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”.
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
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