The Vinyl Dialogues Blog

Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

Tag: Havana New Hope

The Lords of 52nd Street: We still like them just the way they are

Billy Joel had made four albums for Columbia Records in the early to mid-1970s – “Cold Spring Harbor” in 1971; “Piano Man” in 1973; “Streetlife Serenade” in 1974: and “Turnstiles” in 1976. Joel had moderate success with a couple of those albums, but not enough for the Columbia suits. They wanted better sales results.

Columbia thought that Joel needed a strong producer on his next album, which would be called “The Stranger.” And Sir George Martin, the man who had produced the Beatles and was famous enough at that time to be known as “the Fifth Beatle,” was interested. He was coming to see Joel and his band, which included Liberty DeVitto on drums, Doug Stegmeyer on bass, Russell Javors on electric and acoustic guitar and Richie Cannata on saxophone and clarinet, all of whom had contributed to the “Turnstiles” album.

Martin liked what he saw and after the show … Read more

As it should be: Whitford St. Holmes blows the doors off Havana New Hope

It was around around 3 a.m. on a Saturday in 1971, and Derek St. Holmes had just arrived home. The high school senior was in a band called “Scott,” and it had a Friday night gig that had kept him out late, something that his parents usually weren’t too happy about.

The St. Holmes family lived in Riverview, Michigan, known as “down river” from Detroit. St. Holmes’ sister, two years his senior, was off to college, which was a break for St. Holmes. Her bedroom was bigger than his, and when she left, Derek got to move into her room and claim it as his own.

On this night, though, his parents were asleep by the time St. Holmes got home. He got to his bedroom without waking them up, but he was still hyped up from the band’s performance.

So with his guitar in hand, he sat on the … Read more

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