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Start of Year quiz

2018 Start of Year Quiz

Well, this year, given the way Christmas and New Year fall, the quiz will take place on Saturday 6th Jaunary 2018.

Once again it will be at the usual venue, the Shamrock club in Welwyn Garden City. Times are slightly later than last year with the doors opening at 4pm and the quiz starts at five, so hopefully, those who work on a Saturday may get a chance to join us.

As always, there will be a hot and cold buffet served at half time followed by a raffle.

The tickets, which will be limited to the first 150 people, will be the same price as last year at £7.50 and tickets must be purchased in advance either personally at any of my venues or by contacting me via my website. They can be paid for by cheque (if anyone still has a cheque book) or via online banking this will include a charge of 56p for postage but if you’re paying via Paypal this will incorporate their charges (TBC). Tickets CANNOT be bought on the day.

Tickets will be on sale from Tuesday 14th November.

The ticket deadline is Christmas Eve as I will be out of the country between Christmas and New Year and I have to advise the caterers accordingly.

For further details please contact me via the website.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll pioneer, Fats Domino dies at 89.

Whenever anyone talks about the giants of rock ‘n’ roll, they always mention Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and, of course, Elvis Presley, but blasphemously, Fats Domino doesn’t get mentioned anywhere near as much. He was a pioneer and there before all of the aforementioned.

Domino was one of the first artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, according to Rolling Stone magazine, he was reportedly only second to Presley in record sales in the fifties thanks due to a string of 11 top 10 hits between 1955 and 1960. He became a massive influence on many rock acts including John Lennon, Cheap Trick and Led Zeppelin.

He was born Antoine Domino in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1928 and learned piano from an early age. By the time he got to his teens he was already performing in a number of New Orleans bars. He dropped out of school but, like many budding musicians of that time, needed some extra money, so he got a job in a bed-spring factory. In 1947, at the age of

19, he was spotted by a local bandleader called Billy Diamond who invited Antoine to join his band. It was Diamond who nicknamed him ‘Fats’ as a homage to the 20s and 30s jazz pianist Fats Waller. Diamond also announced to a crown one night, “I call him ‘Fats,’ ‘cause if he keeps eating, he’s going to be just as big!”

In 1949, he signed to Imperial records and his first recording was a song called The Fat Man, a happy celebration of his size, which eventually sold over a million copies. He recorded a number of songs, very much in a piano-based rock ‘n’ roll style and then, in early fifties he teamed up with producer and songwriter Dave Bartholomew and the pair formed a long-term partnership. In 1955, he crossed over into mainstream pop with his first US hit being Ain’t That a Shame which reached number 10. In the UK it was his third hit but stalled at number 23. We clearly weren’t ready for him yet. His first UK hit was I’m In Love Again. He will probably always be best remember for his second UK hit, Blueberry Hill which originally peaked at  number 26 here, then on re-entry made number six, however, it made number two in the States and was originally recorded by the Sammy Kaye Orchestra in 1940. Numerous people have recorded it including Glenn Miller, Gene Autry, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, Pat Boone, The Beach Boys and Elton John.

In 1959 a singer called Ernest Evans came on the scene and one night was performing a Fats Domino impression, when he finished Dick Clark’s wife asked him what his name was and he replied, “My friends call me ‘Chubby'” to which she asked, “As in Checker?” Their thinking was that chubby meant fat, and checkers was like dominoes and so from then on he was known as Chubby Checker.

Fats scored a staggering 77 hits on Billboard top 100 singles chart between 1955 and 1968, his last being a cover of Lady Madonna which peaked at number 100. In the UK he managed 22 hits.

After the hits he continued to tour and made cameo appearance in various films but by 1980 he’d had enough touring and moving around the world and decided to stay in his birth State explaining he couldn’t get the food he liked most anywhere other than at home. He occasionally ventured out for a few live shows his last being a three-week tour of Europe in 1995. In 1987 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1998, he received the National Medal of Arts which was presented to him by President Bill Clinton.

In August 2005 in was announced in the US press that Fats had died because his home was flooded and damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Fats refused to move because of his wife’s failing health. No one had heard from him for a while and someone decided to spray ‘RIP Fats. You will be missed’ on the wall of his house which the press believed. The truth only came out after CNN announced that a coast guard had rescued the Domino family and taken them to a shelter in Baton Rouge. The disaster gave Fats a new lease of life and he recorded a new album called Alive and Kickin’. He lost most of his possessions but a number were replaced. His record company replaced all his gold records and President George W. Bush personally presented his with another National Medal of Arts.

His wanted his house to be rebuilt as he loved his home, but in the meantime, returned to performing in 2007, the same year he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and also the year a 30-track all-star Domino tribute album called Goin’ Home was released and featured Blueberry Hill (Elton John), I’m Walkin’ (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), Ain’t That A Shame (John Lennon) and I Hear you Knocking (Willie Nelson). Virtually every song on there was written by Fats and Dave Bartholomew.

Fats died of natural causes on 24th October aged 89, Dave Bartholomew said of him, “He is just like the cornerstone — you build a new church and you lay the cornerstone, and if the church burns down the cornerstone is still there.” Dave Bartholomew was born 10 years before Fats and will be (hopefully) celebrating his 99th birthday on Christmas Eve.

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Tom Petty is dead at 66

 

Today, Tom Petty’s backing band’s name became very apt when we heard the news that Tom Petty had died aged just 66. He had been in good health because just two weeks ago Tom and the Heartbreakers had completed a 40th anniversary tour concluding with a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Tom was born Thomas Earl Petty in Gainesville, Florida on October 20 1950 and his interest in music began in 1960 when he was fortunate enough to meet Elvis Presley. He dropped out of High School to join the band Mudcrutch. He said in a 2006 interview with Fresh Air, “The minute I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show — and it’s true of thousands of guys — there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you’re a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports. I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here’s something I could do. I knew I could do it. It wasn’t long before there were groups springing up in garages all over the place.”

He decided to learn guitar and one of his early teachers was former Eagle Don Felder. In 1976 he formed a band that called The Epics which later evolved into the Heartbreakers, the band included his long-term keyboard player Benmont Tench and guitarist Mike Campbell to whom Tom once said “You’re gonna be in my band forever” after he saw him perform a version of Johnny B. Goode. The other two members in the original line-up were Ron Blair on bass and Stan Lynch on drums. In a 2017 interview in Rolling Stone, Campbell said, “We grew up together and we love playing together more than playing with anybody else. We’ve been through so much together. I don’t want to name names, but a lot of bands go out together and they just don’t like each other. They’re making a lot of money and just clocking in. We’ve never been like that, and we have a chemistry and a telepathy between us that is really rare.”

He first hit the US came in November 1977 with Breakdown but had to wait two years for his first top 10 hit which was Don’t Do Me Like That. He charted 28 American hit singles, the biggest being Free Fallin’ which reached number seven in 1989. In the UK his chart career was less successful first appearing in 1977 with Anything That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll which got to 36, but his biggest UK hit was I Won’t Back Down which peaked at number 28 in 1989 and featured George Harrison on backing vocals. Clearly 1989 was his best year.

In addition to his career with and without the Heartbreakers, he was, in 1988, invited to join the Traveling Wilbury’s, a supergroup that included Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Bob Dylan. Their debut single, Handle With Care, was co-written by all members and originally intended as a b side to a George Harrison single, but the record company decided it was too good to be tucked away on the flip, so decided to release it as an a side and it went to number 21. The track was produced by Otis & Nelson Wilbury who were Jeff Lynne and George Harrison respectively. Roy was known as Lefty, Dylan as Lucky or Boo and Tom was Charlie T. Jr. or Muddy Wilbury. Their follow-up, End of the Line nearly was because, bizarrely, it stalled at number 52.

In 2002 he released the brilliant album The Last DJ, which fairly criticised the music industry of being greedy and belittling its worth by using half dressed women in video’s to sell music. The title track was very much in the vein of Harry Chapin’s W.O.L.D and Mark Germino’s Rex Bob Lowenstein which both had a fair swipe at radio for becoming bland and boring and playing almost non-stop pop songs as well as losing the personality DJ.

In 2007 he was one of a number of artists who recorded a tribute album to Fats Domino who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina. Tom recorded I’m Walkin’ and all money raised helped to pay for new musical instruments a various schools in New Orleans.

In 2014, Tom charted his 18th UK album with Hypnotic Eye which gave him his second highest charting album and his first top 10 studio album since 1991’s Into the Great Wide Open. The American TV station TMZ were, as usual, the first to break the news and reported that Tom had suffered a full cardiac arrest and was found unconscious and not breathing in his Malibu home Sunday night. He was on a life-support machine but he was taken off it when he was showing no sign of brain activity.

Towards the end of the recent tour he gave an interview to Rolling Stone saying, “It’s very likely we’ll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don’t think so. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one. We’re all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that’s a lot of time.”

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Country legend Glen Campbell dies

He was often referred to as a country singer despite the fact that he’d done a bit of everything, but he one once said, “I’m not a country singer per se I’m a country boy who sings.”

Like Johnny Cash, his career began in the fifties on the rock ‘n’ roll scene after his uncle Boo taught him guitar. He was born in Arkansas but moved to Albuquerque in 1954 because he wanted to join his uncle’s band who were called Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. Four years later he formed his own band called the Western Wranglers. He toured with the Champs who were riding high in the charts with Tequila but then two years later, in 1960, he became a member.

He had a natural talent for song writing and in 1961, now living in Los Angeles, he got a daytime job in a music publishing company where he spent all day writing songs and recording demos. On the back of that he became a much in-demand session and joined the Wrecking Crew, a bunch of session musicians which included keyboard players Leon Russell, Larry Knechtel (who joined Bread in the seventies), female bass player Carol Kaye and prolific drummer Hal Blaine. Together they played on a stack of his recorded by The Mama’s and the Papas, Sonny and Cher, The Byrds, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, the Monkees, the Beach Boys and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound Orchestra.

He signed with Capitol records in 1962 and released a few unsuccessful singles. A real break came, albeit short-lived in December 1964 when he briefly became a touring-only member of the Beach Boys standing in for Brian Wilson. He was invited to play on their Pet Sounds album in 1966.

As an in-demand session musician he never knew where or when he’d be required and, indeed, what he’d be playing, he once said in an interview with the Associated press, “We’d get the rock ‘n’ roll guys and play all that, then we’d get Sinatra and Dean Martin, that was a kick, I really enjoyed that. I didn’t want to go nowhere. I was making more money than I ever made just doing studio work.”

His recordings for Capitol weren’t successful and the label were considering dropping him, but in a last-ditch attempt for success they teamed him up with producer Al De Lory. The pair wrote a song called Burning Bridges and landed themselves a top 20 country hit. Al found a song by John Hartford called Gentle on My Mind which gave Glen his first Billboard top 40 single, it didn’t chart in the UK but a cover by Dean Martin, two years later, made number two. His follow-up, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, was the first of many tracks he recorded that were written by Jimmy Webb. Others included Wichita Lineman, his first UK hit, Galveston, Honey Come Back and the superb Where’s The Playground Susie.

Glen continued with a successful solo career and had further UK hits with All I Have To Do Is Dream, a duet with label-mate Bobbie Gentry, Everything A Man Could Ever Need, It’s Only Make Believe, a cover of Roy Orbison’s Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) and his most successful hit, Rhinestone Cowboy which reached number one in the States and number four in UK. His last UK hit was the follow-up, the Allen Toussaint song Southern Nights which also topped the US singles chart.

Like many musicians, Glen suffered a little bit with the fame and turned to drink and drugs and during the 1980s indulged in a turbulent relationship with the country singer Tanya Tucker. He continued to record country albums and released nine albums during the decade. In the 1990s he turned his attention to gospel music and released a number on CDs.

In 1994 he wrote his autobiography called Rhinestone Cowboy. He admitted that when he first heard the song, as originally recorded by Larry Weiss in 1974, he said, “I thought it was my autobiography set to song.”

In 2011 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but instead of shying away from the limelight, he made it publicly known and recorded a farewell album called Ghost on the Canvas which included contributions from Bob Dylan’s son Jacob, Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins and Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick. The majority of the songs were Campbell’s own compositions. It wasn’t his last album, As soon as Ghost on the Canvas was completed he also recorded another album called See You There, incidentally his 63rd, which contained new versions on many of his classic hits, but it was purposely held back to coincide with a Farewell tour Glen was planning.

On completing the tour, he wanted to record one final album. In an interview, his wife Kim said, “Glen wanted to preserve what magic was left,” and showcased in what would be his final recordings. That album was poignantly called Adiós and featured A Thing Called Love, Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, it’s All Right, Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’ and a duet with Willie Nelson on Funny How Time Slips Away. That album reached number three, his highest ever charting, non-compilation album. It must be mentioned that Glen went down the same route and Pat Boone and Paul Anka and recording an album of unusual rock cover versions. Pat did it with Pat Boone Rocks in 2009 and Anka with Rock Swings in 2005, Glen released Meet Glen Campbell in 2008 and featured covers of the Foo Fighters’ Times like These, U2’s All I Want Is You and an excellent version of Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).

Glen died on 8th August and is survived by his fourth wife Kim and their children Cal, Shannon and Ashley. Additionally he has five children from previous marriages and 10 grandchildren.

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Rock ‘N’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dies

Elvis may have been the first rock ‘n’ roll heart throb and Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston may be accepted as the first rock ‘n’ roll record, but Chuck Berry was the master and the first true pioneer that so many musicians, to this day, hold in the highest regard.

The thousands of Tweets accurately say it all; Sting said, “Without Chuck Berry, there’s no Rolling Stones, there’s no Beatles, there’s no me. He was an incredibly influential musician and amazing lyricist,” Bruce Springsteen said, “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” Rod Stewart concurred, “It started with Chuck Berry. He inspired us all,” and John Lennon once said, “If you try to give rock and roll another name you might call it Chuck Berry.”

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born in October 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri into middle-class African-American family. His first ‘public’ performance came in 1941 at Sumner High school. He also found himself in trouble with the law at an early age too because in 1944 he was arrested for armed robbery when he tried to rob three stores in Kansas City and then stole a car at gunpoint. He served three years at the Intermediate Reformatory for Young Men at Algoa. Whilst inside he took up boxing and formed a singing quartet that became so competent that the centre allowed them out to play the occasional gig. He was released on his 21st birthday in 1947.

After his release he began playing local clubs in St. Louis and his guitar riffs are ‘borrowed’ from his friend and fellow musician T-Bone Walker. He also copied a technique which involved bending two strings at once giving it a rough sound that became the Chuck Berry lick. By the mid-fifties, when he 30, Chuck was beginning to write his own songs, but it was accepted which was strange because Bill Haley was the same age when (We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock came out and before long he was considered too old, but Chuck’s song were lively, exciting and appealed to the teenagers at the time. His first hit was Maybelline, a song that evolved out of Ida Red, a hillbilly song that was first recorded by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys. Berry had heard it on a local radio station and reworked it with some new lyrics about his hobby, fast cars and changed the title to Ida Mae to stop anyone claiming copyright. In early 1955 Berry went to New Orleans to see his friend Muddy Waters, whilst there he went to see Leonard Chess, the owner of Chess records who listened to some of his songs and chose Ida Mae, but then changed the title to Maybelline. Some copies of the record were send to DJ Alan Freed and he liked it. Chess agreed to add Freed’s name as a co-writer so he got a share of the publishing royalties. He was also given some cash as an incentive to play the song on his radio programme. It was deals like this that led to the payola scandal of the early sixties.

Roll Over Beethoven (1956), School Day (Ring Ring Goes the Bell) and Rock & Roll Music (1957) and Sweet Little Sixteen and Johnny B. Goode (1958) were all top 10 hits in America. School Day and Sweet Little Sixteen were Berry’s first two UK hits reaching 24 and 16 respectively. Arguably his best known song, Johnny B. Goode failed to chart in this country, however, Jimi Hendrix (1972), Peter Tosh (1983) and Judas Priest (1988) all did chart with it, but none reached the top 30. Other well-known Chuck Berry songs that charted for other artists in the UK are; Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Buddy Holly), Come On (Rolling Stones), Memphis Tennessee (Dave Berry), Reelin’ And Rockin’ (Dave Clark Five), Hey Good Lookin’ (Bo Diddley), Promised Land (Elvis Presley), Roll Over Beethoven (E.L.O) and Tulane (Steve Gibbons Band).

Throughout the fifties, Berry toured regularly and showcased his famous duck-walk which involved kicking one leg forward and hopping on the other in a crouched position which thrusting the guitar forward at the same time, audiences were stunned, just like they were when Michael Jackson showcased his moonwalk in 1983.

In 1957, Berry bought 30 acres of land in Wentzville, Missouri where he built an amusement park and called it Berry Park which house his own restaurant called the Southern Air. The following year he opened Club Bandstand in the theater district of St. Louis.

In 1959 Berry was arrested again, this time for transporting a teenage girl, who had worked in his Club Bandstand, across state lines for sexual purposes. He was tried twice and found guilty both times, but the first verdict was overturned due to a racist remark made by the judge. There was a third trial and a couple of appeals and he was eventually released in October 1963. On the upside, within six months of his release he made the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic with No Particular Place to Go. Three months later he was back in the chart with You Never Can Tell.

Probably the biggest surprise of his career came in 1972 when a cover of Dave Bartholomew’s 1952 song Little Girl Sing Ding-a-Ling which Chuck claimed he toned down and called it My Ding-A-Ling. It was recorded live at the Coventry Lanchester Polytechnic, now known as Coventry University, as part of the Lanchester Arts Festival. The song was full of sexual innuendoes and all about a boy discovering his penis. It was recorded for a live album, inexplicably called The London Sessions and Berry used Roy Young’s band for the concert who included Owen McIntyre and Robbie McIntosh, later of the Average White Band. The album version was over 12 minutes long but it was edited into a four minute single and it is unlikely that it would have done so well if Mary Whitehouse and her Festival Of Light had not objected to it so vehemently. As Chuck says, “There’s nothing wrong with sex. It’s just the way you handle it.” Mind you, the concert nearly did not happen as Chuck Berry turned up an hour and half late in a rather inebriated state. Although you’d never be able to hear her, one of the audience members was Lene Lovich.

In 1979, he appeared as himself in the film American Hot Wax, and a couple of months later performed for President Jimmy Carter at the White House. Three days later he was in trouble again when he was sentenced to 120 days in federal prison and four years’ probation for income tax evasion.

That wasn’t the end of his trouble, in 1990 the police raided his home and found over 60 grams of marijuana as well as videotapes from a secret camera he installed in the women’s toilet in his restaurant. He was spared jail after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour count of marijuana possession, with a suspended jail sentence and two years’ probation.

In 1995, he performed at an inaugural concert at the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland and was backed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Between 1996 and 2014, Berry played 209 monthly concerts in the Duck Room of the Blueberry Hill restaurant in St. Louis.

In the 2000s Berry continued to tour and it became well-known that he insisted on cash for each gig and paid upon his arrival or he didn’t perform. In 18 October 2016, the day of 90th birthday he announced that he was planning to release his first studio album in almost 40 years. The album, will be called Chuck and scheduled for release in June this year and comprises mainly new compositions.

Unlike Vera Lynn who has just turned 100 and lived to see her new album, Vera Lynn 100, make the chart, Chuck won’t be around to see if his career was to get a new lease of life because he died of natural causes on 18th March. He knows he wasn’t always a good boy as he noted in his memoir “Every 15 years, in fact, it seems I make a big mistake.”

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