Category Archives: ON THIS DAY …

Free At Last

Paul Fitzpatrick: December 2022

It’s Paul Rodgers birthday, the Geordie legend is 73 today.

Which reminds me of the time that I was in a band – for five minutes – if it’s possible to call three people who never played a gig or had a name for said band – a band.
And my inspiration for joining the band that never was, was Mr Rodgers.

It was the spring of 1973, so I would have been in third year, a few months shy of my 15th birthday.

The band as it was, was an unconventional trio consisting of two guitarists (Dick & Bob) and a vocalist (me).

Bob Hamilton had approached me to join him and his friend Dick in this super-group, and invited me to come to his house for a chat and a rehearsal.
I knew Bob dabbled with the guitar from our playground conversations. Usually about who had been on the Old Grey Whistle Test the evening before.
We’d discuss the merits of yodelling in rock and compliment guitar heroes like Jan Akkerman and Paul Kossoff.

I assumed his cohort Dick who I didn’t know that well, would play bass…. or drums….. or keyboards, but no, Dick was set on being the next Steve Hackett or Steve Howe.

Bob, who unfortunately is no longer with us, was a lovely lad, affable and jolly, he was one of those rare beasts who was welcome in any friendship group.

Dick, was a bit more aloof, and cocksure and I assumed that he and Bob must have bonded over a common interest in musical tastes (how wrong I was)

That first get together and rehearsal turned out to be a bit of a shambles and truth be told, it didn’t really get much better.

Before a note was played we had a chat about what songs we should learn to cover.
I suggested a couple of Free songs, which I thought were realistic given the obvious limitations (musically and instrumentally), plus, my vocal inspiration at the time was Paul Rodgers.

I’d learned to sing Wishing Well, The Stealer and Fire & Water verbatim, every little Rodgers nuance included, and if Stars in Their Eyes had been around in 73, I’d have been given it “Tonight Matthew I’m…..”

For his part, Bob suggested a couple of Faces songs, on the basis that they were guitar driven and would sit alongside the Free songs.

Dick, on the other hand, had slightly loftier ambitions for the power-trio, no commercial shit for him, he wanted us to learn and play “Suppers Ready” a 23 minute, Genesis, keyboard-driven, prog anthem.

The debate on the bands musical direction proved to be a moot point however when we realised that the only available sheet music at Bob’s was The Beatles and Status Quo.

Also, both lads were at the start of their musical journeys and knew about 3 chords between them, plus ahem, we were missing the Hammond organ, the mellotron, the tubular bells and of course the rhythm section necessary to make a dent in this Genesis odyssey.

Tensions in the trio came to a head during a particular ropey rendition of a two-chord Quo classic which to be fair none of us had our hearts in anyway.

Dick had obviously had enough of “Down, Down, Deeper and Down” and “Here Comes The Sun” and announced that he didn’t want to play this shit anymore before storming out.

Utterly relieved, Bob and I got back to what we did best, listening to music and talking about it, and agreed that if anyone asked we’d announce that …. “the band split due to creative tensions”

See there I go again, calling it a band!

So, Happy Birthday Paul Rodgers, there were some great front men in the 70s – Jagger, Plant, Gillan, Stewart but I always thought you were the man with the golden voice…

Standing On The Corner, On Winslow Arizona

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, November 6th 2022

Glenn Frey, a founding member of the Eagles would have been 74 today.

A native of Detroit, as a teenager he was due to join his friend Bob Seger’s band but his family objected as he’d been caught smoking grass with Seger.

Instead, Frey followed his musician girlfriend to California, and settled into the burgeoning Laurel Canyon music scene before accepting an invitation to join Linda Ronstadt’s backing band.

Frey subsequently introduced Don Henley to Ronstadt’s band, a line-up that already featured Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon, and the foursome would go on to form The Eagles in 1971

Track one on The Eagles eponymous debut album was a song co-written by Frey and his friend Jackson Browne – “Take it Easy“.

The Eagles, Jackson Browne & Linda Ronstadt

“Take it Easy” was a song that Jackson Browne had intended to include on his own debut album but was struggling to finish. He played it to Frey who volunteered his services, contributing to the lyrics and the arrangement, completing the song on the basis that the Eagles could record it first.

The song featuring Frey on lead vocals was released as a single in May 1972. It was a top 20 hit in the US & Canada but didn’t register at all in the UK where Glam Rock was at its peak in the summer of 72.

In 1972 Route 66 went through the heart of Winslow, Arizona, however by the end of the decade Winslow had been bled dry by an interstate by-pass diverting traffic away from the once bustling town.

The residents looking for ideas to put the town back on the map decided to commission a statue to commemorate the exact spot in the town referred to in the song.

in 1999, a statue, a mural and a permanently parked flat-bed Ford truck, were positioned at that ‘Corner in Winslow, Arizona’, to honour the towns place in Rock history.

The monument has done it’s job attracting thousands of tourists and has become a magnet for Eagles fans all over the world….. particularly so since January 2016 when many have specifically travelled to pay their respects to Glenn Frey.

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona, 
and such a fine sight to see. 
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
slowin’ down to take a look at me. 

Come on, baby, don’t say maybe. 
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me. 

We may lose and we may win
though we will never be here again. 

So open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy.