Classic Long Plays – A Glance Back – Part 6
The Thing About Long Plays…..
Is that not just any band or musician would get an opportunity to cut a long play. Getting financial backing or getting a major label interested would have to be a hurdle that few could overcome. Joel Whitburn’s “Billboard Albums” publication which “Included every album that made the Billboard 200 Chart” contains nearly 1400 pages with thousands upon thousands of listings for the charting time period of March 24th, 1956 through 2005 (for the Sixth Edition). Prior to March of 1956, Billboard was a little erratic and inconsistent in report long play chart information and data. Whitburn reports that often three weeks would pass between the publication of long play charts and sometimes up to seven weeks would pass. Whitburn further reports that even then, the charts would be buried in the pages of Billboard with no fanfare.
The historic event that changed everything – making tracking of long plays viable was the arrival of Elvis Presley. Suddenly a rock and roll long play was the real deal. The very first genuine rock and roll long play to hit the charts was Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock” Decca 8225, January 28th, 1956. Haley did earlier enter the LP charts with an extended play – “Shake, Rattle and Roll” Decca 2168 – charting February 19th, 1955. Imagine the pioneers among our brothers and sisters who had the guts to buy that record!
Elvis entered the long play charts on March 31st, 1956 – the second week of the new era with “Elvis Presley” RCA Victor 1254 which reached number 1 and remained there for 10 weeks. (Elvis would reach the number 1 position 10 tens during his career, with his biggest coming in 1961 with “Blue Hawaii” a soundtrack release which stayed on top for 20 weeks. By comparison the Beatles reached number 1 on 19 occasions as a group through 2005. As individuals the Beatles charted 12 additional number 1’s, two by George, 3 Lennon, none for Ringo and 7 by Sir Paul.
And yet, for all that, cutting an album was elusive for most acts who made it onto a single vinyl format. I am sometimes amazed at some of the artists who penetrated the top 200 like “The King Family Show” which peaked at number 34 in 1965, or “The Hollyridge Strings” who charted five times with their Beatles/Beach Boys/Elvis/Nat King Cole titles (“The Beatles Song Book” peaked at number 15! with a 25-week run for gosh sake!
Hal Blaine was just so doggone busy working as a constant drummer for the “Wrecking Crew” in Los Angeles. Can you imagine the experiences he had in the recording studios and the stories he could tell. Gonna see for myself – Just ordered his biography.
1963 – Hal Blaine & The Young Cougars – RCA Victor LP 2834 – “Deuces, T’s, Roadsters and Drums”
Wrecking Crew musicians on this LP were Hal Blaine, Bill Pitman, Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco, Ray Pohlman, Leon Russell, Jimmy Bond, Ron Smith, Marshall Cram, Richard Leith, Steven Kreisman adn Frank Capp.
1963 – The Blasters – Crown CST 392 – “Sounds of the Drags”
Studio musician project with Jerry Cole, Steve Douglas, Don Dexter, Ray Pohlman and Plas Johnson.
1968 – Mike Bloomfield (and friends) – Columbia CS 9701 – “Supper Session”
Mike Bloomfield was born in July of 1943 in Chicago, Illinois Michael Bernard Bloomfield – He teamed up with Paul Butterfield in his “Paul Butterfield Blues Band” before going on his own.
1968 – Blue Cheer – Philips PHS 600-264 – “Vincebus Eruptum”
Blue Cheer formed in 1967 out of San Francisco (their name based on a form of LSD it is supposed although there was a detergent of the same name) – Original members included Dickie Peterson (a Haight Street resident at the time), Leigh Stephens and Eric Albronda.
1969 – The Blue Velvet Band – Warner Bros. W-1802 – “Sweet Moments with the Blue Velvet Band”
The Blue Velvet Band formed in the late 60’s with Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg, Jim Rooney and Richard Greene. All the members had been with other groups with Bill Keith having been with “Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band”.
1966 – The Blues Magoos – Mercury R-61096 – “Psychedelic Lollipop”
The Blues Magoos formed in 1964 in The Bronx in New York City. The Band was first called “The Trenchcoats” next becoming “The Bloos Magoos” before settling on their final name. – Original members were Emil Thielhelm, Dennis LePore, Ralph Scala, Ron Gilbert and Jon Finnegan. Scala would go on to join “The Dependables”.