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Bald Headed Woman

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"Bald Headed Woman"
Song by The Kinks
from the album Kinks
Released2 October 1964 (1964-10-02) (UK)
RecordedAugust 1964
StudioPye Studios No. 2, London
GenreBlues
LabelPye NPL 18096 (UK)
Songwriter(s)Shel Talmy
Producer(s)Talmy

"Bald Headed Woman" is a traditional blues song,[1] covered by British rock band The Kinks on their eponymous debut album in 1964.[2] Another British rock band, The Who recorded it in 1965 as the B-side of their first top-ten single "I Can't Explain". The song was also covered by other artists of the time, including Harry Belafonte, as seen in the Bob Dylan documentary, No Direction Home, and The Sneekers.[3] It became a number one hit on Kvällstoppen for Swedish rock group Hep Stars in 1965.[4]

The Kinks version[edit source | edit]

"Bald Headed Woman" was the one of two songs "written" by Shel Talmy for their debut album Kinks, the other being the similarly titled "I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain".[5] Both of them were American folk songs, and the band were persuaded by Talmy to record them for their debut. Unbeknownst to them, however, was that Talmy had claimed songwriting credits for both songs (which had been in the public domain) and as a result gain royalties for them.[6]

They were my perks, a way for me to get in on the publishing royalties, they were just folk things I adapted. Old public domain folk songs.

— Shel Talmy, Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else page 44

The Kinks incorporated neither songs into their setlist and it was forgotten after being recorded.[6] Both tracks are included on the US issue of Kinks, You Really Got Me.

Personnel[edit source | edit]

The Kinks

Additional personnel

The Who version[edit source | edit]

"Bald Headed Woman"
Single by The Who
A-side"I Can't Explain"
ReleasedDecember 1964 (US)
15 January 1965 (UK)[7]
Format7" 45rpm
Recorded9–14 November 1964
StudioIBC Studios, London, England
GenreBlues
Length2:32
Label
Songwriter(s)Talmy
Producer(s)Talmy
The Who singles chronology
"Zoot Suit/I'm the Face"
(1964)
"Bald Headed Woman"
(1964)
"Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
(1965)

As with the Talmy-produced Kinks, the Who were persuaded to record this so that Shel Talmy could get publishing royalties.[8] The recording was done in the second week of November 1964.[9] Talmy, producing the session, was assisted by studio engineer Glyn Johns.[10] Jimmy Page also plays on The Who's version, although to a lesser extent. "It wasn't really lead," he later clarified, "Just a couple of phrases."[11] Page played on the recording due to him owning the only fuzzbox in the UK.[10]

The Fuzz guitar droning throughout is played by Jimmy Page; the reason being, he owned the only Fuzzbox in the country at that time. The words express my sentiments exactly — a bald headed woman would make me pretty mean, too. My favorite part of this track is the opening of the harmonica solo, where Roger puts the harmonica into his mouth the wrong way around.

Often considered one of their conventional and finest rhythm and blues recordings,[10] "Bald Headed Woman" was first issued as the B-Side of the Who's second single "I Can't Explain" (though first billed with the name the Who). The single was a hit in the UK, reaching number eight on the UK Singles Chart.[12][13] It also gained some popularity in the US, reaching a respectable number ninety-three on Billboard Hot 100.[13][14] The song never got a proper album release for over twenty years, first being released on the album Two's Missing in 1987.[15] It has since been featured on deluxe editions of My Generation along with "I Can't Explain" and other singles of the era.[16]

Personnel[edit source | edit]

The Who

Additional Personnel

Hep Stars version[edit source | edit]

"Bald Headed Woman"
File:Bald Headed Woman.jpg
Single by the Hep Stars
from the album We and Our Cadillac
B-side"Lonesome Town"
ReleasedJune 1965
Format7" 45rpm
Recorded3 June 1965[19]
StudioPhillips Studio, Stockholm
Genre
Length2:32
LabelOlga
Songwriter(s)Talmy
Producer(s)Gert Palmcrantz
The Hep Stars singles chronology
"Cadillac"
(1965)
"Bald Headed Woman"
(1965)
"No Response"
(1965)

Swedish rock group Hep Stars recorded "Bald Headed Woman" as a follow-up to their smash-hit rendition of "Cadillac" on 3 June 1965. The single became the Hep Stars first to be produced by Gert Palmcrantz, who was a skilled record producer and studio engineer.[20] Their previous recordings had been produced by their manager Åke Gerhard.[21] "Bald Headed Woman" is also notable for being one of the Hep Stars first recordings in a professional studio, as all their previous recordings had been done in makeshift locations, including a basement of a school.[22]

The Hep Stars rendition of "Bald Headed Woman" is an entire remake, with the bass guitar providing a significant part of the tune. Due to the composition, it was a perfect follow-up to "Cadillac" as both share similar themes, of the song slowly building up before reaching a frantic and intense climax. The song became one of the first recordings by Hep Stars to feature their tour manager Lennart Fernholm on bass guitar.[20] He took over from official bass guitarist and Kapellmeister Lelle Hegland and is often considered the unofficial "sixth" Hep Star.[20] Hegland does not appear on the recording at all.

Released in June of 1965 by Olga Records,[23] "Bald Headed Woman" became a smash hit on the Swedish record parade, Kvällstoppen.[24] First entering the charts on the sixth of July 1965 at a position of eighteen, it quickly climbed to the top ten the following week, at number eight. "Bald Headed Woman" first reached the top-five on the twenty-seventh of July at number eight, and reached number one on the third of August, a position it held for two consecutive weeks. It then stayed in the top-five for an additional four weeks before dropping into the top-twenty, and it was last spotted on the fifth of October that year. In total, it was in the top-twenty for fourteen weeks, of which it spent nine in the top ten. It was similarly successful on Tio I Topp, reaching number 1 and staying on that chart for eight weeks.[25]

Bruce Eder of AllMusic states that ""Bald Headed Woman" was convincingly bluesy and threatening".[26] The song was featured on both their studio album We and Our Cadillac and a live version on their live album Hep Stars on Stage.[27][28][29][30]

Personnel[edit source | edit]

Hep Stars

Additional personnel

Chart positions[edit source | edit]

Chart (1965) Peak

position

Sweden (Kvällstoppen)[24] 1
Sweden (Tio I Topp)[25] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[31] 8

References[edit source | edit]

  1. Earliest known recording on YouTube
  2. "Release Information". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  3. discogs.com/Sneekers-Just-Cant-Go-To-Sleep-Bald-Headed-Woman/release/5031004
  4. "Bald Headed Woman by Hep Stars". nostalgilistan. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  5. DeRiso, Nick. "55 Years Ago: Kinks Try to Find Themselves on Self-Titled Debut". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kitts, Thomas M. (23 January 2008). Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else. Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-135-86795-9.
  7. "Discography – I Can't Explain". 2008. Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  8. Earliest known recording on YouTube
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "The Hypertext Who › Bald Headed Woman". www.thewho.net. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Atkins, John (14 June 2015). The Who on Record: A Critical History, 1963-1998. McFarland. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-4766-0657-6.
  11. "Release Information". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  12. "The Who – I Can't Explain". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "I Can't Explain". The Who. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  14. "Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles > I Can't Explain". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  15. "Two's Missing". The Who. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  16. Gallucci, Michael. "The Who, 'My Generation Super Deluxe Edition': Album Review". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  17. Segretto, Mike (1 March 2014). The Who FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Fifty Years of Maximum R&B. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4803-9253-3.
  18. Atkins, John (14 June 2015). The Who on Record: A Critical History, 1963-1998. McFarland. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-4766-0657-6.
  19. "The Hep Stars - Bald Headed Woman". www.thehepstars.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 "The Hep Stars - Bald Headed Woman". www.thehepstars.se. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  21. "The Hep Stars - Historia". www.thehepstars.se. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  22. "The Hep Stars - Farmer John". www.thehepstars.se. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  23. "Hep Stars - Bald Headed Woman". 45cat.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "BALD HEADED WOMAN av HEP STARS". NostalgiListan (in Swedish). Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "The Hep Stars - Top 10 Chart". www.thehepstars.se. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  26. "Hep Stars | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  27. "The Hep Stars - We and Our Cadillac". www.thehepstars.se. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  28. "The Hep Stars - We And Our Cadillac". Discogs. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  29. "The Hep Stars - Hep Stars on Stage". www.thehepstars.se. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  30. "The Hep Stars - Hep Stars On Stage". Discogs. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  31. "Hep Stars". VG-lista 2020 (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 20 June 2020.

External links[edit source | edit]

Template:The Kinks singles Template:The Who singles

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