Accidents Will Happen . . .

| January 13, 2019

. . . and sometimes, they’re good things. Especially when they result in something special.

DPAA had nothing new this week. So today, here’s a short “musical interlude” instead.

. . .

Accidents happen all the time in recording studios. Usually they are edited out during production, but some are deliberately left in place in the released product. There are numerous lists on the Internet detailing such accidents left in place on songs that later became hits.

But sometimes recording studios also capture music that is sublime purely by accident. In rock & roll, that happened at least twice in the early 1970s. Both were unplanned, accidental single takes that captured “lightning in a bottle”.

. . .

The first occurred during the 1970 recording sessions for the album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton’s new but short-lived band). There were two chance occurrences that came together here.

The first was Eric Clapton being invited to an Allman Brothers Band concert. (Clapton was a fan of Duane Allman’s guitar work.) Afterwards, he met Duane Allman – who he’d previously only known by reputation. The two hit it off wonderfully; Allman was shortly invited to become a member of Clapton’s new band. He accepted the invitation, and contributed to most of the songs on the album.

The second chance occurrence occurred during the recording sessions for the “Layla” album. One day, Clapton and Allman were in the studio. Sam Samudio (AKA “Sam the Sham”) was in a neighboring studio; he was recording the blues classic “Key to the Highway.” Clapton and Allman heard this, and started playing the song themselves in an impromptu jam session. Their album’s producer, Tom Dowd, walked by and heard their jam; he quickly told the recording engineers to “Hit the goddamn machine!” (e.g., start recording immediately). The result speaks for itself.



. . .

Something similar happened the following year, during the recording of the Rolling Stones’ classic album “Sticky Fingers”. Here, the band was recording “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. The song was set to end at around 2:43. However, at the end of the song the Stones’ second guitarist Mick Taylor simply wanted to continue playing – so he sat there and jammed a bit. The rest of the band rejoined him, and they jammed for another 4 1/2 minutes. Fortunately, the recording engineers had let the tape run – and captured some truly inspired rock & roll during that unplanned 4 1/2 minutes.

FWIW: Keith Richards denies that the music in that impromtu jam was inspired by Santana. But to me, it certainly sounds like it might have been, albeit perhaps subconsciously.



FWIW: in the comments to the above Youtube clip, there’s the following comment about the tune by commenter “Munch da Cat.” It’s presumably about the song’s intro and early guitar work by Keith Richards; Mick Taylor did the final guitar solo, and his guitar is markedly less distorted than Richards’ guitar work on the tune.

“That guitar is so dirty. That guitar has been up all night drinking whiskey, smoking Marlboros, and there are two young ladies in a state of dishabille lying on the bed; and that guitar is about to go out to work and replace the transmission on a 59 Chevy Impala . . . .”

That comment IMO absolutely nails the overall vibe of the tune – and the Stones of that era in general. Tip o’ the hat, amigo.


Just a little music for your Sunday morning enjoyment. Hope you liked it. (smile)

Category: Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (19)

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  1. 26Limabeans says:

    Love that intro lick. The vacuum tube plates glowing red with a purple cloud of plasma surrounding the grids.
    A similiar thrill was the Muddy Waters Band playing in a low ceiling Boston barroom.
    Glasses shattering on the shelf.

    Wish our brothers were here to enjoy it.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    Hung out at the Big House in Macon GA way back yonder when the ABB was rocking the world. Unlike Blow Job Willie, we DID inhale. If BJW was experimenting, we were into full fledged research. Coupla buddies and myself had us a 3 piece garage band and were emulating Duane and Eric, among others. I was in AIT at Ft Sill when the news came about Duane’s motorcycle wreck. Had seen the Brothers just before I reported for AD in July. He wanted me to send him back some “good shit.” Was in Germany when we got word of Berry Oakley’s wreck very near where Duane had his. One rumor about Duane that made the rounds after his wreck was he had survived and was doing well, kinda sorta. When told that he would never be able to play again he went into shock and died. The ABB Big House Museum is a worth the trip vacation destination must see now.

    I lubbs me some old school rock and roll even tho I never was a draft dodging stank ass hippie. Had and took the opportunity to see just about all of the power house rockers live at one point in time or another. Good Times!

  3. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Since this is the substitute post for the weekly DPAA piece, I’m going to drop the link to History Flight in here. Many of you know of it, but it’s still worth a poke-around their site. The work they do at locating the previously lost remains of our Fallen is astounding. Please take a look.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Thanks for posting that linkie A/C. As I self teach this old dog ‘puter stuff I need all the help I can get. This machine is a new chrome bookie thingie that my boy set up for me and shipped in from commiefornia. He’s a high speed low drag www security guru doing contract sekreet squuurrial stuff for a multitude of folks. A lot of the linkies that were on my old machine would not transfer when the drive crashed and burned. Some of my brain cell loss from the TIA necesitated relearning the book marking bars and such. Still don’t have that whole copy paste and emicon thing down yet.

      Thanks, too, for posting on the Pin Thread the info about Denise Williams. Some of the newer folks or ones that hadn’t been around for awhile may not of known her story. You notice she didn’t put that out there herself. The heroics and humbleness of her son were come by honestly and genetically, you think? I get emotional each and every time I read one of her posts, thanking us for what we do/did, when it is us who owe her a debt that can never be repaid.

      I have a touch of survivors guilt every now and again. Deo Vindice.

  4. Thunderstixx says:

    “To be a rock and not to roll”…

  5. AW1Ed says:

    Finally got the video to fit. I present the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn, graduate of the school of Jimmy Hendrix. “Only the good die young.”

  6. NHSparky says:

    Remember when musicians had actual talent and didn’t need that autotune synth bullshit?

    Yeah, good times.

    • timactual says:

      There is still an amazing amount of talent out there, just not so much in the mass market. For the last couple of decades I have been frequenting a local “open mic” or two. It’s potluck, but I have heard some outstanding stuff, of various genres. It might take some work to find an ‘open mic’ that you feel comfortable in, but it’s worth the time, effort, and (optional) hangovers.

      Musicians are interesting people.

  7. timactual says:

    Dear Mr. Hondo;

    I enjoyed your article very much. Please repeat. Keys to the Highway is one of my all-time favourites.

    Now for a shameless plug for a local legend. 88(?) years old and still a regular player at my local open mic. CDs available at
    Keys to the Highway on this one—

  8. HMC Ret says:

    History Flight uses 96% of collected funds to fulfill its mission. Only 4% go for administrative costs! Folks, that is very impressive.

    “Welcome to History Flight

    “History Flight is a true non-profit charity in which 96% of donations go directly to pay for program costs to find and recover the 84,000 missing service members from America’s wars of the 20th Century.”

  9. AnotherPat says:

    “FBI Spent Years ‘Researching’ The Lyrics To ‘Louie, Louie’ Before Realizing The Copyright Office Must Have Them”:

    “Last week, as you may or may not have heard, a guy named Jack Ely passed away at the age of 71. The name may not be that familiar, but the voice almost certainly is. Jack Ely was — fairly briefly — the lead singer of the Kingsmen, and happened to do a cover song in a single take under poor conditions, that created one of the most memorable songs in rock and roll history, also known as Louie Louie”.

    “You know the song. You also know the lyrics are completely indecipherable. However, with Ely’s death, there’s been renewed attention to the fact that the FBI spent nearly two years investigating the damn song. It is just as ridiculous as it sounds, but the FBI has released the file on its investigation and it’s a rather hilarious read. It turns out it wasn’t just the FBI, but involved the FCC and the Post Office”.

    “Apparently, the government was being inundated with claims from people (some of which you can see in the file) insisting that they had heard the indecipherable lyrics were actually “obscene.” If you want to see the supposedly “obscene” interpretation of the lyrics, there’s one set on page 14 [pdf] of the document, though I warn you, even the falsely heard “obscene” lyrics are not particularly obscene by today’s standards (and I’m at a loss as to how they’re that obscene by the standards of 1963, frankly). On page 22, there’s another, mostly different set of falsely heard “obscene” lyrics that at least includes the word “fuck.” On page 35, yet another version with both “fuck” and “bitch.”

    “There are lots of documents about the FBI playing the record, repeatedly, at different speeds, and all coming to the conclusion that you and I and everyone else already knows: the lyrics are basically indecipherable.”

    “There are a few more times this determination was made, in part because after the FBI had already gone through the whole investigation, J. Edgar Hoover reopened it after a concerned parent wrote him a letter — complaining that whether or not the real lyrics are obscene, it doesn’t matter because teens can hear the obscene lyrics and “every teenager in the country ‘heard’ the obscene not the copywritten lyric.” There are also letters to Attorney General Robert Kennedy that include lines like “these morons have gone too far,” and “This land of ours is headed for an extreme state of moral degradation what with this record, the biggest hit movies and the sex and violence exploited on T.V. How can we stamp out this menace? ? ? ?” Really.”

    “But, in the end, as everyone knows, the song is simply indecipherable, rather than obscene.”

    “And that’s because the band was in a tiny studio with just three mics, played a single take of the song and Ely had to scream at a microphone on the ceiling trying to have his voice heard above the instruments (a task he basically failed at doing). But, the idea that there was a mystery to the lyrics is kind of ridiculous for a few reasons, the first one being that the song is a cover song, and the FBI could have easily listened to a few of the earlier versions of the song, such as the original by Richard Berry, or another popular one by Rockin Robin Roberts and The Fabulous Wailers (the one that inspired the Kingsmen to do the cover). You can hear both those and another one right here. Their lyrics are a lot more intelligible in all of those versions, and you can pretty quickly tell that the lyrics to the Kingsmen version is supposed to be the Rockin Robin Roberts version.”

    “Also, as Marc Randazza notes, it took nearly two years for someone in the FBI to think, hey, isn’t the song registered at the Copyright Office down the street? Maybe we should send someone over there to find out what it says? This was after the FBI had reached out to the record label (who gave them the accurate lyrics
    along with the original author of the song, Richard Berry, who told them the lyrics. Oddly, apparently, the FBI never bothered to ask Ely himself what he sang, though I’m sure he would have said the same damn lyrics…”

    “Still, what a bizarre story of moral panics, FBI and governmental overreach, the First Amendment… and a bit of copyright thrown in just for fun.”

    “Oh, and as a general postscript, for all the hand wringing about possible obscenities in the song… there actually is one. Just not in the lyrics. At 54 seconds into the song, the drummer Lynn Easton actually fumbled his drumsticks banging them together and yells out “fuck.” The FBI never caught on to that, but you can actually hear it if you listen…”

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Documented evidence that the f’ing FBI were a buncha bumbling Keystone Kops even back when. Let me see if I can find a shocked face.

      Maybe ol’ j Edgar thought they were calling out to his after hours alter ego; Louise! Louise!…..(giggle snort, reaches for brain bleach)


    • NHSparky says:

      Getting AG Bobby Kennedy involved? About obscenity?

      When he and John were tag teaming Marilyn Monroe in the Oval Office?

      You can’t make this shit up if you tried.

    • timactual says:

      Ah, memories. I was in Jr. HS (as it was called then) at the time, and everybody seemed to know somebody who knew the real lyrics. It was quite a thing for awhile. A very popular song, but I’ve always hated it.

  10. HMC Ret says:

    OK, Hondo, you are learned of all things relating to music so I pose the following question to you or anyone who has the answer.

    I have heard several times over probably 50 years about a song that has an anomaly. IIRC, it was recorded in the late 50s or 60s. It was supposedly recorded in one take (?) in a gymnasium and during the recording, there is the sound of a basketball hitting the floor or wall. It is a distinct, rather loud sound, but it came in at a time in the song such that it sounds as if it was intentional. It is a popular song but I can no longer recall what it is. Do you have any idea what this song might be? I’ve tried every combination of words in Google w/o success. Any help? Anyone?

  11. Old NFO says:

    Brings back a lot of fond memories… Thanks for sharing those!