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People Top 5
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- June 27, 1977
- Vol. 7
- No. 25
Picks and Pans Main: Song
The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl
This Fever "burns" as if it had been cut on Death Row—Nugent's guitar lick sounds like time's runnin' out. His growing appeal (after 10 years and 13 LPs—the last two gold) is a shameless intensity; there isn't a tender riff in his repertoire. With cuts like the title track, A Thousand Knives, Out of Control and Death by Misadventure, Nugent, a Michigan hunter who owns two dozen deadly weapons in addition to his ax, clearly lives up to his Motor City Madman nickname. There are reasons why his six-string felonious assault is lost art in the 70s, but Fever is hot rock anytime, and Nugent's best work.
The younger of ABC's Hardy Boys makes his move for the gumdrop rock audience lately abandoned by his big half brother David of Partridge Family renown. Shaun sings pleasantly enough, but his covers of oldies like Phil Spector's Da Doo Ron Ron (released as a hit single) and Take Good Care of My Baby make the Crystals and Bobby Vee seem better than they ever were. Shaun, 18, further risks it all with his own sugary composition, Holiday.
The smash musical won seven Tonys (including best score), but its uninteresting and derivative cast album may really prove that some Broadway audiences go home humming the scenery. It's as if composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Martin Charnin took a smidgin' of Oliver!, added a dash of Hello, Dolly! and mixed in leaden rhymes like "chin / grin" and "tommorow / sorrow." Like children (or even orphans), this show is better seen than heard.
The Bee Gees, so named for the three Brothers Gibb, have spawned a fourth, Andy, 19, whose debut solo LP coincides with the release of his older siblings' live album. Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb sing 22 songs that divide into two sets and span two pop generations: one, their '60s gems like To Love Somebody and / Can't See Nobody; the other their bouncy, but melodically denatured, disco material like Jive Talkin' and You Should Be Dancing that has brought them back to life in the mid-'70s. The real star of Andy Gibb's release is the genetic code. He makes good use of progressive country (Let It Be Me) but is an echo of his siblings on his breathy disco tunes.
This first nonbootleg live recording is a discovered treasure, capturing the Fab Four at the zenith of Beatlemania in 1964-65. The primitive vibrancy in their voices (Long Tall Sally) and the pounding rhythms (A Hard Day's Night) have been brought to life and cleaned up with late-'70s technology. The 17,000 hysterical fans, with the decibel force of a Concorde, reveal as much of their time as the Boys do. In one poignant moment John sings from Help!: "And now my life has changed in oh so many ways / My independence seems to vanish in the haze." Independence, perhaps; their power to move us, never.
January 28, 2015
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