Following an opening half hour that features a whole lot of short tunes, mostly from 1966, we shift our focus to the latter half of the psychedelic era for the remainder of the show, including a Doors set and some rather long tracks from Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin, before returning to the middle part of the decade for a pair of Beatles tracks to finish things out.
Title: (Theme From) The Monkees
Source: 45 RPM single (originally released on LP: The Monkees)
Label: Flashback (original label: Colgems)
Fun facts about the Monkees: Songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart got involved in the whole Monkees thing thinking that a) The Monkees would be an actual performing band that happened to be stars of their own TV show, and b) they (Boyce and Hart) would be core members of the band itself. They even recorded a demo of the Monkees theme song. The powers that be, however, decided (after briefly considering making the show about the Lovin' Spoonful) that using four guys from entirely different backgrounds who were almost complete strangers was a better idea [shrugs]. Everyone knows that the Monkees did not play their own instruments of their first two albums, but did you know that there is not a single song on the first LP that features all four members on it, even as vocalists? Most of the backup vocals, in fact, were provided by studio musicians.
Title: Love Is Only Sleeping
Source: CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
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 of Love Is Only Sleeping, 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.
Title: Last Train To Clarksville
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Label: Flashback (original label: Colgems)
The song that introduced the world to the Monkees, Last Train To Clarksville, was actually a bit of an anomaly for the group. For one thing, most of the early Monkees recordings utilized the services of various Los Angeles based studio musicians known collectively as the Wrecking Crew. Last Train To Clarksville, however, was recorded by the Candy Store Prophets, a local band that included Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who wrote and produced the song (Boyce and Hart originally had hopes of being members of the Monkees themselves, but had to wait until the 1980s to see that happen). The song was released as a single on August 16, 1966, two months in advance of the first Monkees album, and hit the #1 spot on the charts in early November. Last Train To Clarksville was also included in seven episodes of the Monkees TV show, the most of any song.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Do You Believe In Magic
Source: CD: Battle Of The Bands (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Do You Believe In Magic)
Writer(s): John Sebastian
Label: Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Do You Believe In Magic, the debut single by the Lovin' Spoonful, was instrumental in establishing not only the band itself, but the Kama Sutra label as well. Over the next couple of years, the Spoonful would crank out a string of hits, pretty much single-handedly keeping Kama Sutra in business. In 1967 the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter John Sebastian departed the group for a solo career, and Kama Sutra itself soon morphed into a company called Buddah Records. Buddah (the misspelling being discovered too late to be fixed) soon came to dominate the "bubble gum" genre of top 40 music throughout 1968 and well into 1969, but eventually proved in its own way to be as much a one-trick pony as its predecessor.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Undecided Man
Source: LP: The Spirit Of '67
The third Paul Revere And The Raiders album to be released in 1966, The Spirit Of '67 is also the most musically diverse, being heavily influenced by albums such as the Beatles' Revolver and the Rolling Stones' Aftermath. Undecided Man, for instance, was obviously inspired by Eleanor Rigby, and features strings arranged by Mort Garson. Although a few of the songs on the album feature contributions from studio musicians, the album mostly featured backing tracks by the band itself. This would not be the case on future albums, leading to several members of the group moving on to other projects.
Artist: H.P. Lovecraft
Title: Country Boy & Bleeker Street
Source: CD: Two Classic Albums By H.P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft)
Writer(s): Fred Neil
Label: Collector's Choice/Universal Music Special Products (original label: Philips)
Like their West Coast contemporaries Jefferson Airplane,The Chicago-based H. P. Lovecraft were big fans of singer/songwriter Fred Neil, as evidenced by the fact that no less than two of their debut LP's ten tracks were covers of Neil songs. In fact, it could be argued that the album actually contained three Neil covers, since Country Boy & Bleeker Street, the second song on side two of the original LP, is actually an amalgamation of two Fred Neil songs (the title track and Country Boy) from his 1965 dubut LP Bleecker & MacDougal. Lovecraft does a pretty nice job of combining the two.
Title: Happy Jack
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Pete Townshend
Happy Jack was originally released as a single in the UK in late 1966. It did not hit the US airwaves, however, until the early months of 1967. (I heard it for the first time on KLZ-FM, a Denver station whose format was a forerunner of progressive rock. KLZ-FM didn't call themselves a rock station. They instead marketed themselves as playing the top 100, as opposed to the top 60 played on KIMN, the dominant AM station in the city.) Although the song was not intended to be on an album, Decca Records quickly rearranged the track order of the Who's second album, A Quick One, to make room for the song, changing the name of the album itself to Happy Jack in the process.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Everybody's Wrong
Source: Mono CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer: Stephen Stills
Buffalo Springfield is one of those rare cases of a band that actually sold more records after disbanding than while they were still an active group. This is due mostly to the fact that several members, including Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay and Jim Messina, went on to greater success in the 1970s, either with new bands or as solo artists. In the early days of Buffalo Springfield Stephen Stills was the group's most successful songwriter. The band's only major hit, For What It's Worth, was a Stills composition that was originally released shortly after the group's debut LP, and was subsequently added to later pressings of the album. Another, earlier, Stills composition from that first album was Everybody's Wrong, a somewhat heavy piece of folk-rock.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page).
Title: Hey Joe
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
In 1966 there were certain songs you had to know how to play if you had any aspirations of being in a band. Among those were Louie Louie, Gloria and Hey Joe. The Byrds' David Crosby claims to have discovered Hey Joe, but was not able to convince his bandmates to record it before their third album. In the meantime, several other bands had recorded the song, including Love (on their first album) and the Leaves. The version of Hey Joe heard here is actually the third recording the Leaves made of the tune. After the first two versions tanked, guitarist Bobby Arlin came up with the idea of adding fuzz guitar to the song. It was the missing element that transformed a rather bland song into a hit record (the only national hit the Leaves would have). As a side note, the Leaves credited Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti) as the writer of Hey Joe, but California-based folk singer Billy Roberts had copyrighted the song in 1962 and had reportedly been heard playing the tune as early as 1958.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Who's Driving Your Plane
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side (mistitled on the US version as Who's Driving My Plane) of their loudest single to date, the feedback-drenched Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title: Lover Man
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy/Sundazed
When the original Jimi Hendrix Experience made its US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967, they opened with a fast-paced high-energy version of the Muddy Waters classic Killing Floor. In fact, except for the lyrics, Hendrix's arrangement of the song was essentially a brand-new song. Hendrix must have realized at some point that all he had to do is write new lyrics for the tune to create an entirely new composition, because he made not one, but two recordings of what came to be called Lover Man. The first was made prior to the recording of the Band Of Gypsys live album in late 1969, while the later version heard here features his final power trio, consisting of Hendrix, bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, who were already being billed as the Jimi Hendrix Experience when they recorded the song in 1970.
Title: The Road
Source: LP: Chicago
Writer(s): Terry Kath
In their early days as the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago was known for laying down some solid rock behind the blistering guitar work of Terry Kath. By the 1980s, however, they were cranking out a series of soft-rock hits, usually sung by bassist Peter Cetera. Oddly enough, Kath was the first songwriting band member to steer the band in that direction with The Road, from the band's second LP, released in 1970.
Title: Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Label: Sony Music (original label: Windfall)
Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along.
Artist: Guess Who
Source: LP: Best of the Guess Who (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Randy Bachman
Label: RCA Victor
Following the release of the Wheatfield Soul album (and the hit single These Eyes), RCA tied the Guess Who down to a long-term contract. One of the stipulations of that contract was that the band would make subsequent recordings at RCA's own studios. After recording the tracks for their follow-up album, Canned Wheat, the band members felt that the sound at RCA was inferior to that of A&R studios, where they had recorded Wheatfield Soul, and secretly re-recorded a pair of tunes at A&R and submitted dubs of the tapes to RCA. The tunes, Laughing and Undun, were issued as a double-sided single in 1969, with both sides getting a decent amount of airplay. Once word got out that the songs had been recorded in a non-RCA studio, the label realized the error of their ways and relaxed the exclusivity policy, although not in time for the band to re-record the rest of the album.
Title: If We Only Had The Time
Source: German import CD: Turtle Soup (bonus track originally released on EP: Shell Shock)
Label: Repertoire (original label: Rhino)
Year: Recorded 1969, released 1985
The relationship between the Turtles and their label, White Whale, was always a rocky one. On the one hand, the Turtles were, by far, the most successful act on the label. It was, however, the 1960s, and, with only one or two exceptions, when it came to making records the labels (and by extension, record producers) were in control of the entire process. When the Turtles made their first attempt at producing themselves, for instance, the label simply refused to issue any of the recordings the band submitted. The band retaliated by giving the label exactly what they wanted: a hit single called Elenore, which in fact was meant to be a parody of a hit single, but that got taken seriously by both the label and the record buying public. Things finally came to a head when the band refused to complete an album called Shell Shock in 1969. The label then issued a song from the Turtles' 1965 debut LP that barely made it into the top 100 (it in fact peaked in the #100 spot). The Turtles then played their trump card: they disbanded. White Whale went out of business not long after. Meanwhile, the completed tracks that had been intended for Shell Shock, including If We Only Had The Time, went unissued for several years, finally surfacing on an EP issued by Rhino Records in the mid-1980s.
Title: The Train
Source: Mono British import CD: Resurrection (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Tom Hartman
Label: RPM (original label: Parlophone)
The Aerovons, a band from St. Louis, Missouri, were seriously into the Beatles. So seriously, in fact, that when they were offered a deal from Capitol Records to record in Los Angeles, they turned it down, instead making two trips to London to secure a contract with EMI to record at their Abbey Road studios. Although they ended up recording an entire album's worth of material there, EMI ended up only releasing one single, an original by pianist/vocalist Tom Hartman called The Train. Before the rest of the album was released, however, the group returned to St. Louis and promptly split up due to personal issues, which caused EMI to cancel the band's contract. The album itself sat on the shelf until 2003, when it was released on the RPM label.
Artist: Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title: Cinnamon Girl
Source: LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s): Neil Young
My favorite Neil Young song has always been Cinnamon Girl. I suspect this is because the band I was in the summer after I graduated from high school used an amped-up version of the song as our show opener (imagine Cinnamon Girl played like I Can See For Miles and you get a general idea of how it sounded). If we had ever recorded an album, we probably would have used that arrangement as our first single. I finally got to see Neil Young perform the song live (from the 16th row even) with Booker T. and the MGs as his stage band in the mid-1990s. It was worth the wait.
Title: All Day And All Of The Night
Source: Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Year: 1964 (LP released 1965)
Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.
Title: Love Street
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
Like many of Jim Morrison's songs, Love Street started off as a poem. "Love Street" was actually the nickname given to Rothdale Trail, the street he and Pamela Courson lived on in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon. Morrison and Courson spent a lot of time sitting on their balcony, watching the local hippies going to and from the Canyon Country Store, which was across the street from their house. Morrison turned the poem into a song in time to get it recorded for the third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun. The track was also released as the B side of the Doors' second #1 single, Hello I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name.
Source: 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: When The Music's Over
Source: CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s): The Doors
I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.
Artist: Fraternity Of Man
Title: Don't Bogart Me
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Fraternity Of Man
In the late 60s there was a certain disconnect between rock musicians and their audience on the subject of country music. Whereas the youth culture of the time associated it with rednecks and conservative attitudes, their musical heroes often held the country music tradition in high regard. One of the first songs to bridge the gap was Don't Bogart Me from the Fraternity Of Man. The band itself was made up of former members of the Factory, a popular L.A. club band led by Lowell George, and the Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. Although the band's 1968 LP remains somewhat obscure, Don't Bogart Me itself was made famous by its inclusion in the 1969 movie Easy Rider.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: How Many More Times
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: Get It While You Can
Source: LP: Pearl
The final track on Janis Joplin's last album is, in some ways, a fitting epitaph for one of the greatest vocalists in rock history. Get It While You Can is a powerful tune from Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Schuman, one of the most prolific songwriting teams of the 1960s. Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band made several recordings of the song over a nearly two month period, with the final version being recorded on Sept. 20, 1970. This earlier version from July 27 shows a singer and band still feeling each other out musically.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Bear Melt
Source: LP: Bless Its Pointed Little Head
Label: RCA Victor
Those who are only familiar with Jefferson Airplane's first couple of studio albums might be tempted to assume that the group did not have the same level of improvisational creativity as some of the other San Francisco bands such as the Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service. The eleven and a half minute long Bear Melt, from the 1969 live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head, proves otherwise. I can't say for sure, but I believe that even the lyrics were made up on the spot.
Title: We Are The Moles-Pt. 1
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): The Moles
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Sometimes success carries it own baggage. Take the case of Britain's Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group was formed by a trio of Scottish brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Peter O'Flaherty, Eric Hine and Tony Ransley in the Portsmouth area, going through a variety of band names before settling on Simon Dupree And The Big Sound in 1966. The group was originally known for its spot-on covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. By 1967, however, audience tastes were rapidly changing, and psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd and the Creation were drawing crowds away from the R&B bands. Under pressure from both their management and record label the band recorded a song called Kites, a psychedelic piece that became their biggest hit and placed the group firmly in the minds of record buyers as a flower-power band. But, like most fads, flower-power was itself out of style by 1968, but Simon Dupree And The Big Sound were stuck with a reputation that didn't even fit the members' own musical preferences (which still ran to R&B). To try to break free of this unwanted rep, the group released a rather bizarre single called We Are The Moles in 1968. The record was shrouded in mystery, with writing credits going to "the Moles", and production credit to George Martin (leading some to believe it was actually a Beatles outtake). The ploy almost worked, as the possible Beatles connection led to increased interest in the record, but that interest quickly dissipated when it was revealed (by Syd Barrett, of all people) that the record was indeed the work of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The band continued on for a few more months, until lead vocalist Derek Shulman announced his retirement in 1969, saying he was tired of being Simon Dupree. He would rejoin his brothers the following year for their new venture, an experimental rock band called Gentle Giant.
Title: Love You To
Source: CD: Revolver
Writer(s): George Harrison
Label: Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Following the release of Rubber Soul in December of 1965, the Beatles' George Harrison began to make a serious effort to learn to play the Sitar, studying under the master, Ravi Shankar. Along with the instrument itself, Harrison studied Eastern forms of music. His first song written in the modal form favored by Indian composers was Love You To, from the Revolver album. The recording also features Indian percussion instruments and suitably spiritual lyrics.
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
The oldest song on the Rubber Soul album, Wait was originally recorded for the British version of Help , but did not make the final cut. Six months later, when the band was putting the finishing touches on Rubber Soul, they realized they would not be able to come up with enough new material in time for a Christmas release, so they added some overdubs to Wait and included it on the new album. The song itself was a collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the two sharing vocals throughout the tune.