He was a hustling song-plugger, songwriter, and aspiring producer who shadowed Phil Spector’s every move, hoping to glean the wisdom of the master. She was a young teenager savvy beyond her years; a long, cool drink of Armenian beauty with a voice imbued with more aspiration than range. So began the unlikely ascent of Sonny and Cher, tramp and gypsy, across the pop culture terrain, first as recording stars then as TV personalities. As their lives diverged — Sonny into politics and tragedy, Cher into a universe of her own design — it’s worth knowing that they drew from the very well that produced Spector and Wilson.
Chuck Boyd Collection
In “The Real Don Steele’s” words
I started in April 1965 at KHJ. Took me seven years to get here. Every half hour we’d have an ID: “This is KHJ Los Angeles.” . I came up with some catchphrases, like: “It’s 3:00 in Boss Angeles!” “It ain’t that bad if you’re fired at 3:30!” “You gotta flaunt it at 4:00!” “Spread your love at 5:30!” “We’re gonna kick it out here on a fractious Friday!” “Tina Delgado is alive, alive!” That’s the catchphrase of all time. I used that in Portland, Oregon. All of a sudden, it was all over town. I don’t have any idea why, but I know when it’s a hit. I can feel it.
In John Densmore’s words
Robby Krieger and I went to a local DJ’s apartment — Dave Diamond from KBLA — and he said “Light My Fire” was a hit, but added, “You have to edit this down.” So we pressed producer Paul Rothchild and he just whacked at it, and all of us felt the cut was kind of brutal. But then, we became the darlings of the FM radio stations, who played the long version. That jump-started the whole FM underground “we’re cooler” scene. Which was very cool.
The New Singer-Songwriter Movement
The hub of the singer-songwriter movement was Doug Weston’s iconic West Hollywood nightclub, the Troubadour. It was an arcadia for anyone with gumption, a Guild guitar and a capacity to turn tenderness into a call to arms. It was here, in a modest showroom affronted by a garrulous bar scene, that Elton John rocketed to stardom, where Carole King, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Randy Newman, Glenn Frey and Don Henley brought their unaffected blend of country, folk and pop before a listenership craving a sound as revealing as a diary entry.
Few songs have come to define an era more than the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the crystalline reverberation of a twelve-string Rickenbacker, a throbbing bass counterpoint, and layered vocals that didn’t so much speak as shimmer. It was a sound nurtured in folk but it pulsed with a current that was electric to the ear. With one majestic thrum, the Byrds took flight as one of rock’s most inventive and influential bands. They produced a body of work finely tuned to the moment, but timeless in its song craft and pure musicianship. They dabbled in Dylan and psychedelia, and laid the foundation for country rock.