Get this crazy baby off my head!


Joe Jammer

Joe Jammer - Bad News - 1972 - Regal Zonophone

Besides being a roadie for Led Zeppelin, the legendary Joe Jammer also played and recorded with artists like Paladin, the Olympic Runners, Pete Wingfield, Maggie Bell, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, Memphis Slim, Roger Glover, Jimmy Witherspoon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stealer's Wheel and many more. "Bad News" is a pretty obscure and some say underrated album of heavy guitar prog. rock/hard blues. Tony Stevens of Savoy Brown plays bass on the album. Sound quality on album is only fair to good. Joe's best work is arguably as a session and touring musician. His "Big Blues Man" album is stronger than this one and displays more of Joe's guitar expertise, and is worth hearing.


A1 You Can't Hide It 3:40
A2 Never Again 2:30
A3 Count On Me 3:25
A4 On The Other Side 5:20
A5 I'm Sorry 5:00

B1 In The City 3:15
B2 Last Night 2:53
B3 Missed My Train 4:31
B4 Your Hurting Me 3:06
B5 Look Before You Leap 2:47
B6 Rising Sun 6:49

All songs composed by Joe Jammer


Guitar, Vocals - Joe Jammer
Bass, Backing Vocals [Choo-choo's] - Tony Stevens
Keyboards - Jean Rousseau
Drums, Percussion - Reg Isidore
Brass - Chris Mercer
Backing Vocals - Sappho Gillett Korner, Danny Lewinson


“Here comes ‘Joe the Jammer’”. That’s what Robert Plant and Jimmy Page used to say when they saw him, and the sobriquet was later shortened to simply “Joe Jammer”. But his real name was Joseph Edward William Wright II, in honour of his grandfather, an accomplished athlete at St. Denis Grammar School and St. Laurence High School in Chicago. Both Joe Wrights were active in sports. For Joe Wright II, music took a back seat to athletics, but it was always part of his life. Joe told Rudis, “I was the old hockey player, the old football player. Whatever was happening, I was on the scene. Music was always secondary.” Joe Wright’s life was about to become a real-life fairy tale come true! The teenager played guitar in blues and psychedelic bands that covered the popular songs of the day by artists like Jimi Hendrix and Cream. There was a psychedelic ballroom in Chicago, typical of music venues in the mid to late 1960s. Located on Clark Street near Lawrence Avenue, The Kinetic Playground was operated by Aaron Russo, who would later become Bette Midler’s manager. (As an interesting aside…Ahmet Ertegun, who signed Led Zeppelin to his Atlantic Records label, would also sign Bette. Her now-classic debut album, The Divine Miss M, was released in 1972). Because he helped organize the Tuesday night jam sessions at the Kinetic, Joe Wright got in free to hear the concerts and was allowed to roam the venue. That’s how he happened to meet the members of Led Zeppelin backstage before they performed in Chicago on the band’s First U.S. and Canadian Tour of 1968-69. The band was opening for Vanilla Fudge on February 7 and 8, 1969. As Joe told Rudis, he had read about a new group coming to the Kinetic Playground. It was called Led Zeppelin and it featured guitarist, Jimmy Page, from The Yardbirds. No one there had ever heard of Led Zeppelin, but Joe really dug The Yardbirds so he decided to check out this new band of Page’s. Arriving in the afternoon, he was sitting around the backstage area playing his Les Paul guitar with a friend accompanying him on bass. Suddenly, his friend told him that the members of Led Zeppelin were listening to him! So he decided to really put on a show and give them an earful. Afterward, the boys in the band struck up a conversation with him. Drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham offered to buy his guitar. Then Jimmy Page. Finally, vocalist Robert Plant said he wanted it and they argued. Joe broke it up with “It’s not for sale!” It’s interesting that Joe never mentioned John Paul Jones. Perhaps he wasn’t there yet. Maybe he just didn’t want a Les Paul guitar! Or maybe he was simply being his quiet, retiring self. When Zeppelin performed that night, Joe said the band just blew the audience away, himself included. After the show, Jimmy Page said to him, “See you next time”. And Page DID remember Joe the next time the band played Chicago, on May 24 and 25 of that year. Their friendship started to grow. Joe said that Jimmy Page’s playing inspired him to start taking his own music-making more seriously. He admired him so much. Joe started working in a number of Chicago-area bands but found it hugely unsatisfying. When The Newport Jazz Festival rolled around in the summer of ’69, Joe didn’t need much convincing to attend and leave his current band behind. In those days, The Newport Jazz Festival and other similar events experimented by showcasing hot new rock acts as well as jazz bands because rock’n’roll was progressive, cutting edge music that could draw a crowd. As it happened, Led Zeppelin was one of the acts booked into the Festival. Once again, Joe made his way backstage and was greeted as a friend by Jimmy Page. Joe told Page of his difficulties in finding the right people for his band to suit his creative, musical needs. He reasoned that Jimmy must meet all kinds of musicians while touring, so would he mind recommending any he might happen across? Of course, Jimmy Page had survived the same dilemma himself only the year before! He had been a super guitarist in search of quality musicians to make up a band that would fulfil his vision. Page replied that he was pretty busy while on the road touring. But his next suggestion completely took Joe by surprise. He invited the teenager to come on the road with Led Zeppelin! That way, Page explained, Joe could meet and recruit musicians himself. What an amazing opportunity! And how generous of Jimmy Page. Joe didn’t even bother to return to Chicago. He bid his friends adieu in Newport. He dropped everything to replace a roadie who wasn’t working out for the group and he became Led Zeppelin’s equipment man. It was during Led Zeppelin’s Third U.S. and Canadian Tour of 1969 that Joe Wright earned his nickname. He would often jam with Page in his dressing room or with all the members of Zeppelin before a gig. Joe would jam with the supporting acts and back-up bands, too. And so Joe Wright became Joe the Jammer, as far as Page and Plant were concerned. The name suited him and stuck. While jamming with Jimmy, Joe was also receiving phenomenal instruction in technique and composition. Page taught him the fundamentals of intro, verse, chorus, bridge and conclusion. For the first time, Joe Jammer started writing his own material. He’d play his songs for Page and learn how to create cohesive musical statements. What aspiring guitarist wouldn’t have been thrilled to have Jimmy Page as his personal musical mentor? Joe Jammer worked for more than 40 dates but it was time for Led Zeppelin’s Third U.S. and Canadian Tour of 1969 to end. The band was going home to England after its last gig. That was the Texas International Pop Festival, held at the Dallas International Speedway in Lewisville on Sunday, August 31, 1969. In October of that year, the boys in the band were back for Led Zeppelin’s Fourth U.S. and Canadian Tour of 1969. Once again, Joe Jammer met up with Jimmy Page. Peter Grant told Joe that, if he were willing to go back to England with them, he’d see to it that Joe would get a suitable band to enhance his talent. Joe thought Peter Grant was just being kind and obliging. Or maybe Joe had just lost faith in himself. Whatever the reason, he gave up on his dream and declined Grant’s generous and, as it turned out, genuine offer. Joe went back to Chicago and formed a band with musicians he had found on the road with Zeppelin that summer. Eventually, he would take this band to England. Things didn’t go Joe’s way with this group but, while he was in England, he became the “pop protégé” of Mickie Most, the famous British music producer. Most set him up with a great career and a very comfortable lifestyle in England. Joe Jammer recorded two studio albums while he was there and also did a lot of session work for other artists. After five years, Joe and Mickie parted ways. And then Joe was kicked out of England because he’d been living and working there for five years on a one-month tourist visa that he simply renewed every month! Back home in the United States, Joe Jammer’s luck was once again about to change, courtesy of Led Zeppelin. When the band returned for another tour, he was sent an airline ticket and invitation to their concert in New York City. They put him up at the Plaza Hotel and treated him like a king during his stay. Peter Grant then made him yet another offer. He asked Joe if he would like to play guitar for Maggie Bell, a singer recently signed to Zeppelin’s Swan Song label? This time, Joe was happy to accept and participate in this major 1974 tour of Maggie Bell’s. While on tour with Maggie, Joe discovered the oriental art of tai chi and began incorporating some of its ballet-like moves into the blues-rock music of her band. To heighten the overall effect, he also shaved his head! As he toured with Maggie Bell, Joe’s visa problems were slowly being resolved. When the tour ended, he was able to go back to England. He and some musician friends formed a studio group called The Olympic Runners. The band cut an album of soul-based music whose songs became disco hits in the United States. Put the Music Where Your Mouth Is and Do It Over were two such hits for the group. One of the members of The Olympic Runners decided to record his own solo album, backed up by his band mates, including Joe Jammer. One of the tracks on Peter Wingfield’s record was an in-joke derived from music industry jargon. But Eighteen with a Bullet became a huge hit! In his 1975 article, Al Rudis concluded that Joe Jammer was still very much like a wide-eyed, awestruck teenager who would just die to meet a favourite rock star! The fantastic, fairy-tale life of Joe Jammer continues to this day. Although he has made his own musical mark in the pop music business, he still seems incredulous at his luck in connecting with Led Zeppelin. He gratefully recognizes that he owes his career to the band and its management.© www.sopromusic.com


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Eric. I know you sent me a comment on Joe. I was messing around with templates and stuff, and deleted it by mistake. I got the gist of your comment. Yeah. She was a bit of a "wagon". Reminds me of Clapton, Harrison and Patti Boyd. I'm not saying Patti was like that, but there were some similarities. TVM,Eric...Catch you later...P

Eric said...

No worries Paul, I read that in the Aerosmith bio. Walk This Way.
Never really a fan of theirs,more interested in some of the musicians that were around the scene then.

She was a big coke whore too.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Eric. I was never much into Aerosmith. I'm reading a book about Led Zeppelin. The Marquis De Sade had nothing on those guys. Plenty of coke whores in that book. I'm reading a great book about the California music scene in the late 60's/early '70's. Man!Talk about Babylon Sisters! I must be a saint!! TTU soon, Eric

Eric said...

Hi Paul,Oh yeah those were decadent times and hell yeah wish I was there back then!

No Aids,hell go to a protest rally with a few joints, next thing you know you're getting it on with a groovy hippie chick.

Tyler resembles Joan Rivers facially these day too.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Eric. I could tell you some stories about "groovy, hippy, chicks", but I'd like this blog to stay online a bit longer! (LOL). Steve Tyler said that he never had any kind of plastic surgery...believes it to be morally wrong! If that's the case, then I'm Mary Poppins on cocaine! TTU soon,buddy...P