Monday, April 24, 2017

Mah Na Mah Na

On April 24, 1977 Piero Umiliani's original 1968 version of "Mah Na Mah Na" entered the UK charts, thanks to a performance on The Muppet Show. It would peak at #8. The song was originally written for a Swedish sex-ploitation documentary called Sweden, Heaven and Hell

The original version charted in the US in 1968. In 1969 Sesame Street used their own version of "Mah Na Mah Na" in a skit

The Muppet Show revisited the skit on the program's first episode in 1976.

Since then, there have been countless versions of the song...

All used for comedic effect...

As recently as last year.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Surrender To Me Baby

On April 23, 1977 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed a live set at the Record Plant in Sausalito, CA broadcast by WXRT-FM. The band opened with two songs many fans still don't know: "Surrender" and the Chuck Berry cover  "Jaguar and Thunderbird". Al Kooper would join them later in the show to add keyboards to "Listen To Her Heart", "I Need to Know" and a few others.

 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were working hard to get their debut record played in the U.S. To little effect. In the summer the band would storm the U.K., gracing the cover of music magazines and appearing on TV shows. Suddenly TP and the Heartbreakers would be a happening band.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jammin ' With Van

On April 22, 1977 NBC  broadcast an all star jam that broke out on The Midnight Special, hosted by George Benson.  The song was "Moondance" and featured solos by Carlos Santana, George Benson, Dr John, Tom Scott and Etta James. Another impromptu duet of "Misty" combined the talents of George Benson and Van Morrison. Santana and Benson also traded solos on Benson's hit "Breezin'"

Also on this date: The best punk band in the world, The Saints,  released their "Erotic Neurotic" single b/w "One Way Street".

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Hot New Rent A Car

With Bruce Springsteen tied up in a lawsuit against his former manager Mike Appel, the E Street Band had enough time on their hands to record this Billy Joel cover with the former lead singer of The Ronettes, Teen Queen Ronnie Spector. Miami Steve Van Zandt produced the single and wrote the B side.

"Steve is the first guy since Phil that knows my voice and knows how to handle me," Ronnie said. "And it's amazing, because I never thought anybody could capture my particular sound on record again like Phil did, in the same way. But Steve did!"

The single should have been a hit, but wasn't.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stand Tall Annie

On April 20, 1977 Woody Allen released one of my favorite movies of all time. With all the serious Allen films that followed, we forget the oscar winning Annie Hall was his first foray into something more than absurd humor. Allen said he "had the courage to abandon ... just clowning around and the safety of complete broad comedy. I said to myself, 'I think I will try and make some deeper film and not be as funny in the same way. And maybe there will be other values that will emerge, that will be interesting or nourishing for the audience.'" 

The film also marks the acting debut of Paul Simon, still smarting from the way his former partner had become a sex symbol after starring in Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge. Simon plays record producer Tony Lacey, who wears a silver coke spoon around his neck. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Listless Legend


On April 19, 1977 Alex Chilton returned to the Ocean Club for a show that featured Big Star tunes, a few new songs , and some interesting covers including Colin Blumstone's "I Don't Believe in Miracles" and The Modern Lovers's "Government Center".

There was another new song, "The Summer Sun", from bassist and future dB Chris Stamey. Earlier in April, Chilton produced Stamey's single for Ork at a studio that charged $5 and hour in Wallingford, Connecticut. Chilton played drums, a little guitar and supplied backing vocals.

By now Chilton has run out of money. He was hoping Elektra Records would sign him, and in the Summer he recorded a demo that included "My Rival" which was financed by the label. But Elektra never signed Alex, who would be virtually homeless by year's end.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Good Ole Dave

With Get It, released in April of 1977, Dave Edmunds kicks into a high gear he would sustain with the help of former Brinsely Schwarz bassist Nick Lowe over three straight albums of straight-forward, rockabilly rooted music. Eventually Edmunds and Lowe would form a rocking band called Rockpile, which would play on both of their solo albums before releasing its own debut.

"We had a great time," recalls Edmunds about his Rockpile days with Lowe. "It was a party band for four years and we never took it seriously, and that seemed to come over onstage. We had a terrific goodwill from the American audiences, the record industry, the radio, and everyone seemed to love us. I still get asked about it today. But we only got together just to do a few gigs in London because we didn’t have anything else to do at the time."

Recorded for Led Zeppelin's Swan Song label,  Get It, like many of Edmunds classic albums, is made up mostly of covers. That's something Robert Christgau pointed out in his B+ review:

 In which Edmunds convenes the Monmouth Rockabilly Seminar, featuring source material both standard (Hank Williams, Otis Blackwell, Arthur Crudup) and arcane (Rodgers and Hart), recent research by Bob Seger and Graham Parker, and new monographs from Nicholas Lowe and Edmunds himself. Great stuff, although studious detachment don't necessarily do it proud.

Dave is another musician who contributes frequently to his Facebook page. You'll find links to his most recent interviews, in which he calmly answers the same questions over and over again about song Bruce Springsteen gave him ,"From Small Things (Big Thing One Day Come)", and the success of The Stray Cats whom he first produced.