Sunday, February 5, 2012

Melody Maker, May 1971

It's May 1971, Andy Williams is top of the album charts and the front page of the MM announces that the legendary Fillmore rock venues in San Francisco and New York are to close. Promoter Bill Graham says he refuses to pay the increasingly high prices being charged by the top groups for what he sees as a decline in the quality of the music.

The front page on May 8 1971 also has details of a European tour by Rod Stewart & The Faces, including an appearance at the Crystal Palace Garden Party in August.

In the 'Pop 30', Double Barrel by Dave and Ansil Collins retains the top spot but Tony Orlando and Dawn are knocking at the door (or is it the ceiling?). The Stones are at 3, T. Rex's first big hit has peaked. There's some classic singles in there, and this being the singles chart, some odd ones too. The album chart is quite impressive for the sheer number of classic rock albums in the list.

What's interesting at this time is how different the British albums charts are from the US charts. Bands like Three Dog Night, Grand Funk, Chicago, Brewer & Shipley didn't make any impression in the UK. Elton John is obviously making his first breakthrough in the UK at this time (on the back of "Your Song) with three albums in the British charts.

Interesting, then, that on page 8 (below) in MM's news from America, it says that Elton is struggling to sell tickets. "Elton is dead in New York," says an unnamed observer.
Page 8 starts by noting the popularity of the all-girl band Fanny and the news that a film about Jimi Hendrix, called 'Rainbow Bridge' is about to be released. Further down the page , there's a report about The Doors having abandoned all future plans to tour. The report says, "Jim Morrison can be reached right now somewhere in France."  And sadly for Jim, he died there two months later.
Here's a couple of gig reviews from this week

In the letters page, the jury is still out on whether Led Zeppelin's new acoustic direction (on LZ III) is going down well with the fans. "Please leave the gentle songs to people like The Strawbs," says one. Further down, Stevie Wonder is referred to as an "abominable popcorn merchant". On the left of the page, John Peel gets a kicking for his criticism of Deep Purple. The letter says, "By dismissing groups like Deep Purple, ELP and more recently CSN&Y and at the same time applauding musical dullards like Medicine Head, Bridget St. John, Ron Geesin, Brinsley Schwartz etc, John Peel is influencing the hard-core of his non-musical followers with his worthless opinions."

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