Title: Ticket To Ride
Source: CD: Help!
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Trying to figure out the Beatles' catalog can be a bit confusing, as Capitol Records, which had the rights to release the band's recordings in the US, had their own ideas about what should be on a Beatles album, which was often at odds with the wishes of the band members themselves. Some US albums, such as Beatles '65, had no British counterpart at all, while others had different track lineups than the original UK versions. Probably the most radically altered of the original LPs was the soundtrack album to the film Help! In the UK, side one of the album contained songs from the film itself, while side two contained a collection of unrelated studio recordings, some of which had been intended for, but not used in, the film. In the US, however, the Help album included incidental orchestral pieces heard throughout the movie interspersed with the songs heard on side one of the UK album. Among the tracks heard on both versions was Ticket To Ride, which was also issued as a single in the US (using one of the songs from side two of the UK Help album as a B side). The tune has gone on to become one of the most recognizable Beatle songs ever.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Come On In
Source: CD: Turn On (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
It only cost a total of $150 for the Music Machine to record both sides of their debut single at RCA Studios in Los Angeles, thanks to the band having been performing the songs live for several months. The band then took the tapes to Original Sound, who issued Talk Talk and Come On In on their own label. Although Talk Talk was the obvious hit, Come On In had perhaps a greater influence on later bands such as the Doors and Iron Butterfly.
Title: Love Is Only Sleeping
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single.
Title: For Ladies Only
Source: LP: For Ladies Only
The fifth Steppenwolf album, For Ladies Only, is probably best remembered for its gatefold cover, the center of which was a photo of a full-sized motor vehicle that looked like, well, a giant penis with European plates being pulled over by the cops on a city street. The title track, which opens the album, is a long (over nine minutes) piece with a pro-feminist message. Mixed messages? Maybe, or possibly (from a 1971 perspective) two sides of the same coin.
Title: Life Has Just Begun
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Writer(s): Randy California
Spirit was one of those bands that always was favored by the critics but was unable to turn that into commercial success. Their potential was such that when Ode Records was transferred from Columbia to A&M records, a special exception was made for Spirit, whose contract was moved over to Epic, a Columbia subsidiary. By 1970 the band was desperate to have a best-seller, and created what is often seen to be their masterpiece, an album called Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus. Unlike the early Spirit albums, on which nearly every song was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson, Twelve Dreams featured tunes from all the band members, particularly guitarist Randy California, who penned Life Has Just Begun. After Twelve Dreams failed to make the upper reaches of the charts, the group fractured, with only keyboardist John Locke and drummer Ed Cassidy appearing on the next LP. California would return by the mid-1970s, staying with the group for the rest of its existence.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): Marty Balin
Label: RCA Victor
Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Section 43 (EP version)
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on EP: Rag Baby #2)
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Rag Baby was an underground journal published by Country Joe McDonald in mid-60s Berkeley, California. In 1965 McDonald decided to do a "talking issue" of the paper with an extended play (EP) record containing two songs by McDonald's band, Country Joe and the Fish and two by singer Peter Krug. In 1966 McDonald published a second Rag Baby EP, this time featuring four songs by Country Joe and the Fish. Among those was the original version of Section 43, a psychedelic instrumental that would appear in a re-recorded (and slightly changed) stereo form on the band's first LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, in early 1967.
Title: Sleepy Time Time
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.
Artist: Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Spreading From The Ashes)
Writer(s): Alan Brackett
Label: Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2005
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy (or PBC) was one of the more psychedelic of the local L.A. bands playing the various clubs along L.A.'s Sunset Strip during its golden years of 1965-68. As was the case with so many bands of that time and place, they never really got the opportunity to strut their stuff, although they did leave some decent tapes behind, such as Eventually, recorded in 1966 but not released until 2005.
Title: Live And Let Live
Source: CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
In late spring of 1967 L.A.'s most popular local band, Love, was falling apart, mostly due to constant partying on the part of some of the band members. This became a real issue for producer Bruce Botnick when it came time to begin sessions for the band's third LP, Forever Changes. Botnick had already lost his co-producer on the project, Neil Young, when Young's own band, Buffalo Springfield, found themselves hugely popular in the wake of the success of the single For What It's Worth, and Botnick was now faced with a heavier-than-expected workload. Botnick's solution to the problem became evident when the band entered Sunset Sound Recorders on June 9th, only to find a group of studio musicians already set up and ready to record. Two new Arthur Lee songs were recorded that day, and the rest of the band was literally shocked in sobriety, returning to the studio the next day to record overdubs on the tracks to make them sound more like the work of the band itself. After two month's worth of intensive practice, the band was ready to return to the studio, recording the first track for the album performed entirely by the band itself, Live And Let Live. The unusual first line of the song was reportedly the result of Lee falling asleep in a chair with his nose running during practice sessions.
Title: My World Fell Down
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
The Beach Boys' 1966 masterpiece Good Vibrations sent shock waves reverberating throughout the L.A. studio scene. Among those inspired by Brian Wilson's achievement were Wilson's former collaborator Gary Usher, who formed the studio band Sagittarius to record My World Fell Down in 1967. Among those participating in the project were Glen Campbell, who was the first person to take Wilson's place onstage when Wilson retired from performing to concentrate on his songwriting and record producing; Bruce Johnston, who succeeded Campbell and remains the group's bassist to this day; and Terry Melcher, best known as the producer who helped make Paul Revere and the Raiders a household name in 1965 (he was sometimes referred to as the "fifth Raider"). The rhythm section consisted of two of the top studio musicians in pop music history: bassist Carol Kaye and drummer Hal Blaine. With Campbell on lead vocals, Sagittarius was a critical and commercial success that nonetheless did not last past their first LP (possibly due to the sheer amount of ego in the group).
Artist: Moby Grape
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s): Skip Spence
As an ill-advised promotional gimmick, Columbia Records released five separate singles concurrently with the first Moby Grape album. Of the five singles, only one, Omaha, actually charted, and it only got to the #86 spot. Meanwhile, the heavy promotion by the label led to Moby Grape getting the reputation of being over-hyped, much to the detriment of the band's career.
Artist: Motorcycle Abileen
Title: (You Used To) Ride So High
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Warren Zevon: The First Sessions)
Writer(s): Warren Zevon
Label: Rhino (original label: Varese Sarabande)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2003
One of the ripple effects of the British Invasion was the near-disappearance of the solo artist from the top 40 charts for several years. There were exceptions, of course. Folk singers such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, pop singers such as Jackie DeShannon and Dionne Warwick and more adult-oriented vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin all did reasonably well, but if you wanted to be a rock and roll star you had to have a band. Producers took to creating band names for pieces that were in fact entirely performed by studio musicians, and in a few cases a solo artist would use a band name for his own recordings. One such case is the Motorcycle Abilene, which was in reality producer Bones Howe on various percussion devices working with singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, who sings and plays all non-percussion instruments on (You Used To) Ride So High, a song he wrote shortly after disbanding the duo Lyme And Cybelle (he was Lyme).
Artist: ? And The Mysterians
Title: 96 Tears
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): The Mysterians
Label: Abkco (original label: Cameo)
Although his birth certificate gives the name Rudy Martinez, the leader of the Mysterians had his name legally changed to "?" several years ago. He asserts that he is actually from the planet Mars and has lived among dinosaurs in a past life. Sometimes I feel like I'm living among dinosaurs in this life, so I guess I can relate a little.
Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: The M.O.I. American Pageant
Source: CD: Absolutely Free
Following up on their debut double-LP Freak Out, the Mothers came up with one of the first concept albums with Absolutely Free, which consisted of two "rock oratorios", each taking up one side of the album. Included in the M.O.I. American Pageant is Brown Shoes Don't Make It, which composer Frank Zappa described as a two-hour musical in condensed form (it runs slightly less than 7 minutes). The entire Pageant runs about 19 minutes.
Title: Unhappy Girl
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
After the success of their first album and the single Light My Fire in early 1967, the Doors quickly returned to the studio, releasing a second LP, Strange Days, later the same year. The first single released from the new album was People Are Strange. The B side of that single was Unhappy Girl, from the same album. Both sides got played on the jukebox at a neighborhood gasthaus known as the Woog in the village of Meisenbach near Ramstein Air Force Base (which is where I was spending most of my evenings that autumn).
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away)
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) from the Electric Ladyland album is the longest work created purely in the studio by Jimi Hendrix, with a running time of over 16 minutes. The piece starts with tape effects that lead into the song's main guitar rift. The vocals and drums join in to tell a science fiction story set in a future world where the human race has had to move underwater in order to survive some unspecified catastrophe. After a couple verses, the piece goes into a long unstructured section made up mostly of guitar effects before returning to the main theme and closing out with more effects that combine volume control and stereo panning to create a circular effect. As is the case with several tracks on Electric Ladyland, 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) features Hendrix on both guitar and bass, with Mitch Mitchell on drums and special guest Chris Wood (from Traffic) on flute.
Artist: John B. Sebastian
Title: Rainbow All Over Your Blues
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on LP: Woodstock: Original Music From The Original Soundtrack and More)
Writer(s): John B. Sebastian
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Max Yasgur's farm did not have a lot of access routes available. This became a problem when it was time for the festival to start and most of the amplifiers for the electric bands were still stuck in traffic. Luckily, there was a community of acoustic musicians available to pitch in and entertain the crowd until the equipment could be flown in by helicopter. Among them was Lovin' Spoonful founder John Sebastian, who was not actually scheduled to perform at the festival. Among the many songs he did perform at Woodstock this was Rainbow All Over Your Blues. The song was ultimately chosen for inclusion on the original soundtrack album.
Artist: Blues Image
Title: La Bamba/Consuelate
Source: CD: Open
Writer(s): Traditional/Blues Image
Label: Sundazed (original label: Atco)
The Blues Project evolved out of a Tampa, Florida band called Mike West And The Motions ("Mike West" being a stage name for guitarist Mike Pinera). Unlike other bands in the area, who tended to play covers of British Invasion bands, the Motions were into John Mayall, Muddy Waters, and especially the Blues Project. They also experimented with using two drummers, inspiring fellow Floridians Duane and Gregg Allman to do the same with their new band. After changing their name to Blues Image (inspired by Blues Project), the band opened their own club, Thee Image, hiring the Mothers Of Invention for opening night in 1968. It was Mothers leader Frank Zappa that told the members of Blues Image that their strength was in arranging rather than composing, an opinion given validity by such tracks as La Bamba, which leads directly into a track that is essentially an extension of La Bamba itself, although it bears the title Consuelate. A series of unrelated events saw the band move to L.A. by the end of the year, closing Thee Image in the process. After two LPs for Atco, Pinera left the band he helped found to join Iron Butterfly. After one more LP the group called it quits, with various members going on to become studio musicians and hooking up with people like Stephen Stills.
Title: Round Again
Source: LP: And Now…Along Comes The Association
Writer(s): Gary Alexander
Although they are now best remembered for love ballads such as Cherish and Never My Love, the Association was, in their early days, one of the hottest and tightest acts on the Los Angeles club scene. Their first LP, for the Valiant label, reflects the sheer amount of raw talent in the band, including Gary Alexander, who wrote the offbeat Round Again.
Title: The Observation
Source: Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Donovan was at first hailed as Britain's answer to Bob Dylan, but by 1967 he was proving that he was much more than that. The Observation, with its distinctive use of an acoustic double-bass, is one of many innovative tunes that helped redefine Donovan from folk singer to singer/songwriter, transforming the entire genre in the process.
Artist: Orange Wedge
Title: From The Womb To The Tomb
Source: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych
Label: Arf! Arf!
Recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, From The Womb To The Tomb was the only single from Orange Wedge, a forerunner of more famous Michigan bands such as the Stooges and the MC5.