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It was so bad that it used to send chills through me at night, and it did the same thing to audiences, too. Man, the shit we were playing in a short time was scary, so scary that I used to pinch myself to see if I was really there. As much as he was a singer, Pete Seeger was a musicologist who mined American music for songs with the power to change the world, and also an organizer who cajoled people to sing.
Everyone was under the spell of the clave, the mysteriously propulsive algorithmic arrangement of musical time and space that made Latin music an indelible sound of the New York street. People used to argue where exactly in Africa the clave came from, how old it was, or how it had traveled across the ocean in the slave ships to be perfected in the New World.
But most agreed that it arrived in the Apple with Machito and his Afro-Cubans. The musical universe, says Mike Stoller, was contained in a white building on Broadway.
The Turf was a hangout for a lot of musicians. If someone needed a bass player to do a demo, they could run over to the Turf and see who was there.
Almost every floor of Brill was inhabited by music publishers, songwriters, bandleaders, talent agents. There were guys on the street who used the phone booth as an office. Next to us on the ninth floor was the office of Irving Caesar. Seemed many people in the music business were gamblers. Bobby Darin moved in when he moved out.
People would come up to the 11th floor and work their way down the staircase knocking on every door, trying to sell a song. We often worked with Doc Pomus and his writing partner, Morty Shuman. Barry and Cynthia, Carole and Gerry were also around.
He was arrogant, and also talented. He put his arms around everything and claimed they were his. Unfortunately, he went on to take credit for everything Jerry and I did, including records we produced before he ever got to New York. So we got this background group from New Jersey. That was my introduction to Dionne. It was just amazing watching what they could get on tape, with that many people playing. Hal David, Hilliard, and I initially wrote some very bad songs.
There were a lot of turndowns in that period. Nobody wants it. Just tell me somebody likes it. I had done the sound system at the Village Gate and operated it. And when the new owners of the Gaslight, Sam Hood and his father, Clarence, took over, they hired me to put in a simple sound system. And you gotta come and bring your tape machine. It was over two nights. It was invitation only, and there were probably 25 people in the room.
It started around midnight, after the Gaslight had closed for business. The first night was all sort of conventional, original Bob Dylan folk-music stuff.
And the second night was the beginning of the Bob Dylan everybody knows. I was sitting right in front of Dylan, stage right, his left. The stage was maybe two feet high. He wore the scruffy clothes that everybody associates with him.
The weird jacket with the sheepskin collar and the funny little hat. I used a portable Nagra, which was a tape machine that was made for early film work.
Which is why all the songs begin and end oddly. It was like Jesus had come down and appeared in the flesh. And here was this guy, who was basically unknown outside of a small circle at that time. He was just beginning to break. It was really an audition kind of a thing for him, where he was testing to see how people would react to this stuff that had never happened before.
Dylan wanted to hear it, so he was more than willing to tape it. We got stoned together, and we were very relaxed. It was kind of like a serious moment, you know, like Picasso had just started to paint and he would show you his painting.
It was like, What are you going to say? I can remember he was happy with them. At the Bridge Theater, at 4 St. I got him full face with a glop of spaghetti. A triumph, it was also, for her and for old-line pop entertainment, a last gasp sometimes literally ; three years later, the Beatles arrived on Ed Sullivan. Their sway over an audience would be different: diffuse and literally barricaded.
Really serious rehearsals for hours, getting tighter and tighter in our blend. We were in junior high. We got a leg up.
Soon we were copying the rock-and-roll records that we heard on the radio, emulating the sound. We loved Buddy Holly. We went to the Brill Building with our hearts in our throats. This was kind of advanced, beyond me, and thank God I had my buddy, Paul Simon. The two of us could manage it, and I knew I had a singing voice in my throat. And we would knock on the doors in the Brill Building—we were 14 years old, and I can see it now.
They were invariably cigar-smoking businessmen that looked down on rock and roll as a dirty business. What else you got? You could hear him a half-block away. He could also get angry and belligerent, but he had a huge generosity that just flew out of him. And I do. One of my first gigs was performing with Pete Seeger at Carnegie Hall. I knew his work, I knew a lot of folk music. Van Ronk was particularly kind in the beginning, when I was 20, At Shea in , there were too many girls.
And there are two Beatles! We had to hurry up and close our doors. They started shaking the car back and forth. No one looked up from their plates! All people cared about was the jukebox and their ribs. They loved not being recognized.
They loved not being screamed at. When he did teach me the songs, he just made me do things and allowed me to realize there were things I could do I never dreamed I could. At that time, dancers really thought dancers dance and singers sing. I was brave to even go audition, because we just never thought we could get anything out of our throats—it all came through our feet. I remember putting my hands behind my back, I was shaking so much.
You have to have people like Leonard Bernstein to teach you, to coach you, to give you that confidence. His adjectives were big and colorful.
He did everything percent, and you learn from that—you mimic that. It was like Technicolor. I mean, he was very sexy too. He was pulling it out of us—and all of a sudden he disappeared. He was so energized that he fell through the chair!
He just went straight through it. I mean, what are we here for? Every day the same thing? No change? No variety? Why get born? Every day the same thing, you might as well be dead. Enough is enough. In my opinion the Velvet Underground are the best rock-and-roll band in history. I can hardly contain myself. By many pop-music standards their recordings are ridiculous, but the recordings expose those standards as ignorant and inane.
They sounded to me like an incompetent Bob Dylan imitation. Romantic Sad Sentimental. Sexy Trippy All Moods. Drinking Hanging Out In Love. Introspection Late Night Partying. Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Features Interviews Lists.
Streams Videos All Posts. Release Date November 5,Nov 23, · Song Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) Artist Wyclef Jean; Licensed to YouTube by SME (on behalf of Columbia); LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, AMRA, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, Warner.