This week we have a pair of British artists sets, one from the Animals and the other from Cream. Other than that, it's a roller coaster ride.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Gloria)
Writer(s): Van Morrison
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
For some reason I don't quite understand, I never paid much attention to current trends in popular entertainment other than as an outside observer. For example, when everyone else in my generation was tuned into the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, I was happily watching Car 54 Where Are You on a rival network. The same applies to the radio stations I listened to. KIMN was, by far, Denver's most popular top 40 station, yet I always managed to find myself listening to their rivals: first KDAB (until a flood took them off the air permanently), and then KBTR. For a short time in late 1966, however, KIMN had no rivals (KBTR had switched to an all-news format and KLZ-FM was still spending most of its broadcast day simulcasting the programming of its middle-of-the-road AM station). As a result, I found myself following KIMN's New Year's countdown of the year's top songs, which included a handful of tunes that I had never heard before. The highest ranked of these unfamiliar songs was one that immediately grabbed me: Gloria, as recorded by a Chicago area band called the Shadows Of Knight. It would be years before I even knew that this was actually a cover version of a song that had been released by Van Morrison's band, Them, but that had been banned in most US markets the previous year. All I knew is that it was a cool tune that would be one of the first songs I learned to play when I switched from violin to guitar the following summer.
Title: Love Is Only Sleeping
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Everybody Knows You're Not In Love
Source: Mono CD: Underground (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
The Electric Prunes had greater creative control over their second album than they did over their first. That control continued into early 1968, when Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, a single penned by band members Mark Tulin and James Lowe, was released. Unfortunately, the record didn't sell well and the next album, David Axelrod's Mass In F Minor, was played almost entirely by studio musicians. The original group broke up during the recording of Mass and did not play together again until the 21st century.
Title: Soul Sacrifice
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Santana)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Of all the bands formed in the late 1960s, very few achieved any degree of popularity outside of their local community. Fewer still could be considered an influence on future stars. Most rare of all are those who managed to be both popular and influential while maintaining a degree of artistic integrity. One name that comes immediately to mind is Santana (both the band and the man). It might be surprising, then, to hear that the first Santana album, released in 1969, was savaged by the rock press, particularly the San Francisco based Rolling Stone magazine, who called it boring and repetitious. It wasn't until the band performed Soul Sacrifice (heard here in its original studio version) at Woodstock that Santana became major players on the rock scene.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Source: 45 RPM single B side (song originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Four years after the release of the album Bookends (and two years after the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel), Columbia decided to release the song For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water, as a single, to coincide with the release of their Greatest Hits album. For the B side, they went even further back, pulling out the original tapes for the song America. The tracks on the Bookends album were deliberately overlapped to form a continuous audio montage, making this the first standalone version of America to be released by the duo.
Artist: Misty Wizards
Title: It's Love
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ted Lucas
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
The Misty Wizards were formed somewhere in the midwestern US by Ted Lucas and Dick Keelan. A trip to New York found them in the studio, working with producer Harvey Brooks, the bass player from the Butterfield Blues Band turned studio guru. The group only cut one single, a tune called It's Love, that was released during the summer of 1967. The rock music world's attention, however, was focused at that time on San Francisco, and the single went nowhere.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Can't Get Your Lovin'
Source: Mono LP: Psychotic Reaction
Writer(s): John Byrne
Label: Bicycle (original label: Double Shot)
Following the success of the song Psychotic Reaction in fall of 1966, Count Five was given the opportunity to record an entire album for the L.A. based Double Shot record label. Like most albums by one-hit wonders of the time, the album had the same name as the hit single. Unlike most albums of the time, Psychotic Reaction only contained two cover songs, and both of those were Pete Townshend songs originally recorded by the Who. Bandleader John Byrne had a hand in writing all of the group's originals, including some, such as Can't Get Your Lovin', that credit him as the sole songwriter.
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.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Two Trains Running
Source: CD: The Blues Project Anthology (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer: McKinley Morganfield
Label: Polydor (original label: Verve Folkways)
My first two years as a student at the University of New Mexico were spent living off-campus in a large house shared by five other people (a varying number of which were also students). One day while rummaging through the basement I ran across a couple boxes full of reel-to-reel tapes. As I was the only person living there with a reel-to-reel machine and nobody seemed to know where the tapes had come from, I appropriated them for my own use. Unfortunately, many of the tapes were unlabeled, so all I could do was make a guess as to artists and titles of the music on them. One of those tapes was labelled simply "Love Sculpture". It wasn't until a fortuitous trip to a local thrift store a couple of years later that I realized that the slow version of Two Trains Running on the tape was not Love Sculpture at all, but was in fact the Blues Project, from their Projections album. This slowed down version of the Muddy Waters classic has what is considered to be one of the great accidental moments in recording history. About 2/3 of the way through Two Trains Running, Danny Kalb realized that one of the strings on his guitar had gone out of tune, and managed to retune it on the fly in such a way that it sounded like he had planned the whole thing.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (ensuring that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell, disheartened, dissillusioned and/or disgusted, eventually quit the music business altogether.
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: CD: Traffic
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: United Artists
Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second album. Among those was his most memorable song, Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Whole Lotta Love
Source: German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
If any one song can be considered the bridge between psychedelic rock and heavy metal, it would have to be Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Released in 1969 as the lead track to their second LP, the song became their biggest hit single. Whole Lotta Love was originally credited to the four band members. In recent years, however, co-credit has been given to Willie Dixon, whose lyrics to the 50s song You Need Love are almost identical to Robert Plant's.
Title: The Seeker
Source: CD: Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
The Who's first post-Tommy single was a song called The Seeker, which Pete Townshend claims to have written while drunk out of his mind at 3AM in a Florida swamp. The band first recorded the song in Townshend's home studio, then again at IBC studios, where they ended up producing the record themselves when their regular producer, Kit Lambert, broke his jaw getting a tooth pulled.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): The Doors
Originally chosen by the band to be the first single released from the L.A. Woman album, Changeling (listed on the album cover as The Changeling) was withdrawn in favor of Love Her Madly at the behest of Jan Holtzman, president of Elektra Records. Changeling later appeared as the B side of the album's next single, Riders On The Storm.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Bill Kuhns
Throughout the history of rock and roll there have been bands named after various species of fauna, such as crickets, beetles, hawks, and eagles. In seems inevitable, then, that someone would decide to name themselves after the dominant species on the planet. The Humans were formed in Albion, NY in 1964 by six members of the local high school marching band during summer break. In 1966 they went into Riposo Studios in Syracuse, NY to record their only single, a folk-rocker called Take A Taxi. The B side of that single was Warning, a song that has come to be considered a garage-rock classic. The record was released on the Audition label and was successful enough to get the band gigs in Miami and New York City, opening for such name acts as the Animals and the Hollies. Animals bassist Chas Chandler even invited the band members to go with him to the Cafe Wha in the summer of '66 to see a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames that featured a hot new guitarist that everyone was talking about. That guitarist was Jimi Hendrix, and Chandler was able to talk him into going back to London with him, an event of major significance for the future of rock music. Meanwhile, the Humans were struck by tragedy that September when lead vocalist Danny Long was killed in a car accident, and other band members began receiving draft notices. Finally, in November, the remaining members of the band decided to call it quits, and the Humans were history. Special thanks to Bill Vosteen for sending me a copy of that Humans single.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: When I Was Young
Source: Mono LP: The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single)
After the Animals disbanded in 1966, Eric Burdon set out to form a new band that would be far more psychedelic than the original group. The first release from these "New Animals" was When I Was Young. The song was credited to the entire band, a practice that would continue throughout the entire existence of the group that came to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Good Times
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change/The Twain Shall Meet
Label: BGO (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 was a hit there as well.
Title: The Other Side Of This Life
Source: LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released in US on LP: Animalism)
Writer(s): Fred Neil
The final album by the original Animals was a late 1966 collection of mostly blues covers that was released only in the US. Animalism (not to be confused with the UK LP Animalisms from earlier in the year which was the basis for the US album Animalization) was recorded in Los Angeles, possibly at the same time as the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out. Frank Zappa collaborated on at least one of the album's songs (All Night Long) and is listed as a co-producer (with Tom Wilson) of the band's version of Fred Neil's best-known tune, The Other Side Of This Life, which was being performed regularly by several California bands (including Jefferson Airplane) at around the same time.
Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Big Leg Emma
Source: CD: Absolutely Free (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer: Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (original label: Verve)
Sometime during the creation of the second Mothers Of Invention album, Absolutely Free, the band recorded a pair of stand alone tunes that were released as a 45 RPM single. The B side of that record was Big Leg Emma, a song that was written by Frank Zappa in 1962 and would eventually be added to his live show in the late 1970s.
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Itchycoo Park
Source: British import 45 RPM single
Led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, the Small Faces got their name from the fact that all the members of the band were somewhat vertically challenged. The group was quite popular with the London mod crowd, and was sometimes referred to as the East End's answer to the Who. Although quite successful in the UK, the group only managed to score one hit in the US, the iconic Itchycoo Park, which was released in late 1967. Following the departure of Marriott the group shortened their name to Faces, and recruited a new lead vocalist named Rod Stewart. Needless to say, the new version of the band did much better in the US than their previous incarnation.
Source: Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
One of the earliest collaborations between Byrds songwriters David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the up-tempo raga rocker Why. The song was first recorded at RCA studios in Los Angeles in late 1965 as an intended B side for Eight Miles High, but due to the fact that the band's label, Columbia, refused to release recordings made at their main rival's studios, the band ended up having to re-record both songs at Columbia's own studios in early 1966. Although the band members felt the newer versions were inferior to the 1965 recordings, they were released as a single in March of 1966. Later that year, for reasons that are still unclear, Crosby insisted the band record a third version of Why, and that version was used for the band's next LP, Younger Than Yesterday.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2013
Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience did not officially disband until 1969, Hendrix himself was spending more and more time working with musicians outside the band as early as mid-1968. The Electric Ladyland album itself features guest appearances by the likes of Steve Winwood, Buddy Miles and Chris Wood, among others, and for years there have been even more recordings by non-Experience members rumored to exist. Among those legendary tracks is Somewhere, a piece that features Miles on drums, and, unusually, Stephen Stills on bass. In addition to a special 45 RPM single release, Somewhere is available on the 2013 album People, Hell and Angels. According to engineer Eddie Kramer, this is the final collection of unreleased studio tracks to be issued by the Hendrix family estate.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey to the Center of the Mind
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original US label: Mainstream)
From Detroit we have the Amboy Dukes, featuring lead guitarist Ted Nugent. Originally released as a single on Mainstream Records, the same label that released the first Big Brother & the Holding Company album, Journey To The Center Of The Mind became that label's biggest hit in 1968. After butchering Big Brother's debut album, Mainstream's studio people must have taken a crash course in rock engineering as they did a much better job on this track just a few months later.
Title: Passing The Time
Source: CD: Wheels Of Fire
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Although Jack Bruce is generally acknowledged as the member of Cream that provided the most psychedelic material that the band recorded, drummer Ginger Baker gave him a run for his money on the studio half of their third LP, Wheels Of Fire. Perhaps the best of these was Passing The Time, which alternates between a slow, dreamlike section notable for its use of a calliope and a fast section that rocks out as hard as anything the band performed live in concert.
Source: British import LP: Cream (released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. Instead the song was released on two sides of a single in 1967, with 90 seconds removed from the song between parts one and two. The single never charted and now is somewhat difficult to find a copy of (not that anybody would want to). A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1969 compilation album Best Of Cream that the uncut studio version was finally released in the US.
Title: White Room
Source: CD: Wheels Of Fire
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Musically almost a rewriting of Eric Clapton's Tales of Brave Ulysses (from Cream's Disraeli Gears album), White Room, a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition from the Wheels Of Fire album, is arguably the most popular song ever to feature the use of a wah-wah pedal prominently.
Title: Think For Yourself
Source: CD: Yellow Submarine Songtrack (originally released on LP: Rubber Soul)
Writer(s): George Harrison
By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing an average of two songs per Beatles album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself. The song is one of the few Beatles tunes to get a complete remix, when it was included on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack album in 1999.
Artist: Magic Mushrooms
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
It's not known whether or not the Magic Mushrooms heard any of the tracks from the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out when they recorded It's-A-Happening. Still, it's hard to imagine this bit of inspired weirdness being created in a vacuum. Besides this one single, nobody seems to have any knowledge whatsoever of the group known as the Magic Mushrooms, other than the fact that they hailed from Philadelphia, Pa., and, along with Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band, may well have been the reason that A&M Records shied away from signing any more psychedelic rock bands for the next few years. (Well, there were Procol Harum and Joe Cocker, but their stuff was recorded for British labels and reissued in the US by A&M, so I'm not counting them).
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Who Am I
Source: LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Electric Music For The Mind And Body was pretty much missing any of the quiet, introspective tunes that Country Joe McDonald had written before forming Country Joe And The Fish. The second album by the band, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die, made up for it by including songs like Who Am I. McDonald continues to write songs like this over 50 years later.