Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Blues From An Airplane
Source: CD: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane
Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first anthology album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well.
Title: The Train To Disaster
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Originally known as Karl Stuart and the Profiles, this London band changed their name to the Voice just in time for their third and final single for Mercury, an apocalyptic tune called The Train To Disaster that came out in April of 1966. The band members were reportedly associated with something called the Church of the Process. When the Church began to pressure lead guitarist Miller Anderson to divorce his wife, Anderson instead chose to divorce the Church (and the Voice). His replacement, Mick Ronson, had only been with the band a short time when the other members suddenly relocated to the Bahamas, leaving Ronson behind. Ronson, however, went on to become a member of David Bowie's band, the Spiders From Mars, while the rest of the Voice have not been heard from since.
Source: LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
As a general rule, the original Animals wrote very little of their own material, preferring to record covers of their favorite blues songs to supplement the songs from professional songwriters that producer Mickie Most picked for single release. One notable exception is Cheating, a strong effort from vocalist Eric Burdon and bassist Chas Chandler that appeared on the Animalization album. The hard-driving song was also chosen for release as a B side in 1966.
Title: Why Did You Hurt Me
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Why Did You Hurt Me is a bit of a musical oddity. The song, which was released B side of their second single, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, starts off as a growling three-chord bit of classic garage rock, but then goes into a bridge that sounds more like flower pop, with flowing melodic harmonies. This leads into a short transitional section that has little in common with what had come before and finally (somewhat awkwardly) segues back into the three chord main section to finish the song. The important thing, however, is that the piece was written by band members Dick Dodd and Tony Valentine, thus generating royalties for the two.
Source: CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Jack Bruce
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were relatively few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals. Dreaming is also one of the shortest Cream songs on record, clocking in at one second under two minutes in length.
Artist: Third Bardo
Title: I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Roulette)
The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Double Yellow Line
Source: Mono CD: Turn On The Music Machine (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Sean Bonniwell was an early champion of bands that played their own original material as opposed to covering the hits of the day. His own group, the Music Machine, deliberately played tight, segued sets of originals so that nobody in the crowd would have time to yell out "Cherish" or "Last Train to Clarksville" or whatever else was popular on local radio stations at the time. Imagine his chagrin when he learned that his record label, Original Sound (!), had substituted a set of cover tunes that the Music Machine had recorded for a TV show for four of Bonniwell's originals on the band's 1966 debut LP Turn On. One of the four songs to be cut was Double Yellow Line, a tune that appeared the following year as a single.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: The Masked Marauder
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s. Their first two releases were floppy inserts included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.
Artist: Peter Fonda
Title: November Night
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Gram Parsons
Label: Rhino (original label: Chisa)
Once upon a time the son of actor Henry Fonda was hanging around the swimming pool with his friends Gram Parsons, Stewart Levine and Hugh Masakela and decided he wanted to be a rock star. Levine and Masakela had started their own record label, Chisa (based on a Zulu "exclamation"), and Parsons provided the song November Night for Fonda to record. Although the single did get released, it failed to make an impression with anyone, and young Fonda decided that instead of trying to be a singer he perhaps should follow in his father's footsteps and become an actor like his sister Jane had. It turned out to be the right career move, as Peter Fonda would become famous for the film Easy Rider just two years later.
Artist: Jan And Dean
Title: Surf City
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Label: Silver Spotlight (original label: Liberty)
Starting in 1963 I spent my summers with my grandparents in Geneva, NY. Up until this point my exposure to radio had been pretty much limited to furtive trips to my parents' bedroom to sneak a listen to their clock radio while they were in the living room watching TV. My grandfather, however, had a tabletop radio in his den that he used mostly for listening to baseball games from Auburn, about 30 miles away. Since he worked nights and slept during the day, I got to play the radio pretty much any time I wanted to. Geneva's only radio station, WGVA, played top 40 hits at the time. One of the most popular songs that summer was Jan And Dean's Surf City, which, I found out years later, was the first surf song ever to top the national charts. I will always associate that song with that radio, 51 summers ago.
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. The song shot right to the top of the charts, staying there for several weeks.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s): Davey Graham
Paul Simon wrote nearly all the material that he and Art Garfunkel recorded. One notable exception is Davey Graham's instrumental Anji, which Simon played as a solo acoustic piece on the Sounds Of Silence. The song immediately follows a Simon composition, Somewhere They Can't Find Me, that is built around a similar-sounding guitar riff, making Anji sound somewhat like an instrumental reprise of the first tune.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission)
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Paul Simon's sense of humor is on full display on A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission). The song first appeared, with slightly different lyrics on Simon's 1965 LP The Paul Simon Songbook, which was released only in the UK after Simon and Garfunkel had split following the disappointing sales of their first Columbia LP, Wednesday Morning 3AM. When the duo got back together following the surprise success of an electrified version of The Sound Of Silence, the re-recorded the tune, releasing it on their third Columbia LP, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. The song is a deliberate parody/tribute to Bob Dylan, written in a style similar to It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), and is full of sly references to various well-known personages of the time as well as lesser-known acquaintances of Simon himself.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Three For Love
Source: LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s): Joe Kelley
The Shadows Of Knight moved way out of their garage/punk comfort zone for the song Three For Love, a folk-rock piece laden with harmony vocals. The tune, from the second LP, Back Door Men, is the only Shadows song I know of written by guitarist Joe Kelley. Kelley himself had started out as the band's bass player, but midway through sessions for the band's first LP, Gloria, it became obvious that he was a much better guitarist than Warren Rogers. As a result, the two traded roles, with Kelley handling all the leads on Back Door Men. Kelly, however, did not sing the lead vocals on Three For Love, despite being the song's composer. That task fell to rhythm guitarist Jerry McGeorge. It was his only credit as lead vocalist on the album.
Title: Love Me Two Times
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
Although the second Doors album is sometimes dismissed as being full of tracks that didn't make the cut on the band's debut LP, the fact is that Strange Days contains some of the Doors' best-known tunes. One of those is Love Me Two Times, which was the second single released from the album. The song continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations.
Artist: Elastik Band
Source: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): David Cortopassi
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Just plain weird, and probably politically incorrect as well, Spazz was the work of five young men from Belmont, California calling themselves the Elastik Band. For some odd reason, someone at Atco Records thought Spazz might be commercially viable, and released the track as a single in late 1967. They were wrong.
Source: British import LP: The Beatles
Writer(s): George Harrison
Beatle George Harrison had first revealed an anti-establishment side with his song Taxman, released in 1966 on the Revolver album. This particular viewpoint remained dormant until the song Piggies came out on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Although the song was intended to be satirical in tone, at least one Californian, Charles Manson, took it seriously enough to justify "whacking" a few "piggies" of his own. It was not pretty.
Title: I Am The Tall Tree
Source: British import CD: The Flock
Writer(s): The Flock
Label: BGO (original label: Columbia)
The Flock was one of the many progressive rock bands signed by Columbia by Clive Davis in 1968, several of which included either a violin (like It's A Beautiful Day) or horns (the Chicago Transit Authority, for one). As far as I can tell, however, the Flock was the only one to feature both a violin and horn section. They were also the most avant-garde of the bunch, as a listen to a track like I Am The Tall Tree from their self-titled debut album makes obvious. Although that album did fairly well, getting rave reviews from the rock press and hitting the upper 40s on the album charts, the follow-up LP, Dinosaur Swamps, fared considerably less well, barely cracking the top 100. Before a third album could be recorded, the Flock lost several key members (including violinist Jerry Goodman to the newly-formed Mahavishnu Orchestra) and was never able to recover their early momentum.
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question Of Temperature
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to have greater success as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Immigrant Song
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin III
Although the third Led Zeppelin album is known mostly for its surprising turn toward a more acoustic sound than its predecessors, the first single from that album actually rocked out as hard, if not harder, than any previous Zeppelin track. In fact, it could be argued that Immigrant Song rocks out harder than anything on top 40 radio before or since. Starting with a tape echo deliberately feeding on itself the song breaks into a basic riff built on two notes an octave apart, with Robert Plant's wailing vocals sounding almost like a siren call. Guitarist Jimmy Page soon breaks into a series of power chords that continue to build in intensity for the next two minutes, until the song abruptly stops cold. The lyrics of Immigrant Song were inspired by the band's trip to Iceland in 1970.
Title: Boom-Ba-Boom/Somebody Listen
Source: CD: Zephyr
Label: MCA/One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Zephyr was a blues rock band that had formed in 1968 by members of various local bands. In the early days the focus was on vocalist Candy Givens, who had a range of several octaves and could easily have performed without a microphone. Once the band had recorded their self-titled debut LP, the attention began to shift to Tommy Bolin, a self-taught guitarist who would go on to become a member of the James Gang, and then Deep Purple, as well as pursuing a solo career. In addition to Bolin and Givens, the band included Candy's husband David Givens on bass, John Faris on keyboards, and Robbie Chamberlin on drums. Many of the tracks on the first Zephyr were credited to the full membership of the band, although Boom-Ba-Boom, which segues into Somebody Listen, came from David Givens.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Crosstown Traffic
Source: LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The last of these was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several anthologies over the years.
Artist: Mystery Trend
Title: Johnny Was A Good Boy
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Verve)
The Mystery Trend was a bit of an anomaly. Contemporaries of bands such as the Great! Society and the Charlatans, the Trend always stood a bit apart from the rest of the crowd, playing to an audience that was both a bit more affluent and a bit more "adult" (they were reportedly the house band at a Sausalito strip club). Although they played in the city itself as early as 1965, they did not release their first record until early 1967. The song, Johnny Was A Good Boy, tells the story of a seemingly normal middle-class kid who turns out to be a monster, surprising friends, family and neighbors. The same theme would be used by XTC in the early 1980s in the song No Thugs In Our House, one of the standout tracks from their landmark English Settlement album.
Title: Find Another Door
Source: Before The Dream Faded
Label: Cherry Red
The story of the legendary band the Misunderstood actually started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most of the bands at the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock and roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes, including the addition of lead vocalist Rick Brown. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, and Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were joined by a local guitarist, Tony Hill. Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. In addition to that single, the band recorded a handful of outstanding tracks that remained unreleased until the 1980s. Among those unreleased tracks was a masterpiece called Find Another Door, written (as were most of the songs the band recorded in London) by Brown and Hill. Problems having nothing to do with music soon derailed the Misunderstood, who soon found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: 45 RPM single (simulated stereo reissue)
Label: Double Shot
San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively small, pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from San Jose were more than happy to fill.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Brave New World
Source: LP: Homer soundtrack (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
Writer(s): Steve Miller
Label: Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
It took the Steve Miller Band half a dozen albums (plus appearances on a couple of movie soundtracks) to achieve star status in the early 1970s. Along the way they developed a cult following that added new members with each successive album. The fourth Miller album was Brave New World, the title track of which was used in the film Homer, a 1970 film that is better remembered for its soundtrack than for the film itself.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: Cry Baby
Source: CD: The Pearl Sessions
Janis Joplin's only hit single with Big Brother and the Holding Company was Piece Of My Heart, a song written by legendary songwriters Jerry Ragavoy and Bert Berns. For her 1971 album Pearl, Joplin went with an earlier collaboration between the two that had originally been a hit in the early 60s for Garnet Mimms. Within a few months Cry Baby had become so thoroughly identified with Joplin that few even remembered Mimms's version of the song.
Artist: Richie Havens
Title: Eyesight To The Blind
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Sonny Boy Williamson
The Who hit it big twice with the rock opera Tommy; first with the original version in 1969 and then again in the mid-1970s when the movie version came out. In between, however, there was a lesser-known 1972 orchestral version of the piece that, like the movie version, featured several guest artists. Among those was Richie Havens, who had just had a top 40 hit with a cover of George Harrison's Here Comes The Sun. Havens took the role of the Hawker, promising Eyesight To The Blind to the young Tommy. The song, originally recorded in the early 1960s by Sonny Boy Williamson, was the only non-original song to be incorporated into the rock opera itself. So what we have here is Richie Havens doing a cover of the Who's cover of Sonny Boy Williamson. Confusing, no?
Artist: Mojo Men
Title: Sit Down, I Think I Love You
Source: LP: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Mojo Men started off in Rochester, NY in the early 60s. After a stint in south Florida playing mostly frat houses, the band moved to San Francisco, where they scored a contract with Reprise Records and recorded the garage-rock classic She's My Baby. Around late 1966-early 1967 the Mojo Men picked up a new drummer. Jan Errico, formerly of the Vejtables, brought with her a softer, more folky kind of sound, as well as the high vocal harmonies that are evident in this recording of the Buffalo Springfield tune Sit Down I Think I Love You, a minor hit during the summer of love.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Source: LP: Spirit of '67
1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to starting a gig as the host band for Dick Clark's new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out three consecutive top 10 singles. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
Title: Old Man Of Time
Source: British import CD: Feeling High-The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis
Label: Big Beat
The Wallabys were, by all accounts, the most eccentric rock band in mid-60s Jackson, Mississippi. They were also among the most influenced by the British invasion, particular the harder edged bands like the Kinks. The band was managed by Mitchell Maloof, a promoter who had bought into the Hullabaloo teen club chain. There were Hullabaloo clubs in Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and even California, giving the Wallabys a decent shot of buiding an audience base. Prior to their only trip to California, the group went up to Memphis to record a demo that included Old Man Of Time. Unfortunately, the California trip was a serious downer for the band, and by the end of 1967 the Wallabys had split up without any of their recordings having been released.
Title: Dandelion Seeds
Source: Mono British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Tom Newman
Label: Zonophone (original label: Major Minor)
Although he is best remembered as the co-founder (with Richard Branson) of Manor Studios, where Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells was produced, Tom Newman was actually a veteran of several London bands, the most successful of which was July, which recorded a pair of singles for the independent Major Minor label in 1968. The B side of the first single was Dandelion Seeds, which shows Newman's budding talents as a songwriter.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Source: CD: Woodstock Two
Writer(s): David Crosby
Label: Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
After the success of the movie Woodstock and its accompanying soundtrack album, Atlantic Records decided to release a sequel (on their Cotillion subsidiary label) called Woodstock Two. Although there were a handful of tunes used in the movie that had not been included on the first soundtrack album, the label decided to take a different approach with Woodstock Two. Rather than include just one or two songs per artist, Woodstock Two put the emphasis on longer sets from fewer artists, such as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, who had, in the years following Woodstock, become genuine superstars. One of the standout tracks from Woodstock Two was David Crosby's Guinnevere, a song based on real people in Crosby's life.
Artist: Trade Winds
Title: I Believe In Her
Source: Mono LP:Excursions
Label: Kama Sutra
The Trade Winds were basically a front for the Anders/Poncia songwriting team that had two successful singles in the mid-60s. The first, New York Is A Lonely Town, was a melodic tune in the same vein as Brian Wilson's Surfer Girl, while the second, Mind Excursion, was as typical an example of flower pop as ever was recorded. The songs were considered successful enough to warrant the release of an album, Excursions, in 1966. One of the strongest tracks on the album was, ironically, not written by the Anders/Ponzia team. I Believe In Her was written by the Naumann/Calvert/Marzano team, which probably says something about the entire New York studio scene (but I'm not sure exactly what).