Chamblee54

The Death Of Jimi Hendrix

Posted in History, Music by chamblee54 on June 11, 2021

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The current episode of WTF podcast features Marshall Crenshaw, a Jimi Hendrix fan. He discusses reports that Mr. Hendrix was murdered by Michael Jeffrey, his manager. This is a repost.

“The rock legend Jimi Hendrix was murdered by his manager, who stood to collect millions of dollars on the star’s life insurance policy, a former roadie has claimed in a new book. James “Tappy” Wright says that Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffrey, drunkenly confessed to killing him by stuffing pills into his mouth and washing them down with several bottles of red wine because he feared Hendrix intended to dump him for a new manager, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday. In his book, Rock Roadie, Mr Wright says Jeffrey told him in 1971 that Hendrix had been “worth more to him dead than alive” as he had taken out a life insurance policy on the musician worth $2m (about £1.2m at the time), with himself as the beneficiary. Two years later, Jeffrey was killed in a plane crash.

These rumors have been around for years. Whenever someone famous dies under mysterious circumstances, people wonder why. If you google the phrase “was Jimi Hendrix…” the suggested searches are left handed, a hippie, black, and murdered.

Mr. Wright’s story is denied by Bob Levine, the United States manager of Mr. Hendrix. He says Mr. Wright waited until 2009 to tell this tale, and he did it to increase book sales. Mr. Levine is legally blind after suffering a stroke. Bob Levine and Tappy Wright are not friends.

“The Orlando-based Wright says the ex-manager (Levine) “wanted me to baby-sit him” because Levine’s alienated his family and staff. “Levine used to say, ‘If you don’t come through, I’m going to slag your book,'” claims Wright, who adds that he has a “signed and notarized” statement from Levine saying that “it’s about time somebody wrote the truth about Jimi’s death. He also did a video interview.” Levine denies Wright’s claims. Levine says he is legally blind from his stroke but has “people taking care of me.” Levine adds that he didn’t discuss Hendrix’s death in the video and has no recollection of signing the notarized statement. Asked why he chose to speak out about the book now, Levine says: “Tappy dared me. He said, ‘There’s no one left to challenge me.'” Adds Wright, “I’m just correcting the story.”

There is a story from an physician who was at the hospital when Jimi Hendrix was brought in.

“John Bannister the on-call registrar at the now closed St Mary Abbots Hospital in Kensington, said in an interview that the patient seemed to have “drowned” in a large amount of red wine.”
The last paragraph of the Telegraph story is an amusing post script. “Bannister now lives in Sydney and worked as a doctor until 1992 when he was deregistered for fraudulent conduct.”
Everyone in this story is either dead or sketchy. Michael Jeffrey seems to have been a nasty piece of work. He was a former intelligence agent for Britain’s MI6 agency. There are reports of stolen money, numbered bank accounts, and gangster business tactics. Reportedly, Mr. Hendrix was busy getting new management. The last paragraph of the blog critics story is perhaps the most intriguing.

“Michael Jeffery reportedly perished in a plane crash over France in 1973. But his remains were never found. Eric Burdon, Noel Redding, and others believe he may have checked luggage but slipped away during the boarding process. Jeffery was due in London court the very next day to defend himself in several huge lawsuits relating to his embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud.”

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Lene Lovich

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on May 26, 2021

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Lene Lovich was born Lili-Marlene Premilovich in Detroit, Michigan, March 30, 1949. She moved to England as a teenager, and met Les Chappell. He who played guitar in her band, and was her man.

As an art school student, she started to tie her long hair in plaits to keep it out of the clay while studying sculpture. Her recording debut was as part of an audience, when Chuck Berry recorded “My ding a ling”. This may have been the inspiration for “Lucky Number.”

Miss Lovich played in several bands, before winding up on the Stiff label. She put out two albums that became popular in the USA, and did a tour. After a while, she retired from music to raise a family. Miss Lovich has made a slight comeback in recent years.

PG had the privilege of seeing Lene Lovich at the Agora Ballroom, Atlanta GA, in the winter of 1980. The opening act was The Romantics. The show was taped for broadcast on the NBC radio network, and Don Pardo was on hand to introduce the bands.

The Romantics were unknown to the crowd at the Agora that night. They came on stage wearing costumes that looked like the Beatles of 1963. Every song they did was a bit better than the one before, and they got a big round of applause when the set ended.

Don Pardo had quite a career. He was the house announcer on November 22, 1963, and was the voice of NBC when he interrupted a soap opera to announce that John Kennedy had been “cut down with assassin’s bullets”. During his career as a TV announcer, Mr. Pardo could not use profanity. That night at the Agora, he made up for lost time…every other word he said was a cuss word. Dominick George “Don” Pardo, born February 22, 1918, passed away August 18, 2014.

Soon, Lene Lovich (spell check suggestion:lovechild) and her band came on stage. She was not the typical sexpot rock chanteuse… A bit chubby, with her long hair tied in plaits. Wearing a long sleeve black dress, probably stolen from a convent, she provided fantasy for only the kinkiest. Les Chappell was there, with his shaved head, to stop any trouble before it started, and play guitar.

The material came mostly from the first two albums on Stiff records. (At some point in the evening, someone…maybe Lovich, maybe Pardo…said “Be stiff”.) She introduced “Lucky Number” by saying “We have a song that goes ah oh aih oh”. During an instrumental jam in that song, she cried out “We have an American on keyboards”. The American was Thomas Dolby, who would soon go solo. He did not appear to be blinded by science.

The first encore was ” I think we’re alone now”, which had been a hit for Tommy James and the Shondells (spell check suggestions: shoulders, shovelfuls). Soon the night was over. Pictures are from the “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

UPDATE: This comment was left on facebook “Those first two albums are GREAT. I probably saw her on this same tour; Dolby was with her. I was a club on South Street in Philly. She looked like a freaked-out Teutonic barmaid, the St. Pauli girl gone goth (before there was goth). Somehow, the sight of her playing sax was hilarious, and the concert was a blast. I bought a recent Thomas Dolby CD a couple months ago. Sucked, as, alas, did Lene’s last one.


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Bob Dylan Is 80

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on May 24, 2021









This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Today is Bob Dylan’s eightieth birthday. This chamblee 54 birthday tribute is composed primarily of three previously published pieces of work.

This compendium was assembled in 2016. On David Bowie’s in 2016, PG created a computer playlist, and assembled a few blog posts into a birthday celebration. Three days later, David Bowie was dead. PG decided to do the same thing to Bob Dylan on his birthday. Instead of dying, Bob Dylan won the Nobel prize. A similar effort on RuPaul’s birthday had no effect on the performer.

It was a late may morning in Atlanta GA, and a slack blogger was searching his archives. Yes, Issac Asinov never got writers block, and when he wasn’t going to the bathroom he was typing, but that is a lifestyle choice. Easy writing makes tough reading. So, anyway, in the may archive for 2011 there was a post about Bob Dylan’s seventieth birthday. People were taking bets on whether he would make it to thirty, and here he is at seventy nine.

Hibbing MN is a cold place. At least it can claim to be the birthplace of Robert Allen Zimmerman. That’s Allen, with an e, and double L, just like hell. The original initials were RAZ, which might be a good trivia question, or, with a silent W in front, radio station call letters. The problem is, he legally changed his name to Bob Dylan, with no known middle name. Those initial are BD.

On May 24, 1941, the curly haired wonder boi arrived. The world was a different place. Europe was in flames, and eyeing the young men of America as fresh cannon fodder. This was twelve years, eleven months, and eighteen days before PG graced the planet. A twelve year old in Hibbing MN would have no reason to think of a newborn baby in Atlanta GA.

The first time PG heard of Bob Dylan was probably at the record rack of Zippy’s dime store in Cherokee Plaza. There was an album of his greatest hits, and it came with a poster. The poster had a drawing of the man, with psychedelic waves of hair cascading in multi colored glory to the edges. PG never did buy the LP.

The former Mr. Zimmerman was never big on top 40 am radio. Somebody somewhere was getting a headache over those lyrics, but Atlanta GA was not somewhere in those days. By this time, Mr. Dylan had crashed his motorcycle, and gone into hiding. As the counter culture exploded (if only someone had disinfected that counter) the curly haired poet was in hiding, the subject of much speculation. At one point, people were stealing his garbage, and claiming to find evidence of investment in munitions firms. The neoscience of Dylanology continues to this day.

As PG got older and stupider, he heard more and more Bob Dylan music. In the summer of 1972, there was a performance at the Concert for Bangladesh. A couple of albums released during this era sucked, and some people stopped caring about Bob Dylan.

At the start of 1974, a tour was announced. The Band was to be the backing group. The circus came to the Omni, and PG got some of the mail order tickets. He couldn’t find anyone to use the second ticket, and sold it to a stranger outside the arena.

The show was nothing special. Bob Dylan excels at writing, is ok in the studio, and blah on stage. Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was at the show, and was said to look bored. Mr. Dylan was invited to the Governor’s mansion after the show, and talked to the Governor. A lot of people in Georgia were surprised that Jimmy would want to run for President.
As the Seventies went me me meing into sex and drugs oblivion, Bob Dylan regained both his writing touch, and love of the spotlight. The Rolling Thunder tour happened, he got back together with Joan Baez, divorced his wife, became born again, became more Jewish, counted money, and generally lived the life. PG did his own version of all that, without Joan Baez or being circumcised again.

In the winter of 1991, America was consumed by war fever. Saddam Hussein had been elevated to next Hitler status, and had to be taught a lesson. One night, Bob Dylan played on a music awards show, and performed “Masters of War”. He played a discordant version of that ditty, with the result that few understood what he had said. By this time, Mr. Dylan had assembled a band, and gone out on the “Never Ending Tour”. A Bob Dylan concert had gone from being a special event, to being another name on the festival roster. Overexposure will do that.

On the last night of the Olympics in 1996, Bob Dylan played the House of Blues downtown. PG won a pair of the $80 tickets in a radio station contest. It was his only trip downtown during the games, and had to wait in a security line to get into Centennial Olympic Park.

The only celebrity, other than Mr. Dylan, seen at the House of Blues that night was Bill Walton. The band was competent…they impressed PG as being like a bar band that did a lot of Dylan songs, with a strangely authentic lead vocalist. The sound in the room was not good, at least in the spot where PG stood. The only song he recognized was “All along the Watchtower”, the Jimi Hendrix classic. Mr. Dylan got a cheer when he put his harmonica appliance on.









The aptly named dangerousminds has a link to a story about the recording of Blonde on Blonde, by Bob Dylan. It only happened once.

Bob Dylan was 24 years old, newly married, and had “sold out” i.e. started to play electric guitar. A bunch of Canadians known as The Hawks (later The Band) was touring with him. Barely a month after the release of “Highway 61 Revisited”, sessions started at a New York studio.

The New York sessions did not work, so a decision was made to go to Nashville. Al Kooper played organ, and served as a music director. A crew of Nashville players was recruited. A bass player named Joseph Souter, Jr. would become famous a few years later using the name Joe South. Kris Kristofferson was the janitor at the studio.

Most studios have bafflers, or sound proof room dividers, splitting the studio into cubicles. For these sessions, the bafflers were taken down, and the band played together as a unit.

The second session in Nashville started at 6pm and lasted until 530 the next morning. Mr. Dylan was working on the lyrics to “Sad eyed lady of the lowlands”, and the recording could not start until he was ready. The musicians played ping pong and waited. At 4am, the song was ready, and the record was finished in two takes.

PG had marginal encounters with two of the players on this album. He met a lady once, who worked in an insurance office. One of the customers was Joe South. His driving record file was an inch thick.

Al Kooper had a prosperous career after his association with Bob Dylan. The former Alan Peter Kuperschmidt produced the first three Lynyrd Skynyrd albums, sold that contract for a nice piece of change, and lived happily ever after.

One night, Mr. Kooper was playing a show at the Great Southeast Music Hall, and PG sat in front of the stage. During a break between songs, PG asked his friend “what time is it?”. Mr. Kooper heard him on stage, and said it was 11:30.










If it ever quits raining, PG is going to walk to the Chamblee library and return a book, and a cd. The cd is by Bob Dylan, and is a work of genius. The book is about the former Mr. Zimmerman, and is a piece of garbage. (BTW, Dylan is not the only Zimmerman to hit the big time. Ethel Merman was born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman.The Zimmerman telegram got us into World War I. The less said about George Zimmerman, the better)

When returning cd’s to a library, you need to get a check in receipt. Once, PG returned a stack of cd’s to the Brookhaven library. When checking them in, one was missed by the scanner. A few days later, there was a note in the mail about an overdue cd.

The good news was, the cd was on the shelf when PG went back to investigate, and the matter was quickly settled. It did not help that the cd was a collection of disco music called “Shake your booty”.

“The freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was released in the early sixties, when the man was barely old enough to buy a drink. There is not a bad song on it, and several are classic rock staples. At a time when mindless pop dominated pop music, here were thoughtful, moving lyrics.

In 1991, with America in a war frenzy, Mr. Dylan appeared on a music awards show. He performed “Masters of War”, at a time when the majority would be appalled if they could understand what he was singing. Mr. Dylan has been reinvented many times, and often the lyrics get gargled.

Five years later, PG won tickets to a Bob Dylan concert. It was the last night of the Olympics, and the man was appearing at the House of Blues. (Tickets were $80, so the radio contest is the only reason PG went). It was like hearing a good bar band, that did nothing but Dylan songs, with the man as the vocalist. Due to the mix of the sound, PG could not recognize many of the songs.

The book is Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet by Seth Rogovoy. It tells the Dylan tale as a story of Jewish prophecy. PG got to page 16, where the author claims that “Like a Rolling Stone” “almost single handedly revolutionized rock’n roll music”. Huh?

PG was eating dinner, and did not have anything else to read. He got to page 38. Nothing in the next 22 pages changed his mind away from ditching the book. How does nonsense like this get published?








The Iggy Pop Story

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on April 21, 2021

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Speaking of Iggy Pop, and music merchandising, he has a collection of music for sale. Included in this package is a show he did at Richards, across the street from Grady Stadium. One night Iggy was singing at Richards, when Elton John appeared onstage wearing a gorilla suit.

The greatest achievement of Mr. Pop is living so long. (He was born April 21, 1947). He has done heroin by the kilo, jumps off stage into crowds of punk rock fans, and is a general mess. He still has a great smile, although it is not known how many of those teeth are his own.

One night in 1980, PG saw a performance by Iggy Pop. The site was the 688 club, a storefront on Spring Street, across the expressway from Georgia Tech. 688 Spring Street had been the site of Roses Cantina, where PG had seen George Thorogood. Some other blues band did Amphetamine Annie with the original lyrics…instead of speed kills, they said love gun.

Roses was a cool place, a long narrow space with the performers in the middle, and a pool table behind the stage. Nightclubs are a tough business for capitalists, and Roses shut down.

At any rate, by the time PG got back from Seattle, some brave investors decided to have a punk rock club at 688 Spring Street. Soon, Iggy Pop was playing a week there. In the seventies, the bands would play for five days at the great southeast music hall or the electric ballroom, two shows a night, and if you were really cool you would go on a weeknight before it got too crowded. Soon after that, it was one night in town only, and you either saw it or you didn’t.

PG had a friend at the Martinique apartments on Buford Hiway. There was someone living in the complex known as ZenDen, who sold acid. You would go to his place, wade through the living room full of grown men listening to Suzi Quatro, and purchase the commodity.

On to the the 23 Oglethorpe bus, and downtown to 688 Spring Street. Before anyone knew it, the band was on the stage. A veteran of the Patti Smith Group, named Ivan Kral, was playing bass. Mr. Kral sneezed, and a huge white booger fell across his face. He was not playing when the show ended.

There was a white wall next to the stage, and someone wrote the song list on that wall. That list of songs stayed on the wall as long as 688 was open. “I want to be your dog” was on the list, as well as the number where Iggy pulled his pants off and performed in his underwear. Supposedly, in New York the drawers came off, but the TMI police were off duty that night.

The show was loud and long, and had the feel of an endurance event…either you go or the band does. Finally, the show was over, and PG got on the 23 Oglethorpe bus to go home. You got the northbound bus on West Peachtree Street. You could look down the street and see the Coca Cola sign downtown.

Thirty years later,PG, like Iggy Pop, has a full head of teeth, which, in PG’s case are his own. PG has a full head of white hair, as apparently does Mr. Pop, although he does appear to touch up his hair. Maybe he really is a blond. This post should be over, but if there are 37 more words then we will have 688. The space on Spring Street is still standing, which is pretty good for Atlanta. It is now an emergency room, or something.

This is a repost. The original was posted seven years ago. Iggy is still alive. So is PG. 688 Spring Street stands. 23 Oglethorpe is the answer to a trivia question. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 20, 2021


I got your reply text. I am back with the flip phone. Texting is a chore. It is handy for one word messages, but that is about it. An email is the way I am going to tell this story.

Trying circumstances led to me getting the iphone. It would take too much effort to document here, but is a good story. I had the IP for about four months. Finally, I got tired of the problems I was having, and went back to the flip phone. I will probably need to get an android at some time, but that is something to be put off.

What is happening with pot is amazing. It is totally legal in much of the county. I always thought that the anti-pot propaganda was being directed by forces in our government/corporate overlords, and that most people were just saying what they needed to say to get by. It is surprising how quickly all that went away.

One puzzling thing is this business of calling everything weed. We mostly said pot/grass/reefer/antiseptic, but almost never weed. For some reason, that is the official nick name now. You don’t even hear marijuana much anymore.

Greyhound took me a few places once. After you left the station, the driver would get on the intercom, and make announcements. One time, a driver with a horrible yankee accent said that if you were smoking PAHT that you would got to jail.

Not sure about going back to pot. I quit at the start of 2005. In 2012 I tried out some of my leftover stash. That ran out quickly. The next time was in a group of people. I took one hit, and got FUUUUUCKED UP. This became the pattern. About every six months or so, I would take a hit. I have to wonder if it is any fun now. Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t.

The new seasons of Cocaine and Rhinestones came out today. Have you heard this? It is by Tyler Mahan Coe, whose daddy also had three names. I passed his daddy’s tour bus on the road one time, and heard a copy of his “underground” album.

C&R is a history of country music, and is a wild ride. I should finish this email and get back to listening. I can’t write, and listen to people talking, at the same time. I sometimes listen to music, or sometimes there is recreational silence.

When I am listening to podcasts, I create graphic poems, or edit historic photos. I am working on a collection of soldiers. They fought in the War Between the States, a conflict that is suffering historic revisionism these days. This collection is totally in the public domain, which I appreciate. When this email becomes a blog post, it will be illustrated by some of these pictures.

Tim Curry

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on April 19, 2021






Tim Curry was born seventy two years ago today. It would be quite a while before April 19 was known as got a minute day. Mr. Curry is an actor, singer, and all around phenomenon. The role that made him a star was Frank-n-Furter in ” The Rocky Horror Show”.

Mr. Curry is best known for playing a flamboyant transvestite. His wikipedia page does not discuss his personal life. If you go to google, and type “is tim curry” the top five results are gay, married, dead, alive, died. A visit to some of the sites listed gave no definite answers. One of the sites tried to slip a *trojan horse* into this machine. Some things are better left a mystery.

After Dr. Furter went back to Transylvania, Mr. Curry made rock and roll albums. In 1978, a tour was put together to promote his vinyl debut. The first show in the United States was at the Agora Ballroom in Atlanta GA. PG was in the audience.

Riding into town on the 23 Ogelthorpe bus, PG got to talk to some ladies who were in town for a conference. They were worried about the crime. PG tried to reassure them by telling a recent news story. This lady was having breakfast in a downtown hotel, when she put her purse down on the floor. A handgun her husband had given her went off when the handbag hit the ground. The ladies breakfast companion was hit and killed.

Mr. Curry walked onstage eating a banana, grabbed a stool and turned it upside down. He appeared to be a bit tipsy. This did not affect his performance. Mr. Curry did most of the songs on his album, along with “Celluoid Heroes” by the Kinks. The latter song featured a Garbo impersonation.

Whoever put the band together for this tour had a lot of money. The guitar player played with Lou Reed on “Rock and Roll Animal”. The keyboard player, and musical director, was Micheal Kamen, formerly of the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble. (A song on the Curry album, “Sloe Gin”, was a NYRRE song, “Fields of Joy”, with new lyrics.)

The only song from “Rocky Horror” that Mr. Curry did was “I’m Going Home”. A few people were upset that he did not do “Sweet Transvestite.” He played another Agora show a couple of years later, and reportedly did perform “Sweet Transvestite.”

Tom Waits was scheduled to perform at the Agora the next night. PG was wandering through the balcony between shows, and saw Mr. Waits sitting at a table. A bodyguard was standing by, who said that it was just someone who looked like Tom Waits.

After the show was over, PG went to a nearby bar, and was talking to a friend about the show. A lady who was with the friend stood in front of him and screamed “What color are your eyes? They are brown, because you are so full of shit”.

Pictures for this repost are from The Library of Congress. Photographs of Cornell Fresh. 8 and Cornell 2d Varsity, 1914 are from the George Grantham Bain Collection




David And Elton

Posted in GSU photo archive, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 28, 2021

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On page 327 of David Bowie: A Life, the Live Aid show goes down. “There wasn’t much love lost between David and Elton–perhaps they’d fallen out at some point …” This is a repost.

Elton John says he fell out with David Bowie over ‘token queen’ remark “David and I were not the best of friends towards the end. We started out being really good friends. We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I think we just drifted apart…. He once called me “rock’n’roll’s token queen” in an interview with Rolling Stone, which I thought was a bit snooty. He wasn’t my cup of tea. No; I wasn’t his cup of tea”.

1975 was a different time. David Bowie was moving out of Ziggy Stardust, and became the Thin White Duke. At some point he starting doing lots of cocaine. On page 196 of DB:AL, Jayne County has stories. “It was pretty obvious the David was taking coke. He became very skeletal in his appearance and began rattling off speeches that sounded meaningless to the rest of us–strange things about witchcraft, demons, and sexual prostitution in ancient times … weird things that made everyone nervous. He began to get paranoid and accusing people of ripping him off and stealing his drugs…. He had to have cartilage removed from one part of his body and put in his nose because the coke had eaten his nose cartilage away.”

While David was popular in 1975, and had a certain aesthetic aroma, Elton John was a phenomenon. Everything Elton touched went to Number One. Elton was one of the most popular solo acts the market ever sold. Maybe David was jealous of Elton’s success.

By all accounts, Elton did his share of “hooverizing.” In 1975, Elton was officially in the closet, although a lot of people knew otherwise. In one impossible to confirm story, a friend of PG was working in an Atlanta club called Encore, later known as Backstreet. One busy night, he was in a hurry to get somewhere, and bumped into someone. The person he knocked over was Elton John.

The infamous Rolling Stone interview was part of the damage. “Rock & roll has been really bringing me down lately. It’s in great danger of becoming an immobile, sterile fascist that constantly spews its propaganda on every arm of the media. …. I mean, disco music is great. I used disco to get my first Number One single [“Fame”] but it’s an escapist’s way out. It’s musical soma. Rock & roll too — it will occupy and destroy you that way. It lets in lower elements and shadows that I don’t think are necessary. Rock has always been the devil’s music. You can’t convince me that it isn’t.”

Cameron Crowe How about specifics? Is Mick Jagger evil? David Bowie “Mick himself? Oh Lord no. He’s not unlike Elton John, who represents the token queen — like Liberace used to. No, I don’t think Mick is evil at all. He represents the sort of harmless, bourgeois kind of evil that one can accept with a shrug…. Actually, I wonder … I think I might have been a bloody good Hitler. I’d be an excellent dictator. Very eccentric and quite mad.”

Playboy Magazine gave David another chance to talk about Hitler. “I’d love to enter politics. I will one day. I’d adore to be Prime Minister. And, yes, I believe very strongly in fascism.” “Rock stars are fascists, too. Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars.” “#54: PLAYBOY: How so?” BOWIE: “Think about it. Look at some of his films and see how he moved. I think he was quite as good as Jagger. It’s astounding. And, boy, when he hit that stage, he worked an audience. Good God! He was no politician. He was a media artist himself. He used politics and theatrics and created this thing that governed and controlled the show for those 12 years. The world will never see his like.”

#77: PLAYBOY: “Last question. Do you believe and stand by everything you’ve said?” BOWIE: “Everything but the inflammatory remarks.” We don’t know whether a jab at Elton was inflammatory. “I consider myself responsible for a whole new school of pretensions–they know who they are. Don’t you, Elton? Just kidding. No, I’m not.”

Seven daily grams of coke (DB:AL, p.223) did not kill David Bowie. He soon moved on to make The Man Who Fell to Earth. People magazine helped out with the publicity. “No role could have suited David Bowie better in his first major movie than that of an inscrutable interplanetary traveler outfitted with human skin, sex organs, Ronald Reagan hair and humanoid pupils to slip in over his horizontal, mismatched feline slits.” Forty years before Donald Trump made the tangerine toupee cool, Ronald Reagan was prematurely orange. Pictures for this deplorable dive into hissyfit history are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Anita Aretha and Elton

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 25, 2021

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In the early nineties, PG had too much free time. On March 25 of one year, he looked in the fishwrapper, and found a list of famous people with birthdays.

There was an unlikely trio celebrating that day. This would be (in order of appearance) Anita Bryant (1940), Aretha Franklin (1942), and Elton John (1947). All three have been paid for singing. The three have a total of five husbands, with Miss Bryant and Mr. John currently attached (Not to each other). Miss Franklin has good taste in hats.

Several other people have arrived on planet earth on March 25. They include , in 1911, Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (d. 1967) (They don’t say alleged when it was on live TV). 1918 produced Howard Cosell, American sports reporter (d. 1995). Flannery O’Connor (d. 1964) arrived in 1925. 1934 gave us Gloria Steinem. To make room for all this talent, Buck Owens died March 25, 2006. On August 16, 2018, Aretha Franklin was heaven bound.

March 25 is after the spring equinox, and has been Easter. A few noteworthy events have gone down on this day. In 1894, Coxey’s Army departed Massillon, Ohio for Washington D.C. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers in New York City. In 1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII, to the delight of Adolph Hitler. 1955 saw the United States Customs seizes copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” as obscene. In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

HT and applause to wikipedia. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Singers Who Wear Wigs

Posted in Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 12, 2021

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If you go to google, and type in “singers that wear wigs”, the first name to appear is Mary J. Blige. PG does not follow her closely, but went to youtube and found a video. This is probably not her real hair.

Dolly Parton is known for a lot of things, at least two of which are real. The hair is not. If you ask her “How long does it take to do your hair?”, she says “I don’t know, I’m never there”

If anyone is known for enhancing her natural attributes, it would be Cher. Her fondness for plastic surgery is well known, as is the way her head fits in a hairpiece. In this number, Mrs. Bono talks about some of her favorite people.

Grace Slick is basically retired these days. In her hey day, she never appeared in public in her real hair. PG saw her at the Omni once, and was horrified by her wig. (Grace sells her paintings these days. Her white hair is cut short. The wigs are in a museum.)

RuPaul is not really blonde. That is a part of her wardrobe. In this video, she co stars with Martha Wash, in a remake of “It’s Raining Men”. The original title for this video was Piggly Wiggly.

It is a bit of show business wisdom that you put the horses at the end of a parade. Deaundra Peek fills this important role today. Last year it was a remake of “Supermodel”, which has copyright issues. Today, it is a cooking lesson. The last three characters of the Youtube code are M2M.
This is a repost. Pictures, from The Library of Congress, model “Inter-city beauties, Atlantic City Pageant, 1927.” As a bonus to our reader(s), we will explore the issue, Does Lady Gaga wear a wig? The answers are a bit contradictory, which is somehow fitting. One page says she does not wear a wig, but does wear extensions in some videos. Another answer is that dying her hair is damaging to the hair, if she went to a salon the paparazzi would see her, so yes, she does wear a wig.




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Billie Holiday Stories

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 21, 2021


How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday turned up in a facebook feed yesterday. The article states that Harry Jacob Anslinger “the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics,” ordered Billie Holiday to quit performing “Strange Fruit.” When the chanteuse declined, Mr. Anslinger had her arrested for heroin possession. Later, Mr. Anslinger was allegedly responsible for busting Miss Holiday on her deathbed.

The Hunting of Billie Holiday was the source given for the claim about Mr. Anslinger and “Strange Fruit.” The Politico article does not say that Mr. Anslinger ordered Miss Holiday to quit singing “Strange Fruit.” It does say that Louis McKay, one of the many no-good men in Miss Holiday’s life, narked her out. The bust was in 1947, after she had been performing “Strange Fruit” for several years. (Lady Sings The Blues says that Louis McKay was not in Miss Holiday’s life in 1947.)

Politico had one comment that set off the bs detector. “One day, Harry Anslinger was told that there were also white women, just as famous as Billie, who had drug problems—but he responded to them rather differently. He called Judy Garland, another heroin addict, in to see him.” Frances Gumm was well known for having substance abuse issues. The heroin business was news to a lot of people.

Johann Hari was the author of the politico article. At the time, he was promoting a book, Chasing the Scream, about the war on drugs. Johann Hari has a spotted reputation. “The author used to be the Independent’s star columnist, a prolific polemicist and darling of the left, until his career imploded in disgrace when it emerged in 2011 that many of his articles contained quotes apparently said to him but in fact lifted from his interviewees’ books, or from previous interviews by other journalists.”

The final bust, as Miss Holiday lay dying in the hospital, is part of the legend. A google search does not show what agency was responsible. Harry Anslinger may have been involved, and it may have been someone else. By this time, Elanora Fagan was in bad, bad shape. Years of drinking, and hard drugs, had worn her out. While the hospital bust may have hastened her demise, it is a bit of a stretch to say the Harry Anslinger killed Billie Holiday, because she sang “Strange Fruit.”

This is a repost. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.


Lady Sings The Blues is the autobiography of Billie Holiday. PG read it in 1978, and pulled it off the shelf recently. The copy he has is was a 1972 paperback, issued in conjunction with the movie. A picture of Diana Ross is on the cover, as well as a price sticker from Woolco. The book sold for $1.25. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The spell check suggestion for Woolco is Cool.

William Dufty was the ghost writer. His prose is easy to read, with the story flowing out like a Lester Young solo. The 1956 copyright is assigned to “Eleanora Fagan and William Dufty,” using the birth name of the singer. Mr. Dufty was a newspaper writer. “Dufty had one son, Bevan Dufty, with first wife Maely Bartholomew, who had arrived in New York City during World War II after losing most of her family in the Nazi concentration camps. She settled near Harlem where she met her best friend and Bevan’s godmother, Billie Holiday.”

“Bevan Dufty would agree. He’s one of the childless singer’s two godchildren. … “Holiday said motherf — all the time, in her gravelly elegant way,” recalled Dufty, sitting in his City Hall office. His mother, Maely, a Czech Jewish immigrant who loved jazz, was close to many musicians and even managed the unmanageable Charlie Parker for a spell, learned to curse from Holiday. But with a European accent. Much of what Dufty knows of Holiday comes from his late mother, who was married to actor Freddie Bartholomew before her brief marriage to William Dufty, one of her seven husbands. Maely, who took her infant son by train to Philadelphia every day to attend yet another of Holiday’s drug trials, was so distraught by the singer’s death that she dedicated herself to helping recovering addicts. A number of musicians lived at the Duftys’ place while kicking the habit (William and Maely Dufty divorced not long after Holiday’s death, and he later married actress Gloria Swanson, who inspired him to write the book “Sugar Blues” about the dangers of processed sugar).”

Billie Holiday’s bio, ‘Lady Sings the Blues,’ may be full of lies, but it gets at jazz great’s core Autobiographies are, by their nature, self serving. This one has a great opening line… ” “Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three.” (“Her parents were never married. When she was born, her mother was 19, her father was 17 and they never lived under the same roof.”) Another source adds: “Some of the material in the book, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. Holiday was in rough shape when she worked with Dufty on the project, and she claimed to have never read the book after it was finished. Around this time, Holiday became involved with Louis McKay. The two were arrested for narcotics in 1956, and they married in Mexico the following year. (March 28, 1957) Like many other men in her life, McKay used Holiday’s name and money to advance himself.”

Louis McKay is at the center of another misunderstanding of facts. The Hunting of Billie Holiday claimed that Mr. McKay narked out Miss Holiday in 1947, and set up her first drug bust. LSTB tells a different story. Here, Miss Holiday meets Mr. McKay very briefly in 1931. Someone was trying to rob Mr. McKay. Miss Holiday said “He’s my old man,” and chased off the robber.

Fast forward twenty five years, and Miss Holiday connects with Mr. McKay. “I hadn’t seen him since I was sixteen and he wasn’t much older and I was singing at the Hotcha in Harlem.” The two were married in 1957. They got busted as LSTB ends. Either Politico is wrong about the 1947 bust, or Miss Holiday did not tell the whole story. Either way, Harry Anslinger is not mentioned in LSTB.

Tallulah Bankhead is another missing piece of the puzzle. Reportedly, Miss Bankhead and Miss Holiday were close friends, and possibly lovers. That was over by the time LSTB was written. “When “Lady Sings the Blues” was being prepared, Miss Bankhead got an advance copy, and was horrified by what she saw. A fierce note was sent to the book’s publisher, and scenes were edited out. Miss Holiday was outraged. The letter that resulted is a poison pen classic. “My maid who was with me at the Strand isn’t dead either. There are plenty of others around who remember how you carried on so you almost got me fired out of the place. And if you want to get shitty, we can make it a big shitty party. We can all get funky together!”

Miss Bankhead does make an appearance in LSTB. On page 117, Miss Holiday is describing playing a maid, in a movie. She was not pleased at the typecasting. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against maids – or whores – whether they’re black or white. My mother was a maid, a good one, one of the greatest. My stepmother is Tallulah Bankhead’s maid right now, and that’s a part I’d even consider when they do her life story.” (Miss Bankhead had her own domestic help problems. In 1951, Evyleen Cronin, Tallulah’s maid and secretary, was accused of stealing $10,000-30,000 from Tallulah during her employment. … The case went to trial (much to Tallulah’s embarrassment) and Cronin was convicted.” Many embarrassing details about Miss Bankhead’s life came to light during this trial. Fanny Holiday, the stepmother, is probably a different person than Evyleen Cronin.)

Whatever it’s factual challenges, Lady Sings the Blues is a powerful book. Miss Holiday had a tough life, to say the least. As the singer for Artie Shaw’s big band, Miss Holiday was an integration pioneer, and every two bit cracker wanted to make trouble. Later, she was addicted to heroin, got busted, served time in prison, only to get out and suffer some more.

Three years after LSTB came out, things went from bad to horrible. “In early 1959 she found out that she had cirrhosis of the liver. The doctor told her to stop drinking, which she did for a short time, but soon returned to heavy drinking. … On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York suffering from liver and heart disease. She was arrested for drug possession as she lay dying, and her hospital room was raided by authorities. Police officers were stationed at the door to her room. Holiday remained under police guard at the hospital until she died from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959.” This is a repost.

The Georgian Terrace Ballroom

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on February 18, 2021










The Georgian Terrace hotel used to have an adjacent ballroom. The building opened as the “Lucky Strike”, featuring “Duck Pin” bowling. At some time, it became a 1300 seat ballroom. It was not the grand ballroom, where events for the premiere of “Gone With The Wind” were held. As time moved on, the ballroom became a music performance hall. PG saw shows there under four different business names. After the Agora Ballroom closed, the building was vacant, until a fire August 30, 1987. The site of the ballroom is now occupied by an annex of the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

The first show PG saw at this facility was in 1972. The name of the business is forgotten, as is the act that performed. A band, comprised of people PG went to high school with, played before he got there.

In 1974, “Big Time” promoter Alex Cooley opened “Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom”. (Alex Cooley died December 1, 2015.) The first show that PG saw was Dr. John The Night Tripper. A few months later, Capricorn artists Cowboy played, with a vulgar New York band named Mercury opening. Gato Barbieri played, with PG wondering how people could dance to that type of music.

Several major acts appeared at the Ballroom, mostly without PG in the audience. KISS played there in 1974, and photographs from backstage are in the embedded video. In April of 1974, Steely Dan was across from the Fox. In the summer of 1974, The Tubes played a week at the ballroom, with another heavily hyped show. On January 23, 1976, The Patti Smith Group played at the ballroom.

In 1975, Bruce Springsteen was on the covers of Time and Newsweek, and was receiving a promotional push unlike anything seen before. He played a show at the ballroom that summer, with a generous press party in the balcony. (At one unforgettable show Alex was caught off guard by a Bruce Springsteen request. “He asked if we could shut down the cash registers because they were making too much noise!… That’s the only time I ever did that.” Alex admits.)

PG attended two shows in 1975. Mckendree Spring opened for Fanny, while PG drank too many bourbon and cokes. In November of 1975, Juice Newton opened for Hot Tuna. Miss Newton seemed to be a bit pale, and performed “Get drunk and screw”. Hot Tuna was amazing. They went on stage at 10:55, and played, without a break, until 2:50. The drummer wore a shirt, mother fucking hot tuna. Few would argue that night.

In autumn of 1977, some brave soul opened a place called “The Ballroom” in the space on Peachtree Street. One night, PG went with some friends to see an act, Happy the Man. There seemed to be a bit of chaos in the management of the facility. The Great Southeast Music Hall loaned a few microphones for the show. When the show was over, PG walked out to a car, whose motor was running, with the driver asleep inside.

In the summer of 1978, the ballroom opened as The Agora Ballroom. Apparently, there is a music hall in Cleveland with that name, and they opened branch facilities around the country. There were some shows that PG did not attend. Todd Rundgren opened the facility August 19, 1978. On October 2, 1979, The Clash played. Pictures from the crowd appeared on an album by the band. On December 2, 1981, U2 made their Atlanta debut.

A few weeks after the opening, PG won tickets to an all Texas show. Marcia Ball opened, and a bored PG went to a neighborhood bar to drink beer. PG returned later, and stayed long enough for the singer with Asleep at the Wheel to ask the crowd, Are you stoned?

In November of 1978, PG called a radio station, and asked to be put on the guest list for Talking Heads . (For Talking Heads, and three links in the following paragraphs, the link is for a previous Chamblee 54 post about the show.) The first six people he called were busy, but the last one agreed to go. On the bus going home, a group of black men started to make unfriendly comments. At the next stop, a black friend of PG got on the bus, and went to talk to him.

A few weeks later, Tim Curry made his United States debut. Some record company invested a lot of money in him, and supplied him with an outstanding band. PG was wandering around the balcony after the first show, and saw Tom Waits sitting at a table. The bodyguard said no, that’s not Tom Waits, it is just someone that looks like him. At a bar, after the show, PG was raving about what he had seen, when a lady came up to him. What color are your eyes? They are brown, because you are full of shit. Soon, the 23 Oglethorpe was taking him home.

Somewhere in the haze of 78 and 79, Ultravox brought their synthetics to the Agora. A local band, First Blood, was more entertaining as the opener. PG drank a very large can of Foster’s beer, and floated through the proceedings. After the show, PG was invited to a party in Candler Park. On the way there, there was a horrific car crash on Ponce de Leon. At the party, friends of First Blood dissected their performance, between lines of coke.

One night, PG was enjoying drink specials at a neighborhood bar. He took a break, walked over to the Agora, and saw a few minutes of a show by Freddie Hubbard.

In early 1979, the B 52s were on the verge of stardom. (Here is a nifty feature about the Atlanta local music scene in those days.) The opener for the 52s was The Brains , yet another talented band that never made it big. At the table next to PG, a lady wore a dynamite World War Two army uniform.

Later in 1979, Ted Turner had an idea for a TV show, “Live at the Agora”. The first show was filmed in Atlanta, and featured Graham Parker and the Rumor. If they ever show that film again, and you see a crowd shot, that is PG wearing a white T shirt, with a white Agora iron on logo. Parker was a great musician, who had the misfortune to look like Big Bird’s nerdy little brother. If Graham Parker looked like Bruce Springsteen, he would have been a superstar.

In March of 1980, Lene Lovich came to the Agora. About a year later, Spirit played on Peachtree Street. The show was sponsored by a radio station, and tickets were $2.96. Despite the low price, and high musical quality, the balcony was closed, and only about a hundred people were at the show. PG thought this was odd, but little surprised him by this time.

The last show that PG caught at the Agora was The Ramones. Joey and the pinheads were past their prime, with only two original members playing. It was an all ages show, with alcohol served in the balcony. Downstairs was a festive party, with costumes and enthusiastic high school kids. The balcony was the same rock and roll drunks you had seen for years. The Ramones would have made a great oldies band, if they could have quit dying. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.





Gloomy Sunday

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 14, 2021

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Billie Holiday had a hit with Gloomy Sunday in 1941. The legend is that people would listen to the song, and kill themselves. As a result, the song was banned from the radio. Or was it?
Gloomy Sunday was written in 1933 by Rezső Seress. Additional lyrics were later written by László Jávor. It became known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, and was reportedly banned in Hungary. An english translation (which is said to not do justice to the original Hungarian) was rendered.

Gloomy Sunday has a melancholy sound, even as an instrumental. The story is about a person…it is not gender specific…who decides to join a loved one who has died. A third verse was added, to the english version, where the singer says it was all a dream.

Gloomy Sunday became popular in the United States. And the suicide stories started to spread, along with rumors that the song had been banned from the radio. (It was indeed banned by the BBC.) There are indications that these rumors were part of a publicity campaign.

The urban legend busters snopes. calls the story “undetermined”. Legends like this get a life of their own. A grieving person hearing this song on a dreary Sunday is not going to be uplifted. One thing is known for sure…the original composer did take his own life. Rezső Seress jumped off a tall building in Budapest in 1968. The legend is he had never had another hit song after writing “Gloomy Sunday”. This repost has pictures from The Library of Congress.

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