November 12, 1974 ~ Sheer Heart Attack is released. It includes their first US hit, Killer Queen.
Born on November 9, 1970, it’s regarded by many to be Eric Clapton’s best work. Slowhand is joined by Bobby Whitlock on keyboards and vocals, Jim Gordon on drums, Carl Radle on bass, with special guest performer Duane Allman on lead and slide guitar on 11 of the 14 songs. (Still, after all these years, Allman’s “bird chirps” at the end of Layla still make me well up.)
Veteran producer Tom Dowd was working on the Allman Brothers second album, Idlewild South, when the studio received a phone call that Clapton was bringing the Dominos to Miami to record. Upon hearing this, guitarist Duane Allman indicated that he would love to drop by and watch, if Clapton approved.
Allman later called Dowd to let him know that his band was in town to perform a benefit concert on 26 August. When Clapton learned of this he insisted on going to see their show, saying, “You mean that guy who plays on the back of (Wilson Pickett’s) ‘Hey Jude’? … I want to
see him play … let’s go.” Stage hands seated Clapton and company in front of the barricade separating the audience from the stage. When they sat down, Allman was playing a solo. As he turned around and opened his eyes and saw Clapton, he froze. Dickey Betts, the Allmans’ other lead guitarist, picked up where Allman left off, but when he followed Allman’s eyes to Clapton, he had to turn his back to keep from freezing, himself.
After the show, Allman asked Clapton he could come by the studio to watch some recording sessions, but Eric invited him there directly, saying: “Bring your guitar; you got to play!” Jamming together overnight, the two bonded; Dowd reported that they “were trading licks, they were swapping guitars, they were talking shop and information and having a ball – no holds barred, just admiration for each other’s technique and facility.”
Clapton wrote later in his autobiography that he and Allman were inseparable during the sessions in Florida; he talked about Allman as the “musical brother I’d never had but wished I did.
“Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” is #117 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
November 8, 1971 ~ Led Zeppelin IV is released. It includes “Stairway to Heaven” which is pretty much the perfect rock song – so good that many fans feel there are other forces at play. When played backwards, it sounds something like “my sweet Satan,” so perhaps it was the Devil who was moving the pencil when the words arrived. The rumor spreads throughout high schools across America, becoming one of the great urban legends in musical history. The song is never released as a single and therefore doesn’t chart, but it becomes the most-played song in the history of FM radio.
55 years ago today ~ October 19, 1964 ~ the debut album from Simon & Garfunkel is released. It doesn’t do much initially but later, producer Tom Wilson overdubs “Sounds of Silence” adding drums, electric guitar and bass, and the single takes off. The album is re-released in 1966 and the rest is … well … you know the rest.
U2 releases their “hybrid” album on October 10, 1988. The album’s produced by the legendary Jimmy Lovine and features a mix of studio and live performances — plus a “rockumentary” film, to boot.
Simon & Garfunkel release their third on October 10, 1966. It’s #202 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album is considered by some as a masterpiece of the folk-rock era …