Sunday, December 27, 2020

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2101 (starts 12/28/20)

    This week we manage to squeeze 35 songs into one two-hour show, including a set from the Animals and half a dozen songs making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    Mono LP: Gimme Some Lovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The 1980s 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 becomming best-sellers. Not entirely coincidentally, 60s-oriented oldies radio stations began to appear in major markets as well. Most of them are now playing 80s and 90s oldies, by the way.

Artist:      Count Five
Title:     They're Gonna Get You
Source:      LP: Psychotic Reaction (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Sean Byrne
Label:     Bicycle (original label: Double Shot)
Year:     1966
     It's been said that Count Five's Psychotic Reaction was two and a half minutes of an American garage band sounding more like the Yardbirds than the Yardbirds themselves. The B side of Psychotic Reaction is that same American garage band sounding more like what they probably sounded like the rest of the time.
Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one willing to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record was released in September of 1966 by M-G-M subsidiary Verve Folkways, a label whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations the song became a major hit when re-released the following year after being featured on an April 1967 Leonard Bernstein TV special. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Blessed
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Possibly the most psychedelic track on Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album, Blessed is a classic example of structured chaos, combining a wall of sound approach with tight harmonies and intelligent lyrics. One of the duo's most overlooked recordings.

Artist:    Dave Clark Five
Title:    I Need Love
Source:    LP: The Dave Clark Five (originally released on LP: I Like It Like That)
Writer(s):    Dave Clark
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
    I have to admit that I was never a big Dave Clark Five fan. That said, there are a handful of DC5 tunes that really grab me. Among the best of those is I Need Love, a track from the 1966 album I Like It Like That. The song has more of a garage feel than the average DC5 song, which is probably why I like it so much.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Entertaining Of A Shy Girl
Source:    British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMO (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    Donovan had completely quit using mind-altering substances altogether by late 1967, when he began recording songs for his sixth album, The Hurdy Gurdy Man. The trippy lyrics of songs like Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow were gone, as can be heard on simple, straightforward tunes like The Entertaining Of A Shy Girl, which, at one minute and thirty-nine seconds is also the shortest track on the album.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Glow Girl
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out (bonus track originally released on LP: Odds And Sods)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1974
    Although it was originally recorded in January of 1968, right after the release of The Who Sell Out, Glow Girl sat on the shelf as the band got to work on their 1969 rock opera Tommy. Pete Townshend, who wrote Glow Girl, was not one to abandon song ideas easily, and he adapted the final line of Glow Girl to be one of the opening lines of Tommy itself, changing the word "girl" to "boy". Glow Girl itself was finally released in 1974 on the Odds And Sods album.

Artist:    Fire
Title:    Father's Name Was Dad
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Lambert
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    As any fan of the Austin Powers movies can tell you, London in the mid-1960s was home to the Mods, a group (or movement) of young people distinguished by the colorful fashions they wore, most of which came from shops on Carnaby Street. The Mods had their own music as well, usually referred to as "freakbeat" or sometimes just "beat", although not all of the bands playing that kind of music identified with the Mods themselves. Most of the early beat bands were also in the first wave of the British invasion of the US; in fact the Beatles themselves (prior to the release of Rubber Soul) were usually considered the top beat band of all. By 1966, however, the US audience was already getting into other things (Motown, garage rock, Memphis soul and the beginnings of bubble gum). In Europe and the UK, however, beat bands were still on top, with newer groups like the Move, the Small Faces and the Who (in their pre-Tommy days) riding high on the charts. Among these newer beat groups was a trio called Friday's Chyld. After changing their name to the Fire, they got a contract with the British Decca label and a publishing deal with the Beatles' Apple organization. After hearing a demo of Father's Name Was Dad, Paul McCartney made a few production suggestions and the group added backing vocals and double-tracked guitar for the final released version of the song. Although Father's Name Was Dad was not a hit, it did serve as the recording debut of lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Lambert, who would go on to have some success in the 70s as a founding member of a band called Strawbs. Most people that have heard both the original and the "McCartney-ized" versions of Father's Name Was Dad have stated a preference for the earlier recording heard here.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Volunteers
Source:     LP: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Volunteers)
Writer:     Balin/Kantner
Label:     Victor
Year:     1969
     By 1969 Jefferson Airplane's music was a staple of progressive FM stations but had all but disappeared from the top 40 charts. Still, the band continued to release singles from their albums, including the title track to their fifth (and final with the classic JA lineup) LP, Volunteers.

Artist:     Left Banke
Title:     Pretty Ballerina
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Michael Brown
Label:     Smash
Year:     1967
     The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father owned a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album (which has Jim Morrison's picture on the cover) despite never being released as a single.

Artist:     Chocolate Watchband
Title:     Sweet Young Thing
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:     Rhino (original label: Uptown)
Year:     1967
     There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the flavor of how the Chocolate Watchband actually sounded when left to their own devices, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb. One of the few recordings that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is Sweet Young Thing, the first single released under the band's real name (Blue's Theme, an instrumental Watchband recording credited to the Hoggs, had been released in 1966 by Hanna-Barbera records).

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    I Think We're Alone Now
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Best Of Tommy James And The Shondells (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ritchie Cordell
Label:    Roulette
Year:    1967
    Like many artists of the mid-1960s, Tommy James And The Shondells became famous for a huge hit single (in their case, Hanky Panky, which went to the top of the charts in mid-1966), then started suffering diminishing returns with subsequent releases. Unlike many other artists of the mid-1960s, however, they found a songwriter (Ritchie Cordell, who also produced the record) who gave them two more consecutive top 10 hits in early 1967. The first of these was I Think We're Alone Now, which went to the #4 spot on the national charts and was #1 on Chicago's WLS (arguably the most influential radio station in the world at the time) for five weeks. James later said that although the song was originally written as a mid-tempo ballad, "I said no way and started speeding it up.... I.. put on a nasally, almost juvenile-sounding lead vocal, and without realizing it, we invented "bubblegum" music."

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Time Between
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    The Byrds went from being the prototypical folk-rock band to being the seminal country-rock band over the space of about three years and six albums. The beginning of this transition can be heard on Time Between, from their fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Time Between was bassist Chris Hillman's first attempt to write a song on his own, and features guest guitarist Clarence White, who would later replace David Crosby as a full-fledged member of the Byrds (ouch!).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Baby, You're A Rich Man
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Baby, You're A Rich Man was one of the last collaborations between John Lennon and Paul McCartney and addresses the Beatles' longtime manager Brian Epstein, although not by name.  Lennon came up with the basic question "how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" (a popular term for the young and hip in late 60s London), which became the basis for the song's verses, which were combined with an existing, but unfinished, Paul McCartney chorus (Baby, You're A Rich Man, too). The finished piece was issued as the B side of the Beatles' second single of 1967, All You Need Is Love, and later remixed in stereo and included on the US-only LP version of Magical Mystery Tour.
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    I Need You
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits in 1964 such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks mellowed out a bit with songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You the following year. Lurking on the other side of Set Me Free, though, was a song that showed that the band still knew how to rock out: I Need You.

Artist:     Bobby Fuller Four
Title:     Baby My Heart
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released in UK on CD: The Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four)
Writer:     Sonny Curtis
Label:     Rhino (original label: Ace)
Year:     Recorded 1966; released 1992.
     The Bobby Fuller Four perfected their blend of rock and roll and Tex-Mex in their native El Paso before migrating out to L.A. After scoring a huge hit with I Fought The Law, Fuller was found dead in his hotel room of unnatural causes. Baby My Heart, recorded in 1966 but not released until 1992, when it appeared unheralded on a British compilation of Fuller's work, is an indication of what might have been had Fuller lived long enough to establish himself further.
Artist:         Cream
Title:        Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:      CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:        1967
        Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Clapton and Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock."

Artist:    World Column
Title:    Lantern Gospel
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kaplan/Meyer
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    World Column was actually an R&B band from the midwest that, for some unknown reason, decided to change styles and record a song which has since become a psychedelic classic. Lantern Gospel, released in the summer of 1968, appeared on a dozen bootleg compilation albums before finally being officially released on the Rhino Handmade CD My Mind Goes High, which is now available in the UK through Warner Strategic Marketing.

Artist:    Masters Apprentices
Title:    Hot Gully Wind
Source:    Australian import LP: The Master's Apprentices
Writer(s):    Michael Bower
Label:    Astor
Year:    1967
    Formed in 1964 by guitarists Mick Bower and Rick Morrison, drummer Brian Vaughton and bassist Gavin Webb, the Mustangs were an instrumental surf music band from Adelaide, South Australia that specialized in covers of Ventures and Shadows songs. In June of that year the Beatles came to Adelaide and were greeted by the largest crowd of their career (around 300,000 people). The popularity of the Beatles among the locals prompted the Mustangs to add vocalist Jim Keays and switch to British-influenced Beat music. In late 1965, having been introduced to the blues through records by bands like the Yardbirds and Rolling Stones, the band changed its name to the Masters Apprentices, with Bower explaining that  "we are apprentices to the masters of the blues—Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James and Robert Johnson". The band decided to relocate to Melbourne in early 1967, taking on Steve Hopgood as the band's new drummer when Vaughton decided to stay in Adelaide. They released their debut LP in 1967, although the people at Astor Records mistakenly added an apostrophe to Masters on the album cover. Among the many Bower originals on the album was Hot Gully Wind, a solid rocker that has held up well over the years. Unfortunately, Bower suffered a nervous breakdown in September, and the band was left without a songwriter. By the end of 1967 the band was on the verge of disintegrating, which led Keays to reorganize the band in January of 1968 with several new members, retaining only Gavin Webb from the original Mustangs lineup. He also ended up leaving the group due to stomach ulcers in April of 1968.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Good Times
Source:    British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    BGO (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    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:    Animals
Title:    I Put A Spell On You
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Jay Hawkins
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    Sometimes you have to wonder if there was maybe just a little bit of spite and bitterness going on between Alan Price and Eric Burdon during the first six months of 1966. After all, before Burdon joined the band as lead vocalist in 1962, it was known as the Alan Price Rhythm And Blues Combo, but soon was rechristened the Animals. Over the next couple of years Burdon supplanted Price as the band's leader, both on and off stage, finally leading Price to leave the group in mid-1965 to form his own band, the Alan Price Combo. The second single released by Price was a cover of Screaming Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You, released in March of 1966. At that same time, the Animals, with new keyboardist Dave Rowberry, were in the process of recording their third album, Animalisms, which would be released later that year in the US with a modified song lineup as Animalization. So is it just coincidence that the Animals included their own version of I Put A Spell On You on that album?

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Yes, I'm Experienced
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change/The Twain Shall Meet (originally released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     BGO (originally released in US on M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     A grand tradition dating back to the early Rhythm and Blues recordings was something called the "answer song". Someone would record a song (Hound Dog, for example), that would become popular. In turn, another artist (often a friend of the original one), would then come up with a song that answered the original tune (Bear Cat, in our example earlier). This idea was picked up on by white artists in the late 50s (Hey Paula answered by Hey Paul). True to the tradition, Eric Burdon answered his friend Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced with this song, done in a style similar to another Hendrix tune, Manic Depression.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    The Flute Thing
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Highway Chile
Source:    Mono CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Track)
Year:    1967
    The Jimi Hendrix Experience already had three hit singles in the UK before releasing their first LP, Are You Experienced, in May of 1967. The following month the band made its US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The gig went over so well that Reprise Records soon made arrangements to release Are You Experienced in the US. To maximize the commercial potential of the LP, Reprise decided to include the A sides of all three singles on the album, even though those songs had not been on the British version. The B sides of all three singles, however, were not included on the album. Among those missing tracks was Highway Chile, a somewhat autobiographical song that was originally paired with The Wind Cries Mary.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Shades Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Hey Mr. President
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Adams/Barkan
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Although to most of us "Electric Prunes" was the name of a band, to people in the music industry it was actually the name of a commodity. This commodity was originally owned by engineer Dave Hassinger, who produced the band's first two albums for Reprise. After the second LP failed to produce a hit single Hassinger worked out a deal with composer David Axelrod to record something called Mass In F Minor and release it as the third Prunes LP. It soon became apparent, however, that the band members were ill-suited to perform Axelrod's music, and Hassinger brought in members of another band entirely, the Collectors, to record most of the album's instrumental tracks. Although Mass In F Minor was even less commercial than the two previous albums, Hassinger chose to continue working with Axelrod on a fourth Electric Prunes album, Release Of An Oath, using an entirely new group of musicians. By this time the ownership of the band's name had passed to Axelrod's manager, Lenny Poncher, who was responsible for the next single to be released under the Electric Prunes name, 1969's Hey Mr. President. This new lineup (which included former West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band guitarist Ron Morgan) stayed in place until the group officially disbanded, recording one album of mostly-original material in 1969.

Artist:    Python Lee Jackson
Title:    In A Broken Dream
Source:    LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Bentley
Label:    Sire (original label: Youngblood International)
Year:    1970
    Formed in Sydney, Australia in December 1965, Python Lee Jackson went through several personnel changes before breaking up in January of 1968.  Not long after that two of the band's founding members, guitarist Mick Lieber and drummer David Montgomery, along with keyboardist/vocalist Dave Bentley (who had joined the band in 1966), relocated to the UK, reforming the band in October 1968. In April of 1969 they recorded three songs with guest vocalist Rod Stewart, after Bentley told his bandmates that he didn't think his voice was right for the songs. The first of these was In A Broken Dream, produced by legendary DJ John Peel, who had taken an interest in the band after seeing them perform at the Arts Lab on Drury Lane. The song was originally released in 1970, but did not chart until it was re-released two years later in the wake of Stewart's rise to fame as a solo artist and member of Faces.

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Help Me Girl
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    English/Weiss
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Although it doesn't happen very often these days, throughout pop music history there have been, on occasions, competing versions of the same song released by two or more artists. Sometimes one version would become the "standard" version soon enough for a record to be a genuine hit (for instance the Kingsmen's version of Louie Louie as opposed to the Paul Revere and the Raiders version recorded at around the same time and place), but as often as not the competing versions would actually end up hurting each other's chart action. Such was the case with Help Me Girl, a song released simultaneously by the Outsiders and Eric Burdon (as Eric Burdon And The Animals, despite actually being Burdon's vocals backed up by studio musicans). In Denver, where I was living at the time, there were two competing top 40 stations, ratings leader KIMN and ABC network affiliate KBTR. Both stations published weekly charts, which were available in record stores and other locations. Although I listened to both stations, I was a bigger fan of KBTR, whose top 40 charts were included in a four page mini-newspaper, as opposed to KIMN's single page top 60 listing. When Help Me Girl came out, KIMN played the Eric Burdon version exclusively, while KBTR did the same for the Outsiders version. As a KBTR listener I was more into the Outsiders version of the song, so much so that I bought a copy of the 45. To me, Sonny Gerachi's yearning vocals seem to fit the song better than Burdon's swaggering style. Nationally, the Burdon version made it to the #29 spot, while the Outiders version stalled out at #37, reflecting, perhaps, the fact that by 1966 the Animals, with Burdon as frontman, already had a string of top 20 hits, while the Outsiders were known for just one song, Time Won't Let Me. Sonny Gerachi would have one more hit single a few years later as the lead vocalist of a group called Climax with a song called Precious And Few.

Artist:     Merry-Go-Round
Title:     Live
Source:     More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Emitt Rhodes
Label:     Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:     1967
     While San Francisco was basking in the Summer of Love, radio listeners in L.A. were exhorted to Live by local favorites the Merry-Go-Round. 16-year-old drummer Emitt Rhodes had already established himself with the Palace Guard, but took center stage with the Merry-Go-Round. He would later go on to have a moderately successful solo career in the early 70s.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    No Time To Live
Source:    CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Although half of the songs on Traffic's self-titled second LP were written by Dave Mason, the guitarist/vocalist had very little to do with the remaining tracks. He did, however, play Hammond organ on the haunting No Time To Live. The song also features Steve Winwood on lead vocals, piano and bass, Chris Wood on soprano saxophone and Jim Capaldi on drums.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Starline (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    People who are familiar with the 70s and 80s hits of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band may be surprised to hear how much raw energy there is on Seger's early recordings with the Bob Seger System. The best known of these early records is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, released as a single in 1969. The song did pretty well at the time, but it would be several years before Seger would return to the charts.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Writer(s):    Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    A minor, but notable trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) was the single from that album, peaking in the lower reaches of the Hot 100 charts.

Artist:    Van Morrison
Title:    Brown Eyed Girl
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Bang
Year:    1967
    It may not be Van Morrison's favorite song, but it is arguably his most popular one. The 1968 single was originally written as Brown Skinned Girl, but, as Morrison later said "That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind. After we'd recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn't even notice that I'd changed the title. I looked at the box where I'd lain it down with my guitar and it said 'Brown Eyed Girl' on the tape box. It's just one of those things that happen." Morrison's contract with Bang Records was fairly typical of the times. Not only did he not receive any royalties from the recording, the song was included on the album Blowin' Your Mind without Morrison's input or knowledge. Brown Eyed Girl is, to this day, one of the most played songs in radio history.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Grim Reaper Of Love
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Portz/Nichol
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1966
    The Turtles had some early success in 1965 as a folk-rock band, recording the hit version of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe and PF Sloan's Let Me Be. By 1966, however, it was getting harder and harder for the group to get a hit record. One attempt was Grim Reaper Of Love, co-written by Turtles lead guitarist Al Nichol. Personally I think it's a pretty cool tune, but was probably a bit too weird to appeal to the average top 40 radio listener in 1966. Grim Reaper Of Love did manage to make it to the # 81 spot on the charts, unlike the band's next two singles that failed to chart at all. It wasn't until the following year, when the Turtles recorded Happy Together, that the band would make it back onto the charts.

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