Title: Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of Sixteen)
Source: Mono LP: Now And Them
Writer: Tom Lane
After Van Morrison left Them to pursue a solo career, the band returned to Belfast, where they recruited Kenny McDowell to be the group's new lead vocalist. They then relocated to California, where they cut two albums for Tower Records. The second of the two albums featured songs written by the husband and wife team of Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane. The first LP, entitled Now And Them, featured songs from a variety of sources, including one song, Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of Sixteen), written by Lane himself.
Artist: Pretty Things
Title: Walking Through My Dreams
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Like the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things were a product of London's somewhat rough and tumble blue collar neighborhoods, and in their early years played a similar mix of early rock 'n' roll and R&B cover tunes. By 1967, however, the band had embraced psychedelia far more than the Stones, even to the point of rivalling Pink Floyd for the unofficial title of Britain's leading psychedelic band. A case in point is Walking Though My Dreams, released in 1967 as the B side to the equally psychedelic Talkin' About The Good Times. For some reason, however, the Pretty Things never had the success in the US that the Stones (or even Pink Floyd) enjoyed.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Remember A Day
Source: CD: Relics (originally released on LP: A Saucerful Of Secrets)
Writer(s): Rick Wright
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Trivia question: Which Pink Floyd album never made the US album charts? The answer: A Saucerful Of Secrets, the band's second LP. Like the band's debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, A Saucerful Of Secrets was released on Capitol's tax-writeoff Tower subsidiary and received virtually no promotion from the label. By 1968 it was becoming increasingly clear that Syd Barrett was going off the deep end due to ongoing mental health issues exacerbated by heavy use of hallucinogenics and it's reasonable to assume the label expected to band to soon dissolve. After one performance where Barrett did nothing but stand and strum a single chord for the entire set the rest of the band made a decision to bring in Barrett's childhood friend David Gilmour as their new guitarist. In all likelihood this decision saved the band itself, as A Saucerful Of Secrets ended up being the only Pink Floyd album to include both Barrett and Gilmour. Meanwhile, other band members were stepping up their contributions as well, Rick Wright's Remember A Day being a prime example.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Let Me In
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Jefferson Airplane was the brainchild of vocalist and club manager Marty Balin, who hand-picked the band's original lineup. Among those charter members was Paul Kantner, who Balin had asked to join the band without ever having heard him sing or play. Balin said later that he just knew that Kantner was someone he wanted for his new band. Kantner very quickly developed into a strong singer/songwriter in his own right, starting with the song Let Me In (co-written by Balin), Kantner's first recorded lead vocal for the band.
Artist: Janis Ian
Title: I'll Give You A Stone If You Throw It (Changing Tymes)
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue) (originally released on LP: Janis Ian)
Writer: Janis Ian
Label: Polydor (original label: Now Sounds, reissued nationally on Verve Forecast)
Janis Ian got her first poem published in a national magazine at age 12. Not content with mere literary pursuits, the talented Ms. Ian turned to music. After being turned down by several major labels, Ian finally got a contract with the tiny New Sounds label and scored her first major hit with Society's Child, a song about interracial dating that was banned on several stations in the southern US. This led to her self-titled debut album at age 15, and a contract with M-G-M subsidiary Verve Forecast. I'll Give You A Stone If You Throw It (Changing Tymes) is taken from that first LP.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Gentle As It May Seem
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Personnel changes were pretty much a regular occurrence with Iron Butterfly. After the first album, Heavy, everyone except keyboardist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy left the band. This was accompanied by a drastic change in style as well, as Ingle, who had already been carrying the lion's share of lead vocals, became the group's primary songwriter as well. Gentle As It Seems, written by DeLoach and lead guitarist Danny Weis, is a good example of the band's original sound, back when they were scrounging for gigs in a rapidly shrinking L.A. all-ages club scene.
Title: Lonely Places
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: P. Hoffert/B. Hoffert
Label: Evolution (original label: GRT)
The Canadian band Lighthouse was an attempt by drummer Skip Prokop (formerly of The Paupers) and others to incorporate both horns and strings into a rock band. Lonely Places, which was released as the B side of the band's 1972 single, Sunny Days, shows that the idea had potential but never really got off the ground.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Purple Haze
Source: LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Following up on the success of their first UK single Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released Purple Haze in early 1967. The popularity of the two singles (originally released only in Europe) led to a deal with Reprise Records to start releasing the band's material in the US. By then, however, the Experience had already released their first LP, Are You Experienced, without either of the two hit singles on it. Reprise, hedging their bets, included both singles (but not their B sides), as well as a third UK single The Wind Cries Mary, deleting several tracks from the original version of Are You Experienced to make room for them.
Title: Fixing A Hole
Source: CD: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Parlophone/Apple (original label: Capitol)
Until 1967 every Beatle album released in the US had at least one hit single included that was not on the British version of the album (or was never released as a single in the UK). With the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, however, the track lineup became universal, making it the first Beatle album released in the US to not have a hit single on it. Nonetheless, the importance (and popularity) of the album was such that virtually every song on it got top 40 airplay at one time or another, although some tracks got more exposure than others. One of the many tracks that falls in between these extremes is Fixing A Hole, a tune by Paul McCartney that features the harpsichord prominently.
Title: Paper Sun
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Label: Island (original US label: United Artists)
One of the first British acid-rock bands was a group called Deep Feeling, which included drummer Jim Capaldi and woodwind player Chris Wood. At the same time Deep Feeling was experimenting with psychedelia, another, more commercially oriented band, the Spencer Davis Group, was tearing up the British top 40 charts with hits like Keep On Running, Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man. The undisputed star of the Spencer Davis Group was a teenaged guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist named Steve Winwood, who was also beginning to make his mark as a songwriter. Along with guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, who had worked with Capaldi in earlier bands, they formed Traffic in the spring of 1967, releasing their first single, Paper Sun, in May of that year. Capaldi and Winwood had actually written the tune while Winwood was still in the Spencer Davis Group, and the song was an immediate hit in the UK. This was followed quickly by an album, Mr. Fantasy, that, as was the common practice at the time in the UK, did not include Paper Sun. When the album was picked up by United Artists Records for US release in early 1968, however, Paper Sun was included as the LP's opening track. The US version of the album was originally titled Heaven Is In Your Mind, but was quickly retitled Mr. Fantasy to match the original British title (although the alterations in track listing stayed).
Title: Gin House Blues (actual title Me And My Gin)
Source: LP: Animalization
Writer(s): Harry Burke
Whoever did up the actual physical labels for the Animals' records made several errors of attribution. For example, there is a track on the Animalization album that is listed as Gin House Blues. In fact, the song is actually called Me And My Gin. Both songs were originally recorded by Bessie Smith, which may account for the error. Regardless, the Animals did an outstanding job on the song.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Gratefully Dead
Source: Mono British import CD: Winds Of Change (bonus track originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
One of the most successful singles by Eric Burdon And The Animals was a tribute to the summer of Love called San Franciscan Nights taken from their 1967 debut LP, Winds Of Change. The B side of that single was Good Times, from the same album. At first the band's British label was reluctant to release San Francisco Nights as a single, but eventually decided to go for it. Since Good Times had already been released as a single in the UK (making the top 10), the group recorded a new B side for San Franciscan Nights's UK release, a tune written by the band called Gratefully Dead. To my knowledge, the track has never been issued in the US.
Title: She'll Return It
Source: LP: Animalization
As a general rule the Animals, in their original incarnation, recorded two kinds of songs: hit singles from professional songwriters such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and covers of blues and R&B tunes, the more obscure the better. What they did not record a lot of was original tunes from the band members themselves. This began to change in 1966 when the band began to experience a series of personnel changes that would ultimately lead to what amounted to an entirely new group, Eric Burdon And The Animals, in 1967. One of the earliest songs to be credited to the entire band was She'll Return It, from the Animalization album. In retrospect, it is one of the strongest tracks on one of their strongest LPs.
Title: Ever Since The World Began
Source: Mono CD: Roger The Engineer (aka The Yardbirds) (original US title: Over Under Sideways Down)
Label: Great American Recordings (original label: Epic)
It may come as a surprise that the Yardbirds, one of the most celebrated bands of the British Invasion, only made one studio album in their entire existence (the other studio albums released in the US were actually compilation albums of material that had been previously released on 45 RPM vinyl in the UK). That album was The Yardbirds, which was released in the US in 1966 under the title Over Under Sideways Down. The original British cover used a drawing by guitarist Chris Dreja labelled Roger The Engineer, while the US version depicted the band members in a photo pastiche. In many ways the album represented a creative peak for the band, which at that time included Jeff Beck on lead guitar. Most of the material on the album was written in the studio and credited to the entire band, including Ever Since The World Began, which was the last track on side two of the original LP. The song itself is a protest against the rampant materialism that was beginning to dominate Western culture.
Artist: John Mayall with Eric Clapton
Title: All Your Love
Source: Mono LP: Blues Breakers
Writer(s): Otis Rush
Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds following the release of For Your Love, decrying the band's move toward a more commercial sound. Looking for a more blues-based group, Clapton soon hooked up with John Mayall, who already already released a well-received live LP. The two of them, with Jack Bruce on bass, recorded a live set at the Flamingo club that they hoped to release as an album, but the quality of the recordings was poor and the project was scrapped. In March of 1966, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, which by now included John McVie on bass and drummer Hughie Flint, went into the studio to record the album Blues Breakers. Although there are a few original songs on the album by both Mayall and Clapton, the bulk of the material was covers of blues classics such as All Your Love, which opens the LP. The song was originally recorded in 1958 by Otis Rush and is generally considered to be the most well-known of Rush's song.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Death Sound Blues
Source: CD: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound Blues than "the blues on acid"?
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell eventually quit the music business altogether in disgust.
Title: Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: You're Gonna Miss Me
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators)
Writer(s): Roky Erickson
Label: Rhino (original label: International Artists)
If anyplace outside of California has a legitimate claim to being the birthplace of the psychedelic era, it's Austin, Texas. That's mainly due to the presence of the 13th Floor Elevators, a local band led by Roky Erickson that had the audacity to use an electric jug (played by Tommy Hall) onstage. Their debut album was the first to use the word psychedelic in the title (predating the Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop by mere weeks). Musically, their leanings were more toward garage-rock than acid-rock, at least on their first album (they got rather metaphysical on their follow-up album, Easter Everywhere).
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Pipe Dream
Source: Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Pipe Dream, the Blues Magoos strong follow-up single to (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was handicapped by having an equally strong track, There's A Chance We Can Make It, on the other side of the record. As it was not Mercury's policy to push one side of a single over the other, stations were confused about which song to play. The result was that each tune got about an equal amount of airplay. With each song getting airplay on only half the available stations, neither tune was able to make a strong showing in the charts. This had the ripple effect of slowing down album sales of Electric Comic Book, which in turn hurt the careers of the members of the Blues Magoos.
Artist: Lollipop Shoppe (aka The Weeds)
Title: You Must Be A Witch
Source: Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Fred Cole
Label: BFD (original label: Uni)
The Weeds were formed in Las Vegas in 1965 by vocalist Fred Cole, who at age 16 was already a recording studio veteran. They showed up at the Fillmore to open for the Yardbirds in 1966 only to find out that their manager had lied to them about being on the playbill (in fact Bill Graham had never even heard of them). Disenchanted with their management and fearing the Draft, the entire band decided to head for Canada, but ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon. They soon landed a regular gig at a club called the Folk Singer (where Cole met his future wife Toody) and after relocating to Southern California in 1968 attracted the attention of Seeds' manager Lord Tim, who got them a contract with MCA Records (now Universal). They recorded one album for MCA's Uni label (discovering after the fact that Lord Tim had changed their name to the Lollipop Shoppe) which included the single You Must Be A Witch. Fred Cole has since become an icon of indy rock, co-leading the band Dead Moon (with wife Toody) from 1987-2006. Fred and Toody currently co-lead the band Pierced Arrows.
Title: A Well Respected Man
Source: Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: Mono LP: Gimme Some Lovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
Label: United Artists
The 1980s 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 becomming 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.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: She's A Rainbow
Source: LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request)
The Stones had their own brand of psychedelia, which was showcased on their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. The album itself didn't really connect with either critics or public, although She's A Rainbow was a hit single in the US.
Title: 25 Or 6 To 4
Source: CD: Chicago
Writer(s): Robert Lamm
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
For their second LP, Chicago (which had justdropped the words "Transit Authority" from their name in response to a threatened lawsuit) tried out all three of their vocalists on each new song to hear who sounded the best for that particular song. In the case of Robert Lamm's 25 Or 6 To 4, bassist Peter Cetera did the honors. The song became a top 10 single both in the US and UK. Despite rumors to the contrary, Lamm says 25 Or 6 To 4 is not a drug song. Instead, he says, the title refers to the time of the morning that he was awake and writing the tune.
Title: The Sun Won't Shine Forever
Source: CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as stereo 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jon Uzonyi
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Accent)
Peacepipe was a Southern California band led by guitarist John Uzonyi, who wrote both sides of the band's only single, The Sun Won't Shine Forever b/w Lazy River Blues, released in 1969. The following year Peacepipe recorded an entier album's worth of material that went unreleased until 1995. The 1995 CD Rockadelic, which collects all that unreleased material, does not include either side of the single.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Murder In My Heart For The Judge
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Wow)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Moby Grape was one of those bands that probably should have been more successful than they were, but were thrown off-track by a series of bad decisions by their own support personnel. First, Columbia Records damaged their reputation by simultaneously releasing five singles from their debut LP in 1967, leading to accusations that the band was nothing but hype. Then their producer, David Rubinson, decided to add horns and strings to many of the tracks on their second album, Wow, alienating much of the band's core audience in the process. Still, Wow did have its share of fine tunes, including drummer Don Stevenson's Murder In My Heart For The Judge, probably the best-known song on the album. The song proved popular enough to warrant cover versions by such diverse talents as Lee Michaels, Chrissy Hynde and Three Dog Night.
Artist: Albert King
Title: Crosscut Saw
Source: LP: Born Under A Bad Sign
Writer(s): R.G. Ford
One of the "three Kings" of electric blues (the others being Freddy and B.B.), Albert King was already in his 40s when he recorded his first album for the Stax label (his second overall), Born Under A Bad Sign, in 1967. The album is considered the beginning of the modern age of blues, with such notables as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan citing King's work on the album as a major influence on their own guitar playing. One of the most notable tracks on the LP was an updated version of Crosscut Blues, a tune that was first recorded by Mississippi bluesman Tommy McClennan in 1941, but that probably dates much further back. King's version, however, has come to be considered the definitive rendition of the song.
Title: Born To Be Wild
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Mars Bonfire
Born To Be Wild's status as a counter-cultural anthem was cemented when it was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider. The popularity of both the song and the movie resulted in Steppenwolf becoming the all-time favorite band of bikers all over the world.
Artist: Max Frost And The Troopers
Title: Shape Of Things To Come
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wild In The Streets (soundtrack))
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts. "Wild in the Streets" starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's drummer/political activist Stanley X. Imagine that.
Artist: Barry McGuire
Title: Eve Of Destruction
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): P F Sloan
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
One of the top folk-rock hits of 1965, Eve of Destruction was actually written by professional songwriter P.F. Sloane, who also wrote tunes for the Turtles, among others.