Thursday, October 11, 2012

Soundstage Of Mind

With Walls And Bridges now finally in his rear-view mirror, John could focus on completing his oldies album. Having realized that only a few of the songs taped with Phil Spector were salvageable, he reenlisted the Walls studio band to record the rest of the tracks.

The musicians spent October 18th and 19th rehearsing the material at a farm in upstate New York owned by music publisher Morris Levy. Levy's company, Big Seven, owned the rights to Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", a lyric from which Lennon had appropriated in "Come Together". As part of an agreement with Levy, John agreed to record some songs from the Big Seven catalog in his oldies project.

In exchange, Levy loaned the band use of his dairy in Ghent for the rehearsals, which were recorded. Among the numbers tried out were several that didn't make the final cut, including "Thirty Days", "C'mon Everybody", and "That'll Be The Day":

The band made quick work of the sessions at the Record Plant in New York, completing the basic tracks for the rest of the album in five days of sessions from October 21st through the 25th. Overdubbing and remixing continued through November.

On the other side of the country, George was rehearsing his own band for the Dark Horse tour, scheduled to begin November 2nd in Vancouver. George officially launched the tour during a press conference October 23rd at the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel in Los Angeles. His comments about "going back in his cave for another five years" foreshadowed the troubles ahead.

The truth was that George had been simultaneously rehearsing on a soundstage at Hollywood's A&M Studios and still recording the Dark Horse LP throughout October, with sessions running as late as the 31st. The result was an album and tour marred by George's croaky, raspy vocals, as heard in this promo clip for "Dark Horse" filmed during rehearsals:


  1. Poor George! Shouldn't have done all that hanging out with Ravi Shankar and Company!

    Don't do it, George! Cancel the tour! 40-something shows in 20-something cities, oof!! We know you remember how bad touring was...because you just talked about with Alan Freeman on the Rock Around The World interview!

    Maybe he was eager to hit the road so he could have some fun with the ladies of the road, after all, he's newly single!

  2. The source for the George Harrison press conference that you posted is from Disc 9 of the documentary "Liverpool To Legend" which I, um, found from a better sounding source. There's a small bit of it from that same documentary not included in the clip you posted, although it has some background music. Typically, the extra bit has George promoting Indian music, talking about why he's included the Indian musicians on his upcoming American tour.

    I also have an 11+ minute clip of this same press conference from an alternate source, though I don't remember where I got it from. In it, George compliments Smokey Robinson at length, gives a skeptical opinion of benefit concerts and the Bangladesh gig, and puts down the Beatles' musicianship--quickly clarifying that he thinks Ringo's a great drummer, Paul is a fine bass player, and that he'd play in a band with John Lennon any day (but not with Paul McCartney).

    It also contains the first 40 seconds of the aforementioned "LTL" clips in lesser quality, though not the final 45 seconds.

    The following link contains three files: the clips from the Wiltshire press conference as broadcast in "Liverpool To Legend", the press conference as heard in the unidentified alternate source, and an edit of the two. Not sure if I put the edit together in the right order, but it seems likely it was something like this.



    1. Great stuff, TFM! Thanks as always for filling in some of the gaps in my solo collection!