This year’s Tribute will feature folk-rock legend Donovan, who will be honored as the recipient of the 2016 John Lennon Real Love Award. Having accompanied the Beatles on their historic journey to India, Donovan will perform a special extended set dedicated to John Lennon, which will include Beatles songs and his own classics.
“I am delighted to be honored at this year’s ‘John Lennon Real Love Award.’ And I am amazed to say that John has written a song through me which I will sing at the Tribute with special guests. Please support Theatre Within and remember, PEACE BEGINS WITHIN.” — Donovan
We decided to attend the day in between the two major Beatles 50th Anniversary events, the Beatles Invasion February 7th and the Ed Sullivan broadcast on February 9th.
After we checked in we headed up to the main ballroom on the 4th floor. We watched the balance of the film, Good Ol Freda which was a special treat as Freda Kelly herself appeared after the film. She brought a tear to my eye as her role in The Beatles family is devout, private but very caring. You could see how much she loves the fans as she met with them at the autograph table.
Our focus for this event was the music in the main ballroom. Granted there were floors of art exhibits, video, presentations by authors etc. But we got anchored to the concert floor. The event was oversold and many people had to stand which made for a fire law problem. This meant we had to pretty much stay in our seats all afternoon which grew uncomfortable over 6 hours.
Ken Dashow interviewed Mark Rivera who has performed with three of the Beatles, John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Mark is Ringo Starr’s Musical Director for the Ringo Starr All-Starr Show where we’ve seen Mark play three times this past decade. Mark Rivera is also a band member of Billy Joel‘s band. He has a new album coming out, Common Bond which drops on February 18th.
The album includes a rare appearance by Billy Joel playing a sizzling Hammond B3 organ on Mark’s unique cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Spanish Castle Magic. Ringo Starr, Robert Randolph, Nils Lofgren and Steve Lukather all give their great talents to what will be a most cool album!
It really rocks in a good old way – like we did back in the day. Your voice sounds great and the band kicks ass!”– Billy Joel
Gretsch Presents, Peter Asher, A Memoir of the 60’s and Beyond – Part 1
We were pleasantly surprised by Peter Asher. He had a well-polished agenda for us. This speaks to his role as a producer. He interspersed his verbal talk which was filled with nostalgia about The Beatles with vintage video. He had a class back up band that increased the dimension of the Peter and Gordon songs. The Eric Idle introduction was funny. We especially loved the segment where Peter sang with Gordon behind him as they played. It was so comforting to hear them sing together that way with Gordon Waller having left us in 2010.
I was intrigued to learn that Peter and his sister Jane Asher had founded a book store and art gallery Indica in London where John Lennon met Yoko Ono at her art show.
Surprise Guest – Pattie Boyd –Martin Lewis
We were surprised by Pattie Boyd’s appearance. It was a warm, intimate 40 min conversation with Pattie and Martin Lewis where Pattie spoke about George Harrison, The Beatles in the day, the trip to India and her love of photography. I thought she was a delight and very honest interview subject.
It was a joy to see Donovan perform. It had been 44 years since our last Donovan concert. This show was very immediate. We loved the magic he created for us. Donovan has always been a special artist in the music of our heart.
He was in good voice. I especially loved how he sounded phrasing wise especially on “Jennifer, Juniper”. I really dug with unique vocal sound he makes on “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. His one hour set went so quickly but he played all his hits which made it loving and lasting for us.
We were really happy to hang out with Cousin Brucie who has been a major force in our music listening lives. He has such energy and passion for what he does as an on-air personality. It was exciting to be part of his live SiriusXM broadcast. We often listen to his show on Sixties on 6.
We didn’t stay for the three-hour show as we were weary from the ballroom chairs. We figured we’d listen to the rebroadcast on Sunday night from 5-8 p.m. Which we are listening to that show now as I finish up that post 😉
I finally got to see Ronnie Spector live which was cool! Ronnie had some great stories about the boys and Murray The K. She then performed “Be My Baby”.
Donovan rejoined us next and paid Brucie a wonderful complement as a disk jockey. He performed “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and it was great to hear it twice in the same day!
It was 50 years ago today that The Beatles arrived on our shores at JFK International Airport in New York City. It was a very exciting day for us Beatles fans. I listened to the JFK arrival and infamous press conference on my transistor radio in my Junior High Science class, thankful that my Science teacher was hard of hearing 😉
Revolution is in the air as Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street gain momentum. 2011 is reminiscent in ways of the sentiment in 1968 when revolution took to the streets. Music has always played a role in shaping our thoughts when there is strife.
The Detroit high-energy rock scene in 1969 gave us the central protopunk bands known as the MC5 and The Stooges. I was 17 years old then and the rock and roll scene plus its voice, Rolling Stone magazine were my prurient interests.
The first and most explosive MC5 recording was Kick Out The Jams. It is their signature recording. How rare is it that a début album is recorded live and sold to the public for their digestion? Virtually never.
The influence MC5 had on the punk rock music scene is clear throughout this live recording. If you listen closely to “Kick Out The Jams” you can hear The Ramones sound. MC5 is the bedrock for many of the punk rock bands that followed.
MC5’s Kick Out The Jams introduced me to my favorite rock and roll music journalist, Lester Bangs. His review of Kick Out The Jams was his first published article for Rolling Stone magazine.
I recall the controversy that surrounded the MC5. I am not a fan of censorship and the use of the word, “motherfucker” posed the MC5 and Elektra Records issues through its sales channels. I purchased the “uncensored” Elektra vinyl recording of the MC5’s Kick Out The Jams and I played it real loud.
The MC5 was rooted in hard-core revolutionary politics. They represented the thrash for the White Panther Party led by John Sinclair, who was their manager. You may recall John Sinclair from the song “John Sinclair” by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Elephants Memory on the album, Sometime in New York City.
It is important to note that one of the founding members of MC5 was lead guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Smith number ninety-three in its list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. The band Sonic Youth took its name from Smith’s nickname.
Fred “Sonic” Smith was married to Patti Smith. They were introduced to each other by Lenny Kaye. Patti Smith wrote a song about her husband, entitled “Frederick” which appears on her Wave album.
I especially like how full circle Fred “Sonic” Smith’s activist vision became as a result of writing “People Have The Power” which is an anthem for protest. Fred “Sonic” Smith passed away at 46 years of age in 1994 of a heart attack.
Patti Smith performs this song with conviction and purpose. It speaks to the triumph of the human spirit and their symbiotic, eternal relationship.
Jürgen Vollmer, with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voorman (the “Exis“), befriended The Beatles during the band’s time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. Vollmer was the son of a professional army officer who died during World War II. Young Vollmer was attending Hamburg’s Institute of Fashion at the time he met The Beatles, who at the time included drummer Pete Best and bassist Stu Sutcliffe. Vollmer quickly became one of the group’s photographers, and was responsible for the “Beatles haircut” and some of their most iconic images in their leather-clad days prior to Brian Epstein. John Lennon was particularly impressed with Vollmer’s photos, and used one of his favourites on the cover of his 1975 album Rock ‘n’ Roll. (wikipedia),
Bob Gruen is one of the most well-known and respected photographers in Rock and Roll. He has captured the music scene for over forty years in photographs that have gained worldwide recognition.
Shortly after John Lennon moved to New York in 1971, Bob Gruen became John and Yoko’s personal photographer and friend, making photos of their working life as well as private moments. He published a book with 150 of those touching, exclusive photographs in 2005.
According to Moonalice legend, John Lennon released the classic “Instant Karma” in the UK 41 years ago today. It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, recorded the same day it was written, and arriving in stores only 10 days later. John remarked to the press, he “wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.”
We would call that a viral music release in today’s world of the Web. When I hear or read about “Instant Karma” I always associate with my first college radio station show on WNHU-FM 88.7 in West Haven, Ct. It was 1973 and I was attending The University of New Haven, where I majored in business and minored in music. My goal when I graduated Brien McMahon High School in 1969 was to be a radio personality. I went right from high school to Career Academy Broadcasting School in New York City. I commuted on the New Haven Railroad from Norwalk, Ct. to Grand Central Terminal for four months. It was an exciting time in my life moving through the hustle and bustle to my school at 8 West 40th Street, which overlooked the New York Public Library and Bryant Park.
I was an inaugural year afternoon FM disk jockey on WNHU-FM. My radio show was entitled, “Instant Karma”. I would begin my Tuesday/Thursday 2-5 p.m. show with the 45 r.p.m. Apple Records single by John Lennon.
That was against the grain of the radio programming I had been taught because “Instant Karma” was a rock and roll vocal. You were supposed to use an instrumental to begin and end a radio show. I am a non-conformist what can I say 😉
“Instant Karma” by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band never gets tired or old.
I drift back to the time when we listened perpetually to FM radio, in particular Metromedia affiliate WNEW-FM 102.7 out of New York City. The year was 1973, Rosemary and I were newly married and living in an apartment in South Norwalk, Ct. We were very in league with the NEW-FM disk jockeys such as Dave Herman in the morning and Scott Muni (Scottso) in the afternoon. It was Dave Herman who turned us on to Garland Jeffreys and his anthem-like song, “Wild in the Streets”. Garland’s 45 r.p.m record got a lot of airplay on the station that year, deservedly so 😉
Rolling ahead to 1977, Garland Jeffreys recorded and released Ghost Writer on A&M Records. I used to go on record buying binges to J&R Music World and other record haunts throughout NY City, sometimes buying 10-12 albums at a clip. I recall purchasing Ghost Writer in the Village and playing it extensively on my Sunday morning radio show on WVOF-FM 88.5 at Fairfield University. I would lean strongly on “35 Millimeter Dreams”, “Lift Me Up” and “Why-O” in my playlists. I was just going through my vinyl collection recently, thinking the next time I see Garland Jeffreys I’ll ask him to sign Ghost Writer for me so I can frame it for my home office 😉
Rolling forward to October 9, 2010, we saw Garland Jeffreys perform live as part of Happy Birthday John, An Informal Celebration of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday in NY City. Here is the video clip of his poetic reading of “Help”, which was very moving to witness.
I was very honored to have a chance to talk to Garland Jeffreys on the steps of the Society for Ethical Culture before the show and again after the concert at the after party at Gibson Studios. I loved his sincerity and the sense of excitement I felt about his career revival.
I’m making a solemn pledge to spend quality listening time with Garland’s music and his official video channel on YouTube. I want to become more in harmony with Garland’s music in anticipation of his new recording (which is in production). He’s stepping up his touring schedule as a result and we hope to catch him live again real soon. 🙂