- In 1968 Jimi Hendrix bought a studio located in the 52 West Eight Street, Greenwich Village, New York, with the idea of transforming it into a nightclub. His sound technician convinced him of turning it into a studio and in August 27th 1970 “Electric Lady” officially opened it’s doors. Both recording rooms haven’t changed a bit since Jimi jammed there (one still has the same paints hanging on the walls, and sofas, and the other -Purple Haze- still has the purple console). When The Clash recorded “Sandinista!” there, they swear Jimi’s spirit added an extra guitar line in the album. That may sound weird, but the truth is that doors close on their own, floors creak and a magic can be sensed in the air.
- Before Ten Years After left England for a tour of America in 1969 TYA bassist Leo Lyons (who was living with his Dad) somehow managed to get a “seed” from something left on the ground of his Dad’s home. While Leo was in America, his Dad saw something growing in his back yard, so he “tended to it”. When Leo returned home to England, to record TYA’s 5th album, there was this 6 foot tall marijuana plant growing in his Dad’s back yard. Leo quickly cut the plant down and instead of getting rid of it, decided to let the plant dry. It was still a little green when TYA started recording the album, but it was a very popular plant with the people in the studio. Lyons lived with his Dad in a town in England called “Cricklewood”. The members of TYA enjoyed the green plant so much, they called their 5th album “Cricklewood Green”.
- Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is dedicated to the band’s former leader Syd Barret. Syd used to be the leader…until his schizophrenia and the LSD started to catch up with him, and he became rather insane. The band called David Gilmour, who had given Syd guitar lessons during high school, and would cover for Syd during concerts, correcting his mistakes and filling in when he started playing along to a different tune. Syd eventually got more and more distanced of the band and David got to be the lead guitarist, but lots of the insanity themes they sing about is related to their former band-mate.
- Black Sabbath’s guitarist, Tony Iommi, lost part of two fingers in a “work accident”, and it seemed the band was over. However, he managed to continue playing using a device which made his two stump fingers “longer”, and tuning the guitar three steps down in order to loosen the strings and bend them more easily. His first song with his new “style” was a damn good one: “Iron Man”.
- One night at a gig, when The Who had just begun, Pete Townshend was experimenting with the feedback he got when he put his guitar near his amp. He accidentally hit the ceiling with the guitar, which caused an awesome sound that was cheered by the small audience. Pete tried to repeat that sound with such bad (or good) luck that he broke the guitar’s neck. “No one cheered, in fact there was a terrible silence, a “this-guy-is-an-asshole silence, so I finished breaking the guitar acting as if that had been my true intention”. On The Who’s next performance there were twice as many people.
- “If you sit to wait on a crossroads near Mississippi on a moonless night, and you are willing to pay the price, you’ll feel a very strange wind. Next, the Devil himself will tune your guitar and you will be gifted with the ability to play like no one else has before. Of course that in this process you will have exchanged your soul and you will suffer for eternity in hell sooner or later.”
This story is the base of the cult to the mysterious figure of Robert Johnson, a blues-man who lived and died in Mississippi, at the deadly age of 27 (if you don’t believe me ask Jimi, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin… Karen Carpenter anyone?). The legend says it is time to pay the price once you turn 27, so this legend has also been the “logical” explanation for many people to Kurt’s and Jimi’s death. I also heard that Eric Clapton also performed this agreement with the devil (but apparently found a way to avoid the payment). The movie “Crossroads” is entirely based on this legend.
- The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album was titled because of an insult between band-mates. When Brian Wilson showed Mike Love the new material, he said “Who the hell is going to listen to this?…the ears of a dog?”.
- In 1964, Eric Burdon and the Animals head to the studio to record “House of the Rising Sun.” They nailed it in just one take. Production cost… ten dollars! It went gold. Credits list the song as “Traditional.” Just how “Traditional?” The original lyrics date back to 16th century London about a local cat house bearing that name back when New Orleans was nothing but a seaside swamp.