Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jack Nitzsche - 'The Lonely Surfer' (1963), Dick Dale- "The Wedge" (1964) and The Shadows-- 'Apache' (1964)

While American music fans were waiting for The Beatles and The Animals to arrive to our shores, and for Motown Studios to rev up, we had to listen to something. So surf music and instrumental guitar-based groups flourished. It became a very popular musical style in both the USA and UK. One o fthe most celebrated was the left-handed Dick "King of the Surf Guitar" Dale:

The British group The Shadows had a huge hit with "Apache" in 1960. The Ventures became one of the all-time biggest groups in rock and roll with "Walk Don't Run" in that same year and their cover of "Hawaii 5-0". The Tornados and The Chantays both did the classic song, "Pipeline".

Even some groups from as far away as Finland (The Charades) had hit tunes.
This is one of my favorites from that era, composed by Jack Nitzsche (1937-2000) , who was affiliated with Phil Spector and his "Wall of Sound" recording innovations.

The triumphant guitar and the reverb features in recording like this inspired other musical artists as well. One influence that has ben cited is the Ennio Morricone soundtracks to films like "A Fistful of Dollars" (1965). Vocal groups like The safaris and The Beach Boys of course also were major hit-masters.

Nitzsche later went on to compose film scores, including "One Flew Over the Cockoo' Nest", "Cutter's Way" and "An Officer and a Gentleman".

His final years were not so good and the LA fast life may have caught up to him, but he had a great output and was no stranger to the best musicians of his era. Here he is at the beginning of his rise as a solo artist and producer.

"From Wikipedia: While organizing the music for The T.A.M.I. Show television special in 1964, he met The Rolling Stones, and went on to contribute the keyboard textures to their albums The Rolling Stones, Now! (or The Rolling Stones No. 2 in the UK), Out of Our Heads, Aftermath and Between the Buttons, as well as the hit singles "Paint It Black" and "Let's Spend the Night Together" and the choral arrangements for "You Can't Always Get What You Want". In 1968, Nitzsche introduced the band to slide guitarist Ry Cooder, a seminal influence on the band's 1969-1973 style.

"Some of Nitzsche's most enduring rock productions were conducted in collaboration with Neil Young, beginning with his production and arrangement of Buffalo Springfield's "Expecting To Fly", considered by many critics to be a touchstone of the psychedelic era. In 1968, he produced Young's eponymously titled solo debut with David Briggs. Even as the singer's style veered from the baroque to rootsy hard rock, Young continued to work with Nitzsche on some of his most commercially successful solo recordings, most notably Harvest. Nitzsche played electric piano with Crazy Horse throughout 1970 (a representative performance can be heard on the Live at the Fillmore East album) and went on to produce their sans-Young debut album a year later."

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