From Gears to Wheels

Pt 2: White Room Blues

The September sessions in New York saw tensions rising.  “Born Under A Bad Sign” was completed but rejected as a single.  At some stage horns were overdubbed but again this was rejected.  Work began on rebuilding White Room with only the guitar intro and drums retained.  A new version of “Sitting on Top of the World” was completed.  Jack, with Felix’s support, wanted “White Room” as the single but this was not acceptable to Ahmet Ertugen – more “psychedelic hogwash”.

In October they continued work on White Room and laid down the basics of the next single and B-side:  “Anyone for Tennis” and “Pressed Rat & Warthog” which were probably unnamed at this stage.  Arguments continued but Ginger was going to have his B-side.  They returned to Europe for more touring after the inconsistent success of the US tour – triumphant on West Coast, Detroit and New York but less successful on the other East Coast gigs.  There reputation was enhanced by word of mouth and then took off with the release of Disraeli Gears.

In December they returned to New York to finish off the single.  Work even took place on the 24th of December before flying out for home. “Any One for Tennis” first master was completed, “Pressed Rat” needed a bit more work and overdubbing on “White Room” continued.  Arguments on the merit of the single reached a peak with Eric in tears.  The reality was that it was weak and “White Room” was shaping up into a masterpiece.


Footnote: The personal battles over "White Room" were intense.  It was not released as a single, in edited form, until October 1968 and became their biggest selling single, peaking at 6.  Actually the impetus came from the album cut being played on FM radio.

Much to Jack's chagrin ("It was my song"), EC opened his career reigniting performance at Live Aid with it.  It has been a staple of his concerts ever since.


© Graeme Pattingale, 2004

Central Park photo shoot Sept/Oct 67

Thanks to Manny G and Keith B for many rare  images