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This Day In Music History: Grand Funk Railroad Beats The Beatles

This Day in Music notes that on June 5, 1971, Grand Funk Railroad sold out Shea Stadium in 72 hours. June 5, I guess, was the third day. That was faster than The Beatles, the record holders at the time.

This vintage clip of “I’m Your Captain,” which presumably is from that concert, reminds me of what a dump Shea was.

I did some surfing to find out if the song was Grand Funk’s re-imagining of “Mutiny on the Bounty.” I doubted it, simply because things that awesome just don’t happen.

It turns out that the song was written by Larry Carlton. I couldn’t verify that it was the same Larry Carlton who has played with Steely Dan and many others. If it is the same fellow, well, that’s even awesomer. He seems to be a pretty literate guy. So perhaps it is the Bounty story.

Here is one of the best paragraphs ever at Wikipedia:

On the long-running series The Simpsons, Grand Funk Railroad is a favorite band of Homer Simpson. In the season seven episode “Homerpalooza”, upon hearing that Bart and Lisa do not know anything about GFR, Homer says “You kids don’t know Grand Funk? The wild shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher? The competent drumwork of Don Brewer? Oh, man!” and in the season twelve episode “A Tale of Two Springfields” when he gives The Who a list of songs to play, Roger Daltrey states that most of the songs are by GFR. In the series premiere of season 18, “The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer”, Bart and Lisa get on the school bus, and Bart will not share his seat (the last available one) with Lisa. Instead of dealing with her problem, Otto puts a Grand Funk tape into his Walkman and sings to “We’re an American Band”. When asked in interviews, Don Brewer has confessed to being incredibly flattered about having Homer as a fan. (Continue Reading…)

All kidding aside, “I’m Your Captain” isย a pretty good song.

[Homepage image: Metsfan84]

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.