Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter


Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter

Documentary about the 1970s singer-songwriter culture in LA, focusing on the backgrounds and emerging collaboration between James Taylor, Carole King and the Troubadour venue.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language.

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MUSIC: Kick Out The Jams by MC5

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# Well I feel pretty good

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# And I guess that I could get crazy now baby

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# Cos we all got in tune

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# And when the dressing room got hazy now baby... #

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We can stop world wars before they ever started.

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You know who start world wars?

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People that are over 40.

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# But let me kick out the jams

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# Jams kick out the jams

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# I done kick 'em out. #

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-RADIO:

-'This is KMET 94.7 FM Metro Media Stereo in Los Angeles.

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'I'll be back in a bit.'

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By 1970,

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the heart of '60s rock was going down.

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The Beatles were breaking up, the Stones were inactive.

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So rock'n'roll was losing its energy.

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It needed time to take its breath.

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And when it was taking its breath is when the singer songwriter movement was at its most powerful.

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# Blossom smile some sunshine down my way

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# Lately I've been lonesome

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# Blossom, it's been much too long a day

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# Seems my dreams have frozen

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# Melt my cares away... #

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When we sort of were identified as

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the singer songwriter movement or genre, or whatever,

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we really were just following along

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in a line of all of those players

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-who wrote their own stuff.

-Right.

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When we sprang out of the box

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there was all this generational turbulence,

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cultural turbulence,

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and there was a hunger for the intimacy,

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the personal thing that we did.

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Maybe what it was was that people wrote their own songs

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were in ascendance.

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The authenticity of somebody telling their own story

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was what people were interested in.

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It was an exciting artistic community in those days.

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I'm trying to remember what the sequence of events was.

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How did we end up at the Troubadour?

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REPORTER: 'History has made the folk singer into an image of freedom.

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'A minstrel with little need of worldly things.

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'But in a relatively short while, folk music has become popular music in America.

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'And the itinerant singer is suddenly box office.'

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In the late '50s and early '60s there were coffee houses all over the place.

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Folk music was the music of the land.

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So hundreds of kids went out and bought guitars and banjos.

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I guess I started out as a folk musician.

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I played a lot of small clubs up and down the east coast

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and all across the country.

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You could make it work with a guitar and a suitcase.

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You'd go on the road that way.

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I started hanging around coffee houses, playing and singing

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and found that you could get the attention of girls that way!

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I went out there to perform in 1964 as a solo,

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ran into Gene Clark and David Crosby and we formed the Byrds

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at the Troubadour.

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And that is what made the '60s sound.

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The '60s happened because all kinds of college kids

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started getting in their two-seater MGs with their Raybans,

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going to the Newport folk festival.

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What everybody really wanted to be was "hip".

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They wanted to be part of the cutting edge

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of social behaviour.

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They wanted to be a Beatnik.

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People say you're most curious as a teenager. But it's the 20s who are most curious about life

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You're not living at home with parents' money

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you're on your own with no direction home.

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And so the Troubadour became the place to be.

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It's like it was a spaceship, this great thing lands in west Hollywood.

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The important thing is Doug Weston understood it.

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There were other clubs in town that would play folk music.

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But it wasn't folk music, it was the singer songwriter, the new discovery

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which was as exciting as rock'n'roll was when it began.

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What sense is there in talking about the music?

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The music is... A large part of the value of it

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is that it transcends talking about itself.

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It communicates directly without people having to make decisions or analyse it.

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I don't remember much about how I wrote those songs.

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You just pretended you could play the guitar and then maybe you could.

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And you pretended you could write a song and maybe you could.

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# Well, there's something in the way she moves

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# Or looks my way or calls my name

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# And it seems to leave this troubled world behind... #

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I get them mixed up a lot, those Troubadour shows.

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My memory for places and things has always been lousy.

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I complained to my brother Livingston a couple of months ago

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that I couldn't remember anything. He says, "James, you could never remember anything.

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"You can't remember that you could never remember anything!"

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# I feel fine any time she's around me now

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# She's around me now

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# Almost all the time

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# If I'm well you can tell that she's been with me now

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# She's been with me now

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# Quite a long, long time

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# And I feel fine. #

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In the old days, he didn't... He wasn't outgoing.

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He was very, very shy.

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He lived more internally than he does now.

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The first thing I thought about James Taylor was "I wish I could do that."

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When people like that show up and hit the stream,

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they make an eddy, that's for damn sure.

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# ..has the power to go where no-one else could find me

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# And decidedly remind me of the happiness and good times

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# That I know

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# And you know that I just got to know that... #

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Let's take a look at the old Fire and Rain, Something In The Way She Moves,

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Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, You've Got A Friend...

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..Gibson J50.

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Still in pretty good shape.

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There is no stick involved with James.

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On the other hand, to use the expression, he's an interesting bunch of guys.

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In other words,

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he is very shy but he also can be very outgoing

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and he's a fantastic performer even though he doesn't appear to try too hard to be one.

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# She's been with me now

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# Quite a long

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# Quite a long, long time

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# Yes and I'll feel fine. #

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A singer songwriter was a new animal.

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Before then, you were Frank Sinatra

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and there was the Brill Building.

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The Brill Building was a house where publishers got their writers together

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to write songs for specific projects.

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They'd crank up the songs and then you would sing them.

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"The Coasters need a hit." "Dionne Warwick needs a song."

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Singers were only performers.

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The people in the Brill Building, until Carole busted her way out of there,

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generally did not wind up being singers.

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What now?

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Now a very pretty legato, very pretty note.

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-You like that?

-I like that.

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But when we write the lyric to it, it'll be different.

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-#

-La-da, la-da, la-da da-dum

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-#

-La-da, la-da, la-da, da-da-dum

-#

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That's fine.

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Music has always been a part of my life

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from the time I was exposed to it probably in utero.

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And it flows through me.

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I don't understand why or how it works.

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I do know that it works.

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It is a gift. It's an understanding that I have.

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If one believes in a higher power

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or the gods or God or whatever,

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I've been fortunate to be an instrument for that.

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The journey of Carole King is a really interesting one.

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Carole came from a very different world, the world of the Brill Building cubicle.

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The world of sitting from nine to five at the upright piano

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trying to write songs for "the stars".

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She arranged a lot of those hits that you still hear on the radio.

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She started doing it when she was 16.

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# Tonight you're mine completely

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# You give your love so sweetly

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# Tonight the light of love is in your eyes

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# But will you love me tomorrow? #

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My mom was a busy working mom.

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She didn't really get a chance to be a kid.

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She got married at 18.

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So she was a child bride, child mother,

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and then she had to raise these kids and then she had to find time to grow up in there.

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-#

-Can I believe

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-#

-The magic of your sighs

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-#

-Will you still love me

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-#

-Tomorrow?

-#

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Will You Love Me Tomorrow was Gerry's and my first hit.

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It was the first time that we knew we were going to have a big hit record as songwriters

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and that we would have a little bit of income from it.

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The thing that Carole could do

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was she could change that baby's diaper with one hand and play a bass line with the next.

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I've seen her do it at her house. We were writing a song,

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and it was slap olive oil on the baby, change that baby and back we went to write the song.

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We live in West Orange, New Jersey. I remember sitting with the wallpaper

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while listening to them write songs.

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She was as much a housewife as a songwriter

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and an artist.

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-#

-And I won't ask again

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-#

-Will you still love me

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-#

-Tomorrow?

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-#

-Will you still love me

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-#

-To-morr-ow?

-#

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# There are two sides to this great big world

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# And one of them is always night

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# If you can take care of business in the sunshine

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# I guess you're gonna be all right... #

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James and I met at Martha's Vineyard. We used to hitch-hike everywhere.

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Once we were hitching and he burst into song.

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I looked at him and went, "Oh, my God!"

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I'd never heard anybody that could sing. I didn't know anyone that could sing!

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It was obvious to me right away that he had it.

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Whatever "it" was, he had it!

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I left the path that my parents, I assume, expected of me

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and went to New York aged 18 and started playing in this band,

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Flying Machine, with Danny.

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# No, no, I'm a night owl, honey,

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# Sleep all day long... #

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You needed a break. You needed a record. You needed someone to believe in you and book you.

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But the people who gave us our break,

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two guys named Chip Taylor and Al Gargoni, just didn't follow through.

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They signed us. They took my publishing -

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I was 18 years old and strung out and had no idea what I was signing -

0:15:010:15:06

a sandwich is what I wanted!

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It became obvious that we couldn't get anywhere. James's health was going downhill

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based on his drug problems.

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# I'm a night owl, honey... #

0:15:160:15:18

After The Flying Machine broke up, I went to England to visit friends

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and to play my music in the streets if I could.

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I was glad to hear he was going to keep playing music.

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When I found out he was going, I gave him the phone number of my friend Peter Asher.

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I was working for The Beatles, I was head of A&R for Apple Records.

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James phoned me at my flat and said, "I'm a friend of Danny's.

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"I've got this demo tape. Maybe I should play it to you,

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"or maybe you want to hear it?" I said I would.

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Peter listened to my little demo tape of songs.

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I loved everything about him. Certainly Paul totally loved it.

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George really liked it. John didn't care one way or the other.

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I can't remember about Ringo.

0:16:010:16:03

# In my mind I'm going to Carolina

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# Can you see the sunshine... #

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When I heard James's Apple record, it was terrible.

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Too much production, too much stuff going on, too much gimmicky bullshit.

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# Yes, I'm going to Carolina in my mind. #

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It just did not work. It was not the right place and time.

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So Peter and James come to LA.

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And Peter finds the right home.

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When we came back to America, my aim was to get him in front of people singing

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wherever and whenever possible.

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James played his first solo show ever at the Troubadour in July '69.

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A week later, he played at the Newport folk festival.

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I'd like to continue with a song I wrote myself

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not too long ago.

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It's called I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain. It goes like this.

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# Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone

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# Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you

0:17:190:17:22

# I walked out this morning

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# And I wrote down this song

0:17:260:17:29

# I just can't remember who to send it to

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# I've seen fire and I've seen rain

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# I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end

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# I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend

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# But I always thought that I'd see you again

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# Won't you look down upon me, Jesus,

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# You gotta help me make a stand

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# Just got to see me through another day

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# My body's aching and my time is at hand

0:18:120:18:17

# And I won't make it any other way

0:18:180:18:21

# I've seen fire and I've seen rain

0:18:240:18:27

# I've seen sunny skies that I thought would never end

0:18:290:18:33

# I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend... #

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The rock'n'roll generation was exhausted from the '60s

0:18:380:18:41

and they wanted to calm down. Fire and Rain was a perfect song for that.

0:18:410:18:45

"I've seen fire and I've seen rain." Enough of drugs and war.

0:18:450:18:49

They just wanted to kind of regroup.

0:18:490:18:51

# Thought I'd see you one more time again, baby. #

0:18:510:18:56

APPLAUSE

0:18:560:19:00

Thank you very much.

0:19:010:19:03

Every once in a while you'd run into somebody that would come up

0:19:140:19:18

and show you that there was a lot further for you to all go.

0:19:180:19:22

I found Joni in a coffee house in Florida.

0:19:220:19:24

# Sitting in a park in Paris, France

0:19:240:19:27

# Reading the news and it's all bad

0:19:270:19:29

# They won't give peace a chance

0:19:290:19:31

# That was just a dream some of us had

0:19:310:19:35

# Still a lot of lives to see

0:19:350:19:37

# But I wouldn't want to stay here

0:19:370:19:39

# It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here

0:19:390:19:43

# Oh, but California

0:19:430:19:46

# California

0:19:460:19:48

# I'm a-coming home... #

0:19:480:19:51

Oh, Joni Mitchell!

0:19:510:19:53

I thought she was Shakespeare reincarnated!

0:19:530:19:57

So many of the people that we consider California music don't come from here.

0:19:580:20:02

Neil Young, a perfect example.

0:20:020:20:04

People like Joni Mitchell, who was Canadian,

0:20:040:20:08

took an outside look at what was going on in America

0:20:080:20:11

and took her own particular values and situations

0:20:110:20:15

and put them into personal songs.

0:20:150:20:17

It really expanded the way people thought about writing.

0:20:170:20:21

That was one of the biggest contributions to the music at the time.

0:20:210:20:25

# Ooh, California,

0:20:250:20:28

# Oh, California,

0:20:280:20:31

# I'm a-coming home

0:20:310:20:34

# Oh, make me feel good, rock'n'roll band

0:20:340:20:37

# I'm your biggest fan, California... #

0:20:370:20:39

We were living in Laurel Canyon at her house.

0:20:390:20:42

And it was a wonderful time.

0:20:420:20:45

It was just great. We travelled a lot,

0:20:450:20:47

she sang beautifully on several songs of mine

0:20:470:20:51

and I played on that album of hers.

0:20:510:20:54

We had a great time. Oh, man, it was terrific.

0:20:540:20:57

Too good to last, I guess.

0:20:570:21:00

Carole was somebody that was attuned to the zeitgeist and wanted to be part of what was going on.

0:21:210:21:27

She and Gerry, as well as the other Brill Building writers,

0:21:270:21:30

all realised there was a big sea change.

0:21:300:21:32

Bands were writing their own material.

0:21:320:21:35

I thought the music was fantastic.

0:21:350:21:37

What it turned out to mean to us

0:21:370:21:39

is that we became as songwriters for artists that didn't write their own songs,

0:21:390:21:44

less necessary.

0:21:440:21:46

My dad did not want to get left behind in Tin Pan Alley.

0:21:460:21:51

He was the one that felt, let's get out there, got to Los Angeles

0:21:510:21:56

because the music business isn't here any more, it's out there.

0:21:560:22:00

But my mom didn't have a sense that she was going to be left behind.

0:22:000:22:05

When the marriage broke up and she came to California, and Laurel Canyon,

0:22:050:22:11

that's when she became Carole.

0:22:110:22:13

-#

-Looking out on the morning rain

0:22:150:22:20

-#

-I used to feel uninspired

0:22:240:22:29

-#

-And when I knew I had to face another day

0:22:320:22:38

-#

-Lord, it made me feel so tired

0:22:400:22:45

-#

-Before the day I met you

0:22:450:22:47

-#

-Life was so unkind

0:22:530:22:57

-#

-Your love was the key to my peace of mind

0:22:570:23:03

-#

-Cos you make me feel

0:23:030:23:08

-#

-You make me feel

0:23:080:23:12

-#

-You may me feel like

0:23:130:23:17

-#

-A natural woman...

-#

0:23:170:23:22

She never said anything bad about my father

0:23:250:23:29

and she continued to write with him.

0:23:290:23:31

I think she did say, "I'm taking charge, I'm not going to be bitter. I'm just moving on."

0:23:310:23:36

It's like she can let her hair down

0:23:360:23:39

and she can take off that uniform of the songwriter for hire.

0:23:390:23:45

She was itching to throw off the trappings of her sort of beehive past.

0:23:450:23:52

It was wonderful but it's not something that I knew was happening at the time,

0:23:530:23:58

that it was so special then that I realised.

0:23:580:24:02

I see lots of areas of my life as exciting, wonderful windows of time and opportunity.

0:24:020:24:08

-#

-If I make you happy I don't need to do more

0:24:080:24:13

-#

-You make me feel

0:24:130:24:18

-#

-You make me feel

0:24:190:24:22

-#

-You make me feel

0:24:230:24:26

-#

-Like a natural woman.

-#

0:24:260:24:33

-Were you a hippy?

-Yeah! Hell, yes!

0:24:340:24:37

My kids will tell stories about how they'd buy Coca Cola and potato chips

0:24:430:24:47

and all this candy and junk food and I'd toss it out!

0:24:470:24:51

No candy. Candy was definitely out of the question.

0:24:510:24:54

I would bring them food and make them eat it.

0:24:540:24:57

Yeah. Nasty organic foods!

0:24:570:25:00

I'd say, "Because it's nutritious!"

0:25:000:25:02

She is a natural person.

0:25:030:25:06

She's a natural woman!

0:25:070:25:09

-#

-..woman

0:25:100:25:13

-#

-A natural woman.

-#

0:25:130:25:19

APPLAUSE

0:25:190:25:23

So here we are after all these years.

0:25:370:25:40

I personally think we've missed it. Don't you agree?

0:25:410:25:44

It doesn't get any more real than this!

0:25:470:25:49

I see you all out there. How are ya?

0:25:500:25:54

It's one of the few places where the audience is treated worse than the act!

0:25:540:26:00

Hello. Welcome to the Troubadour this evening.

0:26:000:26:03

Any of you who don't know me, I'm Doug Weston.

0:26:030:26:06

The Troubadour definitely was a scene. Doug Weston's personality

0:26:090:26:13

and his insanity was an important part of it.

0:26:130:26:16

-#

-Well, I told you pretty baby

0:26:160:26:19

-#

-Such a long time ago

0:26:190:26:21

-#

-If I find you with another

0:26:210:26:24

-#

-Well, I'll walk right out your door

0:26:240:26:26

-#

-You might call me crazy

0:26:260:26:29

-#

-There's one thing you should know...

-#

0:26:290:26:32

He was a character in every sense of the word which fulfilled his role.

0:26:320:26:37

He was very tough in business.

0:26:370:26:38

He loved music.

0:26:400:26:42

And he would encourage situations to happen where music could happen.

0:26:420:26:46

I opened the Troubadour motivated, in part, I think,

0:26:460:26:51

by the idea that music could be an important medium

0:26:510:26:57

for expressing some of the things I learned in college.

0:26:570:27:02

Some of the things about mankind and about how we could keep this whole world together.

0:27:020:27:08

Doug always wanted to be a performer, I think.

0:27:090:27:13

He would always have photographs of himself in poses

0:27:130:27:18

on the menus, you know?

0:27:180:27:20

Doug, when the Troubadour finally made enough money for him to buy new clothes,

0:27:240:27:28

went to a clothing warehouse and bought a green corduroy suit

0:27:280:27:32

which he wore for the next three years when he was in public.

0:27:320:27:36

We called him the Jolly Green Giant!

0:27:360:27:38

Doug Weston was always looking for that songwriter.

0:27:420:27:45

He had very few singers there.

0:27:450:27:48

He wanted a songwriter.

0:27:480:27:49

He was really the purest, as far as I knew, in picking great artists.

0:27:490:27:53

He would be so excited when he'd find somebody.

0:27:530:27:56

He was the West LA scene of music. He was...

0:27:560:28:00

one of the single most eccentric people I ever met.

0:28:000:28:03

An extraordinarily tall guy who was absolutely, totally self-absorbed

0:28:030:28:07

with his life as the epicentre of music in L.A. Acoustic music.

0:28:070:28:12

So it was good for everybody.

0:28:120:28:14

Because it drew everybody to the same place.

0:28:140:28:19

-RADIO:

-To check out new talent, there's no better place than down at the Monday night Hootenanny,

0:28:190:28:24

Doug Weston's world-famous Troubadour happening tonight.

0:28:240:28:28

The Hoot Night, an open mic night, was the proving ground.

0:28:280:28:31

It was the first place you could step up in front of people

0:28:310:28:35

without being booked, without being known already.

0:28:350:28:39

There was a hunger for unknown artists in town

0:28:390:28:43

and very qualified musicians

0:28:430:28:46

who couldn't get arrested when it came to getting a gig were there every Monday.

0:28:460:28:50

It wasn't long before Steve Martin showed up.

0:28:500:28:56

Let's go.

0:28:560:28:57

The Mecca was the Troubadour, even though there was a club called The Mecca!

0:29:010:29:05

Hoot Nights, that was short for Hootenanny

0:29:050:29:10

which meant anyone could get up and perform.

0:29:100:29:13

So that's how a lot of people broke into the business.

0:29:130:29:16

The Hoot Nights were fun. The bar was really crowded

0:29:180:29:21

cos everybody would come in. You'd see the movers and shakers.

0:29:210:29:25

They were looking for the next big thing.

0:29:250:29:28

David Geffen was there. He was 25 and he was on the make!

0:29:280:29:33

He was listening to all this talent

0:29:330:29:37

and feeling like he'd hit the motherload.

0:29:370:29:40

Eventually it got popular, so you'd have to sign up. You'd wait in the afternoon.

0:29:400:29:44

Actually I signed Cheech and Chong after I saw them on a Hootenanny.

0:29:440:29:49

We were trying to determine how you'd describe your brand of humour.

0:29:490:29:53

-How would you describe it?

-Funny.

0:29:530:29:55

The first guy that signed in got to go on sixth.

0:29:550:29:58

-Which was a good spot.

-The best.

-Because everybody was in.

0:29:580:30:02

The worst spot would be the first because they're just cleaning up.

0:30:020:30:05

There were a lot of us and we wanted to get people's attention.

0:30:050:30:09

We all thought we were good and we'd get up there and try.

0:30:090:30:13

It gave us a chance to. It was a very important thing.

0:30:130:30:17

The essence of the Troubadour was the hanging out in the bar

0:30:210:30:24

and the people you hadn't heard of doing a couple of really good songs

0:30:240:30:30

and you'd go, "Who's that? That's a good song."

0:30:300:30:33

And you'd suddenly discover Jackson Browne!

0:30:330:30:36

-#

-Well I've been out walking

0:30:420:30:44

-#

-I don't do that much talking

0:30:470:30:52

-#

-These days

0:30:520:30:55

-#

-These days

0:30:550:31:01

-#

-These days I seem to think a lot

0:31:030:31:06

-#

-About the things that I forgot to do

-#

0:31:060:31:12

I wasn't really into guys that just play the guitar and sing.

0:31:140:31:17

But he was obviously so great

0:31:170:31:20

and absolutely transfixing

0:31:200:31:22

that I immediately thought, "This guy's got it."

0:31:220:31:26

And we became friends. Jackson used to hitch-hike to my place so we could play music together.

0:31:260:31:31

I was like the most world-weary 16-year-old on the planet!

0:31:310:31:36

When Jackson came, he came with a suitcase full of songs.

0:31:360:31:40

"She's a flying bird that sings

0:31:400:31:43

"with eyes like smoky rings

0:31:430:31:45

"and she told me that she'd teach me how to fly."

0:31:450:31:47

There's this kid,

0:31:470:31:49

this little kid down in Orange County that writes stuff like this!

0:31:490:31:53

# ..to live the life that I have made in song... #

0:31:540:32:01

Then I was a Bob Dylan fan.

0:32:040:32:07

I mean, how do you get like, you know...

0:32:070:32:10

-#

-The guilty undertaker sighs

0:32:100:32:12

-#

-The lonesome organ grinder cries

0:32:120:32:14

-#

-The silver saxophone say I should refuse you

0:32:140:32:18

-#

-The cracked bells and washed-out horns

0:32:190:32:22

-#

-Blow into my face with scorn

0:32:220:32:24

-#

-But it's not that way, I wasn't born to lose you

0:32:240:32:27

-#

-I want you

0:32:290:32:30

-#

-I want you...

-#

0:32:310:32:33

It was part pop song and part intensely personal narrative.

0:32:330:32:38

But it was filled with all the information

0:32:380:32:42

that our generation was being bombarded with.

0:32:420:32:45

Popular music became soulful.

0:32:450:32:50

As people started writing their own music,

0:32:500:32:52

the singer songwriter became more prevalent on stage.

0:32:520:32:56

Nobody ever imagined that any of these acoustic troubadours

0:32:570:33:01

were going to sell millions of records.

0:33:010:33:04

-RADIO:

-'Did you read in yesterday's LA Times the Robert Hilburn column?

0:33:120:33:16

'To do with Vice-President Agnew's remarks with reference to

0:33:160:33:20

'drug songs and all that there jazz.

0:33:200:33:23

'Jim Dixon is taking umbrage about it.'

0:33:230:33:26

-#

-Hi de ho

0:33:290:33:32

-#

-Hi de hi

0:33:320:33:35

-#

-Gonna get me a piece of the sky

0:33:360:33:42

-#

-Gonna find me some of that old sweet roll

0:33:420:33:47

-#

-Singing hi de hi de hi

0:33:470:33:50

-#

-Hi de hi de ho.

-#

0:33:500:33:53

Laurel Canyon was an arts community very much like Greenwich Village.

0:33:530:33:57

It was a joy to live there. It was like being in the country.

0:33:570:34:00

It was almost a dreamland.

0:34:000:34:02

We tended to view Laurel Canyon as the forest.

0:34:060:34:10

But it was really, literally, one block

0:34:100:34:14

from one of the heaviest traffic streets in Los Angeles.

0:34:140:34:19

The way you read the books that people write now about it,

0:34:190:34:22

is pretty much nonsense!

0:34:220:34:25

There weren't columns of songwriters marching up!

0:34:260:34:28

Frank Zappa lived there, Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash I think.

0:34:280:34:34

I didn't know one of them!

0:34:340:34:35

I saw them in the Canyon all the time. Jackson Browne...

0:34:370:34:41

They were a bunch of people that drove around with their mixes

0:34:410:34:45

or roughs or recordings or demos and went to each other's house.

0:34:450:34:48

There'd be political talk. Some was fun, some romantic, some of it was inspirational creatively.

0:34:480:34:56

It was incestuous in the best way.

0:34:560:34:59

There was a trifecta going on.

0:34:590:35:00

The bedroom was Laurel Canyon, the living room was the Troubadour

0:35:000:35:05

and marijuana was church!

0:35:050:35:08

-#

-Once I met the devil

0:35:090:35:11

-#

-He was mighty slick

0:35:110:35:14

-#

-Tempted me with worldly goods

0:35:150:35:18

-#

-Said I could have my pick...

-#

0:35:180:35:20

Everybody smoked grass.

0:35:200:35:22

I mean literally everybody did.

0:35:220:35:25

It had a great deal to do with ideas coming out

0:35:250:35:28

and excitement about discovering life.

0:35:280:35:32

Because when we smoked grass, it wasn't a drug, it was a sacrament!

0:35:320:35:37

It was a sacrament!

0:35:370:35:39

I don't know why different people did it.

0:35:390:35:42

It made me paranoid.

0:35:420:35:44

But I was so curious about why I was paranoid,

0:35:440:35:47

that I kept doing it!

0:35:470:35:49

What it was, when you smoked pot,

0:35:500:35:52

you'd get high for the first time

0:35:520:35:54

and you're like, "Wow! What else they been lying about?"

0:35:540:35:58

We were in a very stratified and nearly dead society

0:36:010:36:07

that wasn't willing.

0:36:070:36:09

And whatever it took to blow us loose from that and get us into the next thing

0:36:090:36:14

we wanted to do.

0:36:140:36:16

-#

-Hi de hi de hi

0:36:170:36:20

-#

-Hi de hi de ho.

-#

0:36:200:36:24

A lot of people who poured into LA and the canyons in the late '60s

0:36:280:36:31

came from a folky background.

0:36:310:36:35

Sweet Baby James just becomes the sound of the canyons

0:36:350:36:40

of Los Angeles

0:36:400:36:42

in late 1969.

0:36:420:36:45

# There is a young cowboy who lives on the range

0:36:500:36:55

# His horse and his cattle are his only companions

0:36:560:37:02

# He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyons

0:37:030:37:07

# Waiting for summer his pastures to change. #

0:37:070:37:14

When a singer songwriter shows up,

0:37:160:37:18

the first record, the first batch that they play is ten years' work.

0:37:180:37:24

The second record is when you find out how good they are!

0:37:250:37:29

I wanted to let the songs speak for themselves

0:37:290:37:32

and that what I'd done wrong last time

0:37:320:37:34

was letting the arrangement get in the way of the essence of the song

0:37:340:37:37

which his James and his guitar.

0:37:370:37:39

I made sure that they were front and centre at all times.

0:37:390:37:42

# Good night, you moonlight ladies

0:37:440:37:49

# Rock-a-bye sweet baby James

0:37:500:37:53

# Deep greens and blues are the colours I choose

0:37:550:37:59

# Won't you let me go down in my dreams

0:37:590:38:04

# And rock-a-bye sweet baby James. #

0:38:050:38:09

No-one writes lyrics like James.

0:38:100:38:12

He's completely unique.

0:38:120:38:14

Through the good times and the bad times

0:38:140:38:17

and when he was down, he faced those furies. He wrote about them.

0:38:170:38:20

They come out in his music.

0:38:200:38:22

# So good night, you moonlight ladies

0:38:220:38:27

# Rock-a-bye sweet baby James

0:38:270:38:31

# Deep greens and blues are the colours I choose

0:38:330:38:37

# Won't you let me go down in my dreams

0:38:370:38:42

# And rock-a-bye sweet baby James. #

0:38:420:38:47

Finding the band was an operation.

0:38:490:38:51

I don't remember who introduced James or I first to Carole.

0:38:510:38:55

Possibly Kootch. I don't know.

0:38:550:38:57

But we met her and loved everything about her. Her songs, her piano playing, her persona.

0:38:570:39:02

The feeling was real electric between them.

0:39:020:39:05

Carole was obviously excited.

0:39:050:39:09

If you can imagine James's subdued nature being electric, it was.

0:39:090:39:13

First of all, you can ask me about James any time

0:39:130:39:16

because I love him so much.

0:39:160:39:19

It's that real... Everybody says, "Were you a couple?" No.

0:39:190:39:23

"Did you ever think about it?" No.

0:39:230:39:26

The first connection was musical.

0:39:260:39:28

It turned out we spoke the same language,

0:39:280:39:31

we sat down and slipped back into the mother tongue, really.

0:39:310:39:34

It was great. We played on each other's records.

0:39:340:39:37

We just had a common mind.

0:39:370:39:40

They're very different.

0:39:400:39:42

Very different. Carole's the earth mother, Jewish mother kind of babe,

0:39:420:39:46

James is a kind of aesthetic Protestant vicar kind of guy.

0:39:460:39:50

Although they're both hilarious, in different ways.

0:39:500:39:53

It's the contrast that makes it so entertaining, and maybe always has.

0:39:530:39:58

James was one of the first artists that my mom met

0:39:590:40:03

that wasn't an artist she just wrote for, that she helped make their record.

0:40:030:40:09

This was an artist that did something she didn't know how to do

0:40:090:40:13

that she was inspired by, that she admired.

0:40:130:40:16

I think he was really an inspiration to her.

0:40:160:40:19

I've always had confidence in the fact that when I played music,

0:40:190:40:24

it touched people in some way.

0:40:240:40:27

And the place I didn't have confidence was as a performer.

0:40:270:40:31

That's where I had no confidence.

0:40:310:40:33

And that's where you came in!

0:40:330:40:36

'I felt that Carole really should be singing her own songs.

0:40:360:40:39

'With Kootch's help, we encouraged her to sing her own songs in my set.'

0:40:390:40:44

This song is for all the people at the Troubadour this week

0:40:440:40:49

who've been really fantastic. And for you, who are also fantastic!

0:40:490:40:53

Carole debuted in '70, I guess it was.

0:40:530:40:56

She opened at the Troubadour, very nervous. I think we went together.

0:40:560:41:00

I was excited, because the song sounded really good and I'd never heard my songs performed.

0:41:000:41:06

I had my act really carefully worked out and I knew exactly what I was going to do and say.

0:41:060:41:13

And at the end of my third number, as the applause died down,

0:41:130:41:17

I heard this voice over a speaker saying, "Carole, you're not gonna believe this..."

0:41:170:41:23

There's been a bomb scare, bomb threat phoned in. You have to evacuate the club.

0:41:230:41:28

And Carole had the wit to say, "As long as it's not me!"

0:41:280:41:31

And that kind of broke the ice.

0:41:320:41:35

I really felt comfortable up there. I realised I just had to be myself.

0:41:350:41:41

-#

-You've got to get up every morning

0:41:410:41:45

-#

-With a smile on your face

0:41:450:41:47

-#

-And show the world all the love in your heart

0:41:470:41:51

-#

-Then people gonna treat you better

0:41:540:41:56

-#

-You're gonna find, yes you will

0:41:560:41:59

-#

-That you're beautiful,

0:41:590:42:01

-#

-As you feel. #

0:42:020:42:06

When she finally stepped up to the plate herself,

0:42:070:42:11

it was like hitting a major vein,

0:42:110:42:13

like a seam of water flowing underground or something.

0:42:130:42:18

It just welled up.

0:42:180:42:20

And after a while she was opening for me

0:42:200:42:23

and then after a while I was opening for her!

0:42:230:42:25

-#

-Maybe love can end the madness

0:42:250:42:28

-#

-Maybe not, oh, but we can only try

0:42:280:42:35

-#

-You've got to get up every morning

0:42:350:42:39

-#

-With a smile on your face

0:42:390:42:41

-#

-And show the world all the love in your heart...

-#

0:42:410:42:47

She was remarkable.

0:42:470:42:49

She wasn't barefoot like Linda Ronstadt or have flowers in her hair like Joni.

0:42:490:42:54

She wasn't being gutsy like Bonnie Raitt.

0:42:540:42:58

She was kinda real.

0:42:580:42:59

One of the greatest tributes to a performer there is when the bar would empty out

0:42:590:43:05

and everybody would find an excuse to go to the bathroom and then watch the act!

0:43:050:43:09

The bar emptied when Carole was on.

0:43:090:43:12

ENTHUSIASTIC APPLAUSE

0:43:120:43:14

Some time after we got to LA,

0:43:190:43:21

a short time after that,

0:43:210:43:23

Lou Adler signed my mom

0:43:230:43:25

and started putting out records,

0:43:250:43:27

first The City, then Writer and then Tapestry.

0:43:270:43:32

-#

-I feel the earth move under my feet

0:43:400:43:44

-#

-I feel the sky tumblin' down

0:43:440:43:47

-#

-I feel my heart start a-tremblin'

0:43:480:43:51

-#

-Whenever you're around

0:43:510:43:56

-#

-Ooh, baby, when I see your face

0:43:560:44:01

-#

-Mellow as the month of May...

-#

0:44:010:44:04

Tapestry is just a zeitgeist classic.

0:44:050:44:09

It's a world away from Little Eva, let's face it!

0:44:090:44:12

-#

-I feel the earth move under my feet

-#

0:44:120:44:16

Everything that I ever wanted to accomplish with the album

0:44:160:44:20

just fell into place.

0:44:200:44:22

You always get the feeling that she's sitting playing piano and singing to you.

0:44:220:44:26

It was that kind of experience where we learned from each other.

0:44:360:44:40

And hence the joy of playing together.

0:44:400:44:44

She would suggest, while playing the song,

0:44:440:44:47

give me some little fills here, not too much,

0:44:470:44:49

just answering the vocal. Now back to playing rhythm.

0:44:490:44:52

INSTRUMENTAL

0:44:520:44:54

Carole's voice, which is like the voice of every woman's,

0:45:030:45:08

singing these songs about women's issues to a certain extent,

0:45:080:45:12

appeal to a lot of people.

0:45:120:45:14

You don't have to look like a movie star to get a record deal.

0:45:140:45:18

She was one of the first and most earthy of the crossover artists.

0:45:180:45:22

I don't think anybody including her expected her to have such success

0:45:220:45:26

but her connection with us was so profound.

0:45:260:45:29

-#

-Down to my very soul

0:45:290:45:33

-#

-I get hot and cold...

-#

0:45:330:45:36

I remember these as golden days

0:45:360:45:39

because this was when we were just a three-person unit.

0:45:390:45:44

It was just good times.

0:45:440:45:47

I remember it as almost being like having a babysitter rather than a mom.

0:45:470:45:52

Cos she was so cool. It was good times.

0:45:520:45:54

-#

-A-tumblin' down

0:45:540:45:57

-#

-A-tumblin' down

0:45:570:45:58

-#

-A-tumblin' down

0:45:580:46:01

-#

-A-tumblin' down

0:46:010:46:03

-#

-Tumblin' down.

-#

0:46:030:46:08

With James, I'm a cat. I'm a side man.

0:46:100:46:14

That's the beauty of this band too.

0:46:140:46:16

Everyone's a cat. Everyone's there to make us better.

0:46:160:46:19

It's not just musicians.

0:46:190:46:23

It's musicians who know they're there to serve the song and the performance.

0:46:230:46:27

It's a joy to be a cat.

0:46:330:46:35

It's important to talk about the sound of those records.

0:46:400:46:44

Just a nice, woody, organic sound

0:46:440:46:47

exemplified really by the guys who became known as the section.

0:46:470:46:51

We were fortunate enough to come at a time when they were putting names on albums.

0:46:510:46:55

People looked at the record, saw our names and went, "Let's call those guys for this record."

0:46:550:47:00

-Suddenly we had careers.

-Right.

-Who would have thought?

0:47:000:47:04

We were a bunch of kids amazed that we were getting to do this.

0:47:140:47:17

Everyone was what, 21, 20 years old.

0:47:170:47:21

It was like, "Somebody pinch me!"

0:47:220:47:25

Maybe for ten years, half the music made in LA was made by the same group of 20 cats.

0:47:420:47:48

What they called the LA studio mafia.

0:47:480:47:50

Writers would go, "Oh, they got those LA guys playing again."

0:47:500:47:54

But the truth is those LA guys are pretty good.

0:47:540:47:57

They played beautifully but not show off-ily.

0:47:570:48:01

It wasn't flashy, it was simple. It served the song.

0:48:010:48:06

What was very important for the three of us is that we had each other.

0:48:060:48:10

Anytime stuff would get nasty, Leland would crack a joke or Russ would pat me on the back.

0:48:100:48:15

I realised I wasn't alone. The three of us were there for each other.

0:48:150:48:18

-Very important.

-We still are.

-And we still are, absolutely.

0:48:180:48:22

Group hug?

0:48:220:48:23

-RADIO:

-A singer songwriter has no direction till he's backed up by The Section.

0:48:420:48:46

Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar, Craig Doerge and Danny Kortchmar.

0:48:460:48:50

And when they aren't in the studio, they're playing behind one of the top-selling artists

0:48:500:48:55

they back up at the world-famous Troubadour.

0:48:550:48:58

The Troubadour, of any club in the country, this is where the singer songwriter wanted to be.

0:48:590:49:05

It was the Grand Ole Opry of singer songwriters.

0:49:050:49:08

I was so excited. I've always wanted to come to America.

0:49:090:49:13

I imagined California, Los Angeles, to be exactly like the Beverly Hillbillies.

0:49:150:49:20

Which, of course, it was!

0:49:200:49:22

Most of the people who played there, you'd heard a bit about before.

0:49:220:49:26

But Elton was just totally unknown. What's he doing in this atmosphere?

0:49:260:49:30

It's like a guy from the Minors, putting him in Dodger Stadium.

0:49:300:49:34

And he started out, playing at the piano and he was kind of nervous.

0:49:340:49:39

He wasn't connecting particularly well.

0:49:390:49:42

I remember the audience, maybe three-quarters empty.

0:49:420:49:47

And thinking, "The guy's really good.

0:49:480:49:52

"Too bad he can't draw any people."

0:49:520:49:55

The guy next to me was starting to yawn.

0:49:550:49:57

He was kind of losing the audience.

0:49:570:50:00

All of a sudden, he kicks back the piano.

0:50:000:50:03

# If you feel that it's real

0:50:070:50:10

# I'm on trial and I'm here in your prison

0:50:100:50:15

# Like a coin in your mint

0:50:160:50:19

# I am dented and I'm spent with high treason

0:50:190:50:24

# Through a glass eye your throne

0:50:260:50:29

# Is the one danger zone

0:50:290:50:31

# Take me to the pilot for control

0:50:310:50:35

# Take me to the pilot of your soul

0:50:370:50:42

# Take me to the pilot Lead me through the chamber

0:50:420:50:45

# Take me to the pilot I am but a stranger... #

0:50:450:50:48

He stunned us, I want to tell you.

0:50:480:50:50

Nobody had ever seen anything quite like that before!

0:50:500:50:53

I was blown away like everybody else.

0:50:530:50:56

Wow! Great songs

0:50:560:50:59

great performance, great presence.

0:50:590:51:01

And then Elton just took it to an Elton level!

0:51:010:51:06

People were talking about it and radio starts playing him more.

0:51:060:51:09

There was an enormous explosion of interest in this guy.

0:51:090:51:15

And that night is what made him a star.

0:51:150:51:18

It was so great. It did so much for my confidence playing there.

0:51:180:51:22

Then with Bob Hilburn's review, it sealed the envelope.

0:51:220:51:26

They're on their way.

0:51:260:51:27

It was August 1970. I said, "Rejoice.

0:51:270:51:31

"Rock music, which has been going through an uneventful period lately has a new star.

0:51:310:51:36

"His name is Elton John, a 23-year-old Englishman

0:51:360:51:39

"whose US debut on Tuesday at the Troubadour was in every way magnificent."

0:51:390:51:44

I wasn't one to hold back!

0:51:440:51:47

# Take it to the pilot

0:51:470:51:48

# Lead me through the chamber

0:51:480:51:50

# Take me to the pilot

0:51:500:51:51

# I am but a stranger

0:51:510:51:52

# Take me to the pilot

0:51:520:51:54

# Lead me through the chamber

0:51:540:51:56

# Take me to the pilot

0:51:560:51:57

# I am but a stranger

0:51:570:51:58

# Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah

0:51:580:52:01

# Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, na-na-nah. #

0:52:010:52:04

When Elton came there, it changed the music scene at that moment

0:52:040:52:07

as profoundly as James did when we played there.

0:52:070:52:11

His big break is in this little folk club on Santa Monica Boulevard.

0:52:110:52:17

It sort of established the club

0:52:170:52:20

as the key place where you would hope to become some kind of star.

0:52:200:52:25

Doug Weston was very pleased with his success and felt very paternal, very responsible

0:52:250:52:30

for the success of a lot of people who were at that point huge successes

0:52:300:52:34

because of their original appearance in his club.

0:52:340:52:37

Shooey, baby.

0:52:490:52:50

The bar was it!

0:52:500:52:52

You go in the bar and see everybody in show business at that bar.

0:52:520:52:56

Graham Nash and David Crosby and Neil Young and Stephen Stills.

0:52:560:53:00

All these people were just around.

0:53:000:53:03

The guys that turned out to be The Eagles

0:53:030:53:05

used to be sitting over there all the time.

0:53:050:53:08

Glenn Frey and Henley was there.

0:53:080:53:10

That was the only time I met Janis Joplin. I sat and drank Southern Comfort with her!

0:53:100:53:15

-Barbra Steisand.

-Jack Nicholson.

0:53:150:53:17

-Jim Morrison.

-John Lennon.

0:53:170:53:19

Betty White and her husband Allen Ludden came in.

0:53:190:53:22

I'm there and she said, "We think you're funny."

0:53:220:53:25

Often when people perceive there to be a scene, sometimes there isn't. In this case, there was.

0:53:250:53:30

-It was the hang.

-It was a hang.

0:53:300:53:31

Could have been the best acts in the world on stage. We only heard them on our way to the bathroom

0:53:310:53:37

because we were part of the scene out front.

0:53:370:53:39

-Many times, they never saw the show.

-Never saw it.

-They were at the bar.

0:53:390:53:43

You'd come up to the bar and they say, "I hear you were pretty good."

0:53:430:53:46

Most people did know each other.

0:53:470:53:49

Most people in the end slept with each other!

0:53:490:53:52

2.00am rolled round. The girls got prettier and I'm sure the guys got prettier too!

0:53:520:53:56

Everybody's beautiful when you're 20!

0:53:560:53:58

There was a period of time between the coming of the birth control pill

0:53:580:54:03

and the onslaught of AIDs.

0:54:030:54:06

During that period of time,

0:54:060:54:09

if you were lucky enough to be out and single and running around,

0:54:090:54:13

sex was really a lot of fun.

0:54:130:54:17

Really a lot!

0:54:190:54:20

Let me stress that!

0:54:200:54:22

Girls, man.

0:54:230:54:25

It was girls.

0:54:250:54:27

The waitresses were great. The girls who came were great.

0:54:270:54:31

We were the guys with the guitars.

0:54:310:54:33

All I was doing was looking for love.

0:54:330:54:35

They had beautiful women at the Troubadour.

0:54:350:54:39

We had the blue skies.

0:54:390:54:41

It was going to go on for ever.

0:54:410:54:43

For the great majority of us, when we were doing pot or psychedelics,

0:54:490:54:55

things were headed in a fairly interesting direction.

0:54:550:54:59

When we started doing coke and heroin, things went to shit.

0:54:590:55:03

As they will do.

0:55:030:55:06

So, here we are again!

0:55:110:55:14

Here we are still and again!

0:55:140:55:17

Still and again, yeah.

0:55:170:55:19

So long as we don't live here.

0:55:190:55:22

To show up every 20 years or so, I guess it's OK.

0:55:220:55:25

I'll take it. If we're back here in 20 years,

0:55:250:55:28

that would be what you would call "age inappropriate"!

0:55:280:55:31

I can't even say it!

0:55:310:55:33

-Age inappropriate.

-That's right.

0:55:330:55:36

I do not want to be playing the Troubadour at age 88!

0:55:360:55:39

-There's Linda, to answer your question.

-Yeah.

0:55:400:55:43

Jackson's up there, too.

0:55:440:55:47

Everybody looks so young!

0:55:470:55:49

At the beginning, I didn't know what was going on. I was naive.

0:55:520:55:55

On the Apple record, he'd spend a long time in the bathroom and I thought he wasn't well.

0:55:550:56:00

I guess he didn't!

0:56:000:56:02

Later on, I became all too aware of exactly what was going on

0:56:020:56:05

and occasionally I'd get involved and try and find some methadone

0:56:050:56:11

to finish the last two days of the tour in some nightmare scenario.

0:56:110:56:15

But at that point my role would switch from manager to friend.

0:56:150:56:20

The point wasn't how would it affect his career and music,

0:56:200:56:23

the point was how do we keep him alive and have him not be another boring dead junkie.

0:56:230:56:28

How old were you when you were fully off it?

0:56:310:56:34

I cleaned up in 1983 at the age of 35.

0:56:340:56:39

So it's been 27 years now since I've been in recovery.

0:56:390:56:42

And I think, um...

0:56:420:56:44

You know, the shocking thing was to see that a lot of...

0:56:450:56:49

Something like 15% of people who were seriously addicted

0:56:500:56:54

get any meaningful recovery at all.

0:56:540:56:56

That is to say, 85% of people die from the disease.

0:56:560:57:00

I've been a lucky guy.

0:57:000:57:02

It really is one of those things where, each day...

0:57:020:57:05

It's funny to be sitting in a bar talking about this.

0:57:050:57:08

It was one of the occupational hazards of being night folk.

0:57:080:57:13

Entertainment people, it's just...

0:57:130:57:16

That was my blessing. I was never a night person!

0:57:160:57:19

What's your take on how difficult it is for a woman to have a career in the performing arts

0:57:190:57:26

and also maintain a family.

0:57:260:57:29

Very difficult. Very difficult.

0:57:290:57:32

The only time, I guess, when I had really young children that I ever was on tour

0:57:320:57:37

was with you.

0:57:370:57:39

I remember we were, I think, away for six weeks,

0:57:390:57:41

home for two weeks and then away for another six weeks.

0:57:410:57:45

That six weeks, it was very difficult.

0:57:450:57:48

-#

-So far away

0:57:490:57:53

-#

-Doesn't anybody stay in one place any more

0:57:530:58:00

-#

-It would be so fine to see your face at my door

0:58:010:58:07

-#

-Doesn't help to know

0:58:080:58:11

-#

-You're just time away...

-#

0:58:110:58:14

I was maybe eight years old, maybe nine.

0:58:140:58:18

She was on tour and left me behind with a friend of hers who was a nice lady

0:58:180:58:22

but she wasn't my mom.

0:58:220:58:24

And So Far Away came on the radio

0:58:240:58:27

and it could not have spoken more to me

0:58:270:58:31

than anything!

0:58:310:58:32

I missed my mother so much and listening to So Far Away

0:58:320:58:36

it played on the radio and that cry felt so good.

0:58:360:58:40

I put it on again and I cried again.

0:58:400:58:42

Then I put it on again on the record.

0:58:420:58:44

-#

-One more song about moving along the highway

0:58:450:58:50

-#

-Can't say much of anything that's new

0:58:520:58:56

-#

-If I could only work this life out my way

0:58:590:59:05

-#

-I'd rather spend it

0:59:060:59:08

-#

-Being close to you...

-#

0:59:090:59:12

The success of Tapestry was astonishing!

0:59:120:59:16

I had no idea it would do what it did.

0:59:160:59:19

The winner is Carole King, You've Got A Friend.

0:59:190:59:22

The winner, Tapestry, Carole King.

0:59:220:59:26

It's Carole King with Too Late.

0:59:260:59:28

By way of explanation, Carole's recently had a baby

0:59:320:59:37

and she's in California, working on becoming the Mother of the Year!

0:59:370:59:41

-#

-Travelling around sure gets me down and lonely

0:59:420:59:48

-#

-Nothing else to do but close my mind

0:59:500:59:54

-#

-I sure hope the road don't come to own me

0:59:561:00:02

-#

-There's so many dreams

1:00:031:00:07

-#

-I've yet to find

1:00:071:00:11

-#

-But you're so far away...

-#

1:00:131:00:17

When typical things were expected of someone who was successful.

1:00:171:00:21

You were going to go out and do interviews.

1:00:211:00:24

I didn't, and I said to Lou Adler, "I don't want to do interviews."

1:00:241:00:28

Because I felt like you. I don't want to talk about my music.

1:00:281:00:31

I want to let my music speak for itself.

1:00:311:00:33

And I'm going home.

1:00:331:00:35

People thought, "Who doesn't want to do interviews? Who doesn't want the fame?"

1:00:351:00:39

But she wanted to choose the way she lived her life

1:00:391:00:42

and not have the machine choose it for her.

1:00:421:00:47

I stayed home with Molly. I didn't go to the Grammies to accept my Grammy that year.

1:00:471:00:51

That's how I dealt with it.

1:00:511:00:54

I sort of pretended it didn't exist

1:00:541:00:56

and so I got my wish.

1:00:561:00:58

What existed, what lived, what got through to people was the music.

1:00:581:01:02

And I got to have my life.

1:01:021:01:05

PLAYS INSTRUMENTAL END TO "SO FAR AWAY"

1:01:051:01:07

It was a great scene, an inspiring scene to be in.

1:01:291:01:32

Because everybody was thinking the same thing.

1:01:321:01:36

But it wasn't so much, "I want to be an artist." It was, "I want to make it."

1:01:361:01:40

But people knew that to make it, you be an artist!

1:01:401:01:43

I remember Glenn Frey. He was in a group called Longbranch-Pennywhistle.

1:01:431:01:47

It was a duo, as I recall.

1:01:481:01:50

They had just broken up and he was adrift.

1:01:501:01:54

And he just said, "I want to be a rock'n'roll star.

1:01:541:01:59

"I want to be a rock'n'roll star so bad!"

1:01:591:02:01

# Well I'm running down the road

1:02:011:02:03

# Trying to loosen my load

1:02:031:02:05

# I've got seven women on my mind

1:02:051:02:08

# Four that wanna own me

1:02:091:02:10

# Two that wanna stone me

1:02:101:02:12

# One says she's a friend of mine

1:02:121:02:14

# Take it easy

1:02:151:02:18

# Take it easy... #

1:02:181:02:22

Glenn says, "What do you think about this for a name? Eagles."

1:02:221:02:25

And I said, "I like that. The Eagles."

1:02:251:02:29

And he said, "No. Eagles."

1:02:291:02:31

I said, "Yeah. The Eagles. Sounds good."

1:02:311:02:34

He said, "No. Eagles."

1:02:341:02:36

Finally I figured it out. "Oh, Eagles." That's the name of the group.

1:02:361:02:41

People think it's The Eagles, but it's not. It's Eagles.

1:02:411:02:44

I always liked The Eagles better, frankly, but...

1:02:441:02:47

# Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona

1:02:471:02:50

# Such a fine sight to see

1:02:501:02:53

# It's a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford

1:02:531:02:57

# Slowing down to take a look at me... #

1:02:571:03:00

Lighten up while you still can.

1:03:001:03:02

Don't even try to understand.

1:03:021:03:04

I mean, to me,

1:03:041:03:05

there in two lines is so much that is wrong

1:03:051:03:09

with this sensibility.

1:03:091:03:11

It has nothing to do with the fact that Nixon is president

1:03:111:03:15

or that war hasn't ended.

1:03:151:03:17

Nothing to do with it at all.

1:03:171:03:18

It has to do with the fact that they've been trying very hard to make it

1:03:181:03:22

and sometimes they've had to eat burritos, maybe even beans.

1:03:221:03:28

And now they don't.

1:03:281:03:30

It was really hard and they're exhausted.

1:03:301:03:33

Exhausted from this struggle!

1:03:331:03:35

# You know we got it easy

1:03:361:03:41

# We ought to take it easy... #

1:03:431:03:48

LA was the bete noire for so many rock critics

1:03:481:03:54

outside of California.

1:03:541:03:56

I used the term El Lay...

1:03:561:03:58

I just thought it was funny and insulting.

1:04:001:04:03

It just represented everything that was somehow self-satisfied.

1:04:031:04:09

-Fey.

-Navel-gazing.

1:04:091:04:12

-Detached.

-Sun-drenched.

1:04:121:04:14

Casual, cool arrogance.

1:04:141:04:17

Whereas rock'n'roll was supposed to be about the anger of the streets.

1:04:171:04:22

By that time, it had definitely hardened

1:04:221:04:25

into a truly irritating and more or less worthless sensibility.

1:04:251:04:31

We just thought it was because they were cold and starving

1:04:311:04:34

and jealous in New York

1:04:341:04:36

and we were in LA with money and beautiful women!

1:04:361:04:38

Anybody that starts making money in the rock world is going to get torn down.

1:04:381:04:43

If they paid journalists better, maybe it wouldn't happen, but they didn't!

1:04:431:04:48

We always hated that, "The California sound. The Mafia."

1:04:491:04:54

Fuck you! It ain't no mellow Mafia. We'd kick your arse in five seconds.

1:04:541:04:59

The fact that we were playing music that wasn't loud

1:04:591:05:02

did not mean we were mellow.

1:05:021:05:04

Some rock'n'roll is supposed to be scary.

1:05:081:05:10

Some is supposed to be soulful. Some is supposed to make you cry.

1:05:101:05:14

James is part of all of that.

1:05:141:05:15

# Take to the highway, won't you lend me your name

1:05:151:05:21

# Your way and my way, they seem to be one and the same

1:05:231:05:28

# Momma don't understand it

1:05:291:05:32

# She wants to know where I've been

1:05:321:05:35

# I have to be some kind of natural born fool... #

1:05:361:05:39

Early on I learned to close a periodical and put it down

1:05:391:05:43

if I came to my name in it.

1:05:431:05:45

So Lester Bangs writes this piece called "James Taylor marked for death."

1:05:451:05:49

In this fabulous piece of writing, he imagines going to North Carolina

1:05:491:05:53

and running James Taylor through with a broken off bottle.

1:05:531:05:57

It amused me because James Taylor would make mincemeat out of Lester Bangs in about three seconds!

1:05:571:06:02

People decide who is successful, not Lester Bangs or any other critic.

1:06:021:06:06

# La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

1:06:061:06:09

# Would you walk on down

1:06:121:06:14

# On down country roads. #

1:06:151:06:17

At that time, critics had a lot more clout than they have now.

1:06:171:06:20

Nobody remembers Lester Bangs. Everybody remembers James Taylor.

1:06:201:06:24

The music always wins. Always.

1:06:241:06:26

There was a lot that happened. Had just happened.

1:06:521:06:56

I think a lot of my friends and I

1:06:561:06:59

had really done a lot by the time we were 21 or 22. Been a lot of places.

1:06:591:07:07

How long can free love and pot exist

1:07:071:07:11

as a cultural foundation?

1:07:111:07:15

It can't, really.

1:07:151:07:17

In things like Running On Empty,

1:07:171:07:20

Jackson does capture

1:07:201:07:22

the true nature of what was going on here.

1:07:221:07:25

The Babylonian aspects of LA.

1:07:251:07:29

-#

-Looking out at the road rushing under the wheel

1:07:481:07:51

-#

-Looking back at the years gone by

1:07:541:07:57

-#

-Like so many summer fields

1:07:571:08:00

-#

-'65 I was seventeen and running up one-on-one

1:08:011:08:07

-#

-I don't know where I'm running now

1:08:081:08:11

-#

-I'm just running on...

-#

1:08:111:08:14

Rock has not only refused to go away, it's become an institution.

1:08:151:08:18

Americans are now spending 2 billion a year on music.

1:08:181:08:22

That's 700 million more than the movie industry grosses in one year.

1:08:221:08:27

About three times the money taken in by all spectator sports.

1:08:271:08:32

The more you have a bunch of people

1:08:321:08:35

who are in the business of cranking that stuff out,

1:08:351:08:38

the more it obscures what really comes out of people's own experience.

1:08:381:08:42

-#

-Running on

-Running on empty

1:08:421:08:46

-#

-Running on

-Running round... #

1:08:461:08:50

These were guys with too much power, too little taste,

1:08:501:08:53

big visions of themselves as king makers.

1:08:531:08:57

They built huge buildings,

1:08:571:08:59

bought jets.

1:08:591:09:00

In the long run, it didn't work out too well.

1:09:001:09:03

# It'll be all right

1:09:031:09:04

# If I can get you to smile before I leave. #

1:09:051:09:10

I think excess has the seeds of destroying anybody.

1:09:171:09:23

Whether it's too much money, too much indulgence,

1:09:231:09:26

too many choices, too many drugs.

1:09:261:09:29

# Won't you come and take me home

1:09:291:09:32

# I've been too long at the fair. #

1:09:351:09:37

Over the years, Doug became resentful of the fact

1:09:371:09:41

that Elton John would go for his club

1:09:411:09:44

where he would get all the attention and become a star,

1:09:441:09:47

while he was still Doug Weston here. They were saying, "Bye, Doug", and going on to success.

1:09:471:09:52

# I just can't stand it any more... #

1:09:521:09:55

# I went down to Jason

1:09:581:10:00

# Walked till my feet got sore

1:10:001:10:03

# But I never knew what laughing was

1:10:031:10:07

# Till you walked out the door... #

1:10:071:10:11

Doug Weston was a great club owner. That might be an oxymoron, but...

1:10:111:10:15

He was a good guy and he gave a lot of great people work.

1:10:151:10:19

But he did have a way of sort of tying you up.

1:10:191:10:22

Doug had a contract with everybody. Once you made it,

1:10:221:10:25

-you had to come back five times...

-Several times.

-For four or five years. Or two years or something.

1:10:251:10:31

Forget the Staple Centre or The Forum, everywhere we played.

1:10:311:10:35

That contract had me playing The Troubadour for ever!

1:10:351:10:39

It's got a special place in my heart,

1:10:391:10:43

although I'm glad I'm not still working here!

1:10:431:10:46

# I guess that's just my pride

1:10:461:10:49

# But I have heard the Prince of Darkness... #

1:10:491:10:53

There was bitterness. Guys who could play 4,000-seat halls

1:10:531:10:56

had to go back and play The Troubadour.

1:10:561:10:58

There was also talk about cocaine and strange ways Doug was operating.

1:10:581:11:03

He would take to the stage, scream at the audience,

1:11:031:11:06

I think on one occasion he told them all to leave!

1:11:061:11:10

Welcome to The Troubadour.

1:11:101:11:12

No, you have to do that again. Do it this way.

1:11:121:11:15

Yep, yep, yep. Unbelievable.

1:11:151:11:17

He would do some pretty crazy outlandish things,

1:11:171:11:22

such as buying a Rolls-Royce when there was no money in the bank account.

1:11:221:11:27

One time he bought an antiques store!

1:11:271:11:31

The people at the club couldn't deal with him,

1:11:311:11:33

and the people in the industry couldn't deal with him.

1:11:331:11:37

That was responsible for so many people saying, "To hell with Doug Weston."

1:11:371:11:42

# I just can't stand it any more... #

1:11:421:11:48

I come to The Troubadour right before sound check.

1:11:501:11:53

And the guy at the door says, "I don't have your name on the list."

1:11:531:11:57

I said, "Can I see the list? I probably made it!"

1:11:571:11:59

He said, "Maybe at the back door."

1:11:591:12:02

So I go round to the back door.

1:12:021:12:05

I swear this is true.

1:12:051:12:07

Same guy opens the door!

1:12:071:12:09

It was one of the reasons that I opened The Roxy.

1:12:091:12:12

The Roxy was opened specifically to out-compete The Troubadour.

1:12:201:12:24

They did it very successfully in one blow.

1:12:241:12:27

The idea of The Roxy was an old-style cabaret nightclub.

1:12:271:12:33

Very different from The Troubadour.

1:12:331:12:36

We set out to get people in there that appreciated the fact that

1:12:361:12:40

when an artist was coming in, they were treated well.

1:12:401:12:43

Then poor Doug said, "Go on, I've got The Troubadour. People will still come here.

1:12:431:12:48

"The audiences and artists will still come.

1:12:481:12:51

"They're loyal to me."

1:12:511:12:53

RADIO: 'Guess what, party people? There's a new club opening on The Strip tonight.

1:12:531:12:57

'It's The Roxy. Anticipation is running high for this venue.'

1:12:571:13:01

It was a death blow.

1:13:011:13:02

It didn't take much because they could pay more.

1:13:021:13:05

And there was no great loyalty of those acts towards Doug.

1:13:051:13:09

The summer of '75 it closed.

1:13:091:13:12

I had to sleep there to sort of guard it.

1:13:121:13:15

I remember he was really bitter about the whole thing.

1:13:151:13:18

On the marquee, he wanted to people who he blamed, put their names up on the marquee.

1:13:181:13:24

We said, "No, don't do that."

1:13:241:13:26

I think the sense of self-importance, coupled with cocaine

1:13:331:13:38

just destroyed the purity of that room.

1:13:381:13:40

It was sad to watch it decline.

1:13:401:13:43

-#

-Way over yonder

1:14:021:14:09

-#

-Is a place that I know

1:14:111:14:15

-#

-Where I can find shelter

1:14:191:14:24

-#

-From a hunger and cold...

-#

1:14:261:14:31

It was just a community.

1:14:311:14:33

Once people got successful and moved their different ways,

1:14:331:14:37

and went out to Malibu and the beach

1:14:371:14:39

there wasn't as much hang time as there was at that particular moment in time.

1:14:391:14:44

Everybody really got busy.

1:14:441:14:46

When everybody released their albums and started touring,

1:14:461:14:50

they just changed completely.

1:14:501:14:53

In my case, I wound up being a parent pretty soon

1:14:541:14:57

and there's a definite conflict between partying all night

1:14:571:15:00

and being on the job with the baby!

1:15:001:15:02

-#

-Then trouble's gonna lose me

1:15:031:15:09

-#

-Worry leave me behind

1:15:101:15:17

-#

-And I'll stand up proudly

1:15:191:15:25

-#

-In true peace of mind.

-#

1:15:261:15:30

My mom decided to move to Idaho.

1:15:301:15:33

So we moved into these cabins, no running water or electricity.

1:15:331:15:38

I think she found that living on that really basic survivalist level

1:15:381:15:44

I think this is how she grounded herself for a time.

1:15:441:15:48

I really wanted to live some place where there was a vast connection with nature.

1:15:491:15:54

When I went there, it was like, "This is good."

1:15:541:15:57

-#

-..I'll find my way

1:15:581:16:02

-#

-To the land where the honey runs...

-#

1:16:041:16:10

James was never a Los Angeles person.

1:16:111:16:15

He never lived in LA.

1:16:151:16:16

Never made a home as Carole did, and Danny and his wife did.

1:16:161:16:21

It's not only Carole and I that sort of drifted apart

1:16:221:16:27

or stopped working together.

1:16:271:16:29

Things don't last forever.

1:16:291:16:31

None of these things are meant to.

1:16:311:16:33

-#

-..That's where I'm bound.

-#

1:16:351:16:41

# Oh, the sun is surely sinking down

1:17:301:17:35

# But the moon is slowly rising

1:17:371:17:42

# So this old world must still be spinning round

1:17:451:17:49

# And I still love you

1:17:521:17:56

# So close your eyes

1:17:591:18:03

# You can close your eyes, it's all right

1:18:031:18:07

# I don't know no love songs

1:18:101:18:13

# And I can't sing the blues any more

1:18:131:18:18

# Yeah, but I can sing this song

1:18:201:18:24

# And you can sing this song

1:18:261:18:29

# When I'm gone... #

1:18:291:18:32

In 1972, or '73, I guess, we did our last shows together.

1:18:381:18:42

It was an intense period.

1:18:421:18:44

That's right, and it resonated with me so strongly

1:18:441:18:48

that when I wrote You've Got A Friend

1:18:481:18:50

it came through me. That song purely, purely came through me.

1:18:501:18:55

And it was because I knew you and I was listening to your music all the time.

1:18:551:19:01

You were the trigger for me doing that. So thank you!

1:19:011:19:04

Phew!

1:19:041:19:05

It was such a symbiotic

1:19:051:19:10

and such a mutual love, it defies description.

1:19:101:19:14

AUDIENCE: # Winter, spring, summer or fall

1:19:151:19:18

# All you've got to do is call... #

1:19:221:19:26

I always think about why, when Monet started painting Impressionism,

1:19:261:19:31

why were there suddenly six other people doing it too?

1:19:311:19:35

It's because it's the moment for it

1:19:351:19:37

and I feel like that's... That was the moment for that.

1:19:371:19:40

There was almost no barrier between the artist and the art.

1:19:411:19:47

These songs are really the fabric of a generation and of a society.

1:19:491:19:53

So when people hear them,

1:19:531:19:54

it's like smelling a clover that you remember as a child.

1:19:541:19:58

Suddenly you're thrown back in time and you're reliving some moment you had.

1:19:581:20:03

And it's deep.

1:20:031:20:05

RECORDING OF AUDIENCE SINGING "YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND"

1:20:051:20:08

This is what we're here for, to get people to feel. That's what James and Carole are here for.

1:20:591:21:05

We're not here for ourselves. We're here to get them to remember what it's like to feel.

1:21:051:21:10

And to remind them of their own humanity. That's what great music is supposed to do.

1:21:101:21:15

Nothing less.

1:21:151:21:16

# Whenever I see your smiling face

1:22:041:22:07

# I have to smile myself

1:22:071:22:09

# Because I know

1:22:091:22:10

# And when you give me that pretty little pout

1:22:151:22:18

# It turns me inside out

1:22:181:22:20

# There's something about you, baby

1:22:201:22:23

# I don't know

1:22:231:22:24

# Isn't it amazing a man like me

1:22:271:22:29

# Can feel this way

1:22:291:22:32

# Tell me how much longer

1:22:321:22:34

# It can grow stronger every day. #

1:22:341:22:39

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

1:22:391:22:42

Morgan Neville's full-length documentary is James Taylor and Carole King's first-hand account of the genesis and blossoming of the 1970s singer-songwriter culture in LA, focusing on the backgrounds and emerging collaboration between Taylor, King and the Troubadour, the famed West Hollywood club that nurtured a community of gifted young artists and singer-songwriters.

Taylor and King first performed together at the Troubadour in November 1970, and the film explores their coming together and the growth of a new, personal voice in songwriting pioneered by a small group of fledgling artists around the club. Contributors include Taylor, King, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, JD Souther, Peter Asher, Cheech & Chong, Steve Martin and Elton John.


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