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Music History Monday: April 14

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 14, 2014 11:21am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

On this day in music history: April 14, 1973 - "Masterpiece" by The Temptations hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on April 28, 1973. Written and produced by Norman Whitfield, it is the 11th R&B chart-topper for the veteran Motown vocal group. Songwriter and producer Norman Whitfield will give the song its title when he feels that all of the combined elements of the piece add up to a "masterpiece," though the word does not appear in the lyrics. Whitfield will write "Masterpiece" as a sequel to the Grammy-winning smash "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" (and the album All Directions), and features members of The Funk Brothers providing musical support and is arranged by Paul Riser. The single and album are recorded during a period where there is ever-mounting tension between the highly-strung producer and The Temptations, who are unhappy at having no say in the creative process and are being referred to by music critics as "the Norman Whitfield Choral Singers." "Masterpiece" will be edited down from its nearly 14 minute epic length down to under four and a half minutes for single release. Though the Tempts will top the R&B chart three more times with "Let Your Hair Down," "Happy People," and "Shakey Ground," in 1974 and 1975 respectively, "Masterpiece" will be will be the group's last top ten pop hit for 18 years. It returns to the upper reaches of the chart when they collaborate with Rod Stewart on "The Motown Song" peaking at #10 in September of 1991. "Masterpiece" is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
 

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Rest in Peace to Iconic 70's Photographer Leee Black Childers (Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rock Stars, & Punks)

Posted by Billyjam, April 7, 2014 08:15am | Post a Comment

Legendary New York underground photographer Leee Black Childers, whose iconic 1970's photos were captured in his 2012 published book Drag Queens, Rent Boys, Pick Pockets, Junkies, Rock Stars, and Punks, has died in LA. The folks from Lethal Amounts in Downtown LA had recently flown Childers out to Los Angeles for a showing of the photo exhibition of the book photos, that opened on March 22nd and is scheduled to run through April 19th, which Amoeba Music was one of the sponsors of.  In conjunction with that photo exhibit Amoeba Hollywood obtained two of signed Childers’ prints (one of David Bowie and another of Patti Smith) to have for sale in the LA store.

The Kentucky born Childers, who worked for Andy Warhol in both NY and London was among the earliest photographers to capture the burgeoning glam scene and the early NYC underground punk scene, was also at one time involved in the business management of both Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls) and David Bowie (he was the tour manager for the Ziggy Stardust tour). Childers' photography was featured in the cover art of Bowie's Diamond Dogs album and Thunders' Born Too Loose - among others. Childers' Factory era photos of Warhol, his countless pics of the Hotel Chelsea denizens including lots of drag queens, and his photos from the Stonewall era NYC had made made him  a milestone historic chronicler of both gay and rock cultures.

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Amoeba Sponsors Leee Black Childers Photo Exhibit, Has Signed David Bowie, Patti Smith Prints

Posted by Billy Gil, March 12, 2014 02:20pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba is proud to sponsor the “Leee Black Childers Photo Exhibit” at Lethal Amounts in Downtown Los Angeles from March 22 through April 19.

The exhibit showcased the work of photographer Leee Black Childers, who was Andy Warhol’s assistant at the legendary Factory, Warhol’s work studio and space for parties and shows from 1962 through 1984. Childers’ work harnesses the wild energy and personalities of the time, from capturing artists, starlets, wannabes and junkies to chronicling rock ‘n’ roll as it evolved into glam, punk and new wave.

Amoeba Hollywood will have two of Childers’ prints, framed and signed, for sale. The 16-by-20-inch prints of David Bowie and Patti Smith can be seen below. They are $600 each.

david bowie leee black childers amoebapatti smith leee black childers amoeba

In addition to his work at The Factory, Childers was the tour manager for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour, as well as for Iggy & The Stooges and for Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, when they toured with then-little-known acts like The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks and The Clash.

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Fantasy March: Campaigning for Genre Awareness

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 10, 2014 02:20pm | Post a Comment
amoeba music san francisco fantasy film cinema movie endcap trend trendcap magic knights wizards princess damsel fairy tale legend dungeons dragons game of thrones warfaring strangers darkscorch canticlesbootleg movie poster conan the destroyer ghana africa arnold grace jones fantasy magic comic book hero film adaptation

This month at Amoeba SF we're forging a fellowship for Fantasy genre awareness and appreciation! Given the recent release of Numero Group's most excellent "one comp. to rule them all" collection of Dungeons & Dragons inspired pre-Heavy Metal underground Rock, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles, and the impending Game of Thrones hype-a-thon building up to the premiere of the HBO show's fourth season on April 6th, we figured the month of March could do for a heady dose of Ice and Fire-fueled cinematic dream-fasting -- a visual poultice with which the reality-weary may allay their workaday woes, watching. Do keep an vigilant eye out for our Fantasy endcap at Amoeba SF featuring golden genre gems like these from the nineteen-eighties:
 

dragonslayer fantasy film 1981

Dragonslayer (1981) in which a young wizard's apprentice (Peter MacNichol of Ally McBeal and Ghostbusters 2 fame) must kill a virgin-snacking dragon to save the King's daughter who has been chosen by the kingdom's lottery system as the next sacrifice in line to keep the beast's appetite for destruction at bay.

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The First Song played by a Human in Outer Space was a Christmas Song

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 19, 2013 09:58pm | Post a Comment
 santa claus outer space sleigh final frontier christmas from in alien black sky russian jingle bells first song gemini

On December 16th, 1965 -- 48 years before Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield recorded his excellent rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" during his nearly five month stint living on the International Space Station -- the crew of Gemini 6 played "Jingle Bells" from Earth's orbit. Check it:


Thus the first song ever played in space was a surprise rendition of "Jingle Bells" on an 8-note Honer harmonica and hand full of jingle bells to celebrate the arrival of the holiday season. If your ever at the Smithsonian Institution keep an eye out for these instruments! Here's a bonus vid for anyone out there who hasn't seen Col. Chris Hadfield's Bowie jam -- it really was one of the best things to happen in 2013.

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