Title: My Generation
Source: Simulated stereo LP: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
In late 1965 the Who released a song that quickly became the anthem of a generation. As a matter of fact it's My Generation. Some of us, including Who drummer Keith Moon, did indeed die before we got old. The rest of us weren't so lucky, but hey, that's life.
Artist: Young Rascals
Title: You Better Run
Source: CD: The Rascals' Greatest Hits-Time Peace (originally released as 45 RPM single)
The Young Rascals were riding high in 1966, thanks to their second single, Good Lovin', going all the way to the top of the charts early in the year. Rather than to follow up Good Lovin' with another single the band's label, Atlantic, chose to instead release a new album, Collections, on May 10th. This was somewhat unusual for the time, as having a successful single was considered essential to an artist's career, while albums were still viewed as somewhat of a luxury item. Three weeks later, a new non-album single, You Better Run was released, with a song from Collections, Love Is A Beautiful Thing, as the B side. You Better Run's only LP appearance was on the Rascals' Greatest Hits album a few years later.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single)
If there was a British equivalent to the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations in terms of time and money spent on a single song, it might be We Love You, a 1967 single released by the Rolling Stones. To go along with the single (with its state-of-the-art production) the band spent a considerable sum making a full-color promotional video, a practice that would not become commonplace until the advent of MTV in the 1980s. Despite all this, US radio stations virtually ignored We Love You, choosing to instead flip the record over and play the B side, a tune called Dandelion. As to why this came about, I suspect that Bill Drake, the man behind the nation's most influential top 40 stations, simply decided that the less elaborately produced Dandelion was better suited to the US market than We Love You and instructed his hand-picked program directors at such stations as WABC, KHJ and WLS to play Dandelion. The copycat nature of top 40 radio being what it is, Dandelion ended up being a moderate hit in the US in the summer of '67.
Artist: Asylum Choir
Title: Welcome To Hollywood
Source: Mono European import CD: Look Inside The Asylum Choir (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rev-Ola (original label: Smash)
Leon Russell and Marc Benno were both well-established as studio musicians in L.A. when they teamed up to create an album called Look Inside The Asylum Choir in 1968. Although the album was not a hot seller (the fact that the cover featured a roll of toilet paper probably didn't help), it did provide the two a chance to indulge their own particular brand of insanity, as heard on the album's opening track, Welcome To Hollywood. Look Inside The Asylum Choir was re-released (with a new cover) three years later in the wake of Russell's emergence as a superstar in his own right.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: 21st Century Schizoid Man
Source: LP: In The Court Of The Crimson King
There are several bands with a legitimate claim to starting the art-rock movement of the mid-70s. The one most other musicians cite as the one that started it all, however, is King Crimson. Led by Robert Fripp, the band went through several personnel changes over the years. Many of the members went on to greater commercial success as members of other bands, including guitarist/keyboardist Ian McDonald (Foreigner), and lead vocalist/bassist Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) from the original lineup. Additionally, poet Peter Sinfield, who wrote all King Crimson's early lyrics, would go on to perform a similar function for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, including their magnum opus Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends. Other original members included Michael Giles on drums and Fripp himself on guitar. This week's track has special significance as the first song on the first album by King Crimson. Enjoy!
Title: Evil Ways
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Clarence Henry
Evil Ways was originally released in 1968 by jazz percussionist Willie Bobo on an album of the same name. When Carlos Santana took his new band into the studio to record their first LP, they made the song their own, taking it into the top 10 in 1969.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Janis Joplin, on the 1968 Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, sounds like she was born to sing Gershwin's Summertime. Maybe she was.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: Mercedes Benz
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Writer(s): Janis Joplin
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
To put it bluntly, Janis recorded Mercedes Benz then went home and OD'd on herion. End of story (and of Janis).
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Ball And Chain
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s): Willie Mae Thornton
Big Brother And The Holding Company electrified the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 with their performance of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain. The rest of the world, however, would have to wait until the following year to hear Janis Joplin's version of the old blues tune, when a live performance recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium was included on the LP Cheap Thrills.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: I'm Not Your Stepping Stone
Source: LP: Midnight Ride
Predating the Monkees version by about six months, the Paul Revere And The Raiders version of I'm Not Your Stepping Stone was almost chosen for release as a single. If it had we probably would be talking about the big four from the Raiders instead of the big three (Just Like Me, Hungry and Kicks) hits released during the peak of their popularity.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: I Haven't Got The Nerve
Source: LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
The first thought I had when seeing the title of Left Banke's 1967 debut LP was "if they had to name the album after the band's two hit singles, the rest of the songs must really suck", so I never gave it another thought. It turns out I was totally wrong, as the album is actually filled with fine tracks such as I Haven't Got The Nerve, which only took me until 2012 to discover. I still think it's a stupid name for an album, though.
Title: Sunny Day Blue
Source: British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Marty Cooper
Label: Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Salt Lake City was home to Dean Wilden and Tony Decker, who recorded Sunny Day Blue as a single for Capitol in 1968 before moving over to RCA Victor for a 1969 LP called I See It Now. Both were produced by Marty Cooper, who also wrote Sunny Day Blue.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The 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 becoming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Ironically, most of those stations are now playing 80s oldies.
Title: Last Time Around
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Dennis Dahlquist
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, Last Time Around may well be the very first metal death rock song ever recorded.
Title: Paperback Writer
Source: CD: Past Masters Volume Two
Following a successful 1965 that culminated with their classic Rubber Soul album, the Beatles' first release of 1966 was the equally classic Paperback Writer. The song was as influential as it was popular, to the point that the coda at the end of the song inspired Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to write what would become the Monkees' first number one hit: Last Train To Clarksville.
Artist: Human Beinz
Title: Nobody But Me
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ron Isley
Label: LP: Rhino (originally released on Capitol)
The Human Beingz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol misspelled their name (leaving out the "g") on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Baby's House
Source: LP: Anthology (originally released on LP: Your Saving Grace)
One of the most haunting tunes in the Steve Miller Band catalog, Baby's House is collaborative effort between Miller and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, who briefly joined up with Miller following an appearance onstage with Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock. The song appears on the band's fourth LP, Your Saving Grace, and runs nearly eight minutes.
Title: Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out
Source: Mono LP: Now And Them
Writer(s): Jimmie Cox
The artist that comes to mind when I see the title of this Jimmy Cox tune is, of course, Eric Clapton, who included it on the Derek and the Dominos Layla album. This version of Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out, featuring vocalist Kenny McDowell, actually predates Clapton's by a couple years.
Artist: Jerry Garcia
Title: EEP Hour
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Label: Warner Brothers
In 1972 Warner Brothers Records encouraged the members of the Grateful Dead to make solo albums. Unlike Bob Weir's album, which used all the members of the band, the Jerry Garcia album featured only drummer Bill Kreutzmann from the Dead. All other instruments were played by Garcia himself, making it more literally a solo album. The single from the album, Sugaree, became a Grateful Dead standard at their live performances. On the other hand EEP Hour (pronounced E Power), the album track issued as the B side of Sugaree, was more of a musical study than an actual song. It has never to my knowledge been performed live.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Lucifer Sam
Source: Mono CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt the original driving force behind Pink Floyd was the legendary Syd Barrett. Not only did he front the band during their rise to fame, he also wrote their first two singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, as well as most of their first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. In fact it could be argued that one of the songs on that album, Lucifer Sam, could have just as easily been issued as a single, as it is stylistically similar to the first two songs. Sadly, Barrett's mental health deteriorated quickly over the next year and his participation in the making of the band's next LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, was minimal. He soon left the group altogether, never to return (although several of his former bandmates did participate in the making of his 1970 solo album, The Madcap Laughs).
Artist: Sound Barrier
Title: (My) Baby's Gone
Source: Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Paul Hess
Label: BFD (original label: Zounds)
A couple weeks after the first time I played (My) Baby's Gone (in 2012), I got an e-mail from Paul Hess, leader and lead vocalist of Salem, Ohio's Sound Barrier. Hess confirmed that he indeed was the writer of the song in question, as well as the record's B side (I'm still waiting for him to send me a copy).
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
For some strange reason whenever I hear the song Tripmaker from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, I am reminded of a track from the Smash Mouth album Astro Lounge. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which one came first.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: How Suite It Is
Source: CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Casady's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Cassidy's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Amphetamine Annie
Source: LP: Boogie With Canned Heat
Writer(s): Canned Heat
Label: United Artists (original label: Liberty)
By the end of 1967 the Haight-Ashbury scene had taken a definite turn for the worse. Most veterans of the street (i.e. those who had been there before the Summer of Love) placed the blame firmly on the influx of naive runaways that had flooded the area in the wake of calls to "go to San Francisco" earlier in the year, and on the drug dealers who preyed upon them. Methamphetamine (aka speed) was the drug usually singled out as the most destructive force at play. Back then it was the pill form of speed, such as white crosses, that was prevalent among users; the powdered crystal meth that has become a concern in modern rural America would not be used widely until the 1970s. As one of the original Bay Area bands, Canned Heat decided to take a stand against the drug, declaring in the song Amphetamine Annie that "speed kills", a phrase that would show up as graffiti on various walls in the city as well.
Artist: Leslie West
Title: Blood Of The Sun
Source: 45 RPM single B side (also released on LP: Mountain)
After the Vagrants disbanded guitarist Leslie Weinstein changed his last name to West and recorded a solo album called Mountain. Helping him with the project was producer Felix Pappaliardi, who had previously worked with Cream on their Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire albums. Among the better tracks on the album was a tune called Blood Of The Sun, which the two of them wrote (along with Pappaliardi's wife Janet Collins). The pair of them meshed so well that they decided to form a band with drummer Corky Laing, using the name Mountain. One of the first gigs by the new band was the Woodstock festival, where they played Blood Of The Sun to an enthusiastic crowd.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Ritual # 2
Source: LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
There's a reason music like that of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band is sometimes called Acid Rock, and Ritual #2, from the band's last album for Reprise, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, is as good an example as you'll find. Best listened to with headphones on.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Castles Made Of Sand
Source: CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Although born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix was never associated with the local music scene that produced some of the loudest and raunchiest punk-rock of the mid 60s. Instead, he paid his professional dues backing R&B artists on the "chitlin circuit" of clubs playing to a mostly-black clientele, mainly in the south. After a short stint leading his own soul band, Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, Hendrix, at the behest of one Chas Chandler, moved to London, where he recuited a pair of local musicians, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Although known for his innovative use of feedback, Hendrix was quite capable of knocking out some of the most complex "clean" riffs ever to be committed to vinyl. A prime example of this is Castles Made Of Sand. Hendrix's highly melodic guitar work combined with unusual tempo changes and haunting lyrics makes Castles Made Of Sand a classic that sounds as fresh today as it did when Axis: Bold As Love was released in 1967. The first time I ever heard this song it gave me chills.