Each segment this week contains one artists' set and a bunch of other stuff. For example, the first segment has an early Jefferson Airplane set and a whole lot of songs from 1967. As for the other three segments, read on...
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
You Keep Me Hangin' On, a hit for the Supremes in 1967, was the first song recorded by Vanilla Fudge, who laid down the seven-minute plus track in a single take. Producer Shadow Morton then used that recording to secure the band a contract with Atco Records (an Atlantic subsidiary) that same year. Rather than to re-record the song for their debut LP, Morton and the band chose to use the original tape, despite the fact that it was never mixed in stereo. For single release the song was cut down considerably, clocking in at around three minutes.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Lantern
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request and as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones' answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Foxy Lady
Source: Mono LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Legacy (original label: Reprise)
The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was buried near the end of side 2.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single)
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband. While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in fact the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teensploitation flick The Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Green Circles
Source: British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released on LP: Small Faces)
Label: Uncut (original label: Immediate)
Keeping track of early Small Faces albums can be a bit confusing. For one thing, both their first and second LPs were simply called Small Faces. The first one, released in the UK on the Decca label, made the British top 5 with its mixture of R&B and blue-eyed soul popular with the Mod crowd. The second one, released in 1967 on Andrew Oldham's Immediate label, was much more psychedelic in nature, and, unlike the first album was made up entirely of compositions from the band members themselves. One song on the album, Green Circles, also includes the name Michael O'Sullivan in the credits. O'Sullivan was actually a friend who was living with the band at the time whose experience with an "enlightened stranger" while on an acid trip was reportedly the inspiration for Green Circles. The song was originally slated for release as a B side, but was included on the LP instead. Neither of the first two Small Faces albums were released in the US. Instead, an album called There Are But Four Small Faces was released in March of 1968. This album included about half the songs from the second Small Faces LP (including Green Circles), supplemented by a collection of A and B sides not appearing on any British albums.
Artist: Kim Fowley
Title: Strangers From The Sky
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
The 1960s Los Angeles music scene contained more than its share of colorful characters, so it takes quite a bit to stand out from even that group. Kim Fowley, however, definitely fits the bill, as he is more than willing to tell anyone who will listen. His first claim to fame is being the voice of the Hollywood Argyles, a studio concoction that had a huge hit with the novelty song Alley Oop in the early 1960s. Fowley met prodigy Michael Lloyd when Lloyd was only 13, and immediately recognized his potential. In late 1966 he was instrumental in hooking Lloyd up with the Harris brothers and local hipster Bob Markley, who together formed the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. It was while a member of the WCPAEB that Lloyd produced Fowley's Strangers From The Sky, recorded in Lloyd's own home 4-track studio with Lloyd playing all the instruments himself. In it's own way, Strangers From The Sky is every bit as bizarre as Alley Oop, although nowhere near as successful on the charts. Lloyd went on to become a big-time record producer, working with teen idols like the Osmonds and Shaun Cassidy as well as supervising the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Embryonic Journey
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Jorma Kaukonen
Label: RCA Victor
Jorma Kaukonen originally considered Embryonic Journey to be little more than a practice exercise. Other members of Jefferson Airplane insisted he record it, however, and it has since come to be identified as a kind of signature song for the guitarist, who played the tune live when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Don't Slip Away
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Label: RCA Victor
Don't Slip Away, from the first Jefferson Airplane album, released in 1966, could probably have been a hit if it had been released as a single. It wasn't, however, and the band remained mostly unknown outside of the immediate San Francisco Bay area for several months after the release of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. This gave the group the opportunity to make a pair of key personnel changes that resulted in Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden becoming Airplane members in time to record the group's breakthrough LP, Surrealistic Pillow. On the strength of Slick's vocals in particular, the Jefferson Airplane became a national phenomena in 1967.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Darby Slick
Label: RCA Victor
Jefferson Airplane's Somebody To Love is, of course, the monster hit that put the San Francisco Bay area on the musical map in early 1967, touching off an exodus of young hippie wannabees from all over the country that converged on the city's Haight-Ashbury district that summer. Interestingly enough, Somebody To Love was not the first single released from the band's Surrealistic Pillow album. That honor goes to My Best Friend, a song written by the band's former drummer Skip Spence.
Artist: Iron Butterfly
Title: Filled With Fear
Source: LP: Ball
Writer(s): Doug Ingle
After the delayed success of their second LP, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly went back to the studio to record their follow-up album, Ball. Although Ball did not have a monster hit on it, it is generally considered a better album overall, with a depth and breadth of songwriting not found on their previous efforts. One of the most memorable tracks on the album is Filled With Fear, a song about paranoia with music that matches the lyrics perfectly.
Artist: Tangerine Zoo
Title: Another Morning
Source: CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: Tangerine Zoo)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Many of the acts signed to Bob Shad's Mainstream label are considered by rock historians to be somewhat lacking in one or another categories, such as songwriting, virtuosity or just plain commercial viability. This has resulted in the reputations of the few quality bands appearing on the label to be somewhat unfairly tarnished by association. One of those bands that really deserves a second look is the Tangerine Zoo, from Swansea, Mass., a few miles south of Boston. The band, made up of Tony Taviera (bass), Wayne Gagnon (guitar), Ron Medieros(organ), Bob Benevides (lead vocals) and Donald Smith (drums), recorded two albums for the label, both of which were released in 1968. Tangerine Zoo had actually been approached by no less than two major labels (RCA Victor and Mercury) before deciding to go with Mainstream, the only label to offer them an album contract from the start. Another Morning, from the group's secon LP, Outside Looking In, shows just how well developed a sound Tangerine Zoo had. Unfortunately internal issues caused the Zoo to close down before they could record a third LP.
Title: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Label: United Artists
Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Just Like A Woman
Source: Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
By late 1966 the shock of Bob Dylan's going electric had long since worn off and Dylan was enjoying a string of top 40 hits in the wake of the success of Like A Rolling Stone. One of the last hits of the streak was Just Like A Woman, a track taken from his Blonde On Blonde album. This was actually the first Bob Dylan song I heard on top 40 radio. As a 13-year-old kid I didn't know quite what to make of it.
Title: Over Under Sideways Down
Source: 45 RPM single
The only Yardbirds album to feature primarily original material was released under different titles in different parts of the world. The original UK version was called simply The Yardbirds, while the US album bore the Over Under Sideways Down title. In addition, the UK album was unofficially known as Roger the Engineer because of band member Chris Dreja's drawing of the band's recording engineer on the cover. The title cut was the last single to feature Jeff Beck as the band's sole lead guitarist (the follow-up single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, featured both Beck and new member Jimmy Page).
Title: For Your Love
Source: Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
Label: K-Tel (original label: Epic)
The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's first US hit, peaking in the #6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at #3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.
Title: Jeff's Boogie
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Jeff's Boogie is an instrumental track from the Yardbirds that originally appeared on the album Over Under Sideways Down in the US. That LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art. The song was also chosen to be the B side of the Over Under Sideways Down single, released in 1966. Although credited to the entire band, the tune is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.
Title: Out Of Our Tree
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
The Pacific Northwest was, and is, home to a louder, harder-rocking and generally raunchier style of rock and roll than most other regions of the country. It's never been explained exactly why this is, but Kurt Cobain may have touched on it when he said that because the weather is such that it discourages outdoor activities (i.e, it rains a lot), there really isn't much else to do but go to places where live music is played. Another reason for the scene developing the way it did might be these guys, who practically invented raunch and roll. The Wailers were formed in 1958, doing mostly instrumental versions of songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard and other early rock and roll/R&B artists. One of the hallmarks of the Wailers was that they played hard and loud, influencing later bands such as the Sonics to do the same. This meant that in order to be heard over the instruments, a vocalist had to basically scream out the lyrics. Etiquette Records, which was started by the Wailers themselves, was one of the first labels to release records with a healthy amount of distortion built in. This may have been due to budget limitations or it could have been a deliberate aesthetical choice. The result was garage-rock classics such as Out Of Our Tree, the echoes of which can be heard in the Grunge movement of the early 1990s.
Artist: Music Explosion
Title: Little Bit O' Soul
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Mansfield, Ohio, was home to the Music Explosion who made their mark as one-hit wonders in early 1967 with Little Bit O' Soul. The song, originally intended to be a B side, was an early production of the Kazenetz-Katz team, the primary architects of the bubble-gum movement that would dominate the top 40 charts over a year later.
Source: LP: Hey Jude (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Apple (original label: Capitol)
The Beatles' B side to their 1966 hit Paperback Writer was innovative in more than one way. First off, the original instrumental tracks were actually recorded at a faster speed (and higher key) than is heard on the finished recording. Also, it is the first Beatles record to feature backwards masking (John Lennon's overdubbed vocals toward the end of the song were recorded with the tape playing in reverse). Needless to say, both techniques were soon copied and expanded upon by other artists.
Title: I Am The Walrus
Source: 45 RPM single B side
There were actually three different versions of the Beatles' I Am The Walrus released in late 1967, all of which were made from the same basic master tape. The first (heard here) was a mono single version that was issued as the B side of the Hello Goodbye single in late November. This version features a four-beat intro and has an extra bar of music immediately preceding the words "yellow matter custard" in the middle of the song. The second version was the stereo version featured on the US-only Magical Mystery Tour album. This version is basically the same as the mono version, but does not contain the extra bar in the middle. The third version appeared in early December in Europe and the UK on the stereo version of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack EP. This version features a six beat intro, but is otherwise identical to the US stereo version. In the early 1980s engineers at Capitol Records created a fourth version of I Am The Walrus that uses the six beat intro from the UK stereo version and includes the extra bar in the middle of the song from the US single version. This fourth version was included on the Beatles' Rarities album, and has, to my knowledge, never been issued on CD.
Title: Ballad Of John And Yoko
Source: LP: Hey Jude (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
The last Beatles single to top the British charts was actually made by only half the group. George Harrison was out of the country and Ringo Starr was busy filming The Magic Christian in April of 1969 when John Lennon wrote Ballad Of John And Yoko. Lennon was anxious to get the song recorded as quickly as possible, and took it to Paul McCartney at his London home on the afternoon of April 14th. That same evening the two of them went to EMI Studios (now Abbey Road studios) and spent the next seven hours coming up with a finished recording of the song. The song itself is a true ballad, chronicling the wedding and subsequent activities of Lennon and Yoko Ono, including their "bed-in" at the Amsterdam Hilton. Ballad Of John And Yoko only made it to the #8 spot on the US charts, thanks in large part to key stations WLS (Chicago) and WABC (New York) refusing to play it due to Lennon's use of the word "Christ" repeatedly in the lyrics. The song, originally released as a non-LP single, was later included on the Hey Jude anthology album.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: I Am A Rock
Source: LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The success of I Am A Rock, when released as a single in 1966, showed that the first Simon And Garfunkel hit, The Sound Of Silence, was no fluke. The two songs served as bookends to a very successful LP, Sounds Of Silence, and would lead to several more hit records before the two singers went their separate ways in 1970. This was actually the second time I Am A Rock had been issued as a single. An earlier version, from the Paul Simon Songbook, had been released in 1965. Both the single and the LP were only available for a short time and only in the UK, and were deleted at Simon's request.
Title: Take A Giant Step
Source: CD: The Monkees (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
The B side of the Monkees' first single was a Gerry Goffin/Carole King collaboration called Take A Giant Step. It has sometimes been referred to as "proto-psychedelic" due to it's repeated line "Take a giant step outside your mind", although the song's subject matter actually concerns the process of moving beyond the wreckage of a failed relationship. Take A Giant Step was also included on the first Monkees LP, released a couple months after the single hit the top of the charts.
Artist: Beach Boys
Title: Wouldn't It Be Nice
Source: CD: Pet Sounds
Wouldn't It Be Nice is the first song on what has come to be considered Brian Wilson's first true masterpiece: the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album. Wilson has often cited the Beatles' Rubber Soul as his inspiration for Pet Sounds; not because of any musical similarity, but because neither album has any "filler" material on it (although an argument could be made that Sloop John B, which was released as a single almost six months before Pet Sounds, was not really in line with the rest of the songs on the album). Wouldn't It Be Nice (backed with God Only Knows) was released in mid-July of 1966 as a single, two months after the release of Pet Sounds, while Wilson was already working on his crowning achievement: Good Vibrations.
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Van Morrison
Year: Recorded 1969, released 1983
Following the death of Jim Morrison in 1971, the remaining members of the Doors stayed together long enough to release two more albums, but neither was a major seller and the group quietly disbanded in 1973, reuniting in 1978 to set music to an album's worth of spoken word performances of Morrison reciting his poetry and releasing it as An American Prayer. The following year filmmaker Oliver Stone used, in its entirety, the epic piece The End, from the first doors album in the critically-acclaimed Apocalypse Now, resulting in even more interest in the music of the Doors. In 1983 Elektra Records released Alive, She Cried, an LP made up of live performances by the band recorded between September1968 and January 1970. One of these live performances, a cover version of Van Morrison's Gloria, was actually a sound check recorded on July 22, 1969 at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles, and was susequently released as a single.
Title: Excuse, Excuse
Source: Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: GNP Crescendo/Big Beat
Although their management branded them as the original flower power band, the Seeds have a legitimate claim to being one of the first punk-rock bands as well. A prime example is Excuse, Excuse, from their 1966 debut LP, The Seeds. Whereas a more conventional song of the time might have been an angst-ridden tale of worry that perhaps the girl in question did not return the singer's feelings, Sky Saxon's lyrics (delivered with a sneer that would do Johnny Rotten proud) are instead a scathing condemnation of said girl for not being straight up honest about the whole thing.
Title: Pushin' Too Hard
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard, which had been reissued with a different B side in mid-1966, started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.
Title: The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source: Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released as a single in October of 1967 the whole idea of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news (at least in ultra-hip L.A.) and the single went nowhere.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Suzy Q
Source: CD: Creedence Gold (originally released on LP: Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Writer(s): Dale Hawkins
Creedence Clearwater Revival is known mostly for their series of hit singles written by vocalist/guitarist John Fogerty; tight, relatively short songs like Green River, Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising. The most popular track on their 1968 debut LP, however, was an eight and a half minute long rendition of a song that had originally hit the charts over ten years earlier. Suzy Q had been a top 30 single (and top 10 on the R&B charts) for Dale Hawkins in 1957, helping to launch a long career in the music business as an artist, producer and record company executive. CCR took the song to even greater heights, with the track, split over two sides of a 45 RPM single, barely missing the top 10 in 1968.
Title: Magic Bus
Source: Mono Canadian import CD: Magic Bus (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original North American label: Decca)
While working on their landmark Tommy album, the Who continued to crank out singles throughout 1968. One of the most popular was Magic Bus, a song that remained in the band's live repertoire for many years. Like most of the Who's pre-Tommy singles, the song was never mixed in true stereo, although a fake stereo mix was created for the US-only LP Magic Bus-The Who On Tour. The original mono version of the song heard here is also shorter than the LP version, clocking in at slightly over three minutes.
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)
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. While not as successful as the band that started the trend, Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan's Grass Roots, Fever Tree did manage to hit the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 with San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native), a song featured on their eponymous debut LP.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Serenade To A Cuckoo
Source: LP: This Was
Writer(s): Roland Kirk
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Jethro Tull did not, as a general rule, record cover tunes. The most notable exception is Roland Kirk's classic jazz piece Serenade To A Cuckoo, which was included on their first LP, This Was. Kirk's own version, from the 1965 LP I Talk To The Spirits, was deleted from the Mercury catalog in the early 1970s, making Jethro Tull's cover the only version of Serenade To A Cuckoo currently available for several years.