The following is an excerpt from Eric Clapton, Day by Day: The Early Years, 1963-1982 by Marc Roberty, published by Backbeat Books, as posted by Something Else Reviews. Please visit their site to read the whole excerpt.
Ever since the demise of Cream, Eric Clapton had been searching for his musical identity. Blind Faith may have started out with good intentions, and a lot of promise, but ultimately it was doomed to failure as soon as Ginger Baker joined the band and the business side of things took over the creative side before it had much of a chance to start. They were forced to record an album and tour before they were ready to do either. The lengthy and lucrative U.S. tour was the final nail in the coffin for the band, as they resorted to playing crowd favorites from Traffic and Cream. Delaney & Bonnie had provided a great short-term escape for Eric, and his first solo album was the first step in finding his future musical direction and path. Although that album was more of a Delaney & Bonnie album in sound, it gave him the confidence to be a solo artist. But not quite yet, as his next project was to be a cooperative band.
Bobby Whitlock had stayed with Delaney & Bonnie after the rest of the “Friends” had left with Leon Russell to join Joe Cocker’s infamous Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour in the US. After recording “Motel Shot” with them, he, too, decided it was time to leave and consider what he should do next. His friend Steve Cropper suggested he go and see Eric Clapton and spend some time in England to clear his head. As Bobby did not have much money, Steve kindly organized a plane ticket, and Bobby flew over to London Airport in April 1970. From there he took a taxi to Eric’s home in the Surrey countryside. He already knew it well, of course, as he had stayed there the previous November when Delaney & Bonnie and Friends were residing there while recording and touring with Eric.
Eric was surprised to see Bobby, but happy at the same time, as they could play music and generally hang out and have fun. Within weeks, they were starting to write songs together, but when Eric realized that Bobby would have to head off home, he asked him to stay and help him get a band together. The first step was to go and see Robert Stigwood and put him on the payroll as the first member. The band was initially being formed to promote Eric’s first solo album, which was due for release in August, but this would also be a fully functioning band that would tour and record new material. After some discussions, it was decided to get Jim Keltner on drums and Carl Radle on bass, along with Bobby Keys and Jim Price on horns. Everyone was available to come over at short notice except Jim Keltner, who was working on Gabor Szabo’s Magical Connection album for Blue Thumb, and would not be able to make it over until July. Jim Gordon, another ex-member of Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends, heard about the gig from Carl Radle and flew over with Carl and straight into a session with Eric and Bobby for PP Arnold. As he was there and ready, he was offered the job instead of Keltner…
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Eric Clapton, Day by Day presents Clapton’s professional life in music in a day-by-day format, giving details of which bands he joined and left, all recordings made – both released and unreleased – as well as guest appearances he made on other artists’ records, and concert tours. Volume 1 covers Clapton’s early years, offering an insight into how this artist slowly found his own musical identity. Volume 2, to be published in the fall of 2013, will continue the story, covering Clapton’s comeback after problematic years of drug and alcohol abuse, and his going on to become one of the world’s most respected and admired musicians.
The year 1969 was like a whirlwind for Sonny and Cher. By now their commercial stock had fallen, and they were deep in debt. But they had little option but to work hard, especially as they had a new baby to support: Chastity Sun, born on March 4. Within weeks of Chastity’s birth, Cher would be back in the studio recording one of the most interesting albums of her career.
As Harry Young puts it in his liner notes for the Rhino reissue of the album, Sonny and Cher were “running for their lives, pursued by an erupting volcano of debt that roared like a wounded behemoth, heaved like a tortured titan, and then burst into flames as it threatened to bury their career and future prospects.”
To fit into the changing times and make some money, they had launched a new, more adult-oriented act in Las Vegas. They were also searching for a new direction for Cher that was more in keeping with the times. Folk-rock was out, and as Cher later put it: “Son’s straight-ahead, upbeat music started to sound simplistic and corny.”
Ahmet Ertegun was delighted that Cher’s Imperial contract had come to an end after five albums and a compilation. She could now finally be incorporated into the Atlantic family, where Sonny & Cher had recorded since 1965. They celebrated the union with an announcement in Cashbox magazine on February 1 1969.
The first release of this new phase of Cher’s career was her cover of “Yours Until Tomorrow,” a 1966 hit for Dee Dee Warwick, backed by the easy-listening schmaltz of “The Thought Of Loving You.” But Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler had bigger ideas for Cher. One of the most successful producers in the history of rhythm and blues — a term he coined himself in his early career as a writer for Billboard magazine — he had helmed records by Ray Charles, The Drifters, and Ruth Brown, and had received universal acclaim for turning Aretha Franklin into one of the most revered singers on the planet.
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Cher: All I Really Want to Do takes readers through the ups and downs of a career that spans more than 50 years in show business. Beginning with her breakthrough alongside husband Sonny Bono in the ’60s, it takes in the high highs – and low lows – of the ’70s, the big-screen success of the ’80s, and global superstardom in the ’90s, and continues right up to her latest comeback alongside Christina Aguilera in Burlesque. There’s detailed coverage of every major album, film, and tour, from “I Got You Babe” to “Believe,” “Half-Breed” to Moonstruck, “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” to Mermaids, and beyond.
In the Indica Gallery in London in 1966, Yoko had an apple for sale for £200. That’s US $3,000 in today’s dollars. This is the apple John Lennon walked in and bit, when he didn’t know Yoko Ono, and apparently he didn’t see the price tag or didn’t respect that this apple was an art piece.
John Lennon could buy anything — a pet monkey, a plane, a posse. When money is limitless, all things lose meaning –when they can’t be dreamt of and saved for, and maybe not gotten. How refreshing it must have been to see value inverted. If what is free (to be plucked easily off trees seeming to line every path) can be made beyond the common man’s ability to acquire, than what is beyond the common man’s ability to acquire must be free. How amazing, this apple!
How nice for Yoko that someone would mistake her art piece for the real thing, and bite it. All of her art was turning the real thing into art pieces so people would put on their special important expensive viewing eyes and just maybe they would see it, what had been there all along. They could have seen the real thing all the time, everywhere, but forgot to.
All Yoko Ono ever wanted was for people to bite what they thought could not be bitten, see what they thought could not be seen, know what they thought could not be known.
She was, it seems, Satan.
But there was a mistake in telling the story. Satan was the good guy. God didn’t want us to bite the apple of knowledge because then we’d know we were Him, and the patriarchy, the whole order of things, would turn to dust.
Keep reading this excerpt on SOMETHING ELSE Reviews.
Many people are aware of Yoko Ono’s art, and her music has always split crowds, from her caterwauling earliest work to her later dance numbers, but how many people have looked at Yoko Ono’s decades-spanning career and varied work in total and asked the simple question, “Is it any good?” A must-read for art and music fans interested in going beyond the stereotyped observations of Yoko as a Lennon hanger-on or inconsequential avant noisemaker.