Saturday, December 26, 2009

Heart's Magazine: The SPARTY 1024 LP

It was spring, 1977, I was just 18, and I was walking down 7th Avenue to Penn Station. It had been a rough week. Magazine, the long player that Mushroom Records had released without the cooperation of the group Heart, had been pulled off the shelves. No doubt, despite being their biggest fan, I wouldn't be seeing a copy of that LP any time soon.



As had been my wont when traversing this stretch of 7th Avenue, I stopped into a small record store I knew on the way to the train depot. (It might have been a J&R Music Annex on the west side maybe at 36th Street.) While nonchalantly browsing through the rock bin I happened upon the Heart divider, looked inside and was taken aback. There was a copy of Heart's Magazine.



But the cardboard used for the album jacket felt thin? And there was a little white sticker on the jacket back that was blank? And the jacket itself was unwrapped but placed in a plastic sleeve? After a moment of consternation, I realized it was different from what I was accustomed to in the United States - plus the jacket back mentioned something about London. I've since found out that 50,000 copies of Mushroom's original release of Magazine had been pressed for North America. Some of these were sold in stores, mostly in Los Angeles and Hollywood, Florida. But the album was also briefly released in Europe through Arista Records (under catalog identifier SPARTY 1024). What I had found was an imported copy of this European release - my first store-bought import. I refer to this LP as Magazine (The SPARTY 1024 LP) when it comes up in casual conversation.



Heart had a contract with Mushroom Records for two albums. Magazine was originally intended to follow-up their 1976 Mushroom debut Dreamboat Annie. The group began recording 5 songs that would have been part of this second album. Then, Shelly Siegel took out an ad in Rolling Stone to congratulate the respective successes of the group and his company. The ad showed a picture of Heart group members (and sisters) Ann and Nancy Wilson bare-shouldered with the suggestive caption, It was only our first time.


According to legend, after one live appearance when a reporter suggested that the sisters were sexual partners, Ann returned to her hotel room and wrote the lyrics to Barracuda to relieve her frustration. Thanks to Retrospace for the infamous ad. I searched this here internet for hours looking for a scan before coming across the blog.


None to pleased with this advertisement, Heart also felt that they had now proven themselves as hit-makers and expected Mushroom to act accordingly and raise their contracted royalty rate. To the surprise of the group and their producer, Mike Flicker, the label refused to pay more and decided not to release a second Heart album. Flicker ended his relationship with the label and Heart followed, believing they had no obligation to stay without their producer. They accepted a more lucrative offer from CBS Records (now Sony BMG) subsidiary, Portrait Records and began preparing Little Queen - seemingly breaching the contract with Mushroom.



Shelly Siegel though believed Mushroom had the legal right to release a second Heart album so he compiled the rough mixes of the 5 studio recordings (Devil Delight, the single Heartless, the Badfinger chestnut Without You, Magazine and Just the Wine), B-side Here Song and three live songs recorded in 1975 at the Aquarius Tavern and released the collection as Magazine. The back cover of the LP carries a disclaimer.


Mushroom Records regrets that a contractual dispute has made it necessary to complete this record without the cooperation or endorsement of the group Heart, who have expressly disclaimed artistic involvement in completing this record. We did not feel that a contractual dispute should prevent the public from hearing and enjoying these incredible tunes and recordings.


Unhappy with the demo-like-quality of the release, Heart took Mushroom to court to stop the sale of the album. The Seattle court ruled that Mushroom had to recall the album and unsold copies were reportedly destroyed. When the dust settled, the judge found in Mushroom's favor and required that Heart honor their contract and provide a second album. Heart chose to fulfill this obligation by working with the original Magazine tapes: remixing the songs, adding new lead vocals and editing. Reportedly, Mushroom employed a security guard to make sure that the group didn't try to erase the multitrack master tapes while in the studio.



The official revised version of the album was released with a different track sequence (and no disclaimer) in April 1978. Heart was never particularly happy with the album's sound but nevertheless it peaked at number 17 on the Billboard album chart and sold over a million copies. Heartless was a Top 40 hit. In the early 1980s Mushroom Records went out of business, and Heart's two albums for the label were purchased and re-issued by Capitol Records.



Which brings us back to the spring of 1977 and me holding the now rare long player Magazine, the SPARTY 1024 LP with disclaimer. I ran to the cash register, ran out of the store, ran to Penn Station, and ran up and down the aisles of the train as it chugged along past Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh, Seaford and Massapequa to stop at Massapequa Park. I finally made it home and dropped the platter on the turntable. Those very tunes I heard that day are the very same ones I've now posted as Heart_Magazine_SPARTY_1024_Vinyl. Email me for the link to download this LP.



Track listing - 1977 Release

"Heartless" (Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson) – 5:00
"Without You" (Peter Ham, Tom Evans) – 4:44
"Just The Wine" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 4:30
"Magazine" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 6:55
"Here Song" (A. Wilson) – 1:35
"Devil Delight" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 4:58
"Blues Medley" – 7:11 
(Mother Earth) (You Shook Me Babe)
(Peter Chapman, Lewis Simkin, Willie Dixon)
"I've Got The Music In Me" (Bias Boshell) – 6:01

Track listing - 1978 Release

"Heartless" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 5:02
"Devil Delight" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 5:00
"Just The Wine" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 4:16
"Without You" (Ham, Evans) – 4:42
"Magazine" (A. Wilson, N. Wilson) – 6:22
"Here Song" (A. Wilson) – 1:34
"Mother Earth Blues" (Chapman, Simkin, Dixon)
– 5:59
"I've Got The Music In Me" (Boshell) – 6:18

Performers

Ann Wilson: vocals, guitar, keyboards, 
violin, flute
Nancy Wilson: vocals, guitar, piano
Michael DeRosier: drums
Roger Fisher: guitar, steel guitar
Steve Fossen: bass guitar, percussion
Howard Leese: guitar, keyboards, 
synthesizer, vocals

These files are uploaded for historical purposes only as part of the multimediacal musings of A Man And A Mouse. Please don't hurt me.


19 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thank you sooo much for this post! I have TWO copies of the original version, but I don't have good enough equipment to duplicate it.
    Thanks again!

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  3. Glad you found your way to the tracks, WarmWind. Thanks for letting me know too.

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  4. What a great post! Unfortunately the link is dead. Would love to see it up again. Thanks!

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  5. Gregory, I'll put it back up but I won't be able to do it until the weekend. The computer that the files are on are not in the same room as these fingers - and won't be until then. I'll post a new link then. Glad you liked the post.

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  6. A week later than I said, Gregory, but a new link is now at the bottom of the article. Let me know that you were successful in your download.

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  7. I have a similar story from the 1970s about finding this in the record store. I think it was something like $18 which as we know was a fortune back then. But Heart had really come through when I gambled on Dreamboat Annie, and I liked Heartless from the radio (they were playing the original version then). I still have my copy, and I've ripped it to iTunes. But my Here Song track is a bit worn due to repeated playings in the '70's while learning how to play finger-picked guitar. I know you said it's a B-side but I really like that track. Thanks for posting this!

    Vic in Long Island

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  8. Thanks for your story, Vic.

    To all: Rapidshare keeps blocking this file as copyrighted material. (Never seen THAT before.) I probably should change the file name but, in the meantime, email me if you can't download the ZIP.

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  9. thx for this piece of Heart history michael!

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  10. Thanks a lot for providing the new link. DL took less than 8 minutes Excellent recording! If you get a chance, check out Heart: Night At Sky Church, a DVD recorded at Seattle's Experience Music Project. Heart played a few songs from their new album Red Velvet Car. Alison Krauss even joined them on stage for a few songs, which was awesome.

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  11. One further note on this album;

    The album cover art was painted by Seattle Artist Loren Salazar while he was living in Los Angles.
    Salazar was a friend not only of the band Heart, but he also became a close friend of Mr. Shelly Siegle.
    The artwork by Salazar was never intended as an album cover, but was commissioned by Mr. Siegle to be used in promotions. Siegal was so pleased with the finished design, that he offered Salazar the possibility of using it for the controversial Magazine Album. With Salazar's tremendous respect for Mr. Siegal, and his feeling that part of Heart's early success was do in part to the brilliant work of Mushroom records under the direction of Shelly Siegal, Salazar agreed.
    The image by Salazar was released as quite possibly the first "Picture Disk" ever released and appeared in an article about the new picture albums in News Week Magazine.
    Mushroom Records closed after Shelly Segal unexpectedly passed away shortly there after. The song Barracuda, was written by Ann Wilson about Shelly Segal.In reality, Shelly Siegle was a wonderful, resourceful, brilliant person I will never forget.
    Salazar's artworks can be found at www.lorensalazar.com
    Loren Salazar

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  12. Thank you so much for the information on the album cover Loren (if I may) and the 'insider' info on Shelly Seigel. It was so good I could've stuck it in the post itself!

    best,
    michael

    ps: I still have that picture disc

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    1. Shelly Siegle was a great personal friend and a hero of mine. An amazing force and tireless individual with out whom, we might not have the wonderful work of Heart. The fact that Shelly could break this unknown band from nowhere (Seattle/Vancover B.C.) in the midst of monster releases like Frampton Comes Alive and Fleetwood Mac is a testament to not only the band, but to the amazing work , energy and vision of Mr. Siegle. Being near the center of the break up and legal fight with Heart, Shelly told me on more that one occasion that after this is over, you will see who really is Heart; not the democracy that Ann argued, but her self image first and foremost. It is sad that Ann & Nancy couldn't get over themselves and fully appreciate not only the other artists who made them famous, but the tireless, genius work of Mr. Siegle. I will always remember Shelly. What a great person and visionary.

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  13. Way late to your party but after a friend on Facebook posted a Heart YouTube video I had to go Google hunting ... I am in L.A. and bought the original US Mushroom "Magazine" (unauthorized version) in 1977. It's still in its shrink wrap today. Unfortunately at some point later I couldn't resist breaking the seal to look at the record inside (I think I played it once) so it's no longer "still sealed" and probably worth a lot less as a result :(

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  14. You're never late to my party, Riot. Thanks for commenting. Your unwrapped album might be worth less monetarily but is everything's value measured in terms of cash? ;>

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  15. Mutiny Up My SleeveJuly 31, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    I have this Sparty 1024 Arista version made by EMI in Holland as well..how many were made and what's it worth now? Got my copy in a "Head Shop" in Marquette Michigan of all places ...in 1977.

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  16. Even LATER to the party. But the link is dead so I can't partake in the awesome. Any way you can link it back up? Or PM me?

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  17. Hermoine, email me at michael@AManAndAMouse.com for link

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  18. Dude, just got it - thanks so much!!

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