Saturday, August 04, 2007

An American in the Summer of Love

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will notice that music has been at the forefront of things just lately. It is of course the 'silly season' for news with most of the world on holiday. I was thinking yesterday when going through some old files that it was just the same forty years ago in Britain - the Summer of Love was in full bloom. This is how Tony Visconti the record producer saw things having arrived in London in May and begun working with his mentor Denny Cordell.

Besides working with Denny Laine during the few weeks that I stayed in Mayfair I also worked with Denny C. on Procol Harum. He was frantically trying to finish their first album at his favourite studio, Olympic in Barnes, a state-of-the-art studio across the river from Hammersmith. A Whiter Shade Of Pale came out at the end of May and was a huge hit - one that still resonates forty years on. One day while we walking along the hallway that separated Studio’s A and B Denny and I bumped into Brian Jones; he was there working on tracks for an album that would become Their Satanic Majesties Request. Brian was dressed in what looked like a French nobleman’s jacket in a shade of blue and made of crushed velvet, with frilly, laced cuffs sticking out; he was also wearing make up. If I approached him from a distance, and seen him coming towards me, I might have taken this in my stride, but we literally bumped into him as we went around a corner; I was shocked. “Hey man I love the Procol Harum single. I heard it on Radio Caroline, and I’ve just sent my chauffeur out to buy if for me.” I was struck by how well spoken he was. Denny introduced me to Brian but I was still reeling to see such a, (well, there is no other word for it) fop in a recording studio; it wasn’t the ‘uniform.’ Of course Brian was at the forefront of creating that hippy chic look. I was still a scruffy guy with jeans and a pale blue workman’s shirt, which everyone was wearing in New York; there was even a hole in the pocket for the pencil to go and a pocket flap.

It's taken from Tony's autobiography, which is out in paperback in a few weeks.


Anonymous said...

Great post. I like the picture of Brian Jones. The guy was a musical genius and yes, very eccentric. He continues to be one of the most fascinating characters of the sixties music scene.

Sounds like a good book. I'll have to buy it.

Colin Campbell said...

My grandmother had a very small collection of 45s and this was one of them. We had to endure it more than a few times.

Anonymous said...

Your grandmother liked Procol Harum?
Mine was more into Lawrence Welk and hymns.