Sunset Boulevard’s British Invasion ‘74/’75
Another amazing post from the Voices of East Anglia blog. Apologies for blatantly plagiarising the idea, but it’s just too good not to share these amazing pictures.
The blog showcased some of the advertising billboards on Sunset Boulevard between 1974 and 1975. At the time Los Angeles had become the centre of the global music industry from a financial and creative perspective. Acts like James Taylor, the Eagles, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell had all relocated to the area and British acts were quick to see the importance of the West Coast from a marketing perspective too.
Below are some of the amazing Billboards that graced this infamous Los Angeles strip. Thanks to the VoEA blog and to Larry the Frog for uploading these to his flickr account!
What we love about the photos is not only just how ridiculously oversized and over the top they are, but also the details - the houses hidden behind them, the cars which are a mix of 1970s sports cars and more classic American autos, and, of course, the blue, blue skies.
English “supergroup” Bad Company
Elton John’s sold out gig…
Mott the Hoople and David Bowie close to the Roxy and the Whisky a GoGo, now infamous local music clubs
Cat Stevens’ Budda inspired album…
The Who’s Odds and Sods…
Donovan’s Sold Out gig
Another Elton advertising his greatest hits (in the mid-70s!)…
Rod Stewart’s Smiler…
George Harrison’s own Dark Horse Records which released all of his music post 1976.
Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard with fake palm tree.
Joe Cocker looks a little sad…
Ladies and Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones - their original film release, it has since been remastered and released on DVD.
Bill Wyman’s questionable Monkey Grip…
Rick Wakeman’s journey to the centre of the earth…
Yet another Elton John billboard with his trademark oversized glasses…
Maggie Bell, England’s Number One female vocalist… (really?…)
Meet the Parents - 70s Rock star style
Some amazing photos from the Daily Mail last week showing some of the 1970s most loved performers at home with their family.
These were taken to form part of a LIFE Magazine feature and they’ve been recreated in this Daily Mail piece online.
If anything it shows how awful home furnishings were at the time - check out the wallpaper of Elton John’s parents. Truly awful.
Joe Cocker and his Mother in her Sheffield home
Donovan and his parents in their home in the North
Eric Clapton with his Grandmother
Elton John and his Step-Father and Mother in their London flat.
Dylan’s musical heritage in the UK
Bob Dylan turns 70 on Tuesday!
“But he’s American!”, I hear you cry. True, and this isn’t necessarily the focus of Music Heritage UK, however, throughout his career he has spent plenty of time in the UK and the country has more than enough Dylan sites, stories and references of cultural interest to merit further exploration.
Below we outline how Bob Dylan was influenced by the UK, how he influenced acts from this country, how the UK was scene of the first major bootleg release, how the UK was the backdrop for the first music video, and how Dylan’s behind the scenes documentaries were filmed on this small island. We’ll also discuss how he changed the Beatles’ music forever, his numerous connections with Scotland and some weird and wonderful tales about Dylan which may or may not be true!
It’s a well known fact that Dylan, especially in his early years was a musical sponge absorbing folk, rock, blues music at an incredible rate. Many of his early songs were, perhaps unintentionally at first, based on the songs and tunes of traditional English, Scottish and Irish folk. Certainly following his visit to England in 1962, Dylan emerged with direct connections to these hundreds of year old ballads and songs. Songs such as ‘The Times They Are A Changin”, ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’, and ‘Girl From the North Country’ all draw from the folk traditions of the British Isles, but really we don’t have the space to list all of the songs and connections!
The tune to ‘Times..’ was borrowed from the Scottish poet and ethnomusicologist Hamish Henderson, while ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ is based on ‘Lord Randall’ by Francis Child, copying both the music and the call and response element of the original. ‘Girl From the North Country’ was written following Dylan’s first visit to England where he was imersed in the English folk scene and the song draws from Martin Carthy’s arrangement of English folk song, ‘Scarborough Fair’.
Return to the near-present and Dylan is still at it. He wrote a 16 minute long epic full of humour called ‘Highlands’ released on 1997’s Time Out of Mind which is said to be partly inspired by Scottish Poet, Robert Burns.
For more on Dylan’s connections to Scottish music read this brilliant article in the Scotsman.
The World’s most famous bootleg
Officially released in 1999 as part of Dylan’s Bootleg Series, the Royal Albert Hall bootleg was one of the most famous non-official releases. A set first appeared in the 1970s in the US which contained the second, electric half of a concert which was reportedly of one of Dylan’s 1966 shows at the Royal Albert Hall.
This recording included the, now infamous, “Judas!” shout. Dylanologists were quick to point out that this actually was from the Manchester Free Trade Hall show a few days before. But no matter, myth is greater than reality and it was released with the Royal Albert Hall sub-title.
The recording was the stuff of myth and record collectors and in the early 1990s a fuller version appeared with the first, acoustic half of the set too. In 1998 Columbia, Dylan’s record label decided to release bootleg officially and it was both a commercial and critical success.
The first music video
Arguably the first ever video, ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ was filmed during Dylan’s tour of the UK in 1965 and formed part of DA Pennebaker’s docu-verite expose of Dylan’s tour (more on that below). The much-parodied video features Dylan throwing cards with the lyrics, Allen Ginsburg in the back. The cards were created by Dylan, Joan Baez, Donovan (“the British Dylan”) and Dylan’s de-facto tour manager Bob Neuwirth (who later wrote ‘Mercedes Benz’ for Janis Joplin).
The video is filmed in an alley by the Savoy Hotel in London. Other versions of the video appeared in Martin Scorcese’s No Direction Home video which were filmed on the roof of the hotel and in a nearby park.
The first music documentaries
As mentioned above, Bob Dylan was the subject of DA Pennebaker’s documentary, Dont Look Back which was filmed following Dylan’s tour of the UK in 1965. Pennebaker adapted a camera so he could hold it on his shoulder and constantly film what was going on. Athough a staple of any kind of documentary now, it was truly revolutionary at the time.
Released in 1967 the film was critically acclaimed and is essential viewing for anyone who is has even the slightest interest in Dylan.
In 1966, Pennebaker returned to film Dylan and followed Dylan around the UK and Europe on his now infamous 1966 tour where he ‘went electric’ and was booed by crowds across the UK. This formed the film Eat the Document which was never officially released. Many of the outtakes were used by Scorcese in No Direction Home.
The film, which let’s remember, takes place only a year after Dont Look Back, shows a Dylan who is wired, tired but playing some of his most electric (in all senses of the word) music. No Direction Home even featured the now infamous “Judas!” moment on film - something which fans for many years had no idea it even existed.
Pennebaker later went on to take his style to David Bowie filming the concert/documentary Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1973.
The UK was the backdrop to some of Dylan’s most iconic photographic images. The photo below was used as the cover for No Direction Home. Shot during the 1966 tour near Bristol, the pier was where the Ferry used to take people across the river Severn. The Severn Bridge, which you can see in the background, has since made this crossing redundant.
Dylan and the Beatles
Dylan changed many aspects of music around the world. His influence has been huge. But for us the biggest way he changed British music and culture may have been his influence on the Beatles. It wasn’t just a musical thing, although Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was a major influence lyrically on the Liverpudlian band, perhaps it had more to do with the way he introduced the band to pot.
The Beatles were in New York when they first met Dylan at the Hotel Delmonico on 28 August 1964. Dylan offered to roll a joint, and the Fab Four admitted they had never tried. McCartney would later say, “Until then we’d been scotch and Coke men. It sort of changed that evening”
Would the Beatles have written Revolver or Sgt Peppers without this encounter? It’s hard to say, but the fact remains that Dylan turned the Beatles onto recreational drugs and experimentation which hugely influenced the latter stages of their output as a band.
Dylan remained close to the Beatles. He played with George Harrison in his Concert for Bangladesh, he was part of the Travelling Wilbury’s with him too. Dylan would later support Lennon’s appeal to the US authorities to stay in the United States with this letter. And after George Harrison’s death, Dylan covered ‘Something’ from Abbey Road in his concert in Liverpool in 2009.
The plain odd
From Dylan’s often ignored World Gone Wrong album comes this gem of a video which features Bob Dylan in a top hat walking around Camden. This is a great video, and a great song and was filmed by Dave Stewart of the Eurthymics (more on that below).
But Dylan’s infamous eccentricity has led to a host of stories and myths surrounding Dylan in the UK. For example, did you know that the following happened in the UK?
- He went looking for Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics) in London, looked him up in the phone book and arrived at what he thought was his house, only to be met by an older woman who told him to wait and that Dave would be back soon. It turned out that, somewhat unsurprisingly the Dave Stewart he had come to visit was a plumber and not the former guitarist in the Eurythmics.
- He received an honourary degree from St Andrews University in Scotland.
- He is rumoured to have bought a Scottish mansion house.
- He went on a National Trust tour of John Lennon’s home in Liverpool with other tourists.
The Never Ending Tour?
To our reckoning, Bob Dylan has played 162 concerts in the UK since 1962. When he first arrived he played small pubs and clubs, his ‘65 and ‘66 concerts were in more traditional concert hall surroundings, he then moved onto the arena circuit with a few festivals and stadium shows thrown in.
He’s included the UK in nearly all of his major tours, returning regularly as part of his ‘Never Ending Tour’. He plays the Feis Festival in Finsbury Park, London in about a month’s time, for his only summer appearance in the UK.
22 December 1962 - The Singers Club, London.
23 December 1962- King and Queen Pub, London.
29 December 1962 - The Troubadour, London.
2 January 1963 - Surbiton & Kingston Folk Club, Surrey.
12 January 1963 - The Troubadour, London.
17 May 1964 - Royal Festival Hall, London.
30 April 1965 - City Hall, The Oval, Sheffield.
1 May 1965 - Odeon, Liverpool.
2 May 1965 - DeMonford Hall, Leicester.
5 May 1965 - Town Hall, Birmingham.
6 May 1965 - City Hall, Newcastle.
7 May 1965 - Free Trade Hall, Manchester.
9 & 10 May 1965 - Royal Albert Hall, London.
6 May 1966 - ABC, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
10 May 1966 - Colston Hall, Bristol.
11 May 1966 - Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales.
12 May 1966 - Odeon Theatre, Birmingham.
13 May 1966 - Odeon, Liverpool.
15 May 1966 - DeMonfort Hall, Leicester.
16 May 1966 - Gaumont Theatre, Sheffield.
17 May 1966 - Free Trade Hall, Manchester.
19 May 1966 - Odeon, Glasgow, Scotland.
20 May 1966 - ABC, Edinburgh, Scotland.
21 May 1966 - Odeon, Newcastle.
26 & 27 May 1966 - Royal Albert Hall, London.
31 August 1969 - Isle of Wight Festival.
15 to 20 June 1978 - Earls Court, London.
15 July 1978 - Blackbush Aerodrome, Camberley, Surrey.
26 June to 1 July 1981 - Earls Court, London.
4 and 5 July 1981 - NEC, Birmingham.
5 July 1984 - St James’ Park, Newcastle.
7 July 1984 - Wembley Stadium, London.
10 to 12 October 1987 - NEC, Birmingham.
14 to 17 October 1987 - Wembley Arena, London.
6 June 1989 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
7 June 1989 - NEC, Birmingham.
8 June 1989 - Wembley Arean, London.
3 to 8 February 1990 - Hammersmith Odeon, London.
2 and 3 February 1991 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
6 February 1991 - Dundonald International Ice Bowl, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
8 to 13 & 15 to 17 February 1991 - Hammersmith Apollo, London.
7 to 9 & 11 to 13 February 1993 - Hammersmith Apollo, London.
26 March 1995 - Brighton Centre, Brighton.
27 March 1995 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
29 to 31 March 1995 - Brixton Academy, London.
2 April 1995 - Aston Villa Leisure Centre, Birmingham.
3 to 5 April 1995 - Labatts Apollo, Manchester.
6 & 7 April 1995 - Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland.
9 April 1995 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
10 April 1995 - King’s Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
14 July 1995 - Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-Upon-Avon.
26 & 27 June 1996 - Empire, Liverpool.
29 June 1996 - Hyde Park, London.
1 & 2 October 1997 - BIC, Bournemouth.
3 October 1997 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
5 October 1997 - Wembley Arena, London.
19 June 1998 - Botanic Gardens, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
20 June 1998 - Newcastle Arena, Newcastle.
21 June 1998 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
23 June 1998 - Sheffield Arena, Sheffield.
24 June 1998 - NEC, Birmingham.
25 June 1998 - NYNEX Arena, Manchester.
27 June 1998 - Wembley Arena, London.
28 June 1998 - Glastonbury Festival, Somerset.
16 September 2000 - Aberdeen ECC, Aberdeen, Scotland.
17 September 2000 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
19 September 2000 - Newcastle Arena, Newcastle.
20 September 2000 - NEC, Birmingham.
22 September 2000 - Sheffield Arena, Sheffield.
23 September 2000 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
24 & 25 September 2000 - Guidhall, Portsmouth.
5 & 6 October 2000 - Wembley Arena, London.
12 July 2001 - King’s Dock, Liverpool.
13 July 2001 - Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland.
4 May 2002 - Brighton Centre, Brighton.
5 May 2002 - BIC, Bournemouth.
6 May 2002 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
8 May 2002 - Newcastle Arena, Newcastle.
9 May 2002 - Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester.
10 May 2002 - NEC, Birmingham.
11 & 12 May 2002 - Docklands Arena, London.
15 November 2003 - Wembley Arena, London.
20 November 2003 - Sheffield Arena, Sheffield.
21 November 2003 - NEC, Birmingham.
23 November 2003 - Shepherds Bush Empire, London.
24 November 2003 - Hammersmith Apollo, London.
25 November 2003 - Brixton Academy, London.
18 June 2004 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
20 June 2004 - Fleadh Festival, Finsbury Park, London.
22 June 2004 - Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
23 June 2004 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
24 June 2004, Barrowlands, Glasgow, Scotland.
26 June 2004 - Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
15 November 2005 - Nottingham Arena, Nottingham.
16 November 2005 - Manchester Arena, Manchester.
17 November 2005 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
18 November 2005 - NEC, Birmingham.
20 to 24 November 2005 - Brixton Academy, London.
27 June 2006 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
28 June 2006 - BIC, Bournemouth.
11 April 2007 - SECC, Glasgow, Scotland.
12 April 2007 - Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
14 April 2007 - Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield.
15 & 16 April 2007 - Wembley Arena, London.
17 April 2007 - National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.
24 April 2009 - Sheffield Arena, Sheffield.
25 April 2009 - O2 Arena, London.
26 April 2009 - Roundhouse, London.
28 April 2009 - Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales.
29 April 2009 - National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.
1 May 2009 - Echo Arena, Liverpool.
2 May 2099 - SECC Arena, Glasgow, Scotland.
3 May 2009 - Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland.
3 July 2010 - Hop Farm Festival, Kent.
18 June 2011 - Feis Festival, Finsbury Park, London.
Ready Steady Go! at this year’s Meltdown festival
Meltdown is the annual pop festival which takes place along the Southbank. Curated by some of the good and great in music its a unique cultural event on the festival calendar. Past curators have included Morrissey, John Peel and Elvis Costello.
This year Ray Davies of the Kinks is curating the festival and as well as the usual odd-ball performances and blasts from the past he will be featuring the return of Ready Steady Go!
Ready Steady Go! should be down in history as the definitive music television programme of the 1960s. RSG arrived at the same time as the boom years for British music in the early 1960s and featured The Beatles, The Hollies, The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, Them, The Who, Manfred Mann, Jimi Hendrix and many others.
Unlike the longer lasting Top of the Pops, it also featured acts that were not at the top of the charts and the programme was instrumental in breaking artists such as Donovan, and even did a Motown special when Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and The Miracles performed. It was also the first time that the Supremes performed their infamous dance routine for ‘Stop in the Name of Love’.
The programme was filmed live on Friday nights and always started with the catchphrase, “The Weekend Starts Here” and stopped at the height of its popularity in 1966. It was filmed at a studio in Kingsway, central London.
Ray Davies will be bringing back the show for Meltdown. The live show will include stars from the era alongside contemporary artists chosen the the original TV producers. It should make for an interesting take on the original format.