Monday, January 2, 2012

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1152 (starts 12/29/11)

Once again it's the end of the year, and this week we honor an old radio tradition in substance, although not in form. That tradition is the countdown of the year's top songs. But, you say, all the songs you play are 40 years old or more. How can you do a countdown of top songs for the year? Glad you asked. What we have here are the top 25 songs ranked by how much they got played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, and how many times they were commented on or requested by you listener types. Additionally we have tracks from the four artists that got played the most on the show the past year. Why four? Well, there was a tie for fifth, actually, so I cut it off at four. Besides, that works out to one top artist per segment, starting with number four on the list: the Beatles.

Artist: Beatles
Title: If I Needed Someone
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
Writer: George Harrison
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year: 1965
So how exactly does the most commercially successful rock group of all time end up at only the number four slot this year? Because they are the most commercially successful rock group in history, of course. The fact is, like all but one of this year's tops Stuck in the Psychedelic Era artists, the Beatles recorded so many playable songs that no one track got played more than once or twice all year. Also, since several Beatles songs are still in rotation on all kinds of commercial radio stations, I felt it was important to give more exposure to other artists, including the three that finished higher than the Beatles this year. As to why I chose this particular song, a look through past playlists will show that If I Needed Someone is one of the many Beatle tunes that have yet to be heard on Stuck In the Psychedelic Era (at least since the show went into syndication a couple of year back). I figured the appearance was overdue. Now, on to the top 25!

Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer: Harris/Lloyd/Markley
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
In the # 25 spot we have a band with one of the most bizarre stories in the history of rock. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed when aging hipster Bob Markley hosted a party at his home in the Hollywood hills. Markley had left a moderately successful career as a TV personality in his native Oklahoma to try his luck in the city of Angels in the early 60s. Although he did not have a lot of success in either movies or TV on the coast, he did manage to make the acquaintance of Kim Fowley, the embodiment of the classic 60s Hollywood hustler. It was Fowley that managed to book the Yardbirds at Markley's 1965 party, a party that was also attended by Shaun and Danny Harris, sons of composer Roy Harris, and guitarist Michael Lloyd, who had just formed a new band called the Laughing Wind. Markley was impressed with the crowds of young girls flocking around the Yardbirds, and after being introduced to Lloyd and the Harris brothers offered to finance the new band if he could join up with them. As Markley was the adopted heir to an oil fortune and getting a monthly stipend, the rest of the guys readily agreed to the deal and the
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (a name Markley came up with) was born. The group recorded an album of mostly cover songs called Volume 1 in a studio they built themselves before signing a deal with Reprise records. The first album for Reprise was called Part One and, unlike their earlier effort, featured mostly songs written by band members. Among the tracks on Part One was I Won't Hurt You, a tune that is written around a simulated heartbeat.

Artist: Seeds
Title: Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year: 1965
Our # 24 song comes from the Seeds, a Los Angeles band made up of members that had migrated westward to California from nearby states (although some critics believed they actually came from another planet) and are generally credited with creating the term "flower power". Their first single was Can't Seem To Make You Mine, which got considerable airplay on area radio stations in 1965.

Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: No Way Out)
Writer: McElroy/Bennett
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year: 1967
In the # 23 spot we have the Chocolate Watchband, a band formed in 1965 by students at Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills, California. These days Los Altos Hills is in the heart of silicon valley, but in 1966 it was a sleepy town a few miles northwest of San Jose, which was itself a medium-sized US city at the time (today it's one of the top 10 US cities in population). After going through a series of personnel changes, the Watchband solidified around vocalist Dave Aguilar. Aguilar's vocals, like those of many other garage bands of the time, were heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. The Watchband became the top band on the San Jose scene, with a repertoire consisting mostly of covers of songs by British invasion bands such as the Kinks and of course the Rolling Stones, interspersed with songs from popular soul artists such as Wilson Pickett. It wasn't long before they came to the attention of Ed Cobb, who has been called the Ed Wood of 60s garage-rock. Wood was already getting known for managing and producing the Standells out of L.A., and he soon had signed the Watchband to a contract with Tower records, the low-budget Capitol records subsidiary. For reasons of his own, Wood did not play the the strengths of the Watchband (their raw energetic performances). Instead, he attempted to fit them into a psychedelic mold of his own design. Many of the tracks on the group's debut LP for Tower, No Way Out, were actually recorded by studio musicians with no input whatsoever from the Watchband itself. These tracks were by and large instrumentals, mostly written by professional songwriters Richie Podolor and Jerry Ragovich. Additionally, a couple of songs that were played by the Watchband appeared on the album with vocals by studio singer Don Bennett. Ironically, one of the few songs that did feature Aguilar on vocals, Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In), was co-written by Bennett. The song was eventually released as a single after being used on the soundtrack for the cheapie teensploitation flick The Love-In.

Artist: Traffic
Title: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source: CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer: Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
Year: 1967
Our # 22 song is a true classic that has become somewhat of a signature song for vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Steve Winwood. By 1967 18-year-old Winwood had already established a reputation with the Spencer Davis Group when he left that band to form Traffic with guitarist Dave Mason, flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood and drummer Jim Capaldi. Dear Mr. Fantasy, written by Winwood, Wood and Capaldi, was originally released on Traffic's debut LP. The album was released in the UK as Mr. Fantasy, while in the US it was called Heaven Is In Your Mind. In addition to a slightly different track lineup the US version had entirely different cover art than the UK album. After the first printing the name of the US album was changed to Mr. Fantasy, although the cover art remained. Most recently, both versions of the album have been released on CD in the US. Mr. Fantasy is entirely in mono and uses the UK track lineup and cover art and includes singles and B sides that were not included on the original UK version. Heaven Is In Your Mind is a stereo CD that uses the US track lineup and cover art and includes (as bonus tracks) stereo mixes of the songs that were previously only available on the original UK album.

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: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year: 1967
The song occupying this year's # 21 spot is from one of the most influential bands to come out of the Los Angeles under-21 club scene. The Music Machine was the brainchild of Sean Bonniwell, who had previously recorded several albums for RCA as a member of the light-folk group the Limelighters. By 1966 Bonniwell was looking to do something with more of an edge to it, and formed the Music Machine as an outlet for his musical creativity. Unusual for bands of the time, the Music Machine had a tight stage show and a unique visual image. Band members dressed entirely in black, including dyed hair, and wore one black glove each. After a performance, Bonniwell was heard to say, one glove came off and the other one went on. Each set was a virtually continuous series of well-rehearsed Bonniwell originals, with no time between songs for the audience to yell out requests. The group got its big break with the release of the single Talk Talk, which made the national top 40 charts and led to an album, Turn On The Music Machine. With that album, however, problems with the band's management and record label began to manifest. The Music Machine had recorded a set of cover songs to lip synch to on a local TV show. Without the band's knowledge or approval, Original Sound records included those songs on the LP, weakening the creative impact of the album. The problems got worse when the band's manager gave the newest (and lowest-rated) local top 40 station exclusive rights to the Music Machine's second single, The People In Me. The move killed any momentum the band may have still had and a series of successive singles failed to chart as well. Among those were some truly outstanding songs such as The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly. By mid-1967 most of the original members had left the group for other projects. Undaunted, Bonniwell signed a deal with Warner Brothers, releasing one album (Bonniwell Music Machine) that included all of the Original Sound singles and B sides that were not on the debut album, as well as several new tracks featuring a new Music Machine lineup.

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Bass Strings
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer: Joe McDonald
Label: Vanguard
Year: 1967
The # 20 spot this year is held by Bass Strings, an album track that was originally recorded for an EP (extended play) record included in an early arts-oriented underground newspaper published by Joe McDonald, leader and primary songwriter for Country Joe and the Fish. The paper was called Rag Baby and it was meant to be a kind of Berkeley version of New York's Village Voice. The issue of Rag Baby that included Bass Strings was actually McDonald's second issue of the paper to include an EP in it (the first Rag Baby EP included the original version of McDonald's I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag). Bass Strings, a literal example of acid-rock, was re-recorded in stereo for the group's first LP for Vanguard, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, released in 1967.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source: CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Year: 1966
Sometimes things just work out the way they should. Such is the case with Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 coming in at the # 19 spot, immediately following Bass Strings on this week's show (listen closely to the lyrics to hear what I mean). By 1966 even Dylan's most hardcore fans had resigned themselves to his using rock instrumentation, after booing him profoundly at the Newport Jazz Festival the previous year. It was hard to argue with the success, both artistically and commercially, of his Highway 61 Revisited album, and so when Blonde On Blonde came out it was no surprise to hear a song like Rainy Day Women opening the LP. The album was, in its own way, just as daring as Highway 61; after all, no rock or folk artist had released a double LP before. Blonde On Blonde was reportedly recorded under the influence of pot and alcohol, with most of the musicians, including Dylan himself, partaking between the takes. It's pretty obvious, listening to Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, that Dylan was having the time of his life making the album.

Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: 2,000 Light Years From Home
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer: Jagger/Richards
Label: London
Year: 1967
We take a break from the song countdown to hear from our third most heard artist of 2011. The Rolling Stones have been called the world's greatest rock band, and they certainly have outlasted most of their contemporaries. There was a time, however, when the band's relevance was in serious doubt. There had always been a friendly rivalry between the Stones and the Beatles (even more so among the fans of the two groups), but in 1967 the Beatles took a clear lead. The Fab Four had retired from live performing after their 1966 US tour, and shifted their focus to the recording studio. The result was a double-sided single, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The Stones, meanwhile, released an album that by comparison sounded very 1966: Between The Buttons. Finding themselves trying to play catch up, the Stones worked furiously on a new LP that was by far the most psychedelic album they would ever record: Their Satanic Majesties Request. Unfortunately by the time Majesties was released their brand of psychedelia was already sounding dated, and the album was savaged by the critics, despite hitting the top 5 in the LP charts. In retrospect, Their Satanic Majesties Request was a much better album than it was perceived to be at the time it was released. For this week's show I have chosen 2,000 Light Years From Home, a song that was also released in the US as the B side of She's A Rainbow. The song had its greatest popularity in Germany, where it was released as a single, making the top 10 there.

Artist: Seeds
Title: The Wind Blows Her Hair
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Saxon/Bigelow
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year: 1967
We resume our countdown with our first repeat artist of the week holding down the # 18 spot. The Seeds hit their peak of popularity in early 1967, when Pushin' Too Hard, which had already been a hit in the Los Angeles area, was re-released nationally, making the top 20 in several markets. 1967 was a year of constant change, however, and by the time Pushin' Too Hard had run its course the Seeds themselves were starting to sound like an anachronism. The corporate pop song machine that had lost control of top 40 radio with the arrival of the Beatles in 1964 was beginning to reassert itself, squeezing out indy bands like the Seeds, who were still too singles-oriented for the new progressive FM stations that were beginning to pop up across the nation. Against this backdrop the Seeds released what was possibly their finest single: The Wind Blows Her Hair.

Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Mickey Newbury
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1968
Our # 17 song is from a group that was formed by members of another group. The New Christy Minstrels were one of the many homogenized folk groups that had sprung up in the sixties, getting most of their exposure through play on what was then called MOR (middle of the road) radio, mostly older stations that had gradually converted to a music format as TV took over the comedy, drama and variety shows that had established radio as the medium of choice in the 30s and 40s. These stations targeted a much older demographic than top 40 radio, and were more in line with TV variety shows such as those hosted by Perry Como, Dinah Shore, and Dean Martin (in fact the New Christy Minstrels were frequent guests on these types of shows). In late 1967 some of the members decided to do something a bit more hip and broke away from the Minstrels to form the First Edition. Led by songwriter Mickey Newbury and vocalist Kenny Rogers, the group hit a home run on their first attempt with Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), released in 1968. Rogers, however, was not comfortable with the psychedelic sound of Just Dropped In, and the First Edition soon shifted to a more country sound, establishing Rogers as an artist who would come to dominate the country charts by the early 1980s.

Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer: Stephen Stills
Label: Atco
Year: 1967
The Buffalo Springfield was formed when Stephen Stills, who had been unsuccessfully trying to form a new band after having been rejected as an applicant for the Monkees, was stuck in traffic in L.A and suddenly saw a hearse driven by his friend Neil Young, whom he had not seen since leaving Toronto several months earlier. Stills had already assembled a group of talented musicians, including Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin, but Young was the missing element that made the new group come together. Taking the name Buffalo Springfield, the new group managed to get a gig replacing the Byrds as the house band at Ciro's, but were not able to attract a large audience (possibly due to the popularity of Love, who were the house band at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, across the street from Ciro's). Undaunted, the group pressed on and got a contract with Atco records. At first it looked their first album, released in 1966, would flop, but then Stills wrote a new tune, For What It's Worth, that Atco released as a single in early 1967. The song became a major national hit and the album was re-cut with For What It's Worth added as the opening track. The group soon recorded a second LP, Buffalo Springfield Again. The album had several songs that were worthy of being released as singles. Possibly the best of these was Rock And Roll Woman, another Stills tune. Although it didn't get much beyond the lower reaches of the charts when it was released, it comes in at the # 16 slot on the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era top 25 list for 2011. That's gotta be worth something, right?

Artist: Chambers Brothers
Title: Time Has Come Today
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come; edited for single release)
Writer: Joe and Willie Chambers
Label: Rhino (originally label: Columbia)
Year: 1967 (single edit released in 1968)
In the # 15 slot this year we have a song that has actually been released in four different versions. Time Has Come Today was first recorded in 1966 in a form that is vastly different from the version heard here. That version was released as a single, but did not go anywhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia catalog. The following year the Chambers Brothers cut a new version for their album The Time Has Come. This new version ran over 10 minutes, and featured a long extended psychedelic section that featured several innovative studio effects. The track started getting extensive airplay on progressive FM radio stations, prompting Columbia to create and release a single version in 1968. Columbia, being still a somewhat conservative label, edited the track down to about three and a quarter minutes (the rule of thumb was that top 40 radio would not play anything over three and a half minutes). The problem was that the edited version completely exorcised the track of everything that got it played on FM in the first place: the extended psychedelic section with all the innovative studio effects. When even top 40 stations started demanding a version of the song that was more like what FM was playing, Columbia engineers went back and created a fourth version of Time Has Come Today, which, although edited, kept a portion of the middle section of the track. It is this version that finally got played on AM radio and has become the version usually heard on classic rock radio as well. Personally I prefer the album version, but due to time considerations I'm going with that four and three-quarter minute edit instead.

Artist: Country Joe and the Fish
Title: Section 43
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as an underground newspaper supplement EP flexi-disc)
Writer: Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Year: 1966
Our # 14 song of the year is the second of two tracks originally released in 1966 as an EP that was included with Joe McDonald's Rag Baby arts-oriented underground newspaper. After Section 43 started getting airplay on local San Francisco radio stations, Vanguard records took notice and signed Country Joe And The Fish to a contract. Both Section 43 and Bass Strings (see entry for the # 20 slot) were re-recorded in stereo for the band's Vanguard debut, but for tonight's show I am using the original mono version from the EP, which is about a minute shorter than the LP version. At six and three-quarter minutes, however, this version of Section 43 is still the longest track on tonight's show.

Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year: 1966
Starting off the second hour we have the second song tonight from the Music Machine. Talk Talk is possibly the most intense two minute song ever to get played on top 40 radio, and it comes in this year in the lucky 13 spot. For more on the Music Machine see the # 21 song above.

Artist: Traffic
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: United Artists
Year: 1968
Our # 12 song, Feelin' Alright, has the distinction of being one of only two songs played on Stuck In The Psychedelic Era this past year by three different artists. In addition to the original Traffic version heard here, we've heard Joe Cocker performing the song live at Woodstock and Grand Funk Railroad re-working the song for their Survival LP. If Dear Mr. Fantasy (# 22 this year) is Steve Winwood's signature song, then Feelin' Alright certainly has to be considered bandmate Dave Mason's, perhaps even more so. Mason had already left Traffic by the time their first LP, Mr. Fantasy, was released, but had rejoined the group in time to record their second album, entitled simply Traffic. Mason would soon leave the group again, joining up with the others one final time for the Welcome To The Canteen live album before permanently parting ways with Traffic in 1971.

Artist: Standells
Title: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source: CD: More Nuggets
Writer: Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year: 1966
The Standells are a bit of an enigma. Although they come across as the quintessential garage-punk band, the members of the group all had squeaky clean backgrounds (lead vocalist Dickie Dodd, in fact, was one of the original Mousketeers). The band was first spotted by Cobb while playing cover songs in an upscale L.A. club. He was impressed enough with their musical proficiency that he got them a contract with Tower records and had them record Dirty Water. When the song did decently on the charts, an album followed, and then a second single, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, which barely misses this year's top 10 list, coming in at # 11.

Artist: Shadows of Knight
Title: Gloria
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Van Morrison
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year: 1966
While the Standells have the reputation for being the quintessential garage-punk band, it's the Shadows of Knight that were, by all accounts, the real deal. Formed in the Chicago suburbs, the band originally known as the Shadows tore up the local teen scene, often to the chagrin of the adults in the area. In fact, lead vocalist Jim Sohns was actually banned from at least one school campus in order to protect the virtue of the female students. Such was the band's popularity that they easily landed a deal with local Chicago label Dunwich, which had a national distribution deal with Atlantic records. The first record that the band recorded was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria, which had stalled out in the lower reaches of the charts the previous year when most US radio stations banned the song due to suggestive lyrics. The Shadows, who had added "of Knight" to their name just in case there were other Shadows making records somewhere, got around the ban by changing "up to her room" to "around here". The record immediately made the playlist of the local Chicago radio stations, including 50,000 watt WLS, which could be heard nearly from coast to coast at night. With listeners hearing the song at night and demanding to hear it on their local station the next day, Gloria, # 10 on this year's Stuck in the Psychedelic Era most played list, became a hit overnight for the Shadows, who of course followed it up with an album named (what else?) Gloria. After some personnel adjustments, the band recorded a second album, Back Door Men, which included a handful of blues cover songs in addition to garage-rock standards such as Hey Joe. Both LPs were released in 1966, which proved to be the only truly successful year for the Shadows of Knight, who continued to make personnel changes until by the end of 1967 the only original member left was Sohns.

Artist: Seeds
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year: 1966
The only band to get three slots in the top 25 is the Seeds, whose top song is the # 9 Pushin' Too Hard. The song was included on the first Seeds album, released in early 1966, and was soon made available as a single to local L.A. radio stations. The continued popularity of Pushin' Too Hard led to two significant developments. First, the band recorded a second LP and released it before the end of the year. Second, and perhaps more significant, Pushin' Too Hard was re-released nationally and became the Seeds' only top 20 hit.

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Hey Joe
Source: CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Billy Roberts
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1966
One year ago I made all of you a promise that I would play more Hendrix in 2011. Unlike most New Year's resolutions, I actually managed to keep this one, resulting in Hendrix being the artist with the second most airplay on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era this year. Most of the Hendrix that was heard on the show was from the three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums. Oddly enough, One well-known Hendrix track did not get played at all in 2011. The song Hey Joe, however, did get played. In fact, it got played by three different artists: Love, the Leaves and Tim Rose, who with the Music Machine's Sean Bonniwell came up with the idea of slowing the tempo down. This week we finally get around to hearing the best known version of the venerable song, which was the first record ever released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Summertime Blues
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Vincebus Eruptum)
Writer: Cochrane/Capehart
Label: Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year: 1968
Returning to our countdown we have the eighth most played track on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era this year (at least in part because it was played on three consecutive shows this summer). By 1968 Eddie Cochrane's Summertime Blues had become a rock standard. San Francisco's Blue Cheer turned up the feedback with this arrangement that has often been cited as the first heavy metal hit. Bassist Dick Peterson provides the vocals, while guitarist Leigh Stephens cranks up his amp to 11.

Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer: Gilbert/Scala/Esposito/Theilhelm
Label: Rhino
Year: 1966
In 1966 the Blues Magoos were THE east coast psychedelic band. Based in New York, the Magoos got as much attention for their visual presentation, including smoke bombs and electric suits, as for their music, which was nonetheless some of the best of the psychedelic era. Their first single, Tobacco Road, with it's extended psychedelic jam in the middle of the song, was one of the first tracks to get more airplay on college radio than on top 40 stations (although the song did make the charts). This year's # 7 song, (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, did much better on AM radio, peaking at in February of 1967 and becoming the tune the Blues Magoos are best remembered for.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: CD: The Worst of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: RCA
Year: 1967
White Rabbit was not originally intended for single release. It was not until progressive FM radio stations began playing White Rabbit as an alternative to Somebody To Love (which was being played to death on top 40 radio) in early 1967 that RCA Victor decided to release the song as a follow-up to Somebody To Love. White Rabbit ended up being the Jefferson Airplane's second consecutive (and final) top 10 single, and is the # 6 song on the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era most-played list of 2011.

Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Nugent/Farmer
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year: 1968
Taking a break from the top 25 list we have last year's # 1 song, the Amboy Dukes classic Journey To The Center Of The Mind. The song introduced the world to guitarist Ted Nugent, whose career continues to careen out of control even to this day.

Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Boogie Music (originally released on LP: Living The Blues)
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies
Writer: L.T. Tatman III
Label: United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year: 1968
Canned Heat was by far the most successful blues-rock band to come from the San Francisco Bay area. The band was formed when a group of blues record collectors decided to start making their own records. After a successful appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival the group signed a contract with Liberty and recorded an album of blues cover tunes. They followed it up in 1968 with an album of mostly original material called Boogie With Canned Heat. A second album that same year, Living The Blues, was a double-LP that included a long jam that took up two of the album sides, as well as a suite called Parthenogenesis that took up a third side. The rest of the album was made up of standard-length tracks such as Going Up The Country, which was released as a single and became the group's biggest hit. The B side of Going Up The Country was an edited version of Boogie Music, another track from Living The Blues and our # 5 song of the year.

Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year: 1966
This year we had essentially a four-way tie for most popular song of the year on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. All four got played the exact same number of times, so we went with a tie-breaker system based on listener feedback. All four songs got comments, but when all was said and done we did end up with a definite ranking for the four songs. At # 4 is Psychotic Reaction from San Jose, California's Count Five. The band had a gimmick that immediately made them stand out from other bands: they all dressed like Bela Lugosi's version of Count Dracula (thus the five-member band's moniker). Psychotic Reaction emulates the 1965 Yardbirds (think I'm A Man), with a fast-paced guitar-driven break midsong that could have come from Jeff Beck himself. A listen to the B side of the record, by the way, reveals a true garage-punk sound that ranks right up there with the Standells and Shadows Of Knight in terms of attitude and raw energy. It is not known what happened to the members of Count Five after Psychotic Reaction had run its course in the autumn of 1966.

Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets
Writer: Tucker/Mantz
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year: 1967
At # 3 we have a song that is so intimately tied to the psychedelic era that Lenny Kaye himself chose it as the opening track for his original Nuggets compilation, released in 1972. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) had its brief chart run in early 1967, a year of such volatility that by the end of the year nearly every song from the previous winter sounded hopelessly out of date. Kaye's compilation album, celebrating the wave of rock bands such as the Electric Prunes that had come from the garages of America in the late 60s, created the term psychedelic era, and has been cited as an influence by dozens of musicians in the 40 years since it was first released. The story of the Electric Prunes is in some ways the story of the psychedelic era itself. Coming from California's Encino Valley, the group came to the attention of producer/engineer Dave Hassinger, who proceeded to con the band out of the rights to their own name while getting them a contract with a major record label. After two LPs and a series of singles with diminishing commercial returns, Hassinger took direct control of the Electric Prunes, releasing a rock mass written by David Axelrod called Mass In F Minor. Axelrod's arrangements proved to be too challenging for the band itself, and studio musicians were brought in to finish the project. Within a few months an entirely different group was recording under the name Electric Prunes, with no more commercial success than the original group. Eventually Hassinger abandoned the name, and in recent years many of the original members have begun performing (and recording) together as the Electric Prunes.

Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Triad
Source: CD: Crown Of Creation
Writer: David Crosby
Label: RCA
Year: 1968
Our final aside before revealing the top two songs of the year is to acknowledge the band that got the most airplay on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era this past year. For the second straight year that band is Jefferson Airplane. The reason the Airplane gets heard on the show so much is that a) they put out five albums from 1966-69 b) every track on those five albums is appropriate for a show called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Compare this to the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Cream or even the Grateful Dead, each of which released only three albums over the same period. The Beatles also released five albums from 1966-69, but much of what they released was geared toward a more mainstream audience, and thus does not get played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era as often as tracks from the Airplane do. Tonight we have an Airplane song that was originally recorded, but not released, by the Byrds. In fact, the song Triad was quite possibly the catalyst that led to David Crosby being fired from the Byrds by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. The Jefferson Airplane version of Triad, featuring one of Grace Slick's best vocal performances of her career, appears on Crown Of Creation, the band's fourth album (and the only one released in 1968).

Artist: Turtles
Title: She's My Girl
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Bonner/Gordon
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year: 1967
The Turtles began as an L.A. surf band known as the Crossfires. When they signed a contract with White Whale, however, the label (rightly) felt that surf music had run its course and encouraged the group to move into the then booming folk-rock arena. The band, now calling itself the Turtles, took a cue from fellow L.A. band the Byrds and released a cover of a Bob Dylan song as their first single. While the Byrds, with their folk background, emphasized soaring harmonies and Jim McGuinn's 12-string guitar, the Turtles, being an L.A. club band, emphasized Howard Kaylan's strong lead vocals and tight rock and roll arrangements. It Ain't Me Babe was a major hit in the L.A. market and did well enough on the national charts to prompt a series of follow-ups in the same vein, mostly written by P.F. Sloan, who had written Eve of Destruction for Barry McGuire. By 1966, however, the hits were getting scarce for the band, and a change of direction was called for. In early 1967 the Turtles released Happy Together, written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, who had recently migrated to the West Coast to try their hand at professional songwriting after having some minor success with their own band, the Magicians, in New York and New England. Happy Together went all the way to the top of the charts. It was no surprise, then, when later that year the Turtles released another Bonner/Gordon song. She's My Girl, a personal favorite of the band members themselves and a masterpiece of 4-track recording, was, for a good portion of 2011, the most played and most positively received song on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. However, on the last day before I had to compile the final top 25 list, a vote came in for the next song, pushing it ahead of She's My Girl.

Artist: Love
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: De Capo)
Writer: Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year: 1966
In 1966 Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman had just opened a West Coast office headed by his friend Paul Rothchild, and the label was looking for local talent to sign. Up to that point Elektra had been exclusively a folk and blues label, with the Butterfield Blues Band being the closest thing to a rock band on the roster. Rothchild, however, felt it was time for the label to move into new territory, and started checking out the bands playing the clubs on Sunset Strip. The most famous of these clubs was the Whisky-A-Go-Go, which had gotten national attention when Johnny Rivers recorded a highly successful live album there a couple of years before. The house band at the Whisky was a group called Love, and they were, by all accounts, the undisputed kings of the Sunset Strip. Formed in 1965 by multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Arthur Lee and singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Bryan McLean, Love became the first rock band ever signed to Elektra. The signing of Love was so important to the label, in fact, that a whole new numbering series started with the band's debut LP. The featured track on that first album was a punked-out version of a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song, My Little Red Book, which was also released as a single. The song had been originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat soundtrack, but Love's version, with its choppy guitar track, driving bass line and Lee's unique vocals, was a complete makeover of what had started out as a light pop tune. Later in the year Love released their second, and most successful single, 7&7 Is, one of the most intense records ever to get top 40 airplay. The stereo version of 7&7 Is was included on the band's second LP, De Capo, released in early 1967. For this week's show we go back to the original 1966 mono mix of the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 1 song of 2011: Love's 7&7 Is.

And that wraps up another show and another year of being Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. Next week it's back to the usual unpredictable mix of familiar favorites, obscure B sides and album tracks from the most creative and heartfelt period in the history of recorded music: the psychedelic era.

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