Although the Amboy Dukes were originally organized in Chicago—which is a bit of an exaggeration because people in Chicago don’t consider Arlington Heights to be Chicago any more than they do Schaumberg—the band is better known as being from Detroit, one of the groups that had its heyday in the late 1960s along with a raft of others, including the MC5, SRC, Frost, Up, and the Bob Seger System (although purists would put “the Last Heard” in place of “System”). The first-named continues to resonate given that it had profound effects on bands that made it to a far greater extent than it ever did; the last-named has become known in relation to the Silver Bullet Band (good for him; bad for music; arguably “East Side Story,” “Heavy Music” and “2 + 2 = ?” are cuts that people should still go to school on; the later stuff: it works well in movie soundtracks).
(A digression: although it began in earnest in the early 1960s, Motown had a more lasting effect on Detroit—and music—than the aforementioned bands. It is incredible to think that out of a studio on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit (now a museum) music from the Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, the Miracles, and others was produced. One might argue that from 1961 to 1971 there was a true musical Renaissance in Detroit, the likes of which has never been bettered.)
The Amboy Dukes had one hit, “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” which was released in 1968 and was the Midwest version of a genre that came to be known as “Psychedelic Rock,” something that should have been left to the likes of Moby Grape.
The most notable sound on “Journey” was the lead guitar playing by Ted Nugent.
It would have probably been better for everyone (with the exception of the Nugent family members) had he decided to hang it up after that searing 3:11 single.
But he is still here.
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Rolling Stone issue #26 had a cover date of February 1, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Jimi Hendrix by Baron Wolman.
This issue was the look back on 1968 with cover star Jimi Hendrix honored as “Performer of the Year.” It’s crazy to think that Jimi Hendrix was an active musician at this point, still very much alive, and not just a commodified personality for endless repackaging. It’s nice to see great artists being celebrated before they’re dead.
Within a couple years, of course, Hendrix would be gone along with Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. But they’d achieve immortality in the pages of Rolling Stone — and in the mainstream American consciousness, due in no small part to Jann Wenner’s endless glorification and nostalgia.
Features: “The Memphis Debut of the Janis Joplin Revue” by Stanley Booth; “It Happened in 1968”; “Rock ’68” by Jon Landau; “Dino Valente” by Ben Fong-Torres; “Miami Pop Festival: The Most Festive Festival of 1968” by Ellen Sander; “The Band: Three New LP’s Are In The Works” by Paul Nelson; “Nash, Crosby & Stills: ‘Happiest Sounds You Ever Heard!'” by Miles; “A Short History Of Oregon” by Richard Brautigan
News: “Lower East Side: Motherfuckers Hit The Fillmore East”; “Police Harassment Staggers LA Clubs”; “Traffic Is Re-Born, Frog and New Name”; “Jefferson Airplane: New Live Album Ready to Release” by John Burks; “Nick the Greek To Do Solo LP”; “The Rascals: Won’t Play Unless Bill Is Half Black”; “FM Radio Clock”; “Columbia Records In Record Stores”; “Kingston Trio LP”; “Ravers in the Nude” by Our Special Correspondent; “Monterey Pop Film”; “TV Special & Album: Beatles First Live Concert in 2 Years”; “Gary Burton Named Jazzman of the Year”; “[Beggar’s Banquet press luncheon]”; “Country Joe & Fish Take No More Gigs”; “John and Yoko in Newark, New Jersey”; “Rock Business Booms in S.F.”
Columns: “Astrology: 1969” by Gavin Arthur; Perspectives by Ralph J. Gleason (“Dawn of True Sexual Hysteria” on Elvis Presley); Visuals by Thomas Albright (“Computer Soul”); “Books” by Richard Kostelanetz (on The Poetry of the Blues by Samuel Charters, 1963).
Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 26