Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fourth calendar year!
Number 181 (Vol. 4, No. 37). This edition is for the week of September 8--14, 2003.
9/11, two years later,
how far have we come?
• Edward Teller dies at 95
• Terence's Challenge: The Top Ten Albums of the 1960s
• Lettercol updated
Just as this issue of PCR was being "put to bed" for this week, news came over the wire of the sad passings of Johnny Cash, 71, and John Ritter, 54. Look for extended commentary on the legendary Johnny Cash and comedian John Ritter in next week's PCR!
Well, it's time to revisit our country's nightmare. I won't spend too much time on this because I hate depressing subjects, but it is important because it changed our country forever.
I wrote about the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center incident just hours after it happened back in PCR #77 (the September 10--17 issue). The outpouring of grief and riled patriotism that came my way for publication over the following weeks was like nothing I'd ever seen before....or since.
But what of our country's objectives since then? To this day, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind (or so thought) of the Twin Tower attacks has never been apprehended and is presumed dead by a great majority of commentators. Within weeks of the attacks, the U.S. Administration's focus shifted toward Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq, as somehow being actively involved, but it was never clearly explained how. As months dragged by, it was obvious President Bush's
objectives no longer lay with the Afghanistanian rebels responsible for 9/11, but with his obsession to finish his father's mission in Iraq by unseating Hussein. After a half-baked campaign involving rhetoric regarding weapons of mass destruction, the mission was successful in changing regimes (Hussein himself was never apprehended), although the WMD have never been found. The "end" of the war was not clearly defined which has led to more bloodshed in a seemingly never-ending war/police-action (Vietnam, anyone?) occupation of that country. Now Bush wants $87 billion for rebuilding efforts....but I digress....a little.
For the moment I'm going to side-step the tempting bandwagon-jump that the WMD talk was a fantasy designed solely as a smoke-screen for support. But as a conspiratorialist, I cannot help but find attactive the notion that the President knows exactly where the bad guys are and is waiting until, say, 60 days before the next election to spring forth with both gentlemen in custody! Big hero, approval points jump, re-elected. Or will he....? While the Prez has been dancing in the desert, the economy at home has tanked. I predict the same exact issue that cost Daddy Dearest the election to Bill Clinton, namely the economy, will cost Junior the election as well, regardless of who he apprehends now.
Then again, a live video from Iraq featuring Bush Junior holding the heads of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in each hand would be the ultimate photo-op!
Edward Teller dead at 95
You might be wondering why I would spotlight an old Cold War-era scientist whose biggest claim to fame was developing and promoting the hydrogen bomb. Well, to a UFO buff, he's much more than that.
Edward Teller was born Jan. 15, 1908, in Budapest. He received his university education in Germany, earning a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Leipzig. Teller joined the Manhattan Project in 1942 at Los Alamos (New Mexico) Scientific Laboratory to work on developing the first atomic bomb.
He also promoted the hydrogen fusion bomb, a concept that attracted interest but remained secondary to the work on the atomic weapon.
In 1939, he was one of three scientists who encouraged Albert Einstein to alert President Franklin Roosevelt that the power of nuclear fission -- the splitting of an atom's nucleus -- could be tapped to create a devastating new weapon.
Two years later, even before the first atom bomb was completed, a fellow scientist named Fermi suggested that nuclear fusion -- fusing rather than splitting nuclei -- might be used for an even more destructive explosive, the hydrogen bomb. Teller quickly took to the idea.
Teller's enthusiasm and pursuit of such a bomb -- he called it the "Super" -- won him the title "father of the H-bomb," a term he said he hated. The first megaton H-bomb was exploded in 1952.
Teller pushed for the creation of a second national science lab -- the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He became a consultant there in 1952, associate director in 1954 and director from 1958-60. He continued as a consultant after retiring in 1975.
While Teller was beginning his work at Livermore, he began attacking Robert Oppenheimer, who had directed the Manhattan Project. His open criticism of Oppenheimer's handling of the Manhattan Project lost Teller lots of friends and supporters.
Here's where our story develops another interesting chapter. As Ufology has it, Teller was one of the few scientists granted audience with recovered crashed wreckage of extraterrestrial vehicles (the Roswell wreckage allegedly among them), in an effort to reverse-engineer the propulsion systems. To this end (and to create new terrestrial technology along the same lines) Teller was made chief of the operation and drafted the best and the brightest young scientists for over four decades, always sequestering them in that area of Nevada desert we've come to know as "Area 51". Several UFO-type celebrities have emerged from this sub-genre of American history, most notably Robert Lazar, David Adair, and Stan Dayo, all of whom claimed to have worked at the facility, all of whom were answerable to Edward Teller. Their stories are incredible, each with the common thread of alien propulsion research, desert research facilities, and Edward Teller.
Interestingly, Dr. Teller was one of the most influential people to convince Ronald Reagan to develop the Space Defense Initiative, which came to be called "Star Wars". Just as interesting is the "insider" assertion that it was not Russia we were defending against...but extraterrestrials. Reagan pointed out in several speeches his concern over alien invasion.
Whatever secrets about anti-gravity propulsion, alien technology, or the Star Wars Defense Initiative Dr. Edward Teller had, he took with him to his grave. We may never know the whole story.
The Top Ten Albums of the 1960s
|Terence Nuzum, our "Digital Divide" and "Enlightenment" columnist who has taken some time off to work on a new screenplay, returns this issue with this latest challenge. Terence revealed in The Enlighenment, PCR #177 that he's developed a fascination with music of the '60s. Since so many of our readers/writers are of the baby-boom era, he thought it might be interesting to see if there is agreement between that generation and his (he's 24) about what constitutes everyone's favorites. I agree. Without further ado, Mr. Terence Nuzum....|
|THE TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE 1960s by Terence Nuzum|
Usually when a list is made of albums of the 1960s, it is based on how influential they are. But what is forgotten is that sometimes those albums aren't really your favorites or aren't as listenable as others. So, in starting this challenge I made it clear that this is our favorites. That being said you will not find Bob Dylan on my list even though I think he is a god and probably years from now will be considered the most influential of the '60s. I didn't include any albums of his because personally they just didn't quite beat out (for pure listening pleasure) these others:
10. Kick Out The Jams -- The MC5, 1969: Live albums never will get any better than this. Detroit's MC5's call to arms "kick out the jams motherfuckers!" is not only the mantra of a great song but also the birth of punk rock. Pure vitriol mixed with punk fury made for the best live album of the 60s and quite possibly the one that signaled the end of peace and love (not quite, that's later on the list).
9. Disraeli Gears -- Cream, 1967: The immortal "super group"'s best album. Showing up Hendrix on several wah wah laden gems and blasting the Doors out of the water with their operatic "Tales Of Brave Ulysses". If I had to pick one album to be the soundtrack of the '60s this is it.
8. Let It Bleed -- The Rolling Stones, 1969: The Stones knew they couldn't compete with the Beatles' studio wizardry so in the late 60s they opted for the grunginess rock this side of Neil Young and whether they knew it or not came out with an album that spoke more about the '60s than any Lennon ever dreamed up. The Beatles at this point were still singing about "Mean Mr. Mustard" while Keith and Mick were proclaiming "you can't always get what you want". By 1969 the peace and love dream was slowly fading away and then at Altamonte it finally crashed and burned. "War, children it's just a shot away, rape, murder it's just a shot away!" Yeah Mick, you were never more right.
7. Electric Ladyland -- The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968: Ever wonder what Robert Johnson and Son House might have done if they ever got hold of a wah wah pedal? Well "Voodoo Child (slight return)" might very well be it. Not to class Hendrix simply in the Blues, he was much more. The guitar breakthroughs on this album surpassed the garage sound of his debut and laid the groundwork for all guitarists to come. Pete Townsend would have sold his soul to have made this record.
6. In The Court Of The Crimson King -- King Crimson, 1969: Just when you thought that you had heard everything. Just when you thought Cream made the trippiest sounds and that Hendrix had no equal. King Crimson came along and blew the living hell out of your mind. From acid metal to haunting folk numbers this baby had it all and yeah, it did it good. Fripp was one of the few guitarists that Hendrix ever complimented shaking hands with him with his left hand because it was closer to his heart.
5. Astral Weeks -- Van Morrison, 1967: The winner for the most haunting and deep music of the 20th Century is Astral Weeks. Folk ballads played by jazz session players whose only instructions from Van were to "play what you feel". The session players never talked to Van and never heard from him again. What they made though was positively one of the best albums ever made. Proof that pre-planning and studio wizardry aren't the only way to make art.
4. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn -- Pink Floyd, 1967: In Britain in the late 60s the premier psychedelic band was Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd and make no mistake this band was Syd's. Before Waters and Gilmour took the reigns from their acid-addled schizophrenic frontman, Pink Floyd was the gateway into the genius and madness of Syd Barrett. His paranoid slide guitar noises had never been heard before or since and basically trash your brain like acid. "Interstellar Overdrive" was hard acid rock while "Scarecrow" was like some insane version of a Irish pub song. When the Beatles falsely invented Psychedelia this was the band they ripped it from. Well folks let me tell ya, "Astronomy Domine" runs rings around "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". Both albums were recorded simultaneously next door to each other. Kinda makes you wonder. Barrett's nervous guitar solos and weird lyrics defined a genre, then months later he was insane. Basically, everything else Floyd did was simply an extension of what Syd had already done. Pink Floyd never made another album as good as this.
3. The Velvet Underground & Nico (The Banana Album) -- The Velvet Underground, 1967: Tranvestites, dominatrixes, heroin addiction and femme fatales. Beware, this is the world of The Velvet Underground. Jefferson Airplane and that whole summer couldn't have predicted that New York would spawn this dark proto-punk classic. Lou Reed doing a druggy impersonation of Dylan while John Cale lays waste to his viola is only half the brilliance of this thing. "Venus in Furs" is probably the best ballad about leather and " European Son" gave new meaning to art rock. If this album had a slogan it would be "Death to all Hippies".
2. The Doors -- The Doors, 1967: Before ol' Jim went down booze-king highway he was the Lizard King. A gothic predatory sex symbol among a nation of passive flower children. On their debut, like The Velvet Underground, they were anything but signing peace and love. Jim and the boys break on through, light your fire, and bring you to the end of the night before finally asking you to take a ride on the blue bus, giving you the ultimate parent-son talk: "Father?" "Yes son?" "I want to kill you", and ending it all in a tribal orgasm of "kill kill kill kill". This is the sound of the Sixities you never saw.
1. Forever Changes -- Love, 1967: Love frontman Arthur Lee may be the single most important man of the Sixties. Not only did he give Jimi Hendrix his first gig but he also pushed Elektra to sign The Doors. Beyond that he also fronted the best band of the sixities, Love. On their final album Forever Changes Lee documents his paranoia of premature death. Lines like "sitting on the hillside watching people die" and "the news today will be the movies of tomorrow" showed the kind of introspection that would not show up in Rock music until the 70s. Production-wise, the haunting strings, falsetto backing vocals so reminscent of a Phil Spector haunted house soundtrack, are in a league of their own. By refusing to play gigs and infamously turning down a spot at the Monterey Pop Festival, Lee and his band faded into obscurity, and because of this, Forever Changes changed nothing. But then again, there is nothing else like it.
|THE TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE 1960s by William Moriaty|
1. Are You Experienced? The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967. I believe that this and not Sergeant Pepper was the truly ground-breaking album of the '60s in that Hendrix's guitar innovations would transcend much further into the future of rock music than the Beatles masterpiece of that same incredible year. Hendrix redefined music like no one before him and possibly no one after him. The most notable tracks rarely receive airplay and would include "Third Stone from the Sun", "Love or Confusion", "I Don't Live Today" and Bob Dylan's "The Wind Cries Mary".|
2. Electric Ladyland, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968. This, Hendrix's third release, was probably his most masterful, yet underrated. Although Bob Dylan's "All along The Watch Tower" would become a major hit, again the best tracks rarely received airplay, including "...And the God's Made Love", "Crosstown Traffic", "Voodoo Chile, Slight Return", "House Burning Down" and "1983, A Merman I Should Turn to Be".
3 Rubber Soul, The Beatles, 1965. Although "Revolver" showed a definite turn of direction for the Beatles, the first inkling of change I believe came through in this masterpiece (as evidenced by the cover photography).This was a particularly enjoyable album because it still had the harmonious sounds that made the Fab Four so "Fab". Excellent tracks include "In My Life", "Norwegian Wood" and "Run For Your Life."
4 Disraeli Gears, Cream, 1967. If this album's cover didn't tell you that major change was on its way, nothin' ever would! Comprised of guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, singer Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker brought us incredible ground-breaking songs such as "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room" and my favorite, "Tales of Brave Ulysses."
5. Shades of Deep Purple, Deep Purple, 1968. The birth of heavy metal was largely due to Richie Blackmore and Deep Purple. Along with British invasion groups such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Animals, Pink Floyd and a plethora of others, Purple's intro song "Hush" put heavy metal on the map.
6. Surrealistic Pillow, The Jefferson Airplane, 1966. What an incredible album. The introduction to many mainstream Americans to "Acid Rock" was made possible through hits such as "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit" by this California band.
7. Freak Out! Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, 1966. "Whooo could imagine? That they would freak out somewhere in Washington D.C.?" Frank Zappa has earned legend status in his breakthrough of the concept comedy album, which all started here.
8. Revolver, The Beatles, 1966. Not as overstated as Sergeant Pepper, includes great songs such as "Taxman" and "Yellow Submarine". My personal favorite is "Tomorrow Never Knows". Shortly after "Revolver", the Beatles came out with "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane". You could definitely tell by then the Fab Four were changing pretty radically.
9. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan, 1962. Love him or hate him, Bob Dylan was a major catalyst in social and pop culture change in this country in the 1960s. His inspiration to other recording artists includes notables such as The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, the Turtles and innumerable others, as well as almost an entire post-war generation. The most notable song is "Blowin' In the Wind" which was practically an anthem for social revolt and change in the '60s.
10. Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Else Like Him, Firesign Theatre, 1968. In a similar vein to the Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Cheech and Chong, and Dr. Demento is the Firesign Theatre who created comedy figures such as Nick Danger, Georgie Tirebiter and satirical game shows such as "Beat the Reaper" ("You get... the PLAGUE!").
What an incredible era of change that was!
|THE TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE 1960s by Mack Beasley|
I always get a kick out of these various 'remember when' lists. They most
often conjure up some fond (if not embellished) memories of back when we was
Fab. It's the modified memories we tend to offer to others as testimony of
our 'cooler than most back when' that tends to obstruct the truth. In a list
involving music particularly we never want to admit to being a fan of any
artist that is not considered to be ahead of their time or total cutting
edge cool. After all everyone thinks they are in the groove and totally with
it, you hip to that, man can you dig it? In this list you'll see people
mention bands like the MC5, Moby Grape, the Velvet Underground, Electric
Flag, Them, Yardbird's, King Crimson, Amboy Dukes, Al Kooper, etc, etc...
These bands were never really heard on the radio, they were totally
obscure groups that were only slightly ahead of most garage bands. What
normally happens is people want to say they recall these hard edge fringe
bands and not let on that they were actually big Paul Revere & the Raiders
geeks. God forbid anyone find out they had any Bobby Vinton records. The
real truth is Freddy and the Dreamers, Fabian and the Cowsills were most
likely their real favorites back when.
I was born in 1954, so from 1960 to 1969 I was between 6 and 16 years
old. This means I initially listened to what my parents liked and to AM
radio only. There was no FM radio stations to speak of back then. This was
long before WFSO AM57 or The Underground Railroad or even The King Bisquit
Flower Hour. What was played on AM radio stations was a vastly different mix
back then. On most stations you may hear the Chiffons followed by Glen
Campbell and then the Ames Bros before hearing the Jefferson Airplane. It
was The Big Ape radio station in Jacksonville along with Dick Clark and
Where the Action is (early MTV) that really gave me my favorites. Yes, Jimi
Hendrix and Cream did come from the 60's but unless you lived in California
next door to the Filmore or maybe came from England you never knew anything
about them. At least not kids my age.
It wasn't until the late '60s, say around 1968, that the "heavy" bands
like Strawberry Alarm Clock and Iron Butterfly actually started to be heard
on radio. The Woodstock Event was in 1969 and that was the reason Hendrix
and Ten Years After and others were to become legendary icons of the 60's
but Again that was 1969. For me, in 1961 Elvis ruled the world with his
G.I. Blues album (played non-stop by my Aunt Jo Anne), in 1963 I thought
Roger Miller was a blast. Then in 1964 I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and
like most of America I was hooked. The Beatles were (are) the undisputed
rulers of the world no question. Many other bands caught my attention as
well, in 1967 I thought the Monkees were as cool as it got but then I heard
the Grassroots doing their hit, Midnight Confessions, and discovered
progressively heavier sounds like Steppenwolf, Deep Purple and Tommy James
and the Shondells (remember this was 1967).
In 1968, my girlfriend at the time, who happened to be the most
beautiful girl in the world, was Debbie Stallard. And Debbie liked Jay and
the Americans and the 1910 Fruitgum Co. so naturally I became a bubblegum
fan and loved the Ohio Express. Hey, I was 14 years old ! By 1969 Creedence
Clearwater and the Guess Who were favorites and all thru these other bands,
the Beatles were and still are my all time best and favorite band. Uh,
Rubber Soul was their single best album.
When I hear people discuss the '60s music who are quite a bit younger
than me, I can't help but wonder how much they actually recall of what it
was really like back then. Yeah, I know, when they were 5 years old they
used to drop acid and listen to the Flaming Groovies with their brother all
night long.... Far Out, but in September of 1969 the #1 song in the nation
was...Sugar, Sugar by the Archies.
1960's favorite albums (the real deal)
1. BEATLES, "RUBBER SOUL"
2. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Cosmo's Factory"
3. The Monkees, "The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees"
4. The Beach Boys, "Pet Sounds"
5. Three Dog Night, "Live at the Colloseum"
6. Steppenwolf, "7"
7. The Rolling Stones, "Thru The Past Darkly"
8. The Union Gap
9. The Beatles, "White Album"
10. Elvis, "G.I.Blues"
You know back then we really bought a lot more singles (45s) than albums
because, like me, most kids had an allowance or cut grass for money and an
album was a lot of cash. If I spend $4.95 on an album, can I still afford to
meet Debbie Stallard at the Skating Rink this Saturday? You know she's the
most beautiful girl in the world.
|THE TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE 1960s by Mike Smith|
An excellent Top 10 challenge. My choices:
RUBBER SOUL - The Beatles (1965) Lennon and McCartney were beginning to come into their own as song writers. Record company big wigs demand lyric change, turning "Knowing She Would" into "Norwegian Wood." Signature song: "In My Life," which I have instructed to be played at my funeral.
REVOLVER - The Beatles (1966) Finished before embarking on their last tour. Signature song: "Here, There and Everywhere."
SGT PEPPER - The Beatles (1967) OK, I admit I'm Beatles-heavy here. But look at this list. These albums came out within three years of each other. That's unheard of today. Hell, it took BOSTON 16 years between album #2 and #3. There will NEVER be an output of incredible music in such a short time again. Signature song: "A Day In The Life."
PET SOUNDS - The Beach Boys (1966) Brian Wilson sat down and wrote from his soul and the results were incredible. Signature song: "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"
THE DOORS - The Doors (1967) If those who worship at the altar of Cobain would step back and take a listen, they would learn that Kirk was just another Jim Morrison wanna be. Whether he died in a bathtub or is living in Arizona selling artifacts, nothing can take away from the legend of the LIzard King. Signature song: "The End."
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED - Bob Dylan (1965) In my opinion, Dylan was finally understanding the power of his words. Signature song: "Like A Rolling Stone."
BEGGAR'S BANQUET - The Rolling Stones (1968) "Sympathy For The Devil." Nuff said.
HEADQUARTERS - The Monkees (1967) The pre-fab four stood up to the critics and played their own music. Signature songs: "Shades of Gray" and old HATS standard "You Just May Be The One."
MY CUP RUNNETH OVER/WELCOME TO MY WORLD - Ed Ames/Dean Martin (1967) My mom was a huge fan of both of these singers, not to mention Jerry Vale. She would play these over and over in the house and I must admit, they grew on me. Signature songs: "My Cup Runneth Over"/"Chapel in the Moonlight".
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER - Simon and Garfunkle. OK, it was released in January, 1970 but it was recorded in the '60s! Paul McCartney has said that the title song is what inspired him to write "Let It Be." Paul and Artie announced this week that they are reuniting to tour this year. Woo hoo! Signature song: "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a classic.....Clay Aiken's version not withstanding.
(Note: the above list also appears in this week's Mike's Rant. It is reprinted here for convenience and comparison purposes. --Nolan)