This week we have a visit from the Gods; in fact, an entire album side from their debut LP, Genesis, which was originally released in 1968. Other than that it's a show full of individual tracks from all over the US and the UK covering the years 1964 to 1971. We start in the industrial city of Newcastle uponTyne...
Title: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Source: 45 RPM single
1965 was a huge year for the Animals. Coming off the success of their 1964 smash House Of The Rising Sun, the Newcastle group racked up three major hits in 1965, including Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, a song originally recorded by jazz singer Nina Simone. The Animals version speeded up the tempo and used a signature riff that had been taken from Simone's outro. The Animals version of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood made the top 20 in the US and the top five in both the UK and Canada.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Hey Joe
Source: CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. It was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 and went all the way to the # 3 spot on the British top 40. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. Although Rose always claimed that Hey Joe was a traditional folk song, the song was actually copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts. By the time Hendrix recorded Hey Joe several American bands had recorded a fast version of the song, with the Leaves hitting the US top 40 with it in early 1966.
Artist: Light Nites
Title: Same Old Thing
Source: Mono CD: If You're Ready! The Best of Dunwich Records...Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
In the wake of the phenomenal success of their very first single release, Gloria by the Shadows Of Knight, Chicago-based Dunwich Records went about scouting the area for other local teen-oriented bands. Among those they signed was a popular South Side band known as Gary And The Knight Lites. Led by Gary Loizzo, the band issued its only single for Dunwich, a tune called One, Two, Boogaloo, in 1967, with Same Old Thing on the B side. Most likely to avoid confusion with the better-known Shadows Of Knight, the single was issued under the name Light Nites. They would soon undergo a more permanent name change when they became the American Breed, scoring the huge national hit Bend Me Shape Me later the same year.
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Source: Mono CD: Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972 (original version released on LP: Soundtrack From The Film "More")
Writer(s): Roger Waters
Label: Columbia/Pink Floyd
Following the release of their second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd, now completely without founding member Syd Barrett, got to work on a soundtrack album for the French art film More. The album saw the group moving more into the avant-garde experimentalism that would characterize the band for the next several years, with tracks like Cymbaline taking on a more somber quality than Pink Floyd's earlier work. The band had become a favorite of DJ John Peel, who featured Pink Floyd live on May 12, 1969, performing Cymbaline, a Roger Waters tune from the film.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Source: LP: American Beauty
Label: Warner Brothers
Following up on the success of the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, the Grateful Dead released their fifth studio LP, American Beauty, on November 1st of the same year. Whereas nearly all the songs on Workingman's Dead were written by lead guitarist Jerry Garcia and poet Robert Hunter, American Beauty featured tunes from several different band members, although stylistically the two albums were quite similar, with strong emphasis on vocal harmonies. The single from the album was Truckin', written by Garcia, Hunter, bassist Phil Lesh and rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, based on the true story of their 1970 drug bust in New Orleans, with lead vocals provided by Weir. Although not a major hit, the song did peak at #64 on December 25, 1971, over a year after it was released.
Title: You Really Got Me
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Eric (original label: Reprise)
You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those assessments.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: As Tears Go By
Source: Mono: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (originally released on LP: December's Children [And Everybody's] and as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
As Tears Go By is sometimes referred to as the Rolling Stones' answer to the Beatles' Yesterday. The problem with this theory, however, is that As Tears Go By was written a year before Yesterday was released, and in fact was a top 10 UK single for Marianne Faithful in 1964. The story of the song's genesis is that producer/manager Andrew Oldham locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the kitchen until they came up with an original song. The original title was As Time Goes By, but, not wanting anyone to confuse it with the famous song used in the film Casablanca, Oldham changed Time to Tears, and got a writing credit for his trouble. Since the Stones were not at that time known for soft ballads, Oldham gave the song to Marianne Faithful, launching a successful recording career for the singer in 1964. The following year the Stones included their own version of the song on the album December's Children (And Everybody's), using a string arrangement that may indeed have been inspired by the Beatles' Yesterday, which was holding down the # 1 spot on the charts at the time the Rolling Stones were recording As Tears Go By. After American disc jockeys began playing As Tears Go By as an album track, London Records released the song as a US-only single, which ended up making the top 10 in 1965.
Title: Hungry Women
Source: Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Wesley Watt
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Euphoria was the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln. The band existed in various incarnations, starting in 1966. Originally based in San Francisco, the group, minus Lincoln, relocated to Houston in early summer of 1966, only to return a couple months later with a pair of new members pirated from a band called the Misfits that had gotten in trouble with local law enforcement officials. Around this time they were discovered by Bob Shad, who was out on the west coast looking for acts to sign to his Chicago-based Mainstream label. The band recorded four songs at United studios, two of which, Hungry Women and No Me Tomorrow, were issued as a single in late 1966. The following year both songs appeared in stereo on Shad's Mainstream showcase LP With Love-A Pot Of Flowers, along with tunes from several other acts that Shad had signed in 1966.
Title: Shapes Of Things
Source: Simulated stereo Canadian LP: Shapes Of Things (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Epic)
Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.
Title: Voices Green And Purple
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Liverpool)
One of the shortest, as well as most demented, singles ever released, Voices Green And Purple recounts a bad acid trip in just over a minute and a half. The Bees themselves were an early indy punk band from LaVerne, California, an obscure L.A. suburb.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Talk Talk
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever to crack the top 40 charts.
Title: Listen To The Sky
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reaction)
The Others, from Middlesex, England released a 1964 version of Bo Diddley's Oh Yeah that was later copied, note for note, by Chicago's Shadows Of Knight. Three years later, now calling themselves Sands, the same band released a gem called Listen To The Sky that starts off sounding a bit like the Beatles, but turns into a psychedelic freakout before it's all over.
Artist: Red Crayola
Title: War Sucks
Source: Mono LP: The Parable Of Arable Lands
Label: International Artists
New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson, leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.
Title: Strange Days
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.
Artist: Status Quo
Title: Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source: LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Francis Rossi
Label: Sire (original US label: Cadet Concept)
If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.
Title: No Presents For Me
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: CBS)
Originally formed in 1964 as the Pandas, Pandamonium released three singles over a period of two years. The second of these was No Presents For Me, released in 1967. The song presents a libertarian message ("there ain't no such thing as a free lunch") against a psychedelic backdrop. The resulting song failed to chart, as did the band's previous single, a cover of Donovan's Season Of The Witch, and after a final failed single in 1968 Pandamonium decided to call it quits.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Out Of My Mind
Source: CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s): Neil Young
There are distinct advantages in having a unique vehicle of your own. Take the case of Neil Young, who had his own hearse. Young had moved to Los Angeles in 1966 in the hope of forming a band with Stephen Stills, whom he had met a few years before in Toronto. Unfortunately, the two were unable to locate each other and Young was on the verge of returning to Canada when Stills and his new bandmates spotted Young's hearse on a busy L.A. boulevard. After hanging a u-turn, the group was able to get Young's attention and Buffalo Springfield was formed. The band recorded its first LP, Buffalo Springfield, that fall, releasing it in time for Christmas. Although Young had made considerable contributions to the album as a songwriter, people at the record company thought his voice was too weird and insisted that Richie Furay provide the lead vocals for the majority of Young's songs. One of the two tracks on the album to actually feature a Young lead vocal is Out Of My Mind, which features backup vocals by both Stills and Furay.
Title: Genesis-side two
Source: Mono British import LP: Genesis
Label: Parlophone (original UK label: Columbia)
The Juniors were a British pop band formed in 1962 made up entirely of adolescent boys who played their own instruments. The membership included 13-year-old rhythm guitarist Mick Taylor, 14-year old Brian Glascock on drums and his brother, 11-year-old John Glascock on bass. in 1965, the band underwent some changes, adding keyboardist Ken Hensley and lead vocalist/guitarist Lee Konas and changing their name to The Gods. They became part of the British blues scene, opening for Cream in 1966. The following year Taylor, who by this time had developed into a quality lead guitarist, accepted an offer to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers as Peter Green's replacement, and they were forced to regroup, replacing the remaining two former Juniors with drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist Paul Newton, who in turn was replaced by bassist Greg Lake. In 1968 Lake was invited to join Robert Fripp's new group, King Crimson, and John Glascock returned to the band. It was this lineup (Konas/Hensley/Glascock/Kerslake) that recorded the 1968 album Genesis. As was becoming more common that year, all the songs on each side Genesis ran together as a single track, and that is the way they are being presented here. After releasing a second album, the band officially disbanded, with a group called Toe Fat, featuring several of the same members, replacing it. The four ex-Gods who recorded Genesis reunited once more under the name Head Machine for and album called Orgasm in 1970 before moving on to other projects, including Uriah Heep (Hensley and Kerslake) and, eventually, Jethro Tull (John Glascock).
Source: LP: One Voice Many
Writer(s): Angel Peterson
The story of the band called Michaelangelo is really the story of New York native Angel (surname Peterson, although that was never mentioned) and her electric autoharp. She first discovered the instrument as a college student, and began playing in Greenwich Villages coffee houses, where she met the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian. Sebastian, himself an autoharp enthusiast, worked with a friend to create an electronic pickup that could accurately amplify all 36 of the instrument's strings. Angel found what she considered the perfect amplifier for her autoharp (which she had nicknamed Michaelangelo) and, after playing for four years at clubs on McDougal Street, began working with bassist Bob Gorman as an instrumental duo. A frequent patron of Greenwich Village introduced them to Rachel Elkind and Walter Carlos, who had just co-produced Carlos's landmark album Switched-On Bach and were eager to get involved with a new project. Adding guitarist Steve Bohn and drummer Michael John Hackett, the group became a full band, taking the name Michaelangelo, and soon signed with Columbia Records. There were issues between Eklund and Columbia head Clive Davis, however, that resulted in the band's first LP, One Voice Many, getting absolutely no support from the label itself, and there is even evidence that Davis went out of his way to ensure that it would not be a success. The group soon disbanded, with Angel moving to Florida and Gorman (as predicted in the album's opening track West) moving out to California.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Steve Miller's Midnight Tango
Source: LP: Number 5
Writer(s): Ben Sidran
I'm sure there's a story behind Ben Sidran, who had replaced Boz Scaggs in the Steve Miller Band, writing a song called Steve Miller's Midnight Tango for the 1970 album Number 5, but I sure can't find it.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: The Great Airplane Strike
Source: LP: Spirit of '67
Often dismissed for their Revolutionary War costumes and frequent TV appearances, Paul Revere and the Raiders were actually one of the first great rock bands to emerge from the Pacific Northwest. Their accomplishments include recording Louie Louie (arguably before the Kingsmen did) and being the first rock band signed to industry giant Columbia Records. The Great Airplane Strike is a good example of just how good a band they really were.
Title: Heaven And Hell
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original US label: United Artists)
Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was a group of immigrants calling themselves the Easybeats. Often referred to as the "Australian Beatles", their early material sounded like slightly dated British Beat music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British). By late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.
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: Country Weather
Title: Fly To New York
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released only to radio stations, later included on Swiss CD: Country Weather)
Label: Rhino (original label: RD)
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2005
Country Weather started off as a popular dance band in Contra Costa County, California. In 1968 they took the name Country Weather and began gigging on the San Francisco side of the bay. In 1969, still without a record contract, they recorded an album side's worth of material, made a few one-sided test copies and circulated them to local radio stations. Those tracks, including Fly To New York, were eventually released on CD in 2005 by the Swedish label RD Records.
Artist: Iron Butterfly with Pinera And Rhino
Title: Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way)
Source: LP: Evolution (originally released on LP: Metamorphosis)
Writer(s): Iron Butterfly/Edmonson
Following the departure of guitarist Erik Brann the remaining members of Iron Butterfly got to work on the band's fourth LP, Metamorphosis, using four studio guitarists. Two of them, Mike Pinera (formerly of Blues Image) and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, would go on to join the band shortly after the album was released. The album was moderately successful, reaching the # 16 spot of the Billboard top 200 album charts, and included the band's highest charting single since In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a tune called Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way).
Title: I Need Your Love
Source: British import CD: Before The Dream Faded
Label: Cherry Red
Year: Recorded 1965, released 1982
Before becoming legends on the London music scene, the Misunderstood were a well-named band from Riverside, California, consisting of Greg Treadway (guitar, keyboards), Rick Moe (drums), George Phelps (lead guitar), Rick Brown (lead vocals), and Steve Whiting (bass). Not long after Whiting joined, the band went into the local William Locy studios to record a six-song demo that was preserved on acetate. That demo included three original tunes, one of which was I Need Your Love, a Brown/Treadway collaboration. The Misunderstood, with the help of local disc jockey John Ravenscraft (who would eventually return to his native England and start using the name John Peel), relocated to London in 1966, although they lost half of their songwriting team (Treadway) to the US military in the process. Form there they went on to become a London sensation, but were forced to disband when the government refused to extend their work visas just a few weeks later.
Source: Mono CD: Rubber Soul
Some people think Girl is one of those John Lennon drug songs. I see it as one of those John Lennon observing what's really going on beneath the civilized veneer of western society songs myself. Your choice.