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Arthur

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on November 28, 2007 at 10:52:18 pm
 

Arthur was the brainchild of 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 (Life). (Look says the figure was $80,000.) According to Life magazine, 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."

 

The group was approached by Murray Drucker (a stockholder in Arthur) in the lobby of the Nickerbocker hotel, an upscale hotel adjacent to the Peppermint Lounge, about auditioning to be the opening act for Arthur (Alden 1).  He told the group that there was a lot of excitement brewing about this new club, and that whatever band 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 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 [Sybil 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. "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 (Life). After another week, they were married (citation needed! Daily News).

 

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 (www.allmusic.com), a statistic Alden described as "pitiful" (Alden Interview 2). Alden and Tricarico was very dissatisfied with the production of the record (Alden Interview 2, Tricarico 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 some of the group's earlier demo recordings. 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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