing the phrase “husband-and-wife duo” can personally make me wince. Like we get it; you love each other, you’ve got great chemistry together, and you have a lot of emotions you need to dispense, but often, […]

Questlove Supreme
QLS Classic: Steve Miller

Questlove Supreme

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2022 159:31 Very Popular


Hall of Fame guitarist, singer and songwriter Steve Miller talks about the early lessons he learned from Les Paul and T Bone Walker, sitting in on an impromptu recording session with The Beatles and performing with greats like Chuck Berry, Sly Stone and more.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Rock N Roll Pantheon
Ugly American Werewolf in London: Steve Hackett Interview - Foxtrot at 50 & Seconds Out Live

Rock N Roll Pantheon

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 59:39


This week we welcome our first guest who is a member of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Steve Hackett.  Though a bit weary after wrapping a tour of Australia, New Zealand & Japan, Steve graciously joined us to talk about his travels, recent tour stops and all the exciting things he's been up to.Steve's Seconds Out & more tour has been very well received on 4 continents and he shows no signs of slowing down.  On September 2 he'll release a live CD/LP/DVD of the Seconds Out Tour and on September 9 he embarks on a 25 date tour of the UK to celebrate the Genesis classic Foxtrot at 50!Hear Steve talk about his creative process, how he recently played Duane Allman's 1957 Les Paul from the Layla sessions, the difference between playing acoustic live vs. plugged in and so much more!  UAWIL episodes 5, 6, 28 & 44 are also about Steve's solo work, his time in Genesis and live performances - please check those out as well.See Steve live on the Foxtrot at 50 Tour!www.hackettsongs.comUgly American Werewolf in London WebsiteYouTubeTwitterInstagramwww.pantheonpodcasts.com

Rig Doctor Podcast: Tone Tips, Pedalboard Tricks, & Easy DIY Hacks

Chairmen of the Boards | Episode 24 What's On Our Pedalboards? GIVEAWAY https://vertexeffects.com/chairmen-giveaway SPONSORS The Guitar Sanctuary - https://theguitarsanctuary.com Pedal Genie - https://pedalgenie.com (use discount code "board" for 50% off your first month) Best-Tronics - https://btpa.com (use code "dachairs" for 10% off) Creation Music - https://creationmusiccompany.com (use code "chairmen15" for 15% off) RJM Music Technology - https://rjmmusic.com  HOSTS Grant Klassen (Goodwood Audio) - grant@goodwoodaudio.com Brian Omilion (Omilion Audio) - omilion@theguitarsanctuary.com Mason Marangella (Vertex Effects) - mason@vertexeffects.com WATCH US ON YOUTUBE

2020'd
Sammy Ash [Pt. 2]: We're Not Interested in World Domination Unless it Falls in Our Lap

2020'd

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 67:48


Sammy Ash (COO of Sam Ash Music) joins Benny, Siobhán, and Cory once again for another episode this time diving more into the business side of Sam Ash, going over how the company handled the COVID-19 Pandemic, how the internet changed has changed the instrument sales business, and just why ukuleles have gotten so popular. We get some insight into where Sam Ash music company is going next, as well as a look back at some funny moments when celebrities like Stevie Wonder and Antonio Banderas walk into a store. All this and more tune in with us, and prepare to be 2020'd. Check out Sam Ash: https://www.samash.com IG: @samashmusic FB: @sammysguitars 00:00 - Intro 03:33 - Guitar Showcase 10:20 - I'm a collector not a trader 13:30 - Rickenbacker story 17:00 - Why are Ukuleles so popular now? 20:17 - Celebrity moments in Sam Ash Stores 29:05 - How internet changed business 36:34 - Don't open a music store on a shoestring 47:52 - Sammy's Dream Instrument 55:00 - The future of Sam Ash (Not interesting in world domination unless the world falls in our lap) 01:04:33 - I was at Les Paul's funeral 1:05:00 - Outro FOLLOW 2020'd: Official Site: https://2020-d.com/​ Facebook: facebook.com/yougot2020d Instagram: instagram.com/yougot2020d WATCH + LISTEN + SUBSCRIBE: https://lnk.to/yougot2020d #guitarist #samash Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs
Episode 153: “Heroes and Villains” by the Beach Boys

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022


Episode one hundred and fifty-three of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “Heroes and Villains” by the Beach Boys, and the collapse of the Smile album. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode. Patreon backers also have a sixteen-minute bonus episode available, on "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" by the Electric Prunes. Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt's irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/ Resources There is no Mixcloud this week, because there were too many Beach Boys songs in the episode. I used many resources for this episode. As well as the books I referred to in all the Beach Boys episodes, listed below, I used Domenic Priore's book Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece and Richard Henderson's 33 1/3 book on Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle. Stephen McParland has published many, many books on the California surf and hot-rod music scenes, including several on both the Beach Boys and Gary Usher.  His books can be found at https://payhip.com/CMusicBooks Andrew Doe's Bellagio 10452 site is an invaluable resource. Jon Stebbins' The Beach Boys FAQ is a good balance between accuracy and readability. And Philip Lambert's Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is an excellent, though sadly out of print, musicological analysis of Wilson's music from 1962 through 67. Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson by Peter Ames Carlin is the best biography of Wilson. I have also referred to Brian Wilson's autobiography, I Am Brian Wilson, and to Mike Love's, Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy. As a good starting point for the Beach Boys' music in general, I would recommend this budget-priced three-CD set, which has a surprisingly good selection of their material on it, including the single version of “Heroes and Villains”. The box set The Smile Sessions  contains an attempt to create a finished album from the unfinished sessions, plus several CDs of outtakes and session material. Transcript [Opening -- "intro to the album" studio chatter into "Our Prayer"] Before I start, I'd just like to note that this episode contains some discussion of mental illness, including historical negative attitudes towards it, so you may want to check the transcript or skip this one if that might be upsetting. In November and December 1966, the filmmaker David Oppenheim and the conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein collaborated on a TV film called "Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution".  The film was an early attempt at some of the kinds of things this podcast is doing, looking at how music and social events interact and evolve, though it was dealing with its present rather than the past. The film tried to cast as wide a net as possible in its fifty-one minutes. It looked at two bands from Manchester -- the Hollies and Herman's Hermits -- and how the people identified as their leaders, "Herman" (or Peter Noone) and Graham Nash, differed on the issue of preventing war: [Excerpt: Inside Pop, the Rock Revolution] And it made a star of East Coast teenage singer-songwriter Janis Ian with her song about interracial relationships, "Society's Child": [Excerpt: Janis Ian, "Society's Child"] And Bernstein spends a significant time, as one would expect, analysing the music of the Beatles and to a lesser extent the Stones, though they don't appear in the show. Bernstein does a lot to legitimise the music just by taking it seriously as a subject for analysis, at a time when most wouldn't: [Excerpt: Leonard Bernstein talking about "She Said She Said"] You can't see it, obviously, but in the clip that's from, as the Beatles recording is playing, Bernstein is conducting along with the music, as he would a symphony orchestra, showing where the beats are falling. But of course, given that this was filmed in the last two months of 1966, the vast majority of the episode is taken up with musicians from the centre of the music world at that time, LA. The film starts with Bernstein interviewing Tandyn Almer,  a jazz-influenced songwriter who had recently written the big hit "Along Comes Mary" for The Association: [Excerpt: Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution] It featured interviews with Roger McGuinn, and with the protestors at the Sunset Strip riots which were happening contemporaneously with the filming: [Excerpt: Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution] Along with Frank Zappa's rather acerbic assessment of the potential of the youth revolutionaries: [Excerpt: Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution] And ended (other than a brief post-commercial performance over the credits by the Hollies) with a performance by Tim Buckley, whose debut album, as we heard in the last episode, had featured Van Dyke Parks and future members of the Mothers of Invention and Buffalo Springfield: [Excerpt: Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution] But for many people the highlight of the film was the performance that came right before Buckley's, film of Brian Wilson playing a new song from the album he was working on. One thing I should note -- many sources say that the voiceover here is Bernstein. My understanding is that Bernstein wrote and narrated the parts of the film he was himself in, and Oppenheim did all the other voiceover writing and narration, but that Oppenheim's voice is similar enough to Bernstein's that people got confused about this: [Excerpt: Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution] That particular piece of footage was filmed in December 1966, but it wasn't broadcast until April the twenty-fifth, 1967, an eternity in mid-sixties popular music. When it was broadcast, that album still hadn't come out. Precisely one week later, the Beach Boys' publicist Derek Taylor announced that it never would: [Excerpt: Brian Wilson, "Surf's Up"] One name who has showed up in a handful of episodes recently, but who we've not talked that much about, is Van Dyke Parks. And in a story with many, many, remarkable figures, Van Dyke Parks may be one of the most remarkable of all. Long before he did anything that impinges on the story of rock music, Parks had lived the kind of life that would be considered unbelievable were it to be told as fiction. Parks came from a family that mixed musical skill, political progressiveness, and achievement. His mother was a scholar of Hebrew, while his father was a neurologist, the first doctor to admit Black patients to a white Southern hospital, and had paid his way through college leading a dance band. Parks' father was also, according to the 33 1/3 book on Song Cycle, a member of "John Philip Sousa's Sixty Silver Trumpets", but literally every reference I can find to Sousa leading a band of that name goes back to that book, so I've no idea what he was actually a member of, but we can presume he was a reasonable musician. Young Van Dyke started playing the clarinet at four, and was also a singer from a very early age, as well as playing several other instruments. He went to the American Boychoir School in Princeton, to study singing, and while there he sang with Toscaninni, Thomas Beecham, and other immensely important conductors of the era. He also had a very special accompanist for one Christmas carolling session. The choir school was based in Princeton, and one of the doors he knocked on while carolling was that of Princeton's most famous resident, Albert Einstein, who heard the young boy singing "Silent Night", and came out with his violin and played along. Young Van Dyke was only interested in music, but he was also paying the bills for his music tuition himself -- he had a job. He was a TV star. From the age of ten, he started getting roles in TV shows -- he played the youngest son in the 1953 sitcom Bonino, about an opera singer, which flopped because it aired opposite the extremely popular Jackie Gleason Show. He would later also appear in that show, as one of several child actors who played the character of Little Tommy Manicotti, and he made a number of other TV appearances, as well as having a small role in Grace Kelly's last film, The Swan, with Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdain. But he never liked acting, and just did it to pay for his education. He gave it up when he moved on to the Carnegie Institute, where he majored in composition and performance. But then in his second year, his big brother Carson asked him to drop out and move to California. Carson Parks had been part of the folk scene in California for a few years at this point. He and a friend had formed a duo called the Steeltown Two, but then both of them had joined the folk group the Easy Riders, a group led by Terry Gilkyson. Before Carson Parks joined, the Easy Riders had had a big hit with their version of "Marianne", a calypso originally by the great calypsonian Roaring Lion: [Excerpt: The Easy Riders, "Marianne"] They hadn't had many other hits, but their songs became hits for other people -- Gilkyson wrote several big hits for Frankie Laine, and the Easy Riders were the backing vocalists on Dean Martin's recording of a song they wrote, "Memories are Made of This": [Excerpt: Dean Martin and the Easy Riders, "Memories are Made of This"] Carson Parks hadn't been in the group at that point -- he only joined after they'd stopped having success -- and eventually the group had split up. He wanted to revive his old duo, the Steeltown Two, and persuaded his family to let his little brother Van Dyke drop out of university and move to California to be the other half of the duo. He wanted Van Dyke to play guitar, while he played banjo. Van Dyke had never actually played guitar before, but as Carson Parks later said "in 90 days, he knew more than most folks know after many years!" Van Dyke moved into an apartment adjoining his brother's, owned by Norm Botnick, who had until recently been the principal viola player in a film studio orchestra, before the film studios all simultaneously dumped their in-house orchestras in the late fifties, so was a more understanding landlord than most when it came to the lifestyles of musicians. Botnick's sons, Doug and Bruce, later went into sound engineering -- we've already encountered Bruce Botnick in the episode on the Doors, and he will be coming up again in the future. The new Steeltown Two didn't make any records, but they developed a bit of a following in the coffeehouses, and they also got a fair bit of session work, mostly through Terry Gilkyson, who was by that point writing songs for Disney and would hire them to play on sessions for his songs. And it was Gilkyson who both brought Van Dyke Parks the worst news of his life to that point, and in doing so also had him make his first major mark on music. Gilkyson was the one who informed Van Dyke that another of his brothers, Benjamin Riley Parks, had died in what was apparently a car accident. I say it was apparently an accident because Benjamin Riley Parks was at the time working for the US State Department, and there is apparently also some evidence that he was assassinated in a Cold War plot. Gilkyson also knew that neither Van Dyke nor Carson Parks had much money, so in order to help them afford black suits and plane tickets to and from the funeral, Gilkyson hired Van Dyke to write the arrangement for a song he had written for an upcoming Disney film: [Excerpt: Jungle Book soundtrack, "The Bare Necessities"] The Steeltown Two continued performing, and soon became known as the Steeltown Three, with the addition of a singer named Pat Peyton. The Steeltown Three recorded two singles, "Rock Mountain", under that group name: [Excerpt: The Steeltown Three, "Rock Mountain"] And a version of "San Francisco Bay" under the name The South Coasters, which I've been unable to track down. Then the three of them, with the help of Terry Gilkyson, formed a larger group in the style of the New Christy Minstrels -- the Greenwood County Singers. Indeed, Carson Parks would later claim that  Gilkyson had had the idea first -- that he'd mentioned that he'd wanted to put together a group like that to Randy Sparks, and Sparks had taken the idea and done it first. The Greenwood County Singers had two minor hot one hundred hits, only one of them while Van Dyke was in the band -- "The New 'Frankie and Johnny' Song", a rewrite by Bob Gibson and Shel Silverstein of the old traditional song "Frankie and Johnny": [Excerpt: The Greenwood County Singers, "The New Frankie and Johnny Song"] They also recorded several albums together, which gave Van Dyke the opportunity to practice his arrangement skills, as on this version of  "Vera Cruz" which he arranged: [Excerpt: The Greenwood County Singers, "Vera Cruz"] Some time before their last album, in 1965, Van Dyke left the Greenwood County Singers, and was replaced by Rick Jarrard, who we'll also be hearing more about in future episodes. After that album, the group split up, but Carson Parks would go on to write two big hits in the next few years. The first and biggest was a song he originally wrote for a side project. His future wife Gaile Foote was also a Greenwood County Singer, and the two of them thought they might become folk's answer to Sonny and Cher or Nino Tempo and April Stevens: [Excerpt: Carson and Gaile, "Somethin' Stupid"] That obviously became a standard after it was covered by Frank and Nancy Sinatra. Carson Parks also wrote "Cab Driver", which in 1968 became the last top thirty hit for the Mills Brothers, the 1930s vocal group we talked about way way back in episode six: [Excerpt: The Mills Brothers, "Cab Driver"] Meanwhile Van Dyke Parks was becoming part of the Sunset Strip rock and roll world. Now, until we get to 1967, Parks has something of a tangled timeline. He worked with almost every band around LA in a short period, often working with multiple people simultaneously, and nobody was very interested in keeping detailed notes. So I'm going to tell this as a linear story, but be aware it's very much not -- things I say in five minutes might happen after, or in the same week as, things I say in half an hour. At some point in either 1965 or 1966 he joined the Mothers of Invention for a brief while. Nobody is entirely sure when this was, and whether it was before or after their first album. Some say it was in late 1965, others in August 1966, and even the kind of fans who put together detailed timelines are none the wiser, because no recordings have so far surfaced of Parks with the band. Either is plausible, and the Mothers went through a variety of keyboard players at this time -- Zappa had turned to his jazz friend Don Preston, but found Preston was too much of a jazzer and told him to come back when he could play "Louie Louie" convincingly, asked Mac Rebennack to be in the band but sacked him pretty much straight away for drug use, and eventually turned to Preston again once Preston had learned to rock and roll. Some time in that period, Van Dyke Parks was a Mother, playing electric harpsichord. He may even have had more than one stint in the group -- Zappa said "Van Dyke Parks played electric harpsichord in and out." It seems likely, though, that it was in summer of 1966, because in an interview published in Teen Beat Magazine in December 66, but presumably conducted a few months prior, Zappa was asked to describe the band members in one word each and replied: "Ray—Mahogany Roy—Asbestos Jim—Mucilage Del—Acetate Van Dyke—Pinocchio Billy—Boom I don't know about the rest of the group—I don't even know about these guys." Sources differ as to why Parks didn't remain in the band -- Parks has said that he quit after a short time because he didn't like being shouted at, while Zappa said "Van Dyke was not a reliable player. He didn't make it to rehearsal on time and things like that." Both may be true of course, though I've not heard anyone else ever criticise Parks for his reliability. But then also Zappa had much more disciplinarian standards than most rock band leaders. It's possibly either through Zappa that he met Tom Wilson, or through Tom Wilson that he met Frank Zappa, but either way Parks, like the Mothers of Invention, was signed to MGM records in 1966, where he released two solo singles co-produced by Wilson and an otherwise obscure figure named Tim Alvorado. The first was "Number Nine", which we heard last week, backed with "Do What You Wanta": [Excerpt: Van Dyke Parks, "Do What You Wanta"] At least one source I've read says that the lyrics to "Do What You Wanta" were written not by Parks but by his friend Danny Hutton, but it's credited as a Parks solo composition on the label. It was after that that the Van Dyke Parks band -- or as they were sometimes billed, just The Van Dyke Parks formed, as we discussed last episode, based around Parks, Steve Stills, and Steve Young, and they performed a handful of shows with bass player Bobby Rae and drummer Walt Sparman, playing a mix of original material, primarily Parks' songs, and covers of things like "Dancing in the Street". The one contemporaneous review of a live show I've seen talks about  the girls in the audience screaming and how "When rhythm guitarist Steve Stillman imitated the Barry McGuire emotional scene, they almost went wiggy". But The Van Dyke Parks soon split up, and Parks the individual recorded his second single, "Come to the Sunshine": [Excerpt: Van Dyke Parks, "Come to the Sunshine"] Around the time he left the Greenwood County Singers, Van Dyke Parks also met Brian Wilson for the first time, when David Crosby took him up to Wilson's house to hear an acetate of the as-yet-unreleased track "Sloop John B". Parks was impressed by Wilson's arrangement techniques, and in particular the way he was orchestrating instrumental combinations that you couldn't do with a standard live room setup, that required overdubbing and close-micing. He said later "The first stuff I heard indicated this kind of curiosity for the recording experience, and when I went up to see him in '65 I don't even think he had the voices on yet, but I heard that long rotational breathing, that long flute ostinato at the beginning... I knew this man was a great musician." [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Sloop John B (instrumental)"] In most of 1966, though, Parks was making his living as a session keyboard player and arranger, and much of the work he was getting was through Lenny Waronker. Waronker was a second-generation music industry professional. His father, Si Waronker, had been a violinist in the Twentieth Century Fox studio orchestra before founding Liberty Records (the label which indirectly led to him becoming immortalised in children's entertainment, when Liberty Records star David Seville named his Chipmunk characters after three Liberty executives, with Simon being Si Waronker's full forename). The first release on Liberty Records had been a version of "The Girl Upstairs", an instrumental piece from the Fox film The Seven-Year Itch. The original recording of that track, for the film, had been done by the Twentieth Century Fox Orchestra, written and conducted by Alfred Newman, the musical director for Fox: [Excerpt: Alfred Newman, "The Girl Upstairs"] Liberty's soundalike version was conducted by Newman's brother Lionel, a pianist at the studio who later became Fox's musical director for TV, just as his brother was for film, but who also wrote many film scores himself. Another Newman brother, Emil, was also a film composer, but the fourth brother, Irving, had gone into medicine instead. However, Irving's son Randy wanted to follow in the family business, and he and Lenny Waronker, who was similarly following his own father by working for Liberty Records' publishing subsidiary Metric Music, had been very close friends ever since High School. Waronker got Newman signed to Metric Music, where he wrote "They Tell Me It's Summer" for the Fleetwoods: [Excerpt: The Fleetwoods, "They Tell Me It's Summer"] Newman also wrote and recorded a single of his own in 1962, co-produced by Pat Boone: [Excerpt: Randy Newman, "Golden Gridiron Boy"] Before deciding he wasn't going to make it as a singer and had better just be a professional songwriter. But by 1966 Waronker had moved on from Metric to Warner Brothers, and become a junior A&R man. And he was put in charge of developing the artists that Warners had acquired when they had bought up a small label, Autumn Records. Autumn Records was a San Francisco-based label whose main producer, Sly Stone, had now moved on to other things after producing the hit record "Laugh Laugh" for the Beau Brummels: [Excerpt: The Beau Brummels, "Laugh Laugh"] The Beau Brummels  had had another hit after that and were the main reason that Warners had bought the label, but their star was fading a little. Stone had also been mentoring several other groups, including the Tikis and the Mojo Men, who all had potential. Waronker gathered around himself a sort of brains trust of musicians who he trusted as songwriters, arrangers, and pianists -- Randy Newman, the session pianist Leon Russell, and Van Dyke Parks. Their job was to revitalise the career of the Beau Brummels, and to make both the Tikis and the Mojo Men into successes. The tactic they chose was, in Waronker's words, “Go in with a good song and weird it out.” The first good song they tried weirding out was in late 1966, when Leon Russell came up with a clarinet-led arrangement of Paul Simon's "59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)" for the Tikis, who performed it but who thought that their existing fanbase wouldn't accept something so different, so it was put out under another name, suggested by Parks, Harpers Bizarre: [Excerpt: Harpers Bizarre, "Feeling Groovy"] Waronker said of Parks and Newman “They weren't old school guys. They were modern characters but they had old school values regarding certain records that needed to be made, certain artists who needed to be heard regardless. So there was still that going on. The fact that ‘Feeling Groovy' was a number 10 hit nationwide and ‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You'  made the Top 30 on Western regional radio, that gave us credibility within the company. One hit will do wonders, two allows you to take chances.” We heard "Sit Down, I Think I Love You" last episode -- that's the song by Parks' old friend Stephen Stills that Parks arranged for the Mojo Men: [Excerpt: The Mojo Men, "Sit Down, I Think I Love You"] During 1966 Parks also played on Tim Buckley's first album, as we also heard last episode: [Excerpt: Tim Buckley, "Aren't You the Girl?"] And he also bumped into Brian Wilson on occasion, as they were working a lot in the same studios and had mutual friends like Loren Daro and Danny Hutton, and he suggested the cello part on "Good Vibrations". Parks also played keyboards on "5D" by the Byrds: [Excerpt: The Byrds, "5D (Fifth Dimension)"] And on the Spirit of '67 album for Paul Revere and the Raiders, produced by the Byrds' old producer Terry Melcher. Parks played keyboards on much of the album, including the top five hit "Good Thing": [Excerpt: Paul Revere and the Raiders, "Good Thing"] But while all this was going on, Parks was also working on what would become the work for which he was best known. As I've said, he'd met Brian Wilson on a few occasions, but it wasn't until summer 1966 that the two were formally introduced by Terry Melcher, who knew that Wilson needed a new songwriting collaborator, now Tony Asher's sabbatical from his advertising job was coming to an end, and that Wilson wanted someone who could do work that was a bit more abstract than the emotional material that he had been writing with Asher. Melcher invited both of them to a party at his house on Cielo Drive -- a house which would a few years later become notorious -- which was also attended by many of the young Hollywood set of the time. Nobody can remember exactly who was at the party, but Parks thinks it was people like Jack Nicholson and Peter and Jane Fonda. Parks and Wilson hit it off, with Wilson saying later "He seemed like a really articulate guy, like he could write some good lyrics". Parks on the other hand was delighted to find that Wilson "liked Les Paul, Spike Jones, all of these sounds that I liked, and he was doing it in a proactive way." Brian suggested Parks write the finished lyrics for "Good Vibrations", which was still being recorded at this time, and still only had Tony Asher's dummy lyrics,  but Parks was uninterested. He said that it would be best if he and Brian collaborate together on something new from scratch, and Brian agreed. The first time Parks came to visit Brian at Brian's home, other than the visit accompanying Crosby the year before, he was riding a motorbike -- he couldn't afford a car -- and forgot to bring his driver's license with him. He was stopped by a police officer who thought he looked too poor to be in the area, but Parks persuaded the police officer that if he came to the door, Brian Wilson would vouch for him. Brian got Van Dyke out of any trouble because the cop's sister was a Beach Boys fan, so he autographed an album for her. Brian and Van Dyke talked for a while. Brian asked if Van Dyke needed anything to help his work go smoothly, and Van Dyke said he needed a car. Brian asked what kind. Van Dyke said that Volvos were supposed to be pretty safe. Brian asked how much they cost. Van Dyke said he thought they were about five thousand dollars. Brian called up his office and told them to get a cheque delivered to Van Dyke for five thousand dollars the next day, instantly earning Van Dyke's loyalty. After that, they got on with work. To start with, Brian played Van Dyke a melody he'd been working on, a melody based on a descending scale starting on the fourth: [Plays "Heroes and Villains" melody] Parks told Wilson that the melody reminded him vaguely of Marty Robbins' country hit "El Paso" from 1959, a song about a gunfighter, a cantina, and a dancing woman: [Excerpt: Marty Robbins, "El Paso"] Wilson said that he had been thinking along the same lines, a sort of old west story, and thought maybe it should be called "Heroes and Villains". Parks started writing, matching syllables to Wilson's pre-conceived melody -- "I've been in this town so long that back in the city I've been taken for lost and gone and unknown for a long, long time" [Excerpt: Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, "Heroes and Villains demo"] As Parks put it "The engine had started. It was very much ad hoc. Seat of the pants. Extemporaneous values were enforced. Not too much precommitment to ideas. Or, if so, equally pursuing propinquity." Slowly, over the next several months, while the five other Beach Boys were touring, Brian and Van Dyke refined their ideas about what the album they were writing, initially called Dumb Angel but soon retitled Smile, should be. For Van Dyke Parks it was an attempt to make music about America and American mythology. He was disgusted, as a patriot, with the Anglophilia that had swept the music industry since the arrival of the Beatles in America two and a half years earlier, particularly since that had happened so soon after the deaths both of President Kennedy and of Parks' own brother who was working for the government at the time he died. So for him, the album was about America, about Plymouth Rock, the Old West, California, and Hawaii. It would be a generally positive version of the country's myth, though it would of course also acknowledge the bloodshed on which the country had been built: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Bicycle Rider" section] As he put it later "I was dead set on centering my life on the patriotic ideal. I was a son of the American revolution, and there was blood on the tracks. Recent blood, and it was still drying. The whole record seemed like a real effort toward figuring out what Manifest Destiny was all about. We'd come as far as we could, as far as Horace Greeley told us to go. And so we looked back and tried to make sense of that great odyssey." Brian had some other ideas -- he had been studying the I Ching, and Subud, and he wanted to do something about the four classical elements, and something religious -- his ideas were generally rather unfocused at the time, and he had far more ideas than he knew what to usefully do with. But he was also happy with the idea of a piece about America, which fit in with his own interest in "Rhapsody in Blue", a piece that was about America in much the same way. "Rhapsody in Blue" was an inspiration for Brian primarily in how it weaved together variations on themes. And there are two themes that between them Brian was finding endless variations on. The first theme was a shuffling between two chords a fourth away from each other. [demonstrates G to C on guitar] Where these chords are both major, that's the sequence for "Fire": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow/Fire"] For the "Who ran the Iron Horse?" section of "Cabin Essence": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Cabinessence"] For "Vegetables": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Vegetables"] And more. Sometimes this would be the minor supertonic and dominant seventh of the key, so in C that would be Dm to G7: [Plays Dm to G7 fingerpicked] That's the "bicycle rider" chorus we heard earlier, which was part of a song known as "Roll Plymouth Rock" or "Do You Like Worms": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Bicycle Rider"] But which later became a chorus for "Heroes and Villains": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Heroes and Villains"] But that same sequence is also the beginning of "Wind Chimes": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Wind Chimes"] The "wahalla loo lay" section of "Roll Plymouth Rock": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Roll Plymouth Rock"] And others, but most interestingly, the minor-key rearrangement of "You Are My Sunshine" as "You Were My Sunshine": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "You Were My Sunshine"] I say that's most interesting, because that provides a link to another of the major themes which Brian was wringing every drop out of, a phrase known as "How Dry I Am", because of its use under those words in an Irving Berlin song, which was a popular barbershop quartet song but is now best known as a signifier of drunkenness in Looney Tunes cartoons: [Excerpt: Daffy Duck singing "How Dry I Am" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap4MMn7LpzA ] The phrase is a common one in early twentieth century music, especially folk and country, as it's made up of notes in the pentatonic scale -- it's the fifth, first, second, and third of the scale, in that order: [demonstrates "How Dry I Am"] And so it's in the melody to "This Land is Your Land", for example, a song which is very much in the same spirit of progressive Americana in which Van Dyke Parks was thinking: [Excerpt: Woody Guthrie, "This Land is Your Land"] It's also the start of the original melody of "You Are My Sunshine": [Excerpt: Jimmie Davis, "You Are My Sunshine" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYvgNEU4Am8] Brian rearranged that melody when he stuck it into a minor key, so it's no longer "How Dry I Am" in the Beach Boys version, but if you play the "How Dry I Am" notes in a different rhythm, you get this: [Plays "He Gives Speeches" melody] Which is the start of the melody to "He Gives Speeches": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "He Gives Speeches"] Play those notes backwards, you get: [Plays "He Gives Speeches" melody backwards] Do that and add onto the end a passing sixth and then the tonic, and then you get: [Plays that] Which is the vocal *countermelody* in "He Gives Speeches": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "He Gives Speeches"] And also turns up in some versions of "Heroes and Villains": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Heroes and Villains (alternate version)"] And so on. Smile was an intricate web of themes and variations, and it incorporated motifs from many sources, both the great American songbook and the R&B of Brian's youth spent listening to Johnny Otis' radio show. There were bits of "Gee" by the Crows, of "Twelfth Street Rag", and of course, given that this was Brian Wilson, bits of Phil Spector. The backing track to the verse of "Heroes and Villains": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Heroes and Villains"] Owed more than a little to a version of "Save the Last Dance For Me" that Spector had produced for Ike and Tina Turner: [Excerpt: Ike and Tina Turner, "Save the Last Dance For Me"] While one version of the song “Wonderful” contained a rather out-of-place homage to Etta James and “The Wallflower”: [Excerpt: “Wonderful (Rock With Me Henry)”] As the recording continued, it became more and more obvious that the combination of these themes and variations was becoming a little too much for Brian.  Many of the songs he was working on were made up of individual modules that he was planning to splice together the way he had with "Good Vibrations", and some modules were getting moved between tracks, as he tried to structure the songs in the edit. He'd managed it with "Good Vibrations", but this was an entire album, not just a single, and it was becoming more and more difficult. David Anderle, who was heading up the record label the group were looking at starting, would talk about Brian playing him acetates with sections edited together one way, and thinking it was perfect, and obviously the correct way to put them together, the only possible way, and then hearing the same sections edited together in a different way, and thinking *that* was perfect, and obviously the correct way to put them together. But while a lot of the album was modular, there were also several complete songs with beginnings, middles, ends, and structures, even if they were in several movements. And those songs showed that if Brian could just get the other stuff right, the album could be very, very, special. There was "Heroes and Villains" itself, of course, which kept changing its structure but was still based around the same basic melody and story that Brian and Van Dyke had come up with on their first day working together. There was also "Wonderful", a beautiful, allusive, song about innocence lost and regained: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Wonderful"] And there was CabinEssence, a song which referenced yet another classic song, this time "Home on the Range", to tell a story of idyllic rural life and of the industrialisation which came with westward expansion: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "CabinEssence"] The arrangement for that song inspired Van Dyke Parks to make a very astute assessment of Brian Wilson. He said later "He knew that he had to adhere to the counter-culture, and I knew that I had to. I think that he was about as estranged from it as I was.... At the same time, he didn't want to lose that kind of gauche sensibility that he had. He was doing stuff that nobody would dream of doing. You would never, for example, use one string on a banjo when you had five; it just wasn't done. But when I asked him to bring a banjo in, that's what he did. This old-style plectrum thing. One string. That's gauche." Both Parks and Wilson were both drawn to and alienated from the counterculture, but in very different ways, and their different ways of relating to the counterculture created the creative tension that makes the Smile project so interesting. Parks is fundamentally a New Deal Liberal, and was excited by the progresssive nature of the counterculture, but also rather worried about its tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and to ignore the old in pursuit of the new. He was an erudite, cultured, sophisticated man who thought that there was value to be found in the works and attitudes of the past, even as one must look to the future. He was influenced by the beat poets and the avant garde art of the time, but also said of his folk music period "A harpist would bring his harp with him and he would play and recite a story which had been passed down the generations. This particular legacy continued through Arthurian legend, and then through the Middle Ages, and even into the nineteenth century. With all these songs, half of the story was the lyrics, and the folk songs were very interesting. They were tremendously thought-driven songs; there was nothing confusing about that. Even when the Kingston Trio came out -- and Brian has already admitted his debt to the Kingston Trio -- 'Tom Dooley', the story of a murder most foul 'MTA' an urban nightmare -- all of this thought-driven music was perfectly acceptable.  It was more than a teenage romantic crisis." Brian Wilson, on the other hand, was anything *but* sophisticated. He is a simple man in the best sense of the term -- he likes what he likes, doesn't like what he doesn't like, and has no pretensions whatsoever about it. He is, at heart, a middle-class middle-American brought up in suburbia, with a taste for steaks and hamburgers, broad physical comedy, baseball, and easy listening music. Where Van Dyke Parks was talking about "thought-driven music", Wilson's music, while thoughtful, has always been driven by feelings first and foremost. Where Parks is influenced by Romantic composers like Gottschalk but is fundamentally a craftsman, a traditionalist, a mason adding his work to a cathedral whose construction started before his birth and will continue after his death, Wilson's music has none of the stylistic hallmarks of Romantic music, but in its inspiration it is absolutely Romantic -- it is the immediate emotional expression of the individual, completely unfiltered. When writing his own lyrics in later years Wilson would come up with everything from almost haiku-like lyrics like "I'm a leaf on a windy day/pretty soon I'll be blown away/How long with the wind blow?/Until I die" to "He sits behind his microphone/Johnny Carson/He speaks in such a manly tone/Johnny Carson", depending on whether at the time his prime concern was existential meaninglessness or what was on the TV. Wilson found the new counterculture exciting, but was also very aware he didn't fit in. He was developing a new group of friends, the hippest of the hip in LA counterculture circles -- the singer Danny Hutton, Mark Volman of the Turtles, the writers Michael Vosse and Jules Siegel, scenester and record executive David Anderle -- but there was always the underlying implication that at least some of these people regarded him as, to use an ableist term but one which they would probably have used, an idiot savant. That they thought of him, as his former collaborator Tony Asher would later uncharitably put it, as "a genius musician but an amateur human being". So for example when Siegel brought the great postmodern novelist Thomas Pynchon to visit Brian, both men largely sat in silence, unable to speak to each other; Pynchon because he tended to be a reactive person in conversation and would wait for the other person to initiate topics of discussion, Brian because he was so intimidated by Pynchon's reputation as a great East Coast intellectual that he was largely silent for fear of making a fool of himself. It was this gaucheness, as Parks eventually put it, and Parks' understanding that this was actually a quality to be cherished and the key to Wilson's art, that eventually gave the title to the most ambitious of the complete songs the duo were working on. They had most of the song -- a song about the power of music, the concept of enlightenment, and the rise and fall of civilisations: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Surf's Up"] But Parks hadn't yet quite finished the lyric. The Beach Boys had been off on tour for much of Brian and Van Dyke's collaboration, and had just got back from their first real tour of the UK, where Pet Sounds had been a smash hit, rather than the middling success it had been in the US, and "Good Vibrations" had just become their first number one single. Brian and Van Dyke played the song for Brian's brother Dennis, the Beach Boys' drummer, and the band member most in tune with Brian's musical ambitions at this time. Dennis started crying, and started talking about how the British audiences had loved their music, but had laughed at their on-stage striped-shirt uniforms. Parks couldn't tell if he was crying because of the beauty of the unfinished song, the humiliation he had suffered in Britain, or both. Dennis then asked what the name of the song was, and as Parks later put it "Although it was the most gauche factor, and although maybe Brian thought it was the most dispensable thing, I thought it was very important to continue to use the name and keep the elephant in the room -- to keep the surfing image but to sensitise it to new opportunities. One of these would be an eco-consciousness; it would be speaking about the greening of the Earth, aboriginal people, how we had treated the Indians, taking on those things and putting them into the thoughts that come with the music. That was a solution to the relevance of the group, and I wanted the group to be relevant." Van Dyke had decided on a title: "Surf's Up": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Surf's Up"] As the group were now back from their tour, the focus for recording shifted from the instrumental sessions to vocal ones. Parks had often attended the instrumental sessions, as he was an accomplished musician and arranger himself, and would play on the sessions, but also wanted to learn from what Brian was doing -- he's stated later that some of his use of tuned percussion in the decades since, for example, has come from watching Brian's work. But while he was also a good singer, he was not a singer in the same style as the Beach Boys, and they certainly didn't need his presence at those sessions, so he continued to work on his lyrics, and to do his arrangement and session work for other artists, while they worked in the studio. He was also, though, starting to distance himself from Brian for other reasons. At the start of the summer, Brian's eccentricity and whimsy had seemed harmless -- indeed, the kind of thing he was doing, such as putting his piano in a sandbox so he could feel the sand with his feet while he wrote, seems very much on a par with Maureen Cleave's descriptions of John Lennon in the same period. They were two newly-rich, easily bored, young men with low attention spans and high intelligence who could become deeply depressed when understimulated and so would get new ideas into their heads, spend money on their new fads, and then quickly discard them. But as the summer wore on into autumn and winter, Brian's behaviour became more bizarre, and to Parks' eyes more distasteful. We now know that Brian was suffering a period of increasing mental ill-health, something that was probably not helped by the copious intake of cannabis and amphetamines he was using to spur his creativity, but at the time most people around him didn't realise this, and general knowledge of mental illness was even less than it is today. Brian was starting to do things like insist on holding business meetings in his swimming pool, partly because people wouldn't be able to spy on him, and partly because he thought people would be more honest if they were in the water. There were also events like the recording session where Wilson paid for several session musicians, not to play their instruments, but to be recorded while they sat in a pitch-black room and played the party game Lifeboat with Jules Siegel and several of Wilson's friends, most of whom were stoned and not really understanding what they were doing, while they got angrier and more frustrated. Alan Jardine -- who unlike the Wilson brothers, and even Mike Love to an extent, never indulged in illegal drugs -- has talked about not understanding why, in some vocal sessions, Brian would make the group crawl on their hands and knees while making noises like animals: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Heroes and Villains Part 3 (Animals)"] As Parks delicately put it "I sensed all that was destructive, so I withdrew from those related social encounters." What this meant though was that he was unaware that not all the Beach Boys took the same attitude of complete support for the work he and Brian had been doing that Dennis Wilson -- the only other group member he'd met at this point -- took. In particular, Mike Love was not a fan of Parks' lyrics. As he said later "I called it acid alliteration. The [lyrics are] far out. But do they relate like 'Surfin' USA,' like 'Fun Fun Fun,' like 'California Girls,' like 'I Get Around'? Perhaps not! So that's the distinction. See, I'm into success. These words equal successful hit records; those words don't" Now, Love has taken a lot of heat for this over the years, and on an artistic level that's completely understandable. Parks' lyrics were, to my mind at least, the best the Beach Boys ever had -- thoughtful, intelligent, moving, at times profound, often funny, often beautiful. But, while I profoundly disagree with Love, I have a certain amount of sympathy for his position. From Love's perspective, first and foremost, this is his source of income. He was the only one of the Beach Boys to ever have had a day job -- he'd worked at his father's sheet metal company -- and didn't particularly relish the idea of going back to manual labour if the rock star gig dried up. It wasn't that he was *opposed* to art, of course -- he'd written the lyrics to "Good Vibrations", possibly the most arty rock single released to that point, hadn't he? -- but that had been *commercial* art. It had sold. Was this stuff going to sell? Was he still going to be able to feed his wife and kids? Also, up until a few months earlier he had been Brian's principal songwriting collaborator. He was *still* the most commercially successful collaborator Brian had had. From his perspective, this was a partnership, and it was being turned into a dictatorship without him having been consulted. Before, it had been "Mike, can you write some lyrics for this song about cars?", now it was "Mike, you're going to sing these lyrics about a crow uncovering a cornfield". And not only that, but Mike had not met Brian's new collaborator, but knew he was hanging round with Brian's new druggie friends. And Brian was behaving increasingly weirdly, which Mike put down to the influence of the drugs and these new friends. It can't have helped that at the same time the group's publicist, Derek Taylor, was heavily pushing the line "Brian Wilson is a genius". This was causing Brian some distress -- he didn't think of himself as a genius, and he saw the label as a burden, something it was impossible to live up to -- but was also causing friction in the group, as it seemed that their contributions were being dismissed. Again, I don't agree with Mike's position on any of this, but it is understandable. It's also the case that Mike Love is, by nature, a very assertive and gregarious person, while Brian Wilson, for all that he took control in the studio, is incredibly conflict-avoidant and sensitive. From what I know of the two men's personalities, and from things they've said, and from the session recordings that have leaked over the years, it seems entirely likely that Love will have seen himself as having reasonable criticisms, and putting them to Brian clearly with a bit of teasing to take the sting out of them; while Brian will have seen Love as mercilessly attacking and ridiculing the work that meant so much to him in a cruel and hurtful manner, and that neither will have understood at the time that that was how the other was seeing things. Love's criticisms intensified. Not of everything -- he's several times expressed admiration for "Heroes and Villains" and "Wonderful" -- but in general he was not a fan of Parks' lyrics. And his criticisms seemed to start to affect Brian. It's difficult to say what Brian thinks about Parks' lyrics, because he has a habit in interviews of saying what he thinks the interviewer wants to hear, and the whole subject of Smile became a touchy one for him for a long time, so in some interviews he has talked about how dazzlingly brilliant they are, while at other times he's seemed to agree with Love, saying they were "Van Dyke Parks lyrics", not "Beach Boys lyrics". He may well sincerely think both at the same time, or have thought both at different times. This came to a head with a session for the tag of "Cabinessence": [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Cabinessence"] Love insisted on having the line "over and over the crow flies uncover the cornfield" explained to him, and Brian eventually decided to call Van Dyke Parks and have him come to the studio. Up to this point, Parks had no idea that there was anything controversial, so when Brian phoned him up and very casually said that Mike had a few questions about the lyrics, could he come down to the studio? He went without a second thought. He later said "The only person I had had any interchange with before that was Dennis, who had responded very favorably to 'Heroes and Villains' and 'Surf's Up'. Based on that, I gathered that the work would be approved. But then, with no warning whatsoever, I got that phone call from Brian. And that's when the whole house of cards came tumbling down." Parks got to the studio, where he was confronted by an angry Mike Love, insisting he explain the lyrics. Now, as will be, I hope, clear from everything I've said, Parks and Love are very, very, *very* different people. Having met both men -- albeit only in formal fan-meeting situations where they're presenting their public face -- I actually find both men very likeable, but in very different ways. Love is gregarious, a charmer, the kind of man who would make a good salesman and who people use terms like "alpha male" about. He's tall, and has a casual confidence that can easily read as arrogance, and a straightforward sense of humour that can sometimes veer into the cruel. Parks, on the other hand, is small, meticulously well-mannered and well-spoken, has a high, precise, speaking voice which probably reads as effeminate to the kind of people who use terms like "alpha male", and the kind of devastating intelligence and Southern US attention to propriety which means that if he *wanted* to say something cruel about someone, the victim would believe themselves to have been complimented until a horrific realisation two days after the event. In every way, from their politics to their attitudes to art versus commerce to their mannerisms to their appearance, Mike Love and Van Dyke Parks are utterly different people, and were never going to mix well. And Brian Wilson, who was supposed to be the collaborator for both of them, was not mediating between them, not even expressing an opinion -- his own mental problems had reached the stage where he simply couldn't deal with the conflict. Parks felt ambushed and hurt, Love felt angry, especially when Parks could not explain the literal meaning of his lyrics. Eventually Parks just said "I have no excuse, sir", and left. Parks later said "That's when I lost interest. Because basically I was taught not to be where I wasn't wanted, and I could feel I wasn't wanted. It was like I had someone else's job, which was abhorrent to me, because I don't even want my own job. It was sad, so I decided to get away quick." Parks continued collaborating with Wilson, and continued attending instrumental sessions, but it was all wheelspinning -- no significant progress was made on any songs after that point, in early December. It was becoming clear that the album wasn't going to be ready for its planned Christmas release, and it was pushed back to January, but Brian's mental health was becoming worse and worse. One example that's often cited as giving an insight into Brian's mental state at the time is his reaction to going to the cinema to see John Frankenheimer's classic science fiction horror film Seconds. Brian came in late, and the way the story is always told, when he was sat down the screen was black and a voice said from the darkness, "Hello Mr. Wilson". That moment does not seem to correspond with anything in the actual film, but he probably came in around the twenty-four minute mark, where the main character walks down a corridor, filmed in a distorted, hallucinatory manner, to be greeted: [Excerpt: Seconds, 24:00] But as Brian watched the film, primed by this, he became distressed by a number of apparent similarities to his life. The main character was going through death and rebirth, just as he felt he was. Right after the moment I just excerpted, Mr. Wilson is shown a film, and of course Brian was himself watching a film. The character goes to the beach in California, just like Brian. The character has a breakdown on a plane, just like Brian, and has to take pills to cope, and the breakdown happens right after this: [Excerpt: Seconds, from about 44:22] A studio in California? Just like where Brian spent his working days? That kind of weird coincidence can be affecting enough in a work of art when one is relatively mentally stable, but Brian was not at all stable. By this point he was profoundly paranoid -- and he may have had good reason to be. Some of Brian's friends from this time period have insisted that Brian's semi-estranged abusive father and former manager, Murry, was having private detectives watch him and his brothers to find evidence that they were using drugs. If you're in the early stages of a severe mental illness *and* you're self-medicating with illegal drugs, *and* people are actually spying on you, then that kind of coincidence becomes a lot more distressing. Brian became convinced that the film was the work of mind gangsters, probably in the pay of Phil Spector, who were trying to drive him mad and were using telepathy to spy on him. He started to bar people who had until recently been his friends from coming to sessions -- he decided that Jules Siegel's girlfriend was a witch and so Siegel was no longer welcome -- and what had been a creative process in the studio degenerated into noodling and second-guessing himself. He also, with January having come and the album still not delivered, started doing side projects,  some of which, like his production of tracks for photographer Jasper Daily, seem evidence either of his bizarre sense of humour, or of his detachment from reality, or both: [Excerpt: Jasper Daily, "Teeter Totter Love"] As 1967 drew on, things got worse and worse. Brian was by this point concentrating on just one or two tracks, but endlessly reworking elements of them. He became convinced that the track "Fire" had caused some actual fires to break out in LA, and needed to be scrapped. The January deadline came and went with no sign of the album. To add to that, the group discovered that they were owed vast amounts of unpaid royalties by Capitol records, and legal action started which meant that even were the record to be finished it might become a pawn in the legal wrangling. Parks eventually became exasperated by Brian -- he said later "I was victimised by Brian Wilson's buffoonery" -- and he quit the project altogether in February after a row with Brian. He returned a couple of weeks later out of a sense of loyalty, but quit again in April. By April, he'd been working enough with Lenny Waronker that Waronker offered him a contract with Warner Brothers as a solo artist -- partly because Warners wanted some insight into Brian Wilson's techniques as a hit-making producer. To start with, Parks released a single, to dip a toe in the water, under the pseudonym "George Washington Brown". It was a largely-instrumental cover version of Donovan's song "Colours", which Parks chose because after seeing the film Don't Look Back, a documentary of Bob Dylan's 1965 British tour, he felt saddened at the way Dylan had treated Donovan: [Excerpt: George Washington Brown, "Donovan's Colours"] That was not a hit, but it got enough positive coverage, including an ecstatic review from Richard Goldstein in the Village Voice, that Parks was given carte blanche to create the album he wanted to create, with one of the largest budgets of any album released to that date. The result was a masterpiece, and very similar to the vision of Smile that Parks had had -- an album of clever, thoroughly American music which had more to do with Charles Ives than the British Invasion: [Excerpt: Van Dyke Parks, "The All Golden"] But Parks realised the album, titled Song Cycle, was doomed to failure when at a playback session, the head of Warner Brothers records said "Song Cycle? So where are the songs?" According to Parks, the album was only released because Jac Holzman of Elektra Records was also there, and took out his chequebook and said he'd release the album if Warners wouldn't, but it had little push, apart from some rather experimental magazine adverts which were, if anything, counterproductive. But Waronker recognised Parks' talent, and had even written into Parks' contract that Parks would be employed as a session player at scale on every session Waronker produced -- something that didn't actually happen, because Parks didn't insist on it, but which did mean Parks had a certain amount of job security. Over the next couple of years Parks and Waronker co-produced the first albums by two of their colleagues from Waronker's brains trust, with Parks arranging -- Randy Newman: [Excerpt: Randy Newman, "I Think It's Going to Rain Today"] And Ry Cooder: [Excerpt: Ry Cooder, "One Meat Ball"] Waronker would refer to himself, Parks, Cooder, and Newman as "the arts and crafts division" of Warners, and while these initial records weren't very successful, all of them would go on to bigger things. Parks would be a pioneer of music video, heading up Warners' music video department in the early seventies, and would also have a staggeringly varied career over the years, doing everything from teaming up again with the Beach Boys to play accordion on "Kokomo" to doing the string arrangements on Joanna Newsom's album Ys, collaborating with everyone from U2 to Skrillex,  discovering Rufus Wainwright, and even acting again, appearing in Twin Peaks. He also continued to make massively inventive solo albums, releasing roughly one every decade, each unique and yet all bearing the hallmarks of his idiosyncratic style. As you can imagine, he is very likely to come up again in future episodes, though we're leaving him for now. Meanwhile, the Beach Boys were floundering, and still had no album -- and now Parks was no longer working with Brian, the whole idea of Smile was scrapped. The priority was now to get a single done, and so work started on a new, finished, version of "Heroes and Villains", structured in a fairly conventional manner using elements of the Smile recordings. The group were suffering from numerous interlocking problems at this point, and everyone was stressed -- they were suing their record label, Dennis' wife had filed for divorce, Brian was having mental health problems, and Carl had been arrested for draft dodging -- though he was later able to mount a successful defence that he was a conscientious objector. Also, at some point around this time, Bruce Johnston seems to have temporarily quit the group, though this was never announced -- he doesn't seem to have been at any sessions from late May or early June through mid-September, and didn't attend the two shows they performed in that time. They were meant to have performed three shows, but even though Brian was on the board of the Monterey Pop Festival, they pulled out at the last minute, saying that they needed to deal with getting the new single finished and with Carl's draft problems. Some or all of these other issues almost certainly fed into that, but the end result was that the Beach Boys were seen to have admitted defeat, to have handed the crown of relevance off to the San Francisco groups. And even if Smile had been released, there were other releases stealing its thunder. If it had come out in December it would have been massively ahead of its time, but after the Beatles released Sgt Pepper it would have seemed like it was a cheap copy -- though Parks has always said he believes the Beatles heard some of the Smile tapes and copied elements of the recordings, though I don't hear much similarity myself. But I do hear a strong similarity in "My World Fell Down" by Sagittarius, which came out in June, and which was largely made by erstwhile collaborators of Brian -- Gary Usher produced, Glen Campbell sang lead, and Bruce Johnston sang backing vocals: [Excerpt: Sagittarius, "My World Fell Down"] Brian was very concerned after hearing that that someone *had* heard the Smile tapes, and one can understand why. When "Heroes and Villains" finally came out, it was a great single, but only made number twelve in the charts. It was fantastic, but out of step with the times, and nothing could have lived up to the hype that had built up around it: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Heroes and Villains"] Instead of Smile, the group released an album called Smiley Smile, recorded in a couple of months in Brian's home studio, with no studio musicians and no involvement from Bruce, other than the previously released singles, and with the production credited to "the Beach Boys" rather than Brian. Smiley Smile has been unfairly dismissed over the years, but it's actually an album that was ahead of its time. It's a collection of stripped down versions of Smile songs and new fragments using some of the same motifs, recorded with minimal instrumentation. Some of it is on a par with the Smile material it's based on: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Wonderful"] Some is, to my ears, far more beautiful than the Smile versions: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "Wind Chimes"] And some has a fun goofiness which relates back to one of Brian's discarded ideas for Smile, that it be a humour album: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "She's Going Bald"] The album was a commercial flop, by far the least successful thing the group had released to that point in the US, not even making the top forty when it came out in September, though it made the top ten in the UK, but interestingly it *wasn't* a critical flop, at least at first. While the scrapping of Smile had been mentioned, it still wasn't widely known, and so for example Richard Goldstein, the journalist whose glowing review of "Donovan's Colours" in the Village Voice had secured Van Dyke Parks the opportunity to make Song Cycle, gave it a review in the New York Times which is written as if Goldstein at least believes it *is* the album that had been promised all along, and he speaks of it very perceptively -- and here I'm going to quote quite extensively, because the narrative about this album has always been that it was panned from the start and made the group a laughing stock: "Smiley Smile hardly reads like a rock cantata. But there are moments in songs such as 'With Me Tonight' and 'Wonderful' that soar like sacred music. Even the songs that seem irrelevant to a rock-hymn are infused with stained-glass melodies. Wilson is a sound sculptor and his songs are all harmonious litanies to the gentle holiness of love — post-Christian, perhaps but still believing. 'Wind Chimes', the most important piece on the album, is a fine example of Brian Wilson's organic pop structure. It contains three movements. First, Wilson sets a lyric and melodic mood ("In the late afternoon, you're hung up on wind chimes"). Then he introduces a totally different scene, utilizing passages of pure, wordless harmony. His two-and-a-half minute hymn ends with a third movement in which the voices join together in an exquisite round, singing the words, "Whisperin' winds set my wind chimes a-tinklin'." The voices fade out slowly, like the bittersweet afternoon in question. The technique of montage is an important aspect of Wilson's rock cantata, since the entire album tends to flow as a single composition. Songs like 'Heroes and Villains', are fragmented by speeding up or slowing down their verses and refrains. The effect is like viewing the song through a spinning prism. Sometimes, as in 'Fall Breaks and Back to Winter' (subtitled "W. Woodpecker Symphony"), the music is tiered into contrapuntal variations on a sliver of melody. The listener is thrown into a vast musical machine of countless working gears, each spinning in its own orbit." That's a discussion of the album that I hear when I listen to Smiley Smile, and the group seem to have been artistically happy with it, at least at first. They travelled to Hawaii to record a live album (with Brian, as Bruce was still out of the picture), taking the Baldwin organ that Brian used all over Smiley Smile with them, and performed rearranged versions of their old hits in the Smiley Smile style. When the recordings proved unusable, they recreated them in the studio, with Bruce returning to the group, where he would remain, with the intention of overdubbing audience noise and releasing a faked live album: [Excerpt: The Beach Boys, "California Girls [Lei'd studio version]"] The idea of the live album, to be called Lei'd in Hawaii, was scrapped, but that's not the kind of radical reimagining of your sound that you do if you think you've made an artistic failure. Indeed, the group's next albu

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2020'd
Sammy Ash [Pt. 1]: The Beatles Changed the Industry Overnight

2020'd

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 61:08


Sammy Ash (COO of Sam Ash Music) joins Benny, Siobhán, and Cory to nerd out on anything and everything guitar. This episode we dive into the world of Sam Ash Music, hearing about Sammy's history with the company, the growth of Sam Ash throughout the years, and how the music industry has changed alongside it. We get all the guitar stories you could ask for featuring the likes of Paul Reed Smith, Fred Gretsch, Les Paul, and more. Tune in with us and prepare to be 2020'd Check out Sam Ash: https://www.samash.com IG: @samashmusic FB: @sammysguitars 00:00 - Intro 03:00 - Sammy's history with the company 09:15 - The Beatles changed everything 14:15 - My grandmother pawned her ring to open the first store 17:20 - I named the Tube Screamer 24:00 - PRS asked Yamaha to stop using bird inlays and they did 26:31 - Sam Ash became a chain because of Fred Gretsch 36:00 - the Brand of Sam Ash 41:25 - Les Paul played store opening 47:00 - Robot Tuners were a mistake 53:40 - We lost Gibson line for a brief period 58:00 - Outro FOLLOW 2020'd: Official Site: https://2020-d.com/​ Facebook: facebook.com/yougot2020d Instagram: instagram.com/yougot2020d WATCH + LISTEN + SUBSCRIBE: https://lnk.to/yougot2020d #guitarist #samash Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Rig Doctor Podcast: Tone Tips, Pedalboard Tricks, & Easy DIY Hacks
Should You Trust Gear Reviews?

Rig Doctor Podcast: Tone Tips, Pedalboard Tricks, & Easy DIY Hacks

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 71:05 Very Popular


Chairmen of the Boards | Episode 22 Should You Trust Gear Reviews? GIVEAWAY: https://vertexeffects.com/chairmen-giveaway HOSTS Grant Klassen (Goodwood Audio) - grant@goodwoodaudio.com Brian Omilion (Omilion Audio) - omilion@theguitarsanctuary.com Mason Marangella (Vertex Effects) - mason@vertexeffects.com

Run Into The Ground
033. Plow United feat. Daniel Danger

Run Into The Ground

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 115:39


This week we have renowned artist, musician, and guitar pedal collector Daniel Danger on the pod to talk about Plow United's self-titled debut. We discuss Vincent Gallo, guitar pedal addiction, 30 Metal Zones, Smashing Pumpkins, theater kid indie rock, Bush, grunge guys who just make the noise, smashing guitars, Guitar Center warranties, your grandfather's Les Paul, Dave Knudson, holding Lightning Bolt's drums, jam bands, the Swing Kids discography, recording a panic attack, pizza pop punk, and our favorite colored Line 6 pedals. // Follow us at @danbassini, @mysprocalledlife, and @tinymediaempire @runintotheground. Listen to our RITG Mixtape Vol. 8 here and our Best of RITG playlist here.

Rig Doctor Podcast: Tone Tips, Pedalboard Tricks, & Easy DIY Hacks

Chairmen of the Boards | Episode 21 Our Desert Island Pedals Giveaway: https://www.vertexeffects.com/chairmen-giveaway HOSTS: Grant Klassen (Goodwood Audio) - grant@goodwoodaudio.com Brian Omilion (Omilion Audio) - omilion@theguitarsanctuary.com Mason Marangella (Vertex Effects) - mason@vertexeffects.com WATCH ON YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/s-9XGSiytv0

Gearhunks
Ep. 174 - Viva Voce

Gearhunks

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 76:39


For those following along - Dave needed an amp to match his beautiful vintage Lester, and we landed on a used Vox AC15.Is it too much amp for the living room? You bet! Does it look and sound dope? SURE DOES.Also discussed: getting angry about Les Paul darkbacks, Hot Bloods playing gigs, Fulltone closing down, Pigtronix Star Eater fuzz, Kemper opening a showroom in Chicago, Gibson teaming up with Billy Reid for some new clothing, Brian Wilson, Fender making the Jerry Garcia Alligator Strat, Chicago Music Exchange and their sexy/exclusive Squier Classic Vibes, Nektar WIDIFLEX, and the Nu-X Mighty Plug Pro.A little weiner action going on.

The Tone That Made Us
The Tone That Made Us with Porcell Part2

The Tone That Made Us

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 68:42


This week's episode of The Tone That Made Us Podcast is with quite possibly the single largest guitar influence in the Hardcore Music scene, Mr. John Porcelly. We had such a great chat with Porcell this is a two part episode. He talks about growing up in suburban NY, how a family member inspired him to play Guitar and how he got started. We discuss the various gear and tones he used on all of the Youth of Today, Judge, Shelter records and more. We touch on his love for Les Pauls and how his YOT Les Paul was not a Les Paul at all. His hatred and now new love affair with Fender guitars and his new projects, clothing line and so much more. Please share, rate and subscribe wherever you enjoy your podcasts! Spread the word!

The Cabin
Iconically Wisconsin: Les Paul and Gibson Guitar Town

The Cabin

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 47:51 Very Popular


The Cabin is presented by the Wisconsin Counties Association and this week we're featuring Iowa County; https://bit.ly/3upz4fDThe Cabin is presented by Jolly Good Soda! Find them at your local grocery store and follow them on social media @jollygoodsoda; http://bit.ly/DWxJollyGoodCampfire Conversation: Is there anyone more iconic and pivotal for the music industry than Les Paul? Or more famous from Waukesha, Wisconsin than Les Paul? Hmm, we think not. Les Paul is the only person who is in both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame! Not only was he an incredible musician, but he was also the inventor of the solid body electric guitar, and shaped how we play and hear music today. Waukesha is not only his home town, but also his final resting place, and therefore the city has decorated so much of their downtown to honor his legacy. In this episode we sit down with Sue and Michael from the Les Paul Foundation to talk to us about Les Paul in better detail and share some stories of this iconic man! Learn more about the Les Paul Foundation here; https://www.les-paul.com/Check out our Know Your Wisconsin feature on Les Paul and Gibson Guitar's here: https://youtu.be/wNAPCvaYWSsThis Week's Wisconsin Treasure is sponsored by BetterHelp and you get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/cabinpod!This week we are featuring Christiana Trapani and Door County Candle Company for their fundraising efforts for Razom for Ukraine!Shop Discover Wisconsin; Check out the Cabin Podcast merch and use code “CABIN” for a discount at; https://bit.ly/3PEtnFNSt. Germain; With the summer months winding down make sure to check out our list of must-see and must-experience events in St. Germain; https://bit.ly/3mxb5XFMarshfield Clinic; All of Us Research Program; https://bit.ly/3klM56EKnow Your Wisconsin: Beer Distributors: Role and Impact; https://bit.ly/3bIG6sn

Gearhunks
Ep. 173 - Making Gear Moves

Gearhunks

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2022 72:13


Summer's winding down here in the States but the gear deals are just starting to heat up!This week was a bit of a grab bag of gear (yes we talk some more about Dave's Les Paul) so why not settle in with your neighborhood friendly Gearbuds and learn a thing or two?Also discussed: Dave's AC15, the Headache Nine of Swords, Black Bobbin Boost, EHX J. Mascis Big Muff, Acorn Amps Bweep Mini Fuzz, Neural DSP Rabea plugin, Nathaniel Murphy at Martyr's, mystery Gibson body shape, Busch Light DIY guitars, Fender Personality Cards, houses shaped like guitars, Bass Player ending its print magazine, Taylor Hawkins tribute show, and John Fogerty being a dick.They all just sorta look like a PRS.

Anything You Want

Had a dream I confronted jimmy page for makin' moves on Mrs. B. Daddy. Turns out, he's a wiry, wily old dude who slipped my jab and broke my nose with a head butt. Talk about adding injury to insult! I screamed “How many more times? Treat me the way you wanna do?” And he put a mortal kombat finisher on me which was a Les Paul swung with such force as to remove my head from my neck. Long story short, if there's anything to learn from this pod, it's not to trifle with 1/4 of Zep.

TV Guidance Counselor Podcast
TV Guidance Counselor Episode 538: Aaron Manahan

TV Guidance Counselor Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2022 98:51


December 4-12, 1982 This week Ken welcomes kindred spirt and man behind TheSodaJerk.net, Aaron Manahan. Ken and Aaron discuss "howdy" and y'all, bragging about installing phones on the set of movies, reviewing sodas, Dr. Pepper, Dublin Soda Works, Texas, Galcos Old World Market, Green Sour Cherry, hating Stevia, the Women of Robotech, Natasha Leone, Ultraman, Voltron, Go Lion!, How Hollywood Sharks prey on Child Actors, Cigarettes, how expensive electronics used to be, Sears Wishbook, Ace Hardware, Sears Pac-man, 1973 Nova, timing guns, terrifying models, the cartoon Meatballs & Spaghetti, red check marks next to your picks, Fast Forward, Les Paul, Gimme a Break!, Love Boat, Month in the Country, Ian McShayne, strong rye, Circus of the Stars, The Jerk Too, Doctor Who, bowling, wrestling, Fairie Tale Theater, M*A*S*H, not having cable, staying up late, Three's Company, 9 to 5, Family Ties tacking gun control, Our Town, Growing Pains, Amish widows, Demonic Toys, Meet the Feebles, Livewire, Fred Newman, Pac-Man Fever, Tom Savini, Altered States, Don't Go To Sleep, Made For-TV movies, weird video games about dictators, how children love fiscal years, Frogger, Spider-Man for Atari, True Value hardware store last minute gifts, go to family vacations and the pros and cons of a Ripley's Believe it or Not!? Museum.

The High Gain
Episode 224 - Gibson Jimmy Page Les Paul Custom Black Beauty

The High Gain

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2022 30:01 Very Popular


THE HIGH GAIN PODCASTWEBSITEwww.thehighgain.comPATREONBecome a SubscriberDISCORDhttps://discord.gg/XUMEzkjYOUTUBEhttps://www.youtube.com/thehighgainTHE SOCIALSInstagramFacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedInEMAILthehighgainpod@gmail.comPRODUCED BYVerkstad - Seattle, WA

The Tone That Made Us
The Tone That Made Us wit hPorcell

The Tone That Made Us

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 63:25 Very Popular


This week's episode of The Tone That Made Us Podcast is with quite possibly the single largest guitar influence in the Hardcore Music scene, Mr. John Porcelly. We had such a great chat with Porcell this is a two part episode. He talks about growing up in suburban NY, how a family member inspired him to play Guitar and how he got started. We discuss the various gear and tones he used on all of the Youth of Today, Judge, Shelter records and more. We touch on his love for Les Pauls and how his YOT Les Paul was not a Les Paul at all. His hatred and now new love affair with Fender guitars and his new projects, clothing line and so much more. This is a 2 part episode to check out part 2 next week! Please share, rate and subscribe wherever you enjoy your podcasts! Spread the word!

BrainTap Business Journal
Using Light, Sound and Vibration to Upgrade Your Life with Barry Goldstein

BrainTap Business Journal

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 41:16


Barry Goldstein's musical experience spans many styles and genres from Co-Producing the Grammy Award-winning track” 69 Freedom special” with Les Paul for Best Rock Instrumental in 2005, to providing ambient music for Shirley MacLaine. In addition, He has composed and produced music for Television, Film, Major record labels, and Top Ten Recording artists. Barry's music is being used in hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and medical practices. In addition, Barry has worked with the “Father of Biohacking” Dave Asprey and reached the Billboard Top Ten New Age albums with New York Times Best Selling Authors Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Daniel Amen, Neale Donald Walsch, and Anita Moorjani. His Bestselling book “The Secret Language of the Heart” has become a go-to manual for utilizing music beyond art and entertainment. It provides over 50 groundbreaking studies that assist the reader in using music to improve their health and quality of life. For thousands of years, music, sound, and vibration have been used to shift and alter our inner and outer environments, affect our biology and upgrade our lives. In this interview, Best Selling Author and Multi-Award-Winning Producer Barry Goldstein will present research on how ancient practices such as Mantra, Chanting, and Drumming can be utilized daily as a biohacking technology to improve your health and quality of life. In addition, he will provide research on how more modern music (yes, rap included) can modulate brain activity, combat workout fatigue, and even improve sleep. Participants will learn how to become “The D.J. of Their Lives” by creating their own musical program, which will enable them to develop new powerful autobiographical memories. What You'll Learn 1. The Power of music beyond art and entertainment 2. Ancient and Modern ways to use music to bio-hack their mind, body, and spirit 3. The power of the heart and brain entrainment 4. How to nourish yourself musically 5. How to become the D.J. of your life Links: www.barrygoldsteinmusic.com https://www.facebook.com/BarryGoldsteinMusic/ https://twitter.com/bgmusic444 https://www.instagram.com/barrygoldsteinmusic/ https://www.youtube.com/user/4444oh https://open.spotify.com/artist/27LNQQtRTv4yQ5r3tdIUiG

Gearhunks
Ep. 172 - Do Over

Gearhunks

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 15, 2022 66:34


If you missed last week's IG and FB post; Hank messed up(!), so this week the buds are running down the content we missed out on last week.That includes: another update in Dave's slow burn love affair with his new old Les Paul, hanging out with former Fender Master Builder Carlos and Stephanie Lopez from Castedosa Guitars, and catching up on some new pedals we bought including a Muff from Chicago Stompworks and Harmonic Percolator from Catalinbread, specifically comparing the silicon vs. germanium Karma Suture.Also discussed: listener questions and feedback, Casio PG-380 synth guitar, Reverb updates, Gift of Music and Boutique Guitar Showcase with Chicago Music Exchange, Fender layoffs, Sweetwater Gear Exchange, Shania Twain, Elvis, Tune Voodoo and String Butler string guides, the new Mira compressor from Walrus Audio, Ashdown collaborating with Two Notes, the Orange O-Bass update, and the Pigtronix Gloamer.Tooth pain sucks, as do NFTs.

Deeper Roots Radio Podcast
Episode 130: Revisiting Cindy Walker

Deeper Roots Radio Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2022 117:31


 We'll take a step back and revisit the songwriting of Cindy Walker in today's show…told in her own words and lyrics. The music of Bob Wills wouldn't have been the same without her and neither would the 20th Century American songbook. Her ability to turn a phrase, tailoring songs for diverse styles would lead to country, rock and pop standards alike. Her music was as comfortable in the hands of Gene Autry and it was on a crooning binge with Dean Martin or as a passionate performance of Roy Orbison. We'll hear from these performers and more, including Asleep at the Wheel, Les Paul, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and The Byrds in the show today as our antenna work at the KOWS is about to move forward. Exciting times. Tune into KOWS radio on kowsfm.com/listen or download the free app from the App Store or Google Play. 

Judy Garland and Friends - OTR Podcast
Episode 60: Judy Garland Podcast 1951-03-21 Bing Crosby Show (060) Guests Judy Garland with Les Paul and Mary Ford (Mindi)

Judy Garland and Friends - OTR Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2022 34:06


Judy Garland with Les Paul and Mary Ford!

About A Girl
Mary Ford and Les Paul

About A Girl

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2022 38:27 Very Popular


​​Mary Ford did more for Les Paul's career than most people know or care to admit. Before she met Les for a radio audition, Mary already had notoriety in the country scene as “Colleen Summers.” When the two musicians became entangled - both professionally and romantically - her plush vocals and quick pickin' made them one of the most popular acts in America. But Les' pride and workaholic lifestyle would eventually strip Mary not just of her love of music — but also the proper credit she deserved. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Rig Doctor Podcast: Tone Tips, Pedalboard Tricks, & Easy DIY Hacks

Chairmen of the Boards | Episode 18 Rating Your Pedalboard HOSTS: Grant Klassen (Goodwood Audio) - grant@goodwoodaudio.com Brian Omilion (Omilion Audio) - omilion@theguitarsanctuary.com Mason Marangella (Vertex Effects) - mason@vertexeffects.com WATCH ON YOUTUBE: 

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs

While I'm still on hiatus, I invited questions from listeners. This is an hour-long podcast answering some of them. (Another hour-long Q&A for Patreon backers only will go up next week). Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt's irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/ There is a Mixcloud of the music excerpted here which can be found at https://www.mixcloud.com/AndrewHickey/500-songs-supplemental-qa-edition/ Click below for a transcript: Hello and welcome to the Q&A  episode I'm doing while I'm working on creating a backlog. I'm making good progress on that, and still hoping and expecting to have episode 151 up some time in early August, though I don't have an exact date yet. I was quite surprised by the response to my request for questions, both at the amount of it and at where it came from. I initially expected to get a fair few comments on the main podcast, and a handful on the Patreon, and then I could do a reasonable-length Q&A podcast from the former and a shorter one from the latter. Instead, I only got a couple of questions on the main episode, but so many on the Patreon that I had to stop people asking only a day or so after posting the request for questions. So instead of doing one reasonable length podcast and one shorter one, I'm actually doing two longer ones. What I'm going to do is do all the questions asked publicly, plus all the questions that have been asked multiple times, in this one, then next week I'm going to put up the more niche questions just for Patreon backers. However, I'm not going to answer *all* of the questions. I got so many questions so quickly that there's not space to answer them all, and several of them were along the lines of "is artist X going to get an episode?" which is a question I generally don't answer -- though I will answer a couple of those if there's something interesting to say about them. But also, there are some I've not answered for another reason. As you may have noticed, I have a somewhat odd worldview, and look at the world from a different angle from most people sometimes. Now there were several questions where someone asked something that seems like a perfectly reasonable question, but contains a whole lot of hidden assumptions that that person hadn't even considered -- about music history, or about the process of writing and researching, or something else. Now, to answer that kind of question at all often means unpacking those hidden assumptions, which can sometimes make for an interesting answer -- after all, a lot of the podcast so far has been me telling people that what they thought they knew about music history was wrong -- but when it's a question being asked by an individual and you answer that way, it can sometimes, frankly, make you look like a horribly unpleasant person, or even a bully. "Don't you even know the most basic things about historical research? I do! You fool! Hey everyone else listening, this person thinks you do research in *this* way, but everyone knows you do it *that* way!" Now, that is never how I would intend such answers to come across -- nobody can be blamed for not knowing what they don't know -- but there are some questions where no matter how I phrased the answer, it came across sounding like that. I'll try to hold those over for future Q&A episodes if I can think of ways of unpicking the answers in such a way that I'm not being unconscionably rude to people who were asking perfectly reasonable questions. Some of the answers that follow might still sound a bit like that to be honest, but if you asked a question and my answer sounds like that to you, please know that it wasn't meant to. There's a lot to get through, so let's begin: Steve from Canada asks: “Which influential artist or group has been the most challenging to get information on in the last 50 podcasts? We know there has been a lot written about the Beatles, Beach Boys, Motown as an entity, the Monkees and the Rolling Stones, but you mentioned in a tweet that there's very little about some bands like the Turtles, who are an interesting story. I had never heard of Dino Valenti before this broadcast – but he appeared a lot in the last batch – so it got me curious. [Excerpt: The Move, “Useless Information”] In the last fifty episodes there's not been a single one that's made it to the podcast where it was at all difficult to get information. The problem with many of them is that there's *too much* information out there, rather than there not being enough. No matter how many books one reads on the Beatles, one can never read more than a fraction of them, and there's huge amounts of writing on the Rolling Stones, on Hendrix, on the Doors, on the Byrds... and when you're writing about those people, you *know* that you're going to miss out something or get something wrong, because there's one more book out there you haven't read which proves that one of the stories you're telling is false. This is one of the reasons the episodes have got so much longer, and taken so much more time. That wasn't the case in the first hundred episodes -- there were a lot of artists I covered there, like Gene and Eunice, or the Chords, or Jesse Belvin, or Vince Taylor who there's very little information about. And there are some coming up who there's far less information about than people in the last fifty episodes. But every episode since the Beatles has had a surfeit of information. There is one exception -- I wanted to do a full episode on "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass, because it would be an interesting lens through which to look at how Chess coped with the change in Black musical styles in the sixties. But there was so little information available about her I ended up relegating it to a Patreon bonus episode, because she makes those earlier artists look well-documented. Which leads nicely into the next question. Nora Tillman asks "Forgive this question if you've answered it before: is there literally a list somewhere with 500 songs you've chosen? Has the list changed since you first composed it? Also, when did you first conceive of this list?" [Excerpt: John Reed and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, "As Someday it May Happen"] Many people have asked this question, or variations upon it. The answer is yes and no. I made a list when I started that had roughly two hundred songs I knew needed to be on there, plus about the same number again of artists who needed to be covered but whose precise songs I hadn't decided on. To make the initial list I pulled a list out of my own head, and then I also checked a couple of other five-hundred-song lists -- the ones put out by Rolling Stone magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- not because I wanted to use their lists; I have very little time for rock critical orthodoxy, as most of my listeners will likely have realised by now, but because I wanted to double-check that I hadn't missed anything obvious out, and that if I was missing something off their lists, I knew *why* I was missing it. To take a ludicrous example, I wouldn't want to get to the end of the 1960s and have someone say "Wait a minute, what about the Beatles?" and think "I *knew* I'd forgotten something!" Then, at the start of each fifty-episode season, I put together a more rigorous list of the fifty songs coming up, in order. Those lists *can* still change with the research -- for example, very early on in the research for the podcast, I discovered that even though I was completely unfamiliar with "Ko Ko Mo" by Gene and Eunice, it was a hugely important and influential record at the time, and so I swapped that in for another song. Or more recently, I initially intended to have the Doors only have one episode, but when I realised how much I was having to include in that episode I decided to give them a second one. And sometimes things happen the other way -- I planned to do full episodes on Jackie Shane and Fontella Bass, but for both of them I couldn't find enough information to get a decent episode done, so they ended up being moved to Patreon episodes. But generally speaking that fifty-song list for a year's episodes is going to remain largely unchanged. I know where I'm going, I know what most of the major beats of the story are, but I'm giving myself enough flexibility to deviate if I find something I need to include. Connected with this, Rob Johnson asks how I can be confident I'll get back to some stories in later episodes. Well, like I say, I have a pretty much absolute idea of what I'm going to do in the next year, and there are a lot of individual episodes where I know the structure of the episode long before we get to it. As an example here... I don't want to give too much away, and I'm generally not going to be answering questions about "will artist X be appearing?", but Rob also asked about one artist. I can tell you that that artist is one who will not be getting a full episode -- and I already said in the Patreon episode about that artist that they won't -- but as I also said in that episode they *will* get a significant amount of time in another episode, which I now know is going to be 180, which will also deal with another artist from the same state with the same forename, even though it's actually about two English bands. I've had the structure of that episode planned out since literally before I started writing episode one. On the other hand, episode 190 is a song that wasn't originally going to be included at all. I was going to do a 1967 song by the same artist, but then found out that a fact I'd been going to use was disputed, which meant that track didn't need to be covered, but the artist still did, to finish off a story I'd started in a previous episode. Patrick asks:"I am currently in the middle of reading 1971: Never a Dull Moment by David Hepworth and I'm aware that Apple TV have produced a documentary on how music changed that year as well and I was wondering what your opinion on that subject matter? I imagine you will be going into some detail on future podcasts, but until recently I never knew people considered 1971 as a year that brought about those changes." [Excerpt: Rod Stewart, "Angel"] I've not yet read Hepworth's book, but that it's named after an album which came out in 1972 (which is the album that track we just heard came from) says something about how the idea that any one year can in itself be a turning point for music is a little overstated -- and the Apple documentary is based on Hepworth's book, so it's not really multiple people making that argument. Now, as it happens, 1971 is one of the break points for the podcast -- episodes 200 and 201 are both records from July 1971, and both records that one could argue were in their own way signifiers of turning points in rock music history. And as with 1967 it's going to have more than its fair share of records, as it bridges the gap of two seasons. But I think one could make similar arguments for many, many years, and 1971 is  not one of the most compelling cases. I can't say more before I read Hepworth's book, which won't be for a few months yet. I'm instinctively dubious of these "this year was the big year that changed everything" narratives, but Hepworth's a knowledgeable enough writer that I wouldn't want to dismiss his thesis without even reading the book. Roger Pannell asks I'm a fairly recent joiner-in too so you may have answered this before. What is the theme tune to the podcast please. [Excerpt: The Boswell Sisters, “Rock and Roll”] The theme song to the podcast is "Rock and Roll" by the Boswell Sisters. The version I use is not actually the version that was released as a single, but a very similar performance that was used in the film Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round in 1931. I chose it in part because it may well be the first ever record to contain the phrase "rock and roll" (though as I've said many times there's no first anything, and there are certainly many records which talk about rocking and/or rolling -- just none I know of with that phrase) so it evokes rock and roll history, partly because the recording is out of copyright, and partly just because I like the Boswell Sisters. Several people asked questions along the lines of this one from Christopher Burnett "Just curious if there's any future episodes planned on any non-UK or non-North American songs? The bonus episodes on the Mops and Kyu Sakamoto were fascinating." [Excerpt: Kyu Sakamoto, "Sukiyaki"] Sadly, there won't be as many episodes on musicians from outside the UK and North America as I'd like. The focus of the podcast is going to be firmly on British, American, Irish, and Canadian musicians, with a handful from other Anglophone countries like Australia and Jamaica. There *are* going to be a small number of episodes on non-Anglophone musicians, but very few. Sadly, any work of history which engages with injustices still replicates some of those injustices, and one of the big injustices in rock history is that most rock musicians have been very insular, and there has been very little influence from outside the Anglophone world, which means that I can't talk much about influential records made by musicians from elsewhere.  Also, in a lot of cases most of the writing about them is in other languages, and I'm shamefully monolingual (I have enough schoolboy French not to embarrass myself, but not enough to read a biography without a dictionary to hand, and that's it). There *will* be quite a few bonus episodes on musicians from non-Anglophone countries though, because this *is* something that I'm very aware of as a flaw, and if I can find ways of bringing the wider story into the podcast I will definitely do so, even if it means changing my plans somewhat, but I'm afraid they'll largely be confined to Patreon bonuses rather than mainline episodes. Ed Cunard asks "Is there a particular set of songs you're not looking forward to because you don't care for them, but intend to dive into due to their importance?" [Excerpt: Jackie Shane, "Don't Play That Song"] There are several, and there already have been some, but I'm not going to say what they are as part of anything to do with the podcast (sometimes I might talk about how much I hate a particular record on my personal Twitter account or something, but I try not to on the podcast's account, and I'm certainly not going to in an episode of the podcast itself). One of the things I try to do with the podcast is to put the case forward as to why records were important, why people liked them at the time, what they got out of them. I can't do that if I make it about my own personal tastes. I know for a fact that there are people who have come away from episodes on records I utterly despise saying "Wow! I never liked that record before, but I do now!" and that to me shows that I have succeeded -- I've widened people's appreciation for music they couldn't appreciate before. Of course, it's impossible to keep my own tastes from showing through totally, but even there people tend to notice much more my like or dislike for certain people rather than for their music, and I don't feel anything like as bad for showing that. So I have a policy generally of just never saying which records in the list I actually like and which I hate. You'll often be able to tell from things I talk about elsewhere, but I don't want anyone to listen to an episode and be prejudiced not only against the artist but against the episode  by knowing going in that I dislike them, and I also don't want anyone to feel like their favourite band is being given short shrift. There are several records coming up that I dislike myself but where I know people are excited about hearing the episode, and the last thing I want to do is have those people who are currently excited go in disappointed before they even hear it. Matt Murch asks: "Do you anticipate tackling the shift in rock toward harder, more seriously conceptual moves in 1969 into 1970, with acts like Led Zeppelin, The Who (again), Bowie, etc. or lighter soul/pop artists such as Donna Summer, Carly Simon or the Carpenters? Also, without giving too much away, is there anything surprising you've found in your research that you're excited to cover? [Excerpt: Robert Plant, "If I Were a Carpenter"] OK, for the first question... I don't want to say exactly who will and won't be covered in future episodes, because when I say "yes, X will be covered" or "no, Y will not be covered", it invites a lot of follow-up discussion along the lines of "why is X in there and not Y?" and I end up having to explain my working, when the episodes themselves are basically me explaining my working. What I will say is this... the attitude I'm taking towards who gets included and who gets excluded is, at least in part, influenced by an idea in cognitive linguistics called prototype theory. According to this theory, categories aren't strictly bounded like in Aristotelian thought -- things don't have strict essences that mean they definitely are or aren't members of categories. But rather, categories have fuzzy boundaries, and there are things at the centre that are the most typical examples of the category, and things at the border that are less typical. For example, a robin is a very "birdy" bird -- it's very near the centre of the category of bird, it has a lot of birdness -- while an ostrich is still a bird, but much less birdy, it's sort of in the fuzzy boundary area. When you ask people to name a bird, they're more likely to name a robin than an ostrich, and if you ask them “is an ostrich a bird?” they take longer to answer than they do when asked about robins. In the same way, a sofa is nearer the centre of the category of "furniture" than a wardrobe is. Now, I am using an exceptionally wide definition of what counts as rock music, but at the same time, in order for it to be a history of rock music, I do have to spend more time in the centre of the concept than around the periphery. My definition would encompass all the artists you name, but I'm pretty sure that everyone would agree that the first three artists you name are much closer to the centre of the concept of "rock music" than the last three. That's not to say anyone on either list is definitely getting covered or is definitely *not* getting covered -- while I have to spend more time in the centre than the periphery, I do have to spend some time on the periphery, and my hope is to cover as many subgenres and styles as I can -- but that should give an idea of how I'm approaching this. As for the second question -- there's relatively little that's surprising that I've uncovered in my research so far, but that's to be expected. The period from about 1965 through about 1975 is the most over-covered period of rock music history, and so the basic facts for almost every act are very, very well known to people with even a casual interest. For the stuff I'm doing in the next year or so, like the songs I've covered for the last year, it's unlikely that anything exciting will come up until very late in the research process, the times when I'm pulling everything together and notice one little detail that's out of place and pull on that thread and find the whole story unravelling. Which may well mean, of course, that there *are* no such surprising things. That's always a possibility in periods where we're looking at things that have been dealt with a million times before, and this next year may largely be me telling stories that have already been told. Which is still of value, because I'm putting them into a larger context of the already-released episodes, but we'll see if anything truly surprising happens. I certainly hope it does. James Kosmicki asks "Google Podcasts doesn't seem to have any of the first 100 episodes - are they listed under a different name perhaps?" [Excerpt: REM, "Disappear"] I get a number of questions like this, about various podcast apps and sites, and I'm afraid my answer is always the same -- there's nothing I can do about this, and it's something you'd have to take up with the site in question. Google Podcasts picks up episodes from the RSS feed I provide, the same as every other site or app. It's using the right feed, that feed has every episode in it, and other sites and apps are working OK with it. In general, I suggest that rather than streaming sites like Google Podcasts or Stitcher or Spotify, where the site acts as a middleman and they serve the podcast to you from their servers, people should use a dedicated podcast app like RadioPublic or Pocketcasts or gPodder, where rather than going from a library of podcast episodes that some third party has stored, you're downloading the files direct from the original server, but I understand that sometimes those apps are more difficult to use, especially for less tech-savvy people. But generally, if an episode is in some way faulty or missing on the 500songs.com webpage, that's something I can do something about. If it's showing up wrong on Spotify or Google Podcasts or Stitcher or whatever, that's a problem at their end. Sorry. Darren Johnson asks "were there any songs that surprised you? Which one made the biggest change between what you thought you knew and what you learned researching it?" [Excerpt: The Turtles, "Goodbye Surprise"] Well, there have been a few, in different ways. The most surprising thing for me actually was in the most recent episode when I discovered the true story behind the "bigger than Jesus" controversy during my reading. That was a story I'd known one way for my entire life -- literally I think I first read about that story when I was six or seven -- and it turned out that not one thing I'd read on the subject had explained what had really happened. But then there are other things like the story of "Ko Ko Mo", which was a record I wasn't even planning on covering at first, but which turned out to be one of the most important records of the fifties. But I actually get surprised relatively little by big-picture things. I'll often discover fun details or new connections between things I hadn't noticed before, but the basic outlines of the story never change that much -- I've been reading about music history literally since I learned how to read, and while I do a deep dive for each episode, it's very rare that I discover anything that totally changes my perspective. There is always a process of reevaluation going on, and a change in the emphases in my thought, so for example when I started the project I knew Johnny Otis would come up a fair bit in the early years, and knew he was a major figure, but was still not giving him the full credit he deserved in my head. The same goes for Jesse Belvin, and as far as background figures go Lester Sill and Milt Gabler. But all of these were people I already knew were important, i just hadn't connected all the dots in my head. I've also come to appreciate some musicians more than I did previously. But there are very few really major surprises, which is probably to be expected -- I got into this already knowing a *LOT*, because otherwise I wouldn't have thought this was a project I could take on. Tracey Germa -- and I'm sorry, I don't know if that's pronounced with a hard or soft G, so my apologies if I mispronounced it -- asks: "Hi Andrew. We love everything about the podcast, but are especially impressed with the way you couch your trigger warnings and how you embed social commentary into your analysis of the music. You have such a kind approach to understanding human experiences and at the same time you don't balk at saying the hard things some folks don't want to hear about their music heroes. So, the question is - where does your social justice/equity/inclusion/suffer no fools side come from? Your family? Your own experiences? School/training?” [Excerpt: Elvis Costello and the Attractions, "Little Triggers"] Well, firstly, I have to say that people do say  this kind of thing to me quite a lot, and I'm grateful when they say it, but I never really feel comfortable with it, because frankly I think I do very close to the absolute minimum, and I get by because of the horribly low expectations our society has for allocishet white men, which means that making even the tiniest effort possible to be a decent human being looks far more impressive by comparison than it actually is. I genuinely think I don't do a very good job of this at all, although I do try, and that's not false modesty there. But to accept the premise of the question for a moment, there are a couple of answers. My parents are both fairly progressive both politically and culturally,  for the time and place where they raised me. They both had strong political convictions, and while they didn't have access to much culture other than what was on TV or in charting records or what have you -- there was no bookshop or record shop in our town, and obviously no Internet back then -- they liked the stuff out of that mix that was forward-thinking, and so was anti-racist, accepting of queerness, and so on. From a very early age, I was listening to things like "Glad to be Gay" by the Tom Robinson Band. So from before I really even understood what those concepts were, I knew that the people I admired thought that homophobia and racism were bad things. I was also bullied a lot at school, because I was autistic and fat and wore glasses and a bunch of other reasons. So I hated bullying and never wanted to be a bully. I get very, very, *very* angry at cruelty and at abuses of power -- as almost all autistic people do, actually. And then, in my twenties and thirties, for a variety of reasons I ended up having a social circle that was predominantly queer and/or disabled and/or people with mental health difficulties. And when you're around people like that, and you don't want to be a bully, you learn to at least try to take their feelings into consideration, though I slipped up a great deal for a long time, and still don't get everything right. So that's the "social justice" side of things. The other side, the "understanding human experiences" side... well, everyone has done awful things at times, and I would hope that none of us would be judged by our worst behaviours. "Use every man to his desert and who should 'scape whipping?" and all that. But that doesn't mean those worst behaviours aren't bad, and that they don't hurt people, and denying that only compounds the injustice. People are complicated, societies are complicated, and everyone is capable of great good and great evil. In general I tend to avoid a lot of the worst things the musicians I talk about did, because the podcast *is* about the music, but when their behaviour affects the music, or when I would otherwise be in danger of giving a truly inaccurate picture of someone, I have to talk about those things. You can't talk about Jerry Lee Lewis without talking about how his third marriage derailed his career, you can't talk about Sam Cooke without talking about his death, and to treat those subjects honestly you have to talk about the reprehensible sides of their character. Of course, in the case of someone like Lewis, there seems to be little *but* a reprehensible side, while someone like Cooke could be a horrible, horrible person, but even the people he hurt the most also loved him dearly because of his admirable qualities. You *have* to cover both aspects of someone like him if you want to be honest, and if you're not going to be honest why bother trying to do history at all? Lester Dragstedt says (and I apologise if I mispronounced that): "I absolutely love this podcast and the perspective you bring. My only niggle is that the sound samples are mixed so low. When listening to your commentary about a song at voice level my fingers are always at the volume knob to turn up when the song comes in." [Excerpt: Bjork, "It's Oh So Quiet"] This is something that gets raised a lot, but it's not something that's ever going to change. When I started the podcast, I had the music levels higher, and got complaints about that, so I started mixing them lower. I then got complaints about *that*, so I did a poll of my Patreon backers to see what they thought, and by about a sixty-forty margin they wanted the levels to be lower, as they are now, rather than higher as they were earlier. Basically, there seem to be two groups of listeners. One group mostly listens with headphones, and doesn't like it when the music gets louder, because it hurts their ears. The other group mostly listens in their cars, and the music gets lost in the engine noise. That's a gross oversimplification, and there are headphone listeners who want the music louder and car listeners who want the music quieter, but the listenership does seem to split roughly that way, and there are slightly more headphone listeners. Now, it's literally *impossible* for me to please everyone, so I've given up trying with this, and it's *not* going to change. Partly because the majority of my backers voted one way, partly because it's just easier to leave things the way they are rather than mess with them given that no matter what I do someone will be unhappy, and partly because both Tilt when he edits the podcast and I when I listen back and tweak his edit are using headphones, and *we* don't want to hurt our ears either. Eric Peterson asks "if we are basically in 1967 that is when we start seeing Country artists like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings - the Man who Survived the Day the Music Died - start to bring more rock songs into their recordings and start to set the ground work in many ways for Country Rock ... how do you envision bringing the role they play in the History of Rock and Roll into the podcast?" [Excerpt: The Del McCoury Band, "Nashville Cats"] I will of course be dealing with country rock as one of the subgenres I discuss -- though there's only one real country-rock track coming up in the next fifty, but there'll be more as I get into the seventies, and there are several artists coming up with at least some country influence. But I won't be looking at straight country musicians like Jennings or Cash except through the lens of rock musicians they inspired -- things like me talking about Johnny Cash briefly in the intro to the "Hey Joe" episode. I think Cocaine and Rhinestones is already doing a better job of covering country music than I ever could, and so those people will only touch the story tangentially. Nili Marcia says: "If one asks a person what's in that room it would not occur to one in 100 to mention the air that fills it. Something so ubiquitous as riff--I don't know what a riff actually is! Will you please define riff, preferably with examples." Now this is something I actually thought I'd explained way back in episode one, and I have a distinct memory of doing so, but I must have cut that part out -- maybe I recorded it so badly that part couldn't be salvaged, which happened sometimes in the early days -- because I just checked and there's no explanation there. I would have come back to this at some point if I hadn't been thinking all along that I'd covered it right at the start, because you're right, it is a term that needs definition. A riff is, simply, a repeated, prominent, instrumental figure. The term started out in jazz, and there it was a term for a phrase that would be passed back and forth between different instruments -- a trumpet might play a phrase, then a saxophone copy it, then back to the trumpet, then back to the saxophone. But quickly it became a term for a repeated figure that becomes the main accompaniment part of a song, over which an instrumentalist might solo or a singer might sing, but which you remember in its own right. A few examples of well-known riffs might include "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple: [Excerpt: Deep Purple, "Smoke on the Water"] "I Feel Fine" by the Beatles: [Excerpt: The Beatles, "I Feel Fine"] "Last Train to Clarksville" by the Monkees: [Excerpt: The Monkees, "Last Train to Clarksville"] The bass part in “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie: [Excerpt: Queen and David Bowie, “Under Pressure”] Or the Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie": [Excerpt: The Kingsmen, "Louie Louie"] Basically, if you can think of a very short, prominent, instrumental idea that gets repeated over and over, that's a riff. Erik Pedersen says "I love the long episodes and I suspect you do too -- thoroughness. of this kind is something few get the opportunity to do -- but have you ever, after having written a long one, decided to cut them significantly? Are there audio outtakes you might string together one day?" [Excerpt: Bing Crosby and Les Paul, "It's Been a Long, Long Time"] I do like *having* done the long episodes, and sometimes I enjoy doing them, but other times I find it frustrating that an episode takes so long, because there are other stories I want to move on to. I'm trying for more of a balance over the next year, and we'll see how that works out. I want to tell the story in the depth it deserves, and the longer episodes allow me to do that, and to experiment with narrative styles and so on, but I also want to get the podcast finished before I die of old age. Almost every episode has stuff that gets cut, but it's usually in the writing or recording stage -- I'll realise a bit of the episode is boring and just skip it while I'm recording, or I'll cut out an anecdote or something because it looks like it's going to be a flabby episode and I want to tighten it up, or sometimes I'll realise that because of my mild speech impediments a sentence is literally unspeakable, and I'll rework it. It's very, very rare that I'll cut anything once it's been recorded, and if I do it's generally because when I listen back after it's been edited I'll realise I'm repeating myself or I made a mistake and need to cut a sentence because I said the wrong name, that sort of thing. I delete all the audio outtakes, but even if I didn't there would be nothing worth releasing. A few odd, out of context sentences, the occasional paragraph just repeating something I'd already said, a handful of actual incorrect facts, and a lot of me burping, or trying to say a difficult name three times in a row, or swearing when the phone rings in the middle of a long section. Lucy Hewitt says "Something that interests me, and that I'm sure you will cover is how listeners consume music and if that has an impact. In my lifetime we've moved from a record player which is fixed in one room to having a music collection with you wherever you go, and from hoping that the song you want to hear might be played on the radio to calling it up whenever you want. Add in the rise of music videos, and MTV, and the way in which people access music has changed a lot over the decades. But has that affected the music itself?" [Excerpt: Bow Wow Wow "C30 C60 C90 Go!"] It absolutely has affected the music itself in all sorts of ways, some of which I've touched on already and some of which I will deal with as we go through the story, though the story I'm telling will end around the time of Napster and so won't involve streaming services and so forth. But every technology change leads to a change in the sound of music in both obvious and non-obvious ways. When AM radio was the most dominant form of broadcasting, there was no point releasing singles in stereo, because at that time there were no stereo AM stations. The records also had to be very compressed, so the sound would cut through the noise and interference. Those records would often be very bass-heavy and have a very full, packed, sound. In the seventies, with the rise of eight-track players, you'd often end up with soft-rock and what would later get termed yacht rock having huge success. That music, which is very ethereal and full of high frequencies, is affected less negatively by some of the problems that came with eight-track players, like the tape stretching slightly. Then post-1974 and the OPEC oil crisis, vinyl became more expensive, which meant that records started being made much thinner, which meant you couldn't cut grooves as deeply, which meant you lost bass response, which again changed the sound of records – and also explains why when CDs came out, people started thinking they sounded better than records, because they *did* sound better than the stuff that was being pressed in the late seventies and early eighties, which was so thin it was almost transparent, even though they sounded nowhere near as good as the heavy vinyl pressings of the fifties and sixties. And then the amount of music one could pack into a CD encouraged longer tracks... A lot of eighties Hi-NRG and dance-pop music, like the records made by Stock, Aitken, and Waterman, has almost no bass but lots of skittering high-end percussion sounds -- tons of synthesised sleighbells and hi-hats and so on -- because a lot of disco equipment had frequency-activated lights, and the more high-end stuff was going on, the more the disco lights flashed... We'll look at a lot of these changes as we go along, but every single new format, every new way of playing an old format, every change in music technology, changes what music gets made quite dramatically. Lucas Hubert asks: “Black Sabbath being around the corner, how do you plan on dealing with Heavy Metal? I feel like for now, what is popular and what has had a big impact in Rock history coincide. But that kind of change with metal, no? (Plus, prog and metal are more based on albums than singles, I think.)” [Excerpt: Black Sabbath, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”] I plan on dealing with metal the same way I've been dealing with every other subgenre. We are, yes, getting into a period where influence and commercial success don't correlate quite as firmly as they did in the early years -- though really we've already been there for quite some time. I've done two episodes so far on the Byrds, a group who only had three top-twenty singles in the US and two in the UK, but only did a bonus episode on Herman's Hermits, who had fourteen in the US and seventeen in the UK. I covered Little Richard but didn't cover Pat Boone, even though Boone had the bigger hits with Richard's songs. In every subgenre there are going to be massive influences who had no hits, and people who had lots of hits but didn't really make much of a wider impact on music, and I'll be dealing with the former more than the latter. But also, I'll be dealing most with people who were influential *and* had lots of hits -- if nothing else because while influence and chart success aren't a one-to-one correlation, they're still somewhat correlated. So it's unlikely you'll see me cover your favourite Scandinavian Black Metal band who only released one album of which every copy was burned in a mysterious fire two days after release, but you can expect most of the huge names in metal to be covered. Though even there, simply because of the number of subgenres I'm going to cover, I'm going to miss some big ones. Related to the question about albums, Svennie asks “This might be a bit of a long winded question so just stick with me here. As the music you cover becomes more elaborate, and the albums become bigger in scale, how do you choose a song which you build the story around while also telling the story of that album? I ask this specifically with the White Album in mind, where you've essentially got four albums in one. To that end, what song would you feel defines the White Album?” [Excerpt: The Beatles, “Revolution #9”] Well, you'll see how I cover the White Album in episode one hundred and seventy-two -- we're actually going to have quite a long stretch with no Beatles songs covered because I'm going to backfill a lot of 1967 and then we're getting to the Beatles again towards the end of 1968, but it'll be another big one when we get there. But in the general case... the majority of albums to come still had singles released off them, and a lot of what I'm going to be looking at in the next year or two is still hit singles, even if the singles are by people known as album bands. Other times, a song wasn't a single, but maybe it was covered by someone else -- if I know I'm going to cover a rock band and I also know that one of the soul artists who would do rock covers as album tracks did a version of one of their songs, and I'm going to cover that soul artist, say, then if I do the song that artist covered I can mention it in the episode on the soul singer and tie the two episodes together a bit. In other cases there's a story behind a particular track that's more interesting than other tracks, or the track is itself a cover version of someone else's record, which lets me cover both artists in a single episode, or it's the title track of the album. A lot of people have asked me this question about how I'd deal with albums as we get to the late sixties and early seventies, but looking at the list of the next fifty episodes, there's actually only two where I had to think seriously about which song I chose from an album -- in one case, I chose the title track, in the other case I just chose the first song on the album (though in that case I may end up choosing another song from the same album if I end up finding a way to make that a more interesting episode). The other forty-eight were all very, very obvious choices. Gary Lucy asks “Do you keep up with contemporary music at all? If so, what have you been enjoying in 2022 so far…and if not, what was the most recent “new” album you really got into?” [Excerpt: Stew and the Negro Problem, "On the Stage of a Blank White Page"] I'm afraid I don't. Since I started doing the podcast, pretty much all of my listening time has been spent on going back to much older music, and even before that, when I was listening to then-new music it was generally stuff that was very much inspired by older music, bands like the Lemon Twigs, who probably count as the last new band I really got into with their album Do Hollywood, which came out in 2016 but which I think I heard in 2018. I'm also now of that age where 2018 seems like basically yesterday, and when I keep thinking "what relatively recent albums have I liked?" I think of things like The Reluctant Graveyard by Jeremy Messersmith, which is from 2010, or Ys by Joanna Newsom, which came out in 2006. Not because I haven't bought records released since then, but because my sense of time is so skewed that summer 1994 and summer 1995 feel like epochs apart, hugely different times in every way, but every time from about 2005 to 2020 is just "er... a couple of years ago? Maybe?" So without going through every record I've bought in the last twenty years and looking at the release date I couldn't tell you what still counts as contemporary and what's old enough to vote. I have recently listened a couple of times to an album by a band called Wet Leg, who are fairly new, but other than that I can't say. But probably the most recent albums to become part of my regular listening rotation are two albums which came out simultaneously in 2018 by Stew and the Negro Problem, Notes of a Native Song, which is a song cycle about James Baldwin and race in America, and The Total Bent, which is actually the soundtrack to a stage musical, and which I think many listeners to the podcast might find interesting, and which is what that last song excerpt was taken from. It's basically a riff on the idea of The Jazz Singer, but set in the Civil Rights era, and about a young politically-radical Black Gospel songwriter who writes songs for his conservative preacher father to sing, but who gets persuaded to become a rock and roll performer by a white British record producer who fetishises Black music. It has a *lot* to say about religion, race, and politics in America -- a couple of the song titles, to give you some idea, are "Jesus Ain't Sitting in the Back of the Bus" and "That's Why He's Jesus and You're Not, Whitey". It's a remarkable album, and it deals with enough of the same subjects I've covered here that I think any listeners will find it interesting. Unfortunately, it was released through the CDBaby store, which closed down a few months later, and unlike most albums released through there it doesn't seem to have made its way onto any of the streaming platforms or digital stores other than Apple Music, which rather limits its availability. I hope it comes out again soon. Alec Dann says “I haven't made it to the Sixties yet so pardon if you have covered this: what was the relationship between Sun and Stax in their heyday? Did musicians work in both studios?” [Excerpt: Booker T. and the MGs, "Green Onions"] I've covered this briefly in a couple of the episodes on Stax, but the short version is that Sun was declining just as Stax was picking up. Jim Stewart, who founded Stax, was inspired in part by Sam Phillips, and there was a certain amount of cross-fertilisation, but not that much. Obviously Rufus Thomas recorded for both labels, and there were a few other connections -- Billy Lee Riley, for example, who I did an episode on for his Sun work, also recorded at the Stax studio before going on to be a studio musician in LA, and it was actually at a Billy Lee Riley session that went badly that Booker T and the MGs recorded "Green Onions". Also, Sun had a disc-cutting machine and Stax didn't, so when they wanted to get an acetate cut to play for DJs they'd take it to Sun -- it was actually Scotty Moore, who was working for Sun as a general engineer and producer as well as playing RCA Elvis sessions by 1962, who cut the first acetate copy of "Green Onions". But in general the musicians playing at Stax were largely the next generation of musicians -- people who'd grown up listening to the records Sam Phillips had put out in the very early fifties by Black musicians, and with very little overlap. Roger Stevenson asks "This project is going to take the best part of 7 years to complete. Do you have contingency plans in case of major problems? And please look after yourself - this project is gong to be your legacy." [Excerpt: Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, "Button Up Your Overcoat"] I'm afraid there's not much I can do if major problems come up -- by major problems I'm talking about things that prevent me from making the podcast altogether, like being unable to think or write or talk. By its nature, the podcast is my writing and my research and my voice, and if I can't do those things... well, I can't do them. I *am* trying to build in some slack again -- that's why this month off has happened -- so I can deal with delays and short-term illnesses and other disruptions, but if it becomes impossible to do it becomes impossible to do, and there's nothing more I can do about it. Mark Lipson asks "I'd like to know which episodes you've released have been the most & least popular? And going forward, which episodes do you expect to be the most popular? Just curious to know what music most of your listeners listen to and are interested in." [Excerpt: Sly and the Family Stone, "Somebody's Watching You"] I'm afraid I honestly don't know. Most podcasters have extensive statistical tools available to them, which tell them which episodes are most popular, what demographics are listening to the podcast, where they are in the world, and all that kind of thing. They use that information to sell advertising spots, which is how they make most of their money. You can say "my podcast is mostly listened to by seventy-five year-olds who google for back pain relief -- the perfect demographic for your orthopedic mattresses" or "seven thousand people who downloaded my latest episode also fell for at least one email claiming to be from the wallet inspector last year, so my podcast is listened to by the ideal demographic for cryptocurrency investment". Now, I'm lucky enough to be making enough money from my Patreon supporters' generosity that I don't have to sell advertising, and I hope I never do have to. I said at the very start of the process that I would if it became necessary, but that I hoped to keep it ad-free, and people have frankly been so astonishingly generous I should never have to do ads -- though I do still reserve the right to change my mind if the support drops off. Now, my old podcast host gave me access to that data as standard. But when I had to quickly change providers, I decided that I wasn't going to install any stats packages to keep track of people. I can see a small amount of information about who actually visits the website, because wordpress.com gives you that information – not your identities but just how many people come from which countries, and what sites linked them. But if you're downloading the podcast through a podcast app, or listening through Spotify or Stitcher or wherever, I've deliberately chosen not to access that data. I don't need to know who my audience is, or which episodes they like the most -- and if I did, I have a horrible feeling I'd start trying to tailor the podcast to be more like what the existing listeners like, and by doing so lose the very things that make it unique. Once or twice a month I'll look at the major podcast charts, I check the Patreon every so often to see if there's been a massive change in subscriber numbers, but other than that I decided I'm just not going to spy on my listeners (though pretty much every other link in the chain does, I'm afraid, because these days the entire Internet is based on spying on people). So the only information I have is the auto-generated "most popular episodes" thing that comes up on the front page, which everyone can see, and which shows the episodes people who actually visit the site are listening to most in the last few days, but which doesn't count anything from more than a few days ago, and which doesn't count listens from any other source, and which I put there basically so new listeners can see which ones are popular. At the moment that's showing that the most listened episodes recently are the two most recent full episodes -- "Respect" and "All You Need is Love" -- the most recent of the Pledge Week episodes, episodes one and two, so people are starting at the beginning, and right now there's also the episodes on "Ooby Dooby", "Needles and Pins", "God Only Knows", "She Loves You" and "Hey Joe". But in a couple of days' time those last five will be totally different. And again, that's just the information from people actually visiting the podcast website. I've deliberately chosen not to know what people listening in any other way are doing -- so if you've decided to just stream that bit of the Four Tops episode where I do a bad Bob Dylan impression five thousand times in a row, you can rest assured I have no idea you're doing it and your secret is totally safe. Anyway, that's all I have time for in this episode. In a week or so I'll post a similar-length episode for Patreon backers only, and then a week or two after that the regular podcast will resume, with a story involving folk singers, jazz harmony, angelic visitations and the ghost of James Dean. See you then.