British Invasion Bands Becoming More Active!
by Steve Smith
updated: 03/01/2013, 04:12:47 PM PST
Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas were Liverpool pals of The Beatles and were managed by Brian Epstein. Kramer’s early records were produced by The Beatles’ producer, George Martin. (Epstein managed and Martin produced The Fab Four’s other Liverpool pals, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Foremost and Cilla Black as well).
John Lennon and Paul McCartney gave Kramer his first hits, including his debut British single, “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” that hit No. 2 there (The Beatles version wasn’t released as a single in Britain), as well that single’s B-side, McCartney’s “I’ll Be On My Way,” and also Lennon’s “Bad to Me,” a No. 1 chart-topper there that hit No. 9 here late in 1963; Lennon’s “I Call Your Name,” as well as McCartney’s “I’ll Keep You Satisfied” and “From a Window,” each of which hit the Top 10 in Britain.
Over here, as a British Invasion act, Kramer is known for two big hits, the afore-mentioned “Bad to Me,” that sold more than one million copies and was a certified gold record, and his biggest hit, “Little Children,” that made it to No. 7 in the U.S. (it was No. 1 in the U.K.). The usually savvy Epstein wanted Kramer to record another McCartney-penned tune, “One and One is Two,” but a gutsy Kramer overrode his manager and rejected it in favor of “Little Children.” “One and One is Two” ended up being recorded by South African group The Strangers with Mike Shannon.
The clean cut Kramer elicited the usual hysteria and deafening screams that accompanied all the mid-’60s pop acts, especially the British Invaders. They made regular appearances on all the hot entertainment shows, including “Ed Sullivan,” “Shindig!,” “Hullabaloo” and “Where the Action Is” as well as “The Red Skelton Hour.” They were also in the all-star lineup in 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic for now-legendary “The T.A.M.I. Show.”
By 1966, the hits stopped. However, Kramer, who will turn 70 in August, has continued to entertain through the decades, and in fact, he just released his first new album since the ’60s, “I Won The Fight,” that is available on his website, Billyjkramersite.com. A jumping single from the album, the autobiographical “To Liverpool With Love,” is available as a download on Amazon.
From March 3-10, he’ll headline “Joe Johnson’s Beatle Brunch – The Cruise for Beatle Fans” that will also feature Ringo Starr collaborator Mark Hudson and Badfinger’s Joey Molland. The cruise, aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, sails from Ft. Lauderdale and stops St. Thomas, Charlotte Amalie, Phillipsburg, St. Martins and Nassau in the Bahamas. For information, see MusicInMocean.com.
Then, he appears and performs with his band at The Fest for Beatle Fans, April 5-7 at the Empire Meadowlands Hotel in Secaucus, New Jersey, along with Herman’s Hermits leader Peter Noone, saxman Tom Scott, Beatles recording engineer Ken Scott, Beatle authority Martin Lewis, and Hudson.
Eagles’ Henley says former member to rejoin
The Eagles’ Don Henley said that a former member will rejoin the fold for the band’s summer tour, according to an interview he gave to Philly Classic Rock station, WMKJ-FM.
He did say that it will not be lead guitarist Don Felder, who left for the second and last time in 2000 and with whom acrimony remains (perhaps the result of Felder’s two lawsuits against The Eagles and another for $50 million).
That leaves either bass player Randy Meisner, who sang lead on “Take It to the Limit” and who left in 1977 (replaced by Timothy B. Schmit, who also replaced him in Poco); or guitarist Bernie Leadon, who was influential in sending the band in a more country-rock vein (he and Henley co-wrote “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Witchy Woman”) and who quit The Eagles in 1975 by pouring beer over fellow member Glenn Frey’s head (he cited the need for rest and escape from all the band’s drug taking).
Frey is finding himself in Australia and New Zealand, performing seven concerts that began earlier this week and will end March 10. Before the band’s summer jaunt around America, The Eagles will play a gig on March 23 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Joe Walsh is also hitting the road as opening act for Bob Seger on a tour of the U.S. and Canada from March 27–April 18.
In other Eagles news, Henley will release his first solo album in 13 years when his fifth solo CD since 1982, the countrified “Cass Country,” comes out in May.
Santana to reunite classic `60s-’70s band
Carlos Santana confirmed with Australian music website, Noise 11, that he will reunite his earlier band, most of whom were with him when he rose to overnight worldwide stardom when he and his group that was also called Santana played Woodstock and were a highlight of the Oscar-winning documentary of the iconic 1969 music festival that drew about 400,000 fans. The guitarist says he’s reuniting the band for recording new music.
Already confirmed for the reunion are Neal Schon, who was in the band in the early ’70s where he traded lead guitar work with Santana before leaving with founding Santana singer-organist Greg Rolie in 1973 to form Journey; drummer Mike Shrieve, whose solo in the “Woodstock” film remains the stuff of legend; and percussionist Mike Carabello.
Of Rolie, who has played in Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band since last year, Santana said, “I’m pretty sure Greg’s going to do it.” Last year, Rolie told Radio.com, “it’s (the reunion) just a matter of putting it together and going and doing it. I would do it. I think it’s a great idea. People would love it. It could be great!”
Santana and his current band played a couple of gigs in Hawaii this week. He’ll be touring Asia, Australia and New Zealand throughout March. In May, he’ll be back at his long-term home, the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and in July he and his band will tour Europe.
No holds barred memoir from The Turtles Howard Kaylan
“I was snorting coke on Abraham Lincoln’s desk in the White House.” Thus begins a chapter-long excerpt in the current issue of Rolling Stone from “Shell Shocked: My Life with The Turtles, Floe and Eddie, and Frank Zappa,” from Turtles’ lead singer Howard Kaylan (with music journalist Jeff Tamarkin).
The chapter details The Turtles’ invitation to the Nixon White House and other adventures can also be read online at www.rollingstone.com. The book comes out in paperback on April 16. Penn Jillette of the magician team Penn & Teller wrote the forward.
The Turtles’ annual “Happy Together Tour” this summer will see the band from Westchester, California, joined by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, former Paul Revere and The Raiders singer Mark Lindsay, former Union Gap frontman Gary Puckett, and Chuck Negron, who was Three Dog Night’s lead singer on most of their hits, according to a Facebook message from Kaylan.
So far, only a couple dozen dates have been announced, none yet out west. However, Kaylan noted in his Facebook message that the tour will hit Southern California, either the L.A. County Fair in Pomona or the O.C. Fair in Costa Mesa.
PBS brings back “Hullabaloo”
PBS will air a new special, “Hullabaloo: A `60s Flashback,” during its upcoming pledge drive. It premieres March 2 (check your local listings for more air times).
The special includes complete song performances of “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” from Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher and “Working My Way Back To You” by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
Folk rock are represented by the million-selling “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds, “Eve of Destruction,” a No. 1 hit in 1965 by Barry McGuire, Pete Seeger’s “If I Had A Hammer” sung by Trini Lopez, “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” from John Sebastian and The Lovin’ Spoonful, and “California Dreamin”‘ by The Mamas and The Papas.
Rebellion-themed rockers in the special include Paul Revere and The Raiders with singer Mark Lindsay pounding through the anti-drug rocker “Kicks,” “I Fought the Law,” (that was later a hit for The Clash) by The Bobby Fuller Four,” Eric Burdon and The Animals with “It’s My Life,” The Outsiders doing “Time Won’t Let Me” and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.”
Billboard’s top moneymakers of 2012
Billboard released its list of the top 40 moneymakers of 2012 from album and ringtone sales, downloads and other means of revenue. At the top was Madonna with $34.5 million. The rest of the top five, in millions, are Bruce Springsteen ($33.4), Roger Waters ($21.1), Van Halen ($20.1) and Kenny Chesney ($19.1).
The top 6-10 are The Dave Matthews Band (No. 6, $18.9), Tim McGraw (No. 7, $18.3), Jason Aldean (No. 8, $17.5), Coldplay (No. 9, $17.3), and Justin Bieber (No. 10, $15.9).
Numbers 11-20: Adele (No. 11, $13.9), Lady Antebellum (No. 12, $12.9), Celine Dion (No.13, $12.9), Brad Paisley (No. 14, $12.8), Taylor Swift (No. 15, $12.6), Carrie Underwood (No. 16, $11.9), Nickelback (No. 17, $11.1), Eric Church (No. 18, $11), Rascal Flatts (No. 19, $10.7), and Barbra Streisand (No. 20, $10.6)
Numbers 21-30: Neil Diamond (No. 21, $10.4), The Trans-Siberian Orchestra (No. 22, $9.9), Toby Keith (No. 23, $9.8), Drake (No. 24, $9.5), The Red Hot Chili Peppers (No. 25, $9.4), The Rolling Stones (No. 26, $9.2), Miranda Lambert (No. 27, $8.8), Rush (No. 28, $8.7), Elton John (No. 29, $8.5), and One Direction (No. 30, $7.9).
Numbers 31-40: Phish (No. 31, $7.3), The Black Keys (No. 32, $7.3), Maroon 5 (No. 33, $7.1), Jay-Z (No. 34, $7), Journey (No. 35, $6.9), Andrea Bocelli (No. 36, $6.7), The Zac Brown Band (No. 37, $6.6), Rod Stewart (No. 38, $6.4), Mumford & Sons (No. 39, $6.1), and Blake Shelton (No. 40, $5.9).
Guitarist and bass player Kevin Ayers, who co-founded `60s English psychedelic band, The Soft Machine, died in his sleep in Montolieu, France, at age 68, according to the New York Times. No exact cause of death was announced.
Ayers, who released his last album in 2007, created the Soft Machine but quit in 1966, citing exhaustion. Ayers, who avoided fame like the plague, moved to the idyllic beaches of Ibiza, Spain, but remained busy through out the ’70s, recording nine albums that decade, while working with the likes of Roxy Music’s founding keyboardist and future U2 producer Brian Eno, The Velvet Underground’s John Cale and that group’s noted guest vocalist Nico.
“Dangerous” Dan Toler, guitarist for The Allman Brothers, The Gregg Allman Band and Dickey Betts’ Great Southern from the late ’70s through the ’80s, died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease at 65, according to a post on his Facebook page.
Diane Lampert, a successful songwriter during the ’60s and ’70s, who wrote the lyrics for the title songs to more than 20 motion pictures from the ’30s through the ’50s, died in Manhattan at 88, according to Pollstar. Lampert wrote lyrics to film songs performed by Bob Hope, Cary Grant and Buster Keaton, among others. As lyricist, she co-wrote “Nothing Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees),” that The Beatles performed in their club days, a version of which appears on the group’s 1994 2-CD, “Live at the BBC.”
Singer Otis Damon Harris, who as Damon Harris was a member of The Temptations from 1971-1975, died of cancer at a hospice in his native Baltimore at age 62, according to the Baltimore Sun. He won three Grammies with The Temps and provided the distinctive falsetto on their hits “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” in 1972 and “Masterpiece” in 1973.
Songwriter Bobby Sharp, composer of “Unchain My Heart,” died in Oakland at 88 from complications from a fall, reports the Oakland Tribune. Sharp sold his songwriting rights to “Unchain My Heart” for $50 to support a costly drug habit and then fought for years to regain them, which he finally did in 1987. The song was a hit in 1961 for Ray Charles, and in 1963 for Trini Lopez and in 1987 for Joe Cocker. Sharp eventually got clean and was a drug counselor since 1981. He released his first album, “The Fantasy Sessions,” in 2005 when he was 81.
Cleotha Staples of the gospel and R&B-singing Staples Singers, died in Chicago at 78. She had battled Alzheimer’s for a decade, according to a rep for her sister, popular singer and former group member Mavis. In the ’70s, The Staples’ logged such uplifting Top 10 pop and R&B hits as “Touch a Hand, Make a Friend,” “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me),” “Respect Yourself,” and their two No. 1′s, “I’ll Take You There” and “Let’s Do It Again.” Cleotha and The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
Among the recently released albums, digital reissues and deluxe box sets are “Spirits of the Western Sky,” the first solo album in 17 years from The Moody Blues distinctive singer-guitarist Justin Hayward; “In Time,” the first album in 10 years from the reunited Mavericks, led by Orbison-voiced singer Raul Malo; “Old Yellow Moon,” featuring a cover of Roger Miller’s “Invitation to the Blues,” from Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, in their first collaboration since Crowell joined Harris’ Hot Band in 1975, and with guests Vince Gill and Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne and a few guys from her original Hot Band; “Amok,” the debut from Atoms for Peace is a supergroup led by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, with renown producer-musician Nigel Godrich, percussionist Mauro Refosco, drummer Joey Waronker (the son of producer Lenny Waronker and singer-actress Donna Loren), and The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea; “The Messenger,” from The Smiths’ former guitarist Johnny Marr; an import two-for-one bargain CD from Broadway star Chita Rivera, “Chita/And Now I Sing”; and another import from another Broadway star, Andrea McArdle, “70s and Sunny: Live at 54 BELOW.”
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Tribute Hitsville, USA,” sees Michael Bolton paying homage to Motown via by covering ten smashes including the Ashford and Simpson-penned title song (with help from Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland) that was a hit for Diana Ross and The Supremes, Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears,” Stevie wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” and Holland-Dozier-Holland’s propulsive killer for Martha and The Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run”‘ “Hagar’s Song,” from the soon-to-be 75-year-old jazz tenor sax-flute-playing jazz man Charles Lloyd with his quartet’s pianist Jason Moran; “Starlight,” from British singer Joan Armatrading; “Good Songs and Great Friends,” sees former Poison frontman Bret Michaels collaborate with a variety of singers and musicians including Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Buffett, Southern rocker Edwin McCain, Miley Cyrus, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, former KISS lead guitarist Ace Frehley, Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington, Mountain’s leader Leslie West, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, and Poison’s longtime guitarist C.C. Deville.
A reissue of the influential 1970 self-titled debut LP, “Fanny,” from the all-female rockers led by sisters June and Jean Millington; “30 Years: Live from the Sunset Strip,” from Great White, in concert last March at West Hollywood’s Key Club on the Strip; “On The Verge,” the 12th studio album in 34 years, since 1979, from Texas blues rockers the Kim Wilson-led Fabulous Thunderbirds; “The Street Giveth … And The Street Taketh Away,” the reissue of the 1969 debut LP from country rock and rollers Cat Mother & The All-Night Newsboys that includes their one hit, the oldies medley, “Good Old Rock `n’ Roll”; the 54-track “The Complete King Federal Singles (2 CD Set),” from Texas blues and rock guitarist Freddie King, who died of stomach ulcers in 1974 at 42; an import, “Concert for Kirsty MacColl: Tribute Album,” honors the English singer-songwriter who died at 42 in a mysterious boating accident in Mexico in 2000 featuring former Corrs frontwoman Andrea Corr, Alison Moyet, Ellie Goulding and others.
New DVDs and Blu-rays include “Farewell Live From Melbourne (2004)” by The Eagles.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Like, recommend or share the column on Facebook. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.