June 4: Johnny Cash released “Live at San Quentin” in 1969

 

June 4:  Johnny Cash Live at San Quentin was released in 1969

When I was little boy I was very interested in music, the radio and records. My father had a small  but very good record collection. Among the treasures in his collection was this album, Johnny Cash – Live at San Quentin. My father told me the story of the album, and I remember that the Norwegian broadcast company (yes there were only one channel at the time, early 70s) showed the actual concert. It was very late at night but my father woke me and I got to see this legendary show.   It marked me for life.

At San Quentin is the 31st overall album and a recording of a live concert given by Johnny Cash to the inmates of San Quentin State Prison. As well as being released on record the concert was filmed by Granada Television.

Wanted Man: (with great sound!):

The album was a follow-up to Cash’s previous live album, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful At Folsom Prison.
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May 23: “Tommy” by The Who was released in 1969

Ever since I was a young boy I’ve played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.
But I ain’t seen nothing like him in any amusement hall.
That deaf, dumb and blind kid, Sure plays a mean pinball!

It is 46 years ago that the rock opera, Tommy was released, one of the first attempts at treating rock as an art form. The artists were The Who.

It’s a double album telling a loose story about a “deaf, dumb and blind kid”, Tommy was the first musical work to be billed overtly as a rock opera. Released in 1969, the album was mostly composed by Pete Townshend. In 1998, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for historical, artistic and significant value.

the_who_1

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May 16: Beach Boys released Pet Sounds in 1966

Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

 

May 16: Beach Boys released Pet Sounds in 1966

It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs…that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed. I said, “That’s it. I really am challenged to do a great album.”
~Brian Wilson (...inspiration for creating “Pet Sounds”)

[Pet Sounds] blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life…I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album…it may be going overboard to say it’s the classic of the century…but to me, it certainly is a total, classic record that is unbeatable in many ways…I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. I played it to John [Lennon] so much that it would be difficult for him to escape the influence.
~Paul McCartney (recalling his first impressions of Pet Sounds)

Pet Stories – A documentary about the making of “Pet Sounds.”  (39 min):

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May 12: The Rolling Stones released Exile On Main St. in 1972

 

More than anything else this fagged-out masterpiece is difficult–how else describe music that takes weeks to understand? Weary and complicated, barely afloat in its own drudgery, it rocks with extra power and concentration as a result.
~Robert Christgau (http://www.robertchristgau.com)

..It’s the kind of record that’s gripping on the very first listen, but each subsequent listen reveals something new. Few other albums, let alone double albums, have been so rich and masterful as Exile on Main St., and it stands not only as one of the Stones’ best records, but sets a remarkably high standard for all of hard rock.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Let It Loose:

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April 24: David Bowie released Diamond Dogs in 1974

When this came out in 1974, it was roundly dismissed as Ziggy Stardust’s last strangled gasp. In hindsight, Diamond Dogs is marginally more worthwhile; its resigned nihilism inspired interesting gloom and doom from later goth and industrial acts such as Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails.
~Mark Kemp (rollingstone.com in 2004)

All this hopelessness and annihilation would be suffocating if it weren’t for Bowie’s exuberance. He throws himself into Orwell’s draconian hell as if strutting around in Kansai Yamamoto’s Aladdin Sane-era bodysuit; it fits his skeletal contours. Determined to reaffirm his relevance in spite of his setbacks, the singer sparkled so brightly that he offset the darkness of his material. Just as Watergate was coming to a boil, singer-songwriters and prog-rockers were glutting the charts, and ’60s resistance was morphing into ’70s complacency, this sweet rebel (rebel) made revolution strangely sexy again. Glaring at you from Dogs’ cover with canine hindquarters and emaciated features like the circus sideshow Freaks he footnotes in the title cut, he served notice that rock’s outsiders remained more compelling than the softies who increasingly occupied its center, even as his ever-growing popularity chipped away at it. You can bet Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Television sat up and took notes.
-Barry Walters (pitchfork.com)

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April 23: The Rolling Stones released Sticky Fingers in 1971

The Rolling Stones - sticky-fingers

Sticky Fingers was never meant to be the title. It’s just what we called it while we were working on it. Usually though, the working titles stick.
~Keith Richards 1971

While many hold their next album, Exile On Main St., as their zenith, Sticky Fingers, balancing on the knife edge between the 60s and 70s, remains their most coherent statement.
~Chris Jones (bbc.co.uk)

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