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Arthur

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago

I have always enjoyed this photograph. (An aside: the photograph is cropped on the bottom. Currently I don't have access to a scanner that can scan the entire photograph, it is on a 11x14" sheet.) In order, the photograph shows Chuck Alden, Tom Trick, Eddie Wright, Sybil Christopher, Tom Graves, and Jordan Christopher. Kneeling in the foreground of the photograph is Richard Avedon. It is scanned from the article in Life magazine entitled "Rise and Surprise of Sybil Burton." The photograph is of the photo shoot for the photograph that would be used for the album cover of The Arthur Sound. The article discusses the opening of Arthur and it includes excerpts of an interview with Sybil Burton about her recent marriage to Jordan Christopher. The reader can only imagine how valuable this particular source was in the development of this section. The one thing that I've always remember about this photograph was the color of my father's suit. The reader will notice Tricarico's suit is lighter than the suits of the other members of the band. This is because his suit is blue and the suits of all the other members are black. He mistakenly thought that the group was taking the photograph in blue suits. Avedon was able to darken the suit in the final print of the photograph, and someone looking at this print of the photograph on the cover of The Arthur Sound would never think that Tricarico's suit in the photo shoot was originally blue.

The creation of Arthur was headed by one woman: Sybil Burton. Born Sybil Williams, she married Richard Burton at the age of 20 in 1949. Richard Burton left Sybil Burton in 1964 to marry Elizabeth Taylor. Sybil Burton decided to open a discothéque in early 1965. She gathered $70,000 from celebrity friends to fund it ("Rise and Surprise of Sybli Burton"). (Look says the figure was $80,000 ("The Wild Scene at Arthur"). The Daily News says the figure was $75,000 (Toolen and Abelman).) Burton got the name of the club from the film A Hard Day's Night, in which George Harrison of the Beatles explained his haircut: "I call it Arthur" ("Rise and Surprise of Sybli Burton").

 

The Wild Ones was approached by Murray Drucker (a stockholder in Arthur) in the lobby of the Knickerbocker hotel, an upscale hotel adjacent to the Peppermint Lounge, about auditioning to be the opening act for Arthur (Alden Interview 1).  He told the group that there was a lot of excitement brewing about this new club, and that the band that got in there woud "make it big" (Alden Interview 2). Alden recalls the day of the audition:

 

…The day of the audition it was pouring rain and we didn’t want to be lugging our equipment in the pouring rain, so Jordan [Christopher] and I went down and made some excuse, but we quite brazenly told them that if they wanted, they could come down and see us at the Peppermint Lounge. (Alden Interview 1)

 

To the band's surprise, Murray Drucker and Sybil Burton paid a visit to the Peppermint Lounge to see the Wild Ones later that week (Alden Interview 2) with this reaction:

 

And right away she [Burton] knew that we were the ones she wanted to hire. But she didn’t like to have an organ, because she wanted the British sound, with drums, guitar, singing, and we said “Oh, he plays guitar too,” and then she hired us. (Alden Interview 1)

 

Graves didn't play the guitar and never did during the band's time at Arthur (Alden Interview 2).

 

Arthur was an enormous success when it opened. According to "Rise and Surprise of Sybil Burton": "When Arthur opened last month, people fought to get past the doorman. New York is full of discothéques, but everybody wants to go to Sybil's." Four weeks after the Wild Ones came to work at Arthur, Sybil Burton and Jordan Christopher, the lead singer of the Wild Ones, had their first private date ("Rise and Surprise of Sybil Burton"). After another week, they were married (Toolen and Abelman).

 

Arthur enjoyed tremendous success while the Wild Ones were the house band there. While at Arthur, the band recorded its first LP, The Arthur Sound (Alden Interview 2). It managed to reach 149 on the US Billboard Top 200 (Allmusic), a statistic Alden described as "pitiful" (Alden Interview 2). Alden and Tricarico was very dissatisfied with the production of the record (Alden Interview 2). In the author's own opinion, the recording is quite poor in quality, and not indicative at all of the musical ability of the members of the Wild Ones, as compared with the group's earlier demo recording. While the United Artists press release concerning the release of the album may make the reader believe otherwise, the album did not do very well. This may have to do with the fact that Jordan Christopher left the group soon after the album was released (Alden Interview 2).

 

Next Page: The Wild Ones without Jordan

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