Good Old Days

Issue

They were definitely different times. Americans were happy and enthusiastically producing, while our very own homegrown artists created content that could best be described as real gems. While King was creating, The Carpenters were building and Mitchell was mobilizing and simultaneously.

The ’60s and ’70s brought real-life superstars to A&M Studios in Hollywood, California for some fine music.

Burt Bacharach https://youtu.be/75lAZuzOEwk
Sergio Mendes https://youtu.be/v1d8oaumRkk
Quincy Jones https://youtu.be/fXmmWBzS-_o
Paul Williams https://youtu.be/ub0J8ZdaKE8
Joan Baez https://youtu.be/n-GueIOVNvk
Liza Minnelli https://youtu.be/GxAnLJwsxII
Cat Stevens https://youtu.be/R1y8YSg0wpw
Peter Frampton https://youtu.be/zLgeTtYwQ7o
Phil Ochs https://youtu.be/u52Oz-54VYw

These artists were all involved making musical magic in the same recording studios. But only once and at the same time at this exact location... The Carpenters were recording in Studio A. The Best Songs Of The Carpenters https://youtu.be/YHljY2LyJWM while Carole King recorded Tapestry in Studio B. Carole King - Tapestry https://youtu.be/8NdEIt-W6E8 and Joni Mitchell was recording Blue in Studio C. Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971) https://youtu.be/WehhEw3w31w

King writes about A Natural Woman: “A constant stream of singers, musicians, friends, and family flowed in and out of the recording studios along Sunset Boulevard. At A&M we commuted down the hall. Sometimes we commuted between A&M and Sunset Sound … When I wasn’t working on my own album I drove to Sunset Sound to play as a sideman and sing background on James [Taylor’s] songs … Periodically James came over to A&M to play acoustic guitar and sing background on my record. Physical proximity to me and romantic proximity to James brought Joni’s beautiful voice to both James’ and my albums. Sometimes it seemed as if James and I were recording one massive album in two different studios.”

In Carole King's own words, “Studio C had a reddish wood Steinway piano that everyone said was really special. One morning I was able to slip in and try that piano out. I couldn’t help but agree; there really was something extraordinary about it. It felt good to play, and its exceptional sound resonated with Lou [Adler] and [engineer] Hank [Cicalo], as well. Unfortunately, the red Steinway also resonated with Joni and Henry Lewy, which led to Joni and me vying for time in Studio C to record basic tracks. Unknown to me, Hank made several attempts to move the red Steinway into B, but Joni and Henry wouldn’t allow it.” One evening, King learned that Studio C was available—for three hours—before Joni was coming in. She rushed in with her team and in three takes recorded “I Feel the Earth Move.” I Feel The Earth Move - Carole King - With Lyrics https://youtu.be/wbQ4m-NqeF8

Wisdom arises through suffering. So does one suffer, learn, mope, create, or, eventually, all of the above?
Complaining is not a strategy, we are just reacting, but we must become proactive. In the meantime, let us all hope the earth only moves in wonderful ways during these dull, drastic and dangerous days.