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Archive for June, 2011

“Bali Ha’i” and “The Immigrant Song”

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

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The musical “appropriating” habits of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page are no big secret. And although pop music depends on and celebrates such practice, the apparent unwillingness of Page and co. to consistently give credit where it was due casts a bit of a pall over their safely monolithic legacy. A Perfect Sound Forever article called “The Thieving Magpies” catalogs the most egregious examples.

The article doesn’t mention the case of “The Immigrant Song,” though, which finds the band turning to “Bali Ha’i” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein South Pacific soundtrack for that exotic, iconic opening caterwaul.  Or, depending on the actual release date of the self-titled debut album by Lucifer’s Friend, Led Zeppelin perhaps nicked that group’s use of “Bali Ha’i” for their album-opener, “Ride in the Sky.”  The Lucifer’s Friend album came out sometime in 1970 on the Vertigo label, and it’s a release LZ would surely have been hip to.  “The Immigrant Song” showed up on Led Zeppelin III in October 1970…

None of this is in the category of “egregious,” but it’s amusing to think about.  That fun club called Abba, after all, paid tribute to the whole lot of ’em in 1975.

Update: This write-up of mysterious origin says the following:  “The self-titled Lucifer’s Friend 1970 debut album, released by Vertigo Records in Europe and Billingsgate Records in the USA, sparked controversy through the track ‘Ride The Sky’, as critics voiced concern that the song was too close to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ for comfort. However, these assertions were quashed when it was revealed [that] ‘Ride The Sky’ had been composed much earlier.” Again, the LF album’s actual release date is important here if anyone can actually find it…

Clips:
South Pacific soundtrack – “Bali Ha’i” (1949)
Led Zeppelin – “The Immigrant Song” (1970)
Lucifer’s Friend – “Ride in the Sky” (1970)
Abba – “So Long” (1975)

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Another Update: I’ve realized that Rodgers and Hammerstein may well have borrowed from Harold Arlen.

The Vertigo Show: Pastoral Version

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

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And here’s a playlist of some of my favorite pastoral tracks from the Vertigo label that I aired on my KOOP Radio International Folk Bazaar show this week. Above: Magna Carta.

Playlist:
Dr. Strangely Strange – “When Adam Delved
Magna Carta – “The Bridge at Knaresborough Town
Juicy Lucy – “That Woman’s Got Something
Thomas F. Browne – “Poor Man’s Smile”
Fairfield Parlour – “Monkey
Tudor Lodge – “It All Comes Back to Me
Rod Stewart – “Only a Hobo
Magna Carta – “Sponge
Jade Warrior – “Yellow Eyes
Black Sabbath – “Fluff
Ian Matthews – “Little Known
Jimmy Campbell – “In My Room
Hokus Poke – “Big World Small Girl

The Vertigo Show: Heavy Version

Monday, June 6th, 2011

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Here’s a playlist of some of my favorite heavy Vertigo tracks that I aired as a guest host on KOOP Radio’s Rock N Roll Pest Control this week.  Above: Hokus Poke.

Playlist:
Colosseum – “The Kettle” (1969)
Flied Egg – “Burning Fever” (1972)
Black Sabbath – “NIB” (1970)
Sensational Alex Harvey Band – “Midnight Moses” (1972)
Freedom – “Through The Years” (1971)
May Blitz – “For Madmen Only” (1971)
Uriah Heep – “Real Turned On” (1970)
Black Sabbath – “St Vitus Dance” (1972)
Status Quo – “Drifting Away” (1974)
Jade Warrior – “The Demon Trucker” (1972)
Gravy Train – “Can Anybody Hear Me” (1971)
Ronno – “Powers of Darkness” (1971)
Warhorse – “Standing Right Behind You” (1972)
Hokus Poke – “Hag Rag” (1972)
Clear Blue Sky – “I’m Comin’ Home” (1971)
Lucifer’s Friend – “Ride In The Sky” (1970)
Status Quo – “Big Fat Mama” (1972)
Black Sabbath – “Lord Of This World” (1971)