On November 19, 1977 the other side of the new Wings "Mull of Kintyre" single entered Billboard's Hot 100 single chart at #83. It's a bit of a racy rocker from Macca who wrote the lyrics about taking drugs and a sister who runs a "full body out call massage parlor" while vacationing in Hawaii. The single would peak at #33 in the US which ignored the UK phenom on the other side.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Mick Farren wrote this review for NME :
From Chas de Wally writing for Sounds:
And from Chris Bazier writing for Melody Maker :
Finally there's Barry Cain from Record Mirror
Friday, November 17, 2017
Final albums can be fascinating. Bowie's Black Star remains my favorite and most emotional listen of 2016 and Warren Zevon performing Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door" on The Wind is an act of sheer courage. Well in 1977, the theatrical French singing legend Jacques Brel was down to one lung thanks to a 100 filterless cigarette a day habit. He knew he had terminal cancer when he entered the studio to record Brel a.k.a Les Marquises.
Brel's health was failing so much he could only manage three takes per song. If you think you're hearing a bad note, that's because you are. Tant pis pour toi!
Brel had written many of the songs in the South Pacific where he had retired to sail around in his yacht. His home was in the French Indonesian Maquesas Islands.
To avoid giving interviews, Brel returned to the Marquesas Islands but in his home country of France, word of the new album spread. A million fans placed advanced orders for Les Marquises.
Brel lived for eleven more months. The only comment he ever publicly made about the album is that he hated the cover.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
In November of 1977 Rod Stewart released Foot Loose and Fancy Free, his eight solo album. And like every album since his masterful Every Picture Tells A Story, it follows a formula. Big rocker at the top ("Hot Legs") . A Motown cover (a lugubrious "You Keep Me Hangin' On), and some singles featuring acoustic guitars ("You're In My Heart", "I Was Only Joking"). The album sold well but nothing could prevent the inevitable disco album, Blondes Have More Fun, from following up.
There's something to be said for the New Wave rebellion against (to borrow a phrase from the not-so-young-himself Willy De Ville) "old meat." Even if this reaction is mostly confined to England, it seems very healthy. There are a lot of kids in England who don't care what kind of fashionably gauche trinkets decorate Rod Stewart's high-class, Hollywood home or what the exact terms (if any) of his separation from Britt Ekland will be. They do care that Stewart has lost touch with them, not only musically but culturally as well. And for Rod Stewart this dilemma seems particularly complex. After all, it wasn't too long ago that Stewart (who began his career idolizing Sam Cooke, David Ruffin and Ramblin' Jack Elliott) was digging graves for a living and feeling a little testy himself.
To his credit, Stewart decided not to take the easy way out this time. Instead of returning to Muscle Shoals and American sessionmen for a comfortable followup to A Night on the Town, Rod opted to form a band and cut an album of mostly rock and roll. Foot Loose and Fancy Free is the result. But there's just one problem: the record falls flat.
Then there's the inclusion of a seven-and-a-half-minute version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (with, yes, the Vanilla Fudge arrangement), an odd lapse of taste for the normally scrupulous Stewart. A cover of Luther Ingram's "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right)" comes off much better. Where Ingram sounded forlorn, Stewart is damned positive he's making the right decision. And when he sings the hook in the third chorus, the pull of his voice is still capable of creating Herculean emotional drama. Finally, there are the separation songs, which are drenched with a bitterness the arrangements don't always bring out. It's hard to be discreet when the disintegration of your romance is fodder for every two-bit publication in the world. But Stewart doesn't even try. "You're in My Heart," the current single, is a cheeky, none-too-subtle put-down that deserves awkwardly tacked to a singsong narrative. The subdued "You Got a Nerve" is more straightforward and features this chilling couplet: "Oh what pleasure it gives me now/To know that you're bleeding inside." It's been a long year for Rod Stewart.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
On November 15, 1977, a full month before the movie came out in theaters, RSO Records released the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. The first side of the double album would be inescapable in the year that followed. I first heard the soundtrack at a dinner party given my some friends of my father and the woman who would become my second step mother. They were in the first giddy months of their affair, and she actually thought I'd want to dance in these people's living room. It was only the first time I would disappoint her and my father.
Perhaps the same scene was happening in 15 million other living rooms?
While the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever is generally uninteresting, the Bee Gees are an exception. The brothers Gibb not only have the best falsettos in the business, but also the keenest sense of disco's potential for transcendence.
The Bee Gees have everything going for them: lyrics that don't insult, a band that can open up and utilize each and every electric and/or acoustic possibility without sounding overproduced, great harmonies, superb dance music. Indeed, "You Should Be Dancing" comes as close to disco perfection as anything I've heard, save perhaps Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' "Bad Luck" and Labelle's "Lady Marmalade." The Bee Gees are very busy on Saturday Night Fever. They perform six of their own songs (four new, two old) and wrote the record's only other worthwhile track, "If I Can't Have You," sung by Yvonne Elliman, who sounds authentically resonant enough to give it the necessary poignancy.
Though Saturday Night Fever is more dross than gloss, it winds up being saved by the grace of the Bee Gees. God bless 'em.
An all-star lineup, spearheaded by the Bee Gees, join forces on this two-record soundtrack from the forthcoming flick starring John Travolta. The Bee Gees perform on six tunes including its fast-rising "How Deep Is Your Love" while penning five new ones, one performed by Yvonne Elliman. The other contributors are Tavares, K.C. & the Sunshine Band, the Trammps, Kool and the Gang, Walter Murphy, Ralph McDonald, M.F.S.B. and David Shire. The music contains something for everyone, from disco to soft jazzy instrumentals to out and out boogie to ballads and rockers. Singularly, the Bee Gees are the standouts and nucleus, yet collectively this album is filled with bundles of talent. Best cuts: "How Deep Is Your Love," "Staying Alive," "If I Can't Have You," "More Than A Woman," "Night Fever," "Boogie Shoes."
Our pal Robert Christgau gave the soundtrack a B+ review.
So you've seen the movie -- pretty good movie, right? -- and decided that this is the disco album that you're going to try. Well, I can't blame you. The Bee Gees side is pop music at a new peak of irresistible silliness, with the former Beatle clones singing like mechanical mice with an unnatural sense of rhythm. And the album climaxes on a par-tee even non-discoids can get into, beginning with the best of David Shire's "additional music," then switching almost imperceptibly to something tolerable by MFSB and revving into all 10:52 of the Trammps' magnificent "Disco Inferno." But I find the other two sides unlistenable, mostly because the rest of Shire's additions are real soundtrack-quality stuff -- he even discofies Moussorgsky without making a joke of it (compare Walter Murphy on side two). And there's one more problem. While you're deciding to buy this record, so is everyone you know. You're gonna get really sick of it. Maybe you should Surprise Your Friends and seek out Casablanca's Get Down and Boogie instead.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
It was actually in July of 1977 that Steve Harley released the double live album, Face To Face, the day after he announced he was breaking up the band. The recordings came from eight-date UK tour in December 1976. Harley told Record Mirror he was excited about the shows:
"We did eight concerts and every night was great. I'm not just saying that. Jimmy had left to join Rod Stewart's band and Jo Partridge brought new energy. It was our fourth major tour and the fans were on my side from the word go. They're a great audience. It was the best concert tour I've done in my life. I've never enjoyed playing so much in my career."
Audience participation plays a big role especially in the final cut, Harley's UK #1 smash hit "Make Me Smile ( Come Up And See Me)" . As the band leaves the stage the audience sings the chorus to "Tumbling Down".
"Although his career at the moment appears to be at its 'lowest ebb', Harley can still fill halls to capacity. I count several Rebel concerts to be amongst the most emotional and enjoyable I've ever seen. Side one gets off to a slow start, non-atmospheric and yawn-prompting, Cockney Rebel sounding curiously leaden. Side two suffers from the same kind of problems. By contrast, side three and four are magnificent, compulsive. The involvement builds and builds until, towards the end, everyone sings along in fine football chorus tradition. Highly charged, sincere, spine-tingling stuff. The latter half of "Face To Face" is quite magical, strikes a deep emotional chord. And I can't think of many albums that do that, can you?
Monday, November 13, 2017
On November 13, 1977 "Mull of Kintyre" entered the U.K. charts at #48. It was recorded August 9 1977, during a break from London Town. "Mull of Kintyre"was named after the Scottish peninsula where McCartney has owned a farm since 1966.
"I certainly loved Scotland enough, so I came up with a song about where we were living: an area called Mull of Kintyre," McCartney said. " It was a love song really, about how I enjoyed being there and imagining I was traveling away and wanting to get back there ."
McCartney recorded the guitars outside and brought in the Campbeltown Pipe Band to ply bagpipes. The single would hit #1 over Christmas on its way to selling a record two million copies, the biggest selling hit single until Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?".
The song would later be covered by Glen Campbell.