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Author Topic: Kokomo: Robbie Robertson Went There First?  (Read 3734 times)
Pretty Funky
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« on: April 01, 2020, 08:40:55 PM »

So with the isolation restrictions I’ve been listening to albums I haven’t heard in years. Today it was Robbie including his song ‘Somewhere Down The Crazy River’. The chorus includes...

Ooh, catch the blue train
All the way to Kokomo
You can find me

That was from 1987, a year before the Beach Boys hit. I can find no reference to a blue train ever going to Kokomo, Indiana so both songs were of a fantasy place in the song writers mind.

(Sure it’s trivia and pointless...but what else is there really to discuss?  Grin)
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Rocky Raccoon
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2020, 07:37:33 AM »

Chuck Berry got there first actually.  Smiley
From his song “No Particular Place to Go”

“No particular place to go
So we parked way out on the kokomo
The night was young and the moon was bold
So we both decided to take a stroll”
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urbanite
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 12:24:36 PM »

The same Chuck Berry that snubbed Brian Wilson when he came up and said hello to him.
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hideyotsuburaya
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2020, 01:28:35 PM »

probably because initially Brian claimed full song-writing credit on SURFIN' SAFARI, when the melody was copied from Berry's SWEET LITTLE 16

after a lawsuit decided in Chuck's favor Brian lost all credit
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TonyW
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2020, 01:56:14 PM »

Tim Buckley went there too in 1973 on his song Stone In Love
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juggler
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2020, 03:43:14 PM »

The same Chuck Berry that snubbed Brian Wilson when he came up and said hello to him.

Well, if it's any consolation to Brian, Chuck snubbed David Marks too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcDRS4xexJc
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juggler
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2020, 05:12:15 PM »

FWIW, one wonders if Chuck really held a grudge or just happened to be in a bad mood on the occasions when Brian and David approached him.  Carl once said that Chuck told him that he loved Surfin' U.S.A.  And why wouldn't he?  After all, Chuck actually made a fortune on Surfin' U.S.A.  Though imprisoned when the song came out, his management threatened Murry with a lawsuit, and Murry responded by assigning 100% ownership of the publishing to Chuck's Arc Music. 
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All Summer Long
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2020, 08:12:37 PM »

FWIW, one wonders if Chuck really held a grudge or just happened to be in a bad mood on the occasions when Brian and David approached him.  Carl once said that Chuck told him that he loved Surfin' U.S.A.  And why wouldn't he?  After all, Chuck actually made a fortune on Surfin' U.S.A.  Though imprisoned when the song came out, his management threatened Murry with a lawsuit, and Murry responded by assigning 100% ownership of the publishing to Chuck's Arc Music. 

I thought he was okay with it, but it was the publishers who were pissed (I’ll have to dig out my copy of the Brown Eyed Handome Man bio). Doesn’t a Chuck Berry live album either feature him mentioned, in the intro or on the cover, as writing/co-writing Surfin’ USA?
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2020, 01:47:18 AM »

The same Chuck Berry that snubbed Brian Wilson when he came up and said hello to him.


He did?

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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2020, 11:15:58 AM »

I think Berry was one complicated and angry guy at times. Keep in mind he punched Keith Richards.
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2020, 11:56:17 AM »

I think Berry was one complicated and angry guy at times.



According to Carl Perkins - who knew Chuck from the mid-50s on- that's what racism and prison do to you.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 03:08:52 AM by Rocker » Logged

a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
Lonely Summer
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2020, 12:39:55 PM »

I think Berry was one complicated and angry guy at times.



According to Carl Perkins - who knew Chuck from the mid-50s on), that's what racism and prison do to you.
Yes. Carl said that when he toured with Chuck in the 50's, the man was charming, friendly, and constantly working on new songs. The post-prison Chuck became very moody. He could turn on the charm for tv interviews and on stage, but he was often very cold to his backing bands, and to reporters. I can't fault him for the latter - many interviewers just wanted to pry into his personal life, the prison terms, etc. He enjoyed talking music, but preferred to keep his private life separate.
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juggler
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2020, 07:38:41 PM »

[deleted; wrong thread]
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 07:39:33 PM by juggler » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2020, 04:37:09 AM »

Interesting re: thread subject. Figured BBs' mention is single.
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2020, 12:47:02 PM »

Mississippi Fred McDowell also went there....but in a different context.  Wink

https://youtu.be/bdFo046j49c
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Needleinthehay
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2020, 01:14:47 PM »

Bruce Springsteen said he played backup for Chuck at a local show before he was famous...They didnt do any rehersals, didnt know what songs they were gonna play and chuck didnt even make eye contact with them or acknoledge them or tell them what songs were coming they just had to try and figure out what he was playing and play along...

pretty ridiculous.
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juggler
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2020, 01:43:31 PM »

One of my favorite Chuck Berry videos is Chuck with John Lennon & Yoko Ono on the Mike Douglas Show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULJZbNQRNgU

Chuck's expression is priceless when Yoko starts screeching on the first song.   On the 2nd song, someone mercifully cut her mic.
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2020, 07:56:10 PM »

Bruce Springsteen said he played backup for Chuck at a local show before he was famous...They didnt do any rehersals, didnt know what songs they were gonna play and chuck didnt even make eye contact with them or acknoledge them or tell them what songs were coming they just had to try and figure out what he was playing and play along...

pretty ridiculous.

I saw him in 88/89 and a reviewer talked to a member of the pick-up band after the show. They asked him what are we going to play? The answer “Some Chuck Berry songs.” The band were actually pretty good and I suspect knew his MO so were ready. Berry actually nodded at each musician in turn and gave them a solo slot  (bass, guitar and drummer from memory). After the last song he shook each of their hands and was gone. That show also had The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Nothing great but a last chance to see some R&R legends.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2020, 11:17:16 PM »

Bruce Springsteen said he played backup for Chuck at a local show before he was famous...They didnt do any rehersals, didnt know what songs they were gonna play and chuck didnt even make eye contact with them or acknoledge them or tell them what songs were coming they just had to try and figure out what he was playing and play along...

pretty ridiculous.

I saw him in 88/89 and a reviewer talked to a member of the pick-up band after the show. They asked him what are we going to play? The answer “Some Chuck Berry songs.” The band were actually pretty good and I suspect knew his MO so were ready. Berry actually nodded at each musician in turn and gave them a solo slot  (bass, guitar and drummer from memory). After the last song he shook each of their hands and was gone. That show also had The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Nothing great but a last chance to see some R&R legends.
Yeah, that sounds like a typical Chuck show - if you were lucky. If you weren't, the backup band wouldn't know the songs very well. I saw him 3 times; 2 shows were excellent, and the other one was kind of a train wreck. He was certainly the only guy who could get away with that. The last time I saw him, 1995, he shared the bill with Little Richard. Richard's band was super tight, and also kinda large - two guitars, two bass players, two drummers, a second keyboard player backing up Richard - also so he could leave the piano on certain numbers and walk the stage. Only recently did I learn - from one of the guitar players - why Richard had this large band. He hates to fire anybody, but occasionally one of the band members would have a schedule conflict. So he avoided any potential problems by having two of everything. Fascinating!
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Rocky Raccoon
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2020, 01:18:45 AM »

Bruce Springsteen said he played backup for Chuck at a local show before he was famous...They didnt do any rehersals, didnt know what songs they were gonna play and chuck didnt even make eye contact with them or acknoledge them or tell them what songs were coming they just had to try and figure out what he was playing and play along...

pretty ridiculous.

Well, I guess they got another chance in 1995 when they backed him up at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  He shows much more affection for Bruce this time around but then again, Bruce was also a much bigger star than he was by this point.  Either way, I've always loved this performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6swgiM9vSEE
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urbanite
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2020, 12:11:58 PM »

How did Chuck Berry get all the rights to Surfin USA if he didn't write any of the lyrics? 
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2020, 12:32:56 PM »

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-lists/songs-on-trial-12-landmark-music-copyright-cases-166396/the-beach-boys-vs-chuck-berry-1963-65098/

The Case: The California boys often incorporated rock & roll pioneer Chuck Berry's songs into their early concerts. But 1958's "Sweet Little Sixteen" set Beach Boys' composer Brian Wilson into overdrive. Inspired by Berry's rapid-fire references to various American cities, he recast the song as a paean to a fun-in-the-sun sport. Wilson penned a new set of lyrics listing off the hot surfing locales across the Pacific coast. Wilson said he intended the song as a tribute to the rock guitarist, but Berry's lawyers used another term: plagiarism.

The Verdict: With the threat of lawsuits looming, Beach Boys manager – and Brian Wilson's father – Murry Wilson agreed to give the publishing rights to Arc Music, Berry's publisher. However, Berry's name wouldn't appear on the songwriting credits until 1966.

Why It Matters: Although the genre was built on a handful of standard three-chord progressions and blues licks, the "Surfin' U.S.A." incident was one of the first major plagiarism scuffles in rock history.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2020, 12:34:07 PM by Pretty Funky » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2020, 01:03:10 PM »

There are a few more points to the Surfin USA/Sweet Little Sixteen legal cases if anyone is interested. There was a thread here some years ago where I think I spelled out more of the details but can't remember where.

Important to note that Murry signed over the rights before any case was filed, after ARC Music must have threatened some legal trouble. And if the timeline is correct, Chuck Berry himself was still serving a prison sentence when this happened, so most likely he had no direct involvement and it seems to have been all on the ARC group that owned his publishing at that time (1963).

I always thought it was odd that Mike never went after this case, which is and was a pretty blatant case where Mike says he collabed on the lyrics and got no credit at all, yet he seems to be OK with this one.
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Pretty Funky
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« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2020, 01:25:42 PM »

I suspect he was ok with Brian/ Murry ‘stole’ the song from Chuck Berry. To Mike it was it was ‘proof’ that the Wilsons had history when it came to not giving song writing credits.
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juggler
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« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2020, 08:34:09 PM »

I always thought it was odd that Mike never went after this case, which is and was a pretty blatant case where Mike says he collabed on the lyrics and got no credit at all, yet he seems to be OK with this one.

Mike mentions the situation about Surfin USA in his recent memoir.  IIRC he does feel that he should be entitled to credit, but it wasn't part of his 1994 case against Brian since Irving/Rondor doesn't own the song and Brian receives 0% of the songwriter's royalties.   I guess Mike could have tried to sue ARC & Chuck Berry on the basis that Uncle Murry assigned to them 100% of something for which Murry & Brian rightfully shouldn't have had 100% ownership... but that would have been a little weird since the BBs essentially cribbed the song from ARC/Chuck in the first place.

ML clearly was stiffed by Murry (and Brian) on California Girls and several other songs for which he wrote the lyrics but wasn't credited.  At the same time, there are certain songs, such as WIBN, for which some (e.g., Tony Asher) believe that ML now receives credit beyond his actual contribution.  

The strangest aspect of the whole thing is that Mike didn't make make his claims at the time the songs came out in the '60s.  His story later on was basically that he was naive in the ways of the music business, and Murry and Brian took advantage of that.  But what's odd about this is the recollection of Gary Usher that Mike had absolutely been concerned about receiving his due credit at the time.  In Becoming the Beach Boys, 1961-1963, James Murphy quotes the following (from S. McParland's biography of Gary Usher):

'Usher recalled, “Brian was constantly being badgered by Mike for songwriting credits to songs he claimed he made contributions to. If Mike was in the house, he wanted a songwriting credit on the song  Brian was working on at the time.  There was many a night when I would come over to the Wilson home and find Brian sitting in the music room sobbing. I'd ask him what the problem was, and he would say, 'It's Mike, he's driving me crazy!'

« Last Edit: April 07, 2020, 08:40:00 PM by juggler » Logged
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