A Bit Like You And Me Radio

March 30, 2012

Davie Allan & The Arrows - Blues' Theme (1966)

Davie Allan created the guitar’s fuzz sound. Link Wray before him had started the distortion of guitars, but it was Davie Allan who took the distortion further and created the famous fuzz noise. Almost always backed by The Arrows, which consisted of varying musicians, his career started doing soundtrack instrumentals to teen biker and surf movies in the ‘60s. The pioneering techniques he used to create the fuzz sound would later become a staple of ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock.

The song heard at the end of this post was the breakthrough song that brought this group into the spotlight. It was the opening theme song to the film The Wild Angels and first brought widespread notice to Allan’s ‘new’ fuzz sound. It stayed on the Billboard music charts for seventeen weeks, and interestingly, was one of the first songs learned on guitar by a young Eddie Van Halen.



A Special Edition post with Davie Allan!

I am proud to introduce our fifth exclusive story from another legendary '60s rocker! Today's awesome collection of thoughts comes from the pioneer of fuzz, Davie Allan! Check out his story and then listen to "Blues Theme" below!
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

All it took for me to know what I wanted to do with my life was seeing Elvis the first time. The first record I bought was “All Shook Up” and my first guitar was made by Emenee. It was basically a four string toy that had Elvis’ picture on it. It was useless except for getting me started, but, oh, how I wish I had held on to it!

When I graduated from the surf sound (which may not be the correct term, since I was doing things like “Apache” and “Ghost Riders In the Sky”), the big change was our soundtrack from The Wild Angels. I loved what Duane Eddy had been doing with low notes and I tried to take them to another plateau with my added distortion. My attempt was to create a sound that imitated what I imagined a motorcycle might sound like if it were a musical instrument.

My 1965 Fender, “Jazzmaster” (funny, I don’t play any ”jazz” at all!), has been modified to take the surf out of it. With it being forty-seven years old, it still looks as gnarly as it sounds.

I call my music "melodic grunge" and Little Steven gave me an interesting comment when we were doing Fuzz for the Holidays in '04. He had come out here to help put together a track for Christmas with the Kranks and I said something about making mistakes in my recordings and not repairing them. He replied, "We all think they're part of the songs and wonder how you came up with them.”

Speaking of "Blues Theme," we opened Little Steven’s "Underground Garage Festival" in New York that same year with "Blues Theme" and he said “now that's the way to start a show!” He closes his radio show with the tune.

For forty-plus years, many people have said that the melody in "Blues Theme" was lifted (or stolen) from the guitar lick in "Last Train To Clarksville" [by The Monkees]. How about this bit of trivia: "Last Train to Clarksville" was recorded on July 25th, 1966 and The Wild Angels (featuring "Blues Theme") hit the theaters on July 20th, 1966.

Davie
It's always wonderful when somebody takes the time to share a story with A Bit Like You And Me. I'd like to thank Davie whole-heatedly for going above and beyond with his correspondence and sincerity toward sharing some great '60s music stories!

And guess what else! Davie Allan himself will sign every CD sold on his website. Check out his website here, and be sure to check out the merchandise, here, including his latest album, Retrophonic 3!

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?



album art

Davie Allan & The Arrows - Blues' Theme (1966)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)

14 comments:

  1. Davie Allan is a classy gentleman. He has always signed merchandise and is very polite to everyone who visits his forum on Yahoo. He is an under-rated, under-sung hero of rock n roll.

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    1. You couldn't have been more accurate. He was incredibly friendly and giving when we contacted him.

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  2. Davie Allan is the coolest guitar player to ever be.
    He may not make today's certain people's list of most prolific scale runner or fastest hype doodling but none of the list of who's who can even begin to touch his cool and his image to go with his signature guitar sounds that command mutual respect and honor.Davie Allan & The Arrows rule garageland,fuzzland,and were beatnick,punk and biker and ethnic American Indian indigenous peoples flavored before anyone knew what to label their sounds.Davie Allan is simply the guitar guy that never had to hype his guitar image.
    He just delivers the goods and boy does he!
    He's just plain cool no matter what because of his guitar ability.
    Did that tune "Blues' Theme" not knock your socks off?
    It has not lost it's punch since 1966 nor will it!



    Always was and still is my favorite guitarist of them all!

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    1. Great comment! I completely agree!

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    2. Davie Allan has a new CD out now "RETROPHONIC 3" and www.davieallan.com is where to get it and he will sign it also!

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  3. Replies
    1. Still sounds great after all these years. His unique Fuzz will never go out of style. It doesn't take but one note to know that you are listening to a Davie Allan recording! Love both Retrophonic CDs.

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    2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! There's a third retrophonic CD out now. Check it out here: http://myweb.cableone.net/grumbler/davieallan/sales.html

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    3. Still sounds great after after all these years. His unique Fuzz sound will never go out of style. Only takes one note to know that you are listening to Davie's guitar! By the way, I love ALL the Retrophonic CDs. He is a musician that will actually sign the CDs. Way to stay in personal touch with your fans.

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  4. Thanks guys! I sure appreciate the kind words. By the way, I re-released a tune on "Retrophonic 3" ("Surf Trek") that has Dick Dale as a guest. I beefed up his solo and totally re-recorded my lead.

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  5. RETROPHONIC 4 IS NOW OUT!
    www.davieallan.com

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  6. Davie Allan is The King of the Underground!
    Before The Stooges, The MC5, Mott The Hoople,The NY Dolls and Ramones they were the cool,the bad, the fuzzy!
    The music they put out made them trailblazers and The Arrows cool was to look like,sound like and they were the California sound for Von Zipper's crowd.

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  7. Davie is a great guy. When he played with Joe Cool and the Rumblers I was playing in a irish/folk band called Strange Woods. We shared sets over the fall weekends at a travelling Craft Festival in the early 90's. Later when he played in San Diego I had a friend who collected records and had one of his first albums. When I told my friend Davie was playing in town and that I knew him we went down to hear him and my friend got a nice meeting and autograph on his record sleeve.

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    1. He's definitely one of the nicest guys we've had the pleasure of interacting with. It's clear that his fan-base is quite supportive of him- this post has more comments than any other on this entire site!

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