Bicycle Day


The Beatles - Revolver

Revolver is the seventh album by The Beatles, released on 5 August 1966. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous, folk rock inspired Rubber Soul. It reached #1 on both the UK chart and U.S. chart and stayed at the top spot for seven weeks and six weeks, respectively.

It was released before the Beatles' last tour in August 1966, but they did not perform songs from the album live. Their reasoning for this was that many of the tracks on the album, for example "Tomorrow Never Knows", were too complex to perform with live instruments.

 Melodic diversity and innovation in the studio A key production technique used for the first time on this album was automatic double tracking (ADT), invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend on 6 April 1966. This technique used two linked tape recorders to automatically create a doubled vocal track. The standard method was to double the vocal by singing the same piece twice onto a multitrack tape, a task Lennon particularly disliked. The Beatles were reportedly delighted with the invention, and used it extensively on Revolver. ADT quickly became a standard pop production technique, and led to related developments, including the artificial chorus effect.

Heralding the psychedelic era

In many respects,
Revolver is one of the very first psychedelic LPs — not only in its numerous shifts in mood and production texture, but in its innovative manipulation of amplification and electronics to produce new sounds on guitars and other instruments.Specific, widely heralded examples would include the backwards riffs of "I'm Only Sleeping," the sound effects of "Yellow Submarine," the sitar of "Love You To," the blurry guitars of "She Said, She Said," and above all the seagull chanting, buzzing drones, megaphone vocals, free-assocation philosophizing, and varispeed tape effects of "Tomorrow Never Knows."

The most lighthearted track on Revolver is the childlike "Yellow Submarine". McCartney said that he wrote "Yellow Submarine" as a children's song for Starr to sing. With the help of their EMI production team, the Beatles overdubbed stock sound effects they found in the Abbey Road studio tape library.

In 1972, Lennon offered some context for the influence of drugs on the Beatles' creativity (quoted in The Beatles Anthology):

“ It's like saying, 'Did Dylan Thomas write Under Milk Wood on beer?' What does that have to do with it? The beer is to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. They don't make you write any better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid or not on acid. ”

Cover art and title

 The cover illustration was created by German-born bassist and artist
Klaus Voormann, one of the Beatles' oldest friends from their days at the Star Club in Hamburg. Voormann's illustration, part line drawing and part collage, included photographs by Robert Whitaker, who also took the back cover photographs and many other images of the group between 1964 and 1966, such as the infamous "butcher cover" for Yesterday and Today. Voormann's own photo as well as his name (Klaus O. W. Voormann) is worked into Harrison's hair on the right-hand side of the cover. In the Revolver cover appearing in his artwork for Anthology 3, he replaced this image with a more recent photo. Harrison's Revolver image was seen again on his single release of "When We Was Fab" along with an updated version of the same image.

The title "Revolver", like "Rubber Soul" before it, is a pun, referring both to a kind of handgun as well as the "revolving" motion of the record as it is played on a turntable. The Beatles had a difficult time coming up with this title. According to Barry Miles in his book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, the title that the four had originally wanted was Abracadabra, until they discovered that another band had already used it. After that, opinion split: Lennon wanted to call it Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle and Starr jokingly suggested After Geography, playing on The Rolling Stones' recently released Aftermath LP. Other suggestions included Magical Circles, Beatles on Safari, Pendulum, and, finally, Revolver, whose wordplay was the one that all four agreed upon. The title was chosen while the band were on tour in Japan in June–July 1966. Due to security measures, they spent much of their time in their Tokyo Hilton hotel room; the name Revolver was selected as all four collaborated on a large psychedelic painting.

Velvett Fogg - Velvett Fogg


Velvett Fogg are a cult British psychedelic rock band. Tony Iommi was a member in mid-1968, but soon left to form Black Sabbath. Their lone eponymous album was released in January 1969, and re-released on CD by Sanctuary Records in 2002.
The latter part of the 1960s saw the formation of many new bands within the "underground" scene who would attempt to take pop music to a higher level of creativity. Birmingham also had its own flourishing underground music scene during that time with a variety of innovative groups emerging. The line up of Velvett Fogg all came from within this alternative music scene in the city.

Velvett Fogg were formed in 1968 out of a Birmingham band Gravy Train. They were fronted by soul singer Ernie Handy and the guitarist at that time was Bob Hewitt. The other band members were drummer Graham Mullett, bass guitarist Mick Pollard, and Londoner Frank Wilson who played Hammond organ. The newly formed band travelled to Germany where they spent most of the year playing at army bases and clubs. Their stage act included a light show and a go-go dancer (who later married Handy).

Upon returning to Birmingham, the band, now managed by an agency called Inter City Artists, were given a record deal by Jack Dorsey of Pye Records. At this time it seemed that the more unusual or controversial a band was, then the greater chance there would be for success in the record business. The record label was looking to sign unusual "underground" acts and Velvett Fogg were told to, in Jack Dorsey's words, "develop an image that would make people think you would piss on the pope"! (Keith Law) The initial line-up of Velvett Fogg featured guitarist Tony Iommi (later to make the big time with Black Sabbath).

Iommi stayed in the line-up for only one gig before leaving to be replaced temporarily by Ian Leighton - described as "a great blues guitarist" by his friend Frank Wilson. It was during this time that Pye Records arranged a photo-shoot of the band for the cover of their proposed first album.

Material for the Velvett Fogg album would be supplied by local songwriter/guitarist Keith Law , who became a friend of the band. A veteran of the West Midlands music scence, Law played with such groups as The Williamsons, Love and Understanding, Paint, and Jardine. In his initial writing sessions with the band Law came up with 'Yellow Cave Woman', 'Once Among The Trees' and 'Within' The Night'.

Before recording could begin in late 1968, Ian Leighton departed Velvett Fogg and was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Paul Eastment (a cousin of the band's previous guitarist Tony Iommi). Paul Eastment was also to contribute original compositions for the album along with Frank Wilson, Graham Mullet and Mick Pollard.

Velvett Fogg recorded the tracks for their debut album under direction of Pye producer Jack Dorsey. Apparently, Dorsey aimed to get the band onto the then-popular "progressive" band wagon. "I was a classically trained pianist but we all had to play way below our capabilities" says Frank Wilson. The band were also allowed to record covers of a few songs they liked and these included psychedelic-sounding versions of New York Mining Disaster 1941 by The Bee Gees and Tim Rose's Come Away Melinda.

Velvett Fogg's self-titled album was released on the Pye label in January 1969. By far the most controversial feature of the Velvett Fogg album was the record cover. It displayed the pre-Paul Eastment line-up of the band wearing garish make-up/body-paint and costume but also included two well-endowed young women wearing nothing but strategically applied body paint. This politically incorrect package was accompanied by a typically obscure sleevenote by the influential U.K. disc jockey John Peel who commented that "there is a lot of good music on this record. Remember Velvett Fogg - you will hear the name again."

Along with the Velvett Fogg album, Pye Records also released a single by the group. It was a cover of The Tornados classic instrumental Telstar which was recorded by the band as requested by Jack Dorsey who hoped to cash in on the publicity surrounding the American moon landings taking place at that time. While receiving some radio play, the record did not sell enough copies to chart and a big advertising campaign planned by the record company to promote the album never materialised.

The band did some touring after the single came out. Perhaps discouraged by poor sales of the Velvett Fogg album, Pye seemed to lose interest in the band so withdrew their backing. In the autumn of 1969 the group disbanded with the members going their separate ways. Frank Wilson says "I personally thought the first line-up in Germany was the best and most satisfying." He returned to London and joined Riot Squad and then The Rumble Band before following in Rick Wakeman's footsteps to join Warhorse in 1970.

Paul Eastment started a Brum band called "Holy Ghost" -later to become Ghost with whom he recorded a couple of albums. He later fronted another group called Resurrection as well as recording with local folk singer Shirley Kent.

Keith Law stayed in the music business, is still writing songs, and is now a successful entertainer in the South-West of England.

During the years since Velvett Fogg's demise, demand amongst collectors for copies of their (now very rare) album has increased considerably. Original albums have changed hands for high prices with bootleg copies also known to be in circulation. In 2002 the Sanctuary Records Group Ltd. re-issued the album officially for the first time on CD (CMRCD619).

Keith Law and Frank Wilson are back together writing as Velvett Fogg Reloaded, and recording for a proposed new Velvett Fogg album.

Jardine - Look in the window

Amazon Editorial Review

Jardine's album was recorded in three glorious weeks in June 1969, at Sounds Aquarian Studios,a stone's throw from that justifiably famous
fashion hub, Carnaby Street.
The sessions were fun. Polydor was supposed to release the album.Musicians dropped in to say "hello" and ended up on the record (uncredited) among them Peter Frampton,Andrew "Andy" Bown (Herd and Status Quo), and Brian Appleyard (drummer from East of Eden) .
Singer Mickey Cox had been in Robert Plant's pre-Led Zeppelin group The Band of Joy it was Cox, in fact, who became their singer
when Plant left the band.
But suddenly, thanks to band management problems,the LP was shelved. Keith Law, who had written all of the songs,joined Velvett Fogg
for their only album, and Jardine was forgotten.Now, forty years later, you can be among the first to discover the brooding excellence of these tracks music both strange and sinister, with moments of fragile beauty.There are some very pretty songs here (haunting melodies abound),
but there is no escaping the dark side of life songs ("Masochists of Strangulation", "Execution of the Child" and monumental dirge "Blackbirds of Jardine", which tells of self-same birds,and the fact that they will 'destroy you,and leave you pain, pain, pain'),
perhaps more akin to the band Comus than to anything else we have encountered from the psychedelic era.
There are also heavy guitar solos, churning organ, flute, and flowing sitar for good measure.A 16-page booklet includes a band history,
lyrics and comments on the songs by Keith Law.A lost jewel of late-1960's UK Psychedelia,from a short-lived but charismatic band!

Copyright ©Amazon Editorial.2009

Please visit the Jardine's website

Arcadium - Breathe Awhile


ARCADIUM were a late 60's psychedelic band fronted by songwriter, 12-string guitarist and lead vocalist Miguel Sergides. Sergides was joined by Graham Best on bass and vocals, Allan Ellwood on organ and vocals, John Albert Parker on drums and Robert Ellwood on lead guitar and vocals. Like many, they played the clubs until a small label by the name of Middle Earth - who released a whopping total of five albums - finally approached them. In 1969, "Breathe Awhile" was issued on an LP, the only album the band ever recorded. It has lately been reissued in cd format by German label Akarma.

ARCADIUM's ominous, cathedral-like organ, distorted guitar and anguished vocals are clearly derivative of bands such as the DOORS, IRON BUTTERFLY and VANILLA FUDGE - very much in the 'downer-heavy' school of the genre that was popular at the time. Their album is something of a bad-trip soundtrack that relies on minor-key melodies, ghostly harmonies and anguished vocals. What with all its flaws - bad production, sloppy vocals and doomesday atmospherics - its historical significance is immense. The music's intensity and sense of urgency, the blazing acid-drenched guitars, the tortured vocals and heavy nightmarish sounds all perfectly convey the late 60's atmosphere.

Fans of heavy psychedelia in search of a genuine dose of 60's nostalgia will love this band.

Syd Barrett - Barrett

Barrett was the second and final studio album of new material released by former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett. In February 1970, shortly after releasing his first album, The Madcap Laughs, Barrett appeared on John Peel's Top Gear radio show where he presented only one song from the newly released album. Two days later, he began working on his second album in the Abbey Road Studios, this time with Pink Floyd members David Gilmour and Richard Wright as producers and musicians.

The main aim for the Barrett sessions was to give Syd the structure and focus many felt was missing during the long and unwieldy sessions for The Madcap Laughs. Thus, the sessions were more efficiently run - with much unreleased material recorded - and the album was finished in far less time than it took to complete The Madcap Laughs.

While the sessions for Barrett ran more smoothly, it didn't prevent Syd's by-now characteristically bizarre behaviour from coming through. On June 6, 1970, Syd gave his one and only solo performance, backed by David Gilmour and Jerry Shirley, and baffled the audience (including Gilmour and Shirley) when he abruptly took off his guitar during the fourth number and walked off stage.

Barrett was released in November 1970 to less interest than had greeted The Madcap Laughs earlier in the year, and as a result, failed to chart. Bored and directionless, Barrett promptly headed back to his hometown of Cambridge and — but for a brief dalliance with a band called Stars in 1972, and some abortive recording sessions in 1974 — left his music career behind for good.

Pink Floyd - The piper at the gates of dawn


The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is Pink Floyd's debut album and the only one made under Syd Barrett's leadership—although he made some contributions to the follow-up, A Saucerful of Secrets. It has been regarded as one of the most influential albums ever made, being a tremendous influence on the psychedelic rock scene of the time and much of what followed. The album has whimsical lyrics about space, scarecrows, gnomes, bicycles and fairytales, along with psychedelicinstrumental passages. The album was initially released in 1967 by Columbia/EMI in the United Kingdom and Tower/Capitol in the United States; special limited editions were issued to mark its 30th and 40th anniversaries in 1997 and 2007.
Background In January 1967, prior to recording The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the band had produced at Sound Techniques Studio in London a single entitled "Arnold Layne". The single was later released in March of that year and reached #20 in the British charts. Also in January the band had recorded a 16-minute version of "Interstellar Overdrive" and an improvised jam called "Nick's Boogie", for Peter Whitehead's documentary film Tonite Let's All Make Love in London. (The latter track wasn't released until 1991 on the CD reissue of the film's soundtrack). The band's live show consisted mainly of instrumental numbers and blues covers, however they had started to introduce songs which were written primarily by guitarist and lead vocalistSyd Barrett. Many of these songs written by Barrett appeared at the Games For May concert several months before the release of the album.

Recording history Recording of the album began on the 21 February 1967 in studio three of Abbey Road Studios at the same time The Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Pretty Things were recording S.F. Sorrow. The album was produced by Norman Smith, an EMI staff member who had previously engineered all of The Beatles recordings up to 1965's Rubber Soul. Smith would go on to produce Pink Floyd's follow up album, A Saucerful of Secrets. "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Matilda Mother" were two of the first tracks recorded, as the latter was viewed as a potential single. An early, unoverdubbed, shortened mix of the album's "Interstellar Overdrive" was used for a FrenchEP released that July. In April, the band recorded both "Percy the Rat Catcher" (this would later be called "Lucifer Sam"), and a currently unreleased track called "She Was a Millionaire". At some point during the album's creation, Nick Mason recalled that they were "ushered" into studio 2 where The Beatles were recording "Lovely Rita". Several conflicting views surround how efficiently the recording of the album actually went. In his book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, Nick Mason recalled that the sessions went smoothly and that the whole process was extremely efficient. Norman Smith however, condemned both the album's recording and the band members' musical abilities. Smith later stated that the sessions were "sheer hell". However, both "The Gnome" and "The Scarecrow" were recorded in one take. Indeed a large proportion of the album is credited solely to Barrett, with tracks such as "Bike" having been written in late 1966 before the album was even started. "Bike" was originally entitled "The Bike Song", and it was recorded on 21 May 1967. The last recording session took place on 5 July 1967, with the track "Pow R. Toc H." being one of the last songs added to the album.

Album cover and title Vic Singh photographed and designed the album cover. The back cover features a silhouette drawing of the band done by Barrett himself.

The album's title comes from the title of Chapter Seven, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, where Rat and Mole, while searching for Portly, the lost son of Otter, are drawn to a place where the 'Piper' is playing on his reed flute. (The 'Piper' referred to is the Greek god Pan.)

Syd Barrett is referred to as "you piper" in the lyrics of the 1975 Pink Floyd song Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

Surrealistic Pillow is the second album by American psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, released in February 1967.

Original drummerAlexander 'Skip' Spence had left the band in mid-1966, replaced by a jazz drummer from Los Angeles, Spencer Dryden. New lead vocalist Grace Slick joined the band in 1966. Both Slick and Dryden debuted with the band on records with this album and its attendant singles, thus completing the best-known line-up of the group, which would remain stable until Dryden's departure in 1970. It's also considered to be one of the quintessential albums of the counterculture movement/social revolution.

Jefferson Airplane's fusion of folk rock and psychedelia was original at the time, in line with musical developments pioneered by The Byrds, The Mamas & the Papas, and Bob Dylan. Surrealistic Pillow was the first blockbuster psychedelic album by a band from San Francisco, announcing to the world the active bohemian scene that had developed there starting with The Beats during the 1950s, extending and changing through the 1960s into the Haight-Ashbury counterculture. Subsequently, the exposure generated by the Airplane and others wrought great changes to that counterculture, and by 1968 the ensuing national media attention had precipitated a very different San Francisco scene than had existed in 1966. San Francisco photographer, Herb Greene photographed the band for the album's cover art.

Some controversy exists as to the role of Grateful DeadguitaristJerry Garcia in the making of the album. His reputed presence on several tracks is denied by producer Rick Jarrard,but he is credited on the RCA label copy ,as well as receiving credits on the Flight Log compilatioand the Jefferson Airplane Loves You box set.

Surrealistic Pillow was originally released as RCA Victor LPM/LSP 3766, and peaked at #3 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart, driven by "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," which peaked at #8 and #5 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album was mixed in both mono and stereo, and both mixes are available on a rare RCA Gold CD edition, a November 2001 reissue, and as part of the Ignition box set. The mono version is actually preferred by some collectors as it has a more powerful sound and significantly less echo and reverb than the stereo mix. Another stereo reissue appeared on August 19, 2003, with seven bonus tracks, including the mono A-sides of "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." The 2003 reissue was produced by Bob Irwin.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 146 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the  "500 Great Albums of all time".