Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cat Stevens Meets Harry Chapin?

The Cat's Not in the Cradle! by DA Jack Hayford

Let's get this straight. Cat Stevens did not write or record "Cat's In The Cradle" despite listings to the contrary on the web and the perhaps natural popular misconception. "Cat's In the Cradle" was written by the late great performing songwriter/activist Harry Chapin. (Actually, the words to the song were written by Chapin's wife, now widow, Sandy Chapin.) Harry Chapin died in a car crash on the Long Island (N.Y.) Expressway in 1981. He was only 38 years old.

I saw Harry Chapin in concert in the 1970s while in college at the University of Florida. The show was held up for almost an hour because Chapin had not yet arrived. When he finally took the stage, he apologized for the delay and explained that his flight into Tampa had been delayed. He had rented a car, he said, and driven from the Tampa Airport to Gainesville in less than an hour and a half. It's well over 125 miles from Tampa International to Gainesville! Man, he was "flying" in that "Taxi." ("Taxi" of course is perhaps Chapin's most famous song.)

Like Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens wrote and recorded some of the greatest songs ever, including, "Wild World," "Moonshadow" and the multiple-time mega hit, "The First Cut Is The Deepest." He has also been covered by some of the most popular artists of our time: Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, Sheryl Crow ... to name just a few.

Stevens has also frequently been credited with writing "Morning Has Broken" which he recorded on Tea For The Tillerman and with which he is closely identified. "Morning Has Broken" is actually a Christian hymn with lyrics written by Eleanor Farjeon (1881–1965).

Cat Stevens was born in London as Steven Demetri Georgiou in 1948. He took the name Cat Stevens in the late '60s and, after becoming a convert to Islam in the 1970s, he changed his name again, to Yusuf Islam.

Like the late Chapin, Cat Stevens is also known as an out-spoken peace advocate. In fact, his song "Peace Train" has become something of a peace anthem.

The lives and songs of Chapin and Stevens have paralleled to some degree, and they are indeed similar in their folksy, poetic, politically conscious, singer-songwriter styles.

Cat Stevens was back in 2006 with a new album, An Other Cup, under his Islamic name, Yusuf Islam. It met with mixed, but generally luke-warm reviews.

DA Jack Hayford is the editor of the popular music reference website, Mr. Hayford is also the Program Director and co-founder of, the online home of the ten-plus-year old Durango Songwriters Expo, a premier annual educational and inspirational event for aspiring songwriters.

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Three Great Guitarists and their Gibsons - Richards, Page and Hendrix

The Greatest Gibson Guitarists by Lyndon Ogden

The three greatest Gibson players are in my humble or someone who acquires fame through nothing but bad behavior. A legend is someone with a body of listenable work that transcends publicity and whose work spans the ages.

My three top guitarists are -

Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones has used a variety of Gibson's throughout his career; he's favoured Les Pauls and ES models, but has also occasionally been seen with assorted other models, including reverse and nonreverse Firebirds, a Flying V, an SG, an L6S and a Melody Maker. Richards obtained a 1959 sunburst Les Paul in 1964.The guitar, outfitted with a Bigsby tailpiece, was the first "star owned" Les Paul in Britain and served as one of the guitarist's main instruments through 1966. It went up for auction in 2004 from Christie's Auction House in England with a starting price of $400,000 but remained unsold.In the mid-60s Richards also acquired a 1954 Les Paul Gold Top and a number of 1957 Les Paul Customs; one of the latter, hand-painted with psychedelic patterns by Richards himself, was one of his main stage and studio guitars from 1968 through the end of the Stones' 1970 European tour. Throughout the 1970s Richards continued to use various Gibson's on stage and in promo videos; on the Stones' 1972-73 tours he made extensive use of a second 1959 sunburst Les Paul and a 1954 Les Paul Custom (featured on the cover of the 1975 Gibson catalog). From 1973 through 1978 the guitarist also used a 1958 cherry red Les Paul Junior, replacing it in 1979 with the 1959 TV yellow Les Paul Junior that he's used regularly on stage ever since. Since 1997 an ebony ES-355 has been among his favourite stage guitars, along with a white ES-345 that he unveiled in 2006; in rehearsal and studio photos and footage he's also frequently seen with an ES-350 and ES-175D. Hummingbirds have been among his preferred acoustic models since 1965.

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin uses a 1958 Les Paul Standard ("Number 1"), a 1959 Les Paul Standard ("Number 2", a gift from Joe Walsh), a 1973 Les Paul Standard, an EDS-1275, a 1977 RD Artist, an ES5 Switchmaster, a Goldtop Premium Les Paul and a 1991 Custom Shop Les Paul (built to be an exact replica of "Number 1" and re-nicknamed "Number 3"). Page also owned a modified 1960 Les Paul Custom "Black Beauty" with a Bigsby Tailpiece and a 3-pickup configuration, a gift from Keith Richards. This guitar was stolen in 1970 and never recovered. For acoustics Page used a Hummingbird, a J-200 and an A-2 mandolin. Gibson has released a Jimmy Page Signature Model Les Paul replicating the features of "Number 2".

Jimi Hendrix of The Jimi Hendrix Experience while generally regarded as an iconic Stratocaster player, Hendrix used several Gibson models including an SG Custom, Flying V, Les Paul Special and a Les Paul Custom. Gibson also gave him two guitars in 1970, a custom Flying V and an ES-345. Both of these guitars were left handed models. Gibson has released a Flying V model replicating his 1967 Flying V including the psychedelic floral design which Hendrix himself had hand painted on the original.

Lots more Gibson Guitar related stuff at my website.

Lyndon is a collector of vintage guitars. His website is where you will find articles, information and useful links about vintage guitars.

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The Beatles Videos

The Beatles Videos by Eugene Brenner

Due to their phenomenal popularity, the Beatles were photographed and filmed for almost every moment they spent in the public eye. In the 1960s, moving images were still recorded mostly on black and white film. So even though today we may say "videos" as a catch-all term, most of the Beatles' output was film. In the 1960s, it was news photographers who covered a Beatle press conference or interview, much like they would a news event.

There are hundreds of these short Beatles videos available for view on the internet. They reveal personalities that captured the hearts of young people throughout the world. (Even the USSR had its teenage Beatle fans. Record albums were bought on the black market and hid from public view and listened to quietly in darkened bedrooms). Paul was cute and charming, George was quiet and earnest, John was acerbic and impassioned, and Ringo was, well, Ringo.

The Beatles filmed "A Hard Day's Night" in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania. Directed by Richard Lester, the movie was filmed in black and white, not for aesthetic reasons but because it was cheaper. It did add to the quasi-documentary style of the film. It purported to chronicle a hectic day in the life of the Beatles, sprinting away from chasing fans and preparing to perform on television. Fans delighted in the zany comedy and the big theater sound of the many new songs. Critics were enthralled with the film's kinetic energy and the Beatle's wit and charm. Many compared the boys' antics to the Marx Brothers.

"Help" was filmed in 1965, this one in color. This was the first time that many fans saw their idols in color! The plot revolved around Ringo, a sacrificial ring and the evil cult intent upon snatching the ring from Ringo. Also directed by Richard Lester, this film is decidedly different from "A Hard Day's Night." There are no chasing fans and little time is spent with the individual Beatle characters. The early film was almost claustrophobic in its sets; this one features exotic outdoor locals including Salisbury Plain near Stonehenge, the Swiss Alps and the Bahamas. The Beatle wit came through loud and clear as in a scene where the John and Paul try to convince Ringo to cut off his finger to remove the stuck exotic ring. Paul quips, "You don't miss your tonsils do yer?"

Most critics thought the second Beatles film not as good as the first. The Beatles said subsequently that they felt they had little control over the film and were getting high a great bit of the time. The movie does have its charms, the new songs are of high quality and the color adds to the exotic locals.

Much later in 1970, the movie "Let It Be" was released. This started as a "get back to basics" chronicle with the band recording and performing songs live in the studio without the added overdubbing and effects so popular at the time (like the Beatles own "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"). The result was a dispirited film chronicling the decay of a once indomitable musical force. We see Yoko Ono sitting balefully in a corner behind John. Ringo seems bored as he's not needed in most recording sessions. George is peeved at a nagging Paul and tells him sarcastically, "I'll play what you want me to play..."

It wasn't until the 1980s that Beatles movies began to appear in VHS video. The copious "Beatles Anthology" documentary series was released in 1995. This video benefited from input and interviews with the remaining Beatles. The floodgates really opened up in the new century as DVDs became the dominant video medium. Documentaries made up the majority of the new titles, films about every facet of the Beatles' career from those who knew them and those who did not. Quality runs the gamut from very interesting and well done to those with vacuous content and poor editing.

The Beatles have left a rich video legacy. If you are a fan, it is a treasure trove. If the Beatles were way before your time, you can learn what all the commotion was about.

Gene Brenner provides a Beatles Video site with searches by album or individual artist. He is webmaster of a company that offers unique MySpace preppy layouts. He also buys and sells websites which makes him knowledgeable in several disciplines.

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A Biography of Martin Luther King Jr

Biography of Martin Luther King by Richard Pettinger

Martin Luther King Jr was one of the most prominent advocates of the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s. In contrast to some civil rights activists Martin Luther King generally promoted a non-violent strategy of social change. (This policy of non-violent resistance drew inspiration from similar campaigns by M. Gandhi in India’s Independence struggle. For his efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1964).

Early Life

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta on 15 January 1929. Both his father and grandfather were pastors in an African-American Baptist church, King would also later follow them into the ministry. M. Luther King attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, (segregated schooling) and then went to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and Boston University. It was at University that King became more aware of the civil rights struggle and he took the opportunity to study Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent strategy for social change. In 1953 King married Coretta Scott, who herself had many artistic and intellectual talents. The following year King became pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

A defining moment in the civil rights struggle was to a large degree instigated by M. Luther King who was the president of the Montgomery Improvement Association. It began on 5 December 1955, when Rosa Parks a civil rights activist refused to given up her seat breaking the strict segregation on Montgomery's buses. King inspired black residents to launch a bus boycott which lasted well into 1956, this gained substantial media coverage and in Dec of the following year the United States Supreme Court declared the segregation unconstitutional and the buses were desegregated.

Civil Rights Movement.

Following the success of this action the civil rights movement gained strength. King and other ministers founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. There was often disagreement about how to proceed with different groups pursuing different strategies. This split would become more significant in the 1960 with substantial disagreements with groups such as Black Power and Malcom X’ Black Nationalist groups.

Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King was one of the world’s greatest orators. His deep and powerful voice was able to captivate audiences. His speeches caused him to become one of the most well known civil rights leaders. In 1963 he was named as Time’s man of the Year. It was in August of 1963 that King delivered his famous and iconic “I have a Dream Speech”. The speech was given at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during the 250,000 march for civil rights.

Last Years

However his opposition to the Vietnam War in the later part of the 1960s caused friction and strained relations with the Johnson administration. It also led the FBI to seek to undermine King’s leadership. In April 1968 Martin Luther King delivered his final address "I've Been to the Mountaintop" whilst supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, The next day, 4 April 1968, King was assassinated. To this day, King remains a potent symbol of the African American civil rights movement. His speeches offer a striking exposition of some of the ideals of the civil rights movement.

Richard is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre. He edits a site on biographies of inspiring people.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whatever Happened to Edgar Winter?

Edgar Winter: The Raunchiest Alto Sax Of Them All
By John Ferreira

One of my favorite all time musicians is Edgar Winter. He's one of a very few alto sax players that inspired my playing as a tenor saxophonist. He's one of those guys that get's a really good, big raunchy rock & roll sound on the alto sax. When people talk about rock & roll sax it's almost always referring to a tenor player, but Edgar just screams and wails as bad as any rockin' tenor.

I've talked to people that knew of Edgar Winter and didn't even realize he was a saxophonist. Truth is he's so multi talented he doesn't even need to pick up his horn. The guy sings and plays keyboards just as well. Some of his big hit songs from the 70's like "Free Ride" and "Just Hangin Around" didn't even have sax in them so it's understandable how that could get by the casual fan.

Remember his big hit "Frankenstein"? Didn't sing in this instrumental but displayed his amazing talents on the timbale solo, synthesizer solo, and sax section solo. The same year Frankenstein came out Edgar Winter & The White Trash put out a live album called Roadwork. This album is great on so many levels. Besides the band leader on vocals, piano, and alto sax, there was another great singer named Jerry Lacroix who also played sax (tenor) and Jon Smith who played most of the rockin' tenor sax solos.

While the Frankenstein record was being played on all FM radio stations in North America the Roadwork album came out and was completely different. White Trash played R&B, rootsy rock & roll, gospel, and funk flavored tunes. You couldn't pigeon hole these guys like you could every other artist that was on the radio in those days, I guess thats why I like them so much, they really were different.

A little later in 1974 The Edgar Winter Group released "Shocktreatment", a rockin' album full of great pop songs. A good example of Edgar's sax sound is on a great Dan Hartman song "Easy Street". Hartman was a talented songwriter and the bass player in this group's line up. This Edgar Winter alto sax solo is nothing short of perfect!

Johnny Ferreira is an award winning saxophonist, international touring and recording artist. Advocator of saxophone music that rocks, jumps, and swings. For more information, music, and articles including audio samples visit

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Who Sang Spirit in the Sky?

Who Sang Spirit In The Sky?
By DA Jack Hayford

Yet another generation of music lovers has been introduced to an "oldie but goodie." Gatorade's newest sports drink, Tiger, named for golfing great Tiger Woods, is promoted via a "Moonshot" video which depicts the world's greatest golfer (in a space suit) lacing a drive off the surface of the moon to the tune of the late 60's classic (released in 1969) "Spirit In The Sky."

"Spirit In The Sky" is the song that puts folk-rocker Norman Greenbaum in the "one-hit-wonder" category of popular music (it peaked in March of 1970 at #3). It has endured despite Greenbaum's short and uneven career in record-making. (Greenbaum was known for unusual songs with odd titles such as "Canned Ham." But hey, this was THE 70s!)

Although "Spirit In The Sky" is not considered a gospel song in the traditional sense, clearly the subject is going to the great beyond...if you "have a friend in Jesus." A strikingly traditional religious sentiment for the period.

"Spirit In The Sky" was prominently featured in the 1995 Ron Howard directed blockbuster Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks. It was also notably recorded by alt-country rockers The Kentucky Headhunters and, more recently, by British pop singer Gareth Gates.

Spirit In The Sky Lyrics
(Words and Music by Norman Greenbaum)

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best

Prepare yourself you know it's a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He's gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You're gonna go to the place that's the best

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He's gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky
Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm gonna go to the place that's the best
Go to the place that's the best

DA Jack Hayford is the editor of the popular music reference website,, which features a special section on #1 Songs. Mr. Hayford is also the Program Director and co-founder of, the online home of the ten-plus-year old Durango Songwriters Expo, a premier annual educational and inspirational event for aspiring songwriters.

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Great Blues Guitarists

By Kurt Naulaerts

In the history of the guitar blues there have been some great players and fortunately many of those great players are still with us today. Whether you prefer smooth guitar blues or whether you like to have your guitar blues smash you in the face there have been players to oblige you and to entertain you for over a century now. Here is a quick look at some guitar blues players that have made an impact.

BB King

BB King has been playing guitar blues for over 60 years and is one of the standards that people use when they talk about guitar blues players. He has recorded with such great bands as U2 and is best known for his trademark hollow body electric guitar he calls Lucille. He was originally called the Beale Street Blues Boy but before his first record came out the record company shortened it to BB and used his real last name of King to create the name BB King. In over 60 years BB King has played his smooth style of blues all over the world.

Eric Clapton

Known simply as "Slow Hand", Eric Clapton is a self taught guitar prodigy who got his start in the famous 1960's hard rock blues band Cream. After Cream disbanded he went on to form such acts as Derrick And The Dominoes but Clapton was always displaying his trademark slow hand smooth guitar blues style somewhere in the world. Recently Cream was reunited for a few shows and it is unknown whether or not they will stay together but even without a reunited Cream Eric Clapton has still left his mark as one of the greatest guitar blues players ever.

Robert Johnson

It is difficult to talk about guitar blues players without talking about the man that greats such as Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters cite as one of their prime influences. Robert Johnson was born in 1911 and died in 1938 but in between there he recorded and released at least a half dozen or more records that survive today as an example of the talent and vision that Johnson had. He lived the blues and, by some accounts, died because of the blues and Robert Johnson is the place where most blues is said to have come from.

Jimi Hendrix

For some reason Jimi Hendrix is never given his due as the master guitar blues player that he was because many people cannot see past his use of sound and energy on the electric guitar. But everything Jimi did was based in the blues and many of his more popular songs are simply blues songs done Jimi's way and there is nothing wrong with that.

Kurt Naulaerts can assist you in case you want to learn to play guitar. Download online guitar lessons for beginners at

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Friday, April 11, 2008

A Tribute to Syd Barrett

By Harry Rackers

In August 2006 a sixty year old, bald, stocky bachelor with a face at once stern and sensitive died of diabetes. He was living on his own in his home-town: the genteel city of Cambridge, England, world widely known for its university, which, in the UK, is rivaled only by the equally venerable one in Oxford.

His name was Syd Barret. Or was it? No. His name was Roger Keith Barret, known as Rog to the few people he bothered to see, mostly his family. Syd Barrett is the name the world will remember him by. He was a living legend. Now he is a dead legend.

Let me outline the birth of this legend in a few words. Do you know the magnolia? What makes its beauty so special is not only its features, but also that it blooms very early, and very short. In those seminal years of pop/rock music, the mid sixties, Barrett’s songs and music shared the same properties. As founding father and undisputed leader of a band called Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was a pivotal figure in the emerging psychedelic scene in London, and, via his records, the rest of the world.

It was a time when the world, in the words of Keith Richards, suddenly turned from black and white into Technicolor. And Syd Barrett was a most colourful being indeed, to the ear, to the eye and to the mind in equal measures. Brought up quite liberally, with well to do parents, and a particularly doting mother, young Syd was as gifted as he was attractive, and a humorous, impish fellow at that. Experimenting with a few things almost no one had heard of in these days, like LSD –until the sixties mainly used by the CIA as sort of a truth serum drug- and the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, the I Ching, his main occupations were painting and music. Painting came first, the music and songs that would make him famous came second in those early days.

In the music industry many things had changed in the slipstream of the Beatles fame. Musicians were no longer puppets on a string of shady, cynically-minded Tin Pan Alley-types, churning out product for whoever laid the money down. There was a new playfulness and originality in the music of the Beatles and also a completely un-self-conscious integrity, mainly brought about by the fact that the Beatles wrote their own songs, and became a role model for that. It was the Kennedy era. People were in some ways starting to be encouraged by the authorities to think for themselves and not to do simply what the same authorities expected them to do, which, of course, implies a paradox with a vengeance, but, lucky for those times, it took a while for us all to realize.

Back to our story. So the Beatle phenomenon became a trailblazer for a whole gamut of gifted young bands, all into writing their own material: The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Who, who does not know their names.

Barrett’s Pink Floyd rose to fame a few years after the first batch of post Beatles bands. And in those heady days a few years made an enormous difference. Swinging London was already turning psychedelic and of that era Barrett was, is, and always will be one of the finest relics. It all went by so fast…

Syd Barrett was an almost devout non-believer in discipline, and had a frame of mind and body not heavy duty enough for the rough life of a rock star. Within two blasting years his behaviour had become so erratic that he could not rationally function anymore in the band that was his brainchild. Forgetting guitars everywhere, sometimes refusing to speak to anyone, standing on stage like a statue, playing just one chord. Roger Waters, Rick Wright and Nick Mason had to incorporate guitarist David Gilmour, a good friend of the whole band, and already a highly rated session player.

A short while the band was a five some, David Gilmour delivering the sonic good, and Syd Barrett as a sort of far-out ornament. Then the idea was that he would be the home staying genius, with the other boys on the road a la Brian Wilson, but it al expired, Syd being so deranged that he temporarily became an inmate of the Terrapin Asylum, after which followed a few years in London, living in various trippy bohemian settings. During that time he did manage to create two albums that are still enjoyed by quite a few good ears: “The Madcap Laughs” and “Barrett’s” quirky, very asymmetrical songs with strangely evocative lyrics about almost nothing/everything, after which he stopped making music altogether. He ended up where he started, in Cambridge, living with his mother, and after her death on his own, picking up painting again and writing a history of art for his own enjoyment, without the slightest idea to let others read it, let alone publicize it.

All his life he had the status of a cult hero, also because his old band, Pink Floyd, became hugely successful in the line-up with David Gilmour, and the standard bearers of, let’s say, adult rock: always competent, creative, even poetic, skilfully performed on state of the art hardware, but with the elusive x-factor, which makes things creep under your skin, considerably reduced.

A short career and a long retirement. He regained his inner balance sufficiently to live as a quiet, withdrawn, strange but not crazy citizen, sustained by the royalties of his compositions on Pink Floyd’s and his own records. According to his family he could even be said to live with his very own brand of satisfaction. Syd Barrett will always be remembered as one of the most enigmatic characters in the pantheon of modern Western popular music.

Harry Rackers writes for<>"> http://www.stroompje.nlyou%20could%20find%20more%20info%20on%20pop%20stars%20at"

A Tribute to Eric Clapton

By Andrew Conway

When you think about music, what do you think of first? Which aspects of music are important which are essential, and which ones can you take or leave? You be the judge. Sometimes the most important aspects of a subject are not immediately obvious. Keep reading to get the complete picture.

Eric Clapton was born March 30th, 1945 in Ripley England, U.K. He was the illegitimate son of Patricia Molly Clapton and Edward Fryer, a Canadian soldier stationed in England. Patricia left Eric in the custody of his grandparents, Rose and Jack Clapp. Patricia moved to Germany where she eventually married another Canadian soldier named Frank McDonald. Eric was raised believing that his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister. At the tender age of nine the truth was reveled to him by his grandmother.

His formal education consisted of being expelled from the Kingston College of art at the ripe old age of seventeen for playing guitar in class. He then took a job as a manual laborer and spent most of his free time playing the electric guitar. Clapton eventually joined a number of British blues bands, including the Roosters and Casey Jones, and rose to fame as a member of the Yardbirds

Eric withdrew from the spotlight in the early seventies. Trying to overcome an addition he took the advice of Peter Townsend and underwent an effective electro-acupuncture treatment. He was fully rehabilitated and then landed a role in the rock opera-Tommy Unfortunately the 1980's brought Eric sliding deeper and deeper into a serious drinking problem even thou this period of his life brought some of his most successful albums--Another Ticket (1981), Money and Cigarettes (1983), Behind the Sun (1985), August (1986), Journeyman (1989)

In the following decade he again suffered another personal tragedy when guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and Clapton road crew members Colin Smythe and Nigel Browne - all close friends of Clapton's - were killed in a helicopter crash. A few months after this tragedy, fate was going to deal him another blow when his own son, Conner, fell forty-nine stories from Del Santo's Manhattan high-rise apartment to his death. Clapton channeled his shattering grief into writing the 1992 Grammy-winning tribute to his son, "Tears in Heaven." Another album, "From The Cradle", came out in 1994 and marked his return to the raw blue standards. In 1997 he was honored with the Record of the year and best male pop vocal performance grammys for "Change the world".

And in the next coming years,success just seemed to follow him no matter where he went. The only triple inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he is often described as an authentic musical genius, but at what a personal price? There's no doubt that the topic of music can be fascinating. If you still have unanswered questions about music, you may find what you're looking for in the next article.

Andrew Conway is an avid author, writer and a classic movie buff. If you love watching movies, classic sitcom's or just listening to great music, then visit:

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A Tribute to Simon and Garfunkel

By Andrew Conway

The most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel crafted a series of memorable hit albums and singles featuring their choirboy harmonies, ringing acoustic and electric guitars, and Simon's acute, finely wrought songwriting.

They met in elementary school in 1953, when they both appeared in the school play Alice in Wonderland.They formed the group Tom and Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit "Hey Schoolgirl." The duo split up, and Simon continued to struggle to make it in the music business as a songwriter and occasional performer, sometimes using the names of Jerry Landis or Tico and the

When they re-teamed, it was as a folk duo, though Simon's pop roots would serve the act well in their material's synthesis of folk and pop influences. Signing to Columbia, they recorded an initially unsuccessful acoustic debut (as Simon and Garfunkel, not Tom and Jerry) in 1964, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. They again went their separate ways, Simon moving to England, where he played the folk circuit and
recorded an obscure solo album.

Then with the help of Tom Wilson they reunited and made a serious go at a recording career, Simon returning from the U.K. to the U.S. In 1966 and 1967 they were regular visitors to the pop charts with some of the best folk-rock of the era, including "Homeward Bound," "I Am a Rock," and "A Hazy Shade of Winter."

Their final studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, was an enormous hit, topping the charts for ten weeks, and containing four hit singles (the title track, "The Boxer," "Cecilia," and "El Condor Pasa"). A 1981 concert in New York's Central Park attracted half a million fans, and was commemorated with a live album; they also toured in the early '80s, but a planned studio session was cancelled.

Simon and Garfunkel were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s, and are best known for their songs "The Sound of Mrs Robinson" [The Theme Song Of The Graduate], "Bridge over Troubled Water" and "The Boxer." They have received several Grammys and are inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2007). In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Simon and Garfunkel #40 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Andrew Conway is an author, a musician, and aclassic movie buff. If you love watching movies orjust listening to great music, then visit:

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A Biography of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

By R J A Pettinger

"Transcendental Meditation opens the awareness to the infinite reservoir of energy, creativity and intelligence that lies deep within everyone" - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is one of the foremost teachers of meditation. Since he began teaching meditation in 1955 his transcendental meditation movement has been practiced by an estimated 5 million people worldwide.

Mahesh Prasad Varma (later changed to Maharishi Mahesh) was born in Madhya Pradesh, India on January 12th 1917. He was born to the Kshetriya (warrior caste) Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born on January 12th, 1917 to a Kshetriya caste Hindu family living in the small village of Chichli near Jabalpur, in the central region of India.

After completing a masters degree in Physics from Allahabad university in 1940 he felt increasingly attracted to the spiritual life. He joined the Jyotirmath and became a disciple of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. After studying meditation under the guidance of the Shankaracharya for 12 years in 1953 he travelled to Uttarkashi in the Himalayas. Here he entered into a meditation retreat, enabling him to deepen his meditation experience. In 1955 he decided he should teach meditation to the world and so began teaching traditional meditation techniques. He also assumed the title “Maharishi” which means great sage and is quite common amongst Indian Gurus. In 1957 he founded his first organisation the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. There have been many related organisations, they tend to get grouped under the heading of transcendental meditation movement.

Transcendental Meditation Movement

The growth in the transcendental movement was rapid, especially in the 1960s when the counter culture made meditation and eastern spirituality more appealing and in the public eye. Many high profile celebrities were attracted to the movement these included the Beach Boys, singer-songwriter Donovan, Clint Eastwood and David Lynch. The most high profile were the Beatles who spent time on a retreat in the late 1960s After a while, with the exception of George Harrison they became disillusioned with the Maharishi and left. George Harrison maintained an interest in meditation throughout his life and helped proved the TM movement with a meeting place in England.

The Maharishi has sought to identify different stages of consciousness. In particular he has sought to demonstrate that if groups of people sincerely meditate in the same area it can have an effect of creating a more peaceful and prosperous effect. He gave this the term the Maharishi effect. Since September 11th 2001 he has often stated that combined efforts of meditation are important for the progress of the world’s spiritual unfoldment.

The Maharishi rarely appears in public but he does issue weekly podcasts in which he offers messages on meditation to his followers. However he has encouraged his students to become registered TM meditation teachers. There are an estimated 1,000 TM - siddhi meditation teachers. Unlike traditional Indian approach to spirituality. Transcendental meditation classes do require a significant monetary fee.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is credited as the author of at least 14 books. The most important books are the Science of Being and the Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita.

More biographies of Spiritual Teachers at Biography online.

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The strange story of Timothy Leary, Dennis Hopper and Barbara Silkstone

By Barbara Silkstone

What are you afraid of? What scares you silly? Rats? Snakes? Politicians? Me … I’ve always been terrified of Dennis Hopper. He is a character actor who specialized in playing psychotic motorcycle gang members. I still vividly remember a scene where Hopper mashed over some dude with his bike. Dennis Hopper permanently freaked me out.

And now I begin my tale: It was day one of my interviewing adventure which would become my book: 527 NAKED MEN AND ONE WOMAN – The Adventures of a Love Investigator. My best friend, Sal had scribbled a list of eight men to start my interviewing caper. It was up to me to make them want to be interviewed. From this starter-set list I chose one name – Dr. Timothy Leary. I’ve always been the type that jumps into the deep end first. I figured it’s the best way to learn. Leary was a professor who lectured in psychology at Harvard and explored psychedelic experiences and experiments; he espoused free-love and was the spirit of the 60’s.

Leary was arrested and jailed by G. Gordon Liddy, escaped prison, was re-arrested and ultimately released. He then went on tour with Liddy, as by then they were both ex-cons with a story to tell. He campaigned for governor of California, against Ronald Regan. He hung out with an incredible array of names from the Beatles to Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver. I arrived at Leary’s house which was located up the road from the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Tim was in the final year of his life - death danced naked before him; and yet he was full of piss and vinegar. And this was to be my first ever interview with anyone. Leary complimented me on my courage for taking on this daunting task. “The dehumanizing by males of women and children is the key issue.” He lit a cigarette with shaky hands. “It’s the number one cause of suffering, illness and genocide. It is the pervasive, taken for granted, ever-present brutalization of women and children by men.” His mind darted like a mouse picking up crumbs of memory, nibbling on them and then moving on. I dared not interrupt for fear of his anger, it turned on a whisker. Someone took our photo as we sat together. I wished in my heart, I had known him when he was younger. He was a pistol. His memories are strings I must untangle.

Anger loops to pleasant memories, to passion and back to anger, and then tears. “In the 1920’s when I was born, it was a completely different age. I was an only child and my mother was totally my friend and supporter. And I caused her much pain. She wanted me to be a dentist and live next door. Instead I ended up escaping from prison.” He cried. I waited. “It caused her a great deal of pain because when she would meet with the women who were her friends they would talk about their children. She could never mention my name. And that hurt her a lot. We’re talking about women who were in their 70’s at the time I was in prison. You didn’t talk about things like that back then.

And it seems so tragic now that all those older women were fascinated by me and my life and my mother couldn’t mention it. It robbed her of a high hope of her life because she was proud of me in a way. Now it breaks my heart.” Hours later, I am ready to leave after an emotionally exhausting day. “Please come back,” he begs. I promise to return. It is now my third visit to Leary’s home. I carry bags of fresh fruit and juices for his health. “Put those things in the refrigerator and then get over here,” he barks. Leary’s refrigerator is covered with photos held in place by magnets.

They are all pictures of people he cared for - most of the photos are of twentieth century folk heroes. I am mesmerized. The photos, set so informally, bring these legends to life. And then I do a triple take. Yikes! There’s a recent photo of Leary and me, and under the same magnet is a photo of Dennis Hopper and Leary. My knees buckle. Is this a sign? If so what does it mean? This is not funny, God! I spent the rest of the day with one eye on the door. Timothy Leary died the following year and his ashes were sent into space aboard a Pegasus rocket. I have never heard from Dennis Hopper.

Barbara Silkstone is a freelance writer and self-appointed Love Investigator. For six long years she traveled the country interviewing men ages 18 to 80. The guys poured out their most intimate secrets to Silkstone. She is still recovering from the interviews.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: Neil Young - Living With War

Hello everyone.

Even though this is a much more recent release, I thought it may be of interest to all the 1970s Neil Young fans.

Neil Young Living With War Rock Music CD Review by: Clyde Lee Dennis

The exceptionally talented Rock artist Neil Young has released him CD entitled Living With War. I am very confident and happy to announce that I believe Neil Young fans, and Rock fans alike will be pleased with this one. With the release of Living With War Neil Young’s artistic excellence is on full display as Young has once again delivered a brilliant collection of tracks that could very well be him best work to date.

I wish it weren’t the case but, it’s not everyday that I get a CD from an artist that I can just pop in and comfortably listen to from beginning to end. There is usually a song or two that I just can’t force myself to get through. Not at all the case with Living With War. Every track is enjoyable and was pretty easy for me to listen to from start to finish. It seems a rare day indeed that I get a CD from an artist that I can truthfully say does not have a bad track in the bunch. I'm more than happy to announce that’s exactly what I must say about this one. There simply is NOT a bad one in the bunch. No fillers here at all.

Neil Young possesses the characteristic of being able to win you over with him talent alone. The kind of artist I frankly just flat out enjoy listening to. One of the refreshingly nice things about this CD is the way all of the participating artists seem to be really enjoying themselves. Combine that with the overall presentation and you’ve got one of Neil Young’s most impressive releases ever. Overall Living With War is excellent from beginning to end. One of those CDs that after a few listens the songs are just etched into your memory. A must have for the Rock fan. Really sensational from beginning to end.

While this entire album is really very good the truly standout tunes are track 1 - After The Garden, track 6 - Flags Of Freedom, and track 10 - America The Beautiful. My SmoothLee Bonus Pick, and the one that got Sore [ in "Stuck On REpeat"] is track 9 - Roger And Out. This is a great track! Living With War Release Notes: Neil Young originally released Living With War on May 8, 2006 on the Reprise label. CD Track List Follows: 1. After The Garden 2. Living With War 3. Restless Consumer 4. Shock And Awe 5. Families 6. Flags Of Freedom 7. Let's Impeach The President 8. Lookin' For A Leader 9. Roger And Out 10. America The Beautiful

Personnel: Neil Young (vocals); Tommy Bray (trumpet); Rick Rosas (bass instrument); Chad Cromwell (drums).

About The Author
Clyde Lee Dennis a life long music enthusiast, writes CD reviews and is also the Food and Dining Editor at covering topics like Seattle Restaurants and more. Visit Seattle eNewsBriefs for the latest Seattle News.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Frank Zappa Does Smoke on the Water?

By Michael Russell

In this article we're going to tell the true behind the scenes story of one of the most famous songs in rock history that was actually the result of an incident at a concert.

Everyone knows the song "Smoke On The Water". Every kid who ever picked up a guitar for the first time plunked out that four chord blues riff. For many kids, it's the only thing they were ever able to play. And many of these kids think they know the story of how that song was recorded. Yes, there was a fire, a bad one. But what most, if not all of them, don't realize is that the fire that broke out that day was during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention concert.

The date was December 7, 1971. It was thirty years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Maybe that should have been an omen. Certainly this was not an insignificant date in history. Anyway, Deep Purple, the band who recorded "Smoke On The Water" was setting up their camp in Montreux, Switzerland to record their next album. They were going to use a mobile recording studio to do this which they rented from The Rolling Stones, known as their Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. They set up at the Montreux Entertainment Complex which was part of their casino. This is referred to as the "gambling house" in the lyrics of the song.

Well, on the eve of their recording session Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention were performing live in concert at the casino's theater. They were to perform a number of their popular songs including the epic "The Nancy and Mary Music”, "Sharleena”, "Duke Of Prunes”, and "Hungry Freaks Daddy". Frank Zappa was strange to say the least. However, before they could really get into the meat of their performance a fire broke out during the concert. It was said to have been caused by a Swiss fan shooting a flare gun at the ceiling, as was stated in the "some stupid with a flare gun" line that ultimately destroyed the entire casino complex, along with all of Frank Zappa and The Mother's equipment.

The smoke on the water that was talked about in the song was the smoke from the fire that spread over all of Lake Geneva. From their hotel across the way from the casino, the members of Deep Purple watched the fire burn and the smoke cover the lake. In the lyrics they mention a "funky Claude" running in and out. This was actually the director of the Montreux Jazz Festival running in and out of the casino trying to get people to safety.

The aftermath of all this was that Deep Purple had no place to record and Frank Zappa and the Mothers were part of the most famous concert in history to get cancelled mid way through. Deep Purple eventually found another place to record, using a near empty Montreux Grand Hotel. They converted its hallways into a makeshift recording studio. As for Frank Zappa, the concert was cancelled and never rescheduled. But he had become a part of history that little kids with electric guitars will be thankful for, for a very long time.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Concerts

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Charles Manson and The Family

By Carlos Cabezas López

‘A criminal is not a criminal by birth but made by the world’. This holds true in the case of Charles Manson. Born on 12th November 1934 to an unwed teenage mother in Cincinnati, Charles never knew his biological father. His mother later married William Manson who gave Charles his last name. His mother was a thief who sold him off for a pitcher of beer.

When all other kids his age were in school with the security of loving parents, Charles was moving from one reform school to another. His mother put him in a foster home as her alcoholic ways and prostitution could not afford to provide for Charles. When Charles ran back to her from the home she rejected him and threw him out on the streets. This was a turning point in Charles’s life. He started to steal and at 19 years of age car thefts kept him in and out of jail for a while. He was very intelligent and sharp and psychiatrists judged that he possessed a high I.Q. Once out of jail he married 17-year-old Rosalie Jean Willis in 1955, and wished to move to California and start a new life. But it was not to be. He stole a car soon after marriage and was arrested. On giving birth to a son, Willis ran away with a truck driver.

With personal life in shambles law enforcement agencies tried to rehabilitate him. Psychiatrists said Manson showed marked degree of rejection, instability and psychic trauma. He was unpredictable and showed signs of assaultive tendencies. In spite of his age he was criminally sophisticated. In 1960 he was arrested again for soliciting prostitution and got a jail term of 10 years. Here he met Alvin Karpis the famous bank robber from whom he learned music and to play the guitar. He wanted to become a famous musician like Beatles. Had that happened, crime rate in America could have been considerably reduced. While in prison or on probation, he had stolen cars, pimped inmates, raped another inmate and forged federal checks. By the age of 33 he had spent more than half his life in prison.

Charles Manson had a ‘family’ of hippies made up of like minded people like him. He was bisexual and his women worshipped him. All these girls had sexual relations with him. He told them that "they belong to themselves and not to him". One of the girls Susan Atkins said that she would do anything for Charles. She killed Actress Sharon Tate and said that ‘it was the most exciting sexual experience of her life’. The gruesome killings chilled and paralyzed America in 1969.

The Manson Family was responsible for several murders, known collectively as the Tate-LaBianca murders. The motive behind the murders was that he was rejected by the music industry and wanted revenge. So he asked some members of his family to go to the house of record producer Terry Melcher and kill whoever was on the premises. They entered the compound of Roland Polanski, the famous Hollywood Director and his wife Sharon Tate who was eight months pregnant.

Before entering the house they first shot dead Steve Parent, an 18 year old who was the friend of the gardener because he had seen the intruders while getting into his car. Frykowski and Folger, who were staying in the house until Polanski's return from London, were able to escape from the living room but succumbed in the lawn. Frykowski was stabbed fifty-one times, shot twice, and pistol-whipped over a dozen times. This was allegedly inspired by the Beatles song "Piggies". Folger was stabbed 28 times by Krenwinkel after being tackled on the lawn.

Inside the house intruders asked if anyone had money, and, in replying that she did, Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folgers Coffee Company, was led to her bedroom to empty her purse. She was led back to the living room where the four occupants of the house were tied together. Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist and friend of the Polańskis was visiting, and when he attempted to defend Tate, he was shot by Watson, who then kicked him several times in the face.

Tate, eight months pregnant, begged for the life of her unborn child and was rebuffed by Atkins, who coldly replied, "Look bitch, I have no mercy for you" before stabbing the actress sixteen times. The killing of wealthy super market executive and his wife, the La Bianca couple, is another cold blooded murder by Charles Manson and his ‘family’. On this occasion Manson himself went along to show his accomplices how to perform the ‘act’. He tied the couples and then instructed Watson, Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten to stab them. Watson killed Mr. La Bianca while the girls stabbed his wife even after she died. They carved out the word ‘WAR’ upon her chest and left the fork embedded in her body. With her blood on a piece of paper the words ‘rise’ and ‘death to pigs’ were written. On the wall was ‘Healter Skelter’ misspelled from the Beatles song Helter Skelter. Manson also killed high school music teacher Gary Hinman because he apparently owed him some money.

Manson is now languishing in jail in California and probably for the rest of his life. He is known to shock people especially when in media glare. He is eligible for parole in 2007.

By Carlos Cabezas López (

The author is the editor of the digital Journal Caso Abierto. You can can read more articles like this on Caso Abierto at

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The Influence of Donovan on The Beatles

By Andreas Walstad

Many Beatles fans are unaware of the great impact British folk-singer and guitarist Donovan (Donovan Philips Leitch) had on the Beatles and their music in 1968.

Donovan was a friend of the Beatles, and when the group traveled to Rishikesh in India to study Transcendental Meditation in February 1968, Donovan came along. There were several other westerners present at the Rishikesh camp too, including Mike Love of the Beach Boys. Many of the songs that would later feature on the Beatles' 1968 album entitled The Beatles - also known as The White Album because of its white cover - emerged during the group's stay in India. One reason for this was the fact that Donovan was there. Between the meditation classes, he taught John, Paul and George a special finger-picking guitar style which can be traced on many of the songs on The White Album.

Take Paul McCartney's Blackbird, for example. It was written in India, and it's a prime example of how Donovan's guitar-technique was applied by the Beatles. Listen how elegantly Paul picks the strings and how the guitar pattern supports the lead vocal brilliantly. Acoustic guitars had arguably not sounded quite as sophisticated as that on previous Beatles recordings, perhaps with a few exceptions, such as Paul's I've Just Seen A Face from 1965 and Lennon's Girl from 1966. The Beatles had often used the acoustic to play rhythm guitar - which of course worked brilliantly - but the Donovan finger-picking style added yet another dimension their music.

Another of Paul's songs, Mother Nature's Son, also took shape in India. Also here Donovan's influence is obvious. The lyrics, meanwhile, are said to have been influenced by a lecture given by meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a central figure at the camp. Paul was of course not the only Beatle who was inspired by Donovan's guitar technique. Just listen to the songs Julia and Dear Prudence, both penned by John Lennon.

Dear Prudence is actually about a specific incident that occurred at the Rishikesh meditation camp. The song is really about Prudence Farrow, sister of actress Mia Farrow, who also stayed at Rishikesh. Prudence, however, preferred to meditate in solitude in her chalet. In the end Lennon and George Harrison had to convince her to come out and join the others: Dear Prudence, won't you come out and play?

Other songs written or inspired by the stay in India were Lennon's The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill and Sexy Sadie, plus McCartney's Why Don't We Do It In The Road and Wild Honey Pie. Sexy Sadie was originally called Maharishi after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the meditation guru. After having stayed in India for a while, Lennon lost trust in Maharishi, apparently because of a rumor that the guru had made sexual advances to a female member of the course. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill was about college graduate named Richard Cooke III who visited the Rishikesh community because his mother Nancy was staying there. They did indeed go tiger hunting, just like the song suggests.

Paul McCartney later said he got the idea to Why Don't We Do It In The Road? in India, where he had seen two monkeys copulating in the road. Wild Honey Pie was a sing along that also emerged in Rishikesh. The first Beatle to leave India was Ringo, who returned to London in early March. McCartney soon followed, while Lennon and Harrison left in April.

Andreas Walstad is a journalist and the author of

You can read about all the songs the Beatles released on my website:

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ALBUM REVIEW: Derek and the Dominos - Layla

By Dave Nuzzo

This is the second in a series of Rock and Roll features I'm writing for this site. I'm a rock and roller and I love blues so this column is a way for me to feature a different album that I like from those genres every month. In the future I hope to be able to have other people write similar columns about genres they're interested in. If you're interested, feel free to contact me about contributing.

In 1970, with amazing results, two of the best guitarists of the day came together, although only briefly. Only one short year later one would be dead, the other removed from the music scene, but that brief moment, the “perfect storm” collaboration, is forever immortalized in a single song: “Layla”. The band was called Derek and the Dominos, the album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, and the guitarists were Eric Clapton, and Duane Allman. Always aware of this album and in particular “Layla” the song, I only recently came to appreciate it in its entirety.

Groundbreaking blues and rock and roll, this album can easily be considered one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time, but other than the title track it is somewhat unknown. I chose this album for this month's rock and roll feature simply because I feel this album is timeless. Was it a “Perfect Storm” type of scenario that brought together such talent and produced such amazing results? Maybe... No matter the cause though, they truly do not make music like this anymore.

The title of this album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, can be both confusing and extremely accurate depending on your viewpoint. These certainly are not traditional love songs. They all do deal with “love” topics but more often than not its heartbreak. In a way, yes they are love songs, but if you're expecting sappy romantic love songs you might want to look elsewhere. The music itself is less about the psychedelic than other late 60s early 70s albums, like Clapton's work with Cream. Instead its a straights forward, blues rock explosion that ranges from foot stomping rock and roll to the purest blues. There is also a lot of the earthiness that would become more prominent on Clapton's own 461 Ocean Boulevard album released in '74.

The “Layla” album was supposedly fueled by Clapton's unrequited love for his friend George Harrison's wife, and the topics and emotional content of the writing make this easy to believe. There are few rock and roll albums that can rival the emotional power of these songs. Its easy to see the turmoil that existed in Clapton's life when these were written purely by their emotional content. The “Layla Sessions” were plagued by heavy drug use and it would be shortly after this album that Clapton would retreat from the musical spotlight to deal with his own heroin addiction. All of these factors seem to have contributed to something of a unique musical event that would only happen once. To top it off, the album features not just one great guitarist, but two.

Duane Allman, session guitarist and famous for his own band, The Allman Brothers with his brother Greg, came to the recording session late in the game but after hearing the album, its almost impossible to picture these heart wrenching songs without Allman's spine tingling slide work. Duane Allman would be killed in a motorcycle accident only one year later and although his guitar work with his own band is equally impressive, there is something about his collaboration with Clapton that just seems magical. The rock and roll world is lucky to have had such a collaboration recorded for future generations to enjoy, especially because of Allman's untimely death.

Songs like “Bell Bottom Blues”, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” and a unique take on Jimi Hendrix's “Little Wing”, are incredibly emotionally heavy, but not dramatic. These songs come off as very real. The blues aspect of these songs makes them far easier to relate to. While other singers might have these songs come off as whiny or overly dramatic, when Clapton sings them his soul comes through perfectly. “Anyday” and “Why Does Love Have to be So Sad” are also album highlights with a more rock and roll feel while still maintaining the same intensity in the vocals making for a very broad album musically.

It is hard not to get caught up in the music and when the title track's first guitar riff is played, it serves as the perfect summary for the album as a whole. Like the closing song of a live show, “Layla” is the perfect encore to an amazing album, and then the subtle “Thorn Tree in the Garden serves as a quiet folksy reminder of everything that came before. Although not necessarily a conceptual album, this is definitely a complete work and it works much better as a whole. Although “Layla” is a fantastic song, it seems to have more of an impact when serving as the rock and roll closer to this soul baring roller coaster of an album.

In a way, its a good thing that there only was one Derek and the Dominos album. Who knows if a follow up album could be anything but a disappointment or if the tumultuous times that spawned the first album would have caused the band members to self destructing, had they tried to make a second.

Most people who know something about rock and roll have heard “Layla”, most known Eric Clapton and a good portion probably know Duane Allman as well, but they don't know the whole story. Until you pick up this album (or better yet the 20th anniversary edition with 3 disks of material from outtake to blues jams), you're missing out on not only one of the best rock and roll albums of all times, but on an emotional pinnacle that was almost like a rock and roll perfect storm never to be repeated.

Sometimes the best art can come out of the worst times.

References include for dates and some biographical information, and my own music collection.

D.A.N (Dave Nuzzo). is the owner, editor and primary writer for an online magazine called The Sights and Sounds from the Fifth Column, a new publication dedicated to new ideas in all facets of society. It deals with topics ranging from music and art to politics and world events all while upholding ideas of freedom of speech, free thinking, creativity and human rights. This site is also dedicated to serving as a public forum for artist, musicians, writers or regular people to showcase their creative work ranging from traditional artwork, through writing and music to more recent digital media. It is the hope that the larger audience of this publication will help some of these lesser known artists or ideas reach the public.

Sights and Sounds of the Fifth Column, found at

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ALBUM REVIEW: Carlos Santana and Mahavishnu John McLaughlin - Love, Devotion, Surrender

By Clyde Lee Dennis

The talented Carlos Santana CD entitled Love Devotion Surrender is an exceptional album. Here Carlos Santana’s artistic excellence is on full display as Santana has once again delivered a brilliant collection of tracks that could very well be his best work to date.

Carlos Santana has been a heavy hitter in the Rock genre for quite some time now and Love Devotion Surrender is an excellent illustration as to why. One of the nicer things about a CD like this is when the talent is this rich even if Rock isn’t your favorite genre you still can’t help but appreciate the greatness of the artist. Listen and I think you’ll agree that the song choices are excellent, the production is outstanding and Carlos Santana is clearly in top form.

While the entire CD is really very good some of my favorites are track 3 - The Life Divine, track 4 - Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord, and track 7 - Naima. My Bonus Pick, and the one that got Sore [... as in "Stuck On REpeat"] is track 1 - A Love Supreme. What a nice track!

CD Track List Follows:
1. A Love Supreme
2. Naima
3. Life Divine, The
4. Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord
5. Meditation
6. Love Supreme, A - (take 2)
7. Naima - (take 4)

Personnel: Carlos Santana (guitar); Mahavishnu John McLaughlin (guitar, piano); Larry Young (organ); Doug Rauch (bass); Billy Cobham, Don Alias, Jan Hammer, Mike Shrieve (drums); Armando Peraza (congas).
Recorded in 1972. Originally released on Columbia (32034). Includes liner notes by Hal Miller.

BOOK REVIEW: The Portable Beat Reader

By H. Tim Sevets

The beat movement has been misunderstood for years. For one thing, it was larger than many commentators credit it with being. The Portable Beat Reader helps set the record straight in this regard, with its generous sampling of a remarkably large number of poets, authors and essayists who may credibly be placed squarely within the beat tradition.

Certainly, it contains generous helpings of Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth. Gary Snyder and other leading lights of this all-too-short-lived phenomenon. But there are many lesser knowns as well, including several individuals who were a bit younger than the founding beats but who served to transmit the authentic beat spirit into the 1960s and beyond.

On this note, The Portable Beat Reader really shines at demonstrating the lasting influence that the beat movement had on American art and culture. That influence rippled down the years, surviving, growing and evolving long after the movement itself had disappeared with the aging and deaths of its progenitors, as well as its parodying in the comic-grist image of the "beatnik."

This magnificent collection was edited by Ann Charters, who has nurtured a lifetime fascination with the beats. This fascination even led at one point to a job working with Jack Kerouac to complete a bibliography of his work. Following Kerouac's death she wrote the first of his biographies.

In addition to editing The Portable Beat Reader, Charters contributed an excellent introduction that sets the beats in the context of their time as well as in the context of the stream of American nonconformist and rebellious intellectualism.

The Portable Beat Reader will stand as the definitive collection of beat writings for many years to come, if not forever.

The Portable Beat Reader is published by Penguin Books of New York, London and elsewhere; ISBN # 0-14-015102-8.

H. Tim Sevets is books editor for the Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium, where he specializes in objective reviews of the top money-making reports available over the Web. Recently, he reviewed an e-book that claims to show how to make money by tearing up old books and magazines and selling them on eBay. Read his opinion at

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The Legendary Roy Buchanan

By Dave Nuzzo

Although I'm very passionate about my music, my guitar playing and blues, I don't in any way consider myself an expert on any of these topics. I'm always open to new artists and a lot of artists that have received high praise from other musicians I simply haven't had the chance to listen to yet.

This will explain to some why I had never listened to Roy Buchanan till recently.

When you read as much about music, guitars, guitarists and guitar playing as I do there are certain names that continue to pop up as major players in the guitar world. People like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Greene etc. Most of these people I had heard of and typically I've listened to their music for years as have many people. Probably everyone familiar with rock and roll has heard of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and people who know classic rock can easily recognize Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. One name though, Roy Buchanan, kept popping up, and I could never pinpoint his music, or why some of the people I consider guitar legends, referred to him as one of their influences.

That is until recently...

While I was reading about rock and roll and preparing for the launch of The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll, I happened across a video of none other than Roy Buchanan playing “Hey Joe,” a song that was more well known because of the Jimi Hendrix version. I knew and loved the Hendrix version and having remembered hearing about Roy Buchanan so much I was intrigued. I watched the video and suddenly I had a new guitar idol.

This blues guitarist so expertly wrenched notes from his guitar that it sent shivers up my spine. Using a volume knob technique to create an almost violin like effect along with typical blues guitar techniques, and a whole lot of emotion, Mr. Roy Buchanan took the song I had only known because of Hendrix and created a slow blues, absolutely heart wrenching version unlike anything I had ever heard. It was raw, real and authentic that I was immediately blown away. I watched every video of Roy Buchanan I could find that night.
Roy's playing seemed to come primarily out of emotion like blues, but with a noticeable technical expertise that was exciting but not showy. Plus, when he would work the volume knob on his guitar, he could actually make it sound like the guitar was crying. Well this works as an exciting technique, but it also allowed him to create very vocal sounding solos that had swells, dynamics and emphasis, just like a vocal soloist would use and that added so much soul to the solo.

When it comes to music, I'm impressed not so much by technical expertise on an instrument (although that can impress me too), but more so how well that musician can convey the emotions of the song, add to them and enhance the overall mood. Anyone can learn to play blindingly fast with a million notes, but when someone can make their soul speak through the instrument, thats what it is really all about. With his crying guitar and tonal range from smooth, round and transparent to bitingly sharp and gritty, Roy took these songs from slow and sad to hard edged an soulful at will. Truly a master of expression on guitar.

As I read more about Roy Buchanan I discovered that except amongst guitarists, specifically blues guitarists, his music is generally overlooked. That seems like such a shame. For me, music is about emotion, what it makes me feel and how well I can related to those feelings. This is why I gravitated towards blues as I grew older. Blues is probably the most emotion based genre of music there is as it's primary focus is often heartbreak, a very emotional subject. The best musicians in any genre can convey their feelings and their soul through their music. Roy Buchanan was definitely one of the best at this in my book. His playing has had such an impact on how I play guitar that I only wish I could have found his music sooner. It has really inspired me to try and put every ounce of myself and my soul into my playing.

Maybe the music of Roy Buchanan is not for everyone as not everyone is into blues or guitar playing but for those of you who are into both and haven't yet checked out the work of Roy Buchanan, you should. His blues is more earthy, and rustic that some of the famous Chicago blues players (B.B. King, Buddy Guy) and has a hint of jazz, but his passion is just as evident and the guitar playing is magical.

Some artists never received the recognition they truly deserve but if an artist can inspire others, than they are successful and because of how he has inspired other musicians, myself included, I think Roy Buchanan deserves a little more recognition. I hope more people are as inspired by Roy Buchanan's music as I am.
D.A.N (Dave Nuzzo), is the Owner/Editor of The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll, a music and rock 'n' roll oriented blog. The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll was design to promote the music that he likes, listens to and is passionate about. He discusses everything from Folk to Heavy Metal with the emphasis on Classic Rock, but also talks about the impact rock 'n' roll has on society, unknown bands, and playing music. If you're interested in reading more rock 'n' roll articles from D.A.N., check out The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll.

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A Bit of Pink Floyd History

By Andy Jackson

I think I probably started listening to Pink Floyd because I used to chill with some dudes who smoked weed and used to play Floyd a lot and I found the music is really good to listen to when you are stoned. Pink Floyd are a kind of psychedelic rock cross breed and their lyrics are quite deep and philosophical.

Pink Floyd formed in Cambridge, England in the early 1960's and were originally called Tea Set but one night while they were playing at a gig there was a band with the same name so Syd Barrett came up with the name The Pink Floyd Sound which was named after two blues singers (Pink Anderson an Floyd Council). The group switched between their two names for a while until finally Pink Floyd won over.

Floyd were made up originally of David Gilmour, Rick wright, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and Bob Klose. Bob Klose actually left the group before Pink Floyd had recorded any albums and David Gilmour came in to replace Barrett after his decline. In the early years Syd Barrett was the "leader" of the group and wrote most of the early songs.

The first of Pink Floyd's albums was The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and was released in 1967 and is considered one of the best debut albums by any group. The album contained many new technologies and the use of electronics such as the use of stereo panning, electric keyboards and echo effects.

Pink Floyd toured with Jimi Hendrix in the early 1970's which helped them to rise in popularity and with that rise came the decline of Syd who had been taking a lot of "psychedelic" drugs and pushed him into a mental deterioration. It was around this time that David Gilmour joined the band to take the place of Syd who it is reported would just be standing still and staring into space during rehearsals and some of their performances and it is said this is due to his constant taking of LSD. Eventually the other members of the group slowly stopped taking Syd along to their concerts and his last performance was in 1968 when they played at Hastings Pier. Syd Barrett died on July 7th, 2006 after spending years in seclusion.

After Syd had formally left Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Rick Wright started to take on the role of writing the lyrics and songs between them and A Saucerful Of Secrets was released in late 1968. Following this album they started to become more popular and were recruited to write the music for the film More. After this they released many further albums (Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Obscured By Clouds, Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall).

In 1985 Roger Waters left Pink Floyd and started to pursue his own solo career. There were some disagreements over the use of the "Pink Floyd" name when David Gilmour and Nick Mason continued to use the name and started recording a new album in 1986. The disagreements were finally settled out of court and the album was released (A Momentary Lapse Of Reason). There were several other albums released which were Delicate Sound Of Thunder and The Division Bell.

Roger Waters finally returned to the band in 2005 when they played together again at the London Live 8 concert. Pink Floyd have inspired many of todays groups and artists, such as Phil Collins & Genesis, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and Yes, and their music is a prominent feature of the musical by Tom Stoppard called Rock 'n' Roll which premiered at the Royal Court Theater, London in 2006.

Some of their most popular songs are: Interstellar Overdrive, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Careful With That Axe, Eugene, Brain Damage, The Great Gig In The Sky, Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2), Comfortably Numb, The Final Cut, Learning To Fly, Money and Wish You Were Here.

My Top 10 Pink Floyd Songs are:
01. The Thin Ice
02. Astronomy Domine
03. Money
04. Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)
05. Hey You
06. Comfortably Numb
07. Us And Them
08. Wearing The Inside Out
09. Brain Damage
10. The Great Gig In The Sky

View the full blog for my top music reviews of bands songs and artists and share with me your comments and your top songs.

Andy Jackson


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A Bit About Hippies

By Robert Fuller

The creatively coined term “hippie” comes from the word “hip” and is jazz slang for the word “hipster”, which was coined during the 1940’s. As years passed, “hippie” was used to refer to many different people or groups of people. However, the term had a long history, and was only accepted as a common and usual word in 1967.

No matter who it refers to, however, the term “hippie” remains true to its original meaning. It refers to a person or a group who belongs to a certain social environment that sprang in the United States during the 1960’s. As the term continued to increase its popularity, the number of people who fit the description also grew considerably larger. Along with other movements, the “hippies” of the past became a counterculture, an entirely complete lifestyle that ruled the lives of its members in every aspect.

What the hippies lived for was to counter the dominant culture in the society with another culture that was somewhat more liberal. Their main purpose was to go against the realms of the society that is in place by rejecting it. Hippies were mostly on the opposing side of what had already established. They opposed nearly everything that is accepted by the society. Their oppositions were not negative. They were against nuclear weapons and wars. Their main doctrine revolved around love, peace, and freedom of self-expression,

Hippies believed that there was more to life than what the norms state. This is why they opposed restrictions above all else. And in the spirit of opposition, they, in turn, promoted what the society is opposed to and what was dominant in the world. Examples of what they advocated were the liberal use of what they called “psychedelic drugs” and freedom of sexual expressions as well.

They also rallied for the environment, and most hippies were vegetarian. As an entire culture, they also had their own ways of expressing themselves through music and art. They maximized the use of these cultural tools in expressing what they believed in. Since they are also pro-peace, they do not engage in violence in demonstrating their views. Instead, they used other ways to be radical and to make their mark and be heard.
Two of the well-known forms of expressions that the hippies used are music and their clothing style. The hippie music, which revolved mostly around what was called “psychedelic rock” was one of the most popular ways of how these hippies lured people into their radical society. Their music also became popular.

Their clothing styles and the way they carried themselves, however, were more radical than their music. The hippies kept their hair long, regardless of gender. In breaking societal norms, they also chose to forego some of what people usually regard as necessities. Some hippies go braless and some go barefoot. They liked to use bright, bold colors to express freedom. They showed their independence through the unhindered use of colors and unusual clothes.

The hippies were the advocates of the bell-bottom pants, long flowing skirts, and peasant blouses. Another clothing trend that claimed popularity, not only during their time, but up to the present as well, are the tie-dyed t-shirts they used. To avoid supporting the corporate society, hippies liked designing and making their own clothes. The same is true with the tie-dyed theme. Tie-dyed shirts can easily be made at home, and they always come out differently every time. The colors would mix differently, and the patterns would be unique for each shirt.

As the society embraced the other hippie trends such as bell-bottom pants, long skirts, and peasant blouses, the tie-dyed shirts still stand out as truly hippie. It is still, up until now, closely associated to being a hippie. Tie-dyes shirts still remain a distinct symbol of being part of the hippie counterculture.

However, no matter how commercialized the hippie fashion statement may get, in truth, it is still closely linked with hippie values.

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Haight Ashbury 40 Years On

By Michael Ernest

Haight Ashbury is now the second most popular tourist attraction in San Francisco according to the city's hotel and visitor's bureau. Thus, it was not surprising most of the news reports on the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love made mention of the Haight turning into a place where the 1960s have become commercialized by t-shirt and poster shops or theme rooms at the historic Red Vic Bed and Breakfast.

While that might have been the easy angle to take for out of town reporters to take, in reality the Haight has always been known for being a shopping district. Even when the Psychedelic Shop opened in 1966, the first of its kind, it received complaints from those who thought mercantilism and hippie-dom should not co-exist. As for tourism, it began a year later when Grey Line ran two buses a day to the Haight for outsiders to see the hippies.

There are a couple hours in the morning when Haight Street is truly peaceful. The street is swept clean around 7 a.m. each day, giving it a chastity that lasts only until the shoppers arrive and the vagabonds make their way down from the park. As the day goes on, the atmosphere often becomes unpredictable, one turning the corner onto it not knowing what the mood of the street will be. The mood can change depending upon what element is present, be them street musicians, hobos or at times an even more colorful lot just being crazy in their own way.

Back when Jerry Garcia was still alive, one could always tell when the Dead were in town because the number of hippies would increase, the VW vans they camped in parked along the street. At times now, one can sense the type and quality and of the drugs around, although those contributing to the sketchier feel are often outsiders, coming to peddle their wares on the odd weekend afternoon, and not the usual suspects from the neighborhood.

Mornings, however, are almost always serene. Most stores don't open until 10:30 or 11 a.m., making the sidewalks easy to navigate and the coffee shops and breakfast places relatively empty. There are the occasional stray tourists, usually early-risers on east coast time who, despite their careful vacation planning, are not aware of the fact the stores open late.

It is shopping, tourism just being a contributor, that dominates the Haight Street economy. Still a favorite spot for those who prefer thrift store chic or vintage wear, the Haight's commercial strip boasts 48 clothing stores in just six blocks. There are a sprinkling of smaller chains - Daljeets, Crossroads, American Apparel - but many are tinier businesses. Among them are six that sell only used clothing, four that sell Tibetan accoutrement; three dealing in skate and surf wear; two exclusively dealing in lingerie; and two in hip hop threads.

Not counting the nine head shops, there are only three other stores that cater exclusively to the t-shirt or hippy crowd. Shoe stores, varying from sneakers to Dominatrix boots, are the newest trend on the street, having risen to six in all. For the most part, business is good. Buffalo Exchange's Haight Street store, for instance, is the largest money maker in its chain despite also having the highest theft rate.

Mixed in with the clothing stores are 16 restaurants not counting the seven coffee shops; nine bars; five tattoo parlors; four hair salons; three independent book stores, including an anarchist bookshop; two fabric outlets, one being an arts supply place; and several small markets and miscellaneous stores for the locals. To serve musicians, the Haight Ashbury Music Center remains a staple, having first opened its doors in 1972, its storefront a favorite for street musicians as well.

For those buying music, there are three record stores, two dealing largely in LPs, and Ameoba, which converted an old bowling alley into one of the largest record stores in the city. For movie buffs there is the historic Red Vic Movie House showing a combination of off-beat, artistic and commercial films, as well as the independent video store, Into Video.

What there is not on the street is a pharmacy. There was one once, a locally owned establishment that cried David to Long's Goliath when that chain store tried to move in at the corner of Haight and Cole. One night while still under renovation, someone broke in and burned the place down. Long's, realizing it was unwelcome, gave up the effort. Although the locally-owned pharmacy has since closed and the demand for a replacement is high, the drug store chains still won't come near the Haight.

The anti-chain feeling was at a particular peak at that time because in the mid-1980s, both The Gap and Benny and Jerry's offered above market rents to secure opposite corners of Haight and Ashbury Streets creating a rent shockwave up and down Haight Street. For several years afterward turnover of the small start-up businesses was high.

While Ben and Jerry's sold ice cream, something it is hard not to like, and became accepted as time passed, The Gap over the years did not fare as well with the locals, or shoppers for that matter. People did not come to the Haight in search of yuppie clothing and it proved the worst performing store in the company's chain, the illustrious address serving mainly as a corporate advertisement. The neighborhood collectively cheered when it finally closed in early 2007, the company also growing fatigued by a relentless graffiti campaign waged on its windows by various taggers over 20 years.

That spirit is just one element that remains from 40 years ago when the Haight was a community that shunned the rest of the world, if not thumbed its noses up at it, and lived by its own rules. While not bearing much resemblance to its 1960s days, the Haight has not changed that significantly in the last 25 years or so. One can still find hippies, druggies, artists and teenage runaways as well as well as families, professionals and students. The latter group gives the Haight a younger feel than other San Francisco neighborhoods, the result of both the UCSF medical school and the University of San Francisco being walking distance. San Francisco State, which in the 60s was also located nearby, is now just a bus ride away.

One of the more significant changes to the neighborhood has been the lack of affordable housing, something that once attracted people to the Haight but is now a scarcity everywhere in San Francisco. Much is made recently of the city being inhabited by rich people but, as any visitor can easily attest, poverty is widespread in San Francisco. There has been a effort by the upper classes to try to hide this fact, which result partly from practices they support, but when one has to make at least $11 an hour just to pay rent on a one-bedroom apartment let alone other living expenses, it shouldn't be surprising that some just drop out altogether and choose homelessness.

While overcrowding of apartments is not on the scale it was in the 1960s when the city's health department used to run sweeps of Haight Ashbury homes overrun with hippies, it is still not uncommon to meet a student who lives in a walk-in closet, living rooms being an especial luxury in many shared spaces. The cost of living also forces many to dumpster dive outside markets for fruit and vegetables, if not for clothing and furniture, America's college kids not all being privileged.

While gentrification is changing parts of San Francisco, the Haight still remains is a neighborhood with its character intact though. It is hard to live there for any extent of time and not get to know the shopkeepers, one's neighbors or even the panhandlers. With all the activity on the usually bustling street, it is still easy to recognize who lives there, who does business there or who is there to make trouble.

Those who move there seem to get caught up in the vibe of the place, either unable or unwilling to change it. Although some have tried, in the spirit of those who gave the neighborhood its identity in the 1960s, it refuses to be governed by one group - not the merchants, not the hippies, not the yuppies, not the hobos nor the druggies, and certainly not the anti-drug crusaders. All seemed destined to co-exist with no one group having an advantage. Perhaps that is why misfits and people looking to reinvent themselves are still attracted to the Haight. Just as during the Summer of Love, from the first week one arrives, they are as much a part of the neighborhood as anyone else.

Michael Ernest is a journalist living in Haight Ashbury

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Here's a longer biography of Jimi Hendrix

By Joe Guse

If ever there was a guitar player who redefined this instrument for anyone who has ever played it before or since, it would be Jimi Hendrix. Jimi's exceptionally creative, powerful, psychedelic licks helped him reach a musical standard that has never been duplicated, and in his four short years as a recording star he established himself as a musical legend without equal. His performances at the Monterrey Pop Festival which established him as a star, and later at Woodstock were some of the most awe-inspiring in the history of live music, and history will remember Jimi Hendrix as one of the most influential albeit enigmatic and mysterious musicians who ever graced the stage.

Jimi Hendrix was born John Allen Hendrix on November 29, 1942 to James (Al) Hendrix and Lucille Jeter in Seattle, Washington. Jimmy's father Al, who would be his primary parental force throughout Jimi's life, was in the Army when Jimi was born. Fearing that Al would go AWOL to go see his newborn son, the army placed Al in the stockade on "general principle" where he stayed for over a month until the army saw fit to release him.

Back in Seattle Jimi's mother Lucille quickly grew tired of being a single parent and virtually abandoned Jimi during his first few years of life. Jimi, then known as Johnny, first lived with Lucille's family, but was then placed with a woman named Mrs. Walls who took Johnny in and cared for him.

Al was finally released from the Army in 1945 when Jimi was three years old. Upon arriving back in the United States, Al regained custody of Johnny and promptly named him James after himself. Originally Jimi was known as "Buster" by his family, but at the age of 6 everyone began calling young James "Jimi" which would stick with him for the rest of his short life. Between the ages of 3 and 6 Al raised Jimi with the assistance of Lucille's Sister Dolores, and Jimi became very close to her children who were being raised in the same home.

When Jimi was 6, his mother briefly came back into Jimi's life when Al and Lucille attempted a reconciliation. Because there was little work in Seattle at the time, Al joined the Merchant Marines, and while he was away Lucille returned to her old carefree lifestyle, and was kicked out of the housing the Hendrix's were residing in for having inappropriate male visitors. Upon his return from the Merchant Marines, Al and the family reunited, and Lucille eventually had another son Leon in 1948, who had Asian features and was clearly not Al Hendrix's son. Lucille eventually had another son Joey by still a different father, and Al eventually divorced Lucille in 1950 as a result of her lack of stability.

Over the next few years Al raised Jimi and Leon with the help of his relatives, and Jimi briefly had another maternal figure "Edna" enter his life, who he grew close to but who was eventually forced to leave the Hendrix home to make room for other relatives. Lucille popped in and out of Jimi's life during his formative years, and would make extravagant promises to Jimi that she would not follow through on. On February 2, 1958, following many years of hard drinking and frivolity, Lucille passed away at the age of 32 which deeply saddened Jimi.

In his teen years Al Hendrix bought Jimi his first electric guitar which Jimi became so attached to that he slept with it on a nightly basis. Jimi was eventually recruited by a man named James Thomas, and Jimi then became a member of James Thomas and the Tomcats. During this same time frame, Jimi, who had grown disinterested in school, dropped out of Garfield High, and also got in trouble for being in a stolen car. Jimi eventually joined the Army during this period, and decided he wanted to be a paratrooper in the Screaming Eagles like his father before him.

Jimi met Billy Cox while in the Army and the two of them had a great deal in common including musical tastes. While in the army they begin to play a little together, and they formed a friendship and partnership that would later be rekindled when Jimi formed the band Band Of Gypsies.

Following his stint in the Army, Jimi moved down south and began playing the "Chitlin" circuit where he used the stage names "Maurice James" and "Jimmie James" and had some success as a guitar player. Jimi would even play backup on a Supremes record, and in 1964 he played with the Isley Brothers who were also very popular at the time. It was during this period when Jimi met Little Richard, who was a bit of a narcissist, and felt that Jimi's guitar playing upstaged him and took the focus off him which he felt was a necessary component of the act.

Jimi eventually split with Little Richard and moved to New York City where he at first had little success. After spending some time in Harlem, Jimi settled into the Greenwich Village neighborhood, where he formed a new band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. Jimi's unique improvisational style alienated a number of his fans, while others thought they were witnessing the birth of a genius. One of these people was Chas Chandler, who formerly played base for a band called the Animals who knew when he saw Jimi that he had discovered an amazing new talent. Chas convinced Jimi that he would have more success in England than in the United States, and in 1966 Jimi packed his bags and left the US to live in London.

While in London Jimi met Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, and the three of them formed the band The Jimi Hendrix Experience and begin touring around England. Jimi dazzled the English crowd, who were alternately shocked and amazed by Jimi, and he was described in the English papers as "The Wild Man of Borneo" which was a kind of racial slur against Jimi's heritage. The group was very successful, and their first album Are You Experienced produced the songs Hey Joe and Purple Haze which were both big hits on the English rock charts.

Jimi's breakthrough performance came upon his return to the Unites States at the Monterrey Pop Festival where his use of distortion and feedback on the guitar helped him create a sound previously unheard by American audiences. With the crowd already in a frenzy over his performance, Jimi set his guitar on fire at the end of his set, which further electrified the crowd and created a buzz about Jimi Hendrix that would propel him to the top of the music world.

One important ally Jimi made during this time was Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones, who introduced Jimi at Monterrey and was one of Jim's first important fans in the world of music. Following his performance at Monterrey, Brian introduced to Jimi to a lot of important people in California, which culminated in The Jimi Hendrix Experience being signed to go on tour with the Monkees who were one of the top drawing bands in the world at this time.

Jimi's wild style and sexually explicit actions on stage were not well suited to the Monkees crowd, and soon this tour dissolved and The Jimi Hendrix Experience began touring on their own. Over the next two years the band became hugely successful, and in addition to Hey Joe and Purple Haze, produced songs such as Castles Made of Sand, and Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower, which were all big hits for the band. The band eventually produced three hit albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland which all were huge successes. The band was not without its difficulties however, as Jimi and Noel Redding had difficulties agreeing on several issues related to the band, and in the summer of 1969 the band broke up despite the fact that they were at the peak of their commercial success.

Some speculated that Jimi broke up The Jimi Hendrix Experience because both of his bandmates were white, and that he was receiving pressure from the Black Panthers to make a statement about Black solidarity. Although Jimi did have an association with the Panthers in the 1960's, he used the standard "creative differences" approach to explain the band's breakup. But in any case it was apparent that he was hurt by all of the negative press he received following this incident.

Following the breakup of The Jimi Hendrix Experience Jimi began heavily using drugs, and a major turning point came in his life when he was arrested on May 3, 1969 at the Toronto airport for possession of Heroin and Marijuana. Jimi adamantly claimed the drugs were not his, but was rightfully disturbed at the prospect of facing seven years in prison, and thought a great deal about his legacy following his arrest. Jimi was eventually cleared of these charges, but still faced a great deal of inner turmoil as a result of this experience.

In the summer of that year, Jimi put together a group of musicians to play with him at Woodstock, and his performance there was one that helped cement his legend as one of the truly inspired live performers in the history of music. His Star-Spangled Banner on guitar was a huge hit with the fans, and would later become one of the featured scenes in the Woodstock film recordings that were produced at the festival. Later that year Jimi would also play at England's answer to Woodstock, called The Isle of White Festival, where he also dazzled and amazed his English fans, many of who had been with him from the beginning.

At the end of his life, Jimi reunited with his old army buddy Billy Cox, and they formed the Band of Gypsies, which would be Jimi's final group. This group had some success, but Jimi was beginning to become fatigued from years of working almost constantly, his continuing drug use, and the anxiety he felt arising from battles with his management, and earnings in the millions that he could not account for.

In September of that year, as the group was touring Europe, Jimi Hendrix was found dead on his hotel room floor as a result of an overdose of sleeping pills that caused him to choke on his own vomit. Jimi's death was highly controversial however, as some claim he was mishandled by paramedics which caused him to eventually suffocate on the way to the hospital. Jimi's death has been thoroughly investigated and researched, and despite all of the claims, a coroner's report confirms that Jimi had been dead for some time when he was eventually found on the morning of September 18th.

The legacy of Jimi Hendrix endures, and many still consider him to be the most unique guitar player that ever lived. His estate has made millions of dollars following his death, most of which was originally hidden from his father by unscrupulous managers of Jimi's affairs. Al Hendrix and his family eventually won back Jimi's legacy with the help of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Allen would eventually go on to build a Jimi Hendrix museum called the Experience Music project, which is a major tourist attraction in Seattle Washington.

Analysis: Gender Role Preparation perceived through Gender Guiding Lines and Role Models

Though his interactions with his father, Jimi learned the values of hard work and perseverance that would guide him throughout his life and career. Although Jimi was occasionally portrayed as a spaced-out wild man under the influence of LSD, he was in fact an extremely hard worker who produced an amazing amount of material in his short career.

Jimi's father also instilled in Jimi the value of perseverance. Through all of his struggles with his wife Lucille, job difficulties, prejudice, etc, Al Hendrix continued to soldier on and raise his boy Jimi, and this lesson was not lost on his young son. This value of perseverance was so strong in Jimi that he practiced his guitar so often and so much that he eventually became a virtuoso. With no ability to read music and no real training, Jimi still managed to teach himself to play the guitar with his right hand despite the fact that he was born left-handed.

All of these obstacles must have made the guitar very difficult for Jimi to learn, but through watching his father Jimi learned a man never gives up, and he therefore continued to work tirelessly at learning to play his guitar.
Jimi's female gender guiding line was much more complex. Although Jimi loved his mother, she disappeared often in his life, and Jimi was well aware of her infidelities towards his father. Later in his life Jimi's interactions with women appeared to be unstable, and his fear of commitment with women may very well have arisen from watching his mother's irresponsible behavior.

Jimi's mistrust of women is interesting to consider with regard to one of the women he was the closest to named Devon Wilson. Devon was a former prostitute, heavy drug user, and party girl who had also been romantically linked to Mick Jagger during the late 1960's. Devon lived with Jimi at his New Your apartment, handled many of Jimi's affairs, and was even the subject of one of Jimi's songs called Dolly Dagger. Like Jimi's mother Lucille, Devon would often disappear for days at a time and then come back when she was done with her extended binge. The fact that, despite Jimi's access to so many women, he trusted a clearly irresponsible woman like Devon Wilson to get closest to him, seems to suggest that he may have chosen her because her behavior was so much like his mother's growing up.

Interpersonal Style perceived through Experience of Family Atmosphere

On the subject of Jimi's mother, she and Al fought often while Jimi was growing up, and the Hendrix household was often filled with storm and strife when Lucille was around. Watching his mother and father fight so often appeared to affect Jimi's own relationships with women, as he was on several occasions verbally and even physically violent with women during periods of confrontation.

Jimi also lived in a number of different homes and places growing up, and in this capacity learned not to get too close to people as they may abandon you at any time. One poignant story Jimi himself related involved meeting his father for the first time at the age of three and taking the train from Berkeley to Seattle. Jimi recalled how much he wanted to return to the only "family" he had ever really known, and how odd it was to be taken on a train by some strange man he had never met. This sense of instability was reinforced often throughout Jimi's life, as a number of people would be significant in his life for a couple of years and then simply disappear, and this appears to have affected Jimi's ability to trust and get close to people.

Because Jimi was unable to achieve a sense of stability, he developed a shy and introverted personality that caused him a great deal of loneliness. Jimi dealt with painful feelings through artistic expression, and the ultimate capacity of his talent may have been a reflection of the intensity of his painful feelings.

Personal Code of Conduct Perceived through Acceptance / Rejection of Family Values

The family values in the Hendrix household involved obedience to authority and a healthy respect for one's elders, and although Jimi had respect for his father, he came to distrust authority in his own life. There are many different versions of Jimi's life with Al Hendrix, many of which paint a picture of a very unhappy home life where Al constantly reminded his children of the sacrifices he had to make for his children.

In Al's own autobiography My Son Jimmy (1999) he talked about how Jimi used to escape responsibility for his actions by blaming misdeeds on an imaginary friend named "Sessy" who Jimmy would evoke when he felt he had disappointed Al. It certainly must have been difficult for Al to raise Jimi by himself, and given the economic climate in Seattle at that time, there's no doubt that Al must have had to make some great sacrifices for Jimi. Perhaps Jimi's creation of an imaginary friend was a psychological defense against Al's disappointment, which seemed to be yet another factor in Jimi's unhappy childhood.

Another family value that Jimi seemed to reject concerned the family's views on religion. Although Jimi was raised by a church-going family who believed in worship, Jimi came to believe that his music was a form of great spiritual expression. Jimi rejected the stifling versions of Christianity he learned as a young man, and instead felt music was the way he could connect to the mystical and spiritual side of life.

Music also offered an escape for Jimi from his problems, and was certainly a positive adaptation for him to an unhappy childhood. Jimi often described how music would compose itself in his head, and his unparalleled talent in music may have been a result of this intense desire to escape his emotionally painful cognitions.

Perspective on the World perceived through Experience of Psychological Birth Order

As the first born son in the Hendrix household and the only son sired by his father Al, Jimi developed a sense that he was particularly special when he was a young man. Although Jimi's younger brother Leon spent a great deal of time with Jimi and his father growing up, he was also often shipped to another family during difficult times. The fact that Jimi was always the one that remained with his father must have made him feel like the "chosen" one much of the time, and he appeared to develop a sense that he was something special. This is not an uncommon reaction from a first born child, as they often receive more attention than their siblings do when they are born, as they become literally the center of their parent's universe.

For Jimi this situation did not unfold exactly like this, as his first three years were filled with a great deal of moving around that must have confused and frightened him at such a fragile age. The two women that adopted Jimi in these years both referred to his "specialness" however, so one can assume this was something he felt that was further reinforced when Al eventually came and got him following his release from the Army.
Jimi's biographers (Hendrix 1999) discuss how it was clear to Jimi that his younger brother Leon had a different father than him, and although Al certainly loved and cared for Leon, he must have felt some resentment from having to raise another man's child. Jimi therefore was the "favorite" growing up, and developed a sense of his own uniqueness that instilled in him a great deal of confidence in his abilities.

This confidence was especially relevant in the early stages of Jimi's career, where audiences often disliked and were unable to understand his unique style of music. Although many artists would have become discouraged in this situation, Jimi was convinced of his own talent, and much of this resolve appears to have its roots in Jimi's early childhood experiences.

Self Assessment Perceived through Genetic Possibilities

Jimi Hendrix came from a talented family with a long history of performing in front of groups. Jimi's grandmother was an entertainer who traveled and worked as a singer and performer before her son Al was born, and even prior to this generation music was a strong part of the Hendrix tradition. Jimi's father Al and his uncle Leon both showed musical talent at a very young age, and both of them could play the piano, sing, and also dance at a young age, and often did so growing up. Jimi therefore appeared to have a predisposition to music that was inherited from the talented Hendrix family.

Jimi developed a stutter at a young age however, and was not confident as a singer and a dancer like the rest of his family. Therefore when Jimi did find a musical instrument to play, it appears that he compensated for his stutter by practicing a great deal on the guitar in an attempt to belong with his otherwise musical family.
Jimi also felt a strong identification with his family's Cherokee heritage. The extent of Jimi's Indian blood has been misrepresented often in several biographies that mention the subject. Jimi's father Al (Hendrix 1999) eventually clarified that Jimi's great grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee, but Jimi did feel a strong identification with this portion of his ancestry.

Al Hendrix explained that when Jimi and the other children played games like Cowboys and Indians when Jimi was a kid, Jimi always wanted to be the Indian as it helped link him with a part of his Heritage. Jimi created a great deal of art as a child that depicted the Indians conquering the cavalry, and he even discussed later as an adult how he felt a sense of power that came from his Indian blood.

In considering this idea it is fascinating to examine the lyrics from one of Jimi's big hits, Castles Made of Sand - "A little Indian brave who before he was ten, played war games in The woods with his Indian friends, and he built a dream that when he Grew up, he would be a fearless warrior Indian Chief. Many moons passed and more the dream grew strong, until tomorrow He would sing his first war song, And fight his first battle, but something went wrong, Surprise attack killed him in his sleep that night."

Reading the lyrics to this song which Jimi wrote, one can't help but wonder how much it reflected both Jimi's dreams as well as his disappointments. In many ways this song demonstrated the conditions of Jimi's life, as, despite having "conquered" the music world, he still was very anxious about his life circumstances as a result of his arrest and also the large amounts of money he was missing. Much like the little Indian in the story, Jimi had been blindsided by events in his life, and this song seems to reveal the depths of his unhappiness.

Openings for Advancement perceived through Environmental Opportunities

One important adaptation Jimi made as a young man concerned the first guitar he ever received which Al purchased for Jimi for the price of 5 dollars. Jimi, who was born left-handed but learned to do most things right-handed, changed the strings around on this right-handed guitar and instead played it left-handed which was an adaptation that would eventually have a direct impact on his future musical genius. Jimi learned that by manipulating the instrument like this he could get different sounds out of it, and later as an adult he played his guitars both upside down and backwards which helped him carve out his own unique sound that no one else was readily able to replicate. Because Jimi made this adaptation at such a young age and practiced so excessively, his technique became something that was uniquely his.

Another early experience that shaped the young Jimi Hendrix was seeing an Elvis Presley concert while he was growing up in Seattle. Jimi became fascinated by Elvis's showmanship, and much of his early artwork produced flattering pictures of the King. Although Jimi was somewhat shy throughout his life, on stage he truly had no inhibitions, and at least some of this he learned from watching Elvis when he was a young man. The impact of seeing Elvis live seemed to awaken in Jimi a sense of the heights a person could reach through playing music, and this rare opportunity was for Jimi a tipping point that helped give birth to his eventual persona as a stage performer.

Range of Social Interest perceived through Other Particularities

One barometer of a person's mental health can be observed by examining their relationships and interest in the welfare of other human beings. Jimi Hendrix, who appeared to have abandonment issues related to his childhood, and who had also been betrayed by several business associates, therefore seemed to have trouble developing a profound sense of social interest. Although Jimi was often approached about social causes, he seemed to be most comfortable letting his music do his talking for him, and didn't feel as comfortable as an advocate and leader to promote social change as many of his 60's counterparts.

In this capacity it is interesting to consider Jimi's relationship with the Black Panthers as well as the larger issue of racism in the life of Jimi Hendrix. Growing up Jimi watched his father experience a great deal of racism related to finding jobs, etc. and this must have affected the young Jimi a great deal, as a lot of his early artwork depicts struggles for equality and justice. Jimi also experienced racism following his release from the Army when he went to play the "Chitlin" circuit in the Southern United States, where there was clearly different treatment for white and black musicians.

Jimi was eventually discovered a white man Chas Chandler, and found fame and acceptance with two white musicians who were of course Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Although Jimi found success in the UK with these two men, he was still mocked by the British papers as "the wild man of Borneo" and with other racial epitaphs that appeared to alternatively mock and praise Jimi. Jimi eventually became known for playing "white" music by some of the more extremist black national groups in the United States, and many speculate it was the Black Panthers who pushed Jimi into eventually disbanding the Jimi Hendrix experience to form an all-Black band. Although there are widely varying accounts as to Jimi's relationship with the Panthers, it seems clear that Jimi was heavily conflicted about the issue of race.

In terms of social interest, Jimi's use of escapism through music is also interesting to examine. Music appeared to be the one thing that let him escape painful thoughts and feelings, and it was only when he had to quit playing and deal with other human beings when he seemed to be unhappy. People certainly took terrible advantage of Jimi throughout his life, as he died with only 21,000 thousand dollars in his banking account as a result of people pilfering millions from him over the course of his career. Jimi's lack of social interest therefore appeared to be based on very real experiences with people in the world, as his early home life and professional career were filled with repeated abandonment, disappointments, and betrayals from those that he thought he could depend on.

Jimi also had a great deal of narcissism, much of which contributed to the development of his music, which was also a defining characteristic of his personality. Many people who had experienced the kind of rejection Jimi had at the beginning of his career would have simply returned to playing mainstream music, but Jimi truly believed that his music was something special despite the negative reinforcement he had received from the New York crowds. A narcissist will often believe his or her own way is not only special and unique, but also better than the way anyone else is doing it, and this was very much demonstrated by Jimi's creation of his own music.

Although narcissism is often malignant, many exceptionally talented people demonstrate high levels of this trait in their dealings with others, which was certainly true in the case of Jimi Hendrix. When someone disagrees with or challenges someone who is malignantly narcissistic, their reaction may be extreme irritation, and Jimi's interpersonal relationships seemed to represent this idea. His habitually abusive behavior towards women showed Jimi had a very low tolerance for frustration, and when others, and particularly women disagreed with him, his response to this frustration was very often physical violence.

Jimi's violence towards women may have also arisen in part from his interactions with his mother Lucille, as Jimi never seemed to develop a healthy respect for women throughout his life. His lack of a consistent feminine presence and maternal gender guiding line growing up must have created some anger in Jimi, and hearing his father's descriptions of his mother's life may have also contributed to this dynamic.
Jimi's life was therefore empty of the kind of social interest in others that many felt was a larger part of the idealism of the 1960's.

Although Jimi participated in some of the causes and issues of his times, his involvement was often at the recommendation of those around him. Jimi's lack of trust in other people, which had its roots in childhood patterns, was reinforced often throughout his life, and Jimi overcompensated for his lack of interest in others by developing a truly awe-striking ability that allowed him to escape from the world. Although this talent was extraordinary, it seemed to be in part created through the sublimation of his personal pain, and this left Jimi without a path other than music in which to actively experience joy in his life. Jimi's gift of music to the world was and is a lasting contribution that influenced thousands of musicians both before and after him, but was also in many ways a reaction to a troubled history, and this was the sadness and irony of this truly unique musician.

Joe Guse is a former comedian from Chicago now pursuing a career in Clinical psychology. He is the author of 8 books, and is currently working on a book about the healing power of laughter. Contact Joe at

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