by Robert Wilkinson
This week featured some great musical birthdays! We kick off our musical weekend celebrating the birthdays of three amazing talents who have made some of the greatest music of the 20th century! Today we rock the house!!
We’ll begin this birthday celebration giving a big shout out to the brilliant Marty Balin! Marty Balin (born Martyn Jerel Buchwald; January 30, 1942) first broke into the folk scene in the Bay Area, where he eventually teamed up with Paul Kantner and formed one of the most electrifying and psychedelic bands ever to play a note, the Jefferson Airplane, later becoming Jefferson Starship. A major songwriter and singer, his distinctive voice interacted with Grace Slick’s to create an amazing and distinctive vocal experience.
For your enjoyment, Marty Balin (with the amazing songwriting, singing, and playing of the equally brilliant force of nature, Paul Kantner)! I’ll do a more extensive tribute to Paul at his birthday in a few weeks.
A great early live audio-only performance by Marty on vocals of “It’s No Secret”
Here’s a very early version of the Jefferson Airplane, before Grace Slick took over for Signe. This is 71 minutes of early psychedelic folk! Jefferson Airplane in Vancouver January 1966
Here’s Signe’s last concert on 15 October 1966, and Grace Slick’s first show in November! Welcome to an hour and 12 of pre-Grace Slick JA and the first concert they did with her! Jefferson Airplane Live At The Fillmore - First and Last
Last year I had a full 2 hour 7 minute set at the Fillmore in Nov 1966, but it’s disappeared.
Here’s Marty fronting the Jefferson Starship in a live 1999 concert, giving us the backstory on how the song came into being! “Comin’ Back To Me”
Last year I had the entire hour show from March 1967 of the JA live at the Café A Go Go in NYC, but this year it’s gone. However, I did find this 6+ minute clip from that show, and it’s great! ”Come Back Baby”
Last year I had a 3 hour show at Winterland from March 1967, but it’s disappeared. Also missing are a great 11 minute video of the JA live in Toronto in 1967, as well as the hour and 17 audio-only of both the early and late shows that August.
Here are a few more live video performances, some of which Marty wrote, performed as only the Jefferson Airplane could!
A brief detour into their studio work! From After Bathing at Baxter’s, one of my favorite JA rockers that shows Jorma could make a guitar talk in several psychedelic languages! This song is the sound of revolution! “Last Wall of the Castle”
Speaking of Baxters, this is one of my all time favorites, and it rocks! “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”
Back to a very live 1967 television performance of Grace’s biting “Two Heads”
Last year I had a great hour and 17 audio-only of both the early and late shows in Toronto in August 1967, but it’s gone. I did find this hour show! Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead - Live in Toronto 1967
Here they are live on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour performing “Somebody To Love,” “White Rabbit,” and “Crown of Creation”
From 1968 on the Perry Como show, the Airplane live performing "Watch Her Ride" (the video quality is poor, but psychedelic).
Live at the Matrix in Feb 1968, a great 10 minute audio-only live performance of “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”
Here’s the whole gig! Jefferson Airplane Return to the Matrix - 1968
From September 1968 on Ed Sullivan, “Crown of Creation”
Live on a hotel rooftop in Nov 1968, a great video of the JA performing “The House on Pooneil Corners”
The original video performance from 1969 of Grace’s jab at the establishment! “Lather”
From Woodstock, live in 1969, the Jefferson Airplane opening with “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds.”
From there we go to two of Grace Slick’s iconic tunes! First, the song that propelled the JA to the radio, “Somebody To Love” followed by her equally trippy bolero based in the immortal Lewis Carroll character that many radio stations refused to play, “White Rabbit”
Also at Woodstock, the legendary song that called a generation to a non-violent revolution! “Volunteers”
We’ll finish their Woodstock set with a live performance of “Uncle Sam Blues”
From the disastrous 1969 Altamont gig, here’s the Airplane doing “The Other Side of this Life”
From 1969 live on the Dick Cavett Show, the Jefferson Airplane (with a guest appearance by David Crosby) performing “We Can Be Together” and “Volunteers”
Here’s part 2 of that Dick Cavett appearance! “Somebody To Love” and “Psychedelic Jam”
A tale of escape written by young idealists, here’s the quadraphonic studio version from Volunteers of a song Marty wrote with David Crosby and Steven Stills, the iconic “Wooden Ships”
From 1970, Live at the Family Dog, a great video of the Jefferson Airplane performing one of my all time favorites, “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil” And from what looks like the same gig, “Eskimo Blue Day”
Live at the Fillmore East in November 1970, here’s the JA in one of their final incarnations in a live video performing “Wooden Ships” (Marty left the band in March 1971).
Here’s an awesome 50 minutes of the JA playing live at the Fillmore in November 1970! Jefferson Airplane Live at the Fillmore East 1970
Here's the studio version of the biting rocker by Grace Slick, the in-your-face "Greasy Heart." ("Don't ever change people, even if you can, don't change before the empire falls, you'll laugh so hard you'll crack the walls!" Wow.)“With Your Love”
From March 2014, Marty with Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady @ The Fur Peace Ranch cranking out “Volunteers”
We’ll close this birthday set with a performance from a more recent era. Here’s Marty live in 2005 with Paul Kantner and Jack Cassady doing his JA tune from the “Surrealistic Pillow” album, “Plastic Fantastic Lover.”
For our encore, in a nod to Paul Kantner, here’s the legendary 1971 studio album, “Blows Against the Empire” (with contributions from members of the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and David Crosby and Graham Nash).
For a second encore, 2 years ago I found a full 80 minute documentary that takes a great look at San Francisco in the 1960s called “Fly With the Jefferson Airplane,” but the clip is nowhere to be found. However, I did find most of it in short parts with Spanish subtitles. For your enjoyment,
Parts 7 and 8 have been blocked, and are nowhere on you tube.
For our finale, a 22 minute video from their 1989 reunion tour titled Jefferson Airplane – Still Flying
We now turn to Steve Marriott (30 January 1947 – 20 April 1991) the guitarist and front man for the Small Faces, one of England’s most rocking mod groups of the 60s. Known mainly in the US for the song “Itchycoo Park,” the Small Faces actually rocked a lot harder than many knew at the time. And after he split the Faces, he went on to rock even harder with Humble Pie.
From 1966, a great clip of the Small Faces performing live on the German tv show Beat Beat Beat. Here they perform their first big hit, also made big by Manfred Mann! Cranking it up, here's Steve and the Faces belting out "Sha La La La Lee" (The sound is better on this clip than the next one.)
Here's For your enjoyment, the entire show! "Hey Girl," "All or Nothing," "Watcha Gonna Do 'Bout It,"and "Shalalalalee"
From 1967, again at the Beat Club, here are the very MOD Small Faces doing the psychedelic rocker "Green Circles. (The camera work is as psychedelic as the song!)
From 1967, the Small Faces live lip-synching “Itchycoo Park”
From the Morecombe & Wise Show, "I Can't Make It"
From Germany and the Beat Club in 1967, a live performance by my personal favorite by the Small Faces, “Tin Soldier”
A rocking live performance of a usually mellow standard! “If I Were A Carpenter”
We begin 1968 with a live performance by the Small Faces of one of their hits from Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake,, “Lazy Sunday”
From 1968 on the "Color Me Pop" BBC television series, here the Small Faces rock hard performing "Song of A Baker."
We'll close his Small Faces section with two great rockers on Swedish television! First, another amazing performance of my favorite Small Faces song, "Tin Soldier," followed by Steve taking Jimi's "Foxey Lady" riff and turning it into something else entirely! "Rollin' Over"
From August 1969 in Belgium, an early live performance by Steve and Humble Pie doing “I Walk on Gilded Splinters”
From 1971, an incredible live performance by Steve Marriott and Humble Pie doing the awesome rocker “I Don’t Need No Doctor”
This is a find! In 1981 Steve teamed back up with Ronnie Lane, Zoot Money, and other A list UK musicians for the album Majik Mijits, wrote all the songs in a bunch of different styles, and I found clips!
Here’s a great one hour documentary about the Small Faces and the British Invasion! The Small Faces Documentary – All or Nothing
We’ll close this birthday tribute to one of the prototypical punk rockers with a great hour long documentary! For your enjoyment, The Life and Times of Steve Marriott
We now turn to the awesome Phil Collins! It is almost impossible to list everything this multitalented performer has done in the world of entertainment! Phil Collins (30 January 1951) is a multi-instrumentalist, writer, actor, and all around brilliant performer. Whether with Genesis or a solo act, this guy has done some of the best work in recent history! For your enjoyment, Mister Phil Collins!
From 1973, here’s a solid hour of Genesis live! “Genesis Live in Concert - 1973”
From 1974, a solid 72 minutes of Genesis live in Montreal
From 1978, the music video for “Follow You, Follow Me”
From Live Aid in 1985, here’s Phil live doing “Against All Odds”
A live performance of one of my favorites, with Phil cranking out the vocals on the dynamic “Invisible Touch”
From 1986, the music video for “In Too Deep”
From 1987, a music video for the very hypnotic “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”
From his 1989 album “But Seriously,” the music video for for "Another Day In Paradise”
The official music video for "I Don't Care Anymore"
From 1991, the official video of “I Can’t Dance”
Here’s a great live performance of “Turn It On Again”
Last year I their entire 2 hour 1987 video from their concert at Wembley on one clip, but this year it’s disappeared. However, I did find the show via a series of clips that will autoload in order. For your enjoyment, “Genesis Live At Wembley Stadium”
Here’s a great performance in Paris of “Easy Lover”
We’ll close this birthday tribute with a great tune from his “Going Back” era with this Martha and the Vandellas’ Motown hit that still smokes! ”Heat Wave”
For our encores, here’s Genesis live doing a song that’s my personal favorite, and a strong political statement! “Land of Confusion”
And for a very surrealistic version of the song, here’s the official 1986 music video that managed to make every fan of Ronald Reagan very mad! It’s a remarkable creative work in itself, given the work of the Spitting Image puppet masters. This song is one of the more powerful indictments of the neocons (and Thatcher) ever done! For 5 minutes of amazing imagery, here’s “Land of Confusion”
So it’s a big Happy to two English rockers and an American psychedelic folkie. While Steve checked out way too young, we still have Phil and Marty rocking the house! May you both live many more years and do many more great gigs!
© Copyright 2018 Robert Wilkinson