August 26, 2013

45 RPMs 2: The Wild One ~ 1953 12" 45 EP

1989 12" 45 EP
German issue
album photos by
Miriam Linna, Billy Miller & Phil Schaap
photo of album cover by Styrous®

This is an extention of my 20,000 Vinyl LPs series. I have a collection of over 20,000 LP albums I am selling; each blog entry of the series is about an album from my collection. For more info, send an email to me, not a comment.

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After I sold my 1972 BMW R 60/5 motorcycle earlier this year, I wrote about the sale and memories of my bike riding days (see: Beemer Memories Pt. 1, below). I referenced the film, The Wild One, and I used my photo of the cover of the album most people are familiar with, the American issue on Decca Records. The music on the Decca issue was performed by the Leith Stevens All Stars, led by Leith Stevens, who was the composer of the film score. However, this was not a soundtrack recording; it was a session recording. The music from The Wild One was my introduction to jazz.

(album cover film still)
photo of album cover by Styrous®

music & personnel for the Decca recording
(click on any image to see larger size)


I have the 1989 German pressing on Bear Family Records of the soundtrack from the film that was recorded in Hollywood in July of 1953, three years before the Stevens LP version in 1956. It is a 45 RPM EP which only has four pieces of music from the film on it. 

The performance on this version of the music was led by trumpeter Shorty Rogers not Leith Stevens, although, many of the players are on both versions. There are obvious differences in the music.

album photo by Phil Schaap
photo of album cover by Styrous®

The Wild One
personnel for the soundtrack issue
photo by Styrous®


Some background history on the film.

The Wild One was a 1953 American outlaw biker film directed by László Benedek and produced by Stanley Kramer. It was based on an incident which occurred on the fourth of July in 1947 in Hollister, CA, when a motorcycle gang terrorized the town. The film was banned in Britain until 1967.

The Wild One was based on a short story, The Cyclists' Raid by Frank Rooney, in the January 1951 issue of Harper's Magazine. The story was later published in book form as part of The Best American Short Stories 1952.

The amazing part is the plot was actually based on a gross exaggeration of the truth. Although the incident happened, it was nowhere near the terrorizing event depicted in the film; it was a rowdy bunch of bikers (granted, a very BIG bunch) that got drunk, partied, made a big mess (alright, a VERY big mess), some got injured but most passed out drunk all over the place.

Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando)
promotional photo for the film 
photographer unknown

Some background history on the event. 

The event was hyped in the July 21, 1947 issue of Life Magazine, and dubbed the Hollister riot, with staged photographs of wild motorcycle outlaw revelers, according to MCartwebzine, All About Bikes Magazine and other sources.

Eddie Davenport (on bike)
August 'Gus' Deserpa (behind)
Hollister, July 7, 1947
photo by Barney Peterson

The event was covered once again 32 years later by the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday, July 4th, 1979 with a re-enactment photo; once again re-enforcing the myth of the incident. I guess they'll do anything to sell newspapers. I have the original page from the 1979 SF Chronicle tucked inside the album which I scanned.

San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, July 4th, 1979

SF Chronicle headline, July 4th, 1979

SF Chronicle photos, July 4th, 1979
original 1947 photo on the left, re-enactment photo on the right


Album info:

Shorty Rogers and His Orchestra ‎– The Wild One - Original Soundtrack
Bear Family Records ‎– BFE 15349
Format: Vinyl, 12",
EP, 45 RPM
Country: Germany
Released: 1989


side 1: 

A1  Chino        
A2  Blues For Brando 
side 2:     

B1  The Wild One        
B2  Windswept

Shroty Rogers - trumpet
Conrad Gozzo - trumpet
Ray Linn - trumpet
Maynard Ferguson - trumpet
Thomas Reeves - trumpet
Harry Betts, Jr. - trombone
Bob Enevoldsen - trombone
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Bud Shank - alto sax
Hervert Geller - alto sax
Willis Holman - tenor sax
William Perkins - tenor sax
Jimmy Giuffre - alto sax
Bob Cooper - alto sax
John Graas - French horn
Paul Sarmento - tuba
Russ Freeman - piano
Joe Mondragon - bass
Shelly Manne - drums 



The Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando) image from the The Wild One film is one of the many celebrities on The Beatles' Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

Brando's haircut inspired a craze for sideburns which was followed by James Dean, Elvis Presley, and others. James Dean bought a Triumph TR5 Trophy motorcycle to mimic Brando's own Triumph Thunderbird 6T motorcycle that he used in the film. Presley also used the Brando image as a model for his role in Jailhouse Rock.

The rock group Black Rebel Motorcycle Club got its name from the name of Brando's gang, although in the film, the gang is referred to as "Black Rebels Motorcycle Club".

In the mid-1990s, Yamaha used lookalikes of the Mary Murphy and Marlon Brando characters to advertise their cruiser range of motorcycles. 

In the 2008 film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Shia LaBeouf's character, Mutt Williams, first appears in the same outfit as Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando).



Beemer Memories Pt. 1 ~ the end & the beginning
Synopsis of The Wild One plot

music from The Wild One can be heard on YouTube:
The Wild One (Leith Stevens & Shorty Rogers version)
Windswept (Shorty Rogers version)
Blues for Brando (Shorty Rogers version)
Chino (Shorty Rogers version)

Scenes from The Wild One can be seen on YouTube:
The Bikers Arrive
The Fight
What are you rebelling against?

The short story, The Cycleist's Raid
can be purchased at: Harper's Magazine
a pdf version can be downloaded at: Cinemeccanica
as part of a complilation, it is available at Amazon:
The Best American Short Stories of the Century [Paperback]
Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen: 35 Great Stories That Have Inspired Great Films [Paperback]

 interesting books on the Harley-Davidson. . . 

Outlaw Machine: Harley-Davidson
and the Search for the American Soul
by Brock Yates is available at Amazon
and Outlaw Machine, also by Yates,
is available at Barnes & Noble

Styrous® ~ August 26, 2013


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