Archive for the ‘video’ Category

In order to properly appreciate Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution, and its significance in the Smile saga, it takes a kind of mental time-travel – and this is a useful trans-temporal handbook:

Paul Williams was/is the editor of Crawdaddy! (“America’s earliest rock magazine”), and, at the age of 18,

first got high on marijuana…with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, in late December 1966….and heard wonderful, mysterious, unearthly music when he played Smile sessions acetates for me.

How Deep Is The Ocean reprints all of Williams’ significant writings about Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, from snippets of early Crawdaddy! news items (Dec ’66/Jan ’67: “The next Beach Boys album is now named Smile; nearly all the songs were written by Brian in collboration with Van Dyke Parks, organist on many Beach Boys and Byrds tracks”) through to a 1997 conversation (Smile Is Done, with David Anderle). Via Williams’ various writings, plus his previous conversations with Anderle post-Smile (alongside Jules Siegel’s Goodbye Surfing, Hello God, and journalism by Tom Nolan, Nick Kent etc., most of which is reprinted in Back To The Beach), Smile-lore as we know it became what it is now: Williams and Siegel heard Smile as it was being recorded, along with David Oppenheim, the writer and producer of Inside Pop.

The solo Brian recording of Surf’s Up, as heard on the Good Vibrations box in 1993 (and which was the core of the 1971 ‘official’ reconstruction), was

recorded for the first time in December [1966] in Columbia Records’ Studio A for a CBS-TV pop music documentary. Earlier in the evening the film crew had covered a Beach Boys vocal session which had gone very badly (from Siegel’s Goodbye Surfing, Hello God)

(The unsatisfactory vocal session was for Wonderful backing vocals, according to The Smile Sessions sessionography. What the issue was with this session isn’t made clear, and isn’t included on the 2011 release; film footage obviously existed at one time, as Inside Pop outtakes, although it has never been located, despite efforts. Certain Beach Boys may never want it to surface…)

David Oppenheim spent some time around Brian Wilson, prior to the filming of Surf’s Up at Brian Wilson’s home, on the 17th of December 1966; and Oppenheim is presumably making his own assessment of Brian, as ‘one of today’s most important pop musicians’, on the basis of what he had seen and heard from Smile sessions.

Watching CBS News’ window into ‘the ferment that characterises todays pop music scene’ (via the 21st century’s most popular time-portal) is a very curious experience. It’s a real surprise how well-constructed its various arguments actually are: the prospect of an ‘establishment’ figure like Bernstein discussing the merits of low-culture could have been similar to the meeting between Hans Keller and Barrett’s Pink Floyd on the BBC (and if you’ve not seen this Year Zero marker before, it’s here – Keller might come across as pompous and supercilious, and, to Floyd fans, the guy’s an idiot – but he isn’t). But here Bernstein is offering a real insight for his CBS News viewers – and at a crucial moment in the development of what is now Western culture’s predominant artistic medium:

Now what does all this mean?

I think it’s all part of a historic revolution, one that has been going on for 50 years – only now these young people have gotten control of a mass medium, the phonograph record. And the music on the records, with its noise and its cool messages, may make us uneasy. But we must take it seriously, as both a symptom and a generator of this revolution. We must listen to it, and to its makers, this new breed of young people with long hair and fanciful clothing.

And when Inside Pop is cited as the source for the solo Surf’s Up clip, Bernstein’s overall thesis rarely gets a mention. Domenic Priore uses the above quotation in his 2011 Smile Sessions essay The (Original) Teenage Symphony To God; but the clip itself, when presented in Beach Boys official narratives (An American Band, Endless Harmony etc.), removes Oppenheim’s opening and closing comments – the Smile segment in An American Band replaces the latter with


(It wasn’t – and Van Dyke’s comment sounds more like a tape composite: compare his stilted statement with what follows). Erasing Oppenheim’s observations also removes the identification of Brian Wilson as the ‘Leader of The Beach Boys’.

The Beach Boys’ capitalised on Surf’s Up‘s notoriety (by concocting the title track for their 1971 album) in order to give an otherwise uncommercial and focus-free collection of songs a much-needed selling point. Album sessions had not been endlessly harmonious:

(January through early April 1971) Beach Boys manager Jack Rieley tells Scott Keller in 1974: “Carl and I began to write…Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston began to get irritable about it all. There was a long meeting during which they tried to force me to march into [Warners boss] Mo Ostin’s office and sell him on their 1969 track ‘Loop De Loop’. I refused and Brian, Dennis and Carl backed me up. Love, sensing that I might be on to something by rejecting their ‘string-of-hits’ crap as out of date, suddenly came up with ‘Student Demonstration Time’, which had Carl and I blushing with embarressment and which thoroughly disgusted Dennis. Then Jardine demanded that his track ‘Take A Load Off Your Feet’ should go on the album”. Etc. (from Keith Badman’s Definitive Diary)

Of the title track itself,

(mid June through early July 1971) …shortly before the new recordings are set to begin, Brian changes his mind about revisiting the song…generally Brian stays away from the song, presumably because of the negative memories associated with the Smile era…

Had it not been featured in Inside Pop in ’67, Surf’s Up would never have augmented the Reprise-rejected Landlocked album in ’71; we would probably only know the song via bootlegs (sharing a similar status to Do You Like Worms, Love To Say Dada etc) – and thus a revelation in 1993, rather than the desperate approximation everyone knows from the early 70s.

It’s also interesting to consider the company Brian Wilson shares in Inside Pop.

Leonard Bernstein’s segment highlights Janis Ian‘s Society’s Child, but also acknowledges The Beatles, The Association, The Left Banke, Bob Dylan, I’m A Believer, and Paint It Black. Interestingly, Bernstein doesn’t mention either The Beach Boys or Brian Wilson – which could be explained by Pet Sounds‘ (relative) lack of commercial success (and promotional support from Capitol Records) in the US. But it’s possible to find everything Bernstein highlights as ‘real inventions’ on Pet Sounds, and even more so in Smile – of Good Day Sunshine, Bernstein says

What a way to fade out: in a new key, a shifting meter, a sudden new counterpoint…but that’s The Beatles, always unpredictable, a little more inventive than most

which must surely (unwittingly) acknowledge God Only Knows‘ influence upon that track, and, by extension, Pet Sounds‘ influence upon Revolver (released in August 1966).

There is also the issue of familiarity for a 21st century viewer.

Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn Turn Turn were released in 1965, Paint It Black, Pretty Ballerina, Along Came Mary and I’m A Believer were all hits in 1966, and Society’s Child only became a hit after Bernstein eulogised it. For a modern rock music consumer, with any grasp of phonographic history, all of these songs (bar Society’s Child) should be very familiar indeed. But Inside Pop‘s audience might never have heard them before – remember that this is a CBS News broadcast about

the gap – the aching gap – between the two generations. We of the middle ages trying to understand, the young ones trying to explain

Therefore, rather than an anachronistic snapshot of the beginnings of rock music as an artform, Inside Pop is actually a ‘primary source’: for the roots of what has become the late 20th/early 21st century’s predominant cultural product, and in understanding the ‘pop music scene’ that Smile would have been released into.

Although Bernstein features throughout the first third of the broadcast, the rest of Inside Pop is the work of David Oppenheim. And Oppenheim seems to have spent some time with his subjects, and as a conscious effort to understand.

The UFO were actually called The UFOs (or The Unidentified Flying Objects) , and Inside Pop seems to have been their moment. There is a youtube clip here that has both a brief performance (from ‘hippie exploitation flick’, The Love-Ins, says the youtube uploader) plus excerpts from their Oppenheim interview. There was also a press clipping here.

Frank Cook was never ‘The Leader of Canned Heat‘ – Bob Hite or Al Wilson would have rightly disputed this (Cook was their drummer for a brief period), but he may have convinced Oppenheim otherwise – he is opinionated and antagonistic in conversation, while still saying almost nothing of worth. According to wikipedia,

[in 1967] Canned Heat also began to garner their notoriety as “the bad boys of rock” for being jailed in Denver, Colorado after a Denver Police informant provided enough evidence for their arrest for drugs (an incident recalled in their song ‘My Crime’)…after the Denver incident, Frank Cook was replaced with Fito de la Parra

which suggests that Cook may have had more than a little involvement in ‘the Denver incident’. Guy seems a bit of dick here:

Frank Cook : my band Canned Heat, what we’re trying to do is, tell OUR story. And in telling our story, having people understand where we’re at, and what we’re trying to do

which, for anyone familiar with Canned Heat’s derivation from older blues sources, seems a little rich…Stephen Calt’s book I’d Rather Be the Devil: Skip James and the Blues has James as utterly dismissive of the calibre of the benefactors of his ‘rediscovery’ (being Calt, John Fahey and Al Wilson amongst others), white college-boy nerds – and Cook looks and sounds the part here.

Everybody else comes across better, even if, in retrospect, they might seem somewhat naive…but that is bringing a post-1966/7 perspective to bear on what must have (briefly) seemed like the coming of a New Society.

The Gentle Soul recorded one album; while it might now have the status of a ‘lost psych-folk classic’ (and even the deleted Sundazed 2003 reissue is in demand), it was ignored at the time. And, to my ears anyway, it’s pretty lightweight stuff – there were many better albums released in 1967. But an audience for these ‘lost’ albums holds it dear.

The fact of these musicians’ lack of commercial success in 1966/67 does not in any way negate what they say. In some ways their perspectives become more valid: they want to be a part of this ‘new thing’ – and not necessarily for commercial gain.

Tim Buckley left ‘protest songs’ (along with pop music, and everybody else) behind, starting with the release of 1969′s Happy Sad album, and made some truly innovative music, specifically Side One of Lorca (for Elektra) and Starsailor (for Zappa’s Straight label). But audience indifference meant that his astonishing band were never widely seen or heard until the DVD of My Fleeting House was released in 2007.

The Byrds are heard only in passing, although Jim (pre-Roger; more about this later) McGuinn seems almost gleeful in anticipation of a societal shift, that might yet come via the ‘rock revolution’.

And Frank Zappa, typically, seems both the most cynical (especially about the ‘drug revolution’), and the most forward-looking

a lot of the kids that are walking around the streets with long hair, a lot of the kids that you see from time to time – and retch over – are gonna be running your government for you


after they stop taking drugs, and stop kidding themselves with their, er, fantasies, and they’d straighten up a little bit (pauses), grab themselves a little sense of responsibility, I think everything will turn out all right. That is if they aren’t killed off systematically beforehand

Certain mindsets might argue that some of them were ‘killed off systematically‘ (and usually at the age of 27), but that’s a crank can of worms for a whole other corner of the internet. Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks were also gleeful ‘guerrillas’ in this psychotropic revolt…

In the world of pop success, Inside Pop feaures Herman’s Hermits, who had some hits in the US at the height of Anglophilia (and by over-Englishing themselves with songs they never released as singles in the UK – possibly for fear of derision) – wikipedia says that

in 1965 and 1966, the group rivalled The Beatles on the charts and was the top-selling pop act in the US in 1965. On The Beatles Anthology video, there is a brief interview with a young girl in the audience attending The Beatles’ second appearance at Shea Stadium. When asked why The Beatles did not sell out the venue this time, she replied that they were not as popular anymore and that she preferred Herman’s Hermits.

Graham Nash went on to far greater success, after leaving The Hollies in 1968, to form Crosby Stills and Nash. And Graham Gouldman was part of 10CC, who acknowledge the profound influence The Beach Boys had on them.

And, of course, Brian Wilson, as ‘leader of the famous Beach Boys’, went on to…well, his role in Inside Pop is in many ways comparable to the now-obscure UFO(s): after this, nothing – or certainly nothing worthy of Oppenheim’s attention. Despite the acknowledgement of Brian Wilson as ‘one of today’s most important pop musicians’, Brian retained this commanding role for less than two months: on June 11th 1967, The Beach Boys held the 5th session for Smiley Smile, and the first in Brian’s ‘home studio’; the next Beach Boys release was no longer a product of this leadership. Everybody knows where it all went next:

Sept/Oct 1967: Smiley Smile…is not the same album as the much anticipated Smile. The latter was to be a full collaboration with Van Dyke Parks, and would hve included Surf’s Up…What happened to it? The gap between conception and realization was too great, and nothing satisfied Brian by the time he’d worked it out and gotten it on tape…Smile is the one that got away. (excerpted from Crawdaddy! news item, reprinted in How Deep Is The Ocean)

Had Smile been released in 1967, it would probably have been bought by the differing audiences for The Gentle Soul and Herman’s Hermits. It would have vindicated the faith of David Oppenheim and Paul Williams; John Hartmann‘s comment in Inside Pop is more prescient even than Zappa’s:

oh I think the West Coast of the United States is going to breathe an EXPLOSION of poetry and music – it is going to lead the way for the American youth.

It did. But, try as The Beach Boys might, they would never be a part of this explosion.

The influence of the West Coast of The United States on popular music was absolute – the rock ‘list mind’, with its Greatest Albums Ever Made, usually ends up looking like variations upon this, Mojo Magazine‘s own list from 1995. Of this hundred, 20 or so are products of the West Coast, and many of these were made during, or not long after the ‘Rock Revolution’ Inside Pop is investigating.

Barney Hoskyns’ Hotel California: Singer-songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons 1967-1976 observes how many of these singer-songwriters and ‘cocaine cowboys’ originated from one LA venue, The Troubadour. And Inside Pop‘s subjects seem equally as interconnected: Van Dyke Parks, as session player, worked with Zappa (briefly), Tim Buckley (on his first album), The Gentle Soul (keyboard player), The Byrds (on Fifth Dimension), and Brian Wilson (obviously).

LA may have ‘lead the way for the American youth‘, but, inevitably, ‘the kids that are gonna BECOME ADULTS’ (says Graham Nash) ‘running your government for you’ (says Zappa) became the ‘establishment’. Musically, this was part of what punk was for…but this is not the place for a reductionist potted history of something anybody who may have read thus far knows already. Rock history is deadly dull. Music history, on the other hand…

The Beach Boys, as a significant musical entity, ceased to matter to The American Youth after the release of Smiley Smile, after their non-appearance at Monterey, etcetera etctera etcetera. Even Student Demonstration Time in 1971 failed to persuade the younger people that they weren’t irrelevant. Strangely.

But most any LA bands or artist that ‘mattered’ in 66/67 either split up, got shit real quick, died – or went on to massive worldwide success, and slept on a huge pile of money with many beautiful ladies. Music, ethics, revolution, it all got kinda swept away once people like Clive Davis (of Columbia Records) started waving wads of cash at Monterey’s unsigned artists.

Is there a point to all of these disconnected observations? This endless stating of the obvious? There is. Three points.

Bear with me.

Bernstein says ‘now these young people have gotten control of a mass medium, the phonograph record’ – and, while he discusses songs, and by extension the 45RPM single, if Inside Pop were made six months later, he would be talking about albums.

In How Deep Is The Ocean, Paul Williams reprints a piece from the December 1967 Crawdaddy! called Outlaw Blues, ostensibly about the Beach Boys Party! album. Like most of Williams’ 60s writings, it has a weird prescience, but one comment is especially interesting:

During 1967 rock music, thanks to Beatles Doors Airplane etc., greatly expanded its audience to the point where two-thirds of the people buying any records at all were buying rock albums.

The ‘rock list mind’ would have you believe that ‘rock albums’ were all anyone ever bought. It all started in 1967 – everything else before that was just ‘tuning up’ (to paraphrase an ignorant historian). And ‘rock history’ now dominates any consideration of music history. The 12″ vinyl album became the predominate format for music distribution, but, more importantly, the predominate musical artform. And even lists that exclude this Greatest Ever canon is still a reaction to that canon; any Year Zero white popular music movement (punk, post-punk, rave, whatever) is (at least in part) a reaction against what was seeded by ‘the ferment’ of 66/67.

This is an interesting book:

While Dylan and Janis Joplin are pictured on the front cover collage, popular music, as perceived by post-1967 consumers, begins on page 714, with rock and roll; rock music starts on page 799. Who are all these other people? Well it’s obvious who some of them are, and that’s Leonard Bernstein at bottom left. But, these days, of what relevance are pages 1 to 713? Didn’t this all get swept away by The Beatles, Sgt Pepper, and The Rock Revolution?

In the Preface to Alex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise: Listening To The Twentieth Century, in talking about modern (classical) composition, he says that

people are sometimes surprised to learn that composers are still writing [music] at all.

And, later, he talks about ‘a teleological tale, a goal-obsessed narrative full of great leaps forward’ – he is discussing ‘histories of music since 1900′, but could as easily be writing about the history of popular recorded music since the introduction of the long-playing record (by Columbia in 1948), and as perceived from our current vantage point:

When the concept of progress assumes exaggerated importance, many works are struck from the historical record on the grounds that they have nothing new to say. These pieces often happen to be those that have found a broader public…

Bernstein, when talking about Good Day Sunshine, says

You see, just one sudden bar of 3 among all those fours. We never used to find that in pop music. It’s new.

and it’s The New that rock music keeps thinking it fucking invented. It didn’t.

Example: The Beatles were the first pop musicians to use backwards tape. Ask “Mr Music” – he’ll tell you that it was on either Rain or Revolution. However, Ferrante and Teicher used backward tape (and to amazing effect) on a version of The Lady Is A Tramp, a track on their Dynamic Twin Pianos album, in 1960

It’s a small point, and, if one wanted to counter it as moot, qualifiers such as ‘first single’, ‘first hit record’ etc. could be used – but all this succeeds in doing is, eventually, to keep that credit for innovation with The Beatles. Ferrante and Teicher were making popular music – but the wrong kind of popular music for a post-Sgt Pepper audience.

Bernstein argues for a ‘newness’ in The Beatles that is actually way more technical – but it could also be argued that The Beatles got their 3/4 innovations, the use of rounds etc. from Pet Sounds. And I would be surprised if Les Paul’s catalogue of startling pop records (from the late 1940s onwards) doesn’t contain some backwards tape quirks…

But who cares about Les Paul and Mary Ford, or Ferrante and Teicher? Not the canonical ‘rock mind’.

A whole bunch of rock music’s innovations are actually rediscoveries – but rock’s historical revisionism holds that ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ might be) all began with Sgt Pepper.

David Toop, in his A Grin Without A Cat article about The Smile Sessions (from November 2011′s Wire Magazine). observes that

buried within [SMiLE’s] musical legacy are so many contradictory templates: Frank Sinatra, The Lettermen, The Four Freshmen, Martin Denny, Patti Page, Chuck Berry, Spike Jones, Nelson Riddle, Jackie Gleason, Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, The Penguins, The Mills Brothers

In Jorge Luis Borges‘ essay Kafka And His Precursors (in Labyrinths) the author says that ‘at first I had considered [Kafka] to be as singular as the phoenix of rhetorical praise’ ie. Franz Kafka has no literary precedents; but ‘I came to think I could recognize his voice, or his practices, in texts from diverse literatures and periods’, and proceeds to delineate a few. Borges’ conclusions are interesting:

If I am not mistaken, the heterogeneous pieces I have enumerated resemble Kafka; if I am not mistaken, not all of them resemble each other. The second fact is the more significant.

What do any of the recording artists mentioned by David Toop above have in common? Not that much. But where might they all meet? In Smile. What Smile could have been would have been NEW – but it was also as a synthesis of as much of America’s history (musical and societal) as Brian and Van Dyke could cram onto two sides of a vinyl LP. Intentionally or unconsciously, via Wilson/Parks’ musical influences, or via their shared immersion in America’s history, and America’s musical life.

That’s Point One.

What was Point Two? Oh yeah.

Inside Pop prophetically showcases the seeds of (at least) the next ten years of what rock music would become: guitars, pop, rock, singer-songwriters, the personal and the social, societal revolution and artistic innovation…a change. A 21st century viewer can see in Inside Pop (if they look past its dated veneer) a bunch of templates of what was to follow.

But while Surf’s Up, ‘a new song – too complex to get all of first time around [that] could come only out of the ferment that characterises todays pop music scene’, is also new – it’s also a synthesis of all of these other templates: it’s pop, rock, it’s a personal expression and a social one, touching upon societal revolution (‘surf’s up!’), while not being any one of any of these (and there is no rock guitar)…and, as, session sheets indicate, it was composed as ‘movements’. Surf’s Up was always conceived of as a new type of pop song composition. Being placed at the culmination of Inside Pop was not arbitrary.

And Smile, and Surf’s Up as example, could have been another template.

And Point Three?

If, as Paul Williams points out in Outlaw Blues, ‘two-thirds of the people buying any records at all were buying rock albums’, what were they buying before The Rock Revolution? Was the record-buying public sitting around waiting for ‘Beatles Doors Airplane etc.’ albums? Maybe. But maybe not…

Smile‘s possible lack of potential chart appeal is often retrospectively considered, and especially against the innovations of Sgt Pepper. Would Smile have been a hit album, if it were released as intended, dense with all of that cranky and obtuse stuff?

If you trawl back through America’s popular music history, amongst the stuff Bernstein says ‘this pop generation has rejected’,

that old chromatic sound…the sound of an older, slicker generation…the old-fashioned sound of the cocktail lounge

you can find some real crazy music, and crazy (and innovative) music, bought by adults, in quantity…Brian Wilson’s characterising of the (unreleased, original) Heroes & Villains single “as a three minute musical comedy” was more in keeping with an older use of the single format (whether at 78 or 45) as an entertainment. When Frank Zappa asked (rhetorically) ‘does humor belong in music?’, a lot of listeners would have answered with a resounding NO (I’ve asked this question to a bunch of knowledgeable people, and this is often their response). Rock music, in its seriousness, eradicated forever the value of this kind of musical entertainment.

In Don Was’ 1995 documentary I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, Brian Wilson says that

There’s a very distinguished writer named Arthur Koestler, and, after a lot of careful research and study and all that in his life he discovered that the human mind is broken up into three categories: first is Humour, second is science, which he calls Discovery, and the third is Art. Now, the one thing that really blew me out about that book was that the first rule of ego is humour – in other words, when people get together, they’re more apt to want to be funny, out of INSTINCT and EGO, than they are artistic or scientific…you know, like, intellectual.

‘That book’ is Koestler’s The Act Of Creation, cited as key to an understanding of Smile‘s intention by Bill Tobelman in his Zen Interpretation of Smile. And what Brian Wilson seemed to want to convey, through Smile, was a function for humour in music: to take that idea of an old-fashioned ‘entertainment’, and to utilise it for some of the same hopes and aims as the other Inside Pop interviewees: to facilitate a change.

As a pop record, Smile‘s immediacy would have been ‘serious’ and humorous, light and ‘heavy’, all at the same time. This was also new.

Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks were developing a brand new type of music.

I could go on forever…so, two final things to ponder:

1: Rock History seems to consider the ‘rock revolution’ as both necessary and inevitable. However, in Paul Williams’ 1967 Outlaw Blues piece, he repeatedly mentions coincidence. And while he notes that,

during the summer of 1967, by some awesome coincidence, the size and interests of the buying audience coincided nicely with the quantity and quality of rock albums newly available to them..But already in December 1967 the difficulties are apparent. For one thing, there are quite a number of good groups making records, and they all expect a slice of the pie.

There might already be too many albums, and not enough audience.

Rock music is the first good music in quite a while to achieve a mass acceptance. It is also one of the few really worthy side-effects of of the current state of mass media in the Western world. Because many rock musicians, rock producers, rock etcetera do not appreciate the significance of this, we are in serious danger of blowing the whole bit.

Within nine months of Inside Pop‘s broadcast, Crawdaddy! worries that rock music risks losing everything that Oppenheim’s documentary promised. And maybe it already had – but rock’s ever-expanding audience never noticed.

Domenic Priore’s Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! reprints an hilarious (and undated, but presumably from the 1980s) mini-essay, which confirms Wiliams’ concerns (on p.220 of the Last Gasp edition). And while I don’t necessarily agree with what the author thinks rock & roll should be, I’m sympathetic to the sentiment:

We’re never going to recover. That’s all there is to it. No matter how hard we try, rock & roll will never be as cool as it was before The Beatles put out the Sgt. Pepper album and ruined everything…what bothers me is the influence it had on the rest of the pop world and how it was responsible for what is now known as progressive rock. Let’s face it. The whole problem began when ordinary teen groups started thinking they were artists with something to say…Imagine, if you will, a world without Genesis, Yes (talk about ivory tower bullshit. Those guys probably ride unicorns to the studio), or Roger Dean album covers!

I could go on forever…[but] the next time you hear Phil Collins, Rush or Bauhaus, stop and thank The Beatles.

And 2: what do you suppose The Beach Boys thought when this flashed up on their TV screen, as they watched Inside Pop after their show at Westchester County Center, in White Plains, NY:

You think they felt proud?

(thanks to The Common Swings for many useful comments)


or a summary of all of this so far


Read Full Post »

Brian Wilson’s solo performance of Surf’s Up (filmed on Saturday the 17th of December, 1966) has been seen in a few different Beach Boys documentaries over the years, and these variations have been on youtube for a good while.

Here’s one. Here’s another.

Remarkably (or not, in this ‘on demand’ future), the entire Inside Pop documentary was also on youtube for a time. It’s from a low-grade video copy, and looks like a transmission from another era – which, of course, it is.

However, since writing this original post (in October 2011), the youtube videos have disappeared:

which rather buggered up the bulk of this post, being Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution in six embedded parts – and the documentary’s significance in the Smile saga as self-evident, solely by viewing it in its entiretity. This is what comes of leeching others’ content and trying to pass it off as one’s own ‘discovery’…

Update: it’s back.

So, this is a screengrab/transcription version, as per the other videos covered here so far – and despite deciding ‘that’s it’ here. A commentary will follow.

As this is a serious program (a topical broadcast about social issues, rather than a music documentary per se), a lot of the shots are well-lit but static; there are only so many times you need to see a screengrab of Bernstein at the piano. And, as a great deal of the program is made up of quick edits and montages of various talking heads, It is what is said – and to whom – that is of the greatest interest. Bernstein occupies the first third of the broadcast, with David Oppenheim conducting and narrating the rest. Oppenheim is heard, but is not seen on camera – he leaves it to the interviewees to say their piece.

OK. So: if you care about such things, consider Surf’s Up in the context it was seen and heard by viewers at the time.

It’s Tuesday, April the 25th, 1967, 10PM.

You’re sat in your most comfortable chair in front of the TV. You think you know where your children are, and what they are doing – but you don’t really understand them, or their music. But you can trust CBS News, and you can trust Leonard Bernstein.

Leonard Bernstein: you see you’re supposed to say – to me – ‘you represent everything I hate’

Tandyn Almer (of The Association): – but that’s not true –
Bernstein: I’m supposed to say to you ‘you represent everything I don’t understand…but so far I understand everything you’ve said, and so far you say you trust me
Tandyn Almer: – you shouldn’t look down on a whole group of people because I’m some of them y’know…

Bernstein: well in addition to the age I represent – I represent, um, the bourgeouis family man, I represent an institution, like the New York Philharmonic which I am the head of –

Tandyn Almer: – I understand

Leonard lights Tandyn’s cigarette.

Bernstein: (continung) I represent the ‘establishment’ if you wish – in a way I hate that word, and I don’t like to think of myself that way – but that’s something you would naturally rebel against
Tandyn Almer: (nodding) yes
Leonard Bernstein: but I don’t find you rebelling against me – I would like to..I want you to HIT me, to tell me –

David Oppenheim: (on voiceover as they continue talking) this is David Oppenheim for CBS News. What this broadcast is about is the gap – the aching gap – between the two generations. We of the middle ages trying to understand, the young ones trying to explain

Oppenheim (voiceover): Tonight these young ones are pop musicians – on tour,

long distance information give me memphis tennessee

Oppenheim (voiceover): singing their own songs,

surfs up aboard a tidal wave come about hard

Oppenheim (voiceover): and just explaining

Tandyn Almer: we aren’t just going to accept what’s laid down for you by the older generation

A Sunset Strip Guy: we WANT to have the adults around, we just don’t want them to constantly tell us what to do

Graham Nash (of The Hollies): (emphatically) pop singers get through to MILLIONS of people, I really mean millions
Peter Noone (‘Herman’): (out of shot) what kind of people? You don’t get through to adults
Graham Nash: they get through to the kids that are gonna BECOME ADULTS

Frank Zappa: a lot of the kids that are walking around the streets with long hair, a lot of the kids that you see from time to time – and retch over – are gonna be running your government for you

David Oppenheim: (on voiceover as duet is played) music is the key to all of this, and so, the first part of this broadcast is a look at the songs themselves, both the notes and the words.

For this phase, here’s Leonard Bernstein.

Leonard Bernstein: (at the piano) For a long time now I’ve been fascinated by this strange and compelling scene called ‘pop music’ – I say strange, because it’s unlike any scene I can think of in the history of ALL music. It’s completely of, by and for the kids. And by kids I mean anyone from 8 years old to 25. They write the songs, they sing them, own them, record them – they also buy the records, create the market, they set the fashions in the music, in dress, in dance, in hairstyle, lingo, social attitudes.

And I say compelling, because it shows no sign of abatement – the fads change, the groups change, but the songs keep coming, increasingly odd, defiant and free.

This music raises lots of questions – but right now, for openers, here are the two that concern me most. One, why do adults resent it so? And two, why do I like it?

Announcer: (as The Byrds’ Turn Turn Turn plays) CBS NEWS presents, IN COLOR, Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution, brought to you by

(Turn Turn Turn fades out in background, as Leonard Bernstein listens)

Leonard Bernstein: I came to these songs naturally through my children, but I have a sneaky feeling I would have heard and responded to them anyway – after all they are part of music, which is my world, and a part that is so pervasive as to be almost inescapable.

Many parents do try to escape this music, and even forbid it, on the grounds that it is noisy, untelligible, or morally corruptive. I have neither escaped nor forbidden it, neither as a musician or as a father. I think this music has something terribly important to tell us adults, and we would be wise not to behave like ostriches about it.

Besides, as I said, I LIKE it! Of course what I like is maybe 5 per cent of the whole output, which pours over this country like the two oceans from both coasts. And it’s mostly trash. But that good 5 percent is SO exciting and vital – and may I say significant – that it claims the attention of every thinking person.

Ok, lets get down to some specific songs, to the music itself. Here is a cheery bit by The Beatles.

(plays a tape of the end of Good Day Sunshine, while nodding his head at the piano)

(stopping tape) Now that’s not just cheery, it’s also very unorthodox. For one thing, it suddenly, if you noticed, leaves out a beat, so that an ordinary 4 beat measure becomes a 3 beat measure. Listen.

(plays it again, counting “1-2-3-4, 1-2-THREE” and so on)

You see, just one sudden bar of 3 among all those fours. We never used to find that in pop music. It’s new.

And then just as suddenly there was that arbitrary change of key:

(plays and sings) good day sunshine GOOD day sunshine

It’s sort of tart, pungent. Then there was that odd little cannon at the end, a sort of round:

(plays the tape again, pointing as the round recurs)

What a way to fade out: in a new key, a shifting meter, a sudden new counterpoint…but that’s The Beatles, always unpredictable, a little more inventive than most. You know a remarkable song of theirs called She Said? Well in that song, which goes nicely along in four, again there’s a sneaky switch to three quarter time, only this time it’s not just for one bar, but for a whole passage

(plays and sings) when i was a boy everything was righ-hight

Did you get it? If not, listen again to The Beatles this time:

(plays She Said from the tape machine while counting beats)

And we’re back again safely in the old four beat.

Now the point I want to make is that such oddities as this are not just tricks or showoff devices. In terms of pop music’s ‘Basic English’ so to speak, they are real inventions. And it’s not only The Beatles that make these inventions. For instance there’s a group known as the Left Banke that has a tune called Pretty Ballerina. This tune is built not in the usual major or minor scale, but in a combination of the Lydian and Mixolydian modes – imagine that!

(plays Pretty Ballerina on the piano)

…comes out with a sort of Turkish or Greek sound:

(sings) i had a date with a pretty ballerina her hair so brilliant that it hurt my eyes (hear it here)

Rather unusual wouldn’t you say? And even so commonplace a number as The Monkees’ recent hit I’m A Believer has one noteworthy musical twist: it’s going along in the standard gospel-shouting tradition:

(plays and sings) then i saw her face now i’m a believer

and now suddenly here’s:

(sings) i’m a believer i couldn’t leave her if i tried

what a place to end on – a totally unexpected chord! Now I know you may say “well, what’s so great about that chord? It’s ordinary – we’ve had much more sophisticated and adventurous harmonies in pop music of the thirties, what about Gershwin? What about Duke Ellington, Sophisticated Lady? with those rich chromatic parallel seventh chords?”

(plays Sophisticated Lady)

Yes. But that’s the whole point: this pop generation has rejected that old chromatic sound as TOO sophisticated, the sound of an older, slicker generation…the old-fashioned sound of the cocktail lounge

(plays it again)

This new music is much more primitive than its harmonic language, it relies more on the simple triads:

(plays simple triads)

the basic harmony of folk music – never forget that this music employs a highly limited musical vocabulary – limited melodically, rhythmically and harmonically. But within that restricted language, all these new adventures are simply extrraordinary. Only think of the sheer originality of a Beatles tune, like this one, which again uses only the elementary resources of pop music:

i was alone i took i ride i didn’t know what i would find there

Well that could almost be by Schumann, it’s so expansive and romantic:

(plays Got To Get You Into My Life at the piano)

and notice how the range of the melody has been expanded – most pop tumes of the past have been restricted to the range of an octave or so:

(illustrates on the piano)

owing to the limitations of pop singers’ vocal ranges. But not so any more – our pop generation reaches and spreads itself, grasping at the unattainable, and this is one of the things I like most about it: the straining tenderness of those high untrained young voices.

(the tape machine plays Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man): in a jingle jangle morning

that’s Bob Dylan, and here’s a group called The Association:

then along comes mary

and, as always, The Beatles:

she loves you and you know you should be glad oooooh

Now of course, whereas I might call that ‘a straining after falsetto dreams of glory’, you may call it nothing but a breakdown in gender, the same androgynous phenomenon of the pop scene that produces boys with long hair and ruffled shirts…and you may be right. But, back to the music.

What else do i like about it? I like the eclecticism of it, its freedom to absorb any and all musical styles and elements, like old blues:

(plays clip of Tommy James And The Shondells from tape machine): my baby does the hanky panky

or a high Bach trumpet:

(tape plays Penny Lane’s high Bach trumpet)

or a harpsichord:

(tape plays harpsichord intro to Janis Ian’s Society’s Child)

or even a string quartet:

ah look at all the lonely people

(stopping the tape) Curious.

Then I like the international and interracial way it ranges over the world, borrowing from ragas of Hindu music:

(he grooves to the intro to The Beatles’ Love You To)

or borrowing from the sensuality of Arab cafe music:

i see a red light and i want to paint it black

Then I like some of the new sounds, purely as sound, that are coming out of pop music: the arresting impact of a consort of amplified guitars:

1234 well she was just…

Then I like the astonishing force of those hyped-up basslines:

(tape plays the intro to The Associations’ Along Came Mary)

and the outrageous cool of that inhuman electric organ:

(tape plays the organ ending of Society’s Child)

Now. Don’t get me wrong. I said I liked SOME of those sounds; there’s a good deal I don’t like, and wouldn’t dream of defending. I don’t like volume for its own sake, or the way words are often drowned out by drums and amplifiers. I don’t like the amateur quality of some of the writing, the out-of-tune singing. This music can be coarse, faddish, or a victim of its own sameness.

And yet when it’s good, it’s irresistible – after all, there are pros and cons to everything, especially in a popular art. And the cons are well-enough publicised; we’re here to examine the pros.

And we’re in luck, because I’ve managed to find one song that incorporates so many of thse pros that we can enjoy them all at once, the marvellous song called Society’s Child – written, astonishingly enough, by a 15 year old girl, named Janis Ian. This tune is very well known among the followers of pop music, but you may not have heard it, since it’s been withheld by most of the radio stations, for reasons unknown to me, although probably having to do with its subject matter, which is, as you’ll see, somewhat controversial…but apart from the words, Society’s Child contains many of the musical joys we’ve talked about, and some we haven’t – like fascinating sounds, both natural and electronic, like a strange use of harpsichord, and that cool nasty electric organ. There are astonishing key changes, and even tempo changes; ambiguous cadences, unequal phrase lengths – the works!

And we’re even luckier to have Janis Ian herself here to sing it for us. Listen hard to Society’s Child (he closes his eyes in order to listen hard).

Janis Ian performs Society’s Child, with the recorded arrangement as backing (hear it here):

come to my door baby
face is clean and shining black as night
my mother went to answer you know
that you looked so fine

now i could understand your tears and your shame
she called you boy instead of your name
when she wouldn’t let you inside
when she turned and said
‘but honey he’s not our kind’

she says i can’t see you any more baby
can’t see you anymore

walk me down to school baby
everybody’s acting deaf and dumb
until they turn and say ‘why don’t you stick to your own kind?’

my teachers all laugh, the smirking stares

cutting deep down in our affairs
preachers of equality
think they believe it then why won’t they just let us be?

they say I can’t see you anymore baby
can’t see you anymore

one of these days I’m gonna stop my listening
gonna raise my head up high
one of these days I’m gonna raise up my glistening wings and fly
but that day will have to wait for a while
baby I’m only society’s child
when we’re older things may change
but for now this is the way they must remain

they say i can’t see you anymore baby
can’t see you anymore
no i don’t want to see you anymore baby

(the song ends with a sassy organ retort)

Leonard Bernstein: it kills me, that sassy retort of the organ at the end. That voice, those words, that key change

(Bernstein plays and sings) but for now this is the way they must remain…they say i can’t see you anymore baby

Leonard Bernstein: Oh Janis, how did you write such a thing at the age of 15? You’re a great creature. I think that’s quite a remarkable job for a girl your age, and I congratulate you on what I’m sure is going to be a brilliant career

Janis Ian: Thank you!

Leonard Bernstein: thank you so much for coming to see us (he kisses her hand)

Janis Ian: thank you for inviting me

Janis walks out of shot

Leonard Bernstein: So it would seem that the kids of our pop generation have a lot to say. Actually what Janis has written is a short social document – not a satire, not a protest, just a picture of a social trap. Of course underneath it IS the spirit of protest, which undelies so many of these pop songs – the implication is, and strongly, that this not at all the way things ought to be; just as The Beatles on Paperback Writer implies in its satirical way all the corruption of our lives…their anti-hero, the paperback writer, has written a book he’s trying to sell and sings:

(spoken) it’s a thousand words give or take a few, I’ll be writing more in a week or two. I can make it longer if you like the style, i can change it round (sings) but i wanna be a paperback writer

In other words: prostitution – I’ll do anything to sell that book. The implication is clear.

In fact the message in the lyrics of most of those songs IS delivered by implication. This is one of our teenagers’ strongest weapons. It amounts to almost a private language. but this use of implication introduces another effect as well, something bordering on poetry: many of the lyrics, in their oblique allusions and way-out metaphors, are beginning to sound like REAL poems. And, protected by this armour of poetry, our young lyricist can say just about anything they care to, and they do care – they care about civil rights, about sexual freeedom, about peace; they talk about alienation, mysticism, drugs – the lyrics of Bob Dylan alone would make a bombshell of a book of social criticism…you know those ominous lines of his, “something is happening, and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr Jones?”

And you know who Mr Jones is don’t you? Us.

And the lyric of Along Comes Mary, I have been informed by its author, 22 year old Tandyn Almer, is not about a girl named Mary at all, but about ‘mary jane’ , which is a literal translation of mari-juana. And a staggering piece of verse it is (hear it here).

And Paul Simon of Garfunkel fame says, among other things, i touch no one and no one touches me, i am a rock, i am an island. Formidable stuff, isn’t it?

But mostly they talk about love, as all songwriters have since time began – only this time its either a cool kind of love, or a frankly sexual love, or – and this is most important – universal love, a mystic, oriental concept, that is presumably attainable through meditation, or withdrawal from ‘the establishment’, or most readily, through drugs.

Now what does all this mean?

I think it’s all part of a historic revolution, one that has been going on for 50 years – only now these young people have gotten control of a mass medium, the phonograph record. And the music on the records, with its noise and its cool messages, may make us uneasy. But we must take it seriously, as both a symptom and a generator of this revolution. We must listen to it, and to its makers, this new breed of young people with long hair and fanciful clothing.

And the rest of this program will be devoted to just that: getting to know them, seeing them in action, hearing their thoughts…and perhaps by learning about them, we can learn something about our own future.

Announcer: Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution will continue after this message


Announcer: Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution continues

A  live clip of Tim Buckley performing No Man Can Find The War is shown (hear the Goodbye & Hello recording here)

…orders fly like bullet stream
drums and cannons laugh aloud
whistles come from ashen shroud
leaders damn the world and roar
but no man can find the war..

(see a montage of both Tim Buckley excerpts from Inside Pop, with narration, here)

David Oppenheim (over the clip of Tim): most of us have been raised in the tradition of Tin Pan Alley, where the songs, beautiful or not, were meant to amuse or beguile – but that’s all. They were embllishments on life. What these young people seem to say is that their music ISN’T just decorative – it comes right out of their world. And whatever is working ON today’s youth is working OUT in their music.

And the crucible is Los Angeles.

John Hartmann (manager): oh I think the West Coast of the United States is going to breathe an EXPLOSION of poetry and music – it is going to lead the way for the American youth

Oppenheim (over a montage of clips of Jim McGuinn and Frank Zappa): Lead the American youth where? Let’s ask the musicians on the LA scene:

Frank Cook (of Canned Heat): my band Canned Heat, what we’re trying to do is, tell OUR story. And in telling our story, having people understand where we’re at, and what we’re trying to do

Pam Polland (of The Gentle Soul): we are unusual in the scene that we come out and say God – like, we know a lot of groups that are working basically towards the same thing, but they use, ah, they use a different language.
Frank Cook: we want love – by the content of, y’know, almost all songs being about love

Pam Polland: that’s what all my songs are for now, for praising of love – love is so beautiful, and I would like everybody to believe in it as much as I do
David Oppenheim: (to Frank Cook) songs have always been about love
Frank Cook: ah but it hasn’t had the importance that it has now, because now hate cannot destroy just the people that are hating, but everybody, the whole world
Oppenheim (interviewing): are you saying the love that the old songs are talking about, or are you talking about some kind of different love?

Ann Sternberg (of The UFO): the love that used to be ‘woe woe i lost my baby’ (someone speaks over her)…and now it’s , um, let’s love each other

Diane Tribuno (of The UFO): Universal love – we love EVERYONE, including people who on a personal level you dislike, but love them anyway
Oppenheim: and do you think your music, the two of you, the two groups, that you, as musicians, are working towrds this goal of universal love, for everybody?

Ann Sternberg: that’s right, yes
Oppenheim: we’ve been talking now for about a half hour or so, and I still don’t understand the difference between the generations, I don’t know what you really want to accomplish – you talk about love, and it comes through your music, but I don’t know how it gets there in your music, I don’t know what it’s doing…and you talk about standing there and giving love from the stage, but everybody does that…

Frank Cook: but if we could tell you verbally, there would be no need for the music , would there?
Oppenheim: well I wanna see you struggling to tell me, even though you can’t get it into words!
Diane Tribuno: it’s to confront you with the issue, which displeases you, whatever it may be, and you wanna respond to it…and you can go round and you can yell and scream and make noise – or you can write a song and tell people how you feel, and maybe hope that they feel the same way you do, they’ll do something about it…and it’s your contribution
Oppenheim: well is anyone listening to your songs, and getting what you’re trying to tell them from them?

Lisa Kindred (of The UFO): maybe not the first time around, maybe it takes a while

Ann Sternberg: if they hear it twelve times on the radio they’ll start humming it and singing it, and at some point, they’re gonna listen to the words they’re singing
Oppenheim: but I still don’t get it from what you’re telling me. You’ve gotta tell me better.
Frank Cook: but what do you wanna GET?
Oppenheim: I want to get what the difference of these generations is…
Frank Cook: (aggressively) but I TOLD you the basic difference is that now the world can be destroyed, for the first time in history the world CAN be destroyed – and like THAT’S the thing
Oppenheim: can you do it just with music?
Lisa Kindred: we will try, very hard
Ann Sternberg: we won’t do it just with music, but you find other means to supplement music
Oppenheim:is anyone in this room trying to do something besides what they’re doing with their music? Or is the music enough?
Ann Sternberg: no I think they’re going beyond that – the whole Sunset Strip Freedom Movement

David Oppenheim (on voiceover): Next to universal love, freedom is their main concern

Frank Cook: it’s freedom. That’s what we want. That’s what we haven’t been able to get. And people all through the ages haven’t been able to get freedom

Oppenheim (voiceover): their definition of freedom is a special one. Paul Robbins, writer, and a close observer of the scene:

Paul Robbins: and they expect their society – the FREE one – the free society to back ’em up, and say ‘groovy swing – as long as you hurt no one, swing’

Oppenheim (voiceover): do anything you want, just don’t hurt anyone. And they mean it.

Unnnamed girl: people should be able to wear their hair the way they want
Another girl: people should be able to do anything they want
First girl: – do with their bodies what they want and sell ’em if they want to!

Paul Robbins: ‘WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!? I can’t go in there because I have different colored skin…I have long hair, I have funny clothes on…what has that got to do with – does that make you so uptight that you have to rap my head on it?!?’

Lorry Stanton (of The UFO): we don’t judge them by that. Because it doesn’t matter…it’s not what matters, what matters is the person inside, the FEELINGS of the person inside. Not what they look like. But what they DO. What they’re doing with themselves, what they’re do with their time

Jim McGuinn: I think we’re out to break down those barriers, that we see to be arbitraty, the big fences that have been dug – the walls WILL crumble if you hit ’em hard enough. And we’re out there hittin’ ’em. We’re cutting them subtly, we’re cutting them with laser beams, dynamite, we’re doing other things – we’re cutting them with emotions, which are stronger than fists. And we’re geting mass emotions involved…I’m very happy about it yeah, I like it, there’s some sort of guerilla warfare, psychological warfare going on y’know.

And i feel like a guerilla. I feel good.

David Oppenheim (on voiceover): but out here on LA’s Sunset Strip, it’s NOT guerilla warfare and it’s not psychological either

It’s the real thing

Some old Sunset Strip crazy guy: and here he is walking on the street communicating WITH HIS PEERS, and the cops say ‘you can’t do it GET OFF the street’

Oppenheim (voiceover): every weekend hundreds of kids, lots of them long-hairs, pour on to one plush mile of Sunset Boulevard called The Strip, they make the scene, to dance, and to hear the rock music.

Suddenly the authorities tried to clear them out.

The kids reacted by demonstrating and the fight was on. This crisis brought the fans together, emotion made it easy for them to talk, and we tried to find out if there was a leading connection between what the musicians were telling us, and what their audience here on the Strip would say.

a montage of clips of Sunset Strip youth follows:

why is it they can put down our music – they say it’s bad, I mean they say it’s a bunch of noise, turn down the noise…but is it really noise? Do they ever listen to the words?

you know like they say they don’t listen to the words – and what are the words? The words are talking about love, they’re talking about freedom, about peace…

the kids that like music y’know, they gotta have some place to go, they don’t have a lot of dough, so they come to places like ????, but what can you do, they close them all down, what can you do except stay out on the street?

you’re standing there, you’re loitering because you don’t have any money! Because you don’t have a job, you don’t have a direction, you’re not doing anything, you’re not a part of the Super Society, which is called America

just because we’re not going along with society, like everyone esle, everybody does the same thing and lives their own lives – all they want you to do is grow up and get an education, raise children and DIE.

well I think they got as much right here as anyone – they dress different and got long hair, people think they’re second-rate citizens, which is not true. And when you start telling them they can’t do something, that’s when they’re gonna try to prove they can. It’s like, if you tell some colored guy he’s not gonna move into your neighbourhood, he’s gonna prove he can move here, because it’s a free country

Paul Robbins: you see we’ve given these kids a dream, which somebody gave to us, and it’s called The American Dream. And we want nothing to do with it, except to talk about it. We don’t WANT IT.

Frank Zappa: I think that, er…there’s a revolution brewing…and it’s gonna be a sloppy one, unless something is done to get us organised in a hurry

David Oppenheim (on voiceover, over a clip of screaming girls): This ISN’T social protest. What you are looking at now is just plain showbusiness. And to understand this ‘rock revolution’, in the round, better to realise that mostly, kids aren’t swept up by anything more than the throb of a new beat they like, or the look of a new personality they love.

And Herman’s Hermits are a perfect example of what’s happening at this uncomplicated level. ‘Hermann’ is rich, charming, very English, and very old: nineteen.

A montage of US town tour clips is shown over a live clip of Herman’s Hermits covering Chuck Berry’s Memphis

Oppenheim (voiceover): On the surface, this may resemble an old showbusiness tour.

But something else is going on now.

For the first time, kids are the heroes of kids. More importantly, young people have so much money these days, that youth, by itself, has become a whole market.

Influence over this powerful new youth is what gives pop music musicians the sense that their ideas are important.

But they’re still kids.

Another top English group, The Hollies, travelling with The Hermits, and opening the show.

And if you ever thought the words of rock songs were hard to get, listen to these – it may be getting easier:

The Hollies perform a live version of Bus Stop (hear the 45 version here):

bus stop wet day she’s there i say
please share my umbrella
bus stop bus goes she stays love grows
under my umbrella

all that summer we enjoyed it
wind and rain and shine
that umbrella we employed it
by august she was mine

every morning i would see her waiting at the stop
sometimes she’d shopped and she would show me what she bought
other people stared as if we were both quite insane
someday my name and hers are going to be the same

that’s the way the whole thing started
silly but it’s true
thinkin’ of a sweet romance
beginning in a queue

came the sun the ice was melting
no more sheltering now
nice to think that that umbrella
led me to a vow

Oppenheim (over Graham Nash’s McGuinnesque solo): After the concert, the inevitable bull session – and even the showbiziest of today’s young musicians know something is going on besides just entertainment:

Graham Nash: I think that pop musicians of today’s generation are in a fantastic posit- they could rule the world, man!
David Oppenheim (interviewing): and how does music fit into this?

Graham Nash: music is the whole, the whole thing man!
Oppenheim: an expression?
Graham Nash: it’s an expression of the younger generation – Paul Simon, John Sebastian and John Phillips and people like this – and Donovan, ESPECIALLY Donovan – have got this great universal love, man. Today, because the kids are so tolerant, they really want to understand what people are trying to say, then they’ll go with Donovan 99% of the way. Because what he’s trying to put over is best for everybody. It’ll stop – what Donovan is trying to put over will stop wars DEAD.

Peter Noone (‘Herman’): (hesitantly) I believe that you’re right about Donovan saying that love is a great thing –

Graham Nash: (interrupting) now we have the power, we have the tolerance, we can go in front of the television camera, we can go on the air, and we can say, with definition, that Hitler was wrong – that Rockwell is wrong, that people who hate negroes are wrong, right? And we can get up there and shout it to the world, Pete!
Peter Noone: but I don’t want – (Nash repeats himself, talking over Pete)
Graham Nash: – we can shout it to the world, so why don’t we do more of it?!? That’s what I’m saying! We can stop world wars before they ever started

Peter Noone I disagree. I don’t believe –
Graham Nash: (talking over him) you know who starts the wars? People that are over 40.
Peter Noone: Yeah people –
Graham Nash: – no, people who are too old to realise that love rules the world.

Oppenheim (voiceover): This song won’t stop war, but it won’t start any either. And much of the new music is like this – as conventional as it is pleasing. ‘Herman’ sings his first big hit, Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter

A music hall-styled performance of Mrs Brown follows, intercut with closeups of audience members, predominantly girls in their early teens:

‘Herman’: let’s have everyone clap – above your heads so I can see them!

The audience clap along

‘Herman’ (addressing a part of the audience): ‘ey youse over there!

Audience members sing along with Mrs Brown You’ve Got A  Lovely Daughter (hear the 45 version here)

Girls scream in appreciation when the song ends

Oppenheim (voiceover): These sweet young girls are ringers for their own mothers with Sinatra. But their world is a very different one. And in a moment, we’ll go on to consider some of the differences, in music and in words.

Announcer: Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution will continue after this message


Announcer: Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution continues

More Hermans Hermits tour footage is shown

Peter Noone & others (singing along with the radio): where did the good times go

Oppenheim (voiceover): A recent hit by Herman and his Hermits, East West, about the dubious joys of tours like this one:

…over the ocean perpetual motion traveling around
no rest singing and playing night out and day in
doing the rounds
what a great life it must seem

swell joints everything classy nothing that’s passe only the best
lush girls ogling and eying crying and sighing
this is success
what a great life it must seem

but when I hear young voices singing out
the bells at home come ringing out

(The camera focuses on a young girl mouthing the words as it is performed)

mum dad all round the fire in festive attire
keeping the day
aunts kids all the relations congratulations
this is success
what a great life it must seem

but when I hear young voices singing out
the bells at home come ringing out

when I feel all alone
and I long for my home

Graham Gouldman (composer of East West & Bus Stop): I mean, my parents would probably think that the idea of going to the moon was absolutely preposterous – but to us it’s like, it’s gonna happen tomorrow – it’s commonplace. Therefore your own mind is broadened –

Graham Nash: – but why, Graham? Why is your mind much broader than your father’s? I’m not saying it’s because – (talks above Graham as he responds)
Gouldman: – because things that weren’t possible to my father are gonna happen today, and tomorrow.

Oppenheim (voiceover, as the conversation continues): They feel that their generation is really different from ours, and that difference can be attributed to certain objective facts of life on earth today. Facts like (a montage of interview clips follows):

Jim McGuinn: electronic revolution – everybody’s becoming more well-informed

Ann Sternberg: …more well-read. Better educated

Lisa Kindred: a lot of it is that the kids today aren’t gonna accept what’s laid down for them by the older generation.

A Sunset Strip Guy we’ve seen more at our age

Graham Nash: communication is THE thing

John Hartmann: the death of of Jack Kennedy, it lead American youth away from the establishment

Paul Robbins: 25 or under is 52%. That’s a lot of people

Ann Sternberg: a lot of people are aware that they have power

Frank Cook: things like overkill

John Hartmann: they grew up with a fear of the bomb

Oppenheim (voiceover): These facts and attitudes might produce in anothet time a political creature. But the thrust of their thinking is inward:

Rick Stanley (of The Gentle Soul): a person has only one right(?) and that’s to look within himself, for the truth, because that’s where it is

Oppenheim (voiceover): what ways do they have to look inside?

Rick Stanley: the first and best one is meditation

Oppenheim (voiceover): but they think there is another method

Jim McGuinn: the drug revolution is just coming about, and they are gonna be a lot of heads rolling from it

Girl: y’know there’s a lot of dope going on – it’s a bad word to use but it’s true

Jim McGuinn: I think these drugs WILL enhance their consciousness, and make them perhaps more loving or more understanding of the universe, more understanding of life

Oppenheim (voiceover): innerness, mysticism and love are THEIR alternatives to political action:

Paul Robbins: of course no political answer could work – Communism had a chance, and it’s turning into the same set of beans that capitalism is. It’s not political, it’s personal. It’s inward. It’s inner illumination. It’s inner peace. And inner harmony. That’s why the interest in the East.

Oppenheim (voiceover): so they feel change is in the air anyway:

Pam Polland: revolution can just mean evolvement. There doesn’t have to be any trauma or any fighting or any anger, or any aggression. It will just all happen, if everybody would sit back, and take it easy (she smiles)

Oppenheim (voiceover): The idea is to love us into submission:

Lorry Stanton: well I guess if I just have one thing to say, I’d say what’s most important, which is I guess, I love you

Oppenheim (interviewing): do you think this feeling is spreading in this country?

Pam Polland: ferociously!

Oppenheim (over a montage of clips of interviewees): As they see it, our society, while apparently healthy, and certainly bountiful, is in a deep crisis of values. They are hoping for a return to the human-centred community they feel modern life has moved away from. And they think that they, and other people like them, are forming a model upon which that society might be constructed:

hung velvet overtaken me

dim chandelier awaken me

to a song dissolved in the dawn

the music hall a costly bow

the music all is lost for now

to a muted trumpeter’s swan – columnated ruins domino

Oppenheim (over canvass the town and brush the backdrop are you sleeping brother john): here is a new song – too complex to get all of first time around. It could come only out of the ferment that characterises todays pop music scene. Brian Wilson, leader of the famous Beach Boys, and one of today’s most important pop musicians, sings his own Surf’s Up:

dove nested towers the hour was
strike the street quicksilver moon
carriage across the fog
two-step to lamp lights cellar tune
the laughs come hard in auld lang syne

the glass was raised the fired-roast
the fullness of the wine the dim last toasting
while at port adieu or die

a choke of grief heart hardened i
beyond belief a broken man too tough to cry

surf’s up
aboard a tidal wave
come about hard and join
the young and often spring you gave
i heard the word
wonderful thing
 a children’s song

Oppenheim (over Brian Wilson’s solo falsetto): poetic, beautiful even in its obscurity, Surf’s Up is one aspect of new things happening in pop music today. As such, it is a symbol of the change many of these young musicians see in our future.

Paul Robbins: it’s gotta be that way. They’ll win. They’ll win, and because we’re wrong. And we’re so wrong that we can’t even kid ourselves any more. And after going through some decades of not even being able to kid ourselves, at last, we cannot kid our kids. And there are the seeds of a new culture. Fomented by rock and roill and its passion – its simple passion – that’s all. No meaning – just feel.

Frank Zappa: after they stop taking drugs, and stop kidding themselves with their, er, fantasies, and they’d straighten up a little bit (pauses), grab themselves a little sense of responsibility, I think everything will turn out all right. That is if they aren’t killed off systematically beforehand

Cuts back to clip of Tim Buckley:

…is the war inside your mind?
humans weep at human death
all the talkers lose their breath
movies paint a chaos tale
singers see and poets wail
all the world knows the score
but no man can find the war…

Oppenheim (over the clip of Tim): and that’s the pop music scene today. Serious and silly, sweet and grandiose. All coming out of the kids themselves. They are trying hard. But whatever young people do, they tend to overdo – the jury is still out on their social ideas, but the verdict on their music is in: a great deal of it is good.

Announcer: Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution, was brought to you by General Telephone & Electronics – G T & E, and its family of companies

The credits roll over a clip of Graham Nash onstage with The Hollies, singing The Times They Are Changing; as they sing, girls in the audience scream:

…come mothers and fathers
throughout the land
and don’t criticize
what you can’t understand
your sons and your daughters
are beyond your command
your old road is
rapidly aging
please get out of the new one
if you can’t lend your hand
for the times they are a-changing…

Announcer (as The Hollies are faded out): Inside Pop – The Rock Revolution was produced and edited under the supervision of CBS News.

A month after Inside Pop‘s transmission, The Beatles release their new, groundbreaking studio album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Smiley Smile, as a surrogate for the much-anticipated new Beach Boys album, is released nearly 5 months later, on 18th September 1967 – and without Surf’s Up.

next post has some comments on Inside Pop

or look at a summary of all of this so far

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »