rko radio

And she has these birds that sing and that is the legend of the song of the birds of Rhiannon. And they sing this song that is uh, said takes away pain and suffering and if you hear the song you just sort of blank out and go away and then when you wake up everthing’s all right. And it is a wonderful, wonderful story which I use a lot, because there’s a lot of… there seems to be a lot of need for the story of Rhiannon around lately, because if people are sad or have lost anybody or something the story really makes a lot of sense.
—  Stevie Nicks, Starsound Special RKO Radio - December 21, 1981

Construction activity for Rockefeller Center (The Associated Architects: Reinhard & Hofmeister-Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray-Raymond Hood, Godley & Fouilhoux-Edward Durrell Stone, 1931-1940), in early 1932. Foreground the steel structure of 70-story R.C.A. Building (Associated Architects, 1933) began to rises up, and the 32-story R.K.O. Building (Associated Architects, 1932) nearing completion can be seen at background, right, with steel skeletion of Radio City Music Hall (Associated Architects, 1932) under construction can be seen below it. 

Photo: Samuel H. Gottscho.

Source: Donald Albrecht. “The Mithic City. Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925-1940” (New York. Museum of the City of New York-Princeton Architectural Press. 2005).

Born to Kill (1947 US film noir, dir. Robert Wise | UK title: Lady of Deceit, Australian title: Deadlier Than the Male) | RKO Radio Pictures

At the time of release, this film was described by a New York Times critic as being ‘’a smeary tabloid fable… an hour and a half of ostentatious vice… designed to pander to the lower levels of taste…’’

That actually looks like a recommendation to me.

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On this day in music history: August 24, 1975 - Queen begin recording “Bohemian Rhapsody” at Rockfield Studio 1 near Monmouth, Wales, UK. Written by Freddie Mercury, the band start the process of recording the complicated and intricate song after three weeks of rehearsals. The remaining sessions for the track takes place at four different studios (Roundhouse, SARM (East), Scorpion, and Wessex Studios in London) over the next three weeks that it takes to complete the song. The most complex portion of the track, the multi-layered vocal harmonies sung by Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor, spend anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day, perfecting their parts. Some parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody” feature as many as 180 separate overdubs. Due to the limited number of tracks available on the 24-track master, makes it necessary to bounce the vocal and instrumental tracks up to eight times. In fact, at one point it is necessary to transfer the entire two inch reel to another fresh tape when master begins shedding oxide due to the numerous times the tape is run over the record and playback heads during the tracking and mixing process. When the song is completed, it clocks in at nearly six minutes. When Queen presents the finished track to their UK label EMI Records, they immediately insist that the band edit it down to a more radio friendly length. The band get around this by leaking a tape copy of the song to Capitol Radio DJ Kenny Everett who immediately loves the track, and plays it on his show fourteen times in two days. Public reaction is swift and overwhelmingly positive, forcing EMI to release the record as is. Word of the sensation the record has created in England reaches Paul Drew of RKO Radio in the US, who acquires a dub copy of the still unreleased song. This in turn forces Queen’s US label Elektra Records to release the song as a single, in its complete, unedited form. “Bohemian Rhapsody” goes on to top the UK singles chart for 9 weeks in late 1975, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1976. The record is re-released after Freddie Mercury’s death, returning to the top of the UK singles chart for another five weeks, and is featured in the comedy “Wayne’s World” which puts it back on the US Hot 100, peaking at #2 in May of 1992.

Quotes for curious contemplation: John on distinguishing between best friends and partners, creative and romantic, male and female. (a compilation in progress)

(Note: I’ve had this sitting in my drafts for an age and have frankly forgotten why I even started it, but it was probably the product of some vagrant thoughts and some amused despair/despairing amusement at John Being Awkward About The Distinction (Or Lack Thereof) Between Who You Collaborate With And Who You Have Romantic And Sexual Feelings For And Whether They’re Female (Or Decidedly Not). So in lieu of a succinct and self-reflexive #tag that would suitably express this, here’s a compilation post of sorts! For now. I did not include quotes with comparisons between partnerships and marriages or more general comparisons between Yoko and Paul or relevant thoughts about love and loss, because we’d be here for days, and anyway, this post is meant to be a bit specific and silly.)


It’s just handy to fuck your best friend. That’s what it is. And once I resolved the fact that it was a woman as well, it’s all right. We go through the trauma of life and death every day so it’s not so much of a worry about what sex we are anymore.

— John Lennon, interview w/ Jonathan Cott for Rolling Stone: Yoko Ono and her sixteen-track voice. (March 18th, 1971)

I just realized that [Yoko] knew everything I knew, and more, probably, and it was coming out of a woman’s head. It just sort of bowled me over, you know? And it was like finding gold or something. To find somebody that you can go and get pissed with, and have exactly the same relationship as any mate in Liverpool you’d ever had, but also you could go to bed with him, and it could stroke your head when you felt tired, or sick, or depressed. It could also be Mother. And obviously, that’s what the male-female – you know, you could take those roles with each other.

— John Lennon, interview w/ Peter McCabe and Robert D. Schonfeld c/o Peter McCabe and Robert D. Schonfeld, John Lennon: For The Record. (September 5th, 1971)

Still, while the Lennon and McCartney tiff made for good press, even Lennon admitted (to a Syracuse University audience, on the day of the [Imagine] album’s release), that ‘How Do You Sleep?’ was “an outburst. Things are still the same between us. He was and still is my closest friend, except for Yoko.”

— John Lennon, c/o Tom Zito, Washington Post: Peace, love, art and Yoko. (October 9th, 1971) c/o Kenneth Womack, The Cambridge Companion to The Beatles. (2009)

JOHN: Well, [‘How Do You Sleep’]’s an answer, you know? Paul, uh, personally doesn’t feel as though I insulted him or anything. ’Cause I had dinner with him last week, and he was quite happy.

YOKO: They were friends, you know, and they were swearing at each other or, you know. It’s nothing.

JOHN: If I can’t have a fight with my best friend, I don’t know who I can have a fight with. 

DOUGLAS: Is he your best friend? Paul?

JOHN: I guess… in the male sex, he – he was. I don’t know about now, because I don’t see much of him.

— John Lennon, interview w/ Mike Douglas on The Mike Douglas Show. (February 12th, 1972) 

JOHN: It’s a plus, it’s not a minus. The plus is that your best friend, also, can hold you without… I mean, I’m not a homosexual, or we could have had a homosexual relationship and maybe that would have satisfied it, with working with other male artists. [faltering] An artist – it’s more – it’s much better to be working with another artist of the same energy, and that’s why there’s always been Beatles or Marx Brothers or men, together. Because it’s alright for them to work together or whatever it is. It’s the same except that we sleep together, you know? I mean, not counting love and all the things on the side, just as a working relationship with her, it has all the benefits of working with another male artist and all the joint inspiration, and then we can hold hands too, right?

SHEVEY: But Yoko is a very independent person. Isn’t it— [inaudible]

JOHN: Sure, and so were the men I worked with. The only difference is she’s female.

SHEVEY: But you didn’t find it difficult to make that transition?

JOHN: Oh yeah. I mean, it took me four years. I’m still not – I’m still only coming through it, you know.

— John Lennon, interview w/ Sandra Shevey. (Mid-June?, 1972)

I’ve only selected to work with – for more than a one night stand, say with an odd thing with [David] Bowie, or an odd thing with Elton [John], or anybody who was hanging around – two people. Paul McCartney, and Yoko Ono. Okay? I brought Paul into the original group, The Quarrymen, he brought George in, and George brought Ringo in. I had a say in whether they did join or not, but the only initial move I ever made was bringing Paul McCartney into the group. The second person of that much interest to me as an artist, and somebody who I could work with, was Yoko Ono.

— John Lennon, interview w/ Jonathan Cott for Rolling Stone. (December 5th, 1980)

I was saying to somebody the other day, “There’s only two artists I’ve ever worked with for more than a one night stand, as it were. That’s Paul McCartney, and Yoko Ono.” And I think that’s a pretty damned good choice! […] Now George came through Paul, and Ringo came through George, although of course I had a say in where they came from. But the only – the person I actually picked as my partner, who I’d recognised had talent, and I could get on with, was Paul.

Now, twelve or however many years later, I met Yoko, I had the same feeling. It was a different feel, but I had the same feeling. So I think as a talent scout, I’ve done pretty damn well!

— John Lennon, interview w/ Dave Sholin for RKO Radio. (December 8th, 1980)

After all, we’re presenting ourselves as a couple, and to work with your best friend is a joy, and I don’t intend to stop it. […] I’ve had the boyhood thing of being the ‘Elvis’ and doing my thing and getting my spot on the show. Now I want to be with my best friend – my best friend is my wife. Who could ask for anything more?

— John Lennon, interview w/ Dave Sholin for RKO Radio. (December 8th, 1980)