Bell Bottomed Blues

” Bell bottom blues
You made me cry
I don’t want to
lose this feeling
If I could choose
a place to die
It would be in your arms “

Here’s an interesting story
from the world of the
golden age
of rock and roll….
and another involving
Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd –

It concerns the song
Bell Bottom Blues “.

Now, you might remember
from a previous episode of
the Muscleheaded Blog 

( as well as from Rolling
Stone, Creem, and some
other 1960’s publications )

that Eric Clapton has a very
strong yen for Pattie,
who was, at the time,
(1969-1970) his friend
George Harrison’s first wife.

( He had written
Layla ” for her..
among other songs. )

Pattie knew that Clapton
was due to go on an
American tour, and asked
Eric to bring her back a
couple pair of American
bell-bottomed jeans.

According to Eric:
“Pattie asked me to get her
some pairs of these jeans
we used to call Landlubbers“.

And of course,
he did.

Ok, so it’s a short story.
Sue me.

Ahem.

Bell bottom jeans were
all the rage in the rock
and roll scene back then —
and American bells were
the most popular.

Hell, I remember a pair
of elephant bells that I
wore to a Junior High
dance that made me as
temporarily popular as
the Beatles.

Ahem again.

Interestingly enough,
as so many cultural cools
are, bell bottom pants
began with the Navy –

they’d been around
since the 1850’s —
popular with Sailors
because they were
easily rolled up –
and they soon became
synonymous with the Navy
uniform.

(The British Navy version
were much more like
bell-bottoms than the U.S.
– ours are more like
what you might call ‘flairs’. )

This identification
with the Navy
became especially evident
during World War II :

Kay Kyser had a minor hit
with the ‘Sailor in the bell
bottoms’ theme in 1945 –

So did Louis Prima with
Bell Bottom Trousers ”

And bug-eyed comedian
Jerry Colonna did a
novelty piece on
the Bob Hope tour about
it.

As for the fashion fad,
well, that seems to
have started around
1965 as the evolution
of the beatniks
into the hippie movement
was in full swing —

Cher wore a pair of bell
bottoms in a very wide
circulated photo of her
and Sonny on their
honeymoon.

And that year, the
Coasters released a song
called ” Bell Bottom Slacks
and A Chinese Kimono “.

In 1966, Sonny Warner
had a minor hit with :
Bell Bottom Blue Jeans ” .

Considering how big the
whole cultural phenom
was – it’s a bit surprising
that more contemporary
songs weren’t performed
about them –

most of the good ones
about bell bottoms
pre-dated the hippie days,
like:

Teresa Brewer’s
Bell Bottom Blues
from around 1954 —

or post-dated it,
like:

Helen Cornelius’s 1974
Bell Bottom Trousers“…

or The Beautiful South’s
Bell Bottomed Tear
(about a relationship
with a Sailor )

— but Clapton’s
love tribute song
about Pattie would
have been hard to beat
, anyway.

!! HOY !!!

.

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