148 – Blue Jay Way – Still Above Ground
Original version – September 6 1967
Ukulele version – November 2011
Ron Chadwick- Lead vocals, backing vocals, ukulele and bass.
Bryn Burrows- Drums, organ, backing vocals.
Recorded at SAG Studios, Whitstable, Kent, UK. November 2011.
Written and credited to George Harrison
ABOUT THE SONG
Los Angeles is exactly the same as Whitstable.
Or at least it was for George Harrison in the summer of 1967.
George was living at a rented house at 1567 Blue Jay Way during August 1967. The home affords panoramic views of Hollywood and much of the Los Angeles Basin. It is reached from downtown Los Angeles via a complicated route, difficult to navigate on a foggy night — thus creating the backdrop for the opening lines of the song:
"There’s a fog upon LA, and my friends have lost their way."
The foggy atmosphere and texture created by the special recording effects define the song, for some; they certainly represent the most fully developed aspect of it.
Harrison’s stay in the house was arranged by Brian Epstein, who called The Beatles’ attorney Robert Fitzpatrick to enquire whether a house could be leased. Fitzpatrick persuaded the owner of the house, another entertainment attorney named Ludwig Gerber, to lend Harrison his LA residence.
Ludwig Gerber was a former US Army colonel who had managed Peggy Lee for many years. He was also a film producer and lawyer. In his house there was a Hammond S-6 organ. His grandfather George Gerber was Mayor of Whitstable in 1868.
The Ukulele version was created by revolutionary performance artists “Still Above Ground” (Bryn Burrows and Ron Chadwick). In a very complex and time consuming piece they rebuilt an exact replica of George Harrison’s LA house (1567 Blue Jay Way) on The Thames Estuary (see pic) and made a recording using instruments stolen from Abbey Road Studio.
Dressed as repair men they entered the studio claiming they had been employed to “polish the organ”.
They removed a drum kit, some microphones and a Hammond Organ. The stolen equipment was then transported to their Whitstable mansion where they recorded the song.
The next morning exact replicas of the stolen items were delivered to Abbey Road Studios. Should you go there, look on the underside of The Leslie Cabinet and you will find the names “Bryn & Ron” inscribed in 7mm letters, embossed in gold.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Still Above Ground are Whitstable duo Bryn Burrows and Ron Chadwick. Ron’s alter ego is iconartman(www.iconartman.com), famous for his paintings of film and music icons. Bryn is a regular on the Whitstable (and beyond) music scene as drummer for The New White Trash (with Steve ‘Boltz’ Bolton).
Ron and Bryn have a musical history which goes back 30 years (to The Watusi Brothers) and has been resurrected early this year when Bryn made the move to Whitstable from Los Angeles.