melody maker

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The Beatles attend a luncheon of the Variety Club of Great Britain at the Savoy Hotel, London on the 10th September 1963, where they received an award for Top Vocal Group of the Year. In the second photo Brian receives Melody Maker Poll Awards from Bernard Delfont.

Various Beatles books state only John and Paul attended this event, however the pictures show different. Following the luncheon, John and Paul shared a taxi when they spotted Andrew Loog Oldham walking on Jermyn Street. They stopped and let him in and he told them how he was looking for songs for his new group, the Rolling Stones to record. (He’d just stopped working for the Beatles and Brian Epstein six months prior). John and Paul suggested a song they’d just come up with might be suitable. It was called I Wanna Be Your Man.

Pics: Mirrorpix / Trinity Mirror  

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Some cards from a 90s issue of Melody Maker! Some of its hilarious. Don’t agree with the shaggability rating for Jarvis, but Damon’s is definitely correct. I do however agree with the sartorial elegance rating for the Gallaghers, and find “number of Suede records in collection: -3” to be super funny haha.

The Great Pink Floyd Mystery

Chris Welch, Melody Maker, 5 August 1967

AS THOUSANDS IN ballrooms and assorted hell-holes across the country are deafened and blinded nightly by the Pink Floyd, the well-known psychedelic group, thousands might be forgiven for thinking: “What the ‘ell’s it all about?”

Are the Pink Floyd being quite honest when they make coy and attractive records like ‘See Emily Play’ and then proceed to make the night hideous with a thunderous, incomprehensible, screaming, sonic torture that five American doctors agree could permanently damage the senses?

The Floyd do not wish to appear dishonest, but they are worried. They appreciate the contrast between their records and live performances, agree the latter might not be all that they should be, and are taking steps to rectify the situation.

Roger Waters, bass player, with rather aesthetic good looks, and a taste for frequent pints of bitter, grappled frankly with Floyd problems this week.

“We’re being frustrated at the moment by the fact that to stay alive we have to play lots and lots of places and venues that are not really suitable. This can’t last obviously and we’re hoping to create our own venues.”

Roger accepted a government-approved cigarette and warmed to his theme: “We all like our music. That’s the only driving force behind us. All the trappings of becoming vaguely successful like being able to buy bigger amplifiers—none of that stuff is really important.”

“We’ve got a name of sorts now among the public so everybody comes to have a look at us, and we get full houses. But the atmosphere in these places is very stale. There is no feeling of occasion.

“There is no nastiness about it, but we don’t get rebooked on the club or ballroom circuit. What I’m trying to say is that the sort of thing we are trying to do doesn’t fit into the sort of environment we are playing in. The supporting bands play ‘Midnight Hour’ and the records are all soul, then we come on.

“I’ve got nothing against the people who come, and I’m not putting down our audiences. But they have to compare everybody. So-and-so’s group is better than everybody else. It’s like marking exercise books. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch get a gold star in the margin, or ‘Tick - Very Good.’

“On the club scene we rate about two out of ten and ‘Must try harder’.”

“We’ve had problems with our equipment and we can’t get the P.A. to work because we play extremely loudly. It’s a pity because Syd (singer Syd Barrett) writes great lyrics and nobody ever hears them.”

“Maybe it’s our fault because we are trying too hard. After all the human voice can’t compete with Fender Telecasters and double drum kits. We’re a very young group, not in age, but in experience. We’re trying to solve problems that haven’t existed before. Perhaps we should stop trying to do our singles on stage. Even the Beatles, when they worked live, sounded like their records. But the sort of records we make today are impossible to reproduce on stage so there is no point in trying.”

Isn’t this being dishonest?

“This is the point: We don’t think so. We still do ‘Arnold Layne’ and struggle through ‘Emily’ occasionally. We don’t think it’s dishonest because we can’t play live what we play on records. It’s a perfectly OK scene. Can you imagine somebody trying to play ‘A Day In The Life’? Yet that’s one of the greatest tracks ever made. A lot of stuff on our LP is completely impossible to do live. We’ve got the recording side together and not the playing side.”

“So what we’ve got to do now is get together a stage act that has nothing to do with our records, things like ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ which is beautiful, and instrumentals that are much easier to play.”

Are the group depressed when they fail to communicate with an audience?

“It’s sometimes depressing and becomes a drag. There are various things you can do. You can close your mind to the fact you’re not happening with the audience and play for yourself. When the music clicks, even if it’s only with ten or twelve people, it’s such a gas.

“We’re trying to play music of which it can be said that it has freedom of feeling. That sounds very corny, but it is very free.”

What is the future of the Floyd?

“We can’t go on doing clubs and ballrooms. We want a brand new environment, and we’ve hit on the idea of using a big top. We’ll have a huge tent and go around like a travelling circus. We’ll have a huge screen 120 feet wide and 40 feet high inside and project films and slides.”

“We’ll play the big cities, or anywhere and become an occasion, just like a circus. It’ll be a beautiful scene. It could even be the salvation of the circus!

“The thing is, I don’t think we can go on doing what we are doing now. If we do, we’ll all be on the dole.”

George Harrison, 1974

Photo: © Umlaut Corporation

“George said he prayed, but didn’t consider himself heavily religious. ‘Maybe compared to the average pop star, but compared to what I should be, I’m a heathen.’
Then again, he’s not an average pop star. ‘I just want to keep improving as a musician, run a good little record label and Bob’s yer uncle. Beatles were an important point in all our lives, but it was yesterday…’” - “Dark Horse,” Melody Maker, 6 September 1975 [x]

“Basically I feel fortunate to have realized what the goal is in life. There’s no point in dying having gone through your life without knowing who you are, what you are or what the purpose of life is. And that’s all it is. People started getting uptight when I started shooting off my mouth and saying the goal is to manifest love of God - self-realization. I must admit, there was a period when I was trying to tell everybody about it; now, I don’t bother unless somebody asks specifically. I still write about it in my songs, but it’s less blatant, more hidden now. I’m a very poor example of a spiritual person. I don’t really want anything in my life except knowledge, but I’m not a very good practitioner of that.” - George Harrison, Rolling Stone, 19 April 1979 [x]