Title: You Gotta Look
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Bob Turek
The song Help Me Girl was handicapped by having two versions out at the same time; one by the Outsiders and the other by Eric Burdon and the Animals. As a result, neither song made much of a splash on the charts, making the B side of the Outsiders version, You Gotta Look, even more obscure than it should have been. An interesting footnote is that You Gotta Look was arranged and conducted by a 26-year-old Chuck Mangione, then a member of Art Blakey's band and later to become one of the most popular jazz musicians in the world.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: The War Is Over
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
The songs on the third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, are grouped into suites of two or three songs apiece. Most of the suites mix songs by different songwriters; the sole exception is The War Is Over, which is made up of two Paul Kantner tunes, Martha and Wild Thyme. The War Is Over is also the shortest of the five suites on After Bathing At Baxter's, clocking in at about six and a half minutes.
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Sandy's Blues
Source: Import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s): Bob Hite
Label: BGO UK (original US label: Liberty)
Generally considered the high point of Canned Heat's career, the 1968 double-LP Living The Blues is best known for the inclusion of Refried Boogie, the centerpiece of the band's live performances. In addition to the 41-minute track, that takes up two entire sides of the album, there were several studio tracks as well, such as Sandy's Blues, a melancholy blues progression written by vocalist Robert (the Bear) Hite.
Title: I Feel Free
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live.
Title: She Said She Said
Source: CD: Revolver
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the original Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." The song itself took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Ironically, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: That's Not Me
Source: LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s): Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys were about as mainstream as bands like Love and the Music Machine were underground, yet Brian Wilson was turning out music every bit as original as any of the club bands in town. The album Pet Sounds is considered one of the masterpieces of the era, with the majority of songs, including That's Not Me, written by Wilson with lyrics by Tony Asher.
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic. Porpoise Song, a Gerry Goffin/Carole King composition used as the theme for Head, was also a departure in style for the Monkees, yet managed to retain a decidedly Monkees sound due to the distinctive lead vocals of Mickey Dolenz.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Shine On Brightly
Source: LP: Shine On Brightly
Although it was never released as a single, the title track of Procol Harum's second album, Shine On Brightly, is probably their most commercially viable song on the album. Opening with power chords from organist Matthew Fischer and augmented by guitarist Robin Trower, the song quickly moves into psychedelic territory with some of Keith Reid's trippiest lyrics ever, including the refrain "my befuddled brain shines on brightly, quite insane." One of their best tracks ever.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Mrs. Robinson
Source: CD :Collected Works (originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
A shortened version of Mrs. Robinson first appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Graduate in 1967, but it wasn't until the Bookends album came out in 1968 that the full four minute version was released.
Title: L.A. Woman
Source: CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s): The Doors
Ray Manzarek became justifiably famous as the keyboard player for the Doors. Before joining up with Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, however, Manzarek was already making a name for himself as an up-and-coming student filmmaker at UCLA. Although he didn't have much of a need to pursue a career in films once the Doors hit it big, he did end up producing and directing an outstanding video for the title track of the 1971 album L.A. Woman years after the band had split up. I only mention this because, really, what else can I say about a song that you've probably heard a million times or so?
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Starting in 1966, Ray Davies started taking satirical potshots at a variety of targets, with songs like A Well Respected Man, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and the classic tax-protest song Sunny Afternoon. This trend continued over the next few years, although few new Kinks songs were heard on US radio stations until the band released the international hit Lola in 1970. One single that got some minor airplay in the US was the song Victoria, from the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). The B side of that track was Brainwashed, one of the hardest rocking Kinks tunes since their early 1964 hits like You Really Got Me.
Artist: Kim Fowley
Source: Import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Outrageous)
Label: Zonophone UK (original label: Imperial)
Like a hip Hollywood Forrest Gump, Kim Fowley kept popping up in various capacities throughout the 60s and 70s on records like Alley Oop (co-producer), Nut Rocker (writer, arranger) and the first three Runaways albums (producer and guy who introduced the band members to each other), working with such diverse talents as Gene Vincent, Helen Reddy and Kiss. He has also managed to rack up an impressive catalog as a solo artist, with over two dozen albums to his credit. The most successful of these was his 1968 LP Outrageous, which includes the song Bubblegum (also called Bubble Gum). Despite the title, the track has nothing in common with bands like the 1910 Fruitgum Company. In fact, the song is sometimes cited as one of the first glam-rock recordings.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title: Sea Of Madness
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on LP: Woodstock soundtrack)
Writer(s): Neil Young
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Neil Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash to perform a few songs at at Woodstock, including one of his own compositions, Sea Of Madness, and would be a full member of the group when their next album, Deja Vu, came out.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Title: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Bob Seger
Label: Starline (original label: Capitol)
People who are familiar with the 70s and 80s hits of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band may be surprised to hear how much raw energy there is on Seger's early recordings with the Bob Seger System. The best known of these early records is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, released as a single in 1969. The song did pretty well at the time, but it would be several years before Seger would return to the charts.
Title: Everything's There
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): David Donaghue
Label: Rhino (original label: Bing)
Much as San Jose, California had its own thriving teen-oriented music scene within the greater San Francisco media market, the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California was home to several local bands that were able to score recording contracts with various small labels in the area. Among those were the Hysterics, who recorded four songs for two seperate labels in 1965. The best of those was Everything's There, which appeared as the B side of the second single issued by the band. At some point, Everything's There was reissued (along with the A side of the first record, That's All She Wrote) on yet a third label, but this time credited to the Love Ins. Such was the state of the indy record business in the late 60s.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Alley Oop
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Dallas Frazier
Label: Sundazed/Kama Sutra
The Lovin' Spoonful didn't actually release their version of the old Hollywood Argyles song Alley Oop as a single in 1965. In fact, they didn't release the song at all, even though it was recorded during the same sessions that became their debut LP that year. In 2011 the people at Sundazed decided to create a "single that never was", pairing Alley Oop with the full-length version of Night Owl Blues, a song that had been included on the 1965 debut in edited form. The Spoonful version of Alley Oop has an almost garage-band feel about it, and is perhaps the best indication on vinyl of what the band actually sounded like in their early days as a local fixture on the Greenwich Village scene.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source: CD: Projections
Writer(s): Blind Willie Johnson
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
One lasting legacy of the British Invasion was the re-introduction to the US record-buying public to the songs of early Rhythm and Blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson. This emphasis on classic blues in particular would lead to the formation of electric blues-based US bands such as the Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project. Unlike the Butterfields, who made a conscious effort to remain true to their Chicago-style blues roots, the Blues Project was always looking for new ground to cover, which ultimately led to them developing an improvisational style that would be emulated by west coast bands such as the Grateful Dead, and by Project member Al Kooper, who conceived and produced the first rock jam LP ever, Super Session, in 1968. As the opening track to their second (and generally considered best) LP Projections, I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes served notice that this was a new kind of blues, louder and brasher than what had come before, yet tempered with Kooper's melodic vocal style. An added twist was the use during the song's instrumental bridge of an experimental synthesizer known among band members as the "Kooperphone", probably the first use of any type of synthesizer in a blues record.
Artist: Circus Maximus
Title: Short-Haired Fathers
Source: LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in 1967. The group originally wanted to call itself the Lost Sea Dreamers, but changed it after the Vanguard Records expressed reservations about signing a group with the initials LSD. Of the eleven tracks on the band's debut LP, only four were written by Walker, and those were in more of a folk-rock vein. Bruno's seven tracks, on the other hand, are true gems of psychedelia, ranging from the jazz-influenced Wind to the proto-punk rocker Short-Haired Fathers. The group fell apart after only two albums, mostly due to the growing musical differences between Walker and Bruno. Walker, of course, went on to become one of the most successful songwriters of the country-rock genre. As for Bruno, he's still in New York City, concentrating more on the visual arts in recent years.
Artist: Mother Earth
Title: Stranger In My Own Home Town
Source: LP: Revolution-soundtrack
Writer(s): Percy Mayfield
Label: United Artists
In early 1968 the producers of a quasi-documentary film called Revolution decided that it would be more economical to use unsigned San Francisco bands for the film's soundtrack than to pay royalties to various record labels. Thus, they chose the three most popular local bands that had not yet signed with a major label: the Steve Miller Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mother Earth. The latter band had been founded by vocalists Tracy Nelson and Powell St. John, and was the most blues-based of the three, particularly on songs sung by St. John such as Stranger In My Own Home Town. Mother Earth would eventually sign with Mercury, recording a series of critically acclaimed albums in the late 60s and early 70s.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Let's Talk About Girls
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: No Way Out)
Writer(s): E. Freiser
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
I find it sadly ironic that the first cut on the first album released by San Jose, California's Chocolate Watchband had a vocal track by Don Bennett, a studio vocalist under contract to Tower Records, replacing the original track by Watchband vocalist Dave Aguilar. Aguilar's vocals were also replaced by Bennett's on the Watchband's cover of Wilson Pickett's In the Midnight Hour on the same album. In addition, there are four instrumental tracks on the album that are played entirely by studio musicians. Worse yet, the entire first side of the Watchband's second LP was done by studio musicians and the third Watchband LP featured an entirely different lineup. The final insult was when Lenny Kaye, who assembled the original Nuggets collection in the early 1970s, elected to include this recording, rather than one of the several fine tracks that actually did feature Aguilar on vocals.
Artist: Humane Society
Title: Knock Knock
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Liberty)
The Humane Society, from Simi Valley, California, formed in 1965 as the Innocents. The band featured singer/guitarist Danny Wheetman, lead guitarist Jim Pettit, rhythm guitarist Woody Minnick, bassist Richard Majewski, and drummer Bill Schnetzler. As was often the case, The A side of the group's first single was chosen by the band's producers, while the band itself provided the B side. In this case that B side was Knock Knock, a classic piece of garage-punk that far outshines the original A side of the record.
Title: Action Woman
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Distortions)
Writer(s): Warren Hendrick
Label: Rhino (original labels: Scotty and Warick)
The Litter was one of many bands to come under the guidance of Warren Kendrick, owner of the Minneapolis-based Warick Records (later Warwick). Their first album, Distortions, was comprised mostly of cover songs of mainly British groups, but did include a pair of songs written by Hendrick himself, including Action Woman, which was also released as the band's first single in January of 1967. The group made two more albums, including one for ABC's Probe label in 1969, before disbanding, reuniting in the late 90s for a pair of CDs on the Arf! Arf! label.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source: Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Atco)
The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, the the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with AM radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit (not that they needed one).
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Stupid Girl
Source: Simulated stereo CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
By 1966 the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had hit its stride, turning out Rolling Stones classics like Mother's Little Helper and Paint It Black as a matter of course. Even B sides such as Stupid Girl were starting to get airplay, a trend that would continue to grow over the next year or so.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The movie The Big Chill used Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group as the backdrop for a touch football game at an informal reunion of former college students from the 60s. From that point on, movie soundtracks became much more than just background music and soundtrack albums started becoming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Most of them are now playing 80s oldies, by the way.
Title: Human Monkey
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Action)
The Frantics were a popular cover band in Tacoma, Washington in the early 60s. Guitarist Jerry Miller, however, had greater ambitions and eventually relocated to San Francisco, taking the band's name and two of its members, keyboardist Chuck "Steaks" Schoning and drummer Don Stevenson, with him. After recruiting bassist Bob Mosely the Frantics cut their only single, an early Motown-style dance number called the Human Monkey, in 1966. The group would soon shed Schoning and pick up two new members, changing their name to Moby Grape in the process.
Artist: Tommy James And The Shondells
Source: 45 RPM single B side
From a modern perspective it seems obvious that the only thing keeping Roulette Records going in the late 60s was the string of hits on the label by Tommy James and the Shondells. Oddly enough, Tommy James was one of many acts that initially tanked on the label. It was only when a Pittsburgh DJ began playing a two year old copy of Hanky Panky he had rescued from the throwaway pile in 1966 that the band's career took off. By then, however, the original Shondells had long-since disbanded and James found himself suddenly in demand with no band to back him up. He soon found a new group of Shondells and began cranking out an amazing streak of hits, including I Think We're Alone Now, Mony Mony, Crystal Blue Persuasion and Crimson and Clover. By 1969, however, the streak was coming to an end, with Sweet Cherry Wine being one of the group's last top 40 hits. The B side of that record was the decidedly psychedelic Breakaway. James would continue as a solo artist after the Shondells split up, scoring his last hit in 1971 with Draggin' The Line.
Title: Hold On
Source: Mono import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Zonophone UK (original label: Parlophone)
The song Hold On was originally recorded as a B side in 1967 by a band called Les Fleur De Lys, although the label credited the track to Rupert's People, who recorded the song on the A side. Le Fleur De Lys later recorded another version of Hold On with South African-born singer Sharon Tandy. Finally, the heaviest version of the song was cut by an obscure band from Barnet called Ipsissimus. To my knowledge it was their only record.
Title: Pinball Wizard
Source: CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Wrapping up this week's show we have a song from the rock opera Tommy that was actually released as a single a few weeks before the album came out. It was a marketing strategy that would become the music industry standard for decades, until internet downloading changed everything.