Tag Archives: Led Zeppelin

The Boys Are Back In Town

Rocktown Magazine (Let your eyes feed your ears)

By Leonard Bingo

Sunset Boulevard was still reasonably quiet when I sat down with master keyboardist Homer Gibson and the notoriously difficult yet ultra-talented Denny (Killer) Kane. After all, it was still mid-morning, but the news hit my ears like a thousand cars inching along the Strip with horns blaring on a Saturday night.

Gibson, wearing his trademark vest, Bermuda shorts, and Powell River Kings t-shirt, is almost unrecognizable now after decades of hard rock star living, but Kane, in his dapper business suit and shirt that reads ‘Welcome to Orillia, home of Lightfoot and Kane’, looks young and healthy, possibly because of having his blood drained and replaced in Switzerland a decade ago.

“We’re putting the band back together again,” blurted Gibson as I sipped green tea while the pair chugged beer and ate homemade brownies they said came from one of the many female fans who regularly sent the legendary Carnaby Knights  gifts from MILK (mothers interested in licking Knights). MILK members have dedicated their lives to the band since the rockers burst onto the scene in 1964 with their massive hit ‘You Don’t Know Me But I know You (Cause I look Through Your Bathroom Window), and never gave up hope of sleeping with at least one of them, preferably Kane.


Early Carnaby Knights, before they shook the world. “We had no idea” said Homer. “The girls, the money, the fame. We weren’t ready yet.”

The two of them waited while I digested the news. The Carnaby Knights hadn’t been together in many, many years, and it seemed unreal that the band  would consider such a thing now. All four continued to live lavish lifestyles, compliments of record sales and previous world tours, and they had their successful solo careers. But now this. They’re getting back together. My tea grew cold as my head swirled.

“Why now?” I asked. “You’ve nothing left to prove. The Knights were the best, but can you do it again?”

Kane ordered another four pints for him and Homer, and looked me square in the eyes. “You bet we can, because we rock. The Carnaby Knights folded up shop way too soon. We were neck and neck with Zeppelin, we had outsold the Beatles, and women voted us the hottest rockers on the planet, but we quit because, well, we didn’t see eye to eye on a bunch of things.”

The beer arrived, and I noticed Kane and Homer looking at each other. Getting the news out was big for them too. And they seemed like old friends once again, after all those public and insane quarrels we all knew about.

I finished my tea and ordered a double tequila. It was too early for beer, but I needed a something to fully take in what I was hearing.

The Carnaby Knights were my favourite band, there was no question. Gibson on keyboards, Izzy Brash on bass, Bobby Folsom on lead, and Dougie Jumpstarter on drums were groundbreakers. They had changed the world through their music, and had become known as gurus to the guys in Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yes, even the Fab Four had asked for tips more than once.

And then there was Kane, whose vocals sent crowds wild and women into a frenzy. He was what Robert Plant aimed to be, with vocals that ranged from soft to ear shattering, melodic to punkish, sensual to violent. No one sang like Kane, and we always understood that this was a guy born to rock.

Together, the boys’ music was magical, the true inspiration for Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers, and of course the genius of Pink Floyd. Waters and Gilmour will certainly flip when they hear the news. Jann Wenner is gonna be pissed when he gets wind that I landed the scoop. But Rolling Stone was certainly no Rocktown, and the two legends wanted to tell the world through the biggest and best rock rag. So they had called me and I was there to meet them within the  hour.

“We were bored hanging out at our pads with all the dope and champagne and beer and entourages and swimming pool orgies” explained Kane. “So I rang Homer. I said, hey Homer, let’s put the band back together again, and after Homer slept on it and woke up in late afternoon a couple of days later, he called and said he was all in.”

I saw a problem though, and wasn’t sure if now was the time to bring it up. The world knew about the band’s fights over the years, the slandering of each other in the papers, the drunken episodes at the Roxy and Whisky, and the night at the Troubadour when they yelled out lewd remarks to Linda Ronstadt and were promptly thrown out into the street. Even worse, the club and Dan Tana’s restaurant next door pressed charges after Homer took a dump in front of the ticket window and drove his Harley through the high-end eatery.

“What about the other guys?” I finally asked, and the pair guzzled their beer and paused for a minute. Finally, Kane let it out after ordering four more.

“We don’t want them back,” he said angrily. “Brash was boring, he never drank or popped acid or anything that he should’ve been doing. Hell, he even stayed in his room and read books when we had our swimming pool orgies. Folsom could play, man could he play, but he was beginning to think he was bigger than the band. Don’t forget, he almost ruined us when he told the press the Knights were bigger than Sinatra. And Jumpstarter just wasn’t what we wanted in a drummer. We thought there were better guys out there, and it was a drag that he seemed to be liked by the groupies a bit too much. So after our last gig, the one when we headlined the Isle of Texada, I told Brian (Saperstein), to take care of it.”

“So now we’re looking for new members, but Clapton’s basically retired, Jack Bruce and Hendrix are dead, and Ginger Baker’s an asshole. But it’s okay, we’re starting to put the word out. Maybe we’ll be three-piece band now. Just me, Homer, and maybe Neil Peart. We’ll see. I might give (Jeff) Beck a call.”

I scribbled in my pad at a furious rate and ordered another double tequila. Eleven in the morning wasn’t too early now. “What’s gonna happen when you’re ready?” I asked.

Homer put his beer down and looked at me. “We’re gonna be huge again, that’s what’s gonna happen. We’ll start by cutting an album, maybe call it ‘The Carnaby Knights Are Back in Your Face’, and we’ll tour. Probably kick it off here in L.A., and then New York, Chicago, Paris, London, Powell River, Drumheller, Moose Jaw. Really man, I can’t wait.”

Then, while I was still slightly dazed, they simply rose and left, leaving me with my thoughts and the bill. How I’d always wanted the Carnaby Knights to play again, and now it seemed it could happen. The Knights’ music was timeless of course, always innovative, and yes, definitely unequaled.

I paid the bill, closed my notebook, and walked out onto Sunset. I could picture them again, rocking the nearby Hollywood Bowl and hopefully the Carlson Club in Powell River, where it all started, all those years ago. The news made my day, my week, my year, and I hustled to the office to file my story.

Where they were now I wasn’t sure, they had quickly disappeared down the street, but I know where I’ll be when the time comes. At their first show of course. And I’ll be in seventh heaven.

It had been a long and winding road, but the Carnaby Knights will record one more time at least, stand on stage, rock the world like they used to, and drive women insane once again. It’s unbelievable. And it’s beautiful.

Below, the Carnaby Knights at the peak of their career. But the infighting was just beginning.

 

Quarry Night

The Habs allowed three shorthanded goals during their tiresome 5-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, and I don’t want to talk about it.

How about a historic acid party at a limestone quarry outside of Orillia in the late-1960s instead?

A party where we climbed the flat sides of the place in the dark with water and rocks 50 feet below, whoopin’ and hollerin’, with brains soaked with mind-bending chemicals, probably never considering even once that we could kill ourselves.

It was a grand party, just me and the rest of The Boys, doing what we did best. Partying. In fact, we were such good partiers that some teenagers in town weren’t crazy about us showing up at their doorsteps. Something about them trying to keep their parents’ house nice.

A few didn’t mind, I guess. At least I like to think so.

Yes, the quarry party was a beauty, taken to a new level when we saw the lights of cars coming in, cars filled with people a few years older than us, who had brought their own drugs and music, and we all bonded in a fuzzy sort of way.

I won’t go into too many details. There was that time when one of my friends saw a guy wander off, and when he came back, my buddy checked where he’d been and found a bag of pills that we all shared when the older bunch weren’t looking.

A couple of us sat in the back of an older guy’s convertible and listened to the first (and newly-released) Led Zeppelin album on his fancy 8-track car stereo, and after about the third listening, the guy yanked the tape out and we swore mightily.

We calmed down when he inserted Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, also a new release, and I fell in love with that album so much that when someone asked me if I wanted to go to town with them to get some MDA, I said no, Bob Dylan’s bringing me my MDA.

And just recently I found out from one of my buddies that a girl there that night with the older guys, the girl with the cowboy hat, was Cathy Evelyn Smith, who later on would serve time in California for injecting drugs into actor John Belushi, which killed him.

Me and the other Boys still talk about the quarry from time to time. And years after the fact, I entered a contest at CHEZ 106 in Ottawa, with a free CD of the choosing to those with good stories about the 1960s.

I told the quarry story, and they sent me Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline.

One final note; that quarry was where the limestone came from to build the old Catholic church in Orillia. The church where I was an altar boy. And where, as an altar boy, I set myself on fire lighting candles.

And when I look closely at my picture below, I sure have a long finger.

altar boy

me (2)

 

 

Here’s To You, Historic Habs

leo

I saw the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1966, and Janis and Zappa in Atlantic City in ’69.

I saw Led Zeppelin in Vancouver in ’73, and Evel Knievel sail over 13 Mack trucks on his motorcycle at the CNE in ’74.

NOn my TV in Orillia I saw the Kennedy assassination in ’63, and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in ’69.

And from my couch in Powell River in 2016, I saw the Montreal Canadiens have their lousiest season in 75 years.

The historic Habs.

Something to tell my grandchildren.

And their fifth loss in a row (forget the overall loss tally) was against the Boston Bruins, with good old Brad Marchand scoring one of four Bruins goals as his team rolled over the hometown Habs 4-1.

It’s the Twilight Zone, baby.

It was last year when Marc Bergevin gave Michel Therrien a four year contract extension that kicked in this season, at $2 million per, and which takes him to 2019.

This was the report at the time;

Montreal re-signed Michel Therrien to a four-year contract extension Saturday, two weeks after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It really shows the stability that [general manager] Marc Bergevin and [owner] Geoff Molson want to establish with the Canadiens,” said Therrien on a conference call. “We’ve progressed a lot over the past two years and we want to continue to progress. It’s a sign of confidence.”

Continue to progress. Yes indeed.

Oh, you like Michel Therrien and argue that it’s not his fault this team is on the fast track into the depths of hell? Do you think getting Jonathan Drouin is the answer instead?

I don’t want my historic times tampered with. So lose boys. And then charge fans for your autograph on your days off.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 39-24, with their lone goal coming from d-man Mark Barberio. The sharpshooters are still on their extended lunch break.

Next up – Habs in Toronto on Saturday. Imagine.

Rockin’ With Claudette

You’ve got yer Zeppelin albums, yer Beatles, Stones, and Springsteen. You’ve got Dylan and Van the Man and Nirvana and the Who. You’ve got Miles Davis and Pete Seeger and the Buffalo Springfield. You’ve got U2, Metallica, Dave Van Ronk, and the Clash.

But have you got Claudette Auchu and her organ music, featuring such tunes as “It’s Impossible”, “Love Story”, “Ebb Tide”, and the always popular “Yellow Bird”?

I do!

(Claudette was the Montreal Forum organist from 1969 to 1974).

003

A Night At The Quarry

Years ago a radio station in Ottawa, CHEZ 106, asked listeners to send in stories about how they came to love certain albums, with the chance of winning a CD, and I thought I’d give it a shot. Several weeks later, I climbed up into the cab of my semi tractor, and on the radio the disc jockey was reading my letter! Great timing. Soon after that, my new CD came in the mail.

It was a short story, but today I’m giving a slightly longer version of it. There’s no hockey, remember?

 

If you were to drive along the old Rama Road outside of Orillia, past the big Rama Casino, past the site of the long-gone Orr/Walton Hockey Camp, and carry on for another few miles, you would come to an old limestone quarry where they once dragged limestone blocks across frozen Lake Couchiching and into Orillia to build the beautiful Catholic Church and probably other fine buildings too.

It’s all very important. Men found work, a church was built, and a hole got dug. And thank goodness the hole got dug, because it sure was a good place to have a party.

The hole was deep, and when the drugs took effect, we had to be careful or we’d fall to our death. We weren’t afraid though, and I suppose we weren’t very smart either. But it was the late 1960’s. Nobody was afraid or smart.

Darkness took hold around the same time as the chemicals, stars jumped around the sky, and at times we could just barely make out those of us hanging on to rocks for dear life. Such fun. Why don’t kids have fun like this anymore? Good, clean, healthy fun. It seems a shame.

Or maybe they do. But do they wear jean jackets?

At one point on this particular night, Sal found us and explained that in the pitch black, he’d put his hand down and blindly came up with a bag of unknown pills. Such grand luck. Another bag to go with the several we already had. We loved the quarry.

It was also on this night that we looked up from whatever ledge we were clinging too, and saw a parade of car lights coming in to our quarry. Yes, it seemed slightly unusual, but it could have been the Gestapo and we wouldn’t have cared. As long as they brought their own dope. The cars contained older people from Orillia, probably even 22 years old or so, and we barely knew them because damn, we didn’t have a lot in common with old folks. But they parked their cars and said hello, and we all went back to doing what we did best – clinging to ledges.

I can’t describe fully just what a grand time we had, but I can tell you that in the annals of party history, nothing could be more important than Phil Hanniford’s gigantic bluish, turquoise convertible. Phil, also an older guy, had the top down because it was fine summer night, and myself and Mike and Hobo, and probably others as well – Rugger, Pye Man, Charlie, Sal, Lifty, Baker, all sat in the back at different times and listened to music coming from the complex technology Phil had had installed – a brand new 8-track player. We’d never seen one before, at least I hadn’t, and Phil’s worked like a hot damn.

What a quarry. What a hole. What an 8-track machine. Phil put on Led Zeppelin’s first album, and we were simply taken away by this new British blues/rock band. We sat in that convertible and rocked our heads and shook our hair and looked good in our jean jackets, and I must tell you – there can’t be too many feelings better than this. Maybe a night with Patti Boyd, but that’s about it.

It was after the third or fourth time Phil had played Zeppelin for us, that he suddenly pulled the 8-track out of the machine, and the silence was shocking. We yelled and swore at him, (even though he was older), and he said to just hold on, he had something else, and then fired up Bob Dylan’s brand new release, Nashville Skyline.

I forgot I was mad at Phil in about 30 seconds. I’d always loved Dylan’s early music, but this was different. Dylan’s voice was softer and more soulful, he crooned like I didn’t know he could, and I fell in love with Nashville Skyline on that night like I’ve never loved an album before or since.

Phil played it over and over, and at some point, the boys yelled at me that they were going back into town to get some more MDA, and was I coming with them.

Nope, I said. Bob Dylan’s bringing me my MDA.

 

And for that, I won a CD from the radio station.

Mathieu Darche Stays Employed

Habs’ utility forward Mathieu Darche has signed a one-year $700,000 contract with Montreal, which is only $2,550,000 less than what Andrei Kostitsyn signed for yesterday, but nevertheless, it’s still great money for a great job.

Darche is a no-frills, hard-working player, and every team has guys like him, those in the trenches getting it done, and whose hockey card is worth three cents and will always be worth three cents. And from time to time he pots a big goal and the crowd goes wild.

And being a no-frills type doesn’t take away from the importance. Because for every Guy Lafleur you need a Murray Wilson or Jim Roberts. Or to fill up space with other examples, the Rolling Stones had Bill Wyman in the shadows behind the Jagger/Richards act, Led Zeppelin had the unheralded John Paul Jones helping Robert Plant and Jimmy Page look good, and Archie and Jughead had Pop Tate keeping them from going hungry.

Darche tries to make the most of the few minutes he’s given each game, and he seems like he’s an absolute class act. He also had twelve goals last season compared to Scott Gomez’s pathetic seven, but I digress.

Welcome back, Mathieu.

Historical footnote:

The abovementioned former Stone Bill Wyman started having a serious relationship with his girlfriend Mandy Smith when he was 47 and she was 14.  

There’s No Rush Because Of Rush

The reason we must wait from Monday to Thursday for game four to get going at the Bell Centre? Because Rush is playing on Wednesday night.

I like Rush. They’re a good Canadian band out of Toronto who’ve held their rightful place in rock’s upper hierarchy for decades. It’s not their fault we must wait. Hell, they’re big hockey fans. They’d probably rather be watching too.

I also understand that business is business, and Rush will pack the joint. But waiting three days to resume the playoff battle is a bit much considering there was no travel involved. Both teams are certainly biting at the bit. They don’t want to practice, they want to play. We want them to play. Surely the Habs in the playoffs must get first dibs at the calendar and everything else gets slotted in after. But it’s not the case.

Having playoff recess now is like watching Led Zeppelin stop halfway through a stirring rendition of Stairway to Heaven, walk off stage, drink some tea, have a quick nap, and an hour or so later resume Stairway to Heaven again. The mood gets slightly ruined.

The Habs-Bruins series was really starting to pick up steam with the Bruins winning game three and making Habs fans nervous to say the least. I know I am. It was tense and exciting, which the playoffs are suppose to be.

Then it stopped. Tea and a nap.

The league approves the schedules drawn up and so it’s the league that has denied us Battle Royale. Three days between games in the opening round, when the teams aren’t going anywhere except nearby to practice, is silly. And if the series goes to seven games, after game five we wait three more days for game six and then the seventh is the following night.

Couldn’t it just be even throughout? Every couple of days? Is it possible next year maybe?

Instead of cheers for the home team and boos for Zdeno Chara, and instead of national anthems to begin things and sirens to end periods, on Wednesday evening folks at the Bell Centre will hear the power trio Rush.

And that’s fine. Except we want our playoffs back.

Back In The Saddle Again

Carey Price stopped the pucks, Mike Cammalleri played more like Mike Cammalleri, and the Canadiens rebound after a dismal showing in St. Louis two days ago by blanking the Penguins 3-0 in Pittsburgh and causing Habs fans everywhere to enjoy things for a change after a dark and dirty last four days.

How beautiful is it when your team comes out of the gate in the first minute of two periods and puts the other team behind the eight ball before jock straps even begin to smell? It’s a sweet thing for the doers to be sure as Tomas Plekanec opened things up just 46 seconds into the game and Travis Moen repeated the act 24 seconds into the second period.

You have to sort of picture why this is such a good thing. Before the game, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma would go over things, planning stategy and winding his team up in a big way, then his boys, whooping and hollering, skate out to an adoring crowd  and bingo….Montreal scores 46 seconds in and screws it all up.

Then, in the dressing room between periods, Bylsma would pull his best Knute Rockne, motivating and convincing the boys that the game is there for the taking, gets them back into a fine frenzy, they skate back out to the adoring crowd, and pffft…..Travis Moen pricks the balloon by scoring before Mario Lemieux can even get back to his luxury box. 

And with that, the flightless birds are almost finished and the Habs feel the good life after living on skid row for the past few days.

Just an excellent afternoon for all with a stake in the Montreal Canadiens, like you and me and the Molsons. They played a fine road game, bottled up the Penguins for most of the day, and best of all, no one got hurt by Matt Cooke.

Random Notes:

PK Subban played with some flamboyance not seen lately, and personally, I’ve missed this from our young star. Yes, he’s been a fine, solid and dependable blueliner, learning mostly from Hal Gill, and this is dandy, but seeing a touch of the wild and crazy PK was a little like seeing Led Zeppelin crank it up after a soft ballad.

Mike Cammalleri, with a goal and an assist, was maybe the Habs best player on this day. This after I said the other day that he’s been but a shell of himself since his shoulder injury. But I shouldn’t take credit. Okay, I will.

Carey Price recorded his eighth shutout. And probably in direct correlation to his oustanding play this year is the fact that I noticed on Your Canadiens last week when cameras followed him around buying a bowling ball and such, that he has such a  pretty girlfriend with a gorgeous smile.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 26-20 Pittsburgh.

Next up – the red hot Capitals pay a visit to Montreal on Tuesday.

Brent Sopel, now on the shelf with a broken hand, joined his former Chicago teammates the other day to hang out with President Obama at the White House. Wouldn’t it have been great if Sopel wore a Habs jersey to the event? Or at least shouted Go Habs Go at some point.

Me And Methuselah

I became 60 years old today. I know, it’s ridiculous. It’s way too old.

If this keeps up, I’ll catch Methuselah, who apparently lived until he was 969.

When I was born, on Oct. 4th, 1950, the Rocket had only played eight seasons with the Canadiens. He’d go on for another ten years after that. Dick Irvin was coaching the Habs when my mom gave birth to me, Gerry McNeil was the goaltender having replaced Bill Durnan, and it was three long years before Jean Beliveau put the sweater on.

I was born five years before the Richard Riot and nine years before Jacques Plante decided to wear a mask for the first time. I’ve been alive for 18 of the 24 Stanley Cups Montreal has won.

I’m really freaking old. But I’ve been told a few times that I have the passion of someone half my age.

World War ll had ended only five years before my birth. Hockey telecasts wouldn’t start until I was a two-year old, in 1952. I’m the same age as Tom Petty and Jay Leno, a year older than Guy Lafleur, and three years older than Bob Gainey.

But I want to confess something. I’m glad I’m this age and wouldn’t trade it for anything younger. I mean this. I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s, in great and exciting times, and among other things, watching the Original Six teams get it on. The first expansion didn’t happen until I was 17, and so my youth was seeing what many of you only read about. 

I ate dinner with the Leafs (I know, the Leafs) at their training camp in Peterborough when I was 13. I saw the Rocket play live, as well as Jacques Plante and Doug Harvey and the rest. At one game in Toronto, my dad corralled Toe Blake and had him go into the dressing and get Doug Harvey’s autograph for me.

I saw Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Tim Horton, Stan Mikita, Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Esposito, Terry Sawchuk, Dickie Moore and all those old greats play, either live or on TV, and I was a 21 year bartender working in Sudbury when the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series was held.  And while in my 30’s I spent an evening drinking beer with an old man named Aurele Joliat.

When I was 13, the Beatles came to America for the first time and played the Ed Sullivan Show. And in the summer of 1966 when I was 15, I saw the Beatles live in Toronto.

I was a teenager when all that classic rock you know the words to was fresh and new. I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival held two weeks before Woodstock and saw a very similiar lineup as in Woodstock, and I was a 22 year old in the crowd at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum in 1973 enjoying Led Zeppelin.

You’re doing your own thing now, seeing your own players you’ll tell your grandkids about, and singing along to your own music. I say savour everything, because believe me, from the bottom of my heart, you’ll be 60 before you know it.

But don’t despair. Getting older isn’t a bad thing at all. You’ll just have to trust me on this.

The Year I Paid Absolutely No Attention To My Team

003 This is my passport photo taken when I was 17. If you look closely you can see pimples.

I was getting ready to go on a big trip, which ultimately would cause me to miss almost the entire Montreal Canadiens 1968-69 season including playoffs. I’m unable to talk about Rogie Vachon and Gump Worsley in goal and rookie coach Claude Ruel winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie coaching season and most of the other details in that year, mainly because I wasn’t around.

When this picture was taken I was working in a factory, having quit school, and was saving my money. I worked for a year in this dirty, stinking old place, but on November 22, 1968, a month after I turned 18, myself and a friend took a train to Montreal, boarded the Empress of England, and sailed for seven days and seven nights until we reached Liverpool, England. My thoughts weren’t on the Habs at all. They were filled with swinging London, the Beatles, long-legged lovelies in mini-skirts, Carnaby Street, and of course the great British bands like the Stones, the Who and the Kinks. The sounds that had come out of there while I was stuck in Orillia, and all the photos which described to me a special place where kids were cooler than cool, drove me crazy until I knew I needed to go and see for myself.

From Liverpool we took a train to London because that was ground zero of all that was good and cool about England, and we took a room at the YMCA. (A few years later I also stayed at another YMCA in Sudbury,Ontario, and I don’t know about now, but I can tell you, YMCA’s aren’t the Ritz.)

I had no idea what was happening with my Habs and I’m ashamed to say it, but I suppose I didn’t really care at this time. We were in England and that was all that mattered. While Beliveau and the Pocket Rocket zigged and zagged and the team geared up for the playoff run, I ate fish and chips, looked at double decker buses, and wondered how my hair looked. And at one point we went to the Beatles’ office on Saville Row, knocked on the door, and asked a lovely young secretary lady if the boys were in. She said no, and to this day, I’ve wondered what I would’ve done if she’d said yes.

We traveled up through the Midlands in the dead of winter, into Derby and Nottingham, hitchhiking from the other side of the road of course, and I recall sleeping standing up in a phone booth one freezing night. We also got beds at a Salvation Army shelter for the down-and-out, and it was the two of us with heavy woolen blankets over top of us, listening all night to old, homeless men snoring and burping and farting and talking drunken gibberish. But the thought of these wine-soaked, tobacco-stained creatures quickly vanished from my mind when we went to a movie house somewhere to see a young Brigitte Bardot in “And God Created Women.”

We were in Swinging England! My friend bought a Victorian top hat at a flea market which he wore around when it wasn’t wet and windy. And we saw John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at a jam-packed Railway Tavern, a place that only months later would become the nightly home of a new-formed band named Led Zeppelin.  

STC1969Back home, I didn’t know it at the time but the Canadiens were rolling along to a first place finish, with big Jean Beliveau ending up second to Phil Esposito for the Hart trophy as league MVP. Yvan Cournoyer finished with 87 points, just five ahead of Beliveau, and Tony Esposito, who of course became a huge star in Chicago, was a Hab this year and replaced Gump Worsley in goal when Worsley had some sort of nervous breakdown. At least, this is what I’ve read. I don’t know because I was over there, doing my best to be cool.

And in the playoffs, the Canadiens first swept the Rangers, beat Boston in six games, and took out St. Louis in four games to win their 16th Stanley Cup.

There’s just not a lot I can tell you about this season. I was busy.

001 003