FIRST THE BIRTHDAY:
David, Happy 75th Birthday, man!
Fifty years ago, even in a dream, I couldn’t have made up what has come about in our collective lives, a generation in music, life, the cosmos.
In the mid-60’s my girlfriend Debby and I would hitch rides to Sunset Boulevard to the Hullabaloo Club any weekend we could do it, from our Brady Bunch suburban existence in Whittier, Orange County. She and I loved to dance, and did it at every rec center, dance party TV show (Lloyd Thaxton, Shivaree, more)….and for a 17-year old this was the maxed out, ultimate pop-head-trip for an American teenager wanting to run away from home, but the time wasn’t right yet. I did that a bit later. Everywhere, music…things were happening fast in the youth culture, all the stuff you know.
THE LIFE, OUR MUSIC:
Dave Hull, a local, and still alive, DJ for KRLA had brought The Beatles to the Hollywood Bowl during this time period; Hull was super popular and the Hullabaloo was named for him, setting up residency in the old Earl Carroll Theater that only lasted as Hullabaloo Club into 1968….this place oozed of celebrity fafare, the likes of Sinatra, pinky-rings, stogies cigars, plush carpeted floors, tiny tables-for-two and tealamps with fringe on the shade, still on some of the tables. There we were, in our pop orange and yellow English girls dresses, bowed gillie shoes and kind of pseudo-groupie teased out hairdos; clamoring for the constantly juicy performances of the known (Freddy Cannon, The Yardbirds) and the unknown (The Turtles, The Palace Guard now lost in time).
MUSIC TO OUR EARS:
On February 13, 1965 Deb and I went to Hullabaloo. A new act was playing; The Byrds. If you read this KRLA Beat carefully…you’ll see no one could keep up with the music, the acts playing there every week, en masse. The Animals…The Searchers, Tom Jones, Sam the Sham, The Shangri-las, The Newbeats. Really?
Time has stolen the memory of immediate days before we saw The Byrds onstage that night, as to whether their distinct and new folk-rock, no name yet, had ever hit us before on the airwaves of KRLA (might take more research)…but that night, February 13, “One day only” of 1965, will forever be a stunner…because the original Byrds played just feet from us. Though they’d set up a residency at Ciro’s Le Disc Night Club on the Strip, for March and April…..they’d gotten a gig at Hullabaloo for February. Materializing onstage, they were instantly attractive in any gorgeous way a group of folk-rock soon-to-be-stars might want to be…and we fell hard. OMG I had the Brownie camera! Deb and I were so excited we swooned, the sound; it was heavenly…their voices strong, but angelic…mystical. The Byrds.
DAVID CROSBY, IT’S ABOUT YOU
We didn’t even know the names of the guys standing before us, giving us lyrics and a sweet sound to die for (yes, at 17 you kinda wanna). Two tunes they played that night, and marked on the back of the glossy black and whites: Bells of Rhymney …and Mr. Tambourine Man. (I scrawled the song David and Gene were singing in this photo in pen on the back of the 50-year old photo). Crosby, and we did not even know who he was, wore this leather cape that left us spellbound for days. Why? Likely because it was the beginning of a revolution in many ways for a generation; the chapter for many books in the future, now past. Though we cannot see facial detail in this time-worn photo, it’s David Crosby alright…cape and all. He was to wear this thing for many photo sessions, album covers and the rest. I’m pretty sure he’ll remember the cape, even at a cool 75-years of age.
So, hey….Happy Birthday David Crosby. Back in February, 1965 I didn’t think to shake your hand or give you a hug of thanks, David. None of us knew what was coming, did we? But now, today…….your voice, music..echoes and resonates of times and places so powerful I sometimes find myself having to walk away from the sounds. I have to tune out instead of tune in…because poetry/stuff like Wooden Ships, Eight Miles High, Teach Your Children, are histories unto themselves now…and percolate and swirl in my heart and create a redundancy I can’t manage out-loud right now. That’s how powerful it all can become, you know, I’m betting on that. And it’s this, David….a hot summer birthday you’ve survived one more time, and lived many lives through and still seem to be holding your own. I’m pleased with that….and I can picture you doing the same as we all watch the progression we’re sailors on the sea of, and why I write today with pictures and words……given your enormous capacity for life and what it reveals, though surreal, one half and one quarter century in; isn’t that obvious?