(Ricki C.’s Rock & Roll Videos You Oughta See will be a continuing feature in pencilstorm, at least until Ricki gets bored or the readership finds a way to make him stop. Videos will be mainly little-seen or off-the-beaten-rock-&-roll-path, except for weeks when maybe Bruce Springsteen plays in town and we goose up the juice a little bit to hype the shows.
Ricki will provide an intro to the videos of not-more-than-500 words, because we all know it’s impossible for Ricki to try to tell a simple story without going off into 10 different tangents and then forgetting altogether what he’s talking about.)
Sparks started life as Halfnelson at the end of the 1960’s in Los Angeles, with brothers Ron & Russell Mael desperately wishing they were, say, Ray & Dave Davies of our Hallowed Kinks, or members of The Who, Pink Floyd or The Creation; wishing they were just about anybody ENGLISH, and nobody who played laid-back, stoned country-rock with patched jeans or downed-out heavy-metal with copious amounts of facial hair.
They started out with three other L.A. boys (including Earle Mankey, later engineer & producer for The Beach Boys), but by 1973 were safely ensconced in their beloved, adopted England, with three sharply-dressed & coiffed, non-bearded British sidemen, and produced this, their masterpiece – “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us.”
Reasons They Never Made It In America – Too smart, too pretty, too many lyrics, not enough qualludes, not Kiss enough. (editor's note: Queen opened for Sparks back in 1973, NOT the other way around.)
Optional Extra-Credit Additional Viewing – Enter "Sparks" plus “Wonder Girl” on YouTube.