Seven Days b/w Lost and Lonely
Jul 29th, 2010 by NumberSix

Picture sleeve for "Seven Days" b/w "Lost and Lonely" 45 RPM single

Picture sleeve for "Seven Days" b/w "Lost and Lonely" 45 RPM single

I usually think of Ron Wood as a member of either The Rolling Stones or The Faces (or, back in the day, the Jeff Beck Group and The Birds), so at first it didn’t occur to me that he might have released a single worthy of being the featured single of the day. But yesterday, “Sure The One You Need” off of Ron Wood’s first solo album came up on my iPod in shuffle mode, and it got me thinking about Ron Wood’s oeuvre as a solo artist. He probably had the most productive solo careers of all the Stones, and arguably had the most consistently good solo career of all the ex-Faces. So I started to look around to see if he released any great singles. Mission accomplished: today’s featured single is “Seven Days” b/w “Lost and Lonely”.
This single was taken from Wood’s fourth solo album, “Gimme Some Neck”. After the departure of Ronnie Lane from The Faces in 1973, the band began recording tracks for a new studio album, but they soon lost enthusiasm; their last release was the U.K. Top 20 hit “You Can Make Me Dance, Sing, Or Anything”. In the meantime, Ron Wood released “Got My Own Album To Do” in 1974; both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards contributed to the album. When Mick Taylor left the Stones in 1974, Wood essentially became an unofficial fifth member of the band, even touring with the Stones in 1975, but his commitment to The Faces precluded him from becoming a full-fledged band member. Wood then released another solo album in 1975, “Now Look”. When The Faces officially broke up in late 1975, there was nothing standing in the way of his joining the Rolling Stones, and he was announced as the new rhythm guitarist for the band in February 1976. For a few years, his solo career was put on hiatus (the movie soundtrack to “Mahoney’s Last Stand”, which he recorded with Ronnie Lane, was released in 1976, but it had been recorded in 1972). Finally, in 1979, Wood resumed his solo career with the released of “Gimme Some Neck”. The album was not really a major hit – it peaked at #45 on the Billboard album charts – but it represents a solid slab of guitar-driven rock and roll. Wood can’t sing that well, yet his rough voice is well-suited for the material on this LP. All of the songs on the album except for “Seven Days” are written by Ron Wood, and in spite of the fact that all of the songs on this album are quite good, “Seven Days” was a good choice for the first (and as far as I know, only) single from this album.
What makes “Seven Days” unique, amongst other things, is that it is a Bob Dylan song which at the time had not been recorded by Bob Dylan. The author of this blog first heard the song as part of a Dylan A through Z broadcast on a local radio station over twenty years ago. The idea was to present the complete Dylan, including songs recorded by Dylan (whether or not he wrote the song), and songs written by Dylan (but not necessarily recorded by him). “Seven Days” came up, and since Dylan didn’t record it (it would appear in 1993 on a Dylan live album), they played the Ron Wood version. I thought it was a good song, but didn’t bother to buy the album then. Many years later, I finally bought “Gimme Some Neck”, and discovered that “Seven Days” was just one of the better – if not the best song – on a great album. The track starts off with a guitar riff, followed by a rhythm section accompaniment, along with a saxophone (courtesy of none other than Bobby Keyes), and later in the song, an organ (ex-Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan lends a hand or two). The lyrical content, in which the protagonist anticipates the arrival of a woman who’s been gone “[e]ver since I’ve been a child” clearly conveys a sense of longing and anticipation, as does the music (especially the lead guitar riff). Ron Wood does his best Dylan impression for this song, and on the whole, he does Dylan serious justice.
The B-side, “Lost and Lonely”, is the penultimate track of the album, is a ballad that begins with a minor key melody played on a bass guitar, accompanied by a single guitar until the vocals begin 24 seconds into the track: “Lost and I’m lonely/Looking for you/Out of my mind/’Cause it’s you I can’t find”. The song’s protagonist vows that “if there could be a next time/I promise I’ll stand by you”. Wood’s vocals are ideal for this track; the lyrics are sung with a world weariness that makes this a credible slab of AOR. Background vocals on the song are provided by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and there is even a brief harmony part when Wood vows that they should “be together again”. In the context of the album, this melancholy-sounding tune is a nice change of pace from some of the more upbeat songs on the album before Wood finally brings it home with the ebullient-sounding “Don’t Worry”.
Presumably, this single (catalog #: CBS 7425) was issued with the orange and yellow Columbia label common during this period. The U.S. release of this single seems to have been issued with a picture sleeve (shown above). I did find Canadian and Australian releases of this single as well, and a white label promo of this single (one version of the white label promo had “Breakin’ My Heart” on the flip side instead of “Lost and Lonely”).

Mongoloid b/w Jocko Homo
Jul 20th, 2010 by NumberSix

"Mongoloid" b/w "Jocko Homo" picture sleeve

"Mongoloid" b/w "Jocko Homo" picture sleeve

The name “Devo” comes “from their concept of ‘de-evolution’ – the idea that instead of evolving, mankind has actually regressed, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.” Kent State University art students Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis developed this idea as a joke as far back as the late 1960s. Casale and Lewis created a number of art pieces satirically based on the theme of de-evolution. At the time, Casale was performing with local band 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band). The two met Mark Mothersbaugh, who introduced them to the pamphlet “Jocko Homo Heavenbound”, which eventually inspired the song “Jocko Homo”. The Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970 were cited as the impetus for forming Devo. The initial Devo lineup consisted of Casale, Lewis and Mothersbaugh, as well as Gerald’s brother Bob on guitar, Rod Reisman on drums and Fred Weber on vocals. Their only live performance with this lineup was at the 1973 Kent State performing arts festival. They performed at the university’s 1974 Creative Arts Festival with a lineup consisting of the Casale brothers, Lewis, Mark Mothersbaugh and his brother Jim on drums. Devo later reformed as a quartet, retaining Jim and Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale from the previous lineup, and adding Bob Mothersbaugh (Jim and Mark’s brother) on guitar. This lineup remained intact until 1976, when Jim left the band. Bob Casale rejoined the band at this point on guitar, and the band also found a new drummer, Alan Myers. The band gained some fame that year when the film “The Truth About De-Evolution” by Chuck Statler won a prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. That year, they also released their first single, “Mongoloid” b/w “Jocko Homo”. This is today’s featured single.

“Mongoloid” opens with a relatively simple riff played on a guitar (soon accompanied by a synthesizer), which gives the song a garage rock feel to it, showing the contrast between the early Devo and the Devo of the “Freedom of Choice” era. The lyrics tell the story of an unfortunate man who nonetheless lives a relatively normal live: “Monogoloid he was a mongoloid/Happier than you and me/ Mongoloid he was a mongoloid/And it determined what he could see/Mongoloid he was a mongoloid/One chromosome too many”. But “he wore a hat/And he had a job/And he brought home the bacon/So that no one knew”. Notably nobody is singing lead vocals; the harmonized vocals of the band members enhance the mechanized feel of Devo’s music here, as does the electronic-sounding drum beat and Mark Mothersbaugh’s synthesizer. Yet at the same time, the distorted guitars and pounding bass line make the song sound like a punk anthem, the result being a song that is a punk and new wave hybrid. The band’s sound was cutting edge, but cutting edge music doesn’t always translate into sales, and “Mongoloid” was not a hit. Nonetheless, the song is generally acknowledged as one of the band’s early classics. The song was re-recorded for Devo’s debut album, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” (1978).

The B-side, “Jocko Homo” is probably the better-known of the two songs on this single. “Jocko Homo” crams a lot of ideas into 3 minutes and 22 seconds: the lyrics primarily concern themselves with de-evolution, with the song title taken from a 1924 anti-evolution tract called “Jocko Homo Heavenbound” by B.H. Shadduck. Most versions include a bridge that begins with “God made man, but he used the monkey to do it.” There are also several call and response choruses, including the repeated chant “Are we not men?/We are Devo!”. [The line “Are we not men?” is supposedly lifted from the 1932 film “Island of Lost Souls”.] The song begins with the unusual signature time of 7/8, but switches partway through to 4/4 time for the call and response sections. The rising and falling guitar riff also distinguish this song, as well as its denigration of civilized society: “Monkey men all/In business suit/Teachers and critics/All dance the poot”. Like “Mongoloid”, “Jocko Homo” is equal parts punk and new wave, and the descending guitar riff gives the song a garage rock feel to it; combined with the synthesizer it provides an almost hypnotic-sounding melody for the band’s de-evolution lesson. The video for the song, featured in the short film “The Truth About De-Evolution”, features Mark Mothersbaugh as a professor lecturing to a group of students, who, as the song progresses, begin to riot. While performed live, “Jocko Homo” is often the centerpiece of the show, and early performances could go on for 20 minutes or more, until, as Mark Mothersbaugh said in an interview, ” people were actually fighting with us, trying to make us stop playing the song.” A faster-paced version of the song was recorded for the band’s debut album; the original version was released on Stiff Records in the U.K. (with “Jocko Homo” as the A-side instead of “Mongoloid”) and peaked at #62 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

The single (catalog #: 7033-14) was released on the band’s own Booji Boy label. A picture sleeve was issued with this single (shown above). It was also released in the U.K. on Stiff Records (catalog #: DEV 1). Devo caught the attention of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, who championed the band and helped them secure a contract with Warner Bros. Records, who released their debut album, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” (1978). Their second album, “Duty Now for the Future” (1979), but reached a new level of popularity with their third album, “Freedom of Choice” (1980), which reached #22 on the Billboard album chart and spawned the single “Whip It” (#14 U.S. #62 U.K.). This proved to be the commercial peak of the band, as subsequent albums “New Traditionalists” (1981), “Oh No! It’s Devo” (1982) and “Shout” (1984) resulted in diminishing returns. “Shout” peaked at #83 on the Billboard album chart, and soon after it’s release, Warner Bros. dropped Devo from its label. Alan Myers left the band soon afterwards, and Devo went on hiatus for a brief period. In 1987, Devo reformed with a new drummer, David Kendrick; this lineup produced an album, “Total Devo” (1988), released on Enigma Records. “Total Devo” was a commercial and critical failure, but the tour in support of the album became the basis for the live album “Now It Can Be Told: Devo at the Palace” (1989). Their next studio album, “Smooth Noodle Maps” (1990) was also a commercial dud, and a European tour had to be cancelled due to lack of ticket sales. The band had a falling out and broke up in 1991. Mark Mothersbaugh formed Mutato Musika, a commercial music production studio, enlisting the help of Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale. Over the next two decades, there would be sporadic Devo reunions (with Josh Freese on drums, but with the remainder of the original lineup otherwise intact), but they would not release a new album until “Something for Everybody” (2010).

Woodstock b/w Helpless
Jul 15th, 2010 by NumberSix

Picture sleeve for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Woodstock" single

Picture sleeve for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Woodstock" single

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had its genesis in three different 1960’s bands. David Crosby (guitar, vocals) had been a member of the legendary folk rock band The Byrds, but had been fired in 1967. In early 1968, Buffalo Springfield was on the verge of breaking up, and Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills began jamming with Crosby. Graham Nash, the lead guitarist for The Hollies, had first met David Crosby when The Byrds toured the U.K. in 1966. In February 1969, at a party at Cass Elliot’s house, Nash asked Stills and Crosby to perform a new song by Stills, “You Don’t Have To Cry”, and Stills improvised a second harmony part. The three realized they had a unique vocal chemistry and Nash, frustrated with The Hollies, decided to join forces with Crosby and Stills. After failing an audition with Apple Records, the band signed with Atlantic Records – Ahmet Ertegun had been a fan of Buffalo Springfield and was disappointed by their breakup. They opted to use their surnames to identify the band to ensure that the band couldn’t simply continue without one of of them. There was a slight problem, as Nash was already signed to rival label Epic Records; a deal was engineered by which Nash was “traded” to Atlantic in return for Epic getting the rights to Richie Furay’s band Poco. The trio’s debut album, “Crosby, Stills And Nash”, was released in May 1969 and was an immediate hit, reaching #6 on the Billboard album chart and spawning 2 Top 40 hits (“Marrakesh Express” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”). But now that it came time to tour in support of the album, the trio needed additional personnel to perform the songs live, as Stephen Stills had handled the lion’s share of the instrumental parts on the record. Stevie Winwood was approached, but he was occupied by the newly-formed Blind Faith. Neil Young seemed a natural fit, since he and Stills had been bandmates in Buffalo Springfield, and after several meetings, Young was added to the lineup, after signing a contract that gave him the freedom to pursue a solo career with his backing band, Crazy Horse. CSNY toured from the late summer of 1969 until January 1970, with their second gig being the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. The band’s follow-up LP (and first as Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young) was eagerly anticipated. “Deja Vu” was released in March 1970, and quickly reached #1 on the Billboard album chart, and spawned 3 Top 40 singles: “Our House”, “Teach Your Children”, and “Woodstock”. The last of those – “Woodstock” b/w “Helpless” – is today’s featured single.

“Woodstock” was written by Joni Mitchell, but her version, which appears on “Ladies Of The Canyon” (1970), was overshadowed by the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rendition. The song starts off with a somewhat meandering guitar riff from Stephen Stills, which eventually gives way to a relatively simple guitar rhythm (there are six chords used in total), before Stills begins singing lead vocals, backed by Crosby and Nash. The lyrics begin by referring to a fellow traveler (“Well I came upon a child of God/He was walking along the road”) and they conclude with them reaching their final destination (“By the time we got to Woodstock/We were half a million strong”). In between we have a chorus that invokes imagery of the garden of Eden (“we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”) while also reinforcing the ties that bind all humans (“we are billion year-old carbon”). There is also vivid imagery of swords turning into plowshares, at least metaphorically (“And I dreamed I saw the bombers jet planes/Riding shotgun in the sky/Turning into butterflies/Above our nation” – possibly a drug-induced hallucination?). This arrangement is notable for its stop-start pattern just before the chorus. This song is not the only one written about the Woodstock Festival (“For Yasgur’s Farm” by Mountain comes to mind), but it is probably the most memorable one.

Red Atlantic label on CSNY's "Woodstock" 45 RPM single

Red Atlantic label on CSNY's "Woodstock" 45 RPM single

The B-side of the song, “Helpless”, is Neil Young’s creation, with Young getting the only songwriting credit on the song and singing lead vocals on it. [In fact, of the ten songs on the LP, each member got two sole compositions, with the last song, “Everybody I Love You” being co-written by Stills and Young, and “Woodstock” was written by Joni Mitchell.] The song has a slow tempo, with a country feel to it, and is yet another Neil Young song with a very simple chord progression (chords D, A, and G are repeated throughout every line in the song from beginning to end, and as simple as it is, it makes for a very melodic, compelling tune, as was the case with “Cinnamon Girl”, Young is skilled out of getting the most even when restricting himself to a relatively limited musical palette). The song is about Young’s childhood in north Ontario, and is nostalgic without being very specific (“There is a town in north Ontario/With dream comfort memory to spare/And in my mind I still need a place to go/All my changes were there”). The images conveyed in the lyrics are those of nature (“Blue, blue windows behind the stars,/Yellow moon on the rise/Big birds flying across the sky” – vivid imagery, to be sure, but not necessarily exclusive to north Ontario), and they ultimately leave the singer and his companions helpless – and that’s about all there is to it. The song is augmented by Young’s haunting, high tenor vocals, a subdued (yet melodic) piano, and an electric guitar that sounds more like a pedal steel, and of course, Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s harmony voices repeating the word “helpless” over and over. Although it was relegated to the B-side of this single, “Helpless” is a creditable addition to the Young song catalog, and one that has been covered many times, by artists as diverse as Nick Cave and Nazareth.

The single (catalog #: 45-2723) was issued by Atlantic Records in 1970. It has the red and black Atlantic label that was typical of Atlantic single releases in the 1960’s and 1970’s (the big Atlantic logo across the top, and the song/artist/publishing information across the bottom, with the song length on the right side. It did not come with a picture sleeve in the United States, but some foreign releases included a picture sleeve (e.g. Portugal, which is shown in my picture gallery). Although Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young were highly successful, the deliberately tenuous nature of the partnership of strained by this success, and the group imploded after a tour in the summer of 1970. This tour yielded a double live album, “Four Way Street” (1971) that would top the charts, but from September 1970 onwards, the members went their separate ways, with each member releasing a successful solo album over the next eight months. The band finally reunited in the summer of 1974 for a stadium tour, but old tensions resurfaced, and plans for a new CSNY album were scrapped, although Crosby and Nash teamed up and recorded an album. Crosby, Stills and Nash would reappear with a new album in 1977, and would record and tour sporadically over the next decade, in between Crosby’s struggles with his addiction to freebase cocaine. Crosby served an eight-month prison sentence for drug and weapons charges; upon his release from prison, Young agreed to rejoin the trio after Crosby agreed to clean himself up. “American Dream” (1988), the first CSNY release since “Deja Vu”, was released, but Crosby and Stills were barely functioning for the recording of the album. It received poor critical reviews, and Young refused to support it with a CSNY tour. CSN recorded two more solo albums in the 1990’s, “Live It Up” (1990) and “After The Storm” (1994). The latter album barely made the Top 100 on the Billboard album chart, and Atlantic dropped CSN from their roster. Without a record deal, the band started financing their next album, and when Stills invited Young to guest on a few tracks, the project eventually turned into a new CSNY album, “Looking Forward” (1999), released on Young’s label, Reprise Records. The ensuing CSNY2K and CSNY Tour Of America 2002 were major money-makers.

Is There Anybody There? b/w Another Piece of Meat
Jul 8th, 2010 by NumberSix

”]Scorpions "Is There Anybody There?" white label promo single [U.K.-only release]Rudolf Schenker launched Scorpions in 1965 in Hannover, Germany. In 1969, Schenker’s younger brother Michael (guitars) joined the band along with vocalist Klaus Meine (until then, Rudolf performed double duty as a guitarist and lead vocalist). Lothar Heimberg and Wolfgang Dziony filled out the lineup, and in 1972 the band released its first LP, “Lonesome Crow”, on RCA Records. During the “Lonesome Crow” tour, Michael Schenker was offered the lead guitar position in UFO; he accepted and quit the band. Ulrich Roth, the lead guitarist for the German band Dawn Road, filled in for Schenker on the remainder of the tour. The departure of Michael Schenker, however, led to the breakup of Scorpions. Rudolf Schenker opted to join Dawn Road, which up to this point consisted of Roth, Francis Buchholz (bass guitar), Achim Kirschning (keyboards) and Jurgen Rosenthal (drums). Roth and Buchholz convinced Rudolf Schenker to invite Klaus Meine to join the band, which was now renamed Scorpions because it was well-known in the German rock scene and they had already released an album under that name, even though only Schenker and Meine remained from the “Lonesome Crow” lineup.

The new lineup released “Fly To The Rainbow” (1974), which outsold “Lonesome Crow” and contained the fan favorite “Speedy’s Coming”. After the release of this album Kirschning decided to leave the band and Rosenthal had to leave Scorpions as he was drafted into the army; he was replaced by Rudy Lenners. Their third album, “In Trance”, marked the beginning of a long collaboration with producer Dieter Dierks. “Virgin Killer” (1976) followed with its controversial cover (a naked prepubescent girl covered with broken glass); the album was success with critics. In 1977 Lenners was replaced with Herman Rarebell, and the band released their fifth studio album, “Taken By Force”. Scorpions toured Japan in support of the album; Roth, however, was not satisfied with the artistic direction of the band and left after the Japanese tour. The live double LP “Tokyo Tapes” was released in 1978; it was released in the U.S. and Europe in 1979, 6 months after its release in Japan. In mid-1978, the band recruited new guitarist Matthias Jabs after auditioning 140 guitarists to replace Roth. Scorpions then left RCA Records for Mercury Records, releasing their first album for the label, “Lovedrive”, on February 25, 1979, an album that contained 3 songs featuring Michael Schenker, who had briefly rejoined Scorpions after being fired by UFO for alcohol abuse. The album peaked at #55 on the U.S. Billboard album chart, and was eventually certified gold, making it their most commercially successful LP in the United States up to that point, and some critics consider it to be the pinnacle of their career. It cemented the Scorpion formula mixing rockers with melodic ballads, and it also contained today’s featured single: “Is There Anybody There?” b/w “Another Piece Of Meat”.

“Is There Anybody There?” starts off with with a laid-back reggae beat established with a four-note riff (D/C/B/E), played the first time with a clean, funky sound, and the second time with distortion (to accompany Meine’s dreamy “Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah” vocals). The guitar riff accompanying the verses contains only 2 chords (Bm/A); the riff on the chorus adds two additional chords (G/D). The lyrics seem unusually eclectic for a heavy metal song: “Open my mind let me find new vibrations/Tell me the way I must take to reach my destination/And a place where I can stay/Where is the love of my life couldn’t find her”. Although the lyrics are awkward at some points, I found the idea of drawing an analogy of someone separated from his significant other as akin to being “lost in the ocean” and “in the darkness of these days” to be a compelling one. Although the song doesn’t really fit into either of the band’s traditional categories (it’s essentially an easy-going mid-tempo song; it’s not really a rocker or a ballad), it’s a worthy addition to their catalog, and it’s a reggae-influenced song released around the time that a lot of pop music sported a reggae influence (e.g. The Police, The Specials). And Meine’s vocals give the song an ethereal quality, even if the sound doesn’t quite transport you into another world.

The B-side, “Another Piece Of Meat”, is a pretty straightforward Scorpions rocker. While the band was altering its sound somewhat with this album to sound more contemporary (emulating newer bands such as Van Halen), I don’t think that “Another Piece Of Meat” would be out-of-place on any of their RCA-era LPs. The song is driven by a simple four-chord riff, and the lyrics – about a wanton woman (“She said: “Hey, let’s go, don’t put on a show/You’re just another piece/Another piece of meat”) makes it a much more prototypical heavy-metal material than the A-side. [If that’s not enough, the girl in the song has a fetish for violence: “Violence really turned her on, oh no/She was screaming for more blood”. Thus we get both sex and violence injected into the lyrical content.] There’s an energetic guitar solo about halfway through the song, and this is one of the tracks in which Scorpions reaped the benefits of having no less than 3 guitarists, since Michael Schenker plays guitar (along with Rudolf Schenker and Francis Buchholz) on this track (he would play guitar on two other tracks on the album, “Coast To Coast” and “Lovedrive”). Although Schenker would once again leave the band, the guitar pyrotechnics on this track are intriguing enough to make you wonder what might have been if he had stayed.

This single (catalog #: HAR 5185) was, as far as I know, only issued in the U.K. “Is There Anybody There?” was also issued as a single in Germany, but with “Can’t Get Enough” as the B-side. I couldn’t find any evidence of a U.S. release for this one. I did locate a picture of the U.K. single, albeit a white-label promotional copy, pictured here. It has the same picture as the cover of the “Lovedrive” LP (only in black and white), only with the “Scorpions” logo in big print across the top instead of in small print in the upper left corner. This single was a hit in the U.K., peaking at #39 in the charts (the LP peaked at #36 in the U.K. and #11 in Germany).

External links:

Scorpions performing Is There Anybody There? on West German TV in 1979

Scorpions performing Is There Anybody There? live in 1979

Michael Schenker performing Another Piece Of Meat live in 1997

Beserkley Records
Jul 1st, 2010 by NumberSix

The Beserkley Records logo

The Beserkley Records logo

Matthew “King” Kaufman got his start in the music industry as manager of the San Francisco-based rock band Earth Quake, whom he helped secure a two album contract with A&M Records. Frustrated at what he saw as A&M’s inability to promote a hard rock band, Kaufman founded Beserkley Records in 1973 with $3400 in working capital and signed Earth Quake to the label, as well as Jonathan Richman. For the first two years, Beserkley only issued singles; many of these early singles were collected on the “Beserkley Chartbusters, Volume One” album, released in 1975. By this time, Kaufman had added Greg Kihn, a singer-songwriter from Baltimore, and The Rubinoos, a power-pop band from the Berkeley, to the roster. Soon, the label enjoyed success: Earth Quake’s second album, “8.5” (1976), made the lower rungs of the Billboard album chart; Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers didn’t chart in the U.S., but both “Roadrunner” and “Egyptian Reggae” made the Top 20 in the U.K. The Rubinoos provided the label with its first charting single in 1977 with “I Think We’re Alone Now” (U.S. #45).

The label’s biggest success story, however, was Greg Kihn, who sang backup for Earth Quake and Jonathan Richman before starting his own band. “Next of Kihn” was the first Kihn album to chart and all subsequent Beserkley releases charted as well. “Rockihnroll” (1981), “Kihntinued” (1982), and “Kihnspiracy” (1983) all made the Top 40 of the U.S. album chart. “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” became Kihn’s first Top 40 single, and “Jeopardy” reached #2 in the U.S. and reached #1 in some countries. By 1980, Kihn was the only artist signed to the label.

When the next Greg Kihn Band album, “Kintagious” (1984), failed to get much traction (peaking at #121), Beserkley started to have money problems. Kaufman decided to dissolve the label, allowing Greg Kihn to sign with EMI (Kaufman would continue to act as Kihn’s producer). In 1986, the Beserkley catalog was licensed to Rhino Records.

Tonight on “Six of One” (9:00 PM EDT), I will devote the first portion of the show to a retrospective on Beserkley Records, featuring music from Earth Quake, Jonathan Richman, Greg Kihn, The Rubinoos, and Tyla Gang. Also featured in this week’s show will be a special Fourth of July OTR segment, and tributes to Peter Quaife and Bill Aucoin.

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