Title: Have You Seen Her Face
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Chris Hillman
Perhaps the greatest surprise on the fourth Byrds album, Younger Than Yesterday, was the emergence of bassist Chris Hillman as a quality songwriter, already on a par with David Crosby and the recently-departed Gene Clark, and even exceeding Roger McGuinn as a solo writer (most of McGuinn's contributions being as a collaborator rather than a solo songwriter). One of the many strong Hillman tracks on Younger Than Yesterday was Have You Seen Her Face, which eventually became the third single from the album.
Title: Eight Miles High
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the most powerful man in top 40 radio, Bill Drake, advising stations not to play this "drug song", the song managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying that in part led to his leaving the Byrds.
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
One of the earliest collaborations between Byrds songwriters David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the up-tempo raga rocker Why. The song was first recorded at RCA studios in Los Angeles in late 1965 as an intended B side for Eight Miles High, but due to the fact that the band's label, Columbia, refused to release recordings made at their main rival's studios, the band ended up having to re-record both songs at Columbia's own studios in early 1966. Although the band members felt the newer versions were inferior to the 1965 recordings, they were released as a single in March of 1966. Later that year, for reasons that are still unclear, Crosby insisted the band record a new version of Why, and that version was used for the band's next LP, Younger Than Yesterday.
Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Title: White Bird
Source: CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer: David and Linda LaFlamme
Label: San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
It's A Beautiful Day is a good illustration of how a band can be a part of a trend without intending to be or even realizing that they are. In their case, they were actually tied to two different trends. The first one was a positive thing: it was now possible for a band to be considered successful without a top 40 hit, as long as their album sales were healthy. The second trend was not such a good thing; as was true for way too many bands, It's A Beautiful Day was sorely mistreated by its own management, in this case one Matthew Katz. Katz already represented both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape when he signed up It's A Beautiful Day in 1967. What the members of It's A Beautiful Day did not know at the time was that both of the aforementioned bands were trying to get out of their contracts with Katz. The first thing Katz did after signing It's A Beautiful Day was to ship the band off to Seattle to become house band at a club Katz owned called the San Francisco Sound. Unfortunately for the band, Seattle already had a sound of its own and attendance at their gigs was sparse. Feeling downtrodden and caged (and having no means of transportation to boot) classically-trained 5-string violinist and lead vocalist David LaFlamme and his keyboardist wife Linda LaFlamme translated those feelings into a song that is at once sad and beautiful: the classic White Bird. As an aside, Linda LaFlamme was not the female vocalist heard on White Bird. Credit for those goes to one Pattie Santos, the other female band member. To this day Katz owns the rights to It's A Beautiful Day's recordings, which have been reissued on CD on Katz's San Francisco Sound label.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Have You Seen The Saucers
Source: LP: Early Flight
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Have You Seen The Saucers, a Paul Kantner composition, was first released as the B side to Mexico, the last single to include Jefferson Airplane founder Marty Balin. Unlike Mexico, which is basically a Grace Slick vehicle, Saucers features Balin, Kantner and Slick sharing vocal duties equally. After the single failed to chart, Have You Seen The Saucers was unavailable until 1974, when it was included on the LP Early Flight, a collection of tracks that had never been released on LP vinyl.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: My Baby
Source: LP: Pearl
By far the most polished of Janis Joplin's albums was Pearl, recorded in 1970 and released in January of 1971. Much of the credit for the album's sound has to go to Paul Rothchild, who had already made his reputation producing the Doors. Another factor was the choice of material to record. In addition to some of Joplin's originals such as Mercedes Benz and Move Over, the LP featured several songs from songwriter Jerry Ragovoy, who had co-written (with the legendary Bert Berns) Joplin's first big hit with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Piece Of My Heart. Working with another legendary songwriter, Doc Schuman, Ragovoy provided some of Joplin's most memorable songs on the album, including My Baby, a song that suited Joplin's vocal style perfectly.
Artist: Al Kooper
Title: I Got A Woman
Source: LP: Al's Big Deal-Unclaimed Freight (originally released on LP: Easy Does It)
Writer(s): Ray Charles
Ray Charles was a master of not one, but two distinct genres: the melancholy blues with lavish strings heard on songs like Georgia On My Mind, and the gospel influenced R&B of songs like What'd I Say. In 1970, Al Kooper paid a unique tribute to the master by performing one of Charles's best known R&B songs, I Got A Woman, in the trademark Charles melancholy blues style. The result can be heard on Kooper's third solo LP, Easy Does It.
Title: I'm So Glad
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Skip James
Unlike later albums, which featured psychedelic cover art and several Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaborations that had a decidedly psychedelic sound, Fresh Cream was marketed as the first album by a British blues supergroup, and featured a greater number of blues standards than subsequent releases. One of those covers that became a concert staple for the band was the old Skip James tune I'm So Glad. The song has become so strongly associated with Cream that the group used it as the opening number for all three performances when they staged a series of reunion concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004.
Title: I Can See For Miles
Source: CD: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was the Who's biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s): Trad. Arr. Page
It is the nature of folk music that a song often gets credited to one writer when in fact it is the work of another. This is due to the fact that folk singers tend to share their material liberally with other folk singers, who often make significant changes to the work before passing it along to others. Such is the case with Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, which was originally conceived by EC-Berkeley student Anne Johannsen in the late 1950s and performed live on KPFA radio in 1960. Another performer on the same show, Janet Smith, developed the song further and performed it at Oberlin College, where it was heard by audience member Joan Baez. Baez asked Smith for a tape of her songs and began performing the song herself. Baez used it as the opening track on her album, Joan Baez In Concert, Part One, but it was credited as "traditional", presumably because Baez herself had no knowledge of who had actually written the song. Baez eventually discovered the true origins of the tune, and later pressings gave credit to Anne Bredon, who had divorced her first husband, Lee Johannsen and married Glen Bredon since writing the song. Jimmy Page had an early pressing of the Baez album, so when he reworked the song for inclusion on the first Led Zeppelin album, he went with "traditional, arranged Page" as the writer. Robert Plant, who worked with Page on the arrangement, was not originally given credits for contractual reasons, although later editions of the album give credit to Page, Plant and Bredon.
Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Made Up My Mind
Source: British import CD: A Step Further
Writer: Chris Youlden
Label: Deram (original label: Parrot)
To coincide with a US tour, the fourth Savoy Brown album, A Step Further, was actually released in North America several months before it was in the UK, with Made Up My Mind being simultaneously released as a single. Luckily for the band, 1969 was a year that continued the industry-wide trend away from hit singles and toward successful albums instead, at least among the more progressive groups, as the single itself tanked. Aided by a decent amount of airplay on progressive FM radio, however, the album (the last to feature lead vocalist Chris Youlden) peaked comfortably within the top 100.
Artist: Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title: Abba Zaba
Source: 45 RPM single (also included on LP: Safe As Milk)
Writer(s): Don Van Vliet
After an aborted recording career with A&M Records, future avant-garde rock superstar Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) signed a contract with the newly formed Buddah record label. The first record ever released by Buddah was the album Safe As Milk, which included the single Abba Zaba. Although the Captain's music was at that time still somewhat blues-based, the album was not a commercial success, and Buddah cut Beefheart and his Magic Band from the label in favor of more pop oriented groups like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Ohio Express. Captain Beefheart then moved to yet another fledgling label, Blue Thumb, before finding a more permanent home with his old high school classmate Frank Zappa's Bizarre Records, where he released the classic Trout Mask Replica.
Title: Moonlight Drive
Source: CD: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.
Title: My Mind Goes High
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
MC2 (pronounced "em see squared") only released one single, the folk-pop tinged My Mind Goes High on the Reprise label in 1967, before disbanding following a dispute with their producer, Lenny Waronker. One member, however, drummer Jim Keltner, went on to make a name for himself playing on John Lennon's albums in the early 70s and doing studio work for a variety of well-known acts. He also toured with Booker T & the MGs in the 1990s, appearing onstage backing up Neil Young.
Artist: Ringo Starr
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
The first gold record by an ex-Beatle did not come from John Lennon or Paul McCartney, as one would expect. Rather it was drummer Ringo Starr, who topped the charts in 1971 with It Don't Come Easy (co-written by an uncredited George Harrison). The B side of that single, Farm, is about as pure Ringo as it gets.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
Source: CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer: McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label: Warner Brothers
I once knew someone from San Jose, California who had an original copy of the single version of The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), the opening track from the first Grateful Dead album. It was totally worn out from being played a few hundred times, though.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Mr. Blues
Source: LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s): Bob Mosley
Bassist Bob Mosley wrote and sang on Mr. Blues, one of ten songs released on 45 RPM vinyl from the first Moby Grape album. It was a marketing disaster that forever tainted a talented band.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Source: CD: One Step Beyond
Writer(s): Sean Tolby
Label: Sundazed (original label: Tower)
The third and final album the Chocolate Watchband released on Tower Records was both the most and least representative of the band's actual sound. On the plus side, all the tracks on 1969's One Step Beyond were played and sung by the band members themselves, a claim that nobody could make about either of the previous Watchband albums. However, the group heard on One Step Beyond sounded nothing like the Chocolate Watchband that audiences in the Bay Area had become familiar with from 1966-68. In fact, the lineup heard on One Step Beyond was a mixture of new and former Watchband members, some of whom had left the group prior to their first trip to the studio in 1966. The result was a more schizophrenic sounding band than the Watchband of old, with an odd mixture of folk and hard rock replacing the garage rock and studio psychedelia of the group's earlier efforts. The new lineup also wrote most of the tracks on the album, including Sean Tolby's Fireface. The group even went on tour to promote the new LP, but continued to go through frequent personnel changes even when on the road, finally disbanding in early 1970.
Title: Bert's Blues
Source: Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
In 1966 Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch got into a contractual dispute with his record label, Pye Records UK. Up to that point his records had appeared in the US on the independent Hickory label. Now, however, he was about to make his US major label debut (on Epic), and the dispute with Pye led to his newest album, Sunshine Superman, being released only in North America. Like Bob Dylan, Donovan was beginning to expand beyond his folk roots, but in addition to the usual rock instruments (guitar, bass, drums, organ) Donovan used older acoustic instruments such as strings and harpsichord as well as experimenting with modern jazz arrangements and instrumentation. Somehow he managed to combine all of these elements in one track, Bert's Blues. Surprisingly, it worked.
Artist: Circus Maximus
Source: CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s): Bob Bruno
Circus Maximus was formed out of the chance meeting of multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in Greenwich Village in 1967. From the start the band was moving in different directions, with Bruno incorporating jazz elements into the band while Walker favored country-rock. Eventually the two would go their separate ways, but for the short time the band was together they made some of the best, if not best-known, psychedelic music on the East Coast. The band's most popular track was Wind, a Bruno tune from their debut album. The song got a considerable amount of airplay on the new "underground" radio stations that were popping up across the country at the time.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Watch Yourself
Source: LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s): Robert Yeazel
Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing many of the songs on that album.
Artist: Steve Cropper
Title: 99 1/2
Source: LP: With A Little Help From My Friends
One of the most important figures in the formation of the Memphis sound was guitarist Steve Cropper. One of the founding members and defacto co-leader of Booker T. and the MGs, Cropper's guitar work is prominent on recordings by Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Sam and Dave and other top artists that recorded for the Stax label in the mid to late 60s. In addition to providing guitar parts Cropper co-wrote several hit songs, including Otis Redding's Dock Of The Bay. Preferring to stay out of the spotlight, Cropper only recorded one solo LP for Stax, the appropriately-titled With A Little Help From My Friends, released in 1970 on the Volt label. Most of the songs on the album were instrumental versions of songs Cropper had previously played on (and in many cases co-written). There is one track, however, that is a bit of a mystery. 99 1/2 was co-written by Eddie Floyd and Wilson Pickett, yet does not show up in the discographies of either of those artists. In fact, using an internet search engine, I was only able to find one instance of the song: the version heard here (which is one of the only tracks to feature Cropper using a fuzz tone). After Stax faded away Cropper stayed active, appearing as part of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's Blues Brothers Band (and the subsequent Elwood Blues Band) and earning the distinction of being the only guitarist to occupy the stage for the entire Bob Dylan tribute concert in the early 1990s. Following that, he and the MGs toured as Neil Young's stage band. A longtime member of the Roll & Roll Hall Of Fame, Cropper continues to remain active, usually in a supporting role.
Title: I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Source: British import LP: Abbey Road
With the exception of John Lennon's 1968 audio collage Revolution 9, the longest Beatle track ever recorded was I Want You (She's So Heavy), from the Abbey Road album. The track alternates between two distinct sections: the jazz-like I Want You, which contains most of the song's lyrical content, and the primal-scream based She's So Heavy, which repeats the same phrase endlessly in 6/8 time while an increasingly loud wall of white noise eventually leads to an abrupt cut-off at 7:47.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Iron Butterfly Theme
Source: CD: Heavy
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: The Wind Cries Mary
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was only available in mono. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the original multi-track masters, created all new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably (of course the fact that they were on Mercury Records, one of the "big six" labels of the time, didn't hurt). Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Positively 4th Street
Source: LP: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Recorded during the same 1965 sessions that produced the classic Highway 61 Revisited album, Positively 4th Street was deliberately held back for release as a single later that year. The stereo mix would not appear on an LP until the first Dylan Greatest Hits album was released in 1967.