Ramones (The ’59) #110

The ’59 2018 #110: 180420

Ramones (1976)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 18 – 1976.

Ramones is the debut studio album by American punk rock band the Ramones, released on April 23, 1976 by Sire Records.

Hit Parader editor Lisa Robinson saw the band at a gig in New York and subsequently wrote about them, at the same time contacting Danny Fields to suggest that he manage them. Fields agreed and convinced Craig Leon to produce Ramones, and the band recorded a demo for prospective record labels. Leon persuaded Sire president Seymour Stein to listen to the band perform, and he later offered the band a recording contract. The Ramones began recording in January 1976, needing only seven days and $6,400 to record the album. They used similar sound-output techniques to those of the Beatles and used advanced production methods by Leon.

Doing things on the cheap continued with the album cover. Sire Records paid only $125 for the front photo, which has since become one of the most imitated album covers.

After its release, the band promoted the album with two singles which failed to chart. They also began a US tour (but with two UK dates). But the debut only peaked at No. 111 on the US Billboard 200 and was unsuccessful commercially, though it received glowing reviews from reputed critics. Many later deemed it a highly influential record, and it has since received many accolades, such as the top spot on Spin magazine’s list of the “50 Most Essential Punk Records”.

Rainbow – Long live rock n roll (Epic 2017 #250)

The Epic 2017 Project #250: 170907

Rainbow – Long live rock n roll (1978)

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll was the third studio album from Rainbow, released in 1978, and the last to feature original lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio.

Recording started in April 1977 at a studio in Château d’Hérouville, France, featuring Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell. Keyboards were initially played on a session basis by former Rainbow member Tony Carey, while bass parts were started by Mark Clarke. Clarke was soon dismissed, however, and the bass parts were recorded by Blackmore himself. By July 1977 seven tracks that ended on the album were in demo form. Recording was suspended while the band recruited Bob Daisley and David Stone and thereafter commenced extensive touring of Europe in the summer and autumn of 1977. A return to the Château d’Hérouville studio in December saw the band finish the album and also yielded a final track, “Gates of Babylon.”

Although Daisley and Stone are listed on the album credits for their contributions, they joined the band partway through the recording sessions and only appear on three and four songs, respectively. Stone wrote parts of “Gates of Babylon” but was never credited. Blackmore played most of the bass parts on the album.

“Kill the King” was already a staple part of the tour setlists, opening Rainbow concerts since mid-1976. It first appeared on the live album On Stage in 1977. In the 1977–78 concerts the title track and “Kill the King” were the only songs performed, although “L.A. Connection” did get a few airings on the US tour before being dropped from the set. From 2004 to his death in 2010, Dio’s solo shows featured a live version of “Kill the King”, “Gates of Babylon”, and the title track

The original vinyl release was in a gatefold-sleeve, with a lyric-sheet insert. The crowd picture is actually from a Rush concert, with the wording on the banner the fans were actually holding replaced by the Rainbow album title and the visible Rush T-shirts airbrushed to black.


Pink Floyd – Pulse (Epic 2017 #207)

The Epic 2017 Project #207: 170726

Pink Floyd – Pulse (1995)

Pulse is a live double album from Pink Floyd, released on 29 May 1995 on EMI in the United Kingdom and on 6 June 1995 by Columbia in the United States. It was recorded during the band’s Division Bell Tour in 1994, specifically the UK and European leg, which ran from July to October 1994.

Disc 2 is a complete live version of The Dark Side of the Moon and features a booklet with many photographs from performances on the tour. It also features “Astronomy Domine”, a Syd Barrett song not performed since the early 1970s.

Unlike Delicate Sound of Thunder (see Epic 217 scheduled for posting here on 5 August), David Gilmour and record producer James Guthrie say that no parts of the songs were re-recorded in the studio (James Guthrie confirmed this in an interview with Pink Floyd fanzine Brain Damage). However, the band and Guthrie fixed songs that had bad notes (as heard on some bootlegs) by lifting solos and corrected vocal lines from other performances as the band recorded most of the European leg. The CD claimed that it was mixed in “Q Sound” which produces a 3D audio effect even on a two channel stereo system.

“Take It Back” was originally going to be in the album with the recording from 25 September 1994, Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne but was cut due to length.

Early CD versions came with a flashing red LED on the side of the case. This was designed by EMI contractor Jon Kempner, who was awarded the platinum disc, using the now discontinued LM3909 LED flasher IC. The circuit was powered by a single AA battery which (it was claimed) had a six month+ battery life. Mine lasted eight. Only problem was that (unless you were prepared to destroy your CD case in the process) it was impossible to change the battery.

Jon Anderson – Olias of Sonhillow (Epic 2017 #008)

The Epic 2017 Project #008: 170108

Jon Anderson – Olias of Sonhillow (1976)


Olias of Sunhillow was Jon Anderson’s first studio album as a solo artist. It tells the story of an alien race and their journey to a new world due to a volcanic catastrophe. Olias is the chosen architect of the glider Moorglade Mover which will be used to fly his people to their new home. Ranyart is the navigator for the glider, and Qoquaq (pronounced ‘ko-quake’) is the leader who unites the four tribes of Sunhillow to partake in the exodus.

The album represented eight months of physical work, but it took two years from conception to release. Anderson used more than a hundred tracks in putting the album together, overdubbing strings, organ, harp and percussion

The triple gatefold sleeve on the original vinyl pressing for Atlantic Records, inspired by the work of Roger Dean, was designed and illustrated by Dave Fairbrother Roe RA.

Admiral Fallow – Boots met my face (Epic 2017 #002)

The Epic 2017 project #002: 170102

Admiral Fallow – Boots met my Face (2011)


Originally formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Louis Abbott under the name ‘The Brother Louis Collective’, Admiral Fallow are based in Glasgow.

‘Boots Met My Face’ was recorded in July 2009

All of the songs document the first chapter of my life, be it memories from school or kicking a ball about with my childhood chums. All are taken from real life events. There’s no fiction. I’m not into making up stories or characters for the sake of trying to stir emotions. They are songs about friends and family as well as a fair bit of self-evaluation”. [Louis Abbot (2010)]

Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (Leaping Ahead #233)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #233: 160820

[Song from a band beginning with R]

The opening track from the Stones’ 11th studio album ‘Sticky Fingers’ released in April 1971. The controversial album cover wasn’t exactly banned in the UK – but it was covered up in some places; certainly in my local Woolworths! But the main culprit – the zipper – had more to give. Because later that year, after retailers complained that the the zipper was causing damage to the vinyl because of the way albums were stacked for shipping, later pressings had it moved it to ‘half-mast’ first.That just made things worse of course! Mary Whitehouse had a field-day!

Free (A-Z #44)


Although All Right Now is undoubtably the starting point into the Free story for those still discovering them some 44 years after their main split early in 1971, it was in fact the last track they recorded for the album it would eventually close – the ground-breaking ‘Fire and Water. The album itself was released in June 1970, just as the single was being kept from the Number 1 spot by Mungo Jerry’s ‘In the summertime’

Fire and Water was actually the band’s third album but they’d been together for just 18 months when they recorded it over two separate sessions at the beginning of 1970. However, it also marked the beginning of their demise thanks, in no small part, to the brilliance of ‘All Right Now’.

This was quite possibly the first truly post-modern song in rock, its memorable song-along lyrics and the stuff of myriad post-millenium karaoke sessions an admission of pragmatism to the ‘love is freedom’ mantra of the late 60s coupled with one of the greatest rock guitar riffs of all time. ‘All Right Now’ reached Number 1 in over 20 countries world-wide after which it would go on to receive upwards of three and a half million airplays over the succeeding forty-four years.

So it’s sadly ironic that the success of ‘All Right Now’ robbed Free of the musical freedom they had built up in the 18 months leading up to the release of ‘Fire and Water’. All Right Now became bigger than all of them; they couldn’t follow it with anything that came close and, despite a number of post-album landmark gigs in several countries, Free split early in 1971. There was a brief reformation a year later and two more albums – but the spark had gone and, as the glitter years took hold, Free disbanded for good.

Fire and Water lives on though. It’s a timeless classic and is as much about now (2015) as it was about then (1970). It’s got that timeless something that grabs you by the unmentionables and shouts into your soul. Just seven tracks from the opening magic of the title track through to the closing thunder of ‘All Right Now’, but seven tracks of heaven that assure Free of Classic Rock band status and the album as one of the best of our times.

to make way for the massive success

Artful albums #9: Roger Dean – Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)


Roger Dean (b.1944), a graduate of the Royal College of Art, together with Storm Thorgerson (more about him later) is credited with the transformation of the album cover from perfunctory packaging to the status of art form in its own right. This example is the gatefold cover for the 1973 Yes album ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’. But you really should check out his website and have a look at the other stuff he’s done over the years – http://www.rogerdean.com

Artful albums #8: Debbie Hall – Rainbow’s ‘Long live rock n roll’ (1978)



Debbie Hall is the illustrator of the front cover of Rainbow’s 1978 album ‘Long Live Rock n Roll’. A deep ochre coloured gatefold when originally released on Polydor, the first pressings came with an inner lyric sheet. The inner sleeve features a double page photo depicting what the listener might reasonably be expected to believe as being a huge crowd at a live Rainbow gig. However, it is in fact a picture of the crowd at a ‘Rush’ gig with the slogan on the banner airbrushed over to display the fiction of the album title and the fans’ ‘Rush’ t-shirts blacked out.