Sunday, September 27, 2009
Bit rate 320 kps
Cold Chisel - East (1980) (Remaster Edit 2000)
Okay, we have seen a lot of "enhanced" CDs in the 90s. Nearly all the classic rock albums have been remastered to get another buck from the fans and sometimes it was even worth it. And this is definetly the case with Cold Chisel's East! The quality of the recording definetly increased and three bonus tracks (outtakes from the recording sessions) have been added to the CD. There is even multimedia material for your computer! Cold Chisel is one of Australia's rock classics and "East" is one of their best recordings. This "enhanced" version is worth every cent!..M. Doering
In mid-1977, Cold Chisel was a hard rocking blues band that couldn't get a record deal. By the end of 1980, they were the biggest-selling act in the country. This album is why. A finely-crafted slab of contemporary radio-friendly rock and pop, East never faltered from its opening seconds and remains to this day one of the best Australian albums ever made.
Cold Chisel's previous album Breakfast at Sweethearts had taken the rough edges off the band's brash sound and begun to display its pop sensibilities. With East, the slick production of Mark Opitz enhanced them even further. That all five of the band's members contributed songs for the first time also helped to create a bunch of tunes that continue to resonate through the national psyche.
East succeeds because its subjects are so familiar to its audience. They are simple songs about the everyday experience: "Every night when I come home/I settle down to prime-time limbo," sings Jimmy Barnes in "Ita"; on "Standing on the Outside" he dreams about robbing a TAB and setting himself up in a personal Paradise somewhere. Other songs are about dreams come unstuck, like the jaded protagonist of "Cheap Wine", who just leaves it all behind for "cheap wine and a three days' growth". "Four Walls" is a sorrowful piano ballad about life behind bars and the emotional "Choir Girl" follows a young woman through an abortion.
Of course it wouldn't be Cold Chisel without straight out rocking, and the pensive mood of the ballads is balanced by the brash rockabilly of Barnes' "Rising Sun", the smouldering, political "Star Hotel" and the ragged "My Turn to Cry". Every song was memorable, as East struck the perfect balance of all the band's moods. Ian Moss' "Never Before" became the first song ever played on Triple J, Barnes still performs "Rising Sun" in his live shows and Phil Small's sweet pop ditty "My Baby" remains a radio staple to this day.
28 years later, East is still the perfect Australian rock album.
Jimmy Barnes - Vocals
Ian Moss - Guitar, Vocals on "Never before", "My baby" & "Best kept lies"
Don Walker - Piano, Synthesiser, Backing Vocals
Phill Small - Bass, Backing Vocals
Steven Prestwich - Drums, Backing Vocals
Joe Camilleri - Saxophones
Bitrate: 320 kB/s
Size: 120 MB
Genre : Rock
01. Standing On The Outside 2.53
02. Never Before 4.09
03. Choirgirl 3.14
04. Rising Sun 3.26
05. My Baby 4.02
06. Tomorrow 3.33
07. Cheap Wine 3.24
08. Best Kept Lies 3.48
09. Ita 3.33
10. Star Hotel 4.10
11. Four Walls 2.23
12. My Turn To Cry 3.31
13. Pay Day In A Pub (Bonus) 4.53
14. Hands Out Of My Pocket (Bonus) 2.20
15. The Party's Over (Bonus) 3.03
1. Home & Broken Hearted - (studio)
2. Things I Love In You - (studio)
3. Cheap Wine - (studio)
4. Rosaline - (studio)
5. Breakfast At Sweethearts - (studio)
6. My Baby - (studio)
7. Hound Dog - (studio)
8. Plaza - (studio)
9. Fallen Angel - (studio)
10. Shipping Steel - (studio)
11. Last Wave Of Summer - (studio)
12. Pretty Little Thing - (studio)
13. Merry Go Round - (studio)
14. Forever Now - (studio)
15. Khe Sahn - (studio)
16. Cry Me A River - (studio)
17. Four Walls - (studio)
18. Love Light - (studio)
19. When The War Is Over - (studio)
20. All I Wanna Do - (studio)
21. Big River - (studio)
22. Painted Doll - (studio)
23. Saturday Night - (studio)
24. You Got Nothing I Want - (studio)
25. Rising Sun - (studio)
26. Flame Tree - (studio)
27. Bow River - (studio)
28. Water Into Wine - (studio)
29. F-111 - (studio)
30. Sunshine - (studio)
31. Goodbye - (studio)
32. All I Wanna - (studio)
Bit rate 128 kps
|Genres||Pub rock |
Rock and roll
|Years active||1973 – 1984; 1998; 2003; 2009-present|
|Associated acts||Catfish |
Little River Band
Don, Tex and Charlie
|Jimmy Barnes |
|Ray Arnott |
Cold Chisel were a rock band from Adelaide, Australia. They are regarded as the definitive example of Australian pub rock, with a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and they are acknowledged as one of the most popular and successful Australian groups of the period, although this success and acclaim was almost completely restricted to Australia and New Zealand.
Originally named Orange, the band was formed in Adelaide in 1973 as a heavy metal act covering songs by Led Zeppelin by bassist Les Kaczmarek and keyboard player Ted Broniecki, with the rest of the line-up being organist Don Walker, guitarist Ian Moss and drummer Steve Prestwich. Seventeen-year-old singer Jimmy Barnes -- known throughout his time with the band as merely Jim Barnes—joined in December after a brief spell as Bon Scott's replacement in Fraternity. The group changed its name several times before settling on Cold Chisel in 1974 after writing a song with that title. Barnes' relationship with other band members was volatile; as a Scot he often came to blows with English-born Prestwich and he left the band several times. During these periods Moss would handle vocals until Barnes returned.
Kaczmarek left Cold Chisel in 1975 and was replaced by Phil Small. After this, Walker took creative control of the group, writing virtually all the band's material. When he left them to complete his studies in Armidale, the rest of the group followed. Barnes' older brother John Swan was a member of Cold Chisel around this time, providing backing vocals and percussion but after several violent incidents he was fired.
In August 1976 Cold Chisel relocated to Melbourne but found little success and moved to Sydney in November. Six months later, in May 1977, Barnes announced he was quitting Cold Chisel in order to join Swan in Feather, a hard-rocking blues band that had evolved from an earlier group called Blackfeather. A farewell performance took place in Sydney that went so well the singer changed his mind and the following month Cold Chisel was picked up by the Warner Music Group.
Main career 1978–82
In the early months of 1978, Cold Chisel recorded their self-titled debut albumCold Chisel was released in April and featured appearances from harmonica player Dave Blight, who would become a regular on-stage guest, and saxophonists Joe Camilleri and Wilbur Wilde from Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons. The following month the song "Khe Sanh" was released as a single but was deemed too offensive for radio airplay by censors because of the lyric "Their legs were often open/But their minds were always closed". Despite that setback, it still reached #48 on the Australian singles chart and number four on the Adelaide charts thanks mainly to the band's rising popularity as a touring act and some local radio support in Adelaide where the single was aired in spite of the ban. "Khe Sanh" has since become Cold Chisel's signature tune and arguably its most popular among fans. The song was later remixed for inclusion on the international version of 1980's East. with producer Peter Walker. All tracks were written by Don Walker (Barnes contributed some lyrics to the song "Juliet").
The band's next release was a live E.P. titled "You're Thirteen, You're Beautiful, and You're Mine", in November. This had been recorded at a show at Sydney's Regent Theatre in 1977 that had featured Midnight Oil as one of the support acts. One of the EP's tracks, "Merry-Go-Round" was left off the first album and later recorded on the follow-up, Breakfast at Sweethearts. This album was recorded between July 1978 and January 1979 with experienced producer Richard Batchens, who had previously worked with Richard Clapton, Sherbet and Blackfeather. Batchens smoothed out some of the band's rough edges and gave their songs a sophisticated sound that made the album a hit. Once again, all songs were penned by Walker, with Barnes collaborating on the first single "Goodbye (Astrid, Goodbye)". This song became a live favourite for the band, and even went on to be performed by U2 during Australian tours in the 1980s.
By now the band stood at the verge of major national success, even without significant radio airplay or support from Countdown, the country's most important youth music program, which the band consistently boycotted throughout its career. The band had become notorious for its wild behaviour, particularly from Barnes who was rumoured to have had sex with over 1000 women and was known to consume more than a bottle of vodka every night during performances. Moss and Walker were also known to be heavy drinkers and the constant physical altercations between the singer and Prestwich also attracted widespread attention.
Following their problematic relationship with Batchens, Cold Chisel chose Mark Opitz to produce the next single, "Choir Girl", a Don Walker composition dealing with a young woman's experience with abortion. The track became a hit still played on radio and paved the way for Cold Chisel's next album. Recorded over two months in 1980, East reached No. 2 on the Australian album charts and was the second-highest selling album by an Australian artist for the year. Despite the continued dominance of Walker, during Cold Chisel's later career all four of the other members began to contribute songs to the band, and this was the first of their albums to feature songwriting contributions from each member of the band. Cold Chisel is one of the few Australian rock bands to score hits with songs written by every member of the group.
Of the album's twelve tracks, two were written by Barnes with Moss, Prestwich and Small contributing one each. The songs ranged from straight ahead rock tracks such as "Standing on the Outside" and "My Turn to Cry" to rockabilly-flavoured work-outs ("Rising Sun", written about Barnes' relationship with his girlfriend Jane Mahoney) and pop-laced love songs ("My Baby", featuring Joe Camilleri on saxophone) to a poignant piano ballad about prison life, "Four Walls". The cover featured Barnes asleep in a bathtub wearing a kamikaze bandanna in a room littered with junk and was inspired by Jacques-Louis David's 1793 painting The Death of Marat. The Ian Moss-penned "Never Before" was chosen as the first song to air by the ABC's radio station Triple J when it switched to the FM band that year.
Following the release of East, Cold Chisel embarked on the Youth in Asia Tour, which took its name from a lyric in "Star Hotel". This tour saw the group play more than 60 shows in 90 days and would form the basis of 1981's double live album Swingshift.
In April 1981 the band was nominated for all seven of the major awards at the joint Countdown/TV Week music awards held at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and won them all. As a protest against the concept of a TV magazine being involved in a music awards ceremony, the band refused to accept their awards and finished the night by performing "My Turn to Cry". After only one verse and chorus, they smashed up the set and left the stage.
Swingshift debuted at No. 1 on the Australian album charts, crystallizing the band's status as the biggest-selling act in the country. Elsewhere, however, Cold Chisel was unable to make an impact. With a slightly different track-listing, EastCheap Trick but while they were popular as a live act the American arm of their label did little to support the album. According to Barnes biographer Toby Creswell, at one point the band was ushered into an office to listen to the US master only to find it drenched in tape hiss and other ambient noise, making it almost unreleasable. The band were even booed off stage after a lackluster performance in Dayton, Ohio in May, 1981 opening for Ted Nugent, who at the time was touring with his guitar army aka the 'D.C. Hawks'. European audiences were more accepting of the band and the group developed a small but significant fan-base in Germany. had been issued in the United States and the band toured with
Cold Chisel returned to Australia in August 1981 and soon began work on the album Circus Animals, again with Opitz producing. The album opened with "You Got Nothing I Want", an aggressive Barnes-penned hard rock track that attacked the American industry for its handling of the band. The song would later cause problems for Barnes when he later attempted to break into the US market as a solo performer as senior music executives there continued to hold it against him. Like its predecessor, Circus Animals contained songs of contrasting styles, with harder-edged tracks like "Bow River" and "Hound Dog" in place beside more expansive ballads such as "Forever Now" and the Prestwich composition "When the War Is Over". This track has proved to be the most popular Cold Chisel song for other artists to record. Uriah Heep included a version on the 1989 album Raging Silence and John Farnham has recorded it twice, once while he and Prestwich were members of Little River Band in the mid-80s and again for his 1990 solo album Age of Reason. The song was also a No. 1 hit for former Australian IdolCosima De Vito in 2004 and was also performed (by Bobby Flynn contestant during that show's 2006 season.
To launch the album, they performed under a circus tent at Wentworth Park in Sydney and toured heavily once more, including a show in Darwin that attracted more than 10 per cent of the city's population.
Break up and aftermath 1983–84
Circus Animals and its three singles, "You Got Nothing I Want", "Forever Now" and "When the War is Over" were all major hits in Australia during 1982 but further success was continuing to elude them and cracks were beginning to appear. In early 1983 the band toured Germany but the shows went so badly that in the middle of tour Walker upended his keyboard and stormed off stage during one show and Prestwich was fired. Returning to Australia, Prestwich was replaced by Ray Arnott, formerly of the 1970s progressive rock band Spectrum. After this, Barnes requested a large advance from management. Now married with a young child, exorbitant spending had left him almost broke. His request was refused however because there was a standing arrangement that any advance to one band member had to be paid to all the others. After a meeting on 17 August during which Barnes quit the band it was decided that Cold Chisel would split up. A final concert series known as The Last Stand was planned and a final studio album was also recorded. Prestwich returned for the tour, which began in October. Before the Sydney shows however, Barnes lost his voice and those dates were re-scheduled for December. Their final performance was at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on 12 December 1983, apparently precisely 10 years since their first live appearance. The Sydney shows formed the basis of the film The Last Stand, the biggest-selling concert film of any Australian band. Several other recordings from the tour were used on the 1984 live album Barking Spiders Live: 1984, the title of which was inspired by the name the group occasionally used to play warm-up shows before tours, and as b-sides for a three-CD singles package known as Three Big XXX Hits, issued ahead of the release of the 1994 compilation album, Teenage Love.
During breaks in the tour, Twentieth Century was recorded. It was a fragmentary process, spread across various studios and sessions as the individual members often refused to work together, but nonetheless successful. Released in February 1984, it reached No. 1 upon release and included the songs "Saturday Night" and "Flame Trees", both of which remain radio staples. "Flame Trees", co-written by Prestwich and Walker, took its title from the BBC series The Flame Trees of ThikaGrafton, New South Wales. Barnes later recorded an acoustic version of the song on his 1993 album Flesh and Wood and the track was also covered by Sarah Blasko in 2006. although it was lyrically inspired by the organist's hometown of
Barnes launched a solo career in January 1984 that has since seen him score nine Australian No. 1 albums and an array of hit singles. One of those, "Too Much Ain't Enough Love" also peaked at No. 1. Throughout his solo career he has recorded with INXS, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, John Farnham and a long list of other Australian and international artists and continues to the present as arguably the country's most popular male rock singer.
Prestwich joined Little River Band in 1984 and appeared on the albums Playing to Win and No Reins before departing in 1986 to join John Farnham's touring band. Walker, Moss and Small all took extended breaks from music. Small, the least prominent member of the band virtually disappeared from the scene for many years, playing in a variety of minor acts. Walker formed Catfish in 1988, ostensibly a solo band with floating membership that included Moss, Charlie Owen and Dave Blight at various times. The music had a distinctly modern jazz aspect and his recordings during this phase attracted little commercial success. During 1989 he wrote several songs for Moss including "Tucker's Daughter" and "Telephone Booth" that the guitarist recorded on his debut solo album Matchbook. Both the album and "Tucker's Daughter" peaked at No. 1 on the chart in 1989 and won Moss five ARIA Awards. His other albums met with little success.
Throughout the 80s and most of the 90s, Cold Chisel was courted to re-form but obstinately refused, at one point reportedly turning down an offer of $5 million to play a single show in each of the major Australian state capitals. While Moss and Walker often collaborated on projects, neither would work with Barnes again until Walker wrote "Stone Cold" for the singer's Heat in 1993. The pair then recorded an acoustic version for Flesh and Wood later the same year. Thanks primarily to continued radio airplay and Jimmy Barnes' massive solo success, Cold Chisel's legacy remained solidly intact and by the early 90s the group had surpassed 3 million album sales, most of which had been sold since 1983. The 1991 compilation album Chisel was re-issued and re-packaged several times, once with the long-deleted 1978 EP as a bonus disc and a second time in 2001 as a double album. The Last Stand soundtrack album was also finally released in 1992 and in 1994 a complete album of previously unreleased demo and rare live recordings also surfaced. Teenage Love spawned a string of hit singles that fuelled speculation Cold Chisel would reform, to no avail.
Cold Chisel eventually reunited in 1998 to record the album The Last Wave of Summer and supported it with a sold-out national concert tour. The album debuted at number one on the Australian album chart. In 2003, the band re-grouped once more for the "Ringside" tour and in 2005 again reunited to perform at a benefit for the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.
On September 10, 2009, two days after Barnes' fifteenth studio solo album The Rhythm and the Blues became his ninth to peak at No. 1 on the Australian album charts, it was announced that Cold Chisel would reform to play at the Sydney 500 V8 Supercars event on December 5, 2009..
Musical style and lyrical themes
While typically classified as a hard-driving rock and roll band, the Cold Chisel musical repertoire was extensive. Influences from blues and early rock n' roll was broadly apparent, fostered by the love of those styles by Moss, Barnes and Walker and Small and Prestwich contributed strong pop sensibilities. This allowed volatile rock songs like "You Got Nothing I Want" and "Merry-Go-Round" to stand beside thoughtful ballads like "Choir Girl", pop-flavoured love songs like "My Baby" and caustic political statements like "Star Hotel", an attack on the late-70s government of Malcolm Fraser and inspired by the Star Hotel riot in Newcastle. The songs were not overtly political but rather observations of everyday life within Australian society and culture, in which the members with their various backgrounds (Moss was from Alice Springs, Walker grew up in rural New South Wales, Barnes and Prestwich were working-class immigrants from the UK) were quite well able to provide. Typically then, Cold Chisel's songs were about distinctly Australian experiences, a factor often cited as a major reason for the band's lack of international appeal. "Saturday Night" and "Breakfast at Sweethearts" were observations of the urban experience of Sydney's Kings Cross district where Walker lived for many years. "Misfits", which featured on the b-side to "My Baby", was about homeless kids in the suburbs surrounding Sydney. Songs like "Shipping Steel" and "Standing on The Outside" were working class anthems and many others featured characters trapped in mundane, everyday existences, yearning for the good times of the past ("Flame Trees") or for something better from life ("Bow River").
To many of the group's fans, Cold Chisel's honest songs about the working-class experience provided an often starkly accurate insight into and soundtrack to their own lives that they were unable to find from other popular artists of the time. Even album tracks like "Bow River" and "Standing on the Outside" became widely popular and were given airplay during an era when commercial radio playlists were predominantly populated by hit singles. Nevertheless, the band's aggressive image, apparent anti-establishment stance and particular popularity among young working-class men (typically those born in the late 60s and mid-70s) often made them the subject of some disdain, both during their career and in the years following their dissolution.
Alongside contemporaries like The Angels and Midnight Oil, whose rise to popularity came in their wake, Cold Chisel was renowned as one of the most dynamic live acts of their day and from early in their career concerts routinely became sell-out events. But the band was also famous for its wild lifestyle, particularly the hard-drinking Barnes, who played his role as one of the wild men of Australian rock to the hilt, never seen on stage without at least one bottle of vodka and often so drunk he could barely stand upright. Despite this, by 1982 he was a devoted family man who refused to tour without his wife and daughter. All the other band members were also settled or married; Ian Moss had a long-term relationship with the actress Megan Williams (she even sang on Twentieth Century) whose own public persona could have hardly been more different. Yet it was the band's public image that often saw them compared less favourably with other important acts like Midnight Oil, whose music and politics (while rather more overt) were often similar but whose image and reputation was far more clean-cut. Cold Chisel remained hugely popular however and by the mid-90s had continued to sell records at such a consistent rate they became the first Australian band to achieve higher sales after their split than during their active years. While repackages and compilations accounted for much of these sales, 1994's Teenage Love album of rarities and two of its singles were Top Ten hits and when the group finally reformed in 1998 the resultant album was also a major hit and the follow-up tour sold out almost immediately.
Cold Chisel is one of the few Australian acts (along with AC/DC, and Slim Dusty) to have become the subject of a major tribute album. In 2007, Standing on the Outside: The Songs of Cold Chisel was released, featuring a collection of the band's songs as performed by artists including The Living End, Evermore, Something for Kate, Pete Murray, Katie Noonan, You Am I, Paul Kelly, Alex Lloyd, Thirsty Merc and Ben Lee,many of whom were still only children when Cold Chisel first disbanded and some of whom, like the members of Evermore, had not even been born.
- Jimmy Barnes (lead vocals / guitar)
- Ian Moss (lead guitar / lead vocals)
- Don Walker (keyboards / backing vocals)
- Steve Prestwich (drums / backing vocals)
- Phil Small (bass guitar)
- Les Kaczmarek (bass guitar, October 1973- July 1975)
- Ray Arnott (drums, 1983)
- Dave Blight (harmonica)
- Billy Rodgers (saxophone)
- Jimmy Sloggett (saxophone)
- Andy Bickers (saxophone)
- Renée Geyer (backing vocals)
- Vanetta Fields (backing vocals)
- Megan Williams (backing vocals, Flame Trees)
- Peter Walker (acoustic guitar, Khe Sanh)
- Joe Camilleri (saxophone, My Baby and Home and Broken Hearted)
- Wilbur Wilde (saxophone, Home and Broken Hearted, Rosaline, Just How Many Times)
- James Morris (back up singer)
Philippe De Barge Acetate
Bit rate 256 kps
02. You Might Even
04. Send You With Lovin'
05. Running You And Me
07. Eagle's Son
08. A New Day
09. It'll Never Be Me
10. Check Out
11. They're All Gone Now
Sound quality rating: B+, mono, SBD
Notes: This is a rather odd chapter in the history of the Pretties: a psych LP recorded by the Pretty Things as backing band and song writers, featuring one Philippe de Barge on vocals. I'll leave it to others to tell you the story...
An excerpt from Sweet Floral Albion, issue 5 (by Barrington Phillips):
"London, 1968: A hip and very wealthy French aristocrat, by the name of Philippe de Barge, has one of his reps make enquiries among London's Underground scenesters, to find a band willing to travel to his chateau and record his own Personal "psych LP". The Pretties (as anyone familiar with the whole Electric Banana episode will know, were strapped for cash but brimful of great musical ideas) took up the offer, lodged with Philippe at his posh gaff, had a whale of a time, recorded the LP and then split. Soon after this, de Barge died in "extremely suspicious circumstances" (he alledgedly had ties to French mafiosi/drug barons...) and went the same way as Bobby Fuller."
Read the whole feature here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/marmaladeskies/sweetfloralalbion5.htm
The following is an excerpt from an interview with singer Phil May, conducted by Richie Unterberger:
"[...] it was another moneymaking job. Wally and I just wrote a bunch of songs for this French guy, who was a millionaire, and he flew us down to his villa in St. Tropez. It was really bizarre, because what we'd do is, I would sing a song for him on the backing track. He would go back to the Hilton, and lie on his pillow with a Walkman, learning how to sing the song, and the phrasing. And then he'd come back to the studio the next day to sing it, having learned how to sing it. No kind of falseness about [him being] a musician. He just wanted to make a record with the Pretty Things. And he was prepared to pay. So it was like, we led him through it completely. And it was an interesting experience.
But I think, you know, because of the sort of people involved, it could only be, certainly, limited. Because there was restrictions in the fact that the guy who was Phillipe DeBarge, he had minimal talent. We'd play the backing track loud, and I'd sing into his Dictaphone so he could hear how to phrase it. There's some music on it, but it goes far because it didn't have a lead vocal delivery, because he'd never sung before. He had no way... he still was learning.
It was a learning curve thing. His English wasn't that good, so [he] had to paraphrase my English phrases."
The Pretty Things
|The Pretty Things|
|Also known as||Electric Banana|
|Genres||British Invasion, Garage Rock, rhythm and blues, beat|
Warner Bros. Records
|Phil May |
|Brian Pendleton |
John C. Alder
Roelf ter Velt
The Pretty Things are an English rock and roll band from London. They pioneered a raw approach to rhythm and blues that influenced a number of key bands of the 1960s British invasion, including The Rolling Stones. David Bowie covered two of their songs on his album Pin Ups.
The Pretty Things were preceded by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which consisted of Dick Taylor, fellow Sidcup Art College student Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger. When Brian Jones joined the band on guitar, Taylor was pushed from guitar to bass and the band changed its name to the Rollin' Stones.
Taylor (born Richard Clifford Taylor, 28 January 1943, in Dartford, Kent) quit the Stones several months later when he was accepted at the London Central School of Art, where he met Phil May (born Phillip Arthur Dennis Wadey, on 9 November 1944, in Dartford, Kent) and they formed The Pretty Things.
Taylor was once again playing guitar, with May singing and playing harmonica. They recruited Brian Pendleton (born 13 April 1944 in Wolverhampton – died 16 May 2001 in Maidstone, Kent) on rhythm guitar; John Stax (born John Edward Lee Fullegar, 6 April 1944 in Crayford, Kent) on bass; and Pete Kitley, replaced by Viv Broughton (on drums) and then by Viv Prince (born Vivian St John Prince, 9 August 1941, in Loughborough, Leicestershire) on drums. Viv Prince made his first set of drums himself while a student at Loughborough Grammar School.
The Pretty Things caused a sensation in England, and their first three singles — "Rosalyn" #41, "Don't Bring Me Down" #10, and the self-penned "Honey I Need" at #13 — appeared in the UK singles chart in 1964-1965. They never had a hit in the United States, but had considerable success in their native United KingdomAustralia, New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands in the middle of the decade. However, in the U.S. they, along with The Yardbirds and Van Morrison's Them, were a huge influence on hundreds of garage bands, including the MC5 and The Seeds. and in
Their early material consisted of hard-edged blues-rock influenced by Bo DiddleyJimmy Reed. They were known for wild stage behaviour and edgy lyrical content; their song "Midnight to Six Man" defined the mod lifestyle. Around this time, the first of what would be many personnel changes over the years also began, with Prince the first to go late in 1965. He was replaced by Skip Alan (born 11 June 1948 in London). Brian Pendleton left late in 1966, and was not initially replaced. Stax quit early in 1967. Jon Povey and Wally Waller (both former Fenmen from Bern Elliott and the Fenmen) joined to make the band a five piece once again. (they took their name from Diddley's 1955 song "Pretty Thing") and
After a flirtation with mainstream pop on the Emotions album in 1967, they embraced psychedelia, producing the concept album S.F. Sorrow during 1967-68. This album, released in late 1968, is one of the first rock operas, preceding the release of The Who's Tommy in April 1969 by a few months. It was recorded over several months during 1967 at EMI's famous Abbey Road Studios in London, during the same period when The Beatles and Pink Floyd were recording Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Piper at the Gates of Dawnpsychedelic sound, and the Floyd and Pretty Things albums were both produced by the late Norman Smith, who had engineered most of the Beatles' recordings until 1966. respectively. These albums share a similar late-1960s
S.F. Sorrow was commercially unsuccessful, with no immediate release in the US. The album was subsequently picked up by Motown Records and issued with a different cover on its Rare Earth label. The work received only modest support from EMI, and its depressing narrative probably did not help sales.
S.F. Sorrow was followed by the highly-acclaimed album Parachute, which kept the psychedelic sound and was named "Album of the Year" in 1970 by Rolling Stone. During this period they also recorded an album for a young French millionaire Philippe DeBarge, which was intended only to be circulated among his social circle. The acetate has since been bootlegged.
During the late 1960s, the band made some extra money by recording a number of songs for low-budget films including What's Good For the Goose (1969), Haunted House of Horror (1969),The Monster Club(1981) and even a couple of softcore porn films. Not intended for official release, these songs were later compiled on a number of records and released under the alias Electric Banana: Electric BananaMore Electric Banana (1968), Even More Electric Banana (1969), Hot Licks (1970), and Return of the Electric Banana (1978). The initial releases featured one side of vocal and one side of instrumental tracks. Subsequent releases of these albums generally keep the true identity of the band secret. An episode of ITV's "Minder" titled "A Star is Gorn" featured the track "Take Me Home" by Zac Zolar and The Electric Banana. (1967),
By late 1970, the group had gone their separate ways due to commercial failures, and Skip Alan was in a group called Sunshine. In 1971, Alan was driving with manager Bill Shepherd when he put on a tape of Parachute; Shepherd loved it, and asked who the band was. When Alan told him it was his last group, Shepherd asked what had happened to them and vowed to get them back together. Within three months, Shepherd had assembled May, Povey, Alan, Peter Tolson, and Stuart Brooks, and the group signed with Warner Bros. Records.
From this point on, the group enjoyed little commercial success, but won the devotion of a strong cult following, especially with critics and other rock musicians. Their material in the early 1970s tended towards blues, hard rock and early heavy metal, as for example the album Silk Torpedo, released in 1974. By this time they were being managed by Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant. In fact Silk Torpedo was the first album release on Zeppelin's own label Swan Song, which Grant and the band set up to release their own pet projects. Silk Torpedo also earned the band their first US album chart entry. 1980s Cross Talk saw them incorporating influences of punk and new wave into their hard rock sound; like most of their records during this period, it was not a commercial success.
With a new manager, Mark St. John, they performed sporadically during the 1980s. By the end of the decade their profile had almost disappeared. May and Taylor reformed the band for a successful European blues tour in late 1990 with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack and Luther Allison. This outfit included drummer Hans Waterman (formerly of Dutch rock group Solution), bassist Roelf ter Velt and guitarist/keyboardist Barkley McKay (Waco Brothers and Pine Valley Cosmonauts with Jon Langford of Mekons fame). This line up regularly toured the European mainland, playing a revitalised set that showcased their earlier, rootsy blues and R&B material, until late 1994. Phil May and Dick Taylor, together with former Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, recorded two albums in Chicago as The Pretty Things Yardbirds Blues Band "The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991" and "Wine, Women, Whiskey", both produced by George Paulus. By 1995, they reformed the Cross Talk line-up and added Frank Holland on guitar in place of Peter Tolson. Their label, Snapper Music, issued remastered CDs with many bonus tracks, plus a DVD of a live netcast re-recording of S.F. Sorrow at Abbey Road Studios (with David Gilmour and Arthur Brown as guest players). They played a tour of the U.S. for the first time in decades.
In 1999 they released the studio album Rage Before Beauty and in the early 2000s, they released several compilation albums, a live album and a live DVD.
In 2003, Alan Lakey's biography of the band, Growing Old Disgracefully, was published by Firefly. The book dealt with the long and involved history of the band, and paid special attention to the legal proceedings issued against EMI in the 1990s. An extensively re-written version is to be published at the end of 2009 with, on this occasion, the full co-operation of May and manager Mark St John.
In mid 2007, The Pretty Things released their eleventh studio album Balboa Island on Côte Basque record label. The album contains a number of Pretty Things originals, as well as paying homage to their R & B roots. Illness has caused the band to restrict live appearances with Jack Greenwood replacing Skip Allan on drums in 2008, a year which also saw the death of former producer, Norman Smith.
The band has now decided that it should proceed as a touring band without Wally Waller, Jon Povey and Skip Allan. Malchicks guitarist George Perez fills in on bass and harmonies with manager Mark St John adding percussion and vocals. This touring band is not dissimilar to the Euro-band of the 1990s which kept the PT name alive and the members active and financially rewarded. Interestingly, Manager Mark St John hated the Euro band which he christened "bolt-ons", stating they had no soul.
June 2009 saw them receive the 'Heroes' award at the annual Mojo Awards ceremony.
- The Pretty Things (1965) - UK Number 6
- Get the Picture (1965)
- Emotions (1967)
- S.F. Sorrow (1968)
- Parachute (1970) - UK Number 43
- Freeway Madness (1972)
- Silk Torpedo (1974)
- Savage Eye (1975)
- Cross Talk (1980)
- Out of the Island (1987)
- Unrepentant (1995)
- Resurrection (1999)
- Rage... Before Beauty (1999)
- Balboa Island (2007)
|Release Date||Title||Chart positions|
|UK Singles Chart||Australia||Canada |
|1964||"Rosalyn"||#41||#67||Released in Australia after "Don't Bring Me Down", in 1965.|
|1964||"Don't Bring Me Down"||#10||#65||#34|
|1965||"Honey I Need"||#13||#54|
|1965||"Cry To Me"||#28|
|1966||"Midnight To Six Man"||#46||#62|
|1966||"Come See Me"||#43||#92|
|1966||"A House In The Country"||#50||#63|
Electric Banana was a pseudonymous 1967 album of the band. The band recorded this album and two subsequent ones for the De Wolfe Music Library. De Wolfe provided stock music for film soundtracks. The Electric Banana music wound up on various horror and soft-porn films of the late 1960s, such as What's Good for the Goose (1969). When the album was released, the stage name The Electric Banana was used to hide the band's identity.
- As Electric Banana (Music for Films)
- Electric Banana (1967)
- More Electric Banana (1968)
- Even More Electric Banana (1969)
- The Electric Banana: Live at the Grand (1969)
- Hot Licks (1970)
- The Return Of The Electric Banana (1978)
- The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 (1991)
- Wine Women Whiskey (1992).
- The Singles A's & B's
- Unrepentant-The Anthology
- Latest Writs, Greatest Hits
- The Psychedelic Years