Friday, August 12, 2011

Led Zeppelin and Les Paul

In the rock music world, August 12 is a significant date for two connected, yet contrasting, reasons: The birth of the mighty Led Zeppelin in 1968, and the passing of the legendary guitarist Les Paul in 2009. [Edit: Some sources state the date of Les Paul's death as being August 13, 2009. Even if the two events are a day apart, which they may be, I think they are significant enough to justify this post.]

The members of Led Zeppelin played together for the first time on August 12, 1968. According to the band, this took place in a tiny London rehearsal room where they played Train Kept A-Rollin'. Hear Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham performing the song less a year later at the Newport Jazz Festival:

This brings me to the man whose name is synonymous with that of Jimmy Page's main guitar: Les Paul.

Les Paul was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records.

Here he is performing Caravan in 1991:

Sadly, Les Paul left this world on August 12, 2009. However, his influence in rock music reaches far and wide, and still lives on through his namesake guitars, innovations, and music.

Led Zeppelin and Les Paul - A Bit Of Groovy times two.

Sources for this post:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

August 9th,1963, Ready Steady Go! launches on UK TV

Ready Steady Go! or simply RSG! was one of the UK's first rock/pop music TV shows. It was broadcast from August 1963 until December 1966. The show gained its highest ratings on 20 March 1964 when it featured the Beatles being interviewed and performing their songs "It Won't Be Long", "You Can't Do That" and "Can't Buy Me Love" - the last of which was a hit at the time.

Initially, RSG! artists mimed to records but by late 1964 some performed live and the show switched to all-live performances in April 1965. It was noted for allowing artists to perform the full version of their songs rather than the short versions demanded by other shows. Despite its popularity in the UK, the show was never broadcast in the United States.

It featured successful artists of the era, including The Beatles, The Hollies, The Zombies, Dusty Springfield, The Supremes, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Donovan, The Animals, Cilla Black, The Who, Lulu, Marvin Gaye, Gene Pitney, The Beach Boys, Small Faces, Them, and many others.

Here is a highlights clip:

Jimi Hendrix made his first TV appearance in England on RSG! with "Hey Joe". Apparently, only the audio survives:

After this appearance, Hendrix's club tour sold out and he was quickly added to a nationwide tour headlined by the Walker Brothers.

The Who proved particularly popular and in 1966 had an episode to themselves entitled Ready Steady Who. The programme no longer exists, but an EP of the name marked the show (although no recordings were from the show).

In 1966, the time that the 'beat boom' was fading, the show was cancelled. Its disappearance at the height of its popularity enhanced its status. Many years later the British musician Dave Clark bought the rights to the surviving recordings of the show. Compilations were broadcast on Channel 4 in the 1980s and VHS videos were issued. In 1989 the show was seen for the first time in the US, on Disney Channel. During that time, Disney was a pay channel, that aired programming aimed at adults at night. Ready Steady Go! has not been officially released on DVD. Source - Wikipedia

Ready Steady Go! - A Bit Of Groovy!