Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Paint It Black
Source: Mono CD: Aftermath
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
One of the truly great Rolling Stones songs, Paint It Black was not included on the original UK release of the 1966 Aftermath album. This was because of the British custom of not including songs on LPs that were also available as 45 RPM singles (which, unlike their American counterparts, remained available for sale indefinitely) or extended play 45s (which had no US counterpart). In the US, however, Paint It Black was used to open the album, giving the entire LP a different feel from the British version (it had a different cover as well). Paint It Black is also the only song on Aftermath that was mixed only in mono, although US stereo pressings used an electronic rechannelling process to create a fake stereo sound. Luckily for everyone's ears, modern CDs use the unenhanced mono mix of the tune.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Memo From Turner
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: Decca)
Technically speaking, Memo From Turner is not a Rolling Stones song at all, since none of the instruments on the track are played by members of the band. Originally released as a single by Mick Jagger in 1970, the tune was taken from the film Performance, in which Jagger plays a performer named Turner. The track itself, which was recorded in Hollywood, does feature some nice slide guitar work from Ry Cooder however.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Under My Thumb
Source: CD: Aftermath
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
With the exception of certain Beatle tracks, pretty much every popular song from the beginning of recorded music through the year 1966 had been released as a single either on 45 or 78 RPM records (and for a while in the 1950s, on both). With Under My Thumb, from the Aftermath album, the Rolling Stones proved that someone besides the fab four could record a classic that was available only as a 33 1/3 RPM LP track. In a sense, then, Aftermath can be considered the very foundation of album rock, as more and groups put their most creative energy into making albums rather than singles in the ensuing years. Thanks, Stones.
Artist: Os Mutantes
Title: Bat Macumba
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets 2-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on LP: Mutantes)
Label: Rhino (original label: Polydor Brazil)
Tropicalia was a movement of Brazilian modernists that opposed the oppressive traditionalist policies of that country's right-wing military government. The movement included writers, actors, visual artists and composers of popular music such as Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Among the younger participants were the members of Os Mutantes, a popular band that released five albums between 1968 and 1973. The group infused bossa nova and Carnival rhythms with electric (and electronic) instrumentation to create a sound that was at once psychedelic and purely Brazilian. Bat Macumba, from their first album, Mutantes, was written for the band by Veloso and Gil.
Artist: Tommy James And The Shondells
Title: Mony Mony
Source: 45 RPM single (promo copy)
Sometime around 1964, a kid named Tommy James took his band, the Shondells, into a recording studio to record a simple song called Hanky Panky. The song was released on the Roulette label and went absolutely nowhere. Two years later a Pittsburgh DJ, looking for something different to make his show stand out from the crowd, decided to dig out a copy of the record and play it as a sort of on-air audition. The audience loved it, and the DJ soon contacted James, inviting him and the Shondells to make a personal appearance. Unfortunately by this time there were no Shondells, so James hastily put together a new band to promote the record. It wasn't long before the word spread and Hanky Panky was a national hit. James and his new Shondells then commenced to pretty much single-handedly keep Roulette Records afloat for the next three or four years with songs like their 1968 jukebox favorite Mony Mony, one of many top 10 singles for the band.
Title: I Need You
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Rhino (original label: A Squared)
The Rationals were formed in 1965 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They soon got the attention of local label A2 (A Squared), and had a series of regional hits in the same Detroit soul-rock style favored by such notables as Mitch Ryder and Bob Seger. One of the best of these was a cover of a Kinks B side, I Need You, which the Rationals released in 1968.
Title: Most Exclusive Residence For Sale
Source: Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Reprise)
By 1966, Ray Davies' songwriting had matured considerably from his power chord driven love songs You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night. Like many of the songs on the Kinks' 1966 and 1967 LPs, Most Exclusive Residence For Sale tells a story; in this case the story of a man who achieved great success, bought an expensive house and then found himself forced to sell it when his fortunes took a downward turn. The track appeared on the 1966 LP Face To Face, the last Kinks album to not be mixed in stereo.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: Steppin' Out
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Just Like Us
1965 was the year that Paul Revere and the Raiders hit the big time. The Portland, Oregon band had already been performing together for several years, and had been the first rock band to record Louie Louie in the spring of 1963, getting airplay on the West Coast and Hawaii but losing out nationally to another Portland band, the Kingsmen, whose version was recorded the same month as the Raiders'. While playing in Hawaii the band came to the attention of Dick Clark, who was looking for a band to appear on his new afternoon TV program, Where The Action Is. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, a successful producer at Columbia Records, which led to the Raiders being the first rock band signed by the label, predating the Byrds by about a year. Appearing on Action turned out to be a major turning point for the band, who soon became the show's defacto hosts as well as house band. The Raiders' first national hit in their new role was Steppin' Out, a song written by Revere and vocalist Mark Lindsay about a guy returning from military service (as Revere himself had done in the early 60s, reforming the band upon his return) and finding out his girl had been unfaithful. Working with Melcher the Raiders enjoyed a run of hits from 1965-67 unequalled by any other Amercian rock band of the time.
Title: Doctor Robert
Source: CD: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Dr. Robert is one of the few Beatles songs that was released in the US before it was released in the UK. The song was included on the US-only LP Yesterday...And Today, which came out in June of 1966. Most of the tunes on that album were tracks that had either been issued as singles or had appeared on the British versions of the band's two previous albums (Help! and Rubber Soul) but had been left off the US versions of those LPs. Dr. Robert, however, would not be released in the UK until the Revolver album came out in the fall. Concerning the subject matter of the song, John Lennon later claimed that he himself was Dr. Robert, as he was the one who carried the pills for the band in their early days. A likely story.
Artist: First Crew To The Moon
Title: The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Jerry Milstein
Label: Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Originally known as the Back Door Men, and later the Bootleggers, Brooklyn, NY's First Crew To The Moon signed with the Roulette label on the recommendation of legendary songwriter Doc Pomus. Unfortunately for the band, their only record for Roulette, a song called Spend Your Life With Me, was released just as the label's entire promotional budget was being spent on the latest single by labelmates Tommy James And The Shondells, a tune called I think We're Alone Now. To add insult to injury, Roulette misspelled the band's name on both sides of the record, inadvertantly rechristening them First Crow To The Moon, a name that actually fits the record's B side, a psychedelic masterpiece called The Sun Lights Up The Shadows Of Your Mind, quite well. As it turned out, none of this really mattered, as the band soon disbanded following the death of lead guitarist Alan Avick of leukemia. Perhaps the group's greatest legacy, however, was to serve as inspiration to their friend Chris Stein, who several years later would team up with Deborah Harry to form a group called Blondie.
Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title: Light Your Windows
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Quicksilver Messenger Service)
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
One of the last of the legendary San Francisco bands that played at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival to get signed to a major label was Quicksilver Messenger Service. Inspired by a conversation between Dino Valenti and guitarist John Cippolina, there are differing opinions on just how serious Valenti was about forming a new band at that time. Since Valenti was busted for drugs the very next day (and ended up spending the next two years in jail), we'll never know for sure. Cippolina, however, was motivated enough to begin finding members for the new band, including bassist David Freiberg (later to join Starship) and drummer Skip Spence. When Marty Balin stole Spence away to join his own new band (Jefferson Airplane), he tried to make up for it by introducing Cippolina to vocalist/guitarist Gary Duncan and drummer Greg Elmore, whose own band, the Brogues, had recently disbanded. Taking the name Quicksilver Messenger Service (so named for all the member's astrological connections with the planet Mercury), the new band soon became a fixture on the San Francisco scene. Inspired by the Blues Project, Cippolina and Duncan quickly established a reputation for their dual guitar improvisational abilities. Unlike other San Francisco bands such as the Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service did not jump at their first offer from a major record label, preferring to hold out for the best deal. This meant their debut album did not come out until 1968, missing out on the initial buzz surrounding the summer of love.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Silver and Gold
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2009.
Country Joe and the Fish were one of a handfull of acts to appear at both the Monterey and Woodstock festivals. Whereas at Monterey they were perhaps the quintessential psychedelic band, their Woodstock performance reflected the band's move to what they themselves described as "rock and soul" music. Silver and Gold was certainly one of the hardest rocking songs the band had ever performed, but was not released until 2009, when Rhino released its multi-disc Woodstock anniversary collection.
Title: John Barleycorn
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: John Barleycorn Must Die)
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
Following the breakup of Blind Faith in late 1969, Steve Winwood began work on what was to be his first solo LP. After completing one track on which he played all the instruments himself, Winwood decided to ask former Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi to help him out with the project. After the second track was completed, Winwood invited yet another former Traffic member, Chris Wood, to add woodwinds. It soon became obvious that what they were working on was, in fact, a new Traffic album, which came to be called John Barleycorn must die. In addition to the blues/R&B tinged rock that the group was already well known for, the new album incorporated elements from traditional British folk music, which was enjoying a renaissance thanks to groups such as Fairport Convention and the Pentangle. The best example of this new direction was the title track of the album itself, which traces its origins back to the days when England was more agrarian in nature.
Artist: James Gang
Source: LP: Thirds
Writer(s): Joe Walsh
The second side of the second James Gang album featured acoustic ballads written by guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, with minimal embellishments by bassist Dale Peters and drummer Jim Fox. This softer side of the power trio was even more evident on the band's next LP, Thirds. One of the best of these is Again. The piece starts off almost lethargically, but soon begins to pick up the pace, first with a nice descending acoustic guitar line and later with a faster instrumental section that, oddly enough, makes me think of America, a band that would not make their recording debut until 1973.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: She Has Funny Cars
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Label: RCA Victor
She Has Funny Cars, the opening track of Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was a reference to some unusual possessions belonging to new drummer Spencer Dryden's girlfriend. As was the case with many of the early Airplane tracks, the title has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song itself. The song was also released as the B side to the band's first top 10 single, Somebody To Love.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: CD: Turn On The Music Machine
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
When it came time for Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, to go into the studio, the group decided to go for the best sound possible. This meant signing with tiny Original Sound Records, despite having offers from bigger labels, due to Original Sound having their own state-of-the-art eight-track studios. Unfortunately for the band, they soon discovered that having great equipment did not mean Original Sound made great decisions. One of the first, in fact, was to include a handful of cover songs on the Music Machine's first LP that were recorded for use on a local TV show. Bonniwell was livid when he found out, as he had envisioned an album made up entirely of his own compositions (although he reportedly did plan to use a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and Tim Rose had worked up together). From that point on it was only a matter of time until the Music Machine and Original Sound parted company, but not until after they scored a big national hit with Talk Talk (a song that ironically had been recorded on four-track equipment at RCA's Burbank studios prior to the band's signing with Original Sound) in 1966.
Title: Bad Dream
Source: CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s): Stephen R Webb
One of the more unusual bands on the Albuquerque, NM scene in the late 1980s was a group called the Soft Corps. With a membership that varied depending on the needs of a particular song, the group's on-stage antics included a guitar being leaned on its amp, causing massive feedback while members traded instruments and the band's leader walked off the stage to watch the show. In mid-1988 the Soft Corps officially disbanded, with three of the members, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Quincy Adams, guitarist/keyboardist Suzan Hagler and guitarist/bassist/vocalist StephenR Webb joining up with drummer John Henry Smith to form The Mumphries. Bad Dream, recorded in 1989, features Webb on lead guitar and vocals, Hagler on keyboards, Adams on bass and Smith on drums.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: For What It's Worth
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Buffalo Springfield (revised version))
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth. And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was turning into a major hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth, making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.
Title: Strange Days
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.
Title: On The Plane
Source: CD: All The Good That's Happening
Label: One Way (original label: Capitol)
The Leaves's second LP, All The Good That's Happening, was at best an uneven effort made while the band itself was falling apart. There are some gems on the album, however, such as On The Plane, a slightly spooky sounding folk-rocker written by guitarist Bobby Arlin and bassist Jim Pons. The song tells the story of a quiet encounter (or perhaps a near encounter) with an elderly passenger on a commercial plane flight.
Artist: Lothar And The Hand People
Title: Milkweed Love
Source: CD: Presenting…Lothar And The Hand People
Label: Micro Werks (original label: Capitol)
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Lothar and the Hand People found themselves relocating to New York City in 1967, releasing a series of singles that ranged from blue-eyed soul to pop. By 1968, however, the band had fully incorporated the Moog synthesizer and the theramine into their sound. Lothar was, in fact, the name of the theramine itself, essentially a black box with an audio modulater that was activated by waving one's hands above it. As for this week's track, Milkweed Love (from the band's debut LP)...well, you can decide for yourself what to think of it.
Artist: Bonzo Dog Band
Title: I'm The Urban Spaceman
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Neil Innes
Label: United Artists
The Bonzo Dog Dada Band (as they were originally called) was as much theatre (note the British spelling) as music, and were known for such antics as starting out their performances by doing calisthentics (after being introduced as the warm-up band) and having one of the members, "Legs" Larry Smith tapdance on stage (he was actually quite good). In 1967 they became the resident band on Do Not Adjust Your Set, a children's TV show that also featured sketch comedy by future Monty Python members Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin and David Jason, the future voice of Mr. Toad and Danger Mouse. In 1968 they released their only hit single, I'm The Urban Spaceman, co-produced by Paul McCartney. Neil Innes would go on to hook up with Eric Idle for the Rutles projects, among others, and is often referred to as the Seventh Python.
Title: Mother Samwell
Source: Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original labels: Delcrest & Hip)
Formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1967, the Waters released two singles on three labels before disbanding in 1969. The second of these, the Hendrix-inspired Mother Samwell, was first released on the Delcrest label in January of 1969 and then re-released by Hip in April of the same year.
Title: Standing Still
Source: LP: And Now…Along Comes The Association
Writer(s): Ted Bluechel
The Association was unique among L.A. area club bands in that they favored a softer, more pop-oriented style than their contemporaries, who by and large had a sound that was only a step away from garage rock. The band had several quality vocalists that combined to create harmonies that were not often heard in the clubs on Sunset Strip. They also had more than their share of songwriting talent, as songs such as Cherish (a top 5 international hit) and Standing Still, which follows Cherish on their debut LP, demonstrate.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: We've Got A Groovy Thing Going
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to preform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovy Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovy Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966, got back together with Art Garfunkel and the rest is history.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: Similated stereo CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic, although it took the better part of two years to catch on. Originally released in 1965 as Your Pushin' Too Hard, the song was virtually ignored by local Los Angeles radio stations until a second single, Can't Seem To Make You Mine, started getting some attention. After being included on the Seeds' debut LP in 1966, Pushin' Too Hard was rereleased and soon was being heard all over the L.A. airwaves. By the end of the year stations in other markets were starting to spin the record, and the song hit its peak of popularity in early 1967.
Title: I'm A Man
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Elias McDaniel
For many, the Yardbirds version of I'm a Man is the definitive version of the Bo Diddley classic. Oddly enough, the song was released as a single only in the US, where it made it into the top 10 in 1965.
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK only on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Winds Of Change
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
The new Animals first album was Winds of Change, an ambitious effort that gave writing credit to all five band members for all the tracks on the album (with the exception of a cover version of the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black). The opening track is basically Eric Burdon paying tribute to all his musical heroes, and it's quite an impressive list, including jazz and blues greats as well as some of the most important names in the annals of rock and roll.
Title: Subconscious Train Of Thought
Source: Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Arch)
Not much is known about the Aardvarks other than they were reportedly from Florissant, Missouri. Their only known single was a track called Subconscious Train Of Thought that was released in 1968 on the St. Louis based Arch Records. Interestingly, the record lists Memphis Group guitarist Steve Cropper as co-producer.
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.