Newspaper reporters have good memories, not least because they write things down. Still, I needed a bit of help while researching for my upcoming book of Melody Maker memoirs due out later this year and to this end managed to obtain scans of every MM published during the 1970s, which includes the period I worked on the paper, from June of 1970 to February of 1977. We’re working on a design for the cover that uses the same typeface as MM’s 1970s logo, something like you see here. 

Looking through them was like reading the diary I never kept. I’d completely forgotten about 50% of the interviews and show reviews I wrote, but when I re-read them they unlocked memories and most, if not all, came flooding back. You don’t forget your encounters with Beatles, members of The Who and Led Zep, or Bowie and Springsteen and, in any case, I’ve already revisited some of them on this blog, but you do forget the bread and butter stuff. I wrote hundreds of pieces, big and small, for MM, some of them dashed off quickly I’m forced to admit, others – generally the lengthier ones – written with more care. I felt there was a constant need to sustain my output in order to justify my role as MM’s man in America where, on Thursday mornings, I compiled a weekly New York news column, always the last job of the working week which began the previous Friday. 

I compiled these weekly news columns from press releases, anything I could crib from the Village Voice or other NY culture mags and my own wanderings around the city’s music spots. I always tried to cram as many big names  always printed in bold  as I could into them and below is one that appeared in MM just over 50 years ago this week, in the March 2, 1974 issue. I somehow managed to squeeze Sly, Jagger, Dudley Moore, Dusty, Alice, Led Zep, Arlo and Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Purple, Elton, Elvis, Bowie, Leonard Bernstein and Andy Williams and more all into the name column. Shame I couldn’t manage to fit in a Beatle or two! 

Sly & The Family Stone have completed a new album but a release date hasn’t been scheduled yet. Blue Öyster Cult, too, have finished their third album which will be called Secret Treaties. This will be out in about a month.

    Mick Jagger, who went to see Dr John at least twice at the new Bottom Line Club last week, has now left New York for Munich with Keith Richards’ ace guitar maker Elmo Newman Jones III – or Ted to his friends. Ted has made a five string guitar which Richards will be using on sessions in Munich.

    Isis, the eight piece New York girl band, go into the recording studio next month to make an album with Shadow Morton, the New York Dolls’ producer. The band, which includes Ginger Bianca and Carol McDonald from Goldie & The Gingerbreads, have just signed with Buddah.

    Dudley Moore who with Peter Cook is appearing in a revue at the Plymouth Theatre off Broadways, begins an additional engagement in New York next week. He’s appearing in his musical capacity playing jazz at Michael’s Place from February 26. 

    Sha Na Na are recording a new album in New York with Bob Ezrin who produces Alice Cooper and Lou Reed. Like other Sha Na Na albums, it’ll be a mixture of old songs sprinkled with their own compositions.

    Next week Dusty Springfield is expected in town to make her first new album for almost two years for ABC Dunhill.  

    The new Bottom Line Club is to present a mixture of rock and theatre in the future. During the early part of the evening they will present a non-musical type Broadway show and follow with music from around midnight onwards. Also on the club scene, Paul Coleby, who was a partner in the famed Bitter End Club in Greenwich Village, has opened a new club called The Other End. It’s right next door to the Bitter End and, because of its small size, will concentrate on showcasing unknown talent.

    Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger are to play four concerts together next month, including a show at New Yok’s Carnegie Hall on March 8 which has already sold out. Seeger used to sing with Arlo’s father Woody Guthrie in the Almanac Singers in the 1940s. The other shows are at Chicago (March 9), Montreal (17) and Boston (30), and Reprise are to record three of the performances for a live album. Meanwhile, Arlo has a new album I’ll Take That Pickle Now out in April or May.

    Deep Purple are the latest band to join the list of élite who have – or will be – using Starship 1, the super-plane that jets rock bands around the USA. The plane has been used by Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and Elton John up until now and at present Col Tom Parker is jetting his way around the south on Starship 1 fixing up some dates for his only client, Elvis Presley.

Maggie Bell will play three or four nights at the Bottom Line, leading up to her show at Howard Stein’s Academy of Music on March 16. Patti Labelle opens at the Bottom Line this week and others lined up in the coming weeks include Rick Nelson and The Strawbs

March is shaping up to be a busy month at the Academy with appearances by Joe Walsh & Barnstorm (March 8), Rory Gallagher and 10 c.c. (9), Argent and Nazareth (23), Renaissance, Soft Machine and Larry Coryell (23, following the Argent show). West Coast music takes over at the venue during the first week of April with Jefferson Starship and Quicksilver Messenger Service (April 2) and the Starship and Poco (April 3 & 5 respectively).

    Climax Chicago begin recoding in New York this week with Richie Gottherer (correct!) producing. Gottherer, incidentally, produced ‘Hang On Sloopy’ for The McCoys and was also a co-write of ‘Sorrow’, as originally recorded by The McCoys and, more recently, by David Bowie. The band have spent the last two weeks rehearsing in Miami. 

    Jo Jo Gunne have replaced guitar player Matt Andes with a new guitarist who goes by the name of Star.

    Shorts: Wishbone Ash expected to be recording in New York in April… Chicago preparing a one-hour TV special for screening this summer… Leonard Bernstein and Andy Williams to appear at a special dinner honouring CBS boss Goddard Leiberson on March 7… Rick Derringer currently working on final mixing of Edgar Winter’s next album… Loudon Wainwright recorded four new songs at a recent appearance at the New York Philharmonic Hall which will probably be included on his next album… Liza Minelli and Charles Aznavour doing a 60-minute TV special together. 

That’s exactly as printed. I suspect that the ‘correct!’ in brackets after the name Gottherer was an indication from me to the subs desk at MM that the spelling was correct, and someone forget to delete it before it reached the paper.

Details of my book Just Backdated: Melody Maker Seven Years In The Seventies can be obtained from https://spenwoodbooks.com/product/justbackdated/

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read from A to Z every single MM from 1969 to 1979. That was my PHD in music !!! Unfortunately l had to sell them last year.