Thursday, February 18, 2010

And I Thought I Loved Gong

Perhaps you've seen the story the story of Sherman Hemsley and Daevid Allen (of Gong) posted elsewhere, on another blog. I first came across it when a friend e-mailed the story to me with a heading that read something like: "This is the weirdest rock anecdote I've ever read."

But if you have not read about the prog rock enthusiasm of Sherman Hemsley, famously known as the actor who played George Jefferson on the popular 70s T.V. show The Jeffersons, then I urge you...Nay! I beg you to read the tantalizing story linked below.

Myers, Mitch. "George Jefferson: World's Biggest Gong Fan?" Magnet. 5 March 2009.

Going back to my friend's e-mail, I was actually not astounded at all about Hemsley's love of prog rock. Back in the late 80s, I worked at Rene's Records on Melrose Ave. in L.A. One lazy afternoon, I was behind the counter when Mr. Hemsley came bounding up the steps into the shop, barefoot, wearing jeans and a t-shirt. One of the store's owners handed him a small stack of records. Hemsley paid him, they exchanged pleasantries, and then Hemsley dashed out the door and into his car, which I could see was parked in the red with its hazard lights flashing. Then he drove off.

The owner turned to me and asked with a smile, "Do you know who that was?" I did. He then explained that Hemsley came in from time to time and asked the owner to set aside anything by Yes, Marillion, and other prog bands. I never would have guessed.

But even with that knowledge, I was unprepared to learn about the fanaticism Hemsley had for Gong. For the record, I think it be would good idea today to have flying teapots all up and down the Sunset Strip. (Again, I beg you, read the story linked above.) Daevid Allen thought that was looney.

Anyway, I'd give my eye teeth to find a recording of "Festival of Dreams," the project Hemsley, a pianist, did with Jon Anderson of Yes. Oh, yes!


Pig State Recon said...

This story is making me doubt my own sanity - next you're gonna tell me Jimmie Walker once auditioned for ZOLAR X.

D said...

In the "Huh?" file, there was the Ric Ocasek - Bad Brains connection, which, when I really think about it, still makes me smile.