Rock Chain #25: Cozy chateau

Chateau d'Herouville
PARIS, FRANCE – 1st JANUARY: view of the Chateau d’Herouville near Paris, France in 1973. The building was converted to a recording studio circa 1970. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it every first Friday of the month here in the blog.

Chateau Studios was immortalized as the title of Elton John’s album Honky Chateau. This is the album which contains the smash hit “Rocket Man” and “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”, brilliantly covered be Heart on the seminal Alive in Seattle.

Heart played its fair share of covers, especially Led Zeppelin’s. All of them pristinely played, especially “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Honors.

The Kennedy Honors that year also honored Buddy Guy with a wonderful rendition of “I’d Rather Go Blind” played by Jeff Beck and emotionally sung by Beth Hart.

Beth Hart then made a European tour alongside Joe Bonamassa with none other than Anton Fig on drums.

Anton Fig now lost his main job because he was David Letterman’s late show drummer, but he is an in-demand musician and is mostly known by Kiss fans by his brilliant work on Unmasked.

Unmasked was a huge hit in Australia and the band’s tour there was the first international tour of Kiss with Eric Carr.

Eric Carr is wearing a wig on “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” video in 19991. He was already bald from the cancer treatment and died a few days after the shoot.

“God Gave Rock and Roll to You” was originally written by Rod Argent for his band Argent. His main songwriting partner on that band was Russ Ballard.

Russ Ballard is also a great writer and among his main songs are “Ney York Groove” (definite version recorded by Ace Frehley in his first solo album) and “Since You’ve Been Gone” recorded by Rainbow on the underrated album Down To Earth.

Down to Earth was the only Rainbow album with Graham Bonnet on vocals. He later went on to sing in Alcatrazz with Yngwie Malmsteen.

Yngwie Malmsteen’s first album was also the first chance for a singer: Jeff Scott Soto.

Jeff Scott Soto sang for a multitude of groups including Journey, Talisman, Queen Extravaganza and Trans-Siberian-Orchestra.

Trans-Siberian-Orchestra is the brainchild of Paul O’Neil, great producer, arranger and writer and was part of the writing team for the band Badlands.

Badlands had in its ranks Jake E. Lee on guitar, Greg Chaisson on bass, Eric Singer on drums and Ray Gillen on vocals.

Ray Gillen sang on the Blue Murder demos, but the vocals were recorded by the guitarist Jon Sykes on the album.

John Sykes played on “Thunder and Lightning”, final studio album by Thin Lizzy.

Thin Lizzy, not many people know, released under the name of Funky Junction in 1972 an album of Deep Purple covers.

Deep Purple late keyboardist Jon Lord was planning an album together with Rick Wakeman before his untimely death.

Rick Wakeman’s album No Earthly Connection has two songs where you can hear what it seems like a waterfall. He got that effect by forbidding their bandmates to go to the bathroom for hours after a night of drinking wine. When he allowed them, he recorded the sound of all of them pissing together in an old metal tub. Do you know where this album was recorded? At Chateau Studios.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

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