JAKE HOLMES “The Above Ground Sound” Of Jake Holmes (1967)

“The Above Ground Sound” Of Jake Holmes (1967)
Jimmy Page Likes His Work

Vinyl rip of one weird album, originally released on Tower Records back in 1967. Jake Holmes’ so-called “above ground sound” is largely acoustic singer/songwriter fare, but his arrangements, instrumentation and ideas are genuinely unique, if a bit left field… and still a hard nut to crack in the new millennium. Of course, most of us only know Jake Holmes as a victim… just one of many ripped off by Led Zep’s Jimmy Page, who outright stole Holmes’ composition and arrangement of “Dazed And Confused” – a tune still legally credited to Page. According to The All Music Guide (where you can read more about this offbeat release) Holmes opened for Page’s Yardbirds in 1967, which, apparently, meant Holmes’ tune was then Jimmy’s to collect royalties on. Hear it below, along with another example of Holmes’ “above everybody’s head sound.” Why it took until 2010 for Holmes to sue is a mystery, but his decision to wait until Zeppelin generated multi-millions over decades probably benefitted his bottom line greatly. According to Wiki, Holmes’ case was dismissed and most likely settled out of court. Available on CD at Amazon,HERE.

Lonely (2:33)
Did You Know (2:48)
She Belongs To Me (2:10)
Too Long (2:42)
Genuine Imitation Life (3:56)
Dazed And Confused (3:48)
Penny’s (2:35)
Hard To Keep My Mind On You (1:59)
Wish I Was Anywhere Else (2:48)
Signs Of Age (4:00)

28 Comments

  • 1
    Willard
    December 6, 2012 - 11:26 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • 2
    buzzbabyjesus
    December 6, 2012 - 17:12 | Permalink

    You know how I feel about Jimmy Plagiarist. Cool post.

  • 4
    Duncan Walls
    December 6, 2012 - 17:21 | Permalink

    Here’s a guy who needs some respect far beyond just having written ‘Dazed & Confused’. All of his Tower LPs have their moments, but I really think he got it when he moved to Polydor in the early 70s and CBS/Columbia for what was his last for quite some time. I met him back then when he appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic opening for (Michael Kamen and) the New York Rock And Roll Ensemble sometime in 1972 in Rochester, NY at The Auditorium Theater. I had already spent every night of the week with the NYRRE & Steve Goodman a couple of months prior (THAT’S a whole ‘nother story), so I knew of the upcoming event and was thrilled that Jake Holmes was set to open and do a couple of his tunes ( most memorably his sole Top 40 hit, ‘So Close’) with the Philharmonic. Then the NYRRE came on and did a set of their Classical-Folk-Pop-Rock fusion with the Orchestra (if you don’t know them, they were amazing…Michael on keys, English horn & guitar, Dorian Rudensky on bass & cello, Marty Freidman on drums & English horn and Cliff Nevison on guitar) ended up premiering one of Micahel Kamen’s first Orchestral-Rock Fusion long pieces (I believe it was labeled a ballet).
    When the show was done the NYRRE, Jake Holmes & the conductor all piled into my car and went to the Golden Nugget on West Henrietta Road (where the NYREE had played before) and caught a set of John Prine on HIS first tour (I had driven HIM around for a day two days before). We hung out watching Prine and Holmes did a quick set on Prine’s break.
    I recall talking to him about his new LP on Columbia and he said if he didn’t sell this time he was ‘retiring’ to commercials because the pay was consistent and the hours were great and the residuals were fantastic. His last LP ( I actually think he is recording again now) was fine. Only one song I can recall and that was ‘WASP’ (as in White Anglo Saxon Protestant) which was a clever song.
    Then for the nerxt twenty years I heard his voice on TV singing in his identifiable tenor singing the praises of Thomas’s English Muffins, Purolator Air Filters, and SO many more. He is ALSO quite well known by ALL of you for his ‘Be All That You Can Be In The Army ‘ song.
    Also of note are ‘Watertown’ the LP he penned for Frank Sinatra (!) and the ‘Imitation Life Gazette’ LP that was all his songs done by The Four Seasons.
    An artists who deserved a lot more respect, IMHO.

    • 5
      Willard
      December 6, 2012 - 22:44 | Permalink

      Great info and story, thanks Duncan. I keep tellin’ ya, you need to start your own blog. You’ve got too much history and info to deny the world any longer.

    • 6
      The Chairman
      December 7, 2012 - 06:59 | Permalink

      I second Willard’s plea, Mr Duncan, Sir – start your stuff, I for one ‘ll be enlisting on the spot. Thanks a lot to the both of you, TC

  • 7
    amcaudio
    December 6, 2012 - 22:30 | Permalink

    Anyone have his hit ,So Close?
    Could you possibly make it available?
    Thanks

  • 8
    philo
    December 7, 2012 - 05:45 | Permalink

    http://www.furious.com/perfect/jakeholmes.html

    interview 10 years ago

  • 9
    Ace K
    December 7, 2012 - 05:51 | Permalink

    How had I never connected THIS Jake Holmes with the one who wrote Watertown?

    When I finally heard Watertown by Sinatra, I was not as thrilled as I had expected I would be based on the critical raves, but it IS a very interesting album to have been done by Frank Sinatra at that time.

    Check it out.

    And now I might want to re-listen to Imitation Life Gazette now that it has sunk into my thick head that he wrote that one, too.

    Thanks for LP and commentary.

    • 10
      Willard
      December 7, 2012 - 08:01 | Permalink

      Same with me. I was totally unaware of the connection. Since Watertown was on my least fave Sinatra list, I never paid it much mind.

      • 11
        Ace K
        December 9, 2012 - 17:36 | Permalink

        Yeah, I think in my original comment I underplayed how disappointed I was by “Watertown” when I finally heard it after all the raves of the supposed “best unknown Sinatra album”.

        To these ears the singing is fine (not spectacular, not bad, just average), too many of the supposedly mature lyrics are really expected cliches, and (admitting rock is my thing) the arrangements can get way too “sophisticated” (meaning indirect and cluttered).

        Can’t wait, however, to hear this.

        Ace

        • 12
          Willard
          December 9, 2012 - 18:09 | Permalink

          It’s like a lot of artists who try something different. Props to Frankie for even trying, but I was married more to his years of brilliance and, since I came to much of it late, it was easy for me to ignore what didn’t fit in. I’ve gone back to it a couple of times over the years but it’s never wowed me. The curiosity with Holmes will probably make me revisit it again, just to take another swing at at. Cheers, Ace.

          • 13
            Ace K
            December 14, 2012 - 20:36 | Permalink

            I can’t say that artistically one should “never get off the boat” (too much like Mike Love), but it is true that MOST such efforts will fail. You can’t blame ‘em for trying, and you want to encourage it, but all too often the critics who are wanting to stir things up praise “experimentation” for its own sake.

            Good to stretch out, but it’s the rare artist who can mix it up and come out better than his or her usual stuff.

            Love the site.

            Ace

            • 14
              Willard
              December 14, 2012 - 20:43 | Permalink

              Blame the Beatles… for being so damn good at it.

  • 15
    Rhod
    December 7, 2012 - 16:07 | Permalink

    What an interesting story, thanks guys for the information on Jake Holmes. Capt’n great site with great insight

    Regards

    Rhod

  • 16
    maggie
    December 7, 2012 - 22:22 | Permalink

    Lonely reminds me of The Byrds’ Eight Miles High. Which came first?

    • 17
      Willard
      December 9, 2012 - 18:10 | Permalink

      “8 Miles High” was first released as a single in March ’66. But McGuinn & Crosby never had Page’s reputation for lifting stuff.

  • 18
    AussieJohn
    December 9, 2012 - 02:43 | Permalink

    Unbelievable!
    I thought I knew it all but I actually know very little – thanks for this guys….

  • 19
    Willard
    December 9, 2012 - 18:11 | Permalink

    Same thinking happened to me when web sharing came along.

  • 20
    bodhi heeren
    December 10, 2012 - 05:24 | Permalink

    Obviously Jimmy Page lifted some elements for Jake Holmes, but having now finally heard Holmes’ version, he also added a whole lot. Holmes’ original is an intersting artefact, Led Zep.s version a full blown classic. The musicianship, the arrangement it’s just in a completely dfiferent league.

    As I have stated elsewhere (on the plagiarist blog) I sincerely wonder how many other composers work could stand up for such a minute scrutiny – unless the songwriter had lived on an isolated island his whole life!

    • 21
      Willard
      December 10, 2012 - 09:22 | Permalink

      Lifted some elements? Please tell me you’re joking. Are you referring to “elements” like the title, the melody, the descending opening riff (that defines the tune), and the lyric? Zep changing some words and adding a band doesn’t negate stealing a song outright. Glad you appreciate Zep’s “classic,” because it wouldn’t even exist unless Jake Holmes wrote it, arranged it and performed it first.

  • 22
    Duncan Walls
    December 10, 2012 - 08:59 | Permalink

    Shucks, guys, yer making me blush…but I have, as of late begun to HEAR all of you and am seriously considering doing as you said in the new year. I know, I get this all the time whenever I post a long one on Facebook or in the comments. I love to write and my head is full of arcane trivia from 40 years in the biz (thus my admiration of Miles @ Birds With Broken Wings for his stellar writing and Kevin Patrick @ So Many Records, So Little Time for his continuing exhumation of his 45 collection and reminiscing of all HIS years including VP @ Island Records BTW check HIS blog out if you haven’t yet for some of the coolest 45s ever and 90% are available for download.) Thanks for your genuine feedback and support. You guys are terrific putting up with this ramble-mouth music-nut.

    • 23
      Willard
      December 10, 2012 - 09:24 | Permalink

      Just let us know when, Duncan.

  • 24
    Duncan Walls
    December 10, 2012 - 10:34 | Permalink

    Okay, I need to ramble JUST a little more. My biggest hangup about doing a music blog has been to get the hang of doing a posting. I’d like to do ‘mixes’ like Miles, that are Artist specific but not be tied to doing the complete CD post so I can sneak by with titles that won’t get ‘read’ so easily. When I was a member of AYBCW forum I was able to post once but it took me HOURS. I already have about 100 mixes in my JRiver Media Center playlist collection and the program has a very nice 100 Random songs function that could provide interesting choices from my 4 TB collection…PLUS add to that the 10,000 CDs, 500 cassettes and 8,00 LPs and 2000 45s and 2000 78s and I think I’ll have enough to share for the rest of my life. I even have a blog that is semi-dormant on Blogger that I suppose could be a good start. Any suggestions, Willard?

  • 25
    Willard
    December 10, 2012 - 10:58 | Permalink

    Not sure what you’re saying, Duncan. It took hours to put the music together to post, or it took hours to do the actual posting itself? I know that Miles spends a LOT of time on his creations, because he also actually mixes the material together, with cross fades, etc. (He took one of our posts – an Al Kooper psychedelic collection – and redid it and it was so amazing we abandoned ours and started using his.) Plus his writing is extensive. Truth is, it takes me a while to do posts, too, and I just use ready made albums… but between the uploading, the formatting and the writing (the most time consuming for me, even though it’s usually just a few paragraphs), it’s going to take SOME degree of time. I’d be happy to help with any questions, etc. It’s been coming up on two years since I did much on Blogger, however, and they’ve changed a lot of things… so I may not know all the answers when it comes to their formatting (we still use them as a link landing page, and I struggle with their new set up… even though I only post a pic and links), so I’m not sure what you mean. When it comes to formatting… it’s relatively easy ONCE you jump through a few hoops of understanding. When I first started, I had to go back a forth a dozen times for something as simple as sizing a picture, before I understood the little ins and outs. Your milage may vary.

    As far as stylistically… albums vs songs vs compilations etc, that’s obviously up to your creativity and desires. Whatever you want to say and how you want to say it. You might find that a lot of people aren’t receptive to compilations. I know that, generally speaking, I’M not. And it took a while before I warmed up to what Miles was doing, but that’s because his expertise and quality won me over. So it took time. Some folks don’t even bother. For instance, he’s got a lot of Prince comps up… I LOVE Prince, but I’ve already got tons of it, so I tend to shy away from the duplication. I recently grabbed some Terry Reid from him because I’m clueless about Reid, and I know MIles’ work will provide an excellent introduction. But… that’s me. Crowds tend to gather around ALBUMS that they want, but then the more popular (or newer) they are, the faster they’ll get deleted. You might chat up Miles, too. He’s a nice, helpful guy and he could give you insight into the compilation style and the response he’s gotten.

    About the only thing I would suggest is that if you’re preparing for a grind of posting, minimize what you can. Miles posts every few weeks to a month. I WAS trying to do daily, but I’m giving that up to go 3 or 4 times a week. MY biggest headache is link hosts. It’s happening again with MF, who are dropping files like flies, and the hosts I use now may work today, but tomorrow will be another story.

    Feel free to contact me directly (link up in top right corner) and I’ll help with what I can.

  • 26
    Anonymous
    December 10, 2012 - 17:19 | Permalink

    Another example of a highly competent music pro who finds himself working in 1967 and goes with it. Not really a full fledged member of the hippie psychedelic revolution but a perfectly fine contribution to the zeitgeist all the same.Now that I make the connection the Four Seasons LP does sound like him, doesn’t it?

  • 27
    Duncan Walls
    December 10, 2012 - 17:28 | Permalink

    Thanks Willard. I’ve got a writing project I’m on right this week for print,but I will gather some more specific questions.Your insight is invaluable and much appreciated. WordPress seems to be the preferred medium. Am I wrong? Is there something else? I had heard Blogger can be intrusive and ready to delete at the first sign of ‘trouble’.

  • 28
    Willard
    December 10, 2012 - 17:33 | Permalink

    Well… I had to leave Blogger after a few blog deletions. They’re a might touchy. Don’t know if WordPress is any better, though. It’s the platform here, but this is my own website, so I’m not dictated by WP either.

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