DJTees Blog — Vinyl Culture

This is where I indulge in my passions - VINYL & ROCK 'n' ROLL

A Short History Of Tower Records

A Short History Of Tower Records

Authored By John Nicholson

In 1960, Russell Solomon opened the first Tower Records store on Broadway, in Sacramento, California. He named it for his father's drugstore, which shared a building and name with the Tower Theatre, where Solomon first started selling records.  The first stand-alone Tower Records store was located at 2514 Watt Ave in Arden Arcade, a suburb of Sacramento, California. By 1976, Solomon had opened Tower Books, Posters, and Plants at 1600 Broadway, next door to another Sacramento Tower Records location. Seven years after its founding, Tower Records expanded to San Francisco, opening a store in what was originally a grocery store...

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UK EP #1s of 1967

UK EP #1s of 1967

Authored By John Nicholson

I've always loved EPs from the moment my parents bought one The Beatles. 'With The Beatles' EP.  The idea of a 7" single with 4 tracks on rather than 2 seemed exciting and exotic. Commercially, it made sense because albums were expensive and out of the reach of many teens pocket money, where as the EP was more affordable for the fan who wanted twice as much music by their favourite band or singer. From 1960 to 1967 there was an EP chart compiled by trade organisation Record Retailer and published by Record Mirror. By late '67 the album was...

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#1 USA Singles Of 1973

#1 USA Singles Of 1973

Authored By John Nicholson

January 6 "You're So Vain" Carly Simon January 27 "Superstition" Stevie Wonder February 3 "Crocodile Rock" Elton John February 24 "Killing Me Softly with His Song" Roberta Flack March 24 "Love Train" The O'Jays March 31 "Killing Me Softly with His Song" Roberta Flack April 7 "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" Vicki Lawrence April 21 "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree"Dawn featuring Tony Orlando May 19 "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" Stevie Wonder May 26 "Frankenstein" The Edgar Winter Group June 2  "My Love"     Paul McCartney & Wings June 30"Give...

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A Short History Of Bearsville Records

A Short History Of Bearsville Records

Authored By John Nicholson

A small, but I always thought rather hip label, It was formed in 1970 by Albert Grossman manager of Bob Dylan and also Janis Joplin. It was only in existence for 13 years but in that time released some very significant albums and singles.  The first recording to hit the stores was a self-titled release by a band called American Dream, and amongst their number was Nick Jameson later of Foghat who would also record for Bearsville. They were a Philadelphia-based band and their debut album was the first ever album produced by Todd Rundgren. Todd would go on to...

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A Short History of Dandelion Records

A Short History of Dandelion Records

Authored By John Nicholson

Despite only existing for three years between 1969 and 1972, Dandelion is a label that is fondly remembered by heads of a certain age and a popular label to collect for vinyl junkies.  Famously set up by UK DJ John Peel, it only ever had one hit - "(And The) Pictures in the Sky" by Medicine Head which got to #22 on the UK charts.  There were 23 singles and 28 albums released in total by such often obscure luminaries as Stack Waddy, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, Beau, Tractor and Bridget St John But the point was never to have...

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The History of Picture Discs

The History of Picture Discs

Authored By John Nicholson

Although in the late 70s and 80s picture discs became commonplace, it’s not often known that they had been around since the 1920s. Their first wave of significant popularity did not arrive until the start of the 1930s, when several companies in several countries began issuing them.  Some were illustrated with photographs or artwork simply designed to be appropriate to the musical contents, but some graphics also promoted films in which the recorded songs had been introduced, and a few were blatant advertising that had little or no connection with the recording.  Some politicians and demagogues explored the potential of...

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The Artwork of The Fool

The Artwork of The Fool

Authored By John Nicholson

Released in July 1967 at the height of the summer of love, The Incredible String Band's The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion is an album that became emblematic of the time both musically and visually. Its use of sitars and tabla combined with folk music was a perfect soundtrack for those trippy dope smoking days.  The cover of the record is very July 1967 in that it’s one of those sleeves which you could stare at endlessly as the various narcotics flowed into your bloodstream and it’d never quite look the same twice.  It was designed by Dutch...

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The Great Society

The Great Society

Authored By John Nicholson

For all aficionados of west coast rock of the mid to late 60s, The Great Society are an interesting San Francisco band who played an important part of the development of the scene. Formed in the summer of ‘65 in Frisco by Grace Slick, brother Darby and then-husband Jerry with David Miner on vocals and guitar, Bard DuPont on bass, and Peter van Gelder on flute, bass, and saxophone. Grace, of course, had been a model and was very much the focal point of the group both visually and vocally. They began playing around the North Beach area of the...

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Steve Miller Band - Children Of The Future

Steve Miller Band - Children Of The Future

Authored By John Nicholson

The Steve Miller Band were eventually to be a huge band after the release of The Joker single, which topped the charts in the USA in 1973, becoming a stadium band with album like Fly Like An Eagle and Book Of Dreams. It was a big pay-off for years of grafting which had begun with the band being a primo trippy San Francisco-located psychedelic band as this their debut album Children Of The Future well proves. While the later pop-rock of things like Jet Airliner are wonderful in their own way, my love of the band is rooted in their...

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The Who - Ready Steady Who EP

The Who - Ready Steady Who EP

Authored By John Nicholson

This was the band’s first ever EP released 11th November 1966.  Side one 1"Disguises" 2."Circles" Side Two 1."Batman" 2."Bucket 'T'" 3."Barbara Ann" The record consists of two original songs by Pete Townshend, as well as covers of the theme from the Batman TV series and Jan and Dean's "Bucket T". Also included is a cover of The Regents' "Barbara Ann", a song made famous by the Beach Boys.  The original EP credits the song "Batman" to Jan Berry, Don Altfeld (misspelled as "Altfield") and Fred Weider. The song was actually written by Neal Hefti. An abridged version of My Generation...

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Deep Purple - Made In Japan

Deep Purple - Made In Japan

Authored By John Nicholson

Considering it became one of the most popular and acclaimed live albums in rock history, it’s odd to now think that it was really only recorded and released in order to try and suppress the growing bootleg market for Deep Purple live recordings. The double live album was soon to become a staple release of most rock bands at some point in their career, but back in the day, it was regarded by some in the early years of rock to be a bit of a cop out. You were releasing old music, after all, not new stuff. That is...

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Paladin - Charge!

Paladin - Charge!

Authored By John Nicholson

Paladin were a really interesting early progressive rock band who sold very few records - and as a result they’re quite collectible, selling for up to £200 ($300) -  They were founded 1970 by classically trained multi-instrumentalist Peter Solley and jazz drummer Keith Webb who had both been in Terry Reid's band that had opened for the Rolling Stones on their 1969 American tour.  The other members of the band were Derek Foley (guitar and vocals) who previously played in Grisby Dyke; Lou Stonebridge (keyboards and vocals) from Glass Menagerie, which had released five progressive rock and psychedelic rock singles;...

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Deep Purple - You Keep On Moving  b/w  Dealer

Deep Purple - You Keep On Moving b/w Dealer

Authored By John Nicholson

Collecting Deep Purple records - which I do -  is an almost never ending task if you’re trying to be a completest. This isn’t because there’s so many per se but because they were released in so many territories and often with a different b-side or picture sleeve.  This Dutch 7” single is a good case in point. The last they released before splitting up in 1975, it only came out with Dealer on the b-side in 6 countries. Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Belgium, Philippines and Spain. But within those, it was released with a different sleeve in Belgium. Spain...

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The Greasy Truckers Party

The Greasy Truckers Party

Authored By John Nicholson

The Greasy Trucker project was for a short time, something of a cultural vortex around which Britain’s, or more accurately London’s counterculture, such as it was, orbited. It was a loose, somewhat anarchic gathering of heads and hairies inspired by The Diggers, Wavy Gravy’s San Franciscan mob. They would do fundraisers - usually involving Hawkwind - for good causes. Their idea of good causes largely revolved around counterculture lifestyles, dope and off-grid living.  They hired the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London which was once home to a giant wheel on which trains rotated, hence the shape. It had been derelict...

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The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label

The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label

Authored By John Nicholson

The Amazing Kornyfone Record Label was one of the major bootleg operations in the 1970s. Working out of Southern California (though records were often pressed in Holland), it was set up by Ken Douglas who had been one half of the Trade Mark of Quality label with Dub Taylor. When they split up their partnership, at first Ken released recordings on his own ‘Smoking Pig’ version of Trade Mark Of Quality, before establishing Kornyfone in 1973. From 1974 to 1976 he released over 100 titles, many of them with fantastic artwork by William Stout, who also did work for TMOQ...

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