"Aqualung,""Thick As A Brick,""Cross Eyed Mary,""Locomotive Breath"... Who wants to hear the best of Jethro Tull (and some new tunes from Ian Anderson!) live this fall? Enter to win a pair of tickets to hear their hits in a city near you.
37 years ago today, the American record-buying public were first given the opportunity to purchase Foghat’s Live. We realize that may not seem like a big deal to those of you who weren’t alive to experience the glory of Foghat in their prime, but there’s a reason why this particular recording still stands as the most successful album in the band’s back catalog…and that reason is because, quite simply, it kicks ass.
Come on, just look at it: it’s only six tracks long, but it opens with “Fool for the City” and closes with “Slow Ride,” both from the band’s 1975 album, Fool for the City, and in between those bookends you’ve got “Home in My Hand” (from 1974’s Energized), the band’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (from 1972’s Foghat), “Road Fever” (from 1973’s Rock and Roll), and “Honey Hush” (also from Energized).
“We were headlining arenas and people didn't realize how big the band was until the live album came out,” said Lonesome Dave Peverett, Foghat’s dearly departed original lead singer and guitarist, in a 1995 interview with Goldmine. “That kind of cemented it for the media.”
It also helped cement Foghat’s reputation for Willie Dixon, according to drummer Roger Earl.
37 years ago today, the Sex Pistols embarked on a brief set of dates around the UK, but because of the amount of infamy they’d already accumulated during the course of their career, the band decided it’d be in their best interest to be booked at venues under fake names, resulting in what has come to be known as the S.P.O.T.S. tour, an acronym which stands for Sex Pistols On Tour Secretly.
In an interview included within Sex Pistols: The Inside Story, by Fred & Judy Vermorel, Paul Cook was asked to explain the thinking behind doing the secret gigs.
“Well, we decided to do these gigs, like, just for one, ‘cause we want to play anyway, and we hadn’t played in England for such a long time,” said Cook. “And we couldn’t publicize them, ‘cause if we did, some councilor might just come and say, ‘Right, you’re not playing here,’ we they have done and they can do, for any stupid reason. So we decided to go to each individual promoter ourselves, who owned their private clubs and who could put us on without having to ask someone else, and told them to keep it secret. But we knew enough word would get out that people would know we were playing – which they did. So it weren’t totally unfair on the fans anyway, ‘cause most of them who wanted to see us come to see us. And all the places were packed out, so enough word got ‘round for people to know we were playing.”
Strains of Africa, from the continent and beyond. We recently published a piece on Aquarium Drunkard entitled Africa Unbound: A Tale of Cross-Cultural Influence, a sort of unintentional sister piece to a piece we did in 2010 entitled Fela Kuti, Feliciano dos Santos, Afrobeat & Western Interpretation. Both essays examined "African music" and how it is interpreted/reflected in western society.
As such, this week's playlist highlights twenty tracks ranging from Fela's Nigeria to Hopeton Lewis' Jamaica.
Today marks the 64th birthday of Dennis Elliott, a gentleman best known for his work behind the drum kit for Foreigner throughout the years of their greatest commercial successes. You may well know a bit of his work from before that era, even if you never knew you were listening to him.
Born in London’s Peckham district in 1950, Dennis Leslie Elliott was playing drums with his family’s band when he was still in single digits, but it took ‘til his late teens before he entered the studio for the first time, playing with a groovy psychedelic soul group called Ferris Wheel. From there, it was onto a four-album stint with a jazz-rock group called If, after which he turned up as part of Ian Hunter’s band, playing on Hunter’s self-titled album – yes, the one featuring “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” – as well as the not-nearly-as-iconic effort, Overnight Angels… and it’s probably just coincidence, but that’s right about the time he went off and joined Foreigner.
(Actually, it’s probably not coincidence at all, though it’s not because the album turned out less than spectacularly: if you can trust Foreigner’s Wikipedia page, Mick Jones happened upon Elliott at one of Hunter’s recording sessions. Thing is, we’re not sure if we can trust it, since we’ve never read it anywhere else, and it seems like someone could very easily have gotten Mick Jones of Foreigner confused with Mick Jones of The Clash, who co-produced Hunter’s 1981 album, Short Back ‘n’ Sides. But we’re hoping to talk to Mr. Jones – the one from Foreigner – sometime in the near future, so we’ll be sure to ask him if it’s accurate or not.)
This week’s Mono Monday release is one of the more underrated albums in Iron Butterfly’s back catalog, which is to say that it’s an album that’s not In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
That’s the problem with having a signature album: it doesn’t take long for history to start treating that album as the only thing you ever released that was worth a damn. If you look back, though, you’ll see that Metamorphosis actually featured the second biggest chart hit of Iron Butterfly’s career: “Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way),” which made it to #66 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Originally released on August 13, 1970, Metamorphosis came on the heels of the possibly misguided decision to release follow two top-10 albums – the aforementioned In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which came out in 1968, and Ball, which hit stores in ’69 – with a live album. Maybe it was intended as a stop-gap measure between studio albums, maybe it was because the band’s concerts were somewhat legendary and they wanted to try and share the experience with fans who hadn’t yet seen them, but while Live may have made it to #20 on the Billboard Top 200, it also came out only four months before Metamorphosis, which means that it very likely served to dilute the studio album’s sales.