Today is Joni Mitchell’s birthday. Let’s celebrate this Monday with a few Cameron penned items.
Today is Joni Mitchell’s birthday. Let’s celebrate this Monday with a few Cameron penned items.
Since election season is in full swing, we thought you might enjoy Cameron’s 1976 Rolling Stone cover story with Jack Ford. Gerald Ford’s son was a hot commodity back at the time. Young, handsome and campaigning for his dad, Gerald Ford. We hope you like it!
Why Jack Ford Lives at Home
A White House Portrait
“I’m Jack Ford and I’m here to reelect my father. I’m not just saying that because I want to stay in the White House. Quite frankly, I would gladly change places with you.’
Five days before the Michigan primary, on a sunny Saturday afternoon in May, the sprawling Fairlane shopping center, an indoor mall in Dearborn, is so thick with campaign workers of both parties that it’s hard to take a step without being accosted by zealous volunteers brandishing buttons and bumperstickers.
Today, the shopping center is being visited by a major campaign figure — once removed. A young Republican worker rushes up to a knot of people, breaking the news with breathless reverence: “Did you hear? The president’s son Jack is here! Just around the corner!” There’s a commotion around the corner, all right, and a strange, nervous chuckle is rising above the hubbub; sort of an emphatic ah-ha, followed by three slightly forced heh-heh-hehs.
Then around the corner comes the owner of The Laugh, surrounded by swooning teenage girls. Jack Ford’s three-piece suit — its color an exact match for his tousled sandy blond hair—hangs perfectly on his sleek, athletic, 24-year-old body. He loosens his tie and proceeds to sign the crinkled slips of paper thrust in front of him. He poses for dozens of Instamatic flash pictures and pumps every hand in sight.
“I’m Jack Ford and I’m here working to reelect my father. Can we count on your support?” That’s the stock line he recites to almost everybody. Everybody, that is, except the prettiest girls, who get a slightly bolder variation. The steely blue-green eyes linger a little longer on theirs and, at the beginning of the handshake, Jack will simply say, “Your hand feels a little cold.” On occasion he’ll turn to one of his Secret Service agents and remark wistfully, “I wish there was something we could do about that.” The effect is devastating, and instantaneous. One melted girl.
Jann Wenner turns 70 years young today. All of us here at The Uncool/Vinyl Films want to wish him the very best. Here’s the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame piece that Cameron wrote back when Jann was inducted in 2004.
There are some who say rock & roll, at its very core, is a temporary form. Even the earliest days of rock & roll, it was all folly, right? Passionate and cheeky melodies meant to be heard crackling over a car radio, a souvenir of a night spent dancing or making out. Every real musician or fan knew, though, that rock & roll was much deeper than that. Rock & roll was code, and just under the surface was the promise of rebellion, of a life beyond what your parents could understand. It was a secret world to smuggle into your home, shut your door and get lost in.
It took a fleet of guitarists and pianists to put that secret world together, but one man realized rock & roll needed a diary and a journal. In 1967, with borrowed money and the support of a veteran jazz journalist named Ralph J. Gleason, a twenty-year-old dropout from UC Berkeley put together a folded paper, a publication that lent a tiny bit of permanence to all that timelessly “disposable” art. And on that day, Jann Wenner took the first step on the famously long, strange trip that would lead him to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
To celebrate Rolling Stone‘s 10th Anniversary (way back in 1977!), each of their writers shared their Top 10 Albums of the magazine’s first decade. Here is Cameron’s list (he went with 8 albums and 2 singles), in no particular order. Happy Friday All…
Rolling Stone 10th Anniversary: Top 10 Albums of the Last 10 Years (1967-1977)
Katy Lied – Steely Dan
Anonymous, abosolutely impeccable swing-pop. No cheap displays of human emotion.
Something/Anything? – Todd Rundgren
Gloriously cheap displays of human emotion. Heart-wrenching teen classics.
For the Roses – Joni Mitchell
In which Joni Mitchell so far outstrips anything else to emerge from the singer/songwriter boom that half the field promptly drops out.
Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin
Harder than Exile on Main Street and three times as convincing.
At the Fillmore East – The Allman Brothers Band
The tragic and ultimately garish aftermath of the Allman Brothers Band began immediately after the release of this magnificent live album. Now their memory is all but obscured; no one even yells out “Whipping Post” at concerts anymore. Their spooky pinnacle remains.
Jackson Browne – Jackson Brown
Taken as a whole, this album is a southern California Catcher in the Rye. Jackson will doubtlessly continue to make more finely crafted records, but nothing as wide-eyed and endearing as his first.
Spinner – The Spinners
Thom Bell, ladies and gentlemen. Thom Bell!
White Album – The Beatles
In the words of semiprofessional session guitarist Danny Kortchmar, “You still can’t buy a better record.”
“Take It Easy” – The Eagles
Those first two chords mean instant top-down summer . . . anywhere, any time. Not, however, worth the trip to Winslow, Arizona.
“Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
If punk is any indication of the alternative, I’ll stick with the Sixties wimps.
Courtesy of Rolling Stone #254 – Cameron Crowe – December 15, 1977
Cameron shared his #1 for Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time issue. Happy Friday!
My Number One – Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
I was thirteen, and I wanted to buy a Jackson 5 cassette. The knowing geek behind the counter shook his head and advised me to get Pet Sounds instead. Desperate for his cool-guy validation, I bought it. It sounded weird, introverted, not that melodic. And what about that cover? Odd-looking guys dressed like Elizabethan-period accountants feeding animals at the zoo? I thought the album sucked and I stashed it in a drawer. Within a year, Linda Alvarado (not her real name) savagely broke my heart. For some fateful reason, I gave Pet Sounds another chance. Suddenly, music was more than just confection. Those strange guys feeding animals at the zoo understood; even the music sounded like I felt. When you find songs so personal that they feel like someone’s been reading your diary, you tend to study the album credits to find out who the hell wrote this stuff. And that leads you to the heartbreaking genius of Brian Wilson. Pet Sounds is the high-water mark of songwriting and production so meticulously rendered that you ache hearing these songs; they’re filled with secret cries for help disguised in baroque and candy-coated harmonies, the sound of Brian Wilson’s universe coming together and falling apart. The album was a flop in its day, unappreciated in a world addicted to Wilson’s Beach Boys hits. Just three years ago, it finally went platinum. For me, Pet Sounds is a souvenir, a masterwork, an underdog story and a record that takes you gently by the lapels and says, “Here’s what it feels like to be alive.”
Courtesy of Rolling Stone #937 – Cameron Crowe – December 11, 2003
Cameron gets the scoop on Led Zeppelin’s latest album, Presence. This August, 1976 story is brand new to the site and marks our 251st article/interview in the Journalism section. Happy Monday!
Zeppelin Rising . . . Slowly
Jimmy Page tells how Led Zep turned an accident into an album: ‘We started screaming and never stopped’
Los Angeles – Had singer Robert Plant’s sedan not slammed into a tree on the Greek island of Rhodes, shattering his ankle and all the bone supporting his left leg, Led Zeppelin would surely have dwarfed all touring competition is golden rock & roll summer. But Plant, who is not one to perform from a chair, is still months away from complete recovery. Until that day, the band even Elton John calls “the world’s biggest act in music” is stilled.
Presence, Zeppelin’s seventh and latest album, remains one of the best-selling albums of the year, even without benefit of a tour, a single or even a photo of the band. A film of the band in concert, The Song Remains the Same, is set for release this fall. All this at a time when most heavy-metal heroes have either tempered their approach or died an unsuspecting death. Such is the enigma of Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page, the band’s guitarist and mentor, was on a working vacation in Los Angeles with Plant, drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham, manager Peter Grant and various members of Bad Company. Page was keeping a low profile. His easy pace of writing, relaxing and supervising a band called Detective, the newest act on Led Zep’s Swan Song label, was interrupted by only one nightclub visit – to the Roxy for Doctor Feelgood – and one interview.
Cameron talks about the rock and roll business with the Marshall Tucker Band for this 1974 Rolling Stone interview. Happy Tuesday everyone…
Marshall Tucker: The South Also Rises
Atlanta, GA – It’s Friday night and Richard’s, the lively hotspot of Atlanta’s rock-club scene, is jumping. Onstage, a local favorite is grinding out rock raucous blue standards. The dance floor is an euphoric mass of squirming young bodies.
Welcome to the great lost teenage innocence. David Bowie may set the coasts afire with his 36 costume changes and the New York Dolls can mincingly sing of decadent trauma, but for this typically well-scrubbed Southern crowd, “drag” is when you’ve waited too long to buy your Allman Brothers tickets.
“That glitter shit,” drawls one sweat-drenched regular, “is for the people that don’t care about the music, dontcha think? Here in the South we got our own bands who don’t need any of those…gimmicks. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Marshall Tucker Band or, acourse, the Brothers. Man, they just get out there and fuckin’ play.”