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Welcome to the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life! I have wanted to put something like this together for a long time now and the A-Z Challenge just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve compiled stories, trivia, research, music videos and live concert footage on all the bands and musical artists who have been important to me over the years, especially during my youthful years in the 60s and 70s. At first glance, the posts may seem long – and some of them are due to the number of videos included – but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, see or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and listen to the great music that you’ll find here. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! In addition to individual songs, there are some full albums here for those who may want to enjoy some music while they’re surfing or working. I hope you find that the stories are entertaining, the information educational and the trivia interesting. It would be a tremendous honor if you would bookmark the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life as a resource for great music and music information! Now, let’s get started with…
I is for Iron Butterfly – was an American psychedelic rock band best known for the 1968 hit “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, providing a dramatic sound that led the way towards the development of hard rock music. This is significant in rock history because it marks the time period when psychedelic music began to form heavy metal. In 2009, VH1 named In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida the 24th greatest hard rock song of all time!
A few pieces of trivia: The band had been booked to play at Woodstock but got stuck at an airport. When their manager called the promoters of the concert they explained the situation and asked for patience. However, the manager demanded that the Butterfly be flown in by helicopter, whereupon they would “immediately” take the stage. After their set they would be paid and flown back to the airport. The manager was told that this would be taken into consideration and he would be called back. According to drummer Bushy, “We went down to the Port Authority three times and waited for the helicopter, but it never showed up.”
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida –The story behind the name of this 17 minute song: I just heard the story a few months ago and found it so amusing. I think it’s actually quite funny, I can totally see it happening this way and it’s so very indicative of the era.
A commonly related story says that the song’s title was originally “In the Garden of Eden”, but at one point in the course of rehearsing and recording, singer Doug Ingle got drunk and slurred the words, creating the mondegreen that stuck as the title. However, the liner notes on ‘the best of’ CD compilation state that drummer Ron Bushy was listening to the track through headphones, and could not clearly distinguish what Ingle said when he asked him for the song’s title. An alternative explanation given in the liner notes of the 1995 re-release of the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that Ingle was drunk, high, or both, when he first told Bushy the title, and Bushy wrote it down. Bushy then showed Ingle what he had written, and the slurred title stuck.
I is for It’s a Beautiful Day – the band is called It’s A Beautiful Day and was born in San Francisco in 1967. Although they were one of the earliest and most important San Francisco bands to emerge from 1967’s social phenomenon Summer of Love, the band never quite achieved the success of contemporaries such as Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Santana, with whom they had connections. The band created a unique blend of rock, jazz, folk, classical and world beat styles during the initial seven years it was officially together.
I had their album, not because I bought it but I was turned on to it through a boyfriend. Let’s just say I kept the record around a lot longer than I kept him… The only song of theirs that I really got into was White Bird – and I think most people will be familiar with the song when they hear it as it did get a fair share of airplay on the radio back in the day. But the band just kinda fizzled out (kinda like my love affair…) So, here is White Bird. Let me know in the comment section if you were already familiar with this song and this band.
Here it is Live, during the last day of the Fillmore West, along with some social commentary by famous concert promoter Bill Graham about the day and age of Flower Power Generation and its (purported) lack of achievement.
I is for INXS – I never followed INXS, per se, but I like a whole lot of their songs. For those who don’t know, INXS (pronounced “in excess”) was an Australian rock band, formed as The Farriss Brothers in 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales. They began playing covers in Western Australian pubs and clubs, occasionally playing some of their original music. Mainstays were main composer and keyboardist Andrew Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss, guitarists Tim Farriss and Kirk Pengilly, bassist Garry Gary Beers and main lyricist and vocalist Michael Hutchence. For twenty years, INXS was fronted by Hutchence, whose “sultry good looks” and magnetic stage presence made him the focal point of the band. Initially known for their new wave/pop style, the band later developed a harder pub rock style that included funk and dance elements.
In 1980, INXS first charted in their native Australia with their debut self-titled album, but later garnered moderate success in other countries. They would later achieve international success with a series of hit recordings through later in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Sadly, Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel suite in Sydney in November of 1997, the death being ruled an apparent suicide. The band did not perform publicly for a year. They made appearances with several guest singers, including Jimmy Barnes, Terence Trent D’Arby and Jon Stevens; Stevens formally joined the band for a tour and recording session in 2002. In 2005, members of INXS participated in “Rock Star: INXS,” a reality television series broadcast worldwide, culminating in the selection of their new lead singer, Canadian J.D. Fortune.(Source: Wikipedia)
Here are my favorite INXS songs:
Never Tear Us Apart:
Need You Tonight:
The One Thing:
The Devil Inside – Live at Wembley Stadium, London, July 1991:
What You Need:
I is for Ides of March – an American rock band that had a major US and minor UK hit with the song “Vehicle” in 1970. After going on hiatus in 1973, the band returned with their original line-up in 1990 and has been active since then. This photo shows the band with all original members taken last year, in December of 2014.
The Ides of March began in a western suburb of Chicago (Berwyn, Illinois) in October of 1964, as a four-piece band called “The Shon-Dels.” Their first record, “Like It or Lump It,” was released on their own “Epitome” record label in 1965.
In 1966, after changing their name to The Ides of March (a name suggested by bassist Bob Bergland after reading Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in high school), the band released their first single on Parrot Records, “You Wouldn’t Listen.” The song reached #7 on WLS Chicago in spring 1966 and #42 on the Hot 100 in summer 1966. With Parrot they released a few singles but only really had success locally.
In 1970 though, they secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records and they released the track “Vehicle.” It became the fastest selling single in Warner’s history. Trivia tidbit: “Fourteen seconds of the completed “Vehicle” master tape (primarily the guitar solo) was accidentally erased in the recording studio. The missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Vehicle reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a Gold Disc in November 1972. The resulting album, also called Vehicle, reached #55 nationally.
The band toured extensively throughout 1970 in support of many top acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin. They released three more albums but never saw another hit single. They played their last show at Morton West High School in Berwyn, November of 1973.
Between 1973 and 1990, The Ides of March went on an extended hiatus, during which lead guitarist and vocalist Jim Peterik co-founded the band Survivor and co-wrote all of their platinum hits including “Eye of the Tiger,” “The Search Is Over,” “High on You” and “I Can’t Hold Back”.
He also began a career of writing collaborations which resulted in many platinum hits for other artists, most notably “Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ Into The Night,” “Fantasy Girl” and “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys” for .38 Special (all of which will be showcased in my T is for .38 Special post) and “Heavy Metal” for Sammy Hagar.
In 1990, they had a bit of a comeback and have essentially been working ever since, though they never laid claim to another hit. You can read more about their story at the Ides of March Wikipedia page.
Here is their one and only, but immensely popular, hit Vehicle:
So who are your favorite I bands? Who did I forget??