It was 30 years ago today! (Ferris Bueller took that famous day off)

This weekend in 1986, the biggest movie at the box office was the classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a John Hughes teen comedy that appealed to a cross-section of all moviegoers. For young people, it was definitely “the movie to see” in the summer of 1986. The movie has a historical role in Beatles lore as its use of “Twist and Shout” in the most memorable scene of the movie spawned the single’s re-release and entry into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, which naturally cultivated new found Beatles fans among the younger generation.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was written, produced and directed by John Hughes and takes place in his childhood stomping grounds of both suburban Winetka, Illinois and downtown Chicago. It starred Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, a high school senior who decides to skip school one day and have with with his two friends, Sloane Peterson and Cameron Frye, played respectively by Mia Sara and Alan Ruck.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was made on $5.8 million budget and grossed $70.1 million, ranking as one of the top-grossing movies of 1986.

The scene with “Twist and Shout” occurs when the trio stumbles upon the Von Stueben Day Parade in Chicago. It took much choreographic preparation and several days of shooting to pull of these famous scenes. First, Ferris gets up onto a German float and lip synchs the 1963 hit “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newtown; the 21 year-old singer Wayne Newton had placed the Bert Kaempfert classic at number 13 on the charts.

Then, the famous scene with “Twist and Shout” made the movie. John Hughes was a major Beatles fan and stated that every day during the 56 days of shooting the movie he listened to the White Album in its entirety. Because the song was featured prominently in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Twist and Shout” was re-released as a single, reaching number 23 and staying in the Top 40 for seven weeks. In 1964, “Twist and Shout” stalled for an amazing four weeks at the number two position but never made the jump up to the top slot. It spent 16 weeks in the Top 40 in 1964. The combined 1964 and 1986 total of 23 weeks in the Top 40 give the single the distinction of being the Beatles single with the most weeks in the Top 40 at 23.

The song received an additional boost when the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back to School, which was released a week after Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featured the comedian singing the Beatles version of “Twist and Shout”.

A previous blog post from January 2015 about “Got To Get You Into My Life” covers another Beatles hit that was released after the break-up of the Fab Four and fared well on the charts ten years after it was recorded.

Wings guitarist Henry McCullough dies at age 72

It is obvious that BeatlesHistorian.com has been “off the grid” for a whole month! In that time, original Wings guitarist Henry McCullough died on June 14 at age 72.

This is the New York Times obituary for McCullough. Billboard published the article “Paul McCartney reacts to death of Wings guitarist Henry McCullough”.

A native of Derry in Northern Ireland, McCartney was the only Irish person to perform at Woodstock, playing in Joe Cocker’s band. He was chosen as the first lead guitarist for McCartney’s new band Wings in 1972.

McCullough therefore played lead guitarist on Wings’ first released single, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”, which was written in response to the infamous 1972 “Bloody Sunday” incident in Derry in Northern Ireland in which British troops opened fire on unarmed civilian Catholic protesters, killing 14 and wounding an additional 14. The song topped the pop charts in the Republic of Ireland and reached number 21 in the U.S. However, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” was immediately banned by the BBC and thus did not receive airplay on UK stations. This banning was a major coup for McCartney as Lennon had always been considered the more political of the two; ironically, Lennon’s song on the infamous 1972 incident in Northern Ireland, “The Luck of the Irish”, went largely unnoticed. The controversy over “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” resulted in Henry McCullough’s brother being jumped by a group of thugs after leaving a bar in Derry. In addition, Wings concerts were picketed in the UK.

Two other good articles are McCullough’s native Ireland from Irish newspapers, the Irish Times “Henry McCullough: Irish Guitarist Who Played at Woodstock and With Wings” and the Belfast TelegraphMourners Say Goodbye to Henry McCullough with Music and Songs”.

Very Interesting! : “Got My Mind Set on You”

“Got My Mind Set on You” is etched in the soundtrack of the memory banks of most people who were listening to music in the late 1980’s. This number one hit for George Harrison is significant in many ways. First, it represents the last number one hit in the U.S. by a member of The Beatles, hitting the top slot for one week in February 1988. Of course, Harrison was the first ex-Beatle to score a number one hit when “My Sweet Lord” topped the charts for four weeks beginning in the last week of December 1970, giving him the distinction of being the first and the last ex-Beatle to top the charts in the U.S.
Furthermore, for a period of several months in 1988, George Harrison held the remarkable distinction having the number hits the longest length apart, as 15 years elapsed between “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) in 1973 and 1988’s “Got My Mind Set on You”. Surprisingly, The Beach Boys scored the number one hit “Kokomo” in November 1888, 22 years after their last number one hit, “Good Vibrations” in December 1966.

In terms of hits by ex-Beatles in the U.S., the song broke the longstanding tie as George, Ringo and John each had two number one hits. This 1988 chart-topper gave Harrison three number ones, catapulting him over Ringo and John. Furthermore, “Got My Mind Set on You”, written by Rudy Clark in 1962, represented only the second time an ex-Beatle had topped with charts in the U.S. with a song that he did not write. The first such instance was when Ringo scored a number one in 1973 with “You’re Sixteen”, which was written by Richard Sherman and Roger Sherman, and previously was a hit for Johnny Burnette in 1960. Songwriter Rudy Clark also wrote “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)” which was a # 6 song for Betty Everett in 1964 and later a Top 40 hit for Cher in 1991 as it was featured in her movie Mermaids.

The James Ray version of “Got My Mind Set On You” was recorded in 1962 but did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 despite adequate airplay. When The Beatles each had two weeks of vacation in the summer of 1963, Harrison went to Chicago to visit his older sister Louise and her family. He always liked the song and bought a copy of the 45 at a Chicago record store and brought it back to Liverpool. Incidentally, George visited many Chicago record stores in those two weeks. He was accompanied to Chicago by his older brother Peter; the two brothers had a project. The Beatles were already famous in Great Britain with number one hits and other hits; they canvassed every record store in Chicago to see if any of the stores were selling Beatles records. They found that not only did any of the stores not have Beatles records, but none of the owners or employees of the stores had ever heard of The Fab Four. In a matter of months the climate would change drastically for The Beatles in the U.S.

Harrison bought the record as he loved the song, in addition to being familiar with James Ray because in earlier years The Beatles many times included the Ray song “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody” in their set. He always kept “Got My Mind Set On You” in the back of his mind. In the sessions that preceded recording of the Cloud Nine album in 1987, there were jams sessions among Harrison and the musicians who would appear on the album. In The Billboard Book of Number Hits by Fred Bronson, there is a passage in which Harrison describes the twist of fate that inspired the recording of the 25 year-old song; “I did that song because Jim Keltner got this drum pattern going one day that was a cross between swing and rock. Gary Wright turned around and said, “Hey, doesn’t that remind you of that song ‘Got My Mind Set on You?’ I was so surprised that anybody else had ever heard that tune!”

The Cloud Nine album marked the first of several collaborations between Harrison and ELO frontman Jeff Lynne. When Harrison voiced that he was looking for an innovating producer for his upcoming album, Dave Edmunds recommended Lynne and set up a meeting between the two. A major Beatles fan, Lynne was thrilled to work with the ex-Beatle; the ELO influence can be heard throughout Cloud Nine, especially with Lynne doing backing vocals on “Got My Mind Set on You”. The following year Harrison and Lynne would form the group The Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. Both Harrison and Lynne received credit as co-producers of “Got My Mind Set on You”. Of course, 18 years later Jeff Lynne would produce the two new Beatles songs that used old vocal tracks of John Lennon, “Free as a Bird” and “Free Love”, for the Beatles Anthology CD; George Martin opted out of producing the two songs primary because he felt it was not a good idea to record a song using old vocal tracks of the deceased Beatle but also because he had experienced some hearing loss and such a project requiring perfection would be a difficult task because of the hearing loss.

“Got My Mind Set on You” was released in 1987 when MTV still showed music videos on a regular basis and it received ample airplay. According to The Quiet One: A Life of George Harrison by Alan Clayson, Paul McCartney backed out of an agreement to appear in a couple of videos for singles off of Cloud Nine. George was disappointed that the first video with McCartney was supposed to be the one for his non-original “Got My Mind Set on You”. The video for the single consisted of an adolescent couple flirting in an amusement arcade while a video of George and his band played in a nickelodeon. With music videos still being played constantly on MTV in 1987, Warners made the case that a better video was needed to promote the single and the album. The second video, which is by the far the better known of the two videos, featured Harrison playing the guitar and singing in his study, which evolves into the furniture moving and taxidermies on the wall partaking in the singing. A memorable part of the video is when a stuntman stepped in for Harrison and does backflips. The second video was credited with helping to propel the song to becoming an international hit. In addition to the U.S., it topped the charts in Australia, Belgium and Ireland, while scoring in the top ten in almost every country in the free world with pop music charts.

The second single from the album, “When We Was Fab”, reached # 23 in the U.S.

To this day, it ranks as an extreme rarity in that the day in which The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 20, 1988, “Got My Mind Set On You” was the number one song in the U.S.!

The Beatles’ version of “Please Mr. Postman” is part of U.S. chart history

“Please Mr. Postman” was recorded by The Beatles for their With the Beatles album. The band had started playing it in 1962 in their act at The Cavern Club, but had not played it in a long while at the time of the recording. It took a bit of practice to bring it up to par. It was recorded on 30 July 1963, and released as a single in the UK on 22 November 1963. It was released in the U.S. on 10 April 1964, appearing in the U.S. on The Beatles Second Album.

They did covers of three Motown hits for With the Beatles: “Money (That’s What I Want)”, “You Really Got a Hold on Me”, and “Please Mr. Postman”. Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of the Motown label who also co-wrote “Money (That’s What I Want)” was thrilled that the most popular band in the UK, then unknown in the U.S., was covering three of Motown’s biggest hits thus far.

The song, recorded by The Marvelettes, was actually the first ever number one hit for the Motown (Tamla) label, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1961. It took the longest time in chart history for a single on the Billboard Hot 100 to reach number one. The famed Funk Brothers were the musicians on the recording. However, on drums was a 22 year-old session drummer who was both eager and determined to break into the music industry; the drummer’s name was Marvin Gaye. “Please Mr. Postman” was co-written and co-produced by Brian Holland, who along with his brother Eddie and Lamont Holland, would later go on to both write and produce countless hit songs for Motown acts such as The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, The Isley Brothers and more.

The debut single by The Marvelettes also reached number one on the R&B charts.

“Please Mr. Postman” became the third song of the rock era to reach number one by two different artists when in 1975 The Carpenters made it into a chart-topper again. The brother and sister pop duo originally from New Haven, Connecticut took the advice of some music critics who said that Karen’s voice would be well-suited to covering pop hits. They decided to cover “Please Mr. Postman” on their Horizon album and release it as the album’s first single. “Please Mr. Postman” would be the duo’s third and final number one hit.

The following are all the songs that have reached number one by different artists on The Billboard Hot 100 charts:

1. “Go Away Little Girl” — Steve Lawrence (1963) and Donny Osmond (1971)

2. “The Loco-Motion” — Little Eva (1962) and Grand Funk (1974)

3. “Please Mr. Postman” — The Marvelettes (1961) and The Carpenters (1975)

4. “Venus” — Shocking Blue (1970) and Bananarama (1986)

5. “Lean on Me” — Bill Withers (1972) and Club Nouveau (1987)

6. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” — The Supremes (1966) and Kim Wilde (1987)

7. “When a Man Loves a Woman” — Percy Sledge (1966) and Michael Bolton (1991)

8. “I’ll Be There” — The Jackson 5 (1970) and Mariah Carey (1992)

9. “Lady Marmalade” — LaBelle (1975) and Christina Aguilera/Lil Kim/Mya/P!nk (2001)

While “Please Mr. Postman” was the third single to reach number one by two different artists, it should be noted that there is an irony in the first two songs to achieve this distinction. The first one, “Go Away Little Girl”, and the second one, “The Loco-Motion” were both penned by the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King during the halcyon day of the famed writers of The Brill Building, the famed building at 1650 Broadway in Manhattan that turned into a factory of hit songwriting. “The Loco-Motion” is featured in the current Broadway smash Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as are many other Goffin/King compositions, solo King compositions, as well as songs by the other prominent Brill Building of songwriters, many of whom appear in the musical as characters.

Of course, The Beatles recorded the Goffin/King song “Chains”, which was a hit for The Cookies in 1962. Recorded as a single for their first LP, Please Please Me, the Beatles’ cover of the song was recorded in four takes on February 11, 1963; George Martin used the first take. “Chains” represents the first time that early Beatles fans heard George Harrison doing lead vocals on a song released as a single.

The Beatles rendition of “Please Mr. Postman” did not hit number one like the versions by The Marvelettes and The Carpenters did. In fact, it did not even crack the Top 40. But, it has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs and personally I think it is better than the versions that topped the charts in the U.S. You be the judge!


Please Mr. Postman – The Beatles by HadleyDoc

Cheap Trick makes it into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but was kicked off John Lennon album in 1979!

Last night the original members of Cheap Trick were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as were the original members of Chicago. Check out previous posts on this blog touched upon Chicago founding members trombonist James Pankow and bassist/vocalist Peter Cetera.

The original lineup of Cheap Trick played together last night for the first time since drummer Bun E. Carlos stopped performing with the band in 2010 despite still being a legal member of the band. Inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have healed rifts and brought bands back together – if only for a couple of hours. The Cheap Trick lineup that was inducted consists of Robin Zander (vocals), Rick Nielsen (guitar), Tom Petersson (bass), and Brad “Bun E. Carlos” Carlson (drums).

The breakthrough twelve month period for Cheap Trick was from October 1978 to October 1979, when their Cheap Trick at Budokan double album was wildly popular on its way to triple platinum certification. The following album Dream Police, proved to be the bands most commercially successful, reaching number six on The Billboard 200 album chart and being certified platinum in only a couple of short months. From these two albums, the hit songs “Surrender”, “I Want You To Want Me”, and “Dream Police” saturated both the AM and FM airwaves in the U.S.

In the late summer of 1979, after Cheap Trick had burst onto the scene the previous year in a great way, John Lennon was recording the Double Fantasy album. The album’s producer, Jack Douglas, suggested to John that he use Cheap Trick as the backing band for the song “I’m Losing You”. On 12 August 1980, Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos went to the Hit Factory studios to record “I’m Losing You”; while there they also recorded the track for Yoko’s “I’m Moving On.”

John told the Cheap Trick duo that he was very impressed with their work. He told Nielsen that he wished Nielsen had been the second guitarist on his solo song “Cold Turkey”.

However, the Cheap Trick version of “I’m Losing You” was entirely set aside and not included on the album. The reasons for the decision were not definitely known. There has always been speculation that the two members of Cheap Trick wanted too much money, or that the sound had more of a “rock” edge than Lennon or the producer had wanted. Also, the Cheap Trick-backed track of Yoko’s “I’m Moving On” was also discarded in favor of a re-recording by studio musicians.

The studio musicians for Double Fantasy recorded the second version of “I’m Losing You” on August 18, but that version was scrapped, too. They recorded a third version on August 26 that was used on the album. Lennon finally got around to recording the vocals he wanted used on September 22.

What is puzzling is that when the studio musicians recorded the second and third versions of the song, Lennon insisted that they wear earphones that played the Cheap Trick version of the recording so that the musicians would be inspired.

“I’m Losing You” was intended by both Lennon and the record company to be released as a single, but with the assassination of John Lennon shortly after the album’s release, it was decided that a song with such a title would not be appropriate in light of the events. Finally, the Cheap Trick-backed version of “I’m Losing You” was released in 1998 on the John Lennon Anthology CD. At the time of its release on the four CD boxed set, many prominent rock critics expressed that Lennon and producer Jack Douglas should have gone with the better version by Cheap Trick for Double Fantasy.

A 13 September 2009 article in the Las Vegas SunNielsen: Cheap Trick-infused ‘I’m Losing You’ with Lennon too hot to handle” sheds interesting light on Cheap Trick’s brief collaboration with the Beatles legend.

In the 2009 biography John Lennon: The Life, Philip Norman wrote, “Douglas wanted to give the album a contemporary edge and, to that end, enlisted Bun E. Carlos and Rick Nielsen, drummer and guitarist of Cheap Trick (who by an odd coincidence were currently working at George Martin’s AIR Studios in Montserrat) to play on “I’m Losing You”. But, funky as their contribution was, it simply did not fit. The spirit of Double Fantasy was Matisse rather than Picasso.”

Cheap Trick’s surge started in 1978 with wide airplay of “Surrender” on both FM and AM stations; despite the song’s popularity and conspicuous success, it never cracked the Top 40, stalling at number 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 . “I Want You To Want Me” reached # 7 in the summer of 1979, followed by “The Dream Police”, which only reached # 26 despite widespread radio play. Some nine years later the band would have their only number one hit, “The Flame”, which topped the charts for two weeks in July 1988. Two months later their cover of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” reached the number four position.

Cheap Trick may not have made into onto Double Fantasy, but they made into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Check out the Cheap Trick versions of “I’m Losing You” and “I’m Moving On” that were strangely rebuffed from appearing on John Lennon’s last album……

Steve Miller induction into Rock Hall of Fame; in 1969 Paul McCartney helped him in the studio

This evening veteran rocker Steve Miller will be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Miller has had a high-profile career as the singer/songwriter/guitarist of The Steve Miller Band. Few people are aware of the fact that a young Miller collaborated in the studio with Paul McCartney a year before the break-up of The Beatles.

Miller was in London in May 1969 to record Brave New World, the third album of The Steve Miller Band and the first one since the departure of band member Boz Scaggs. The day of 9 May 1969 marked a bitter fight among the four members of The Beatles. The previous day, Lennon, Harrison and Starr had signed financial management contracts with Allen Klein but Paul did not toe the line. The three stormed out of Olympic Studios leaving McCartney alone there to stew. Steve Miller happened to come in ahead of time, and had a conversation with McCartney, who needed a sympathetic ear. Miller asked if he could use the studio, and Paul agreed if he could play drums. Miller’s producer Glyn Johns arrived shortly thereafter and together Miller and the Beatle recorded the song “My Dark Hour” on which Paul provided bass, drums, guitar and backing vocals. Miller handled all the other instruments. McCartney was not credited under his own name, but rather under Paul Ramon, his occasional pseudonym from 1960 in the struggling days of the band that would soon be known as The Beatles.

McCartney also provided backing vocals on the track “Celebration”. In addition, the song “Space Cowboy” features the exact primary riff as “Lady Madonna”, which naturally has always fueled speculation that McCartney gave Miller permission to do so because they were working in the studio together.

The Fab Four bass player elaborated on his collaboration with Steve Miller in the book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now by Barry Miles:

“Steve Miller happened to be there recording, late at night, and he just breezed in. ‘Hey, what’s happening, man? Can I use the studio?’ ‘Yeah!’ I said. ‘Can I drum for you? I just had a terribly unholy argument with the guys there.’ I explained it to him, took ten minutes to get it off my chest. So I did a track, he and I stayed that night and did a track of his called My Dark Hour. I thrashed everything out on the drums. There’s a surfeit of aggressive drum fills, that’s all I can say about that. We stayed up until late. I played bass, guitar and drums and sang backing vocals. It’s actually a pretty good track.”

It would take The Steve Miller Band almost another five years to crack the Top 40 in the U.S. after numerous entries on The Billboard Hot 100. “The Joker” reached # 1 on January 12, 1974 and stayed in the top slot for a week. His second number one hit was “Rock ‘n Me” which topped the charts for the week of November 6, 1976. His third and final number one hit, “Abracadabra”, spent two weeks on the top of the charts during the first two weeks of September 1982. Also, Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro wrote the music and words to the hit song “Human Nature” on the famous album, while handling synthesizer chores on four tracks.

Miller’s highly popular song “Fly Like An Eagle”, which has been used in several television ad campaigns over the last forty years, just missed the mark as it stayed in the number two position for two weeks in 1977 but could not make the jump to the top slot; it was kept out of the top position by “Love Theme From ‘A Star Is Born’ (Evergreen)”, the Barbara Streisand hit she co-wrote with famed songwriter Paul Williams. The main guitar hook in “Fly Like An Eagle” was actually first used in “My Dark Hour”.

In total Miller scored nine songs in The Top 40 between 1973 and 1982. The others were “Take the Money and Run” (# 11 in 1977); “Jet Airliner” (# 8 in 1977); “Jungle Love” (# 23 in 1977); “Swingtown” ( # 17 in 1977); “Heart Like a Wheel” (# 24 in 1981).

Not wanting to release a double album, Miller released two albums within a year of each other; songs for both albums were recorded during the same studio sessions. The album Fly Like an Eagle was released in May 1976 while Book of Dreams was released in May 1977.

The Steve Miller Band was officially formed in 1966 and has had countless members in a revolving line-up since then. Longtime Miller friend Boz Scaggs was an original member of The Steve Miller Band, appearing on the first two albums and playing with the band at the famous Monterey Pop Festival, the three day festival held in June 1967. Scaggs left The Steve Miller Band in 1968 en route to a successful solo career. Scaggs’ highly successful album Silk Degrees is considered one of the top albums of the 1970’s, and spawned Top 40 hits like “Lido Shuffle” and “Lowdown”. For the Silk Degrees album and tour, Scaggs was backed up by a group of young musicians who started playing during their early high school years in the Los Angeles area. Following the tour, they went out on their own as a band under the name Toto. Five years later, their 1982 album Toto IV would win seven Grammy Awards, including “Album of the Year”, “Record of the Year”, and “Producer of the Year”. The album that would win the Grammy for “Album of the Year” the following year was Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller. Ironically, members of Toto served as studio musicians for several of the tracks on Thriller, such as “The Girl is Mine”, the duet by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, which was the first single released from Thriller and peaked at number two on The Billboard Hot 100.

The bond between Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs goes back to high school in Dallas when Scaggs was a freshman and Miller was a sophomore at the elite St. Mark’s School of Texas. St. Mark’s was founded by Dallas businessmen who had attended elite prep schools in New England and wanted to create a school in the mold of a New England private school so that their own sons could have that type of educational experience without having to leave Dallas. While at St. Mark’s, Miller and Scaggs formed their first band which was appropriately called The Marksmen. Steve Miller went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the following year Scaggs enrolled at Madison after his graduation from St. Mark’s. A few years in back of Miller and Scaggs at St. Mark’s was future Oscar-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones, who enrolled at Harvard after graduating from St. Mark’s. Many years later actors Owen and Luke Wilson went to St. Mark’s, too. In 1969, Tommy Lee Jones was Al Gore’s real-life roommate at Harvard; the following year, after graduating, he played Ryan O’Neal’s Harvard roommate in the classic movie Love Story. However, Jones was already famous in his own right at Harvard because he was an offensive lineman on the famous 1968 Harvard football team that was 16 points down against Yale in the final minute and tied it. The headline in the Harvard Crimson was “Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29”, a headline recycled as the title of the 2008 documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 about the famous 1968 game, which was directed by Kevin Rafferty.

Steve Miller deserves this induction tonight. Be assured that no media coverage of this event will mention his unique collaboration with Paul McCartney during the Beatle years.

A First (and Last): John and Paul both lend their help on a song

While it is well known that Paul McCartney and John Lennon helped out other artists on songs during the Beatle years, the one and only time that they ever helped out on song together was in 1967 on The Rolling Stones hit “We Love You”. The song is for the most part unknown in the U.S., but it reached # 8 on the British pop charts. In the U.S., it only reached # 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 and therefore was off the radar screen because it fell short of the coveted Top 40.

“We Love You” is definitely “interesting”. Its Moroccan influence is obvious. One critic at the time described it as a “psychedelic collage of jail sounds.”

The song was written in response to the drug arrests of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones on 12 February 1967 at Richards’ country home in Sussex. The band made an accompanying video that was a re-enactment of the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde for indecency. Needless, to say the BBC immediately banned the video, or “promotional film” as was the term back then.

“We Love You” was a brazen and public “thank you” to The Beatles, The Who and the editorial page of the London Times for taking the bold initiative to voice public support for the three members of The Rolling Stones after their drug arrests. Since the song was written in part for The Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon were asked to help out with backing vocals, marking the first and only time that these two Beatles would help out on a song together.

Interestingly, Stones lead guitarist Brian Jones played the Mellotron on the track.

The backing vocals provided by John Lennon and Paul McCartney went uncredited.

A 24 October 2010 article in the Daily Mail entitled “How the Acid King confessed he DID set up Rolling Stones drug bust for MI5 and FBI” shed light on the infamous 1967 drug bust. Also, the drug raid was the subject of a 2012 book, Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drug Bust by Simon Wells.

Check out the song that never made the Top 40 in the U.S., and the promotional film the Stones made for it:

John & Paul appeared on The Tonight Show in 1968: Wheeeeeere’s Johnny?

Several days ago, Joe Garagiola, a former major league baseball player who became much more famous as a broadcaster in his post-baseball career, passed away at age 90. Obituaries in major U.S. newspapers did not mention Garagiola’s very minor role in Beatles history. For instance, the New York Times obit of the baseball player-turned-broadcaster, “Joe Garagiola, a Cather Who Called the Game Better“, made no mention of the highly memorable Beatles incident.

Immediately after the formation of the band’s own label Apple Records in 1968, and shortly after the band members returned from their memorable trip to India to “visit” the Maharishi, John and Paul went to New York for a few days for issues relating to Apple Records. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which was still based in New York and would make the switch to Los Angeles in 1972 after spending a decade in New York after Carson took over the show from former host Jack Paar in 1962, contacted the band’s management and asked if John and Paul would appear on the show on May 14, 1968 during their trip to New York. Since members of the Beatles had never appeared on the famous Tonight Show – either as a band or as individuals – John and Paul thought it would be a good thing to do both for the band and to get the word out about the new Apple Record Corps.

To make a long story short, the whole thing was a total disaster. Producers of The Tonight Show did not inform John or Paul or Neil Aspinall that Johnny Carson would be on vacation on May 14, and that Joe Garagiola, someone totally unknown to them, would be the host. Needless to say, John and Paul were not pleased upon learning this and contemplated canceling out, but decided to go through with it. In later years, both John and Paul described Joe Garagiola as being very nice, warm and gracious. However, it was obvious to John and Paul, and the American public, that Garagiola definitely was not the right person to interview John Lennon and Paul McCartney on their first and only appearance on the famous Tonight Show during the Beatle years. John and Paul deserve much credit for being good sports. Another part of the equation was that aging actress Tallulah Bankhead was also a guest; she was totally intoxicated and asked the two boys some stupid questions.

The NBC television network destroyed many tapes of various shows from that era due to storage limitations, a move which has been universally criticized since. No authentic tape of the infamous May 14, 1968 show exists. However, in the pre-VCR era, some industrious Beatles fans taped the audio of the show on a tape recorder and did a makeshift filming of the visuals on their television screen with a Super-8 home movie camera.

An excellent article about John and Paul appearing on The Tonight Show appeared last year on the website UltimateClassRock.com. The article, “47 Years Ago: John Lennon and Paul McCartney Appear on the Tonight Show”, is most informative and includes a link to the dialogue of the infamous 1968 episode of the famous show. UltimateClassicRock.com has a wealth of fascinating articles on The Beatles, in addition to countless informative articles on other rock bands that fall under the “classic rock” label.

The Tonight Show fiasco with Joe Garagiola is known among Beatles fans but has not been widely covered. For instance, two major books of the last decade, The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz (1968) and John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman (2008), make no mention of the incident.

In an indirect way, The Tonight Show has another connection to The Fab Four. Original host Steve Allen stayed from 1954-1957. He was succeeded by Jack Paar (1957-1962) who turned the 90 minute NBC daily weeknight late show into an absolute staple of American culture. Johnny Carson took over the show from Paar in 1962, as the American public was dismayed that the wildly famous Paar would give up the show after only five years. Johnny Carson’s reign lasted thirty years until his 1992 retirement, which brought Jay Leno as the new host. Leno retired in 2009 and was replaced as host by Conan O’Brien; Conan started in June 2009, but the network replaced him the following January by bringing back Jay Leno, who stayed on under an agreement from March 2010 until February 2014 when he was replaced by current host Jimmy Fallon.

After leaving NBC’s The Tonight Show in 1962, the network did not want to lose the popular Paar to another network, so they offered him a weekly one hour show on Friday nights. The Jack Paar Program, debuted in the fall of 1962 and ran until June 1965. Paar is a definite footnote in Beatles history as his weekly show was the first show in the U.S. to showcase The Beatles. Of course, The Ed Sullivan Show was famously the band’s first live appearance on American television, but one month beforehand The Jack Paar Program featured film footage of the group and told how they had taken their native England by storm. At the time, the group did not have any hit records in the U.S., but of course that would change in a matter of weeks. The January 3, 1964 recorded appearance on The Jack Paar Program has naturally been obliterated in history by the famous February 8, 1964 live appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Actually, the first appearance of The Beatles on U.S. television was a straight news story. On November 18, 1963, the daily evening news program The Huntley Brinkley Report on NBC did a news segment on The Beatles and how the young group was creating hysteria in England. There was no video footage, as the segment was accompanied by only still photographs. There was an audio clip of “From Me to You” of one of their UK concerts, complete with the music being drowned out by the hysteria of the crowd.

The fact that the footage of John and Paul appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson with guest host Joe Garagiola was destroyed seems ironic. John and Paul totally wanted to forget the episode, and it is highly likely that Joe Garagiola did, too.

“Mull of Kintyre” is the top song in the history of the UK, but remains unknown in the U.S.

This posting was inspired by meeting a couple recently who hail from Leicester in England. We were talking about the scene in Britain in 1977 with Kevin Keegan being the top footballer in all of Europe, as well as Keegan sparking a national hairstyle craze among men.

In terms of ex-members of The Fab Four in 1977, a significant event happened. That August Paul McCartney and Wings’ guitarist Denny Laine co-wrote “Mull of Kintyre”, a song which has no significance to people in the U.S. It was recorded by Wings in September and appeared on their London Town album.

The song was inspired by the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll, Scotland where McCartney had a home and recording studio since the Beatle days.

The song was a hit before, during and after Christmas 1977, staying in the # 1 position on the British charts for nine weeks. The song overtook “She Loves You” as the biggest-selling single in British history. “Mull of Kintyre” held this distinction until 1984 when Band Aid scored big with their charity hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” However, “Mull of Kintyre” remains the biggest-selling non-charity single in British history. The 1977 hit was the first single in UK history to sell over two million copies.

Surprisingly, the song was invisible in the U.S., only reaching # 33 on the charts in 1977 and leaving the Top 40 portion of The Billboard Hot 100 after only one week. McCartney has specifically not played the song on concert dates in the U.S., while playing it in Canada and most other countries. For instance, he could do a concert in New York one night and not play the song, then do a concert two nights later in Toronto and play the song.

Almost forty years after its release, “Mull of Kintyre” remains totally unknown to the American general public. Unrelated to the famous song about this beautiful location in Scotland,, an October 8, 2013 article in the Daily Mail entitled “How Mull of Kintyre Lost Its Magic for Paul McCartney” paints an interesting scenario for the location of the Mull of Kintyre, where McCartney has owned his High Park Farm since 1966.