MEDIA BLACKOUT #648.305!
The Monkees – Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (RCA)
:: While the Beatles and Stones spent 1967 getting doped up and recording their hippy-dippy stoner albums Sgt. Pepper’s
and Satanic Majesties, these hardcore radical Yankee outlaws were singing about drug pushers (“Salesman”);
horny teenage sluts (“She Hangs Out”); a naïve girl getting brutally gangbanged by the Hells Angels (“Cuddly
Toy”); promiscuous groupies on the prowl (“Star Collector”); and suburban surreal estate (“Pleasant
Valley Sunday”). That’s right, a Hells Angels gangbang. Who you gonna believe: me or your own ears?
PLATTER OF ALL TIME: Rolling Stones – Live At Altamont (December 9, 1969) :: And speaking of the Hells
Angels, you can watch Gimme Shelter over and over again until the cows come home but you’ll never
be able to truly understand the horrific tragedy of Altamont until you’ve lived through this harrowing audio experience.
If anyone in
the entire history of rock ’n’ roll ever deserves to be awarded a Purple Heart for bravery far above and beyond
the call of duty, it’s the five anonymous fearless audience members who had the guts to tape the individual pieces that
collectively comprise this complete hour and a half concert, which was recorded during the middle of the night in what was,
literally, an outdoor combat zone patrolled and brutally enforced by a hostile horde of Hells Angels.
What makes this aural document the
most historically important Rolling Stones live concert ever is that, unlike a sterile soundboard tape, this revelatory
recording plunges you right into the front row at Altamont as an actual audience member instead of as a
safely detached spectator—and it’s nothing short of astonishing to hear how rapidly events inexorably
Minutes into the first
song one audience member cheerfully says: “Have a good time!” To which another replies with equal ebullience:
“You too!” By the third song everything’s already irrevocably doomed. “Let me outta
here!” someone yells, only to be anxiously told: “There’s nowhere to go, man!” When the singer
impotently demands to know “who’s fighting and what for?” an irate man instantly bellows back at him: “Who
do you think?” Next a woman screams: “Get a doctor!”
By the time Sam “Everything seems to be
ready, are you ready?” Cutler takes the microphone to announce: “We’ve also lost, in the front here, a
little girl who’s five years old” and the band breaks into—wait for it—Jimmy Reed’s “The
Sun Is Shining,” everything has become so surrealistically appalling that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
When they eventually get around to playing “Brown Sugar” in public for the first time, one person has been murdered
and who knows how many others have been injured.
“...like one of you could control one little girl...”
the singer admonishes.
And the band played on.
Be seeing you!