Tuesday, February 21, 2017

California Dreamin': Singapore Boy Henri Gann (2)

               Light My Fire: The Doors. Video: The Doors Remastered.
Part 2

By 1967, I had settled down to a life typical of many of the college students in LA. I was managing three part time jobs and commuting between school and work. With the jobs, I was able to afford a new Ford Mustang, the iconic rock and roll car of the 60's. The Mustang was an innovation of its time in car technology much like the Tesla car is today.
Cruisin' along Sunset Blvd on a Friday or Saturday night was a relaxing thing to do after a stressful week. Generally I would hangout with my college friends, who also had Mustangs, at a drive-in restaurant. The popular ones near us were Bob's Big Boy in Glendale or Tiny Naylor in Hollywood. 

After the drive-ins, we would all go for a drive through Sunset Boulevard to the Whisky A-Go-Go or the Gazzaris Club in Hollywood. The drive generally took 2 hours or more in a bumper to bumper traffic, with loud music emanating from many of the automobiles. 

George Lucas had reenacted this scene in his movie American Graffiti released in 1973. My best memories were the continuous organ and guitar solo accompaniment of the Door's: Light My Fire and the announcing of the group,  "S-t-o-n-e-s" in a studio altered echo delay voice prior to playing, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."
Exploring clubs was another thing we did  on weekends. At the Whisky-A-Go-Go we witnessed an unforgettable performance of Jim Morrison and the Doors

However, at the Odd House, a soul hits club in Santa Monica, it was the music of James Brown and Wilson Pickett. We even drove as far as Hermosa Beach one night to the Lighthouse, a popular jazz club, just to see the legendary jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. He had a unique guitar style of soloing his music with chords which is still widely imitated by jazz guitarist today. 
Towards the end of the 60's, many of the music had a psychedelic beat to it. Most notable of these were Sgt Pepper by the Beatles and Good Vibration by the Beach Boys. 

The 5th Dimension also had a few hits from the popular musical "Hair" shown at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood. My favorites were White Rabbit by Jefferson Starship, California Dreamin' by the Mamas and Papas and If You're Going To San Francisco by Scott Mackenzie.

The end of the 60s were happy moments in my life when I met my wife, Christine.  I was visiting my friend Aziz at his uncle's club, the Fez in Hollywood. She and her friend Bernie were trying to catch a bus home near the Fez late one night after visiting the Aquarius Theater

Being from UK and having just been in LA for a few days, they did not know that there was no bus service after midnight in LA. My offer to drive them home led to a new life for all of us. First, my friend Aziz and Bernie tied their knot and than we did in 1970 when I left LA for Amherst, Massachusetts to do my post graduate studies.
In a short period of 5 years in the 60's, I had accomplished my American dream. To this day, the 60's music still bring back wonderful memories of my journey to America. My interest in cars continued through the 80's when I bought two Ferraris.

Spotify for connection:

Read Part 1: Singapore Boy Makes Good: Henri Gann:

Article and Images from: Henri Gann (Copyrights Reserved).
                California Dreamin': Mamas n Papas Video by: acyrgodoy


henri gann said...

What a life you have had Henry!


henri gann said...

Henri: That was good. Are you sure we were that young? Pictures are almost 50 years old. Thanks Henry. Nice memories. Aziz

henri gann said...

Great blog Henry, Can print all of it? Can I get copies of the pics? J and A are interested to! Glad your enjoying your trip - love Bernie and Az

henri gann said...

Hi Henri
Received your email and 2 attachments with thanks. I am very well thank you for asking. Wishing you and family are all in the very pink of health as well.

Life is short and time seems to fly by so swiftly. It will be great to be doing things that we like that can also benefit others whilst time is still with us. Appreciate your keeping in touch and wishing you life's very best. Do keep on playing the guitar and stay healthy, young and happy. I do the same at my end.

Warmest best wishes

James Lau

henri gann said...

Congratulations !

Eng Hong Lee

henri gann said...

A good article. Carolyn did a good proof read. When are you coming back to LA?
Enjoy while you still can,
We will see you home soon!
Nancy Yee

henri gann said...

Your aritcle was so well written---so interesting, a very good read.
Tan Lay Tuan ( Mr Tan of TMA Ltd daughter )

henri gann said...

Hi Henri, well written, enjoyed reading both articles.


henri gann said...

Henri, amazing that you could remember such details after so many decades. Got to know much better.
I can relate to your college days as mine was in Eugene, Oregon.



henri gann said...

Thanks for sharing your story with your fans. Congratulations to a self made man who held three part time jobs to be self reliant and independent. First car I bought was an Oldsmobile, then a Barracuda. Nostalgic time with the music of the 60s and 70s. Enjoy your golden years, you deserve it.
Samuel Foo

henri gann said...

Very honored to have my son-in-law Alan Lee, a PhD graduate from MIT write this
"From Alan: "Your dad's a pretty good writer."
my daughter Jessica

Unknown said...

Is there going to be more Henry? It's a wonderful legacy of your and Christine's beginnings and your passion with cars and music. What great memories to share with your family and friends. Your Grandchildren are going to see their Grandparents in a different light. Love Wendy & Phil

henri gann said...

"Light My Fire" by the Doors celebrated its 50th birthday last Saturday ( July 29, 2017 ). The Doors was the iconic group of LA in the 60s at the time when many recording artiste in America were placed on pause because of the British invasion.
Robby Kreiger, lead guitarist of the Doors who wrote most the the hit song, told ABC Entertainment news that he and his band mates always knew that Light My Fire was their best tunes because "whenever we'd play it people would just go crazy."
The full version of the song was an unusual 7-minutes long and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.