Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: It's Breaking Me Up
Source: LP: This Was
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.
Title: What A Bringdown
Source: CD: Goodbye Cream
Writer(s): Ginger Baker
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Right around the time that Cream's third LP, Wheels Of Fire, was released, the band announced that it would be splitting up following its upcoming tour. Before starting the tour the band recorded three tracks, each one written by one of the three band members. Both Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce worked with collaborators on their songs, while drummer Ginger Baker was given full credit for his tune, What A Bringdown (which was sung by Bruce). As it turned out those would be the only studio recordings on the final Cream album, Goodbye Cream, released in 1969, which in addition to the three new songs had several live tracks from a 1968 performance at the Los Angeles Palladium.
Artist: Neil Young
Source: 45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: After The Gold Rush)
Writer(s): Neil Young
Following their appearance at Woodstock and the release of the deja vu album, the individual members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young went to work on solo albums. Unlike the other members, whose albums came out on the Atlantic label (which also issued the group recordings), Young was under contract to Reprise Records, and had already released two solo LPs prior to 1970. As expected, After The Gold Rush was a major success for Young, with several songs, including Only Love Can Break Your Heart, being released as singles. The B side of Only Love was Birds, one of the shortest tracks on the album.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Porpoise Mouth
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
The songs on the first Country Joe And The Fish album ranged from silly satire (Super Bird) to downright spacey. One of the spaciest tracks on the album is Porpoise Mouth, both lyrically and musically.
Artist: Uncalled For
Title: Do Like Me
Source: Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8
Writer(s): Uncalled For
Label: BFD (original labels Dollie, Laurie)
Virtually nothing is known about the Uncalled For other than that they came from Youngstown, Ohio (which was still a vital steel-making center with a thriving local music scene in the 1960s) and recorded one 1967 single, Do Like Me, for the local Dollie label. The song was apparently successful enough to be picked up by a national label, Laurie, and re-released later in the year. If anyone knows more about the Uncalled For, feel free to drop me a line.
Title: Alone Again Or
Source: CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s): Bryan MacLean
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.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Sometimes I Think About
Source: LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Although it sounds like it could have been a remake of an old blues tune, Sometimes I Think About is actually a Blues Magoos original. The song, from their debut Psychedelic Lollipop album, is slow and moody, yet actually rocks out pretty hard, a pattern that would become somewhat of a hard rock cliche in the 1970s (think Grand Funk Railroad's Heartbreaker).
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Psychedelic Trip
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2012
Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the No Way Out album. Although Psychedelic Trip is credited to the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole credit for the song No Way Out.
Title: Tomorrow Never Knows
Source: British import LP: Revolver
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Several years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was the Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows, from the Revolver album. The track is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking and has been hailed as the beginning of the psychedelic era in the UK.
Title: Change Is Now
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. Change Is Now was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Source: CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Although never released as a single (although it was released posthumously on an EP in the UK and Europe), Voodoo Child (Slight Return), has become a staple of classic rock radio over the years. The song was originally an outgrowth of a jam session at New York's Record Plant, which itself takes up most of side one of the third Jimi Hendrix Experience album Electric Ladyland. This more familiar studio reworking of the piece has been covered by a variety of artists over the years.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Turtle Blues
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s): Janis Joplin
Sometimes I do play favorites. Turtle Blues, from the Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, is certainly one of them. Besides vocalist Janis Joplin, who wrote the tune, the only other band member heard on the track is guitarist Peter Albin. Legendary producer John Simon provides the piano playing.
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: Jack Of Diamonds
Source: CD: Fairport Convention
The recording history of the premier English folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, can be more than a little confusing. A large part of the problem was caused by A&M Records, who had the rights to release the band's material in the US, starting with the band's second LP. Rather than go with the original album title, What We Did On Our Holidays, A&M retitled the album Fairport Convention, releasing it in 1970. The problem is that the band's first album, released in the UK on Polydor in 1968, was also titled Fairport Convention. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the lineup on the 1968 Polydor LP differs from that of every other Fairport album, most notably in the absence of the band's most visible member, vocalist Sandy Denny. Fairport Convention (the band) was formed in 1967, and was consciously following in the footsteps of Jefferson Airplane, albeit from a British perspective. Like the Airplane, the original Fairport lineup had a wealth of talent, including Martin Lamble on violin, Simon Nicol on guitars, Judy Dibble on autoharp, recorder and piano, Richard Thompson on guitar and mandolin, Ashley Hutchings (then known as Tyger Hutchings) on bass and Ian MacDonald, who shared lead vocals with Dyble. Musically the band was far more rock-oriented than on later LPs, as can be heard on tracks like Jack Of Diamonds, a song that the band credited to Bob Dylan and Ben Carruthers. This can be attributed, at least in part, to a general disdain among the youth of Britain for the traditional English folk music that was taught to every schoolchild in the country (whether they wanted it or not). Later albums would find Fairport Convention doing more and more traditional folk, eventually becoming the most world's popular practicioners of the art, although they never entirely abandoned their rock roots.
Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title: Light Your Windows
Source: CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Label: Rock Beat (original label: Capitol)
There are differing opinions on just how serious legendary San Francisco singer/songwriter and general iconoclast Dino Valenti was being when, at a jam session with guitarist John Cippolina one night, he suggested that the two of them form a band. 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: Rolling Stones
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
Often dismissed as the beginning of a departure from their blues roots, the Rolling Stones first LP of 1967, Between The Buttons, actually has a lot of good tunes on it, such as Connection, a song with multiple meanings. Most studios at that time only had four tracks available and would use two tape machines to mix the first tracks recorded on one machine (usually the instrumental tracks) down to a single track on the other machine, freeing up the remaining tracks for overdubs. This process, known as "bouncing", sometimes happened two or three times on a single recording if extra overdubs were needed. Unfortunately each pass resulted in a loss of quality on the bounced tracks, especially if the equipment was not properly maintained. This is particularly noticeable on Connection, as the final mix seems to have lost most of its high and low frequencies, resulting in an unintentionally "lo-fi" recording.
Title: Who Do You Think You Are
Source: Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Viva)
In the early 60s the ABC TV network ran a show called Hootenanny, which was a musical variety show built around the folk music revival that had swept the nation. With the advent of the British Invasion, however, Hootenanny took a ratings hit and found itself replaced with a new, more pop/rock oriented show called Shindig in the fall of 1964. The show had its own house band, the Shindiggers, who later became the Shindogs. The Shindogs had a wealth of talent, including Delaney Bramlett, who would go on to greater fame working with Eric Clapton in the early 70s with his own band, Delaney And Bonnie And Friends. Shindig was cancelled in January of 1966 (to be replaced by a new show, Batman), but the Shindogs stayed together long enough to record a single, Who Do You Think You Are, for Snuff Garrett's Viva label.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Bottom Of The Soul
Source: CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
After severing ties with Original Sound Records in early 1967, Sean Bonniwell and his band, the Music Machine, signed a contract with Warner Brothers, a label that was already well on its way to becoming one of the world's top record companies. Although the first single released on the label featured the original lineup, the song, Bottom Of The Soul, was credited to the Bonniwell Music Machine, as were all subsequent releases by the band. The song itself, in the words of Bonniwell himself, "celebrates the courage of those homeless whose criterion...measures the burdon of living life at the bottom of the soul".
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Incense And Peppermints
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Uni)
Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.
Artist: Balloon Farm
Title: A Question Of Temperature
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to greater notoriety as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.
Title: Liar Liar
Source: CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Soma)
The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.
Title: Why Pick On Me
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Ed Cobb was, in many ways, the Ed Wood of the late 60s record industry. The bands who recorded under his guidance, such as LA.'s Standells, have become legends of garage rock. Wood wrote the first three singles released by the Standells, including their biggest hit, Dirty Water, and its follow-up, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. Why Pick On Me, the title track of the band's second LP, was the third single released by the band, although it did not chart as well as its predecessors.
Title: Rael 1
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
The Who Sell Out, released in December 1967, was the last album by the group before their 1969 rock-opera Tommy. The last track on the LP, Rael, is itself a mini-opera that tells the story of a wealthy man who has taken on the role of a crusader, out to free his ancestral homeland from its current occupiers. He tells the captain of his ship to come back for him on Christmas Day to see if he is ready to return. If not, he tells the captain, the boat is yours. Of course the captain has no intention of returning, as he declares soon after putting back out to sea. The piece then goes into an instrumental passage that would be copied pretty much note for note on the Tommy album as part of the Underture. The track ends with a repeat of the owner's instructions to the captain. The events surrounding the recording of Rael have become the stuff of legend. The band spent an entire day recording and mixing the song, and were apparently so exhausted at the end of the session that they left without securing the multi-track master in a safe place. The cleaning woman came in the next morning and tossed the tape into the waste basket. She then emptied the ashtrays and other trash into the same waste basket. When the band came in around noon the recording engineer who had found the tape had the unenviable task of telling them what had happened. Pete Townsend was in a rage, and the engineer tried to placate him by saying "these things happen". Townshend then proceeded to throw a chair through the glass wall separating the studio from the control room, informing the engineer that "these things happen".
Artist: Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title: CD: You Don't Love Me
Source: Super Session
Writer(s): Willie Cobbs
You Don't Love Me was originally recorded and released as a single by Willie Cobbs in 1960. Although the song is credited solely to Cobbs, it strongly resembles a 1955 Bo Diddley B side, She's Fine She's Mine, in its melody, lyrics and repeated guitar riff. The Cobbs single was a regional hit on the Mojo label in Memphis, but stalled out nationally after being reissued on Vee-Jay Records, due to the label pulling promotional support from the song due to copyright issues. A 1965 version by Junior Wells with Buddy Guy saw some minor changes in the lyrics to the song; it was this version that was covered by Al Kooper and Stephen Stills for the 1968 Super Session album. The recording extensively uses an effect called flanging, a type of phase-shifting that was first used on the Jimi Hendrix track Bold As Love.
Title: Dead End Street
Source: 45 RPM single
The last major Kinks hit in the US was Sunny Afternoon in the summer of 1966. The November follow-up, Dead End Street, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success in the US (although it was a top five hit in the UK). The Kinks would not have another major US hit until Lola in 1970.
Title: Come On
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Peter Hood
Label: Rhino (original label: Sunshine)
One of Australia's most popular and prolific bands, the Atlantics were formed in 1961 as a surf band. By 1964 they were also recording songs with vocals, usually backing up singer Johnny Rebb. Additionally, they released a handful of records with their own vocals provided by guitarist Jim Addams and/or drummer Peter Hood. Among those singles was Come On, a 1967 track written by Hood.
Title: I Love You
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Chris White
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
By 1968 the major labels had signed just about every San Francisco band with any perceived potential. Capitol, having had some success with the Chocolate Watchband from San Jose on its Tower subsidiary, decided to sign another south bay band, People, to the parent label. The most successful single for the band was a new recording of an obscure Zombies B side. I Love You ended up hitting the top 20 nationally, despite the active efforts of two of the most powerful men in the music industry, who set out to squash the song as a way of punishing the record's producer for something having nothing to do with the song or the band itself.
Title: The Observation
Source: Mono LP: Mellow Yellow
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Donovan was at first hailed as Britain's answer to Bob Dylan, but by 1967 he was proving that he was much more than that. The Observation, with its distinctive use of an acoustic double-bass, is one of many innovative tunes that helped redefine Donovan from folk singer to singer/songwriter, transforming the entire genre in the process.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Source: CD: The Piper At the Gates of Dawn
Writer: Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (originally released on EMI/Columbia in UK)
Due to an inherent cheapness in Tower Records' approach to pretty much everything, four songs were left off the US version of the first Pink Floyd album, The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, with the band's first UK single, Arnold Layne, being inserted in their stead (shortening the album's running time by nearly ten minutes). Among the missing songs was Syd Barrett's Bike, which did not appear in the US until the early 70s, when the Relics compilation was released. All CD releases of Piper in the US have restored the original song lineup and running order.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Go And Say Goodbye
Source: CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
After failing his audition for the Monkees, Stephen Stills met up with his former bandmate Neil Young, and, along with Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin formed the Buffalo Springfield in 1966. Their first single was a Young tune, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing, sung by Furay. The B side of that record, Stills's Go And Say Goodbye, is one of the first modern country-rock songs ever recorded.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth). Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock and Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 40 years after it was recorded.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: For What It's Worth
Source: CD: Buffalo Springfield
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 becoming a breakout 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.
Artist: ? And The Mysterians
Title: 96 Tears
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): The Mysterians
Label: Abkco (original label: Cameo)
Although his birth certificate gives the name Rudy Martinez, the leader of the Mysterians had his name legally changed to "?" several years ago. He asserts that he is actually from the planet Mars and has lived among dinosaurs in a past life. Sometimes I feel like I'm living among dinosaurs in this life, so I guess I can relate a little.