Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Rim Shot Heard 'Round The World

Album Cover Art - Robert Crumb

In the summer of 1968 when I was turning 9 years old, we lived in Niagara Falls, NY. Musically speaking I was pretty much up and through the top 40. So when the album Cheap Thrills was released it didn't even cause a blip on my radar screen. However, in the bedroom next door, the one that contained my 14 year old brother Mike, a revolution was going on. It suddenly seemed to me that the conversations between my brother and his friends went something like, "blah blah Cheap Thrills, blah blah blah, Janis, blah, tits, blah blah blah, Cheap Thrills!"

Whether you like this band and this album or not, one thing can't be denied: It was a game changer. From the record jacket art to the mere 7 songs contained therein it announced brother Mike's, and others, revolution loud and clear. In no uncertain terms it said 'We're stoned, we trip, we're sex positive, we drink like effin fishes, We Are Psychedelic Rock, and if you wanna rock with us, cool'.

It was originally intended to be called "Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills", Columbia Records was not cool with that.

I was the number one album of the year in Billboard. And it's biggest hit, "Piece Of My Heart" still enjoys airplay to this day. It's funny, but it's one of those songs that when you even just read the title, you can hear it in your head (Oh come on, come on, come on, come on and didn't I make you feel.....). Janis singin' that song like her life depended on it. Like she sang every song.

But before Janis even enters the picture you know what song it is. And you know because of that shredding, shrieking guitar intro by James Gurley. Three notes in and you're goin', "Oh, cool, Piece Of My Heart!", and your gettin' ready to go, "Oh Come On, Come On...".

James Gurley passed away on Sunday, two days short of his 70th birthday. Pretty great life span for one of the founders of Psychedelic Rock.

Thank you James.


MJ said...

I am reading about Gurley's death HERE for the first time.

Piece of My Heart is such an incredibly powerful song. In fact, I was singing it as I walked down the street just a few days ago (in my head, you'll be relieved to know).

By the way, I have a copy of Cheap Thrills signed by none other than R. Crumb.

FelixInHollywood said...

Ok, you are, officially, the luckiest girl in the world!