Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Of course you’ll get a credit Mr Dylan…

The fickle world of music and especially the music business has always been one that happily stands in the way of artistic expression by waving contacts at arms length and taunting the victim with their own signature like musical keys to their own jail cell.

Whilst labels all sit under an umbrella of a few massive corporations these days there was a time before where artists who wanted to contribute to other bands/artists recording sessions were not mentioned due to fear and reprisals of a gaggle of lawyers and cigar munching suits screaming about the integrity of the artists career!

Sometimes the more maverick of our heroes have managed to fly under the radar and play on their contemporaries work without worrying about the consequences either by using an alias or simply not being credited at all…

Here are few of my favourites

BadgeCream – Featuring the chiming guitar of co-write and Eric Clapton ‘husband in law’ George Harrison going by the pseudonym “L’Angelo Misterioso” to keep Apple Records happy.

Nutbush City LimitIke and Tina Turner – Although more than proficient on the electric guitar himself Ike gave the job of the chunking fuzz guitar hook to none other than bopping elf Marc Bolan for this session. Un-credited.

FameDavid Bowie – A bit of an obvious one but for those not in ‘the know’ the backing vocals and guitar lick is performed by ‘Dr Winston O’Boogie’ who was more commonly known as John Lennon.

I’m the Urban SpacemanBonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – Their most successful single released back in 1968 was produced by none other than Beatle Paul McCartney and future Elton John Producer Gus Dudgeon under the pseudonym ‘Apollo C.Vermouth’. The writer of the song Neil Innes later repaid the favour to McCartney by writing all the songs for Beatles parody The Rutles (much to the anger of McCartney, happiness of George Harrison and flattery of Lennon)

Something In The AirThunderclap Newman – This song originally titled ‘Revolution’(but changed due to The Beatles own hit ‘Revolution’ about to be released) was co-performed and produced by Pete Townsend who clearly thought that his given name was a bit of a mouthful and preferred to use ‘Bijou Drains’ instead.

Wonderwall MusicGeorge Harrison – Here we have a whole albums worth of secret players involved as the lawyers would have had a field day if it’d had got out that ‘Richie Snare’, ‘Eddie Clayton’ were in fact Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton. Peter Tork from The Monkees was also involved but I guess he couldn’t think of a partially amusing name so he simply just wasn’t credited at all.

As well as famous musicians helping their buddies out on recording sessions there are also a fair amount of future stars appearing on sessions of famous songs where they were simply paid union scale wages and given the chord sheet when they arrived as a bona fide session musician.

All Things Must PassGeorge Harrison – With the gargantuan production by Phil Spector there were many musicians involved with building the famous ‘wall of sound’ and on a wet Wednesday afternoon getting bongo players wasn’t that easy. On that particular day a young Phil Collins was given the leg up and chance to show his professionalism and abilities. He later remembered that after 4 hours of playing his heart out and smashing his fingers to a pulp on the bongos a voice come over the talk back mic from Spector who said simply “ok,ok for the next take can we add the bongos in the mix?” and then switched ON Collin’s microphone.

Remember (Walking in the Sand) – The Shangri-Las – For this classic song of heartbreak and melodrama from production wunderkind George ‘Shadow’ Morton from 1964 you are in fact hearing the young piano playing of Billy Joel playing the main theme and rhythm. Joel was a few years away from getting his own big break and was a gun for hire. He later said he didn’t even get the money he was owed for the session from Morton ($67 union scale).

On BroadwayThe Drifters – A classic of the early 60’s from the stable of Leiber and Stoller and featuring a barely on solid foods future production legend Phil Spector taking the guitar solo.


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