Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Blues From An Airplane
Source: Mono LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Blues From An Airplane was the opening song on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Although never released as a single, it was picked by the group to open their first anthology album, The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane, as well.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Train For Tomorrow
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Although the bulk of material on the Electric Prunes' first LP was from outside sources, there were a few exceptions. One of the more notable ones was Train For Tomorrow, an innovative piece credited to the entire band that shows what this group could have done if allowed more artistic freedom.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: No Expectations
Source: LP: Beggar's Banquet
After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).
Title: Ritual Fire Dance
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s): de Falla/arr. Hodges
After a series of unsuccessful singles for various labels from 1965-1969, Tuesday's Children decided to abandon light pop for a more progressive sound, changing their name to Czar in the process. Czar's debut LP came out in May of 1970, but it was missing one track due to difficulties over publishing rights: an adaptation of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's Ritual Fire Dance that the group had recorded in February of that year, about a month after their first gig using their new name.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me
Source: CD: Benefit
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
All three of Jethro Tull's early albums contained one track with the name Jeffrey in the song title. The reference was to Jeffrey Hammond, who was not yet a member of the band, but was closely associated with them. The Benefit track, For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me, is probably the darkest of the three, reflecting the sound of the album itself. Hammond would soon replace Glenn Cornick on bass, while Michael Collins would remain an American Astronaut for a few more years.
Artist: Guess Who
Title: Humpty's Blues/American Woman (Epilogue)
Source: CD: American Woman
Label: Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Guitarist Randy Bachman of the Guess Who was, in the words of lead vocalist Burton Cummings, "chomping at the bit" to use some new guitar effects equipment he had acquired (fuzz boxes and Herzog sustain pedals, mostly). So the rest of the band obliged him by coming up with a Led Zeppelin style blues number called Humpty's Blues. Cummings's lyrics for the song were about the band's drummer, Garry Peterson, who had somehow acquired the nickname "Humpty Mix". The finished song ended up being the longest track on the album, which, combined with a short reprise of the opening section of American Woman, closes out the Guess Who's most popular album.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Good Times
Source: LP: Winds Of Change
By the end of the original Animals' run they were having greater chart success with their singles in the US than in their native UK. That trend continued with the formation of the "new" Animals in 1967 and their first single, When I Was Young. Shortly after the first LP by the band now known as Eric Burdon And The Animals came out, M-G-M decided to release the song San Franciscan Nights as a single to take advantage of the massive youth migration to the city that summer. Meanwhile the band's British label decided to instead issue Good Times, (an autobiographical song which was released in the US as the B side to San Franciscan Nights) as a single, and the band ended up with one of their biggest UK hits ever. Riding the wave of success of Good Times, San Franciscan Nights eventually did get released in the UK and was a hit there as well.
Artist: The Mickey Finn
Title: Garden Of My Mind
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Direction)
Not every band in the world makes a living performing their own original material. In fact, the majority of working musicians are members of cover bands, playing a variety of venues all over the world. Most of these bands will never see the inside of a recording studio. There have been times and places, however, when even cover bands could get recording contracts, especially if they had a sizable local following. One such time and place was London in the mid-1960s, where bands like Mickey Finn And The Blue Men found steady work playing ska and R&B covers for the Mod crowd. They recorded a series of singles for several different local labels, one of which was Garden Of My Mind, a freakbeat tune written by guitarist Mickey Waller and vocalist Alan Marks and released on the Direction label. As the decade wore on and the Mod fad began to die out, the Mickey Finn (as they were then known) found itself playing more and more on the European continent, eventually calling it a day (or night) in 1971.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Manic Depression
Source: Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Polydor (original label: Reprise)
My dad bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder when we moved to Ramstein, Germany in early 1968. It was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. One of my first purchases was a pre-recorded reel to reel tape of Are You Experienced. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Cream Puff War
Source: CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s): Jerry Garcia
Label: Warner Brothers
The first Grateful Dead album was recorded in a matter of days, and was mostly made up of cover tunes that the band was currently performing. The two exceptions were The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), which was credited to the entire band, and Cream Puff War, a song written by guitarist Jerry Garcia. The two tracks were paired up on the band's first single as well. Cream Puff War, as recorded, ran nearly three and a half minutes, but was edited down to 2:28 at the insistence of the corporate shirts at Warner Brothers Records.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: If You Want This Love
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer: Baker Knight
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The first West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album, Volume One, had a limited print run on, Fifa, a small independent label in L.A. After landing a contract with Reprise, the band recut many of the songs (most of which were cover tunes) from Volume One and called the new album Part One. If You Want This Love, a song written and originally recorded by L.A. local legend Baker Knight, is one of those recut tracks.
Title: Sleepy Time Time
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band. Baker's partner was Pete Brown, while Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.
Title: King Midas In Reverse
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
One of the last Hollies singles to include original member Graham Nash, King Midas In Reverse combines pop and psychedelia in a purely British way. The problem was that, with the exception of Nash, the Hollies had no desire to embrace psychedelia, and Nash soon found himself banding with David Crosby and Stephen Stills instead.
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: The Lobster
Source: British import 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, even dabbling with a progressive rock sound on tracks like The Lobster. 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.
Source: Mono LP: Rarities (originally released as 45 RPM single)
It's a little-known fact that the mono single version of the 1965 Beatles hit Help! uses a different lead vocal take than the stereo album version heard on the soundtrack album and most Beatles collections. Which one was recorded first? Good question.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Run Through The Jungle
Source: LP: More Creedence Gold (originally released on LP: Cosmos Factory and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Fogerty
One of the most popular songs on the 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival album Cosmos Factory was a tune by John Fogerty called Run Through The Jungle. At the time of the album's release, many people assumed the song was about the Viet-Nam war. However, Fogerty, in a 1993 interview with the Los Angeles Times, said,“ I think a lot of people thought that because of the times, but I was talking about America and the proliferation of guns, registered and otherwise. I'm a hunter and I'm not antigun, but I just thought that people were so gun-happy -- and there were so many guns uncontrolled that it really was dangerous, and it's even worse now." As one half of a double-sided single (paired with Up Around The Bend), the song became the sixth single to break into the top 10, and has been covered by several artists over the years. In the late 1980s the song was at the center of a lawsuit brought by the owner of Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz, claiming that a 1984 Fogerty song, The Old Man Down The Road, was actually Run Through The Jungle with different lyrics. Zaentz had basically screwed Fogerty out of publishing rights for all of CCR's material, resulting in Fogerty being unable to perform any of the band's tunes, and was now suing Fogerty for plagiarizing himself. In a rare victory for common sense Fogerty eventually won the lawsuit (although the judge did grant Zaentz some concessions), but Fogerty had to countersue Zaentz in order to recover the money he had spent on attorneys. Eventually Fogerty won that lawsuit as well, and is happily performing old Creedence songs as well as new material.
Title: The Sun Won't Shine Forever
Source: CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as stereo 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jon Uzonyi
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Accent)
Peacepipe was a Southern California band led by guitarist John Uzonyi, who wrote both sides of the band's only single, The Sun Won't Shine Forever b/w Lazy River Blues, released in 1969. The following year Peacepipe recorded an entier album's worth of material that went unreleased until 1995. The 1995 CD Rockadelic, which collects all that unreleased material, does not include either side of the single.
Title: The Ostrich
Source: Canadian CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s): John Kay
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Although John Kay's songwriting skills were still a work in progress on the first Steppenwolf album, there were some outstanding Kay songs on that LP, such as The Ostrich, a song that helped define Steppenwolf as one of the most politically savvy rock bands in history.
Title: Me About You
Source: CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Happy Together)
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Despite being, in the words of the Turtles' co-leader Mark Volman, one of the band's best recordings, Me About You was not chosen to be released as a single in 1967. Instead, two other bands, the Mojo Men and the Lovin' Spoonful, took a shot at the song, but neither version charted. Eventually, after the Turtles had split up, White Whale Records did release the song as the group's last single, but by then nobody was interested in hearing the Turtles on the radio and the song stalled out in the 105 spot. Described by Volman as "progressive pop with a pulse beat", Me About You features strings and horns by Jerry Yester, a member of the Modern Folk Quintet who would eventually join the Lovin' Spoonful.
Title: Sunny South Kensington
Source: Mono LP: Mellow Yellow (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Donovan followed up his 1966 hit single Sunshine Superman with an album of the same name. He then repeated himself with the song and album Mellow Yellow. The B side of the Mellow Yellow single was Sunny South Kensington, a tune done in much the same style as Superman. The song was also included on the Mellow Yellow album.
Artist: Crescent Six
Title: And Then
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lite Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Gregory Ferrera
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Rust)
One of the earliest psychedelic tracks was a single called And Then by New Jersey's Crescent Six. Virtually nothing else is known about the record, which was released on New York's Rust Records label.
Title: Shelly In Camp
Source: LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer: Les Baxter
Les Baxter is one of those names that sounds vaguely familiar to anyone who was alive in the 50s and 60s, but doesn't seem to be associated with anything in particular. That might be because Baxter was the guy that movie producers went to when they needed something done at the last minute. Such is the case with the short instrumental Shelly In Camp (referring the actress Shelly Winters, whose character ends up in an internment camp in the movie Wild In The Streets), a strange little piece with lots of sitar that closes out side one of the film's soundtrack LP. I seem to recall seeing some Les Baxter albums at a small town radio station I worked at in the early 70s that alternated between country, soft pop and lounge lizard records; Baxter's were in the third pile. "The Gurus", of course, was an entirely fictional name made up by the producers of the Wild In The Streets soundtrack album. I guess it was cheaper than hiring a real band.
Title: Evil Hearted You
Source: Simulated stereo Canadian LP: Shapes Of Things (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Having A Rave UP)
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
Label: Bomb (original US label: Epic)
Perhaps more than that of any other British invasion band, the Yardbirds' US and UK catalogs differ wildly. One of their biggest UK hits was Evil Hearted You, a Graham Gouldman song that made it all the way to the # 3 spot in their native land, but was not even released as a single in the US. Instead, the song appeared on the group's most popular US album, Having A Rave Up, which was not released in the UK at all. Confusing stuff, that.
Title: Say Those Magic Words
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reaction)
The Birds are best known for two things. First, they were future Rolling Stone Ron Wood's first band. They also gained notoriety when they took legal action against the Byrds for stealing their name. Originally formed in 1963 as the R&B Bohemians, the band soon changed its name to the Thunderbirds, later shortening it to the Birds to avoid confusion with Chris Farlowe's backup band. The Birds released only four singles between 1964 and 1966, the last of which was an amped up cover of a McCoys tune, Say Those Magic Words. When the single (their first for the Reaction label) failed to chart the group began to disentegrate and officially disbanded in early 1967.
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
One of the nicest tunes on The Who Sell Out is Sunrise, which is actually a Pete Townshend solo tune featuring Townshend's vocals and acoustic guitar. One of my favorites.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Bob Seger
Bob Seger had a series of regional hits in his native Detroit in the mid-1960s, leading to a deal with Capitol Records in 1968. The first single for Capitol was 2+2=?, a powerful anti-Vietnam War tune that was later included on his first LP for the label. The mono single version of the song heard here has a guitar chord near the end of the track that was not on the original recording (on which the song simply stops cold for a few seconds). It was inserted because, according to Seger, radio stations were "afraid of dead air".
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
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. 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: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in fact the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick the Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Double Shot)
In late 1966 five guys from San Jose California managed to sound more like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds that the Yardbirds themselves (a task probably made easier by the fact that Jeff Beck was no longer a Yardbird in late 1966). One interesting note about this record is that as late as the mid-1980s the 45 RPM single on the original label was still available in record stores, complete with the original B side. Normally songs more than a year or two old were only available on anthology LPs or on reissue singles with "back-to-back hits" on them. The complete takeover of the record racks by CDs in the late 1980s changed all that, as all 45s (except for indy releases) soon went the way of the 78 RPM record.
Title: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ed Cobb
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
If ever a song could be considered a garage-punk anthem, it's Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, the follow-up single to the classic Dirty Water. Both songs were written by Standells' manager/producer Ed Cobb, the record industry's answer to Ed Wood.
Artist: Music Machine
Source: British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Big Beat (original label: Original Sound)
Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material (with the exception of a slowed-down version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on; (before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. (This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved.) The best way to listen to Turn On The Music Machine, then, is to program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, this track becomes the second song on the disc, following the classic Talk Talk.
Artist: Neil Young
Title: The Needle And The Damage Done
Source: CD: Harvest
Writer(s): Neil Young
One of Neil Young's best-known songs, The Needle And The Damage Done was written as Young watched his friend and bandmate Danny Whitten (of Crazy Horse) sink deeper and deeper into heroin addiction. It was not too long after the song appeared on Young's 1972 album Harvest that Whitten died of an overdose. Sad stuff.