Posts Tagged ‘Warner Bros’

Travelin' Man by Bob Seger on Amazon Music - Amazon.com

Bob Seger knew all about disappointment, after years of struggling to find a wider audience. the album “Beautiful Loser”, released in April 1975, unfolded as a rumination on those feelings.

The title track, a microcosm of hopelessness, speaks to all of it: “The original concept came from Leonard Cohen’s line, ‘He’s reaching for the sky just to surrender,'” Seger told Rolling Stone in 1976. “You know, people who set their goals so low that they’ll never be disappointed.”

Seger’s hard-charging brand of heartland rock had already attracted a locally fervent audience in Michigan, But the next six studio projects never got any higher than No. 171. (Seger’s most recent release, 1974’s Seven, hadn’t charted at all.) His life in music was at a crossroads, and Seger had clearly begun to worry about about giving in.

As that worry took root, he struggled to move forward with the title track. A key voice of reason got things back on track. “I wrote five different ‘Beautiful Loser’s before I settled on one for the record, There was a ballad, a blues – I couldn’t find the right tone for the song. So, I played it for Glenn Frey, an old friend, to get some advice. He was the first person to ever hear it. And he loved it, so I stuck with the song until it all got pieced together.”

More than that, Frey convinced Seger to remain true to this quieter, more personal tack. “If he hadn’t come, seriously, I probably would have put out another record like Seven – basically all rock ‘n’ roll, with maybe one ballad,” said Seger. “But Frey liked it all. He said, ‘Go with it, man. Do something diverse.'”

The version of Bob Seger ultimately embraced by the masses first came into focus here, with reflective ballads like the title cut claiming just as much prominence as rockers like “Katmandu.” This is the record Seger was touring on when the game-changing ‘Live Bullet’ was recorded

Seger recorded the ballads with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and the rockers with the Silver Bullet Band, setting a new pattern. Either way, he rarely went off topic on Beautiful Loser, taking a notable breather with a furious one-take update of Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits.” Even “Jody Girl” a character sketch that had nothing to do with his career struggles, is almost unbearably quiet.

“It’s a concept album, to a degree,” Seger acknowledged in a 1975 radio interview. “The other seven songs all have a connected theme: It’s basically life on the road and my concept of what a winner or a loser is in life, as opposed to just the music business. Some of the songs talk about how we maintain our sanity – some of the songs are darker, about the loneliness.”

Beautiful Loser ended up opening a whole new area of introspection in Seger, not just thematically but in the way he approached every part of his craft. Already emerging as one of rock’s most heartfelt songwriters, he began re-thinking his approach on stage, too. “The worst thing that happened to me,” he told Marsh, “was that I got blown away by guitar – and for about four years, I lost myself in lead guitar. I sort of stopped being a songwriter, stopped being creative and just tried to be a lead guitar player more than anything else.”

After a four-album career-opening run on Capitol, Seger signed with Palladium Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. run by his manager Punch Andrews. Three underperforming albums later, Warners rejected the downbeat Beautiful Loser out of hand. He returned to Capitol Records, setting the stage for a huge breakthrough.

Along the way, Seger tacitly admitted that the answers might remain elusive. On “Fine Memory,” he leaves the final lyric unsung – never repeating “I think I’m gonna take it with me.”. “Sailing Nights” found him feeling utterly adrift. Still, Seger seemed more resolute than ever on escapist-themed tracks like “Travelin’ Man” and “Katmandu.”

Why “Katmandu”? Seger he later told the local magazine that the capital city of Nepal, located in the Himalayas between China and India, was “a very mysterious and beautiful place in a lot of ways, like another planet for me.”

Beautiful Loser appeared set to live up to its name. The album had only middling sales, and the title song failed to reach the Top 100. But the material found new life out on the concert trail, setting the stage for Seger’s career-making moment with 1976’s classic album “Live Bullet”.

Some 300,000 of the first half-million copies sold in Detroit alone,  Live Bullet just kept going, eventually becoming certified platinum five times. As its star rose, so did Beautiful Loser, whose songs dominated the setlist.

Little Feat is an American rock band formed by singer songwriter and lead vocalist and guitarist  Lowell George and keyboard  player Bill Payne in 1969 in  Los Angeles. George disbanded the group due to creative differences in 1979, shortly before his death. Surviving members reformed Little Feat in 1987, remaining intermittently active to the present day.

Although the band has undergone several changes in its lineup, the music has always remained an eclectic blend of rock and roll, blues, R&B,boogie, country, folk, gospel, soul, funk and jazz fusion influences.

Lowell George had met Bill Payne when playing in Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention, Lowell says that Zappa fired him because “Willin'” contains drug references (“weed, whites and wine”). George often introduced the song as the reason he was asked to leave the band. On October 18th, 1975 at the Auditorium Theater in Rochester New York while introducing the song, George commented that he was asked to leave the band for “writing a song about dope”.

Zappa was instrumental in getting George and his new band a contract with Warner Bros. Records. The eponymous first album delivered to Warner Bros. was recorded mostly in August and September 1970, and was released in January 1971. When it came time to record “Willin’,” George had hurt his hand in an accident with a model airplane, so Ry Cooder sat in and played the song’s slide part. Lowell’s accident is referenced on the cover art of the band’s 1998 album Under the Radar. “Willin'” would be re-recorded with George playing slide for Little Feat’s second album Sailin’ Shoes, which was also the first Little Feat album to include cover art by Neon Park, who had painted the cover for Frank Zappa’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

The cover shows a mural in Venice California, painted by the L. A. Fine Arts Squad in 1970 – “Venice in the Snow”.

Guitarist Jimmy Page stated Little Feat was his favorite American band

Released 45 years ago today.

What a great track Ooh La La is a song from The Faces. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood and sung by Wood. That is strange because The Faces had one of the best lead singers around at the time…Rod Stewart. Stewart by this time was soaring as a solo artist and his interest in the Faces was waning. He claimed the song was not in his key to sing. He did do vocals for it then and Lane but Wood ended up singing the released version.

The Faces had one big hit…Stay With Me but this song is their greatest song to me. Rod Stewart finally covered the song in 1998 for a tribute to Ronnie Lane. Ronnie Lane did his own version with his band Slim Chance. Ronnie Wood also does it live in solo shows. A song between Granddad and Son about the ways of love. The song never ages because the subject matter never changes and it is continually passed along. The song creates an atmosphere and Wood not known for his singing ability did a great job on this one.

This week in 1973: The Faces scored their first UK #1 album with their final studio release, ‘Ooh La La’, on Warner Bros. Records; with his career in the stratosphere due to the success of his solo albums, Rod Stewart had became increasingly distanced from his bandmates by the time of this recording; produced by Glyn Johns, highlights included “Silicone Grown”, “Cindy Incidentally” & the raucous yet bittersweet album closer “Ooh La La”, featuring the only-ever Faces lead vocal from guitarist Ronnie Wood; the album cover is a photo of Gastone’, a stage character of 1920s Italian comedian Ettore Petrolini, originally designed in such a way that when the top edge was pressed down Gastone’s eyes would discolour & move to the side, while his jaw dropped into a leering smile…

1. Silicone Grown 0:00
2. Cindy Incidentally 3:06
3. Flags And Banners 5:43
4. My Fault 7:45
5. Borstal Boys 10:54
6. Fly In The Onitment 13:48
7. If I’m On The Late Side 17:39
8. Glad And Sorry 20:19
9. Just Another Honky 23:23
10. Ooh La La 27:00

The complete Faces album released in 1973 including many of their best songs. I would say it’s their best studio album.