Amoeblog

Please Please Me

Posted by Whitmore, March 22, 2008 07:29pm | Post a Comment

45 years ago today,  March 22, 1963, the Beatles released their first album Please Please Me. This mono version was rush-released to the public in the UK to capitalize on the success of the hit single of the same name which had reached #2 on the charts. The album contained six cover songs, but more importantly it contained eight songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. A stereo version of this album was later released in 1963 on April 26th.

In the U.S., most of the songs from Please Please Me were first released in 1964 on the Vee-Jay Records label on the renamed album Introducing The Beatles. And in 1965 a similar collection was issued once again on Capitol Records as The Early Beatles. The unexpurgated Please Please Me was not released in the U.S. until the Beatles catalog was released on CD in 1987.

Other than the singles and the flip sides of "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do" (the Beatles' first single which had charted and reached #17 in the UK), all the other tracks were recorded in a marathon session on Monday, February 11th, 1963, at Abbey Road Studios. The Beatles, with George Martin producing, essentially recorded their live act in 9 hours and 45 minutes. The entire day's session cost around £400. And besides John, Paul, George Harrison and Ringo Starr playing their respective instruments, George Martin also played a little piano. The earlier tracks recorded the previous September and November had session player Andy White on drums, who has also recorded with the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Herman's Hermits, and Tom Jones.

John Buttera 1939 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, March 12, 2008 09:46pm | Post a Comment

I just discovered that "Li'l John" Buttera, legendary street rod and funny car master builder died on March 2nd due to complications from brain cancer at age 68. His death came just four days after that of his fellow hotrod builder Boyd Coddington.

John Buttera was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1939 and began building dragsters there as a kid. A chance meeting with another racing legend, Mickey Thompson, led to his moving to Southern California in the late 1960s, where he worked on, among other things, Thompson's World Land Speed Record streamliner.

The trend setting Buttera went on to build and design almost every type of racing vehicle in the motor world, from street rods to dragsters, funny cars and Pro Stock machines, even customized motorcycles. After he opened his own chassis shop in Cerritos, Buttera’s skills led to working with many of the greats in those halcyon days of drag racing in the 1960s and 70s, including Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, Tom "the Mongoose" McEwen, Shirley Muldowney and Don Schumacher. His Funny Cars were lightening fast pieces of art, with their sleekly elegant and simple lines, suspended low in a beautifully wicked stance. And they also won championships.

Buttera’s stellar reputation as a builder of street rods began in about 1974 when he redesigned a 1926 Tall T Ford, it would be the first in a long series of influential cars. His subtle craftsmanship and superior engineering skills were unmatched. Buttera’s rods like his white ’29 roadster, John Corno’s ’32 roadster (that won the 1980 Oakland America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award), and his ’33 Willy’s model 77, were in a class by themselves, constantly thrilling hot rod enthusiasts. He is credited as being the first to carve customized parts for street rods, race cars and motorcycles from solid chunks of billet aluminum.

Some of Buttera's other famous creations are the 1970 Indy-winning Funny Car of Don Schumacher and his own stock-block-powered 1987 Indianapolis 500 entry, which garnered him the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award for technical achievement.

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TIME MARCHES ON

Posted by Whitmore, March 8, 2008 11:42pm | Post a Comment

March 1 - Johnny Cash, 36 years of age, marries June Carter, 38 years of age.
March 2 - World Ladies Figure Skating Championship in Geneva is won by USA’s Peggy Fleming.
March 3 - Greece, Portugal & Spain's embassies are bombed in the Hague.
March 4 - Evan Dando of the Lemonheads is born.
March 4 - Joe Frazier TKOs Buster Mathis in 11 rounds for heavyweight boxing title.
March 4 - Martin Luther King, Jr announces plans for Poor People's Campaign.
March 5 - U.S. launches Solar Explorer B, also known as Explorer 37 from Wallops Island to study the Sun.
March 6 - Actress Moira Kelly is born.
March 7 - Jeff Kent, second baseman for the Dodgers is born in Bellflower, CA.
March 7 - The First Battle of Saigon begins in Viet Nam.
March 8 - Bill Graham opens the Fillmore East in an abandoned movie theater in New York City.
March 10 - A Ferry boat sinks in the harbor of Wellington New Zealand killing 200.
March 11 - Lisa Loeb is born.
March 11 - Dmitri Shostakovich completes his 12th string quartet, in D flat major (Op. 133).
March 11 - Otis Redding posthumously receives a gold record for "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay."
March 12 - Mauritius achieves independence from British Rule.
March 12 - President Lyndon B. Johnson edges out antiwar candidate Eugene J. McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, a vote which highlights the deep divisions over Vietnam War in the U.S.
March 13 - The Beatles release the single "Lady Madonna" in the UK.
March 14 - Nerve gas leaks from the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground near Skull Valley, Utah. Sickening sheep on local ranches coincided with several open-air tests of the extremely toxic nerve agent VX at Dugway. The Army, which initially denied that VX had caused the deaths, never admitted liability, though they did pay the ranchers for their losses. On the official record, the claim was for 4,372 "disabled" sheep, of which about 2,150 died. 
March 14 - CBS TV suspends Radio Free Europe free advertising because RFE doesn't make it clear it is sponsored by the CIA.
March 15 - Diocese of Rome announces that it "deplored the concept", but wouldn't prohibit rock & roll masses at the Church of San Lessio Falconieri.
March 15 - LIFE magazine, in an article, calls Jimi Hendrix "the most spectacular guitarist in the world."
March 16 - In My Lai, South Vietnam, American troops massacre between 350 and 500 unarmed Vietnamese villagers - men, women, and children.
March 16 - General Motors releases its 100 millionth automobile, the Oldsmobile Toronado.
March 16 - Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco dies at the age of 73.
March 16 - Democratic Senator from New York, Robert F. Kennedy announces he’ll run for the Presidency.
March 17 - A demonstration in London's Grosvenor Square against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War leads to violence - 91 police injured, 200 demonstrators arrested.
March 18 - The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.
March 19-March 23 - Students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., seize the administration building and stage a five-day sit-in, shutting down the university in protest over its ROTC program, and demanding a more Afro-centric curriculum.
March 20 - Carl Theodor Dreyer, Danish director of The Passion of Jeanne d'Arc (1928) and The Vampire (1932), dies of pneumonia in Copenhagen at age 79.
March 22 - Daniel Cohn-Bendit and seven other students occupy Administrative offices of Nanterre, leading to the closure of the University on May 2, which in turn helped move the protests to downtown Paris where the May 1968 Student Riots launch France into a deep state of chaos.
March 23- Edwin O'Connor, American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner dies.
March 23 – UCLA beats North Carolina 78-55 in the 30th Annual NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
March 24 - Alice Guy-Blaché, pioneering filmmaker who was the first female director in the motion picture industry dies at the age of 94.
March 25 - The 58th and final new episode of The Monkees airs on NBC.
March 26 – Country singer Kenny Chesney is born.
March 26 – R&B artist Little Willie John, he sang the original version of "Fever" and "Talk to Me," dies at Walla Walla State Prison in Washington. He had been imprisoned for stabbing a man to death in October 1964. The official cause of death is listed as a heart attack, though some reports say he died of pneumonia or asphyxiation.
March 27 - Yuri Gagarin, Soviet Cosmonaut and first human in space, dies in aircraft training accident.
March 29 - Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress best known for her role as Xena is born.
March 29 - Students at Bowie State College seize the administration building to protest the run-down condition of their campus, at a time when Maryland essentially ran separate college systems for black and white students. Instead of negotiating, Governor Spiro Agnew sent the state police in to take back the administration building.
March 30 -The Yardbirds record their live album at the Anderson Theater in New York City. Though at first it was shelved by the band, once Led Zeppelin hit big, Epic Records tried to cash in by releasing the material as the bootleg Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page. It was quickly withdrawn after Page's lawyers filed an injunction on the record.
March 30 - Celine Dion is born.
March 30 - Bobby Driscoll, Academy Award winning child actor, dies from a heart attack brought on by liver failure and advanced arteriosclerosis due to his long-time drug abuse at the age of 31. Believed to be an unclaimed and homeless person, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave on Hart Island where he still remains today.
March 31 - Seattle's first Major League Baseball team is named the Pilots.
March 31 - President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he will not run for re-election.

Haunted by the Brutal Splendor of old 45's, #3

Posted by Whitmore, February 24, 2008 06:42pm | Post a Comment
The truth - it’s my raw nerves - very, very caffeinated raw nerves eating away at the lining of my stomach. Goddamn! I’ve been, still am, crawling up walls and across ceilings. A few triple espressos and shazzam! I am the Fly! Caffeine has ripped a hole through my brain, certainly through my gut and, holy java juice batman, my sharpened senses wield machetes; heightened Terror Alert Level – “blood dripping magenta!” CRACK! Jesus H, what is that noise! My tinnitus is screaming like hordes of car alarms pinging in a Brentwood parking lot after an earthquake. I can hear all things in heaven and on earth and in hell, simultaneously. For Christ’s sake, I think my neighbor is playing a Ricky Martin CD! Whatever fell upon me has made my blood run thin. How, then, am I not expected to go mad? I have made up my mind to rifle through the recycling bin for that buried bottle of codeine-fortified cough syrup -- hideously expired or not … something, anything. The telltale pot of coffee brews stronger and stronger! And I can’t resist pouring another cup!
Anyway, for the time being, just relax at your desk with your own Cup o’Joe and take a look at some more 45 company sleeves from around the world.

Haunted by the Brutal Splendor of old 45's, #2

Posted by Whitmore, February 23, 2008 10:46am | Post a Comment
With daylight, reason returned and gone was the previous night's debauchery, but both the sentiment of horror and remorse remained in regards to the conversations I elicited with … the Voice. Guilt, was it guilt I suffered? The voice’s disparaging remarks about 45’s and my love for such trivial objects. But I found myself sharing the same odious views! How can that be? I needed to convince myself, somehow, that my soul survived untouched by the experience. Again I felt obliged to plunge headlong into excess; quickly I made myself a triple espresso, straight-no chaser of cream, as I had to focus on the tasks of the day: a new blog.

Anyway, back to reality, here are some more 45 company sleeves from around the world.

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