Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Instrumental Break

Presented here are some scans from the UK's premiere music magazine of the 1960s and '70s, Beat Instrumental. Geared toward musicians, Beat Instrumental featured articles and columns that focused on how the British bands created their sound and style. The magazine was published by Sean O'Mahony, who also published the official Beatles fan magazine, The Beatles Book, under the pseudonym of Johnny Dean.

I find the ads for various music shops in London, Glasgow, and other UK cities, as well as the ads for instruments and gear featuring popular musicians, to be very interesting historical artifacts that make the time period come alive. These classic ads for Rickenbacker, Vox, and Premier, companies that were integral to the British Invasion sound, reinforced the idea that their products were what every teenage boy needed to be a pop star. (I have to chant "Premier drums" from The Who Sell Out every time I see anything about them!)

The features on Dave Davies, Peter Quaife, Keith Moon and Bill Wyman (who wrote a column for the magazine) offer insight into their musical influences, personal thoughts about their instruments of choice, and the advice they would offer to fledgling musicians. When reading the final scan, the list of bands and their itineraries makes one wish it could be 1965 again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rhino's Rock Explosion: The British Invasion in Photos 1962-1967

Herman's Hermits
The Pretty Things
The Creation
Marianne Faithful
Sandie Shaw
Peter and Gordon

The Who
The Yardbirds
The Zombies

In the late '80s, Rhino Records began releasing a series of 9 CDs that provided a comprehensive overview of the British Invasion (Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, The Beatles could only be represented by "Ain't She Sweet," while The Stones and Who are not represented at all). Mastered by Bill Inglot, the discs boasted some of the best-sounding sources and rare mono versions of the era's singles. Because of these factors, the discs are highly sought after by collectors and fans. Rhino also included bands that were lesser known on this side of the pond, including The Pretty Things, Tomorrow, The Action and The Creation.

All 9 discs were released in boxed set format, accompanied by a book entitled Rock Explosion: The British Invasion in Photos 1962 - 1967, from which these scans were created. Although the boxed set commands exorbitant prices, individual volumes can sometimes be found used for reasonable prices. If you don't have the set, I highly recommend seeking each volume out! The photos in the book are quite nice as well. (Thanks to Jeff for the book!)