Friday, May 29, 2009

Behold a pale genius

I couldn't have been paying attention when Edgar Winter burst on the scene back in the early Seventies. How anyone could have missed that bizarre show is perhaps more amazing than the act itself.

(There was that long stretch locked in a room with Koss headphones ingesting Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon'', but still...)

It wasn't until a friend turned me on to an old British TV program that I discovered just how incredible EWG was. You may already have watched the clip below, which has had more than 1 million views since it was posted on YouTube:

It was taken from the DVD "The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 1'', a stunning collection of live performances from the trail-blazing BBC show. Other highlights on Vol. 1 include The Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer'', Alice Cooper's "Under My Wheels'', Little Feat's "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor'' and a sweet performance by Curtis Mayfield doing "We Gotta Have Peace.''

The Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein'' blows the doors off everything else. It's cosmic. I mention it now because on this day in 1973 it was the No. 1 song in America. The Billboard Top 5:

1. Frankenstein, Edgar Winter Group
2. My Love, Paul McCartney & Wings
3. Daniel, Elton John
4. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, Dawn
5. You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stevie Wonder

To think that a long-haired Texas albino thrashing a synthesizer, drum kit and saxophone could have a No. 1 song against the likes of a former Beatle and another British darling, well, that's just plain righteous.

1 comment:

  1. Want to make an hour or more disappear in a flash? Do a YouTube search on "Old Gray Whistle Test" and start picking your favorites.
    Such as ...
    Tom Waits grumbling out Tom Taubert's Blues (really hard core Waits fans can go straight to Burma Shave)
    Lynyrd Skynyrd doing a belligerent version of Sweet Home Alabama, with a huge Confederate flag dropping behind the stage midway thru the song
    A very strange-looking mustachioed Billy Joel crooning Piano Man (and I don't care what you say, I like the song ...)