It Happened In Monterey: Blues Brothers
Bob Hite and Elvin Bishop backstage at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Monterey was the first big gig for lead singer Hite and his bandmates in Canned Heat, although they had performed their amplified country blues regularly at LA’s Ashgrove and Topanga Corral earlier in the year. Bishop had already tasted fame in the Paul Butterfield Blues band but at Monterey was without his guitar partner Mike Bloomfield who had formed The Electric Flag. Photograph by Pat Murphy
Abstract Jazz: Atlantic Records
Collage artwork for Coltrane Plays the Blues by Marty Norman. An album of tunes recorded in 1960 during the My Favorite Things sessions it was released two years later after John Coltrane left the label for Impulse.
The Year Was 1979
Los Angeles Times music critic Robert Hilburn, actress Adrienne Barbeau, and reggae legend Jimmy Cliff pick their favorite “records” for the April 1979 issue of Waxpaper. The legendary Warner Bros’ promotional music magazine is a time-capsule, treasure-trove of 70s music journalism.
The Press Kit Cover: Airheads (1994)
Directed by Michael Lehmann. Starring Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Michael McKean, Judd Nelson, Amy Locane and Joe Mantegna.
Newport News: Skip James
Skip James at a Newport Folk Festival afternoon workshop in 1964. Discovered in Tunica, Mississippi earlier the same year by blues nuts John Fahey, Henry Vestine and Bill Barth, the eccentric musician—who rarely performed and hadn’t recorded in over thirty years—was one of many country blues artists featured at the Festival. Also appearing were: Son House, Sleepy John Estes, Robert Pete Williams and Fred McDowell. Photograph by Rick Staehling
Double-page spread from Rock Dreams, a sombre visual history of popular music by Belgian artist Guy Peelaert and British rock critic/journalist Nik Cohn first published in 1974. Peelaert who went on to create album covers (Bowie, The Rolling Stones) and movie posters (Scorsese, Wenders, Altman) died in 2008 at the age of 74. Cohn is still alive and writing, although a drug trafficking charge and his admission years ago that be fabricated his famous story “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” still looms large on his résumé.
Punk Rock Saturday Night
Posters promoting the first two punk shows in Vancouver—both in 1977 at the Japanese Hall. The building, which still stands, was built in 1928 to accommodate the growing needs of the city’s Japanese Canadians and like most community halls rented by promoters in the punk era had a short run as a musical venue. The scene moved to the unsavory Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret following vandalism at an Avengers+DOA concert in early 1978.
Capitol Records Presents
Set of posters promoting Capitol Records’ pop/rock releases for March 1971. Forty years later only Leo Kottke remains active although the other three groups—The Move, Brinsley Schwartz and Goose Creek Symphony—certainly have their nostalgic supporters. The design is by the legendary John Van Hamersveld.
Focus On Folk
Dave Gahr, without a camera to his eye, at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. While his iconic photos of John Lennon, Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen are the most famous, it was Gahr’s tireless work covering the early ’60s folk music scene that produced the most impressive images in his 30-plus year career. Here are two: portraits of young Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, shot on location at Newport and originally published in The Little Sandy Review. Gahr photograph by Rick Staehling
The Press Kit Cover: Bowfinger (1999)
Directed by Frank Oz. Starring Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, Barry Newman, Terence Stamp and Robert Downey Jr.
Love That Label: Dangerhouse
Cover sleeves for X, The Weirdos, The Deadbeats and The Dils. All four bands were on Dangerhouse Records, a seminal punk music label in late ’70s Los Angeles and one of the few in the city that took cover art beyond the cliches of safety pin graphics and kidnap note typography.
John Sebastian and Bob Dylan (back to camera) warm up in a stairwell on the grounds of the 1964 Newport Folk Festival without attracting a crowd. A year later both performers would “go electric”—Sebastian with The Lovin’ Spoonful and “Do You Believe in Magic,” Dylan with “Like a Rolling Stone” and his sixth studio album Highway 61 Revisited. Security increased. Photograph by Rick Staehling
Center spread of a pre-release promotional insert for Scarface starring Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia. The famous one-sheet for the 1983 film ditched the slab serif font and close-up seen here for a high contrast image of Pacino—a look that would be imitated 24 years later on the poster for American Gangster.
Essential Reading: TV Movies Edited by Leonard Maltin
Published since 1969, and updated annually for the last 24 years, this guide to movies remains the gold standard for research, reference and readability. Like the late British film writer Leslie Halliwell—whose Filmgoer’s Companion is still in print—the indefatigable Maltin and his crew of editors are strictly old-school: rarely impressed by contemporary film fads and still offended by violence and coarse language. But their grasp of historical context and critical consistency is most welcome. The newer editions are called Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. Beware any film with a 2 1/2 star rating.