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One Maine family has crashed six decades of live albums

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ARUNDEL - Two generations of an Arundel family have surprised music fans and artists alike with the revelation that they made very audible appearances on over 25 popular albums by a variety of artists dating back to the early 1960s.

Warren Heider, 67, says seven members of his family are detectable on many of the best-selling live records in music history beginning with 1962’s Grammy-winning comedy album “The First Family” by Maine native Vaughn Meader, whom Heider says was an old school friend of his late mother’s.

“My mother, Janice, recently passed away, and we decided as a family that the time was right to share our story,” Heider told The Maine Edge during an interview.

Heider says his mother was invited by Meader to be part of the studio audience in New York City for the recording of “The First Family,” and that her very unique and boisterous laugh can be heard multiple times throughout the recording.

“She had the greatest laugh, and that’s what started this whole thing for our family,” Heider said. “We played ‘The First Family’ all the time when I was growing up just to hear my mom’s laugh. Before long, she got the rest of us involved in going to concerts and making ourselves heard.”

According to a list compiled and submitted by Heider to The Maine Edge, Janice Heider’s unique laugh can also be heard on Allan Sherman’s “My Son, the Nut” from 1963, and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” released in 1968.

Heider said his father, the late Ernest Heider, did not participate in, or approve of, his family’s concert-going shenanigans, a firm stance he held for more than 50 years.

“Dad said he stopped going to shows with my mom back in the ‘60s after Redd Foxx threw a punch at him because he said mom was too loud during his set.”

Janice Heider began regularly attending rock concerts in the mid-1960s, especially shows by her favorite group, The Rolling Stones, according to her son, who says his mother’s speaking voice can be heard on “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out,” a live recording captured during the group’s 1969 American tour.

“Just before the Stones played ‘Sympathy for the Devil,’ you hear my mom asking them to play the song ‘Paint it Black.’ She says the title twice, then says ‘Paint it Black, you devil,’ and you hear it so clearly because she was in the front row. She always told us Keith Richards was staring at her when she said it.”

Heider said his brothers, Malcolm, David and Leo soon followed in their mother’s footsteps and made themselves heard on four popular live albums recorded in the 1970s.

“Mom insisted that we make as much noise as possible when we went to concerts,” Heider said with a laugh, adding “I feel badly for the people sitting near us.”

Malcolm’s high-spirited “Whoo-hoo!” is detectable throughout Bob Dylan’s 1974 live album “Before the Flood,” Heider stated. “That’s Malcolm’s signature, and it’s on a few live albums, but is most clearly heard on that Dylan record.”

Peter Frampton’s mega-selling “Frampton Comes Alive” from 1976 features a piercing whistle on songs including “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” that Heider says came from his brother David, who also managed to make a cameo, with the same whistle, on Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” from 1977.

Heider says he attended the concert recorded for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1976 live LP “One More From the Road” with three of his brothers and his sister, Eunice. As a family, he said they whistled, ‘whoo-hoo’d,’ shrieked and screamed for “Free Bird,” and can be heard throughout the recording.

“Even when they were playing ‘Free Bird,’ which they did twice, just to make sure they got it, we were screaming ‘Play Free Bird!’ Heider said. “Eunice says [guitarist] Gary Rossington gave us the finger, but I didn’t see it.”

Elvis Costello’s 1978 concert at The El Mocambo nightclub in Toronto, recorded for radio broadcast and later officially released, features a notable appearance from Ted Heider, a cousin of the Heider family.

“You hear cousin Ted yelling ‘Yee-haw!’ all throughout that concert,” Heider said, adding “It’s the one thing people point out when they say they can’t listen to that record, because he did it for pretty much every song.”

The Heider family stepped up their game in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Heider said, when they made audible appearances on another dozen live records by artists including Simon and Garfunkel, Eric Clapton, Queen, Neil Young, Nirvana, Garth Brooks, and Jimmy Buffet, among others.

“We were loud and proud, that was a favorite saying of my mother’s,” Heider said.

Heider said the last live album he’s aware of that involves a member of his family was a Beach Boys reunion album from 2012. He says when he stopped screaming and started to listen, he realized what he’d been missing.

“I’m not sure you can really enjoy the music when you’re trying to make as much noise as possible in the crowd,” Heider said. “I started actually listening to the music, and some of it is pretty great.”

Selections from the Heider family’s various concert appearances were played during the recent memorial service for Janice Heider. A passing reference in her obituary to her numerous appearances on live recordings broke this story when it was discovered by a keen-eyed journalist for the Boston Phoenix.

Responses from artists included an irritated tweet from Elvis Costello: “Remember the ‘Yee-haw Ya-hoo’ from the El Macombo show? Now we know the rest of the story.”

On the day of his mother’s funeral, Heider says an elegant bouquet of blue roses, his mother’s favorite, arrived at the funeral home.

“The card read, ‘Love always, Keith,’” Heider said, adding “We don’t know for sure, but we think they were sent by Keith Richards.”

(On the off chance that you haven’t already figured it out, this is our April Fools’ Day edition. As such, there will be stories that are completely and totally made up. The preceding was one such story.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 22:23

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