Wednesday, January 5, 2011

La Historia de la Historia de la Musica Rock

OK, so the deal with this, that Pussy Galore had so much fun with, and I still do, is that between 1981 and 1983, two Spaniards by the name of Juan Manuel Prado and Jordi Sierra i Fabra began writing and publishing a Spanish language rock and roll magazine with a biographical/discographical slant.

In addition to other rock and roll books, including biographies of The Who, Pink Floyd and Rick Wakeman (!), Sierra i Fabra had some ten years earlier also written a reference work called La Historia de la Musica Pop, so we can assume a name for the new project came fairly easily for them.

Each magazine was made up of 20 ad-free glossy pages, and featured text by Sierra i Fabra, full-color photos, and an illustrated discography by someopne named Alex Mosley. The magazines were published weekly by Orbis, a British printing house who kept an office in Barcelona. Once the series was complete in its 100 issues, it was reissued in 6 hardbound volumes of about 200 pages each, and nothing of its like on rock 'n' roll had ever been seen in the Spanish language before.

Of course, Lillian Roxon's English language Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock had outlived its original editor and gone into its second or third edition by this time, so Prado's large encyclopedia might have remained of limited interest to an Anglo like myself . . .

Had it not been for the records. See, each of the magazines had been issued in conjunction with an LP, usually a Greatest Hits compilation* manufactured by Polydor Italy, and while the books and the magazines de la Historia Rock never really made it stateside, the albums most assuredly did.

Anyone who spent any time at all in the cutout bins and in the import sections of record stores in the 80's is sure to have come across these records, and, really, they're not all that uncommon even now.

'Course, none of this really shares the joke, none of it really gets at the ironical reason Pussy Galore named their album what they did. In my telling thus far it all seems admirable. . . .

And it is. But dig the 100-entry series discography, and see if you don't crack a smile.

La Historia de la Musica Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich La Historia de la Musica Elton John
1. The Rolling Stones
2. Jimi Hendrix
3. Jerry Lee Lewis
4. David Bowie
5. John Mayall
6. The Beatles
7. Genesis
8. The Dave Clark Five
9. The Small Faces
10. Eric Clapton
11. Joe Cocker
12. Rod Stewart
13. T Rex
14. The Animals
15. Procol Harum
16. Manfred Mann
17. Taste
18. The Allman Brothers Band
19. Bill Haley and The Comets
20. Chuck Berry
21. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity
22. The Pretty Things
23. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
24. Fats Domino
25. The Nice

La Historia de la Musica The Nice
26. Elvis Presley
27. Lou Reed
28. Chicago
29. James Brown
30. Santana
31. Bob Dylan
32. Blood, Sweat & Tears
33. Janis Joplin
34. Leonard Cohen
35. Brian Poole & the Tremeloes / The Tornados
36. John McLaughlin
37. The Who
38. The Velvet Underground
39. Lulu / Tommy Steele
40. Cat Stevens
41. The Righteous Brothers
42. The Hollies
43. Roger Daltrey
44. Elton John
45. Them
46. The Moody Blues
47. The Kinks
48. Roy Orbison
49. Savoy Brown
50. Ten Years After
51. Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes
52. Status Quo
53. Slade
54. Chick Corea
55. Rainbow
56. Fairport Convention
57. Cream
58. Bachman-Turner Overdrive
59. Graham Parker
60. The Walker Brothers
61. Kansas
62. Boston
63. Jeff Beck
64. Little Richard
65. Melanie
66. Jethro Tull
67. Donovan
68. Mahavishnu Orchestra
69. The Three Degrees
70. Labelle
71. The O'Jays
72. Poco
73. Dave Mason
74. The Byrds
75. Billy Paul

La Historia de la Musica Gilbert O'Sulliven
76. Argent
77. Pacific Gas & Electric
78. REO Speedwagon
79. Aerosmith
80. Johnny Winter
81. Janis Ian
82. Journey
83. The Jacksons
84. Bob James
85. Fleetwood Mac
86. Al Stewart
87. Chicory Tip
88. Gilbert O'Sullivan
89. Johnny Nash
90. The Clash
91. Robin Trower
92. The Everly Brothers
93. The Beach Boys
94. Los Teen Tops
95. Bruce Springsteen
96. Dan Fogelberg
97. Rick Derringer
98. Aphrodite's Child
99. 10cc
100. Miguel RĂ­os
La Historia de la Musica Johnny Nash La Historia de la Musica Aphrodite's Child

And I don't even think that Poco is part of the joke. We might have been guessing that the country rock thing wasn't going to age well by 1983 or so, but keep in mind Poco was once actually called a supergroup.

No, it's more the inclusions of Johnny Nash and Gilbert O'Sullivan that get me. Yeah, they got Dylan and The Beatles and The Kinks and The Stones, but looks like they left out Neil Young so they could find room for The Righteous Brothers. They skipped Yes to make sure Aphrodite's Child could fit.

And for some reason they gave Roger Daltrey a record after having already given one to The Who? What was it, the McVicar soundtrack?

Anyway, it's the juxtaposition, and who's put in at the expense of who else that's funny. Pussy Galore played that up big time on the back of their album, and I had some fun with it on one of my homemade CDs a few years back, as well. I'll publish both those 100-item lists soon.

*But not always. The David Bowie album is a reissue of Another Face; the Amboy Dukes record is a repackaged Survival of the Fittest - Live. I think the REO Speedwagon LP is actually Hi Infidelity. (Return)

Thanks to these two pages:
Goldmine Magazine
Rate Your Music


rastronomicals said...

Some of the humor is intentional, too. Maybe even more than I suspect. Dig how # 89 is Johnny Nash and # 90 is The Clash.

They're halfway to a limerick . . . .

TAD said...

R: This is great stuff, & I see your point about the humor. Dave Dee, Dozy, etc. hadda few hits in England, but.... & who or what is a Chicory Tip? & Los Teen Tops? Whateva.... The cheap costs 4 the albums almost outweighed the sometimes rather odd song selections.
The 1 of these albums I remember looking at real closely mangled Fairport Convention's song titles pretty badly, & only pictured 3 of the band members on the cover -- & I couldn't tell ya which 3 they were, but Sandy Denny sure wasn't 1 of 'em.
Didja ever see any of Italy's "Storia E Musica" best-of series on cassettes? I stumbled over a bunch of them at a Target store in San Antonio about 25 years ago -- lotsa great stuff real cheap: Dylan, Byrds, Weather Report, John McLaughlin, Soft Machine, Strawbs, Poco, etc. Zero credits or liner notes, but nicely done for the price. I feel about them the same way you feel about La Historia. (& how does Poco keep getting in there?) This series was the 1st place I heard Dylan's "One of Us Must Know," Strawbs' "Where is This Dream of Your Youth?," etc.
Nice historical work here, thanx! -- TAD.

rastronomicals said...


Thanks for reading and for the kind words. Speaking of mistakes made, and of British pop acts, the cover to the Dave Clark Five HdlMR actually shows Dave Dee, Dozy. . . like you say, etc.

Los Teen Tops appear to have been pretty darned successful in their native Mexico, beginning even before The Beatles hit the worldwide stage.

Hard to figure out whether they were rock and roll or skiffle or pop or what, because of the language barrier, but try this link here, Google's translation of the Teen Tops' Spanish Wikipedia page

TAD said...

Hey, Los Teen Tops' translated Wiki page is hilarious ... and highly informative, of course. Obviously they were a big pretty deal in Latin American countries and even Europe long before anybody even knew what a Beatles was, bet you!

Anonymous said...

I just have a couple, one being the #90 Clash. It is a repackage of their second lp, 'Give Em Enough Rope' and says so on the label. Has pretty good sound.
thanks for the list.