april 1976


On this day in music history: April 23, 1976 - “Ramones”, the debut album by the Ramones is released. Produced by Craig Leon, it is recorded at Plaza Sound, Radio City Music Hall in New York City from February 2 - 19, 1976. Fixtures on the New York punk rock scene since forming in 1974, the Ramones come to the attention of Sire Records A&R man Craig Leon (Blondie, Joshua Bell), through their manager Danny Fields, by way of a demo album the band records with producer Marty Thau. Leon signs the band to the label in November of 1975. The first album by Forest Hills, Queens, NY punk quartet is recorded in just seven days (spread over a two week period) for a cost of $6,400. Consisting of both covers and originals, it is widely praised by rock critics and the Ramones solid fan base. The album goes on to help define and popularize the punk music genre and culture, inspiring and influencing numerous bands and artists that follow in their wake.  The album is remastered and reissued in 2001 with eight additional bonus tracks added, including demo versions  and the single mix of “Blitzkrieg Bop”. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2011, pressed on blue vinyl with a bonus 7" of “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” b/w “California Sun/I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You” that is limited to only 500 copies. To commemorate the album’s fortieth anniversary in 2016, it is released as a limited three CD + LP Deluxe Edition. The CD’s include stereo and mono mixes of the original album on disc one, with the second disc containing  outtakes and demos. Disc three features two live performances recorded at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, CA on August 12, 1976. The set also comes with a 180 gram vinyl LP featuring the mono mix of the album, and a 12" x 12" hardbound book with photos and extensive liner notes. The anniversary box is remastered by Sean Magee and Sam Okell, and executive produced by Bill Inglot. “Ramones” peaks at number one hundred eleven on the Billboard Top 200.

This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person was me. I had gone to catch a train. This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K. I was a bit early for the train. I’d gotten the time of the train wrong. I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies. I went and sat at a table.
I want you to picture the scene. It’s very important that you get this very clear in your mind. Here’s the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There’s a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase. It didn’t look like he was going to do anything weird. What he did was this: he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it.
Now this, I have to say, is the sort of thing the British are very bad at dealing with. There’s nothing in our background, upbringing, or education that teaches you how to deal with someone who in broad daylight has just stolen your cookies.
You know what would happen if this had been South Central Los Angeles. There would have very quickly been gunfire, helicopters coming in, CNN, you know… But in the end, I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do: I ignored it. And I stared at the newspaper, took a sip of coffee, tried to do a clue in the newspaper, couldn’t do anything, and thought, what am I going to do?
In the end I thought, Nothing for it, I’ll just have to go for it, and I tried very hard not to notice the fact that the packet was already mysteriously opened. I took out a cookie for myself. I thought, That settled him. But it hadn’t because a moment or two later he did it again. He took another cookie. Having not mentioned it the first time, it was somehow even harder to raise the subject the second time around. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice …” I mean, it doesn’t really work.
We went through the whole packet like this. When I say the whole packet, I mean there were only about eight cookies, but it felt like a lifetime. He took one, I took one, he took one, I took one. Finally, when we got to the end, he stood up and walked away. Well, we exchanged meaningful looks, then he walked away, and I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back.
A moment or two later the train was coming in, so I tossed back the rest of my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper were my cookies.
The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter-century a perfectly ordinary guy who’s had the same exact story, only he doesn’t have the punch line.
—  Douglas Adams, well known for writing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy shares a very British story

On this day in music history: April 23, 1976 - “Black And Blue”, the thirteenth (fifteenth in the US) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by The Glimmer Twins (Mick Jagger & Keith Richards), it is recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany and with The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio in Rotterdam, NL, Mountain Studios in Montreaux, Switzerland, and Atlantic Studios in New York City from December 1974 - February 1976. Recorded during numerous sessions held over a year and a half, The Stones begin by recording in Munich (where their previous album “It’s Only Rock & Roll” had been recorded), continue the sessions in The Netherlands, Switzerland, and concluding in the US. Much of the recording takes place while the band are searching for a replacement for guitarist Mick Taylor who had quit in late 1974. The Stones finally settle on former Faces guitarist Ron Wood who officially joins in 1975. It spins off two singles including “Fool To Cry” (#10 Pop) and “Hot Stuff” (#49 Pop). “Black And Blue” spends four weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

George Harrison appearing, unannounced, on stage with Monty Python during “The Lumberjack Song” (the single was produced by George) in New York City, 20 April 1976 (Photo courtesy Mojo4Music, photographed by Steve Morley)

“[On 20 April 1976] George, wearing the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, appears unannounced with his friends the Monty Python comedy team at New York’s City Center, at West 55th Street, during their performance of ‘The Lumberjack Song’. He had, in fact, been watching the first half of the show from the audience and went backstage at the interval. The Python team, starting a three-week run at the venue, invited him to join the cast during the song. ‘George is a lumberjack freak. He used that song on his tour to introduce the show,’ says Nancy Lewis, Monty Python’s American manager. (Incidentally, the former Beatle is such a fan of the song that, when George and Olivia go on holiday during the late Seventies and early Eighties, he will use the name 'Jack Lumber’ as an alias.)” - The Beatles Diary - Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001

Monty Python also appeared at the Concert for George on 29 November 2002: here.

“I first met Michael Palin and Terry Jones in 1972, I think. I met Eric Idle in 1975, at the California premierè of the Holy Grail film. And although that was the first time I’d ever met him, I felt like I’d known them all for years, because I’d watched all the programs and had had them on videotape. So it only took ten minutes before we were the best of friends.
I think after the Beatles, Monty Python was my favorite thing. It bridged the years when there was nothing really doing, and they were the only ones who could see that everything was a big joke.” - George Harrison, Rolling Stone, 19 April 1979

“Monty Python. Eric (Idle) is incredible. Michael Palin too. He is very funny. They all are. They filled that empty space for me; after 1968, 1969, they really kept me going, you know.” - George Harrison, I Me Mine