SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND ALBUM was the Beatles’ finest work and in my view it had their best song of all-time in it. The revolutionary song was A DAY IN THE LIFE which both showed the common place part of everyday life and also the sudden unexpected side of life. The shocking part of the song included the story of TARA BROWNE. You can read more about Tara Browne later in this post and another fine article on him was written by GLENYS ROBERTS in 2012 called, “A Day in the Life: Tragic true story behind one of the Beatles’ most famous hits revealed in new book.”
(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)
Francis Schaeffer noted that King Solomon said that death can arrive unexpectedly at anytime in Ecclesiastes 9:11-13:
11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them. 13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me.
Death can come at anytime. Albert Camus in a speeding car with a pretty girl, then Camus dead. Lawrence of Arabia coming over the crest of a hill at 100 mph on his motorcycle and some boy stands in the road and Lawrence turns aside and dies.
The Beatles reached out to those touched by this reality. No wonder in the video THE AGE OF NON-REASON Schaeffer noted, ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”
How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)
Paul McCartney (The Beatles) – A Day In The Life [HD Live] – Vancouver 2012 – On The Run Tour
Tara Browne with Rolling Stones:
(Tara Browne pictured above)
A Day In A Life- The Beatles/Jeff Beck
The Beatles- A Day in the Life
What is the best Beatle song of all time? It is my opinion that is the song A DAY IN THE LIFE, and that is also the conclusion of Elvis Costello in his article “100 Greatest Beatles Songs,” September 19, 2011.
It is a song that takes a long look at the issue of death. It starts off telling the story of Tara Browne who “had made the grade” but then gets blow up in a car. It is true that Browne was a very wealthy friend of the Beatles and unfortunately he sped through a red-light in London going 100 miles per hour and ended his life. King Solomon noted, “No one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”
The Beatles- A Day in the Life
Beatles – A Day In The Life Lyrics
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph.He blew his mind out in a car
He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Nobody was really sure
If he was from the House of Lords.I saw a film today, oh boy
The English army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
I’d love to turn you on.Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream.I read the news today oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
I’d love to turn you on.
By Elvis Costello
My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .
Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.
The Beatles- A Day in the Life
‘A Day in the Life’
Recorded: January 19 and 20, February 3, 10 and 22, 1967
Released: June 2, 1967
Not released as a single
“A Day in the Life” is the sound of the Beatles on a historic roll. “It was a peak,” John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970, recalling the Sgt. Pepper period. It’s also the ultimate Lennon-McCartney collaboration: “Paul and I were definitely working together, especially on ‘A Day in the Life,'” said Lennon.
After their August 29th, 1966, concert in San Francisco, the Beatles left live performing for good. Rumors of tension within the group spread as the Beatles released no new music for months. “People in the media sensed that there was too much of a lull,” Paul McCartney said later, “which created a vacuum, so they could bitch about us now. They’d say, ‘Oh, they’ve dried up,’ but we knew we hadn’t.”
With Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles created an album of psychedelic visions; coming at the end, “A Day in the Life” sounds like the whole world falling apart. Lennon sings about death and dread in his most spectral vocal, treated with what he called his “Elvis echo” — a voice, as producer George Martin said in 1992, “which sends shivers down the spine.”
Lennon took his lyrical inspiration from the newspapers and his own life: The “lucky man who made the grade” was supposedly Tara Browne, a 21-year-old London aristocrat killed in a December 1966 car wreck, and the film in which “the English army had just won the war” probably referred to Lennon’s own recent acting role in How I Won the War. Lennon really did find a Daily Mail story about 4,000 potholes in the roads of Blackburn, Lancashire.
Lennon wrote the basic song, but he felt it needed something different for the middle section. McCartney had a brief song fragment handy, the part that begins “Woke up, fell out of bed.” “He was a bit shy about it because I think he thought, ‘It’s already a good song,'” Lennon said. But McCartney also came up with the idea to have classical musicians deliver what Martin called an “orchestral orgasm.” The February 10th session became a festive occasion, with guests like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull and Donovan. The studio was full of balloons; the formally attired orchestra members were given party hats, rubber noses and gorilla paws to wear. Martin and McCartney both conducted the musicians, having them play from the lowest note on their instruments to the highest.
Two weeks later, the Beatles added the last touch: the piano crash that hangs in the air for 53 seconds. Martin had every spare piano in the building hauled down to the Beatles’ studio, where Lennon, McCartney, Ringo Starr, Martin and roadie Mal Evans played the same E-major chord, as engineer Geoff Emerick turned up the faders to catch every last trace. By the end, the levels were up so high that you can hear Starr’s shoe squeak.
In April, two months before Sgt. Pepper came out, McCartney visited San Francisco, carrying a tape with an unfinished version of “A Day in the Life.” He gave it to members of the Jefferson Airplane, and the tape ended up at a local free-form rock station, KMPX, which put it into rotation, blowing minds all over the Haight-Ashbury community. The BBC banned the song for the druggy line “I’d love to turn you on.” They weren’t so far off base: “When [Martin] was doing his TV program on Pepper,” McCartney recalled later, “he asked me, ‘Do you know what caused Pepper?’ I said, ‘In one word, George, drugs. Pot.’ And George said, ‘No, no. But you weren’t on it all the time.’ ‘Yes, we were.’ Sgt. Pepper was a drug album.”
In truth, the song was far too intense musically and emotionally for regular radio play. It wasn’t really until the Eighties, after Lennon’s murder, that “A Day in the Life” became recognized as the band’s masterwork. In this song, as in so many other ways, the Beatles were way ahead of everyone else.
Appears On: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’
Recorded: October 17, 1963
Released: December 26, 1963
15 weeks; no. 1
When the joyous, high-end racket of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” first blasted across the airwaves, America was still reeling from the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Beatles songs had drifted across the Atlantic in a desultory way before, but no British rock & roll act had ever made the slightest impact on these shores. The Beatles and their manager, Brian Epstein, were determined to be the first, vowing that they wouldn’t come to the U.S. until they had a Number One record.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” changed everything. “Luckily, we didn’t know what America was — we just knew our dream of it — or we probably would have been too intimidated,” Paul McCartney told Rolling Stone in 1987. The single was most Americans’ first exposure to the songwriting magic of Lennon and McCartney, who composed the song sitting side by side at the piano in the London home of the parents of McCartney’s girlfriend, Jane Asher.
“I remember when we got the chord that made the song,” John Lennon later said. “We had, ‘Oh, you-u-u/Got that something,’ and Paul hits this chord, and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it! Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to write like that — both playing into each other’s noses.”
The song “was the apex of Phase One of the Beatles’ development,” said producer George Martin. “When they started out, in the ‘Love Me Do’ days, they weren’t good writers. They stole unashamedly from existing records. It wasn’t until they tasted blood that they realized they could do this, and that set them on the road to writing better songs.”
The lightning-bolt energy lunges out of the speakers with a rhythm so tricky that many bands who covered the song couldn’t figure it out. Lennon’s and McCartney’s voices constantly switch between unison and harmony. Every element of the song is a hook, from Lennon’s riffing to George Harrison’s string-snapping guitar fills to the group’s syncopated hand claps.
With advance orders at a million copies, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was released in the U.K. in late November and promptly bumped the band’s “She Loves You” from the top of the charts. After a teenager in Washington, D.C., persuaded a local DJ to seek out an import of the single, it quickly became a hit on the few American stations that managed to score a copy. Rush-released in the U.S. the day after Christmas, the song hit Number One on February 1st, 1964.
Having accomplished their goal, the Beatles’ appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, drawing 70 million viewers, the most in the history of TV to that time. “It was like a dam bursting,” Martin said.
Teens weren’t the only ones swept up in Beatlemania. Some of America’s greatest artists fell under their spell. Poet Allen Ginsberg leapt up to dance the first time he heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in a New York club. Composer Leonard Bernstein rhapsodized about the Sullivan appearance, “I fell in love with the Beatles’ music — the ineluctable beat, the Schubert-like flow of musical invention and the Fuck-You coolness of the Four Horsemen of Our Apocalypse.” Bob Dylan, who had just released The Times They Are A-Changin’, saw the future. “They were doing things nobody was doing,” Dylan said in 1971. “Their chords were outrageous. It was obvious to me they had staying power. I knew they were pointing in the direction of where music had to go. In my head, the Beatles were it.”
Appears On: Past Masters
THE BEATLES: PEPPERLAND 1967 VOL.2 Sgt. Pepper
THE BEATLES: PEPPERLAND 1967 VOL.2
April thru June of 1967 – After recording Pepper and the albums’ release – the interviews, promo videos and Mal’s home movies (complete for the first time – from several sources!) and recording sessions footage – its all here – in improved upgraded quality and some video firsts plus the Making of Pepper – enjoy these highlights!
The Beatles Interview 1966
BEATLES: MOVIES AND MEDITATION 1967 VOL.4
THE BEATLES: MOVIES AND MEDITATION 1967 VOL.4
September thru October 1967! From Magical Mystery Tour home movies and interviews to Favid Frost interview (2nd show complete) to How I won the War premiere and Pul in France – with new finds and upgrades on all!! EVERYTHING!
Inside the Making of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, Rock’s Great Concept Album
The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band may or may not still be the “greatest rock album of all time,” but—as the presenter in the documentary above remarks—it most certainly is “an extraordinary mirror of its age.” The album also marks several great leaps forward in studio recording techniques and pop songwriting, as well as production time and cost. Sgt. Pepper’s took five months to make and cost 40,000 pounds. By contrast, the first Beatles album, Please Please Me, was recorded live in a single day for a cost of about 400 pounds.
The band decided to make such investments in the studio after becoming fed up with constant touring. In addition to the grueling schedule, John Lennon had alienated many of the band’s religious American fans with the flippant “more popular than Jesus” remark. And in the Philippines, they failed to turn up for an event put on by Ferdinand Marcos, offending both the dictator and his wife; they “barely escaped with their lives,” we’re told above. Furthermore, amplification technology being what it was at the time, there was no possibility of the band’s sound on stage competing with the volume of screaming fans in the stadium crowds, and they found themselves nearly drowned out at every show.
They retreated somewhat—Harrison to India to work with Ravi Shankar, Lennon to Spain to work with filmmaker Richard Lester—until they were rallied by Paul McCartney, whom Ringo calls “the workaholic” of the band. Having firmly decided to leave the road behind for good, says McCartney, they “very much felt that it could be done better from a record than from anywhere else,” that “the record could go on tour.” Recording began on November 24, 1966 with “Strawberry Fields Forever,” a track that didn’t even appear on the album, but on its follow-up, Magical Mystery Tour.
We’re treated in the documentary to the original recording of the song, with commentary from George Martin, who explains that recording technology at the time was “in a primitive state,” only just entering the multitrack stage. Limited to four tracks at a time, engineers could not separate each instrument onto its own individual track as they do today but were forced to combine them. This limitation forced musicians and producers to make firm decisions about arrangements and commit to them with a kind of discipline that has gone by the wayside with the ease and convenience of digital technology. Martin talks at length about the making of each of the songs on the album, patiently explaining how they came to sound the way they do.
As a musician and occasional engineer myself, I find that the heart of the documentary is these moments with Martin as he plays back the recordings, track by track, enthusiastically recounting the production process. But there’s much more here to inspire fans, including interviews with the classical musicians who played on the album, stories from Paul, George, and Ringo about the writing and development of the songs, and even an interview with reclusive Beach Boy and studio wizard Brian Wilson about his Pet Sounds, an experimental precursor and inspiration for Sgt. Pepper’s. We do not hear much about that famous album cover, but you can read all about it here.
For Paul McCartney, “the big difference” Sgt. Pepper’s made was that previously “people played it a bit safe in popular music.” The Beatles “suddenly realized you didn’t have to.” Over the next few months, they cobbled together their personal influences into a glorious pastiche of rock, pop, balladeering, vaudevillian show tunes, psychedelic studio experimentation, television advertising jingles, and Indian and symphonic music—creating the world’s first concept album. Nothing like it had ever been heard before, and it may not be too much of a stretch to say that nearly every pop record since owes some debt, however small, to Sgt. Pepper’s, whether by way of the songwriting, the conceptual ingenuity, or the studio experimentation. To see the influence the album had on a handful of popular English musicians forty years later, watch the BBC television special above, produced in honor of the album’s fortieth anniversary and featuring bands like Travis, the Magic Numbers, and the Kaiser Chiefs covering the album in its entirety.
On May 19th 1967, Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein hosted a dinner party in his London home to mark the launch of the Beatles’ upcoming album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Invited to the party were a small number of important disc jockeys and journalists, and also attending were the Beatles themselves. Norrie Drummond was among the invited, representing the New Musical Express magazine.Drummond had the opportunity to briefly interview each of the Fab Four. The following interview, entitled ‘Dinner with the Beatles,’ was published one week later in NME’s May 27th issue.At the time of its release in 1967, the Sgt. Pepper album drew both praise and pans from professional critics. Meanwhile an entire generation around the globe quickly adopted it as the anthem of the times. It has since become a regular favorite on lists of the greatest albums of all time, sometimes claiming the top spot. Sgt. Pepper was released in the UK on June 1st where it became the number one LP for 27 weeks. In the United States the album was released on June 2nd, staying at number one on the Billboard charts for 15 weeks.- Jay Spangler, http://www.beatlesinterviews.org
John Lennon walked into the room first. Then came George Harrison and Paul McCartney, followed closely by Ringo Starr and road managers Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans. The Beatles had arrived at a small dinner party in Brian Epstein’s Belgravia home, to talk to journalists and disc jockeys for the first time in many months.
Despite their flamboyant clothes which made even Jimmy Savile look startled, the Beatles are the same sane, straight-forward people they were four years ago. Their opinions and beliefs are the same only now they understand why they believe in them.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think,” said John, peering at me through his wire-rimmed specs, “and only now am I beginning to realize many of the things I should have known years ago. I’m getting to understand my own feelings. Don’t forget that under this frilly shirt is a hundred-year-old man who’s seen and done so much, but at the same time knowing so little.”
John regards the Beatles new LP ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ as one of the most important steps in the group’s career.
“It had to be just right. We tried and I think succeeded in achieving what we set out to do. If we hadn’t then it wouldn’t be out now.”
Apart from his green frilly shirt John was wearing maroon trousers and round his waist was a sporran.
Why the sporran, I enquired. “A relative in Edinburgh gave it to Cynthia as a present and as there are no pockets in these trousers it comes in handy for holding my cigarettes and front door keys.”
I joined George sitting quietly on a settee nibbling on a stick of celery. He was wearing dark trousers and a maroon velvet jacket.
On the lapel was a badge from the New York Workshop of Non-violence. Their emblem is a yellow submarine with what looked like daffodils sprouting from it. “Naturally I’m opposed to all forms of war,” said George seriously. “The idea of man killing man is terrible.”
I asked him about his visit to India and what it had taught him. “Firstly I think too many people here have the wrong idea about India. Everyone immediately associates India with poverty, suffering and starvation but there’s much, much more than that. There’s the spirit of the people, the beauty and goodness. The people there have a tremendous spiritual strength which I don’t think is found elsewhere. That’s what I’ve been trying to learn about.”
He believes that religion is a day-to-day experience. “You find it all around. You live it. Religion is here and now. Not something that just comes on Sundays.”
What had he been doing for the past year, I asked. Didn’t he ever get bored? “Oh, I’ve never been bored. There’s so much to do – so much to find out about,” he said enthusiastically. “We’ve been writing and recording and so on.”
The LP ‘Sgt Pepper’ took them almost six months to make and it has received mixed reviews from the critics. Having achieved world-wide fame by singing pleasant hummable numbers, don’t they feel they may be too far ahead of the record buyers?
George thinks not. “People are very, very aware of what’s going on around them nowadays. They think for themselves and I don’t think we can ever be accused of under-estimating the intellegence of our fans.”
John agrees with him. “The people who have bought our records in the past must realize that we couldn’t go on making the same type forever. We must change and I believe those people know this.”
Of all four Beatles, Ringo I think is the one who has changed the least. Perhaps a little more talkative, more forthcoming. The one whose personality isn’t quite as obvious as the others and still the most reticent. He is very contented, and what’s best by the others is all right by him. What had inspired the sleeve cover of the album – a montage of familiar faces crowding around the Beatles?
“We just thought we’d like to put together a lot of people we like and admire.”
Included in the picture are Diana Dors, Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Shirley Temple, Max Miller, Lawrence Of Arabia, Bob Dylan, and Stuart Sutcliffe the former member of the Beatles who died in Hamburg.
I drifted over to where the now clean-shaven, and much thinner Paul was sitting sipping a glass of champagne. He greeted me in his usual charming manner and enquired after my health.
“You know,” he said, “We’ve really been looking forward to this evening. We wanted to meet a few people because so many distorted stories were being printed.”
“We have never thought about splitting up. We want to go on recording together. The Beatles live!” he said, raising his glass into the air.
In a section separated from the interview, Norrie Drummond gives an overview of the party and describes the events as they occured that evening:
Just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace stands Brian Epstein’s four-story Georgian house. On either side live doctors, business executives, architects and actors – several houses in the quiet street are up for sale.
The doorbell is answered by Epstein’s driver Brian, who says: “Go straight in. They’re up there somewhere.” Through the glass doors and on a shelf on the right is an antique clock – a Christmas present from Paul McCartney to Brian Epstein, who is standing beside it.
He is telling disc jockeys Jimmy Savile, Alan Freeman and Kenny Everett about the LP cover. Brian is delighted with it. Also in the room is Peter Brown, Brian’s right-hand man who resembles a 30-year-old Ernest Hemingway.
In the center of the room is a table laden with salads, radishes, fruit, cheeses, eggs, cream, hams and loads of other goodies.
The Beatles are at the moment upstairs surrounded by a horde of photographers. Brian welcomes the other guests as they arrive while Peter Brown plies them with champagne. Brian’s secretary Joanne Newfield flutters around delightfully, making everyone feel at home and the Beatles press officer Tony Barrow distributes cigarettes.
Photographers start coming down the stairs, then road manager Neil Aspinall – now wearing a mustache – appears with the group. “Just one more shot on the doorstep, boys,” Tony Barrow instructs the photographers.
Two minutes later the Beatles reappear minus the photographers. George and John head for the table and start eating. Paul tries to, but is cornered by two enthusiastic writers. Ringo stands smoking and talking to Jimmy Savile who’s wearing a jacket which looks like one of Fatty Arbuckle’s cast-offs.
Paul is trapped over at the window by the two scribes and begins looking round for someone to rescue him. Tony Barrow asks everyone to go upstairs to the lounge. Everyone wanders up to the spacious lounge where the LP is playing. For a couple of hours everyone chats and drinks.
Brian Epstein leaves early to head to his country cottage in Sussex. George is the first Beatle to leave – somewhat abruptly. One writer has apparantly put his foot in it and upset him.
The other three slowly drift off and the evening draws to a close.
Source: Transcribed by http://www.beatlesinterviews.org from original magazine issue
Manuel Cuevas is the designer and artist featured today!
Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez, Sr. or just Manuel (born April 23, 1933 in Coalcomán Michoacán, Mexico) is a designer best known for the garments he created for prominent rock and roll and country music acts.
Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez, Sr was born on April 23, 1933 in Coalcomán de Vázquez Pallares in Mexico as the fifth of twelve children of Esperanza Martínez (1911) and José Guadalupe Cuevas (1901). He attended the University of Guadalajaraand majored in psychology.
Manuel first learned how to sew in 1945 from his older brother, Adolfo, in Coalcoman, Michoacan, Mexico. “I started making prom dresses when I was 13,” says Manuel. “You know that grandmothers and aunts made the prom dresses for all the kids. But I started making prom dresses that were pretty expensive, and all the girls said, ‘Mommy I don’t want you to make my prom dress. I want Manuel to make my prom dress!’ I continued making prom dresses and in one year I made 77 dresses, then the next year I made 110, and from then on I hired people to help me sew. I made a fortune.”
After his success in making prom dresses in Mexico, Manuel moved to Los Angeles in 1951 and worked for several tailors. He was soon referred to and started working for Sy Devore, tailor to The Rat Pack. Manuel was offered $55 a fitting, which would often only take 15 minutes. Soon he was tailoring suits for elite members of the Los Angeles community including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Don Rickles, and Joey Bishop.
Not long after starting to work with Sy Devore, Manuel attended the Pasadena Tournament of the Roses (commonly known as the Rose Parade). He was inspired by the elaborate and flamboyant clothing. Upon learning that the pieces were designed by Nathan Turk, Manuel visited the designer to ask him who was responsible for the embroidery on his clothing. It turned out the embroidery was created by master embroiderer, Viola Grae. While still working as the “fitter” at Sy Devore’s, Manuel bartered his sewing expertise with Grae, saying he would cut the shirts and pants for her in return for teaching him the “craft of embroidery.”
It was through Viola Grae that Manuel met Nudie Cohn, famous for his grand, rhinestone embellished “Nudie Suits.” At first, Manuel was only making shirts for Nudie. Then one Saturday morning, the great World War II veteran turned actor, Audie Murphy, came in the Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors concerned about the fit of some the suits that were being made for his latest film and whether or not they would be done in time for filming on Monday morning. Manuel worked all weekend tailoring the suits, and Monday morning, delivered all the outfits to Audie Murphy. It was then that Nudie offered Manuel the full-time job he wanted. Working alongside Nudie, Manuel would later became head tailor, head designer, and eventually partner of Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in North Hollywood.
Clients knew Manuel as the quiet tailor in the back at Nudie’s who also did all of the fittings. Manuel designed and created many of the suits that Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors became famous for in the late 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s. Even though Nudie encouraged Manuel to make repeat “copies” of designs that sold well, Manuel refused. It was at Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors that Manuel became known for his one-of-a-kind designs, making each piece unique.
In September 1965 Manuel married Nudie’s only daughter, Barbara L. Cohn. They would go on to have a daughter, Morelia (born in 1968). In 1975, after Manuel and Barbara got divorced, Manuel opened his own shop, Manuel Couture, just down the street from Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in North Hollywood. Many of the friends and clients that Manuel made while working with Nudie, including Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart, and George Jones supported Manuel and his new shop.
From 1975 till 1988, Manuel Couture became the “go-to” designer and image maker for up-and-coming musicians in Los Angeles. “His customers seem to place a near-blind faith in Manuel putting their professional images in his hands, believing that what he whips up for them will be right. ‘That’s partly why I have survived as a designer all these years. People put their trust in me to create something truly unique,’ he says.” Throughout his North Hollywood career, Manuel also worked closely with famed costumer, Edith Head and made costumes for over 90 movies and 13 television shows, including making the jeans James Dean wore in the movie Giant, and Lone Ranger’s infamous mask.
After nearly 40 years in Los Angeles, Manuel Cuevas decided he needed a change. He moved his growing business and growing family (second wife Susan, and three children Morelia, Manny Jr., and Jesse-Justin) to Nashville, Tennessee. “I wanted to see the kids grow healthy and safe, and L.A. started to get a little too tight for me, and too complicated. I am thankful for my time there though because that was the place where I made my career flourish.”
Cuevas’s new design space (located at 1922 Broadway) was as equally historical as his designs. An old Victorian house near Nashville’s Music Row was four stories; three were designated for work space with the main floor designated as a showroom and retail space.  While in Nashville, with encouragement from the public, Cuevas became interested in designing for the every-day client. In 1989, with the popularity of the California Jacket worn by long-time friend and client Dwight Yoakam, Cuevas offered a limited-edition, similar version of the Hillbilly Deluxe jacket in his Nashville showroom.
After moving to Nashville, in the late 1990s, Manuel began creating his 50 State Jacket Collection as his gift back to the United States. He researched details from each of the fifty states to create the one-of-a-kind collection. The collection debuted in 2005 at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Cuevas says the goal is to eventually donate each state’s jacket to that state’s museum after it has toured the United States and internationally as a collection.
In 2005, in an effort to design for the “average Joe”, Cuevas worked with his son Manny Jr. to create a men’s and women’s luxury, ready-to-wear clothing line featured at New York Fashion Week in 2006. The limited-piece collection was manufactured in Italy and was the first and only time that Manuel produced any clothing outside of the United States.
After 25 years at 1922 Broadway, Manuel decided he needed to be closer to downtown Nashville and more open to the public. Manuel American Designs opened its new 3,100-square-foot retail space located at the corner of 8th and Broadway, a foot-traffic-heavy spot close to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Lower Broadway honkytonks. Manuel American Designs officially opened at 800 Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee, in September 2013.
On January 24, 2014, Manuel and Maria Salinas Del Carmen surprised Nashville with a “quickie” wedding at the Davidson County Courthouse. This is Manuel’s fourth marriage. Manuel still lives just outside of Nashville, and continues to design at his 800 Broadway showroom in downtown Music City.
His client list continues to grow and includes but is not limited to: all four Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Porter Wagoner, John Wayne, Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger), Dwight Eisenhower, Little Jimmy Dickens, John Lennon, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Glen Campbell, Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, the Osmonds, David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Roy Rogers, Neil Young, Elton John, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, George H. Bush,George W. Bush, the Bee Gees, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), The Jackson Five, John Travolta (Urban Cowboy), Robert Redford (The Electric Horseman), Robert Taylor, Marlon Brando, Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch, David Lee Roth, Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Shooter Jennings, Kid Rock, The Killers, Jack White, Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, Jon Pardi, Frankie Ballard, Matt Wilkinson, and countless others.
“Record companies call me to help fabricate personalities for their artists … I do for artists what they need, not what they think they need.”
Manuel designed a shirt for famed artist Salvador Dalí while working with Viola Grae. Upon receiving the shirt, Dalí looked in the mirror and says “What kind of flower is this?” Manuel said, “That is a Hispanic flower.” Dalí knew Manuel was kidding and said “I’ve got to do something for you.” He then scribbled a drawing of the two of them as they stood in front of the mirror, and Dalí then gave the original piece of art to Manuel as an impromptu gift.
Manuel is attributed as being the man who put Johnny Cash in black. It was early 1956 and Johnny Cash was just about to go on tour. He called Manuel and said I would like to have nine new suits. Three months later Cash calls Manuel and says “I got the suits I ordered from you.” “Good,” Manuel said. “Are they all right?” Cash paused. “How come they’re all black?” “They’re all black,” Manuel said, “but they’re not all the same style, you know.” “Yes,” Cash said. “So?” “So, OK, let’s try it.” Cash tried it and kept ordering from Manuel for 40 years. “I want four of this, four of that, but you…” Cash would say. “You know what?” Manuel responded. “Black,” Cash stated.
Long time friend and client, Marty Stuart, made his first pilgrimage to Hollywood and Nudie’s in 1974. He said he’d saved up $250 and was intending on buying an outfit. When he tried on a jacket that he liked, Nudie calmly informed him it that it cost $2500. Then Manuel stepped in. “He said,” Stuart remembered, “‘Someday, you will walk in here and buy the whole store. But today you get a free shirt.”
Over the course of his distinguished career, not only has Marty Stuart purchased countless Manuel suits, but he has also one of the largest and most significant collections of country music memorabilia aside from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The collection includes his personal Manuel suits, along with the Manuel suits, Nudie suits, and Nathan Turk suits that were worn by some of country music’s most influential musician’s. 
Manuel and Dwight Yoakam collaborated for about 15 years to come up with his signature, “Hillbilly Deluxe” look featuring low-slung tight-fitting jeans and sparkling arrow-stitched embroidered jackets. “In Dwight’s case, he is no dummy, he knows exactly what he wants.” Manuel says. “He said he wanted some of those short jackets from the 50’s, the boleros, so I made him one of those. We got about 3,000 calls for that jacket, they have become very popular again. He has a great respect for his older peers, like Buck Owens, Hank Williams Sr., and Ernest Tubb, so this ‘new style’ of his is a blend of the retro and the new. “I can’t say enough good things about Dwight.” Likewise, Yoakam says: “Manuel always sets aside his ego and lets me be a part of the creative process. I’ll talk about what I like and he’ll sketch it. He never copies; everything’s an original. I still wear the hat he blocked for me 10 years ago. It has become a good luck hat.”
Monday night, alongside Mr. Capps of D&D, I had the opportunity to see the latest in a series of excellent documentaries featuring the band, WILCO. Ashes of American Flags, the band’s first concert film, follows them as they trounce their way around the southeastern United States on tour in 2008. Among the many moments that stood out were drummer Glenn Kotche and guitarist Nels Clineicing themselves after a gig, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone’s spot-on South-side Chicago accent introducing backing band “The Total Pros,” and bandleader Jeff Tweedy’s Nudie suits.
Mr. Cohn, on the left, made this gold lamé suit for Elvis Presley’s LP 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.
While working for Mr. Cohn, his protégé Manuel Cuevas designed the suits for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Johnny Cash’s black suits, the roses and skeletons logo for The Grateful Dead, and Mick Jagger’s inflated lips pillows which inspired John Pasche’s tongue and lips design for The Rolling Stones.
Arguably the most famous Nudie suit, Gram Parsons wore this on the cover of The Flying Burrito Brothers’ Gilded Palace of Sin. This is the suit most-often referenced as quintessentially Nudie: high on pyrotechnics and a big ol’ middle finger, but crafted with a beautiful drape and the sharpest lines, not a stitch was out of place.The fundamentals of Mr. Tweedy’s suit, while more PC and more classically tailored, reference those of Mr. Parsons’.
http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/Groupvideo.2444759At minute 1:53 in this video of WILCO singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley Field, Mr. Tweedy talks about the Nudie suit, and at minute 4:20 he explains why he’s a fan of The St. Louis Cardinals.
See the movie. It’s screening in several North American cities over the next few weeks. In celebration of Record Store Day, they’re releasing the DVD on Saturday the 18th at independent stores nationwide, and it will be available everywhere on the 28th.
“They sound really good live. I was shocked,” a friend less familiar with the band said as we were leaving. As a fan of hyperbole, I reminded him, “Yeah, they’re the best band in America.”