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Lee Michaels lends one of his melodies to Young MC – unknowingly

Lee Michaels is very much our concentration point this week. However, with the seasons changing its now a fitting time to play Twain. Very much autumnal in feel, the indie folk outfit are our bookending buccaneers this week. Tobin has expert pedigree in delivering New Music nuggets, so we very much look forward to Twain. Plus we’ll learn more about Lee Michaels and his plagiarism battle later on.

Tobin once again plays his guessing game music shenanigans with The Marcus King Band. Such a full and mature sounding frontman it’s hard to imagine. Quite obviously steeped in blues heritage Marcus King delivers by the bucket load and foxes Richard. New Music this week is curated by Richard as Tobin once again jets around Europe without such a thought for souvenirs or cheap, awful booze reminders. And as such, Richard brings us Chromatics‘ cover of one of Simon and Garfunkel‘s most well loved songs. It’s eerie, it’s cold, haunting and steeped in retrospective vibes.

Record Box Classic As Long As I Can See The Light is belted out by John Fogarty, one of the greatest vocalists in rock history. Arguably one of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s lesser known hits it remains one of Rock and Roll’s finest moments. Join us, especially younger listeners to discover a legendary recording. Rounding all of this off is the Young MC 1989 classic Principal’s Office and the song that inspired the samples therein, and the legal battle that ensued. Enter Lee Michaels.

  1. Death (or S.F.) Twain
  2. Rita Is Gone The Marcus King Band
  3. The Sound Of Silence Chromatics
  4. Principal’s Office Young MC
  5. Who Could Want More Lee Michaels
  6. Long As I Can See The Light Creedence Clearwater Revival
  7. Solar Pilgrim Twain

Lee Michaels – just keys and drums, that’s all

Noted for his powerful and soulful voice Lee Michaels was an unusual act. His choice of Hammond organ accompanied in the main by only a drummer it gained him some notoriety in the Californian music scene in the late 1960s. He sometimes also played piano or guitar. However, it was for his virtuosic and energetic style of Hammond organ playing that he will best be remembered for.

the ultimate power organist

Sounds Magazine

Lee Michaels began his career with The Sentinals, a surf-style band that also contained drummer Johnny Barbata. Barbata later went on to play with The Turtles and later Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship. Lee Michaels also played as a session musician with Jimi Hendrix. When he left The Sentinals he joined Johny Barbata with the group The Joel Scott Hill Trio, led by guitarist Joel Scott Hill. He later moved to San Francisco and cut his first solo album in 1967 with A&M Records – Carnival of Life. A crucial turning point in this story.

His bare bones performances of just a Hammond organ and “Frosty” (Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost – strangely sharing the same middle name of Eugene as Lee Michaels) on drums. Frosty’s bare handed technique was also unusual and proved to be an inspiration to John Bonham. After cutting his first LP with A&M Records Lee Michaels went mainly unnoticed in the music industry. That is until his fifth LP arrived – entitled 5th. Lee Michaels finally achieved commercial success and recorded another 2 LPs with A&M. Michaels moved to Columbia Records in 1973 but failed to generate a repeat of his success with A&M.

Later career

By the end of the 1970s Lee Michaels had more or less retired from the music industry. However, several rights usage disputes arose in the early 1990s after A&M granted licenses to Delicious Vinyl for Young MC to use samples from several of Michaels‘ tracks. After regaining full rights to his music from A&M, Lee Michaels granted licenses to Rhino Records to release several of his LPs over the years. In February 2016 Manifesto Records released his entire A&M recordings on vinyl.

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