This time around we are going with a bit of just about everything, included two artists' sets, several album tracks and B sides, a touch of weirdness and even a Big Hit Single or two.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Electric Prunes)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the band's record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation.
Title: End Of The Night
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer: The Doors
Sometimes you run across a song that seems to encapsulate what a band is all about. End Of The Night, from the first Doors album, is one of those songs. Apparently the band members felt the same way, as it was included on the anthology album Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, despite never being released as a single.
Title: Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source: CD: Wheels Of Fire
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was Deserted Cities Of The Heart, chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still together.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Turn On Your Love Light
Source: LP: The Big Ball (excerpt of track that was originally released on LP: Live Dead)
Label: Warner Brothers
After two years' (and three albums) worth of trying to capture their live sound in the studio, the Grateful Dead decided just to cut to the chase and release a live album. The result was the double LP Live Dead, one of the most successful releases in Grateful Dead history. The album itself is one continuous concert, with each side fading out at the end, with a bit of overlap at the beginning of the next side. Most of the material on Live Dead was written by the band itself, the sole exception being a fifteen-minute long rendition of Bobby Bland's 1961 hit Turn On Your Love Light, featuring vocals by organist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. This six and a half minute long excerpt from the album first appeared on the Warner Brothers "Loss Leaders" album Big Ball, a two-disc sampler album that could only be bought directly from the record company. The same excerpt was later included on the 1972 Grateful Dead compilation album Skeletons From The Closet.
Artist: B.B. King
Title: Until I'm Dead And Cold
Source: LP: Indianola Mississippi Seeds
Writer(s): B.B. King
Following up on the success of the hit single The Thrill Is Gone, B.B. King and producer Bill Szymczyk gathered up an all-star cast of backup musicians for the album Indianola Mississippi Seeds. Besides King on vocals on guitar, Until I'm Dead And Cold features Carole King on piano, and studio stalwarts Bryan Garofalo and Russ Kunkel on bass and drums, respectively, with strings and horns arranged by Jimmie Haskell. The album title itself is a tribute to Indianola, Mississippi, which King, who was born on a plantation about 20 miles east of the city, always considered his home town. King himself considered Indianola Mississippi Seeds to be "the best album that I've done artistically."
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s): Neil Young
One of the most influential folk-rock bands to come out of the L.A. scene was Buffalo Springfield. The band had several quality songwriters, including Neil Young, whose voice was deemed "too weird" by certain record company people. Thus we have Richie Furay singing a Young tune on the band's first single, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Rock And Roll Woman
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Neil Young, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Stephen Stills. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock And Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 50 years after it was recorded.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Buffalo Springfield (revised version))
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
Most people associate the name Buffalo Springfield with the song For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound). And for good reason. The song is one of the greatest protest songs ever recorded, and to this day is in regular rotation on both oldies and classic rock radio stations. The song was written and recorded in November of 1966 and released in January of 1967. By then the first Buffalo Springfield LP was already on the racks, but until that point had not sold particularly well. When it became clear that For What It's Worth was turning into a major hit, Atco Records quickly recalled the album and added the song to it (as the opening track). All subsequent pressings of the LP (and later the CD) contain For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound), making earlier copies of the album somewhat of a rarity and quite collectable.
Artist: Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Source: CD: Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy (originally released on LP: The Great Conspiracy)
Writer(s): John Merrill
Label: Collectables (original label: Columbia)
The members of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy were not able to play the way they really wanted to on their two LPs for Columbia Records. Much of the reason for this was because of Columbia itself, which had a history of being against just about everything that made psychedelic rock what it was. Immediately after signing the band, the label assigned Gary Usher, whose background was mainly in vocal surf music, to produce the group. Usher urged the band, who had already built up a sizable following playing Los Angeles clubs, to soften their sound and become more hit oriented. To do this he brought in several studio musicians he had previously worked with, including members of the Wrecking Crew, to fill out the band's sound. At first, it seemed to be a successful strategy, as the band's first single, It's A Happening Thing, sold fairly well in local record stores, but when the next two singles failed to generate any interest the band began to assert its right to play on their own records. As a result, all the instruments on the band's second LP, The Great Conspiracy, were played by members of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy itself, including new member Bill Wolff, who had previously played guitar with the Sound Machine. For the most part however, they were still not able to fully recreate the extended jams that they were known for in their live performances, although a couple of tracks, such as Ecstacy, come pretty close. Written by lead guitarist John Merrill, the piece is a classic psychedelic jam, running over six minutes in length. Around the same time as the album was released, Merrill began losing interest in the group, and did not contribute any songs to the band's final album, For Children Of All Ages, released on the Challenge label in 1969.
Artist: Uncalled For
Title: Do Like Me
Source: Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: BFD (original labels Dollie, Laurie)
Virtually nothing is known about the Uncalled For other than that they came from Youngstown, Ohio (which was still a vital steel-making center with a thriving local music scene in the 1960s) and recorded one 1967 single, Do Like Me, for the local Dollie label. The song was apparently successful enough to be picked up by a national label, Laurie, and re-released later in the year. If anyone knows more about the Uncalled For, feel free to drop me a line.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Good Times
Source: Mono British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
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 ended up becoming a hit there as well.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Naked If I Want To
Source: LP: Great Grape
Writer: Jerry Miller
Although guitarist Jerry Miller's name appears in the credits for nearly half the material on the first Moby Grape album, more than any other band member, there was only one song credited to Miller as the sole songwriter. Ironically, Naked If I Want To was also the shortest track on the album, with a running time of less than a minute. A longer version of the song appeared on Moby Grape's second LP, Wow.
Title: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Source: CD: Yellow Submarine Songtrack (originally released on LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)
The top album of 1967 was the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was also the first US Beatles album to have a song lineup that was identical to the original UK LP. As such, it was also the first Beatles album released in the US to not include any songs that were also released as singles. Nonetheless, several tracks from the LP found their way onto the playlists of both top 40 AM and "underground" FM stations from coast to coast. Among the most popular of these tracks was John Lennon's Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which shows up on just about everyone's list of classic psychedelic tunes.
Artist: Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones)
Title: In Another Land
Source: LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s): Bill Wyman
During recording sessions for the late 1967 Rolling Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request bassist Bill Wyman made a forty-five minute drive to the studio one evening only to find out that the session had been cancelled. The band's manager and producer, Andrew Loog Oldham, managed to salvage the moment by asking Wyman if he had any song ideas he'd like to work on while he was there. As it turned out, Wyman had just come up with a song called In Another Land, about waking up from a dream only to discover you are actually still dreaming. Utilizing the talents of various people on hand, including Steve Marriott, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins, Wyman recorded a rough demo of his new tune. When Mick Jagger and Keith Richards heard the song they liked it so much that they added background vocals and insisted the track be used on the album and released as a single by Bill Wyman (with another track from the LP on the B side credited to the entire band). They even went so far as to give Wyman solo artist credit on the label of the LP itself (the label reads: Their Satanic Majesties Request by the Rolling Stones*, with the next line reading *by Bill Wyman), with an asterisk preceeding the song title in the track listing. Wyman reportedly hated the sound of his own voice on the song, and insisted that a tremelo effect be added to it in the final mix. The snoring at the end of the track is Wyman himself, as captured in the studio by Mick and Keith.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sympathy For The Devil
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Beggars Banquet)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio, and occupies the #32 spot on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Tombstone Blues
Source: CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
One of the most influential albums in rock history was Bob Dylan's 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. Although he had experimented with adding electric guitar, bass and drums to some of the songs on his previous album, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited was his first LP to feature electric instruments on every track. Of these, the most notable was probably the guitar work of Michael Bloomfield, who would soon come to prominence as lead guitarist for the Butterfield Blues Band. Bloomfield's work is most prominent on blues-based tracks such as Tombstone Blues, which follows the classic Like A Rolling Stone on side one of the original LP.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: Let's Get Together
Source: Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s): Jimmy Reed
Although the Blues Magoos' second LP, Electric Comic Book, was made up mostly of original compositions by the band members themselves, there is one notable exception: a cover of Jimmy Reed's Let's Get Together. The Magoos' recording of the song was actually the second to be released in 1967, as the Leaves had included a fairly bland version of the tune on their second LP, All The Good That's Happening, early in the year. The Blues Magoos approach to the song was far less serious (and far more interesting), with an almost drunken quality to it. It's easy to imagine a bar crowd singing along with this version of the tune.
Artist: Blues Magoos
Title: (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) 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: Blues Magoos
Title: Baby, I Want You
Source: Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Although not as well-known as their debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos' Electric Comic Book is a worthy successor to that early psychedelic masterpiece. Handicapped by a lack of hit singles, the album floundered on the charts, despite the presence of songs like Baby, I Want You, one of many original tunes on the LP.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: Simulated stereo LP: The Seeds
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: GNP Crescendo
The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic.
Title: Mellow Yellow
Source: Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, due to a contract dispute with Pye Records during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): Marty Balin
Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.
Artist: Canned Heat
Title: Boogie Music
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): L.T.Tatman III
Label: United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence, even after relocating to the Laurel Canyon area near Los Angeles in 1968. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of that single was another track from Living The Blues that actually had a longer running time on the single than on the album version. Although the single uses the same basic recording of Boogie Music as the album, it includes a short low-fidelity instrumental tacked onto the end of the song that sounds suspiciously like a 1920s recording of someone playing a melody similar to Going Up The Country on a fiddle. The only time this unique version of the song appeared in stereo was on a 1969 United Artists compilation called Progressive Heavies that also featured tracks from Johnny Winter, Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and others.
Artist: Janis Ian
Title: Younger Generation Blues
Source: LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s): Janis Ian
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Janis Ian recorded her first album, made up entirely of original material, at the age of 15. The album had been commissioned by Atlantic Records, but the shirts at the label changed their mind about releasing it once they had heard some of the more controversial songs Ian had come up with. Unwilling to give up easily, Ian took the tapes to various New York based record labels, finally getting the folks at Verve's Forecast label to take a chance with the single Society's Child. The record got the attention of composer/donductor Leonard Bernstein, who featured it on a highly-rated CBS-TV special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. The exposure led Verve Forecast to release the entire album in early 1967 to overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim. Among the many outstanding tracks on the album is Younger Generation Blues, a tune with a garage-rock beat combined with a poetic recitation worthy of Bob Dylan. The song was also released as a followup single to Society's Child, but failed to equal the success of Ian's debut single. In fact, Janis Ian would not have another major hit until 1975, when At Seventeen became a top five single, remaining on the charts for twenty weeks.
Artist: Velvet Underground
Title: I'm Waiting For The Man
Source: CD: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Writer(s): Lou Reed
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve)
The most celebrated of the avant-garde psychedelic bands from New York City, the Velvet Underground, did not sell a lot of records during their existence, despite being closely affiliated with Andy Warhol, at the time the hottest name in the art world. This is probably because their music was not (and still isn't) easily accessible for the masses. In fact, the VU may well be that band that your parents were talking about when they were yelling at you to "turn down that noise!". A listen to Lou Reed's I'm Waiting For The Man from the group's debut LP provides a basis for that particular theory.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Love Or Confusion
Source: Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original UK label: Track)
One of the first songs recorded for Are You Experienced, the debut LP of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was Love Or Confusion, a piece that uses a single note sustained and augmented by feedback throughout each of the verses, supplemented by strong lead guitar fills thoughout the song's main section. Midway through the track, the tune abruptly changes both key and tempo for an instrumental break that flows seamlessly back to the main section for the song's final verse, which ends with a note combining fuzz, echo and reverb effect slowly fading away. The version presented here is a recreation of the song's original mono mix, which was the way the album was first released in the UK on May 12, 1967.
Artist: Blue Cheer
Title: Summertime Blues
Source: Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
European electronics giant Philips had its own record label in the 1960s. In the US, the label was distributed by Mercury Records, and was known primarily for a long string of hits by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 1968 the label surprised everyone by signing the loudest band in San Francisco, Blue Cheer. Their cover of the 50s Eddie Cochrane hit Summertime Blues was all over both the AM and FM airwaves that summer.
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
The last Monkees top 10 single was also Michael Nesmith's least favorite Monkees song. Valleri was a Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart composition that the group had first recorded for the first season of their TV show in 1966. Apparently nobody was happy with the recording, however, and the song was never issed on vinyl. Two years later the song was re-recorded for the album The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees and subsequently released as a single. The flamenco-style guitar on the intro (and repeated throughout the song) was played by studio guitarist Louie Shelton, after Nesmith refused to participate in the recording.
Artist: Tommy James And The Shondells
Title: Mony Mony
Source: 45 RPM single (promo copy)
Sometime around 1964, a kid named Tommy James took his band, the Shondells, into a recording studio to record a simple song called Hanky Panky. The song was released on the Roulette label and went absolutely nowhere. Two years later a Pittsburgh DJ, looking for something different to make his show stand out from the crowd, decided to dig out a copy of the record and play it as a sort of on-air audition. The audience loved it, and the DJ soon contacted James, inviting him and the Shondells to make a personal appearance. Unfortunately by this time there were no Shondells, so James hastily put together a new band to promote the record. It wasn't long before the word spread and Hanky Panky was a national hit. James and his new Shondells then commenced to pretty much single-handedly keep Roulette Records afloat for the next three or four years with songs like their 1968 jukebox favorite Mony Mony, one of many top 10 singles for the band.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: I'll Make You Sorry
Source: CD: Dark Sides (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Back Door Men)
Writer(s): Joe Kelley
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Following the success of the Shadows Of Knight's debut single and LP (both titled Gloria), the band went back into the studio with a bit more experience under their belt and came up with their finest album, Back Door Men. Like Gloria, Back Door Men contained a mixture of Chicago blues and garage/punk, but overall had a greater diversity of style than its predecessor. Surprisingly, every song on the album worked, including the vindictive punk rocker I'll Make You Sorry, which was also released as a B side.
Title: Cobwebs And Strange
Source: CD: A Quick One (US title: Happy Jack)
Writer(s): Keith Moon
Label: MCA (original US label: Decca)
One of the features of the Who's second LP, A Quick One, was that every band member was given a chance to write at least one song on it. The instrumental Cobwebs And Strange is one of Keith Moon's two contributions to the album.