Tag Archives: the who

Golden Years

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, May 2021

Every generation tends to think there era was best.

And why wouldn’t they… typically, every era has access to more ‘stuff’ and better lifestyle choices than the previous one.

For our generation (late Baby-Boomers born between 1954-1964), I think we hit the sweet spot culturally…. particularly when it comes to music.

My musical awareness began around 1968, just in time to catch the Beatles, and all the brilliant 70s artists that followed.
I look back now and realise that the 70s wouldn’t have been so prolific without the 60s…. with The Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Motown, Stax and the Laurel Canyon scene inspiring what was to follow.

And what was to follow was pretty special…….

The Rolling Stones, The Who, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, The Eagles, Earth Wind & Fire, James Brown, The Doobie Brothers, Roxy Music, T-Rex, Little Feat, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklyn, Carole King, Carly Simon, Bob Marley, Parliament/Funkadelic, Bobby Womack, Pink Floyd, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Queen, McCartney, Lennon, Harrison , Yes, Genesis, AWB, The Bee Gees, Deep Purple, Linda Ronstadt, Curtis Mayfield, George Benson, Rory Gallagher, John Martyn, Todd Rundgren…. and many more

Whether you were a fan of some of these acts or not, the one thing they all shared was a prolificacy of output…. amazingly they all managed to release multiple albums of exceptional quality, whilst still finding time to compose, record, tour, collaborate and live a 70s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, with all the excesses that entailed.

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I’m with the band – On the road with Zep

Indeed, there was so much quality being produced in the 70s that for the first five or six years of the decade it seemed like there was a landmark release every other week.

Take 1971 as an example.

  • The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
  • Carole King – Tapestry
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
  • David Bowie – Hunky Dory
  • Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  • Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
  • John Lennon – Imagine
  • Joni Mitchell – Blue
  • The Who – Who’s Next
  • T Rex – Electric Warrior
  • Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat
  • The Doors – LA Woman
  • Sly and the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • The Faces – A Nods as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse
  • James Brown – Sex Machine
  • Don McLean – American Pie
  • Gil Scott Heron – Pieces of a Man
  • Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  • Pink Floyd – Meddle 
  • James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim 
  • Isaac Hayes – Shaft 
  • Yes – Fragile
  • Paul McCartney – Ram 
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71 A Classic Year

Included in this list from 71 are two of the top three albums of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine….
Marvin Gaye’s – What’s Going On and Joni Mitchell’s – Blue.
Both seminal and often cited as landmark recordings by other artists and critics, but in truth just two excellent albums from a catalogue of exquisite releases.
There is a neat book about the quality of the music released in 1971 by David Hepworth who describes the year as ‘the most creative in popular music’

Anther remarkable thing about the 70s was the diversity of the music.

Rock, pop, soul, reggae, jazz, punk, folk, glam, funk….. it was one big melting pot where you could find Benny Hill rubbing shoulders at the top of the charts with Jimi Hendrix, Abba with Pink Floyd, and The Wombles with Stevie Wonder.

The 70s record buying public represented a ‘broad church’ of musical styles and tastes and they were all represented in the weekly top 30.

There was also a constant flow of talent breaking through in the 70s.
Take the chart below from July 1972 and you will see the emergence of a few acts making their chart debuts that month, who went on to do pretty well….
Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople, Alice Cooper, ELO

Another barometer of how good an era is, can be measured I think, by the interest in it from future generations.

Based on my own anecdotal evidence, I have a daughter who loves Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye as much as she loves Beyonce or John Mayer and I have sons who dig Steely Dan, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder as much as they dig Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters or Kanye West.

That only happens when the music is timeless…..

Talking of timeless music, the updated 70s Jukebox links are below.
There are 250 songs on the master playlist now, with the common thread being that they are all singles that would almost certainly have been playing on a jukebox somewhere in the 70s.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, it’s a playlist that’s been curated by you and not surprisingly our choices have proved to be a microcosm of the record buying public with a wide range of tastes and musical styles covered.

It was clear from the song choices coming through at the start that there were two distinctive threads –
Soul/Disco
Classic Pop/Rock

Therefore I’ve prepared two playlists….

1) The Ultimate Playlist which is the master playlist and features all 250 songs, tracks 1-150 are classic pop/rock songs and tracks 151-250 are soul/disco tracks…. select shuffle and it will churn out 17 hours of hit after hit, just like a great jukebox should.

2) The Boogie Nights Playlist features the 100 soul/disco tracks taken from the master playlist which you can boogie or smooch to….. just like a night up Joannas or your favourite 70s nightclub of choice!

Within each playlist I have tried to group the songs in a running order that makes sense but if you’re like me you’ll probably just hit ‘shuffle’, pour out your beverage of choice and boogie round the kitchen like it’s 1975…

To save the playlist to your Spotify library….. press the Spotify icon in the top right hand corner of the playlists above and when you’ve been transferred to the playlist on your own Spotify account, click the Heart icon to save the playlist to your library.

The Tale of Two Keiths and the No.64 Bus

Mark Arbuckle: Glasgow, May 2021

Inspired by the recent Apollo posts I’ve decided to share some of my own gig memories.

On 12th of May 1976 myself and my friend Peter attended The Rolling Stones concert at The Glasgow Apollo. 

I don’t remember too much about the gig but apparently it wasn’t their best as it was beset by sound problems all night.

It’s what happened after the gig that is etched on my mind however.

As we were leaving there was an altercation on the street right outside the main doors.
Peter and I decided to cut along Renfield Lane to avoid whatever was happening. Just as we got to the side door it burst open and a figure hurtled out, slipped on the cobbles and crashed to the ground. I reached down to help him to his feet.

‘Scrag-dab Groog Slubdabahoo!’ spluttered the man and I suddenly realised that the skinny figure I was propping up was a totally wasted Keith Richards!
Almost immediately a black limo screeched to a halt in front of us and a very large man jumped out, removed KR from my arms, opened the back door and threw him onto the back seat!
He grunted ‘Thanks man’ jumped into the car and sped off! The entire incident lasted about 40 seconds!

Peter and I just stared open mouthed at each other and then burst out laughing!

A few weeks later, on 5th June 1976 I was very fortunate to be asked to be part of the security team at ‘The Who Put The Boot In’ all day gig at Celtic Park.

My brother was friendly with a guy (MR) who booked all the bands for Glasgow Tech and he was asked to provide some bodies for the day.
MR was very well known in the UK music industry and even had Pans People at his 22nd birthday party at the old Albany Hotel, where I danced with my long time crush, the gorgeous Cherry Gillespie……but I digress.

My brother and I and 4 other friends duly turned up at Celtic Park at 8.00am and along with 60 other ‘security’ guards were given a briefing on our duties for the day.
We were issued with our yellow ‘Harvey Goldsmith’ security jackets and split up into teams of six.
We were then taken on a tour of the ground’s fire exits, toilets, catering and first aid points.
We were also shown the No Access areas and told that in no uncertain terms that the large, bulky figures sporting the blue ‘Rock Steady’ jackets were the REAL security and we were to assist them whenever asked to!

Our team of six was then told to report to the front of the stadium where the crowds had been gathering for the last few hours. We were to assist the Police confiscating the fans’ alcohol before they entered the stadium! ‘Either drink it where you stand or give it to us!’
We had to open and empty the beer cans and smash the glass bottles into large brick bins. The smell of alcohol was eye watering! People were attempting to consume their entire kerryoot there and then! Especially the ones at the back of the huge queues as the word quickly spread.

I watched a skinny wee guy down a bottle of vodka in the five minutes it took him to get to the turnstile!
I doubt if he saw much of the day’s entertainment!

Though I imagine quite a lot (hunners) of half and quarter bottles of alcohol were missed by our untrained searches and smuggled into the stadium.
(I’m also sure quite a few made it into Yella Jaikets’ zipped pokits!)
After about 2 hours confiscating booze, I was partnered with an older guy and sent to guard the pylon on the right side of the stage. 

We were there to prevent anybody trying to climb up it, but as you couldn’t see the stage from there, nobody did! After a boring half hour my partner announced that he was ‘Offski’ ‘F#€K This’ were his exact words.
I later found out that he was ejected for drinking. I lasted another 15 minutes then abandoned my post and decided to have a wander back stage. Little Feat were on stage and I was enjoying Lowell George’s superb slide guitar work.

Little Feat’s Lowell George

I was talking to a long haired denim clad guy next to me who turned out to be the bass player (Frank O’Keefe… I had to google him) of The Outlaws who had already played their set. 

The Outlaws, Frank O’Keefe second from right

A man approached us and said to Frank ‘Excuse me, this is Alan Longmuir of The Bay City Rollers….’Alan also plays bass’ Frank stared right through him, shrugged a ‘So what?’ and returned to talking to me! I felt really sorry for Alan Longmuir.

A Rock Steady Security Guy shouted ‘Right you! Follow me!’ So I did.

I followed him down a back staircase and emerged outside in a courtyard.

A few weeks before the gig a Sunday newspaper ran a competition to win a gig ticket and the chance to meet Keith Moon and help him smash up a replica of the organ used in Rock Opera, Tommy!

There stood Keith Moon dressed in a leather bikers jacket with tasseled sleeves and brandishing a sledgehammer!

Keith Moon

After posing for press photographs, cackling Keith dealt the first mighty blow to the poor keyboard sending black and white keys flying in all directions! Then he handed his sledgehammer to me and said ‘Your turn’ The competition winner and I then set about the helpless instrument with glee! After 15 minutes our ‘Appetite for Destruction’ waned and we put down our weapons. Keith reappeared and invited us onto The Who’s tour bus for a drink. We were greeted by a stunning 6′ 2″ woman dressed in a black leather basque, fishnet stockings and thigh length leather boots with 4″ stiletto heels! Oh and she was carrying a whip!
The bus had been converted into a fully functioning bar with beer pumps, spirit optics and high stools! We took our seats and Miss Whiplash served our drinks. I had an ice cold beer (very welcome after our exertions) and a Jack & Coke. I did feel a pang of guilt for all the poor sods that had had their carry outs destroyed earlier…but not for long.

Keith was laughing and talking nonstop and it was obvious that he was already quite drunk and had probably partaken of other various substances. It was around 4pm and The Who weren’t due on stage for at least another 5 hours!

Keith offered us a second round but I declined and said I’d better, very reluctantly, get back to work. The competition winner (we never did introduce ourselves) left the bus with me. We were both still on a high after this amazing encounter with one of the legends of rock!

I returned backstage and watched SAHB’s amazing set.
Nobody questioned why I was there and I had a brilliant view!
The crowd went wild at Alex Harvey’s mad antics and Zal and the rest of the band pounded out song after song!

SAHB’s elaborate Vambo set then had to be dismantled and The Who’s much heralded outdoor laser light show (the first in Scotland) was set up.

The crowd were getting a bit restless by the time The Who took the stage about 9.30pm but they played a magnificent set.

However the laser show didn’t really work as intended as it was still pretty light until around 10.30pm.
Then the show was over and I met up again with my brother and his pals as we queued up to be paid.
The deal was ‘Hand in your Yellow Jacket and get paid £1 per hour cash or keep the jacket and get zero. Now if I’d known then that eBay would exist in the future then I would’ve kept the jacket and sold it now for £500!

However I took my  £14.00  handed out by Harvey Goldsmith himself sitting in a little wooden booth. 

HG was beaming as he handed over the little bundles of cash obviously calculating the tens of thousands that he’d personally made from the tour!

I can’t even remember how we all got home from that exhausting but exhilarating day!

Now this last story may not be true…..It was told to me by an older guy who regularly attended gigs throughout 70’s

Fun and substance loving band Dr. Hook were partying hard with their crew and local security at The Central Hotel after their gig at The Apollo.

Dr Hook

One of the band overheard a local guy mentioning ‘Hocken-Shoe-Gal! 
and in their spaced out, inebriated state the sound of this, strange, mystical place must’ve appealed to them and they decided they must visit, so they enquired how to get there.
The local guy suggested a taxi but the band insisted on travelling ‘like the other pilgrims do’ 
‘Then get the No. 64 bus from under the bridge’ They were told, so off they went to Argyle St. and got on the No. 64 bus…. 

Unfortunately they boarded it on the wrong side of the road so instead of travelling east to the magical, mystical Auchenshuggle, they headed west through Finnieston, Partick, Whiteinch, Yoker, Clyebank and arrived at the large concrete terminus of Dalmuir West! 

The band were very confused and didn’t appreciate these surroundings at all! They clambered back on the bus for the return journey back to the city centre to continue their par-tay! Hahaha

True or Not… It’s a great story!! 

a packed lunch for a vampire and dennis neilson’s freezer – a who odyssey

(By Alan Fairley – Edinburgh)

To many people, going to a gig and ending up in hospital would be regarded as an occupational hazard but to go through that experience while carrying out the comparatively mundane and harmless act of purchasing a ticket has to be regarded as something of a rarity.

It was an adventure I experienced back in October 1971.

The Who had just announced that they would be returning to Glasgow for the first time in over a year to play a show at Greens Playhouse and interest in the gig was sky high, coming as it did on the back of the band’s highly successful and unique Rock Opera Tommy which had been kicking around for a couple of years.

On top of that, Who’s Next, which is widely regarded as the bands finest ever piece of work and which featured the anthemic single Won’t Get Fooled Again, had just been released

The announcement came that tickets would go on sale at 10am on the Sunday before the show and plans began to develop as to how these sought-after pieces of paper could fall into the hand of myself and my two fellow Who fans from school, Angus MacAulay and Nicky Mawbey (both now sadly deceased).

Long before the days of Ticketmaster and online/telephone booking, anyone looking to attend a gig would merely trot along to the House of Clydesdale electrical store in Sauchiehall Street and proceed to the oasis-like ticket desk which was crammed in between the fridge freezers and the twin tubs. 

With demand expected to be high the best option to guarantee success for a high profile show like The Who was to camp out on the pavement overnight which, bearing in mind the onset of a Glasgow winter would have been a course of action palatable only to the foolhardy and the supremely dedicated.

None of us fell into either of these categories (although we perhaps verged on the borderline of foolhardy) so we devised a plan to wake up early and rendezvous at 6am on the day of the sale prior to making the six mile journey into Sauchiehall Street.

What we didn’t allow for, however, was the non-availability of public transport at six o’clock on a Sunday morning so, with no buses or trains running at such an ungodly hour, we resorted to the noble art of hitch hiking.

It was an activity in which none of us had any prior experience and as a result, we stood by the road with thumbs outstretched hoping that some passing driver would be daft enough to pick up three long-haired, denim clad teenage boys.

After getting some strange looks from the occupants of the few vehicles who sped by, a car finally stopped and our spirits were lifted when the driver shouted “ur yees gaun intae toon for Who tickets, boys? In ye get.”

This kindred spirit kindly dropped us off in the city centre before looking for a parking space but when we we turned into Sauchiehall Street we were met by what only be described as a seething mass of humanity with a queue from Clydesdale, four deep on the pavement, snaking all the way round to Hope Street then into Renfrew Street.

The Famous Apollo Queue

We trudged gloomily in search of the end of the queue when an almighty scuffle broke out amongst those in line. Police were soon on the scene, manhandling everyone in the vicinity, the outcome being Angus, Nicky and myself being pushed into the queue by the said officers.

This episode of police-enforced queue jumping led to us gaining a foothold at least 100 yards further up the line from where we should have been and raised our expectations of a successful outcome to the trip. Every cloud and all that.

We then heard that, on police advice, the ticket desk was to open at 9am and it wasn’t long before we were slowly shuffling round with the Holy Grail of Clydesdale Electrical within our distant sights.

Then, disaster struck.

A rumour began circulating (allegedly by the police) that the tickets were almost sold out, panic set in and an almighty crush developed as the four-deep queue grew to six or seven-deep, with people desperate to move forward in what was now beginning to look like a forlorn quest of seeing Townshend, Daltrey and co in the flesh.

By this time, the three of us, along with many others were pushed up tight against the plate glass window of Graftons, a ladies clothes shop.

As the crush increased, there was no means of escape and the window began to creak with the weight of bodies trapped against it.

The scene of the incident but in gentler times!

Before long the inevitable sound of breaking glass became apparent as the window gave way and I found myself lying on the floor amongst the Graftons mannequins with deadly looking shards of glass raining down on my head.

The cops again appeared, hauling bodies out of the carnage and I recall one senior office shouting “get this dealt wi’, we don’t want another Ibrox”, a poignant nod to the Ibrox disaster which had claimed 66 lives earlier that year.

I was lucky… I only suffered a few minor scratches, as did Nicky but Angus wasn’t so fortunate. When we found him he was lying on the pavement with blood pouring from a wound in the back of his neck.

By this time a fleet of ambulances had arrived, and we hauled him over to the nearest one before we were all bundled in and carted off to the Royal Infirmary.

Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary – in all its Gothic glory

Now, on, say, a Friday or Saturday night, the emergency department of Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary is not a place for the faint hearted as the hard-pressed medics deal with the never-ending stream of drunken casualties but Sunday mornings? -that was time for the doctors and nurses to relax a bit and review the events of an eventful night shift over a well-earned coffee and a bacon roll.

Not this time. Their peace was shattered by the sight of several dozen blood-soaked rock fans coming through the doors for treatment. I actually felt quite embarrassed taking up a space in the waiting area with my puny little scratches while the guy beside me, a hippy dude called Stevie, held his kaftan tightly against his head to stem the blood from the area where an almighty shard of glass was embedded.

Stevie addressed the situation with the classic black humour for which Glaswegians are famed, uttering a line which has has stayed in my psyche until this day – I feel like I’m a packed lunch for a fuckin’ vampire.”

After several hours in casualty, Angus emerged with an impressive row of stitches in his neck and the three of us went home ticketless.

I did get to see The Who twice in the years that followed, firstly at Charlton Athletic Football Ground (The Valley) in 1974 and again at Celtic Park in 1976.

Moon & Harvey on the same bill? – Madness!

The Charlton gig, which I attended with my mate Mike Rooney from Temple, was an all-day event and featured a stellar supporting cast of Humble Pie, Lou Reed, Bad Company, Lindisfarne, Maggie Bell (who took great delight in informing the 60,000 crowd that Scotland had just beaten England 2-0 at Hampden) and Montrose.

The last-named band had been called in as last-minute replacements for The Sweet who had been scheduled to open the show but were forced to pull out after singer Brian Connolly had his head kicked in by some neds after a gig the previous night.

The show had its high points and low points. One of the high points was, when sitting in the blistering sunshine on the terracing steps, the bra-less girl beside me graciously decided to whip off her t-shirt and remain topless throughout Humble Pie’s set. That vision always returns to my mind when I dust off the cover of the Pie’s epic double album Eat It which was around at the time.

One of the highlights of the day…

The low point was the fact that The Who were 40 minutes late in taking the stage and it was inevitable that the show would continue beyond its 10pm curfew.

As the last train to Glasgow would be departing Euston Station at 11pm Mike and I made the reluctant decision to leave the gig early and, after negotiating the complex route across the capital from Charlton, we managed to jump on the train with seconds to spare.

In hindsight, it proved to be smart move. Had we stayed for the encores and missed the train, the alternative would have been to spend the night in that particular corner of hell known as the Euston concourse.

Reflecting on stories which have emerged since then regarding young lads who were in similar situations, who knows, it could well have been our lifeless, severed body parts which were found stashed in the dark recesses of Dennis Nilsen’s freezer.

In the words of Bob Dylan – ‘a simple twist of fate.’

My Top 5 Who songs

  1. Squeeze Box
  2. Won’t Get Fooled Again
  3. I Can’t Explain
  4. 5:15
  5. Baba O’Reilly