Or How a Black Man from South Africa Was Screwed Out of Several Million Dollars
“A-wimowack, a-wimoweh A-wimowack, a-wimoweh…”
Everybody knows that hook from the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” The song was a staple of the folk music circuit of the late 50’s and early 60’s. In 1962, it went to #1 in the U.S. when the Tokens recorded a more rock-oriented version. Robert John took it to #3 in 1972 and the British ensemble Tight Fit had a #1 hit in the UK in 1982. It was featured in the Disney movie The Lion King and even played a prominent part in an episode of the popular sitcom Friends.
Few know who really wrote the song or the long journey it made to become the classic we know today.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
There has been so much written about this album since its first release 50 years ago. And now, so much more being written about it, thanks to the 50th Anniversary Deluxe Re-Issue. There’s little we could add. You either still own this album, owned it back in the day or know many, many people who own it.
So instead of posting an appreciation of it, here are 5 things you might not know about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts club Band:
One of the Greatest Albums You May Have Never Heard Yet
It had been one of the biggest and most public break-ups in rock history.
During a summer appearance at Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California, Phil Everly smashed his guitar and stormed off-stage, leaving his brother Don to finish the set.
And that was the end of the Everly Brothers.
Or so it seemed. But in the years that followed neither of the brothers could get much of a solo career going. And they were family, after all. Tempers cooled, time passed and in 1983, after a ten-year absence, the Everly Brothers decided to reunite.
At the age of 22 in 1969, Tommy James had a string of 14 TOP 40 hits and was riding high. By 1972 at the age of 25, he was washed up.
What happened to one of the 1960’s most prolific rockers?
In the first place, Tommy James (born Thomas Jackson) hit recording pay dirt almost by accident.
Tommy and his first band, the Shondells, were a local sensation in the Niles, Michigan area. They recorded a Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich tune called “Hanky Panky” for a small label owned by Niles DJ Jack Douglas. The record got some local airplay and promptly sank from sight. The Shondells, like most young bands in the mid-sixties, broke up and went their separate ways.
Stories Behind Classic Rock Songs
At the height of her career, Joni Mitchell took a trip to Paris with a small group that included the head of her record label, David Geffen. She wrote “Free Man in Paris” about the music mogul shortly after their return.
For his part, Geffen always claimed the lyrics made him sound more unhappy with the music business than he really was.
As comeback albums go, you can’t do much better than EB ’84, a return to recording greatness for Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Don and Phil Everly.
One of early rock’s most reliable acts, the Everly Brothers had watched their career go into reverse following the British Invasion. Several prominent Brits would help power this totally satisfying album.
Are You Experienced (1967)
This is the album that changed everything. Music was never the same after Jimi Hendrix’s debut album, Are You Experienced, hit record stores like a proverbial bombshell.
Nobody had sounded like this before. The first time you heard, it sounded loud, ugly, and discordant. By the third or fourth listening, you were hooked.
If your parents thought the Beatles and Rolling Stones were “noise,” here was an album that would really piss them off! What a great reason to buy it and play it loud.
The band’s line-up was unique, too. Two Brits and one American. Two white guys and one black guy.
But the album you were listening to was not the same album listeners in other countries were hearing.
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