This week's first hour is made up of just two very long sets, plus a double-shot of Electric Prunes to finish up. The second hour features a set of tunes from Love and lots of album tracks and B sides, finishing up with a set of singles from California bands.
Title: Such A Shame
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record, thus giving them an equal share of the royalties. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the B side of A Well Respected Man in late 1965. It doesn't get much better than this.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
In the early 1960s the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California (sometimes known as the Inland Empire), was home to a pair of rival top 40 stations, KFXM and KMEN. The newer of the two, KMEN, had a staff that included Ron Jacobs, who would go on to co-create the Boss Radio format (more music, less talk!), and Brian Lord, one of the first American DJs to champion British Rock. Lord arranged for copies of Beatles albums to be shipped to KMEN from record shops in London before they were released in the US, giving the station an edge over its competition in 1964. More importantly in the long term, Lord was the man responsible for setting up the Rolling Stones' first US gig (in San Bernardino). From 1965-67 Lord took a break from KMEN, moving north to the San Jose area. While there, he heard a local band playing in a small teen club and invited them to use his garage as a practice space. The band was Count Five, and, with Lord's help, they got a contract with L.A.'s Double Shot label, recording and releasing the classic Psychotic Reaction in 1966. Lord later claimed that this was the origin of the term "garage rock".
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Winds Of Change
Source: CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (original released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
The new Animals first album was Winds of Change, an ambitious album that gave writing credit to all five band members for all the tracks on the album (with the exception of a cover of Paint It Black). The opening track is basically Eric Burdon paying tribute to all his musical heroes, and it's quite an impressive list, including jazz and blues greats as well as some of the most important names in the annals of rock and roll.
Title: (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Label: United Artists
The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Monkey Man
Source: LP: Let It Bleed
I've had the Rolling Stones' Monkey Man, from the Let It Bleed album, stuck in my head for days. Truly the mark of greatness (the song, not my head).
Source: CD: Bloodrock 2
Label: One Way (original label: Capitol)
Bloodrock gained infamy in 1970 with the inclusion of D.O.A. on their second LP, a song reputed to be the cause of more bad acid trips than any other track ever recorded. Although the origins of the song are popularly attributed to a plane crash that killed several student atheletes in October of 1970, the fact that the album was already in the hands of record reviewers within a week of that event makes it unlikely that the two are related. The more likely story is that it was inspired by band member Lee Pickens's witnessing of a friend crashing his light plane a couple years before. Regardless of the song's origins, D.O.A. has to be considered one of the creepiest recordings ever made.
Title: We're Going Wrong
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer: Jack Bruce
On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, Disreali Gears, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Ginger Baker put away his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.
Title: My World Fell Down
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
The Beach Boys' 1966 masterpiece Good Vibrations sent shock waves reverberating throughout the L.A. studio scene. Among those inspired by Brian Wilson's achievement were Wilson's former collaborator Gary Usher, who formed the studio band Sagittarius to record My World Fell Down in 1967. Among those participating in the project were Glen Campbell, who was the first person to take Wilson's place onstage when Wilson retired from performing to concentrate on his songwriting and record producing; Bruce Johnston, who succeeded Campbell and remains the group's bassist to this day; and Terry Melcher, best known as the producer who helped make Paul Revere and the Raiders a household name in 1965 (he was sometimes referred to as the "fifth Raider"). The rhythm section consisted of two of the top studio musicians in pop music history: bassist Carol Kaye and drummer Hal Blaine. With Campbell on lead vocals, Sagittarius was a critical and commercial success that nonetheless did not last past their first LP (possibly due to the sheer amount of ego in the group).
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Heroes And Villains (alternate take)
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Smiley Smile/Wild Honey)
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1995
The last major Beach Boys hit of the 1960s was Heroes And Villains, released as a follow-up to Good Vibrations in early 1967. The song was intended to be part of the Smile album, but ended up being released as a single in an entirely different form than Brian Wilson originally intended. Eventually the entire Smile project was canned, and a considerably less sophisticated album called Smiley Smile was released in its place. Nearly 30 years later Smiley Smile and its follow-up album, Wild Honey, were released on compact disc as a set. One of the bonus tracks in that set was this alternate version of Heroes And Villains, which was also included in the box set Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys. Finally, in 2004, Brian Wilson's Smile, featuring all new stereo recordings, was released, with a nearly identical arrangement of Heroes And Villains to the one heard here.
Artist: Young Rascals
Source: CD: Groovin'
Label: Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
Opening with a latin beat , the Young Rascals' Sueño, from the album Groovin', soon settles into a groove that is far more typical of the band that the term "blue-eyed soul" was invented to describe. Sueño was also chosen to be the B side of the album's title track when it was released as a single in April of 1967. The first pressings of that single, however, left off the tilde over the letter "n", which changes the entire pronunciation of the word Sueño (which incidentally is Spanish for "sleep").
Title: Light My Fire
Source: CD: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Not long after that I heard the full-length version of the song from the first Doors album and was blown away all over again.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Transparent Day
Source: Mono CD: Part One (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Arguably the most commercial sounding original tune on the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's first album for Reprise was Transparent Day. For some strange reason, however, when the song was released as a single it was as the B side of the band's cover of the decidedly non-commercial Help I'm A Rock. Of course, the single tanked.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Incense And Peppermints
Source: Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Uni)
Incense and Peppermints started off as an instrumental from Los Angeles band Thee Sixpence members Mark Weitz and Ed King, mostly because the band simply couldn't come up with any lyrics. Their producer decided to bring in professional songwriters John S. Carter and Tim Gilbert to finish the song, and ended up giving them full credit for it. This did not sit well with the band members. In fact, they hated the lyrics so much that they refused to sing them. Undaunted, the producer persuaded 16-year-old Greg Munford, a friend of the band who had accompanied them to the recording studio, to sing the lead vocals on the track, which was was then issued as the B side of the group's fourth single, The Birdman Of Alkatrash, on the All-American label. Somewhere along the line a local DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) immediately signed the band (which by then had changed their name to the Strawberry Alarm Clock) issuing the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side. Naturally, the song went to the number one spot, becoming the band's only major hit.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes' biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from their 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 (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).
Artist: Electric Prunes
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night))
Label: Collector's Choice (original label: Reprise)
Perhaps as a bit of overcompensation for his lack of control over the Grateful Dead, producer David Hassinger kept a tight rein on L.A.'s Electric Prunes, providing them with most of the material they recorded (from professional songwriters). A rare exception is Luvin', from the first Prunes LP, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). The song was originally released in November of 1966 as the B side of I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: Here Are The Sonics)
Writer(s): Gerald Roslie
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
From 1965 we have a band that maintains a cult following to this day: the legendary Sonics, generally considered one of the foundation stones of the Seattle music scene. Although the majority of songs on their albums were cover tunes, virtually all of their originals, such as Strychnine from their debut LP, are now considered punk classics; indeed, the Sonics, along with their labelmates the Wailers, are often cited as the first true punk rock bands.
Source: Mono LP: Love
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
L.A's Sunset Strip blossomed as a hangout for teenaged baby boomers in the mid-1960s, with clubs like Ciro's and the Whisky-A-Go-Go pulling in capacity crowds on a regular basis. These clubs had learned early on that the best way to draw a crowd was to hire a live band, which gave rise to a thriving local music scene. Among the many bands playing the strip, perhaps the most popular was Love, the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. Led by multi-instrumentalist Arthur Lee and boasting not one, but two songwriters (Lee and guitarist Bryan MacLean), Love made history in 1966 by being the first rock band signed to Elektra Records. Lee, a recent convert to the then-popular folk-rock style popularized by the Byrds (for whom MacLean had been a roadie) had come from an R&B background and counted a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix among his musician friends. Songs like Gazing, from Love's debut LP, gave an early indication that Lee, even while writing in the folk-rock idiom, had a powerful musical vision that was all his own.
Title: 7&7 Is
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Rhino (original label: Elektra)
The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself, although Lee was always quick to credit original Love drummer "Snoopy" Pfisterer for the performance), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic quasi-surf instrumental that fades out after just a few seconds.
Title: Colored Balls Falling
Source: Mono LP: Love
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
The first Love album is rooted solidly in both folk-rock and garage rock. A solid example of this blend is Colored Balls Falling, written by Arthur Lee. To my knowledge, Colored Balls Falling has never been included on any anthology albums, making this mono mix of the song somewhat of a rarity.
Title: Real Life Permanent Dream
Source: British import CD: Insane Times (originally released on LP: tomorrow)
Writer(s): Keith Hopkins
Label: Zonophone (original label: Parlophone)
One of the most prominent bands to emerge from London's psychedelic underground, Tomorrow never quite achieved the success it deserved, despite having several opportunities to show their stuff. Evolving out of the British soul cover band The In Crowd, Tomorrow was the band originally slated to appear in the film Blow Up, and even recorded the movie's theme song before having to bow out of the project (the Yardbirds appeared instead). They did get a decent amount of airplay for their 1967 single My White Bicycle, enabling them to record an entire album for Parlophone in 1968. Real Life Permanent Dream is a track from that album that showcases the talents of guitarist Steve Howe, who would go on to become a genuine rock star when he became a member of Yes in the early 1970s.
Artist: Holy Mackerel
Source: CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released on LP: Holy Mackerel)
Writer(s): Robert Harvey
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
The Holy Mackerel was formed by Paul Williams, who had been encouraged to form his own band by producer Richard Perry, who had been impressed by a demo tape Williams had submitted of a song he wrote for Tiny Tim. Although ultimately known for his songwriting skills, it was Williams's voice that is the highlight of the band's self-titled LP that appeared on the Reprise label in late 1968, as can be heard on Wildflowers. Williams would go on to win an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe award for the song Evergreen that he wrote for Barbra Streisand in the 1970s. I still see him in my mind as the supervillain in the first Kiss made-for-TV movie.
Artist: Bohemian Vendetta
Title: Riddles And Fairytales
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Originally formed as the Bohemians in 1966, the Bohemian Vendetta hailed from New York's Long Island. Like their fellow Long Islanders Vanilla Fudge and the Vagrants, the Bohemians were known for doing heavy versions of popular songs like (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and House Of The Rising Sun, both of which appeared on their self-titled album in 1968. The band, consisting of Brian Cooke (organ, lead vocals), Nick Manzi (lead guitar), Randy Pollock (rhythm guitar), Victor Muglia (bass) and Chuck Monica (drums), released their first single, a one-off called Enough, on the United Artists label in 1967. The following year they signed with Bob Shad's Mainstream label, releasing a single ahead of the album. The B side of that single, Riddles And Fairytales, got some airplay on the East Coast, but Mainstream's reputation as a second-rate label kept the album itself from being taken seriously.
Artist: Twentieth Century Zoo
Title: You Don't Remember
Source: Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Caz)
Twentieth Century Zoo was a quintet from Phoenix, Arizona that released You Don't Remember as a B side in late 1967. Originally known as the Bittersweets, the group released three singles for various labels (including one on the Original Sound label) before recording an album for the Vault label in 1969.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Can You See Me
Source: LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former member of the US Army and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970. Among the songs the Experience performed at Monterey was a Hendrix composition called Can You See Me. The song had appeared on the band's first LP in the UK, but had been left off the US version of Are You Experienced. An early concert favorite, Can You See Me seems to have been permanently dropped from the band's setlist after the Monterey performance.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Death Sound (aka Death Sound Blues)
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
I generally use the term "psychedelic" to describe a musical attitude that existed during a particular period of time rather than a specific style of music. On the other hand, the term "acid rock" is better suited for describing music that was composed and/or performed under the influence of certain mind-expanding substances. That said, the first album by Country Joe and the Fish is a classic example of acid rock. I mean, really, is there any other way to describe Death Sound than "the blues on LSD"?
Title: Drunken Maria
Source: German import CD: Black Monk Time
Label: Repertoire (original label: Polydor International)
The Monks were ahead of their time. In fact they were so far ahead of their time that only in the next century did people start to realize just how powerful the music on their first and only LP actually was. Released in West Germany in 1966, Black Monk Time both delighted and confused record buyers with songs like Drunken Maria, which has an intro section that's about twice as long as the actual song, which itself is just one line repeated over and over. The Monks were a group of five American GIs (probably draftees) who, while stationed at Frankfurt, managed to come up with the idea of a rock band that looked and dressed like Monks (including the shaved patch on the top of each member's head) and sounded like nothing else in the world at that time. Of course, such a phenomenon can't sustain itself indefinitely, and the group disappeared in early 1967, never to be seen or heard from again.
Title: I Can't Reach You/Medac (aka Spotted Henry)
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
One day during my freshman year of high school my friend Bill invited a bunch of us over to his place to listen to the new console stereo his family had bought recently. Like most console stereos, this one had a wooden top that could be lifted up to operate the turntable and radio, then closed to make it look more like a piece of furniture. When we arrived there was already music playing on the stereo, and Bill soon had us convinced that this new stereo was somehow picking up the British pirate radio station Radio London. This was pretty amazing since we were in Weisbaden, Germany, several hundred miles from England or its coastal waters that Radio London broadcast from. Even more amazing was the fact that the broadcast itself seemed to be in stereo, and Radio London was an AM station. Yet there it was, coming in more clearly than the much closer Radio Luxembourg, the powerhouse station that we listened to every evening, when they broadcast in a British top 40 format. Although a couple of us were a bit suspicious about what was going on, even we skeptics were convinced when we heard jingles, stingers, and even commercials for stuff like the Charles Atlas bodybuilding course interspersed with songs we had never heard, like I Can't Reach You and Spotted Henry (a tune that tells the story of a boy whose acne is out of control until he tries a new product, Medac, which makes his face as smooth as "a baby's bottom"). Well, as it turned out, we were indeed being hoaxed by Bill and his older brother, who had put on his brand new copy of The Who Sell Out when he saw us approaching the apartment building they lived in. I eventually picked up a copy of the LP for myself, and still consider it my favorite Who album.
Artist: Mothers Of Invention
Title: The Idiot Bastard Son
Source: Mono LP: Mothermania (originally released on LP: We're Only In It For The Money)
Writer(s): Frank Zappa
Label: Zappa (original label: Verve)
The first three Mothers Of Invention albums, Freak Out, Absolutely Free and We're Only In It For The Money, while now considered legendary, were not big money makers when they first came out. In fact, the cost of making the albums exceeded profits generated from them, and Verve was looking for a way to recoup their losses. In 1969 the band's leader, Frank Zappa, created a sort of "best of" album for Verve called Mothermania that was made up of songs from those first three LPs, with some tracks, such as The Idiot Bastard Son (from We're Only In It For The Money), radically remixed by Zappa himself. Although Verve would eventually release several more Mothers compilation albums, Mothermania was the only one personally supervised by Zappa himself.
Title: Here Comes The Sun
Source: CD: Abbey Road
Writer: George Harrison
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' recording career as a band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the #1 spot on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.
Artist: Velvet Underground
Title: Sweet Jane
Source: LP: Loaded
Writer(s): Lou Reed
After three albums for M-G-M/Verve, the Velvet Underground switched to Atlantic in 1970 for what would be Lou Reed's last album with the band. Atlantic had asked the band for an album "loaded with hits", and the band, looking to distance itself from its Andy Warhol image, was happy to oblige, even going so far as titling the album itself Loaded. Probably the most famous song on the album is Sweet Jane. A Reed composition, the song runs nearly four minutes in length, despite having an entire section (the "heavenly wine and roses" melody) edited out of it.
Title: Happy Together
Source: LP: Harmony (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Happy Together)
Label: RCA Special Products (original label: White Whale)
The Turtles got off to a strong start with their cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, which hit the top 20 in 1965. By early 1967, however, the band had fallen on hard times and was looking for a way to return to the charts. They found that way with Happy Together, a song written by Gary Bonner and Mark Gordon, both members of an east coast band called the Magicians. Happy Together was the Turtles' first international hit, going all the way to the top of the charts in several countries and becoming one of the most recognizable songs in popular music history.
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: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. 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: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)
Source: CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: No Way Out)
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 (or Chocolate Watch Band; I still haven't figured out which version is correct). While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in truth 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.