Posts Tagged ‘1975’

Down a place

January 7, 2019


Hands up if you remember the Dutch arm of EMI issuing Child In Time as an A- sided 7″ single? The sleeve (shown here from Simon’s collection)) was decorated with Dutch charts to show the track had been Number One in the Veronica Top 100 for three years since 1972. Amazingly the equivalent chart for 2018 shows the track is still high in the annual listing, although it has slipped one place from last year, down from 5 to 6.  The tracks keeping it down were Bohemian Rhapsody and Hotel California at 1 and 2 again, then Piano Man by Billy Joel (how strange is that!), Stairway To Heaven and Wish You Were Here.  The chart also picks up Smoke On The Water (at 119) but you need to go to 1380 to find the next entry, Black Night.  I’ve no idea how these are compiled any more, clearly not physical sales, but however they do so it’s good to see the track is still well liked by one of European neighbours. Thanks to Tonny Steenhagen who sent me the info.  The story of the track is told in great detail in the Deep Purple In Rock history Wait For The Ricochet (just in case you haven’t bought the book yet!).  And of course 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of DPMk 2.  I did try to hire Hanwell for an event but sadly they cannot allow any more than 200 people in the function room, and there is no guarantee that the rehearsal rooms we’d wish to see will not be occupied by judo classes!


Rainbow window

September 1, 2015

Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow window display 1975

Further to my posting and the comments on the first Rainbow album (see below), here is a fabulous photograph.  It shows the in-store window display which the EMI reps put up to promote the release.  Such displays were very much reaching their zenith around this time as labels vied with each other for the most elaborate displays, many of which must have cost large sums of money to produce. Generally for major new releases, the label would agree a five figure promotion budget ahead of the game (it’s no exaggeration to say bands could record an album today on the budget), and then allocate chunks of this to advertising, radio promotion, DJs and point of sale material (which is what this would be under).
The displays were usually put up by the reps, who often had to take a snap to prove they’d done it, or by shop staff.  They would be in place for a few weeks, and when taken down were technically supposed to go back to the label.  As they were classed as promotional material, shops were not allowed to sell them so in practise many shops just binned these.  But if you knew someone in the shop they might save stuff.  You would write their name somewhere on the display while it was still on the wall and so ‘reserve’ it.  I do recall scuffles breaking out when a couple of people were after the same display!
I still have the poster which you can see on the floor of the window.  The large version of the cover art was curved card, with an acetate overlay across printed with the name of the band.  I’ve never seen the big Oyster cut-outs.
How many of these were ever made?  Hard to say.  There were around 700 record stores in the UK at this time, but not all would be deemed worth hosting a display – so maybe around 500?  I’d be surprised if more than a few dozen survive.
I must thank Christian Jones for letting me use the image.  He says he took it in the window of The Record Bar in Wakefield.  You can see a display for The Pretty Things on the right. I remember the shop, it was always well stocked and we went there on the bus sometimes in the late 70s as they had a good stock of the punk and new wave releases.  I’m pretty sure I bought my first Police single there.  The shop’s place in history is perhaps that they financed the pressing of local lad Bill Nelson’s first solo album. Here’s a grainy pic of Bill outside the very same shop in 1975 from the local Wakefield paper.
Today of course such displays are, like most record shops, a thing of the past.


Thanks also to Tonny Steenhagen.

Rainbow’s first at forty

August 21, 2015
A beaten up American original copy on sale this week at Laguna Records; $9.99

A beaten up American original copy on sale this week at Laguna Records; $9.99

Hard for some of us to believe, but the first Rainbow studio album – generally referred to as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – is forty years old this month.  It’s an album which perhaps gets overlooked in the light of the astonishing follow up, yet nevertheless had an important place in the history of Deep Purple and of course the guitarist himself.
At the time we were all quite (!) excited at the idea of a Blackmore solo album, a chance for him to stretch out and show off, to capitalise on the incredible playing he had exhibited during the 1974 Deep Purple tour.  Rock, blues, whatever – anything seemed possible.  This level of excitement, fuelled by the breathless studio updates in Sounds, perhaps made the disappointment more intense.  The first issue of what became the DTB fanzine carried a review from one of our contributors (a big Blackmore fan) which seemed to echo these feelings, and pointing out how often Blackmore fell back on the Smoke backing for his ideas! Even David Coverdale seemed thrown, having like the rest of us expected much more, and writing it off in a contemporary interview as sub-standard Deep Purple.

The album came out in Japan in October

The album came out in Japan in October

Polydor put plenty of work into the album; there was loads of press promotion, full page adverts, incredible shop window displays and in-store posters. And it sold fairly well, yet in many ways the album struggled to satisfy the differing demands placed on it.  Apart from those of us wanting a guitar showcase, the project evolved from a one-off single, to a solo album and then a new full-blown band project.  Along the way compromises were certainly made.  We got a couple of cover versions, one or two attempts at a commercial single, and then a mix of hard rock and laid back material which showed promise.  Even the production was skewed, with Blackmore subsumed for far too much of the time and by the time it was finished, having already decided the musicians mostly had to go (with the keyboards largely buried even before the album came out).  By then there was no time or budget to go back and rework it, the album had to sink or swim.
Personally I would have relegated Black Sheep Of The Family to a single only track, and downgraded If You Don’t Like Rock & Roll (which was too much like an Elf out-take really) to the status of b-side.  Still I’m Sad needed to be reworked as a massive instrumental set closer rather than the badly mixed version we get (which on the CD gives more importance to the effing cow-bell than the guitar). Even on stage this failed to properly develop into the mid-set showcase it deserved to be, and was largely thrown away amidst the end of set madness. Overall the LP could have done with one other guitar heavy piece to bulk the album out and knock us dead. Perhaps even the idea of bringing the introspective material together on one side; imagine Catch The Rainbow and Temple Of The King extended and linked to form one amazing sequence in the way they did Stargazer / Light on the second album?  Older fans noted nods towards Soldier of Fortune on the latter and Hendrix on the former, but despite that these tracks still managed to offer something new and promising.
The heavier tracks all seem to be shortened on purpose, trying to keep them more commercial, when there was no great need.  It was only ever going to be the  fans who rushed out and bought this album on release. Longer cuts with more guitar would have worked, and if singles were needed, just trim them down for 45s afterwards. As it was most of these numbers only began to fully demonstrate their potential once done live.

The inner gatefold featured a montage of older photos

The inner gatefold featured a montage of older photos

But despite the issues and compromises, there is still plenty to make Rainbow’s debut worth checking out and on the heavier side Man On The Silver Mountain, C16 Greensleeves, Snake Charmer and Self Portrait all have something about them, and it’s fascinating to listen to these now and remember what came next when Ritchie found his feet, and a band who could take it up a level (though for me there is no doubt Elf were up to it given the right circumstances – you only have to listen to their final album Trying To Burn The Sun to see that).  Curiously the sleeve seemed to sum up the project; a great idea but poorly executed.  Imagine that design done by Frank Frazetta?
Collectors – should look for the original UK Oyster label edition, a great pressing, and only available for a couple of years.  Pension fund managers – should seek out the ultra rare Purple Records edition from New Zealand.  Those who have gone digital – well, I personally prefer the older CD issue.  The remaster from a few years ago is very clipped and too loud, but it’s about all there is, the album never made it to the Universal deluxe series. There is no doubt that the album has long been in need of a really sympathetic remix now that it no longer needs to fit the moment, though whether anyone even knows where the masters are these days seems uncertain (never mind would the man himself allow such work.)

Pay to view

December 1, 2014

Deep Purple Liverpool 1976Hot on the heels of that interesting Marshall documentary (which was pretty good for the most part – and great to have Purple’s part of the story properly recognised, and see Nick Simper, Bernie Marsden and Mick Underwood in a show together), and that iffy Made In Japan one from a few weeks back, comes news that the much edited Last Concert In Japan aka Rises Over Japan Mk 4 video gets an airing at the weekend, albeit on Sky Arts (Sat Dec 6th). If you’ve not got one of the zillion pirate copies or never watched it online, then approach with some caution as it is a very heavily edited and messed about with representation of the band. Thanks to Mr. TV listings, Tim Summers.

(I was going to illustrate this with a shot of Mk 1 as is traditional in TV listings magazines but wasn’t sure everyone would get the joke!)

Something old, something new

August 11, 2014

News on the site of the latest in the then and now reissue programme, with the Verona 2011 show (with orchestra) appearing on DVD and Graz 1975 (without orchestra, or indeed encores if the sales info is to be believed) appearing on CD later this year.  Details are on the site along with track listings, etc.