BrainWaves :: out of the gene pool
Monday, March 20, 2006
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Forgotten Hero IV - Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett is probably the most enigmatic rock icon of our times who has been destroyed by his own ideas. One of the most talented musicians of the late 20th century, Syd was the victim of the free-wheeling lifestyle of 60s and his own inability to control his lifestyle.
Born Roger Keith Barrett (born January 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England) to Arthur Max Barrett and Winefred Flack-Barrett, Syd showed his inclination to music at an early age.
The band Pink Floyd was formed in 1964. Barrett named the band after two obscure bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, following a succession of non-Barrett titles (including "The Tea Set," "The Abdabs" and "Leonard's Lodgers") which date even earlier.
Barrett wrote most of the Floyd's early material; he was also an innovative guitarist, being one of the first to fully explore the sonic possibilities of distortion and especially the recently-developed echo machine.
One of Barrett's most beloved trademarks was playing his fender guitar by sliding a Zippo lighter up and down the fretboard to create the mysterious, otherworldly sounds that became forever associated with the name "Pink Floyd." Barrett was also known for his magnetic stage-presence; despite a natural humbleness and an inclination towards shyness, his striking good looks and hypnotic presence gave audiences an immediate impact.
As Pink Floyd were hailed as critical darlings and achieved public acclaim, the pressures placed on the already sensitive Barrett proved untimely and, ultimately, tragic. There are many stories about Barrett's bizarre and intermittently psychotic behaviour, some of these tales undoubtedly apocryphal, although some are known to be true.
On one famous occasion, he displayed signs of catatonia during the taping of an appearance on the Pat Boone TV show, standing stock still, his arms limp by his sides, violet-eyes staring fixedly into the camera.
In another well-known incident, shortly before going on stage, Syd crushed up the entire contents of his bottle of Mandrax tranquilizer tablets, mixing them with a large quantity of pudding; he then placed the mixture on top of his head and as he played under the hot stage lights, the viscous mixture softened and began to ooze down his forehead, giving the appearance that his face was melting, a tragic re-enactment of what Barrett was experiencing internally.
Another oft-repeated tale is that of Barrett appearing at the recording studio one day with a new song which he called "Have You Got It Yet". As he taught the group the song, it soon became obvious that he was changing the chords each time he played it through (hence the title) making it virtually impossible for them to learn it.
It has also frequently been claimed that his overly-exaggerated experience with drugs may not have been entirely of his own making, and that he was given LSD without his knowledge by so-called friends (Nick Kent discusses this in his article "The Cracked Ballad of Syd Barrett" collected in his book The Dark Stuff).
Barrett's vulnerability, trusting nature and inability to say no to the demands placed on him by the record company only served to exacerbate his schizophrenic condition.
When Barrett's childhood friend David Gilmour was asked to join Pink Floyd, the original intention was for him to augment the lineup in a live setting, freeing Barrett from some of the stresses of touring. It was thought that Syd could continue to write and record with the group and, because he was the singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist, it was hoped that he would play a similar role to the Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, who had also withdrawn from live performances but had continued to write for that group. However, it soon became apparent that such a situation would not be possible as Barrett was becoming increasingly reclusive and was subsequently admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Cambridge. Gilmour's performances lacked the daring experimentalism that Barrett was renowned for, but he was a dependable singer and guitarist and, more importantly, sane. Gilmour became a permanent member, with bassist Roger Waters taking over de facto leadership of the band after Barrett's departure.
Barrett increasingly withdrew from the world of music, although, at the behest of EMI and Harvest Records he did have a brief solo career, releasing two mercurial and highly-regarded solo albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. The songs are reliefs of high-art, startling in their use of language and imagery but often haunting in their distress. Much controversy has risen around David Gilmour's production work; he chose to leave Barrett's more vulnerable moments on tape to give the records a more "authentic" feel, but many feel it does Barrett few favours and instead takes advantage of his fragile condition. Much of the material on both albums dates from Barrett's most productive period of songwriting and it is believed that he wrote few new songs after he left Pink Floyd. Regardless, both albums stand as stark reminders of his genius as a songsmith and his enduring appeal as a singer.
Barrett spent many of the subsequent years painting at his mother's home in Cambridge, where he lives to this day. The paintings which he sold or gave away are highly sought after and sell for alarmingly high prices. He continues to paint but seldom listens to music, although it has been reported that he enjoys the classical composers, a love shared by his late father, Dr. Max Barrett; he reportedly paid no attention whatsoever to a Pink Floyd compilation that was given to him, although his sister reported that he had a "spring in his step", after watching a Floyd documentary. He reportedly told her that he enjoyed seeing his "teacher", architect and landlord, Mike Leonard, but found the film "a little noisy." Fans around the world retain a fierce and devout love for Barrett.
It has to be noted that the remaining Pink Floyd members (specially Waters and Gilmour) are not comfortable about all this, pointing out that he is unwell, that the attention of so-called "fans" does him harm, and that what happened to him was not a thing to celebrate, but a sad thing.
There has been much speculation concerning the psychological well-being of Syd Barrett. It has been suggested that he has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism, owing to certain traits in his behaviour. Barrett remains a beloved and mysterious artist, a songwriter of considerable talent and considered by some to adhere to the classic archetype of the romantic genius, fondly remembered by many and an inspiration to future musicians. Although Barrett has not appeared or spoken in public since the mid-1970s, time has done little to diminish interest in his life and work (not to mention the media's fascination with his story); reporters and fans still travel to Cambridge to seek him out, despite his attempts at living a quiet life or, as he sang in Dominoes, "a life that comes of no harm."
In 1988, EMI Records released Opel, an album of Barrett's studio outtakes and previously unreleased material recorded in 1970. EMI also released The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me? in the UK on April 16, 2001, and in the United States on September 11, 2001. Also worthy of mention is the immense bootleg collection Have You Got It Yet?, a 19-disc audio/visual compilation composed of several live performances of both Barrett solo and with the Pink Floyd, with some of the versions (mostly from BBC and live gigs) being considered far superior than those in the official albums. One of the main attractions of the collection are some of the tracks for the never-released third album. There are also interviews with other Pink Floyd members, video footage and covers from other artists.
Many artists have recorded tributes to Barrett throughout the decades. His contemporary Kevin Ayers wrote the song "Oh Wot a Dream" as a tribute (Barrett provided guitar to an early version of Ayer's "Singing a Song in the Morning"). R.E.M.'s made a cover of the haunting "Dark Globe", as has Placebo. The Television Personalities track "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives" is another well-known tribute, apparently based on fact. At the Drive-In recorded a cover version of "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" from Piper (which is, in fact, a Roger Waters song, not Syd's...) and its frontmen (now the main members of The Mars Volta) have claimed that they tried to emulate The Piper at the Gates of Dawn's sound in their music.
Johnny Depp has stated in a June, 2005 interview that "when growing up, he dreamed of being a rock and roll guitar player and thought that a movie based on the story of Syd Barrett would be a great idea."
Syd Barrett now in Cambridge couple of weeks before the Pink Floyd reunion G8 concert.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Forgotten Hero III - Ian StewartOne of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, Ian Stewart lost his place in the lineup after the band’s manager determined that Stewart, with his pronounced jaw line and thick, brushed-back hair, didn’t look the part. But he stayed with the band for the rest of his life as road manager and occasional boogie-woogie pianist. It was always his band, even before he persuaded the fledgling group to hire Charlie Watts as drummer.
“This is probably how I can illustrate, more than anything about the Rolling Stones, that Stu is absolute numero uno, that it’s his band,” writes Keith Richards in a new book about Stewart, “because he angled for Charlie Watts.”
Lovingly referred to as the sixth stone, pianist Ian Stewart was actually a founding member of the original group, pre-dating both Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman as members. Stewart, or Stu as he was called, was one of a core group of rhythm and blues enthusiasts that frequented Alexis Korner's blues club. Among the others were Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Dick Taylor and Keith Richards, figures who would all go on to have a profound effect on rock n' roll music. Adept at boogie woogie style piano, Stewart began rehearsing with fellow enthusiasts Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. When bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts joined, the group named themselves the Rolling Stones and began attracting a small but loyal following in London.
After manager Andrew Loog Oldham took over the reigns of the Stones' career he deemed Stewart unfit for the group because the straight-laced Stewart didn't "have the right look." Thankfully for the rest of the band Stu agreed to stay on as their road manager and sometime piano player. Throughout the groups career Stu contributed his Chicago style piano playing to several of the Stones releases including December's Children, Aftermath and Let it Bleed among others. The gifted keyboardist also lent his hand to projects outside The Stones such as the London Howlin' Wolf sessions, Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti and Pete Townshend's Rough Mix album.
Adored by all who knew him, Stewart's uncompromisingly purist stance towards the blues (he refused to play piano on "Wild Horses" because minor chords offended him aesthetically) helped keep the Stones on a stayed course during the times when they were in real danger of losing their core sound. Ian Stewart died in 1985 before he could have a chance to be inducted into the rock n' roll hall of fame beside his beloved Rolling Stones.
“So you come to one of the most amazing parts about Ian Stewart,” says guitarist Richards. “All he did was turn round and say ‘I understand that.’ He just sort of took a gentleman’s step back. ... That’s the heart of a lion man to be able to do that.” Throughout the band’s career, Stewart added an undercurrent of barrelhouse piano that gave the Stones a distinctive sound, on records and in concert. He never played on songs he didn’t like. “Stu would decide what songs he wanted to play on and what he didn’t, and there was nobody in the band to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay,’ “ says Richards.
His playing dots all the Stones’ recordings. He added piano to the band’s original, “Tell Me,” and organ on the early hit “It’s All Over Now.” He cut “2120 South Michigan Avenue,” essentially an organ instrumental, with the band during its first U.S. tour at the Chess Records studio in Chicago. His piano can barely be heard on “Brown Sugar,” but his keyboard ripples on “Let It Bleed” drive the song through the verses. He played on “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the Chuck Berry takeoff, “Star Star,” from the “Goats Head Soup” album.
He ran the Rolling Stones mobile studio for years and wound up sitting in with other British rock aristocracy, including some Ronnie Lane sessions and a memorable occasion with Led Zeppelin -- he overdubbed the piano on “Rock and Roll” -- commemorated by the track “Boogie With Stu.” In 1981, he produced (and played a little piano on) a live record by Rocket 88, a celebration of authentic jump band boogie-woogie, largely a showcase for for pianist Bob Hall and saxophonist Hal “Cornbread” Singer, that undoubtedly reflected his own musical sensibilities more completely than any of the Stones albums ever did.
But Stewart’s lasting legacy to the Stones runs much deeper than his musical contributions. He was the conscience of the Stones, the only person who could always talk to everyone and a lasting reminder of the band’s essential values. His funeral was said to be the first public occasion where Mick Jagger cried.
“I can’t imagine the Rolling Stones without Stu,” says former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.
“The Rolling Stones are Ian Stewart’s band,” Richards says.
Forgotten Hero II - Pete BestRandolph Peter Best (born November 24, 1941 in Madras, India) was an early drummer for The Beatles. The son of Mona Best, the owner of Liverpool's Casbah Club, where the Beatles played occasionally, Best was first invited to join the band in 1959, later rejoining for their 1960–1961 residency in Hamburg. He stayed until shortly after their first audition for EMI in 1962, being fired on August 16 of that year to be replaced by Ringo Starr, then of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
Best got the news that he was being booted from the band from the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein. The reason given was that George Martin, who was to become the Beatles' producer, had been dissatisfied with Best's drumming (which was steady, but lacked "chops" or flair of any kind) and intended to replace him on their recordings. Besides this, Best had never completely fitted in with Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, spending his offstage time alone, and refusing to change his ducktail hairstyle when the band adopted the Beatle haircut. Starr, on the other hand, readily joined in the others' doings—and had an appealing, unique playing style.
Best tried to put together a couple of bands after the Beatles evicted him, but he had little success in those ventures, aside from the release of an album questionably titled Best of the Beatles. (The title was meant to refer to his former band, but led to confusion and disappointment for record buyers.) He tried to commit suicide in 1965 by locking himself in a room and inhaling fumes from a gas fire. Best filed a libel suit against the Beatles in October 1965 because Starr implied in an interview with Playboy magazine that the band had fired Best because he was a drug user. A subsequent libel suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
After a series of jobs outside music (including work as a baker, and a civil servant), Best eventually found a modicum of independent fame, writing about his time with the Beatles, giving interviews to the media, and touring as leader of the Pete Best Band. When the surviving Beatles released Anthology in 1995, which featured a number of tracks with Best as drummer, Best received a substantial windfall from the sales. Some claim it was at least £2 million.
In the Anthology book, Lennon succinctly summed up his opinion of Best's role in the band: "The myth built up over the years that . . . Paul was jealous of Best because he was pretty and all that crap. They didn't get on that much together, but it was partly because Pete was a bit slow. He was a harmless guy but was not quick. All of us had quick minds, but he never picked that up."
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Forgotten Hero - Stuart Sutcliffe
Today's post will be on the forgotten Beatles - Stuart Sutcliffe, the fifth Beatle who left the group before they made it big.
Stuart Sutcliffe was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 23, 1940. At 19, Stu was regarded as one of the most talented and promising students at the Liverpool Art College, when he met fellow art student John Lennon. All of the girls liked Stu because of his moody, romantic scowl, sunglasses, and resemblence to James Dean. Stu even lived like an artist, in a cramped, paint splattered house near the school. John lived there with Stu for a time, spending long nights drinking and sharing their passions for art.
When Stu sold a painting in 1959 for £65, an unheard-of sum for a student's painting in those days, John convinced him to buy a bass guitar and join the band, never mind that he couldn't play. Before their first big break, a two-week tour to Scotland backing Johnny Gentle, Stu is partially credited with coming up with the name Beatles, by jokingly suggesting "Beetles" as a play on Buddy Holly's Crickets. Back in Liverpool, violence was common at the shows they played at, and one night, after a show at Litherland Town Hall in the north of Liverpool, the Silver Beatles were ambushed as they made their way out into the car park to their van. In the fight, Stu went down and was kicked in the head. Later at home, still bleeding from the gash in his head, he refused to let his mother call a doctor.
While in Hamburg, Stu met Klaus Voorman, who introduced him to Astrid Kirchherr, and they quickly fell in love. Astrid changed Stu's clothes and gave him a new, distinctive hair style, which all the Beatles later adopted. While on their second Hamburg trip, Stu started to study art again, at the Hamburg State Art College, where Astrid had studied, allowing him to quit the Beatles gradually. When the tour ended and the rest of the Beatles went back to Liverpool in 1961, Stu stayed in Hamburg with Astrid. Stu died on April 10, 1962, from a brain hemmorrhage, following a series of violent headaches. Ironically, the Beatles were to arrive the next day to start their third Hamburg tour.
Stu with The Beatles in Hamburg 1961.
Above are some of the Artwork sample of Stu.
Sutcliffe's role in the Beatles' early career, as well as the factors that led him to leave the group, is dramatised in the movie Backbeat, in which he was portrayed by Stephen Dorff. He was also portrayed by David Wilkinson in the film Birth of the Beatles.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Basic Rules to be a Blues Musician
Here is something interesting I have received few days ago from a friend.
1. Most blues begin "woke up this morning."
2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line.
I got a good woman,
With the meanest dog in town.
3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of.
Got a good woman
With the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
And he weighs 500 pounds.
4. The blues are not about limitless choice, convertible debentures, golden parachutes, BMWs, opera, or environmental impact statements.
5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
6. Teenagers can't sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a depression. Chicago, St.Louis, Austin and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.
8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
9. You can't have the blues in an office or a shopping mall - the lighting is wrong.
10A. Good places for the Blues:
a. the highway
b. the jailhouse
c. an empty bed
10B. Bad places:
b. Gallery openings
c. Weekend in the Hamptons
d. Trump Plaza
11. No one will believe it's the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.
12A. Yes, if:
a. your first name is a southern state -- like Georgia
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis (see exception below)
d. your woman can't be satisfied.
12B. No, if:
a. you were once blind but now can see.
b. you have a trust fund.
c. you hold elected office.
d. your woman CAN be satisfied.
13. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbara Streisand can sing the blues.
14A. If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it's the blues.
Other blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. Irish whiskey
c. muddy water
14B. Blues beverages are NOT:
a. Any mixed drink
b. Any wine Kosher for Passover
c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)
15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die.
Other blues ways to die include:
a. the electric chair
b. substance abuse
c. being denied treatment in an emergency room.
It is NOT a blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.
16A. Some Blues names for Women
b. Big Mama
16B. Some Blues Names for Men
c. Little Willie
Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
16C. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit)
a. Name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
b. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
c. Last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
For example, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Anorexic Willie, or Cripple Chirimoya.
[Personally, I dig "Asthmatic Kiwi Fillmore" given the above choices...]
SONG WRITERS ADHERING TO THESE RULES WILL BE AUTHENTIC BLUES WRITERS!
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Growing up with a Bong Superhero
These rainy days make me quite nostalgic. Days like these brings back memories from the summer vacation, Maggi, Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot and comics. Comics was the main source of our hero worshipping (what else do a Bong kid can do on summer holidays with only DoorDarshan available!). To a whole generation of us Bong kids growing up Batul was our definition of the ultimate Bong superhero (though the grownups always talked about the Marxist superheroes but we somehow foresaw the future and knew Jyoti Basu was a dud!!). Every Bong house has atleast a copy of Batul or Handa-Bhonda or Nonte-Fonte present. I remember visiting my Mashimoni's place and spending whole day going through my cousin's collection of Suktara(he had an enormous collection; some date back even before my birth).
Batul is supposed to be the strongest man on earth - he can lift whole ship with a single hand, can blow the roofs of whole town by blowing his breath and can lift the prison building with one hand to catch the crooks escaping. The only similarity with Batul I found later was with Desperate Dan.
I've always wanted from then on to know more about Narayan Debnath, the man behind those hugely popular (they still are!!!) comics series like Batul, Handa-Bhonda and Nonte-Fonte. Atlast found an interview of him thanks to Parabaas.
Here's some vital-info on Batul:
Real Name: Bantul
Occupation: Various odd jobs when money is short
Affiliations: 'Lambakarna'. (a small boy, who has a special power of hearing from a great distance.); an ostrich (by manipulating his wings Bantul flies)
Enemies: Terrorists, outlaws, smugglers in general.
Bachchu, Bichchu - two small boys who are criminally-minded; Bantul always try to prevent them from doing mischief, so they try to harm Bantul.
Known Relatives: One very old aunt. Bantul is brought up by her, and he still stays in her house, looking after her.
Aliases: Bantul the Great
Base of Operations: A small township at a remote corner of eastern India, sometimes other parts of India also.
First Appearance: 'Bantul The Great' Comic Strip in Magazine Shuktara, started 40 years ago.
Powers/Abilities: He has physical power beyond imagination. He can move big things by blowing air from his mouth; his body is so tough that bombs, bullets or knives cannot penetrate. In a few instances terrorists fired missiles at him, and he used them as football. Even his tiny hairs (he usually has a shaven head) are so tough that they act like thorns or nails, so if he touches a ball with his head, the ball bursts. He can fly by manipulating the wings of his favorite ostrich.
History: Bantul is a superhuman who tries to enjoy a leisurely life in a remote corner of eastern India, who comes to the rescue of good people and to enforce the law and punish criminals. He helped Indian Military and Police a few times to catch terrorists and smugglers. The rest of the time he spends reading books, cooking, fishing, roaming in jungles and mountains, or try to earn some money when he runs short of it. Most of the times he land up in a mess when trying to earn money, as he is never conscious of his great powers, so he does normal things abnormally and destroy everything! (For example, if he takes a job of lawn mowing, he will definitely break the lawn mower!). Despite all his abilities, he's by heart a small boy, and most of the time he forgets his powers and try to act like a normal man. This way he brings miseries to his friends also.
Thank you Narayan babu for giving us the lovely childhood.
Here's a place we can read his masterpieces online.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
End of Innocence
So I've done with my 20s; today I've entered 30s. I'm no more 20 something, have graduated to 30 something today. Above is the cover of Time Magazine Jul 14, 1975.
Looking back it's been a strange, beautiful trip.
Incidentally I share my b'day with one of my favourite actors - Harrison Ford.
Here are some of the major events of 1975:
January 16 - Angola gains independence from Portugal
January 20 - Michael Ovitz founds Creative Artists Agency
January - Altair 8800 is released, sparking the era of the microcomputer
February 4 - The first successfully predicted earthquake occured in Haicheng, Liaoning, China
March 4 - Charlie Chaplin is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
March 9 - Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System begins
March 25 - King Faisal of Saudi Arabia is shot and killed by a nephew with a history of mental illness - the killer is beheaded on June 18.
April 3 - Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title.
April 17 - Pol Pot proclaims the "Democratic Republic of Kampuchea" in Cambodia and becomes its Prime Minister (1975–1979).
April 13 - An attack by Phalangists on a Palestinian bus in Ain El Remmeneh, Lebanon sparks over 15 years of civil war.
April 30 - Vietnam War: The Vietnam War ends as Communist forces take Saigon and South Vietnam surrenders unconditionally.
May 16 - India annexes Sikkim
May 16 - Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest
June 5 - The Suez Canal opens for the first time since the Six-Day War
June 28 - Mozambique gains independence from Portugal
July 5 - Cape Verde gains independence after 500 years of Portuguese rule
July 6 - The Comoros declare their independence from France
July 12 - São Tomé and Príncipe declare independence from Portugal
July 17 - Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations July 31 - In Detroit, Michigan, Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing. August 8 - The Banqiao Dam, in China's Henan Province, fails after a freak typhoon. Over 200,000 people perish.
August 20 - Viking program: NASA launches the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars
September 14 - Rembrandt's painting "The Night Watch" is slashed a dozen times at a gallery in Amsterdam.
September 5 - In Sacramento, California, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of incarcerated cult leader Charles Manson, attempts to assassinate US President Gerald Ford, but is thwarted by a Secret Service agent.
September 22 - President Gerald Ford survives a second assassination attempt, this time by Sara Jane Moore
October 30 - Prince Juan Carlos becomes King of Spain after dictator Francisco Franco concedes that he is too ill to govern.
November 11 - Angola becomes independent from Portugal (a deadly civil war soon erupts)
November 14 - Spain abandons Western Sahara
Physicist Andrei Sakharov receives the Nobel Peace Prize
Music Highlights of 1975:
New albums carry four established acts to even loftier heights of popularity and respect: Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks, Chicago's Chicago VIII, John Lennon's Rock'N'Roll, and Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti.
Bruce Springsteen and his new album Born to Run.
The Wiz, a contemporary version of The Wizard of Oz, opens on Broadway.
Elton John's Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy enters the charts at number one and goes on to become his biggest all-time seller.
While on vacation, Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, is involved in a serious auto crash that almost claims his life and those of his family.
Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood and John and Christine McVie are joined by new members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham for the new album for Reprise Records, titled Fleetwood Mac. It would become the sleeper smash of the rock era, taking 58 weeks to reach number one on the charts.
The Captain & Tennille release their album Love Will Keep Us Together. The title song, written by Neil Sedaka, becomes the biggest hit single of the year.
The Bee Gee's album Main Course produces the number one disco-flavored "Jive Talkin'," a song that changed the whole image and sound of the group, and foreshadowed the disco explosion they would launch two years later with the album Saturday Night Fever.
On Thursday, October 9, John Lennon's 35th birthday, John and Yoko's son Sean is born.
On Saturday, October 11, Saturday Night Live premiers on NBC-TV. George Carlin is the first host, and Janis Ian and Billy Preston are the first musical guests.
Popular Movies of 1975:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Dog Day Afternoon
The Day of the Locust
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Farewell, My Lovely
The French Connection II
The Man Who Would Be King
Grammy Awards in 1975:
The 17th Grammy Awards were held in 1975, and were broadcast live on American television. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1974.
Record of the Year John Farrar (producer) & Olivia Newton-John for "I Honestly Love You" Album of the Year Stevie Wonder (producer & artist) for Fulfillingness' First Finale
Song of the Year Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman & Marvin Hamlisch (songwriters) for "The Way We Were" performed by Barbra Streisand
Best New Artist Marvin Hamlisch
Best Classical Performance - Orchestra Georg Solti (conductor) & the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
Composing and arranging
Best Instrumental Composition Mike Oldfield (composer) for "Tubular Bells - Theme From The Exorcist"
Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman & Marvin Hamlisch (composers) for The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand
Best Instrumental Arrangement Pat Williams (arranger) for Threshold Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists Joni Mitchell & Tom Scott (arrangers) for "Down to You" performed by Joni Mitchell
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female Anne Murray for Love Song
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male Ronnie Milsap for "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends"
Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group The Pointer Sisters for "Fairytale"
Best Country Instrumental Performance Chet Atkins & Merle Travis for The Atkins-Travis Traveling Show
Best Country Song Billy Sherrill & Norris Wilson (songwriters) for "A Very Special Love Song" performed by Charlie Rich
Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording Doc Watson & Merle Watson for Two Days in November
Best Gospel Performance The Oak Ridge Boys for "The Baptism of Jesse Taylor"
Best Soul Gospel Performance James Cleveland for In the Ghetto performed by James Cleveland & the Southern California Community Choir
Best Inspirational Performance (non-classical) Elvis Presley for "How Great Thou Art"
Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist Charlie Parker for First Recordings!
Best Jazz Performance by a Group Joe Pass, Niels Pedersen & Oscar Peterson for The Trio
Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band Woody Herman for Thundering Herd
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female Olivia Newton-John for "I Honestly Love You"
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male Stevie Wonder for Fulfillingness' First Finale
Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus Paul McCartney & Wings for "Band on the Run"
Best Pop Instrumental Performance Marvin Hamlisch for "The Entertainer"
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female Aretha Franklin for "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male Stevie Wonder for "Boogie on Reggae Woman"
Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus Rufus for "Tell Me Something Good" Best R&B Instrumental Performance MFSB for "The Sound of Philadelphia"
Best Rhythm & Blues Song Stevie Wonder (songwriter) for "Living for the City"
Academy Awards (Oscar) 1975:
The forty-eighth Academy Awards ceremony was held on Monday, March 29, 1976 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center. When Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) won for best actress, she added sign language to her acceptance speech. To her deaf parents she said, "I want to say thank you . . . for teaching me to have a dream."
The hosts for the evening were Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Gene Kelly, and George Segal.
Picture One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Actor Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
Actress Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
Supporting Actor George Burns (The Sunshine Boys)
Supporting Actress Lee Grant (Shampoo)
Director Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
Adapted Screenplay Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) Original Screenplay Frank Pierson (Dog Day Afternoon)
Song "I'm Easy" (Nashville)
Score Jaws (Original) Barry Lyndon (Adaptation)
Cinematography Barry Lyndon
Costume Design Barry Lyndon
Art / Set Decoration Barry Lyndon
Film Editing Jaws
Foreign Language Film Dersu Uzala (U.S.S.R.)
Short Films Great (Animated) Angel and Big Joe (Live Action)
Documentaries The End of the Game (Short) The Man Who Skied Down Everest (Feature)
Well, so much for trivia.