Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion on Reprise Records, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation.
Artist: The Light
Title: Back Up
Source: Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: A&M)
The San Bernadino/Riverside area of southern California is probably better known to racing fans than to music afficionados, yet the area did have its share of local bands filling up various venues in the area in the late 60s. Among those bands was the Light, who released one single, Back Up, on the A&M label in 1967.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)
Source: Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: No Way Out)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
The Chocolate Watchband are unique in that they managed to attain legendary status in spite of their record label or even their own management. The band started off well enough; a group of guys enrolled at Foothills Junior College in what would become Silicon Valley forming a band to play mostly covers by such hard-edged British bands as the Kinks and the Rolling Stones. The problems started when they signed a management contract with Ed Cobb, who also managed and produced the Standells and other garage-punk bands. Cobb, at that point, was looking to make inroads with the crowd that was buying records by the Seeds and other flower power groups, and tried his best to reshape the Watchband into a more psychedelic sound. Unfortunately, the band was really not suited to what Cobb wanted, so Cobb brought in studio musicians to present his musical vision. The result was a pair of albums that both sounded like they had been recorded by two entirely different groups...because they had (some tracks even deleted Dave Aguilar's original lead vocals in favor of those provided by studio singer Don Bennett). One of the few true Watchband tracks is Are You Gonna Be There, a song written and recorded in one day for use in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album. The irony about this track is the fact that the song was co-written by none other than Don Bennett..
Title: Fifth Class Mail
Source: CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released on LP: Monkey A-Go-Go)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Wyncote)
In the 1960s there were literally hundreds of record labels, many of which served targeted audiences to the exclusion of all else. Among these were labels that specialized in exploiting current trends with cheap knockoffs, usually played by studio musicians using made up band names. Once in a while, a real band would record for these labels, but not under their actual name. One such case is the Chimps, who were in reality the Thomas A. Edison Electric Band, a Philadelphia band formed in 1966 that released one album (as the Edison Electric Band) on the Cotillion label in 1970, as well as a single for Cameo Records in 1967 shortly before that label's demise. As the Chimps, they released two albums for the Philadelphia based Wyncote label that were meant to capitalize on the popularity of the Monkees. The albums, Monkey Business and Monkey A-Go-Go, both included a mix of Monkees cover songs and originals such as Fifth Class Mail, possibly the most psychedelic track the group ever recorded.
Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come; edited version released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Joe and Willie Chambers
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: 1967 (edited version released 1968)
One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:55 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Stone Free
Source: CD: Are You Experienced? (bonus track originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Track)
Whether or not Stone Free was the first song ever written by Jimi Hendrix, there is no doubt it was the first original composition to be recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In fact, it is the only song written by Hendrix to be released in 1966 (as the B side to Hey Joe). The song was later included on the Smash Hits anthology album. A newer version was recorded in 1969 under the title Stone Free Again.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Room Full Of Mirrors
Source: CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1969-1970, released 1971
Jimi Hendrix often showed up at the studio with only the barest idea of a song to record, working out the details as he went along. Sometimes the result would be be a finished song. More often, however, he would end up returning to the song at a later date. Such was the case with Room Full Of Mirrors, a song that he first started working on in 1968. After unsuccessfully trying to come up with a working version of the song with various combinations of musicians, Hendrix decided to shelve the tune, returning to it in November of 1969 with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. The Band Of Gypsys, as the trio was known, was able to get a working master recorded on November 17, but Hendrix was far from finished with the track. Over the next few months the guitarist experimented with the recording, eventually overhauling the entire track, adding guitar overdubs and upgrading the drum sound to get a rough mix on August 20, 1970. This mix was first released in 1971 on the Rainbow Bridge LP and is currently available on the First Rays Of The New Rising Sun CD.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Source: CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Although never released as a single, Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener.
Title: Come Together
Source: CD: Abbey Road
After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band went to work recording an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.
Title: You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Source: CD: Help!
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
In the early 1960s the US pop charts were not dominated by any particular genre. In addition, there were far more regional differences than there are today, and virtually every medium to large sized city in the US had at least one radio station that maintained its own weekly top 40 list. Vocal groups such as the Shirells, 4 Seasons and Dixie Cups did well along the eastern seaboard, while instrumental surf bands like the Ventures and Dick Dale and his Del-Tones were the rage on the west coast. Philadelphia, long time home of American Bandstand, tended to be more dance oriented, while cities like Detroit and Memphis each had their own unique take on R&B. Mixed in with it all were pop crooners, folk artists, jazz musicians, country and western stars with crossover appeal, and even novelty acts, all vying for a piece of the chart action. In 1964, however, the dynamics changed considerably, as suddenly the charts everywhere were dominated by the Beatles and other British rock bands. Despite this dominance, the old genres did not go away entirely. Some, especially the niche genres, continued on much as they always had, while others, such as folk music, began to incorporate elements of British rock, creating new sub-genres such as folk-rock in the process. There is no consensus as to just what the first folk-rock song was. One tune that is definitely in contention, however, came from the Beatles themselves. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away was a song written by John Lennon that appeared in the 1965 film Help! Although the recording does not include any electric instruments it still sounds as much like a Beatle song as it does a folk tune, making it a folk-rock song pretty much by definition.
Title: Abbey Road Medley #2
Source: Abbey Road
The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys (although some rock historians treat it as one long medley). The second one consists of three songs credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Golden Slumbers is vintage McCartney, while Carry That Weight has more of a Lennon feel to it. The final section,The End, probably should have been credited to the entire band, as it contains the only Ringo Starr drum solo on (a Beatle) record as well as three sets of alternating lead guitar solos (eight beats each) from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon (in that order).
Title: Space Child/When I Touch You
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit keyboardist John Locke used a combination of piano, organ and synthesizers (then a still-new technology) to set the mood for the entire Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus recording sessions with his instrumental piece Space Child. The tune starts with a rolling piano riff that gives bassist Mark Andes a rare opportunity to carry the melody line before switching to a jazzier tempo that manages to seamlessly transition from a waltz tempo to straight time without anyone noticing. After a short reprise of the tune's opening riff the track segues into Jay Ferguson's When I Touch You, a song that manages to be light and heavy at the same time.
Artist: Blood, Sweat And Tears
Title: Spinning Wheel
Source: CD: Blood, Sweat And Tears
Writer(s): David Clayton-Thomas
After the departure of Blood, Sweat & Tears founder Al Kooper following the group's first LP, the remaining members decided to make a go of it with a new vocalist. They recruited Canada's David Clayton-Thomas, who not only brought a unique vocal sound to the group, but also penned one of their most popular songs, Spinning Wheel. The tune was the band's second consecutive top 5 single and cemented the group's reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the music world.
Artist: Masters Apprentices
Title: War Or Hands Of Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Mick Bower
Label: Rhino (original label: Astor)
Formed in 1963 as the Mustangs, Masters Apprentices started off the same way as many local bands of the time, playing mostly instrumental versions of popular rock and roll songs. In 1964, no doubt influenced by such British bands as the Animals and Rolling Stones, the adopted their new name, explaining that they considered themselves disciples of such first wave rock and roll stars as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Thanks to rhythm guitarist Mike Bower, the band soon developed a sound of their own, and by 1966 were ready to record a demo tape and submit it to the local Astor label. The people at Astor were so impressed they issued the tapes in their raw form as the group's first single, Undecided. By early 1967 Undecided was on all the Australian top 10 lists, with the B side, an understated antiwar song called War Or The Hands Of Time, getting its share of attention as well. Things were looking good for the band, with two more hit singles and an album, before Bower suffered a nervous breakdown and dropped out of music altogether. The group continued on until 1972, but never had the same magic as the original lineup.
Title: You Know What I Mean
Source: French import CD: Happy Together (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Magic (original label: White Whale)
1967 was a good year for the Turtles, mainly due to their discovery of the songwriting team Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon. Not only did the former members of the Magicians write the Turtles' biggest hit, Happy Together, they also provided two follow-up songs, She's My Girl and You Know What I Mean, both of which hit the top 20 later in the year.
Title: Thoughts And Words
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Chris Hillman
In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter, including Thoughts And Words, on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.
Artist: Fallen Angels
Title: Mother's Homesick Too
Source: British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US on LP: Fallen Angels)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Washington, DC, was home to the Fallen Angels, an off-the-wall band that evolved from another DC band, the Mad Hatters, in 1965. Descrbing themselves as "ravenous mimics with a penchant for political satire", the Angels began their recording career with an indie single and a pair of 45s for the Laurie label before signing with the then-powerful Roulette label in 1967. Their self-titled debut LP, including the song Mother's Homesick Too, hit the racks in 1967. After their second album, It's A Long Way Down, failed to make a commercial impression, the group disbanded in 1969, only to reunite for a third album, Rain Of Fire, nearly 30 years later.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Two Trains Running
Source: CD: East-West
Writer(s): McKinley Morganfield
By the 1960s, the blues had fallen out of favor with its traditional audience base. Jazz adherents considered it too primitive to take seriously, while those who listened regularly to gospel were convinced that the blues was "the Devil's music". Even R&B was abandoning its roots in favor of a more mainstream approach, especially in Detroit, where the Motown label was becoming a major force in pop music. There were still a few places left where blues was not a dirty word, however. Chicago, in particular, always took pride in its blues heritage, while in New York's Greenwich Village, a full-scale blues revival was underway. Within this revival there were both traditionalists and those who favored a more improvisational approach to the blues. Paul Butterfield's traditionalist approach can be heard on the Butterfield Blues Band's cover of the Muddy Waters tune Two Trains Running. Unlike the better-known Blues Project version of the tune, the Butterfield track (from the 1966 album East-West), maintains the song's original tempo and basic structure, clocking in at slightly under four minutes.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
One of the most underrated songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Citadel is the second track on Their Satanic Majesties Request, an album often dismissed as being an ill-fated attempt to keep up with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As the song is preceeded on the album by the overture-like Sing This All Together with no break between the two, Citadel was almost impossible to play as a separate track from the original vinyl. It's a little easier to play from the CD, but due to sloppiness on the part of whoever mastered the 80s Abkco discs, the start of the song does not quite match up with the start of the CD track. Maybe one of these days I'll get a copy of the remastered version that came out more recently and see if they did a better job with it. In the meantime sit back and enjoy this hard-rockin' piece of psychedelia.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: I Need A Man To Love
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound good. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage at the Fillmore West. As a result, when Cheap Thrills was released, four of the seven tracks were live recordings, including the Janis Joplin/Peter Albin collaboration I Need A Man To Love.
Artist: Shy Limbs
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): John Dickenson
Label: Grapefruit (original label: CBS)
The volatile nature of the late 60s British rock scene is clearly illustrated by a band called Shy Limbs. Formed by songwriter John Dickenson and vocalist Greg Lake, both former members of a band called Shame, the band also included guitarist/bassist Alan Bowery (from a band called the Actress) and drummer Andy McCulloch. The B side of the band's first single, a song called Love, featured guest guitarist Robert Fripp, who was in the process of forming his own band, King Crimson, at the time. Before the single was even released, Lake had left to join Fripp's band, and Shy Limbs released a second single without him before disbanding, at which time McCulloch replaced Michael Giles in King Crimson. By then, however, Lake had left King Crimson to co-found Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Artist: James Gang
Title: There I Go Again
Source: CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s): Joe Walsh
Label: MCA (original label: ABC)
The two sides of James Gang Rides Again sound like two entirely different albums. As it turns out, this was somewhat intentional. According to bassist Dale Peters, guitarist Joe Walsh had written a set of acoustic tunes while the band was recording what would become side one of the album. Rather than try to hastily come up with another side's worth of tunes, the band decided just to let Walsh record the songs he had already written with a minimum of accompaniment. Among those tunes on side two of James Gang Rides Again is There I Go Again, a catchy number that features Walsh on both acoustic and steel guitar.
Title: Peace Frog/Blue Sunday
Source: Morrison Hotel
The Doors' Peace Frog, in a very basic sense, is actually two separate works of art. The track started off as an instrumental piece by guitarist Robbie Kreiger, recorded while the rest of the band was waiting for Jim Morrison to come up with lyrics for another piece. Not long after the track was recorded, producer Paul Rothchild ran across a poem of Morrison's called Abortion Stories and encouraged him to adapt it to the new instrumental tracks. Peace Frog, which appears on the album Morrison Hotel, leads directly into Blue Sunday, one of many poems/songs written by Morrison for Pamela Courson, his significant other since 1965.
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?
Title: Roadhouse Blues
Source: CD: Morrison Hotel
Writer(s): Morrison/The Doors
After getting less than favorable reviews for their fourth LP, The Soft Parade, the Doors decided to go back to their roots for 1970s Morrison Hotel. One of the many bluesier tunes on the album was Roadhouse Blues, a song that soon became a staple of the group's live performances.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Surf's Up (demo version)
Source: Mono CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys
It took the Beach Boys nearly five years to come up with an acceptable studio version of Surf's Up, the title track of their 22nd album. This is the earliest surviving demo of the song, recorded by Brian Wilson in December of 1966.
Title: Alone Again Or
Source: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s): Bryan MacLean
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version either.