With the decade coming towards its end, 1988 was a genuine mixed bag. Pet Shop Boys released some of their best ever work; Elton John’s ‘Reg Strikes Back’ album marked somewhat of a comeback for the megastar after five years of intermittently enjoyable material and Jane Wiedlin hit the UK singles chart with ‘Rush Hour’, arguably one of the decade’s greatest pop singles.
When the Led Zeppelin anthology was released in 2004, fans were given lots of reasons to get excited. Not only was the black and white footage from Denmark ’69 available for the first time, but the double disc set also included a full set from London that same year, alongside highlights of Knebworth 1979 (full show here) and Earls Court 1975. As has been discussed many times, fans would like to see the latter pair of shows released uncut…but it’s never going to happen.
1966 was very much a turning point for pop music. Many acts that were considered beat groups had started to branch out and to think beyond live performance. With orchestral tracks like ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘For No One’ Paul McCartney pushed forth the idea of baroque pop. John Lennon, meanwhile, was experimenting with tape loops and early forms of electronica. His ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, closing The Beatles’ 1966 masterpiece ‘Revolver’, is often considered to be at least partially responsible for the birth of true psychedelia. While it’s obvious Lennon’s sound collage took a massive leap towards the mind expanding sounds of ’67, many other bands were sowing the seeds for change a little earlier. As early as 1965, The Kinks pushed boundaries with their single ‘See My Friends’ – a mix of jangling sixties pop and raga music – while even the Dave Clarke Five had occasionally sounded a bit…out there for the era with an increased use of reverb. While the roots of psychedelia could be argued over almost indefinitely, The Yardbirds’ ‘Shapes of Things’ – a fuzzy mish-mash of beat-pop and soft druggy haze – pre-dates the release of ‘Revolver’ by several months and is very much in the mould that would come to be known as freakbeat. An important branch of the psychedelia family tree, freakbeat took the bones of the sixties sound, loaded it with fuzz and wasn’t shy in exploiting the left/right split for stereo head trips. In 1966, this was very much at the forefront of emerging alternative sounds.
We’ve hit December 2019 and that can mean only one thing. It’s time for The Real Gone Advent Calendar!
As is traditional, over the next twenty four days, we’ll be posting a new link. It might be a video. It might be audio only. It might be an old favourite. It might be something brand new and unfamiliar. The only way to find out is by coming back each day and opening a new window.
For the past week, Real Gone has been running a Led Zeppelin poll. A huge poll containing each of the Zep studio recordings, rather than just letting fans come and choose their favourites, we structured things slightly differently. Voters were given nine votes and only allowed to pick one track from each of the albums.
A few people claimed this to be unfair – after all, when faced with an album as strong as Led Zeppelin’s fourth, how could you possibly choose ‘Stairway To Heaven’ over ‘The Battle of Evermore’, or even ‘When The Levee Breaks’ over the mighty ‘Black Dog’ with its huge riffs? How could only one vote be allocated to ‘Physical Graffiti’ – a sprawling double album featuring fifteen songs and at least seven cast iron classics? Therein lied the big challenge.