Last year I embarked on a Musical Journey of My Life during the A-Z Challenge in April (2015). Many of you may remember the compilation I put together, consisting mainly of classic rock. I uploaded 991 videos over the course of that Challenge but mentioned then that it was still a work-in-progress. Over the course of the past year, I’ve added a few videos here and there as I remembered songs and bands that I forgot.
The other night I woke up with the TV playing some great old classics. It was one of those late night TimeLife informercials, this one promoting the Woodstock Collection. With each song I found myself saying “Oh crap, I forgot about that one!” and “That should definitely be in my compilation playlist.”
So here is the continuation of my Musical Journey: These songs are near and dear to my heart, bringing back memories of times gone by… and innocence; for sure I was no innocent back then but as I look back now, the times were of innocence because I was so young and carefree, just starting to figure myself out, to determine my politics and define my philosophies. Oh how I miss those days.
Hopefully some of these songs will bring back good memories for you too.
Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite One-Hit Wonders and other songs in my ‘Key of Life’… in no particular order:
(Note: the page may take a few seconds to load as there are several videos. Please be patient: it will be worth it).
Ride Captain Ride by Blues Image
“The Blues Image was a one-hit wonder Latin-tinged pop/rock band, that one hit being “Ride Captain Ride,” which made the Top Ten and sold a million copies in 1970. [It was included on the group’s 1970 album, Open. Released as a slightly shortened single in the spring of 1970, it shot up the charts, eventually reaching No. 4 in the USA and Canadian charts, making it Blues Image’s first (and only) Top 40 chart hit].
About the band members: “The group was formed in Tampa, FL, in 1966 by Michael Pinera (guitar, vocals), Manuel Bertematti (percussion), and Joe Lala (drums). Malcolm Jones (bass) joined in 1966, followed in 1968 by Frank “Skip” Konte (keyboards). The band moved to New York City in 1968 and managed a club called the Image. Then they moved to Los Angeles, where they signed to Atlantic Records’ Atco division in February 1969, and released their self-titled debut album. This was followed by Open (1970), which featured “Ride Captain Ride.” But the Blues Image never followed their hit. Pinera left, replaced by Kent Henry (guitar) and Dennis Correll (vocals). Then the Blues Image broke up. A third album, Red White & Blues Image, was compiled from outtakes. Skip Konte joined Three Dog Night, while some other band members reformed as Manna. Pinera later was a member of Iron Butterfly, then Ramatam, and, with Bertematti, the New Cactus Band. He also formed a band called Thee Image and worked as a solo artist. Lala became a Los Angeles session player and worked with Joe Walsh and the various manifestations of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, among others.” ~William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
I LOVE this song!
Midnight Confessions by the Grass Roots
“Midnight Confessions” is a song written by Lou T. Josie and originally performed by the Ever-Green Blues. It was later made famous by American rock band The Grass Roots, who released the song as a single in 1968. The Grass Roots version became the band’s biggest charting hit on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching the Top 5 of the chart. (Source: Wikipedia)
As read on Music Mike’s “Flashback Favoites” channel, where I found this video:
“In Memory Of Lead Singer Rob Grill……1943 – 2011. Lead vocals from The late Rob Grill who passed away at age 67 on July 11, 2011.
Let’s Live for Today by the Grass Roots
Released in 1967, The song quickly became popular with the record buying public, selling over two million copies in the U.S. and finally peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 during June 1967. As well as being popular with domestic American audiences, “Let’s Live for Today” also found favor with young American men serving overseas in the Vietnam War, as music critic Bruce Eder of the Allmusic website has noted: “Where the single really struck a resonant chord was among men serving in Vietnam; the song’s serious emotional content seemed to overlay perfectly with the sense of uncertainty afflicting most of those in combat; parts of the lyric could have echoed sentiments in any number of letters home, words said on last dates, and thoughts directed to deeply missed wives and girlfriends.” Eder also described “Let’s Live for Today” by The Grass Roots as “one of the most powerful songs and records to come out of the 1960s.
Signs by the Five Man Electrical Band
“Signs” is a song by the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band. It was written by Les Emmerson and popularized the relatively unknown band, who recorded it for their second album, Good-byes and Butterflies in 1970. “Signs” was originally released that year as the B-side to the relatively unsuccessful single “Hello Melinda Goodbye” (#55 Canada).
Re-released in 1971 as the A-side, “Signs” reached No. 4 in Canada and No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 24 song for 1971. It became a gold record. (Source: Wikipedia)
Found on Sandman368’s Video Variety Channel, who made this video:
Good Morning Starshine by Oliver
“Good Morning Starshine” is a pop song from the musical Hair. It was a No.3 hit in the United States in July 1969 and a No.6 hit in the United Kingdom in October 1969 for the singer Oliver.
William Oliver Swofford (February 22, 1945 – February 12, 2000), known professionally as Oliver, was an American pop singer, best known for this song. (Source: Wikipedia)
Sunday Will Never Be the Same by Spanky and Our Gang
Spanky and Our Gang was an American 1960s folk-rock band led by Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane. The band derives its name from Hal Roach’s popular Our Gang comedies of the 1930s (known to modern audiences as The Little Rascals). The group was known for its vocal harmonies.
“Sunday Will Never Be the Same” is a 1967 song by the American band Spanky and Our Gang from their self-titled debut album. The single peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 in the Canadian RPM Magazine charts (July 1, 1967). The song was written by Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli and borrows an interlude from the Christmas hymn “Angels We Have Heard on High.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Green Tamborine by the Lemon Pipers
“Green Tambourine” is a song about busking (the act of performing in public places for gratuities), written and composed by Paul Leka and Shelly Pinz, and was the primary hit by the 1960s Ohio-based psychedelic pop rock group The Lemon Pipers. It was the title track to their debut-album Green Tambourine. The song has been credited as being one of the first bubblegum pop chart-toppers. Released toward the end of 1967, it peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week at the start of February, 1968 and earned the group a gold record for over a million copies sold. The record remained on the chart for three months. It was also the first U.S. number-one hit for the Buddah label. The Lemon Pipers would never repeat this success although “Rice Is Nice” and “Jelly Jungle” did make it onto the charts in 1968.
The song tells the story of a street musician pleading for someone to give him money. In exchange he offers to play his green tambourine. The song’s instrumentation contains the title tambourine as well as an electric sitar, a frequent signature of the so-called “psychedelic sound.” Another hook is the heavy, psychedelic tape echo applied to the word “play” in each chorus and at the end, fading into a drumroll (“Listen while I play play play play play play play my green tambourine”). (Source: Wikipedia)
Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes by Edison Lighthouse
Edison Lighthouse was an English pop band, formed in London in 1970. The band is best known for their 1970 hit single, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”. The single Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) hit the number one spot on the UK Singles Chart on the week ending on 31 January 1970, where it remained for a total of five weeks. (Source: Wikipedia)
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing by the New Seekers
“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” is a popular song that originated as the jingle “Buy the World a Coke” in the groundbreaking 1971 “Hilltop” television commercial for Coca-Cola. “Buy the World a Coke” was produced by Billy Davis and portrayed a positive message of hope and love, featuring a multicultural collection of teenagers on top of a hill appearing to sing the song. “Buy the World a Coke” repeated “It’s the real thing” as Coca-Cola’s marketing theme at the time.
The popularity of the jingle led to it being re-recorded by The New Seekers –a British-based pop group, formed in 1969 by Keith Potger after the break-up of his group, the Seekers– as a full-length song, dropping references to Coca-Cola. The song became a hit record in the US and the UK. (Source: Wikipedia)
If you’re a Mad Men fan, you’ll remember this song in the series finale. Says Wikipedia: “The commercial was used as the final scene in the Mad Men series finale, “Person to Person” (airdate May 17, 2015), which was set in November 1970, at an oceanside spiritual retreat in California. Just before the commercial segment played, the series protagonist, Don Draper, was shown meditating, finally at peace with a smile on his face, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and facing the morning sun. Some critics suggest that the episode implies, within the show’s fictional universe, the character of Don Draper was responsible for the ad’s concept. Soon confirmation came from the actor playing Draper, Jon Hamm. He said that, in his view, the broadcast of the famous commercial was used to tell the audience that Draper had returned to McCann Erickson in New York City with his creative ability renewed, and he was responsible for producing the “Hilltop” ad campaign inspired by his experience in the California retreat.”
Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens
This song brings back memories as it was one of the songs I learned to play on the organ while taking organ lessons as a kid.
“Morning Has Broken” is a popular and well-known Christian hymn first published in 1931. It has words by English author Eleanor Farjeon and is set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune known as “Bunessan”. (it shares this tune with the 19th century Christmas Carol “Child in the Manger”). It is often sung in children’s services. English pop musician and folk singer Cat Stevens (known as Yusuf Islam since 1978 after becoming a Muslim in 1977) included a version on his 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat. The song became identified with Stevens when it reached number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the U.S. easy listening chart in 1972. (Source: Wikipedia)
Friday on My Mind by the Easybeats
“Friday on My Mind” is a 1966 song by Australian rock group The Easybeats. Written by band members George Young and Harry Vanda, the track became a worldwide hit, reaching no. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1967 in the US, no. 1 on the Dutch Top 40 chart, no. 1 in Australia and no. 6 in the UK, as well as charting in several other countries. In 2001, it was voted “Best Australian Song” of all time by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as determined by a panel of 100 music industry personalities. In 2007, ‘Friday on My Mind’ was added to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia registry. (Source: Wikipedia)
I Want to Take You Higher by Sly and the Family Stone
“I Want to Take You Higher” is a song by the soul/rock/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, the B-side to their Top 30 hit “Stand!” Unlike most of the other tracks on the Stand! album, “I Want to Take You Higher” is not a message song; instead, it is simply dedicated to music and the feeling one gets from music. Like nearly all of Sly & the Family Stone’s songs, Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart was credited as the sole songwriter. (Source: Wikipedia)
War by Edwin Star – (January 21, 1942 – April 2, 2003), an American soul singer.
“War” is a counterculture-era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song – a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest – with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release “War” as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, with the label deciding to withhold the Temptations’ version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr’s version of “War” was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but it is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. It was one of 161 songs on the Clear Channel no-play list after September 11, 2001. (Source: Wikipedia)
This is a 1970 Motown Time Capsule video featuring the song:
Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) by the Temptations –
Ball of Confusion is a 1970 hit single for The Temptations. It was released on the Gordy (Motown) label, and written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. The song was used to anchor the 1970 Greatest Hits II LP.
The song reached #3 on the US pop charts and #2 on the US R&B charts. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 24 song of 1970. (Source: Wikipedia)
Here’s a great video showing that not much has changed since this song was written 45 years ago!
Mony, Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells
“Mony Mony” is a 1968 single by American pop/rock band Tommy James and the Shondells, which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart while also getting serious airplay in the U.S. and Canada.
Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells –
“Crimson and Clover” is a 1968 song by American rock band Tommy James and the Shondells. Written by the duo of Tommy James and drummer Peter Lucia Jr., it was intended as a change in direction of the group’s sound and composition.
“Crimson and Clover” was released in late 1968 as a rough mix after a radio station leaked it. It spent 16 weeks on the U.S. charts, reaching number one in the United States and other countries. The single has sold 5 million copies, making it Tommy James and the Shondells’ best-selling song. It has been covered by many artists such as Joan Jett and Prince.
In 2006, Pitchfork Media named it the 57th best song of the 1960s. (Source: Wikipedia)
This is the extended version:
How Can I Be Sure by the Young Rascals
“How Can I Be Sure” is a popular song written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, and originally recorded by The Young Rascals on their 1967 album Groovin’. It became their fourth Top 10 hit in the United States, peaking at No. 4. This was the group’s highest charted record with Eddie Brigati singing lead vocals. The song featured the sounds of a trumpet, bass, piano, drums, and strings, giving the feeling of cabaret music as well as a concertina, chosen to add the feel of a French cafe. The songs musical styles include blue-eyed soul and pop.
The lyrics of the chorus go:
How can I be sure?
In a world that’s constantly changing,
How can I be sure?
… I’ll be sure with you.
The song came out of the experience with transcendental meditation that the Rascals were involved in.
8 Miles High by the Byrds
“Eight Miles High” is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), and David Crosby and first released as a single on March 14, 1966. Musically influenced by Ravi Shankar and John Coltrane, “Eight Miles High”, along with its McGuinn and Crosby-penned B-side “Why”, was influential in developing the musical styles of psychedelic rock, raga rock, and psychedelic pop. Accordingly, critics often cite “Eight Miles High” as being the first bona fide psychedelic rock song, as well as a classic of the counterculture era.
The song was subject to a U.S. radio ban shortly after its release, following allegations published in the broadcasting trade journal the Gavin Report regarding perceived drug connotations in its lyrics. The band strenuously denied these allegations at the time, but in later years both Clark and Crosby admitted that the song was at least partly inspired by their own drug use. The failure of “Eight Miles High” to reach the Billboard Top 10 is usually attributed to the broadcasting ban, but some commentators have suggested that the song’s complexity and uncommercial nature were greater factors.
“Eight Miles High” reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 24 in the UK Singles Chart. “Eight Miles High” became the Byrds’ third and final U.S. Top 20 hit, and was also their last release before the departure of Gene Clark, the band’s principal songwriter at the time. (Source: Wikipedia)
Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds
“Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” — often abbreviated to “Turn! Turn! Turn!” — is a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics, except for the title which is repeated throughout the song, and the final verse of the song, are adapted word-for-word from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, set to music and recorded in 1962. The song was originally released as “To Everything There Is a Season” on The Limeliters’ album Folk Matinee and then some months later on Seeger’s own The Bitter and the Sweet.
The song became an international hit in late 1965 when it was covered by the American folk rock band The Byrds, bowing at #80 on October 23, 1965, before reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 4, 1965, #3 in Canada (Nov. 29, 1965), and also peaking at #26 on the UK Singles Chart. In the U.S., the song holds distinction as the #1 hit with the oldest lyrics (Book of Ecclesiastes), theoretically authored by King Solomon.
Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) by Melanie with the Edwin Hawkins Singers
Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk (born February 3, 1947) is an American singer-songwriter. Known professionally as Melanie, she is best known for her hits “Brand New Key”, “Ruby Tuesday”, “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma”, and her song about performing at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”.
“Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” was the second single from Melanie’s 1970 album Candles in the Rain. The song proved to be her breakthrough hit in the United States, climbing to number six on Billboard’s Hot 100 and number three on the Cash Box Top 100. The record was ranked #23 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970.
Released in March 1970, the recording was a spirited collaboration between folk singer/songwriter Melanie (Safka) and California gospel act the Edwin Hawkins Singers, who had reached the national Top Ten the previous year with “Oh Happy Day”. Melanie wrote the song after performing at Woodstock in August 1969; the song’s lyrics describe what she felt as she looked out at the sea of people attending the music event.
“Lay Down” is also associated with certain events occurring during the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, held in the autumn of 1969.
Brand New Key by Melanie
“Brand New Key” is a pop song written and sung by folk music singer Melanie (Melanie Safka-Schekeryk), which became a novelty success during 1971–72. Initially a track of Melanie’s album Gather Me, it was known also as “The Rollerskate Song” due to its chorus. It was her greatest success, scoring No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart during December 1971 and January 1972. Billboard ranked it as the No. 9 song of 1972. It also scored No. 1 in Canada and Australia and No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. Melanie’s version of the song was featured in the 1997 movie Boogie Nights as well as the 2010 movie Jackass 3D and an episode of Helix.
The single was produced by Melanie’s husband, Peter Schekeryk.
There was some interesting controversy with the song. Per Wikipedia:
Many listeners detect sexual innuendo in the lyrics, with the key in its lock thought to symbolize sexual intercourse, or in phrases such as “I go pretty far” and “I’ve been all around the world”.
Melanie has acknowledged the possibility of detecting sexual innuendo in the song, without confirming or denying the intent:
“ “Brand New Key” I wrote in about fifteen minutes one night. I thought it was cute; a kind of old thirties tune. I guess a key and a lock have always been Freudian symbols, and pretty obvious ones at that. There was no deep serious expression behind the song, but people read things into it. They made up incredible stories as to what the lyrics said and what the song meant. In some places, it was even banned from the radio.
My idea about songs is that once you write them, you have very little say in their life afterward. It’s a lot like having a baby. You conceive a song, deliver it, and then give it as good a start as you can. After that, it’s on its own. People will take it any way they want to take it.”
Here is a cool vintage video from alecwally23’s YouTube channel, featuring this homemade video. Per the tag: “A 8mm film done by my sister while in high school for a class project in the 70’s with music by Melanie that I transferred to tape. Location Wichita Kansas.”
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra
Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940) is an American singer and actress. She is the daughter of Frank Sinatra and is widely known for her 1966 signature hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”.
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” is a pop song written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra. It was released on February 22, 1966, and hit No. 1 in the United States Billboard Hot 100 and in the UK Singles Chart. (Source: Wikipedia)
In 2006, Pitchfork Media selected it as the 114th best song of the 1960s. Critic Tom Breihan described the song as “maybe the finest bitchy kiss-off in pop history”.
The song was used in a number of ways related to the Vietnam War:
- During television news coverage in 1966/67, the song was aired as a soundtrack as the cameras focused on US Infantrymen on patrol during the Vietnam War.
- In 1966 and 1967 Sinatra traveled to Vietnam to perform for the troops. Many US soldiers adopted the song as their anthem, as shown in Pierre Schoendoerffer’s Academy Award winning documentary The Anderson Platoon (1967).
- The song’s popularity with US Infantrymen in Vietnam was reprised in a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987).
- Sinatra played herself, re-enacting her 1960s performance of the song in Vietnam, in episode 6 (June 1988) of the television show China Beach.
- In 2005, Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded a revamped version of the song using Sinatra’s original vocal track. It appeared on the CD Ride to the Wall, Vol. 2, with proceeds going to help Vietnam veterans.
Hair by the Cowsills
“Hair” is the title song to the 1968 musical Hair and 1979 film adaptation of the musical.
The cover song was a major hit single for the Cowsills in 1969 and their most successful single. Their version spent two weeks at #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached #1 on the RPM Canadian Singles Chart.
The Cowsills, btw, is an interesting bunch: The Cowsills is an American singing group from Newport, Rhode Island. They specialized in harmonies and the ability to sing and play music at an early age. The band was formed in the spring of 1965 by brothers Bill, Bob, and Barry Cowsill; they shortly thereafter added their brother John. Originally Bill and Bob played guitar and Barry was on drums. When John learned how to play drums and joined the band, Barry went to bass. After their initial success, the brothers were joined by their siblings Susan and Paul and their mother Barbara. Bob’s twin brother Richard was the road manager. When the group expanded to its full family membership by 1967, the six siblings ranged in age from 8 to 19. Joined by their mother, Barbara Cowsill (née Russell), the group was the inspiration for the 1970s television show The Partridge Family. (Source: Wikipedia)
Video from 1969 on Revolver TV:
Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In) by the 5th Dimension
“Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” (commonly called “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”, “The Age of Aquarius” or “Let the Sunshine In”) is a medley of two songs written for the 1967 musical Hair by James Rado & Gerome Ragni (lyrics), and Galt MacDermot (music), released as a single by American R&B group the 5th Dimension. The song peaked at number one for six weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the spring of 1969. The single topped the American pop charts and was eventually certified platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA. Instrumental backing was provided by session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew.
The song listed at #66 on Billboard’s “Greatest Songs of All Time.”
The lyrics of this song were based on the astrological belief that the world would soon be entering the “Age of Aquarius”, an age of love, light, and humanity. (Source: Wikipedia)
San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) by Scott Mackenzie
“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is an American pop music song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie. The song was produced and released in May 1967 by Phillips and Lou Adler, who used it to promote their Monterey International Pop Music Festival held in June of that year. John Phillips played guitar on the recording and session musician Gary L. Coleman played orchestra bells and chimes. The bass line of the song was supplied by session musician Joe Osborn. Hal Blaine played drums.
McKenzie’s version of the song has been called “the unofficial anthem of the counterculture movement of the 1960s.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Venus by Shocking Blue
“Venus” is a 1969 song written by Robbie van Leeuwen. In 1970, the Dutch band Shocking Blue took the song to number one in nine countries. In the U.S., it went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970 and the band sold 13.5 million discs by 1973, but the group disbanded in 1974. (Source: Wikipedia)
I’m a Man by the Spencer Davis Group
The Spencer Davis Group are an Anglo Welsh rock band formed in Birmingham in 1963, by Spencer Davis with Steve Winwood and his brother, Muff Winwood.
Steve Winwood left in 1967 to form Traffic before joining Blind Faith, then forging a career as a solo artist. After releasing a few more singles, the band ceased activity in 1968. They briefly reunited from 1973 to 1974, and Davis has since restarted a new group in 2006.
“I’m a Man” is a song written by the group’s singer-songwriter Steve Winwood and record producer Jimmy Miller. The original recording was a fast, Hammond organ-driven blues rock track released as a single by the Spencer Davis Group in early 1967, reaching number nine in the UK Singles Chart and number 10 in the U.S. (the US edition was slightly edited) Billboard Hot 100. It was the last hit single by the band before the brothers Steve and Muff Winwood left to pursue their own separate careers. (Source: Wikipedia)
Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group
“Gimme Some Lovin'” is a song written by Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis and Muff Winwood, although solely credited to “Steve Winwood” on the UK single label, and originally performed by The Spencer Davis Group and was a 1966 hit.
Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire
Barry McGuire (born October 15, 1935) is an American singer-songwriter best known for the hit song “Eve of Destruction”, and later as a pioneering singer and songwriter of contemporary Christian music.
“Eve of Destruction” is a protest song written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964. Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. This recording was made between July 12 and July 15, 1965 and released by Dunhill Records. The accompanying musicians were top-tier LA session players: P. F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector’s “Wrecking Crew”) on drums, and Larry Knechtel on bass. The vocal track was thrown on as a rough mix and was not intended to be the final version, but a copy of the recording “leaked” out to a DJ, who began playing it. The song was an instant hit and as a result the more polished vocal track that was at first envisioned was never recorded.
McGuire’s single hit #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the UK Singles Chart in September 1965.
McGuire mentioned that “Eve of Destruction” was recorded in one take on a Thursday morning (from words scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper), and he got a call from the record company at 7:00 the following Monday morning, telling him to turn on the radio—his song was playing.
Barry McGuire became a born-again Christian, and as a result renounced the song for many years, refusing to perform it. Though he is now known primarily as a singer of contemporary Christian songs, McGuire has resumed singing “Eve of Destruction” in recent years, often updating the lyrics to refer to such events as the Columbine High School massacre.
Barry McGuire updated the lyrics when he performed at a reunion of folksingers, with the line about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches replaced by the words “Columbine, Colorado”, referring to the student massacre of 1999. On March 12, 2008, McGuire appeared on the Australian music comedy/game show Spicks and Specks, performing an updated version of “Eve of Destruction”, with new lines such as “You’re old enough to kill/ you just started voting” and “…can live for ten years in space”. The reference to “Red China” was also removed, and in its place were the more generic “Now think of all the hate, still living inside us/ it’s never too late, to let love guide us”. (Source: Wikipedia)
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by Harper’s Bizarre
Harpers Bizarre was an American sunshine pop band of the 1960s, best known for their Broadway/sunshine pop sound and their remake of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).”
“The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” is a song by folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel, appearing on their 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. “59th Street Bridge” is the colloquial name of the Queensboro Bridge in New York City. The song’s message is immediately delivered in its opening verse: “Slow down, you move too fast”.
A popular cover version from 1967 was recorded by Harpers Bizarre, reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their version featured a harmonic choral a cappella section and a wind quartet with a flute, oboe, clarinet and a bassoon. (Source: Wikipedia)
In the Year 2525 by Zagar & Evans
“In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)” is a 1969 hit song by the American pop-rock duo of Dennis Zager and Rick Evans. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks commencing July 12, 1969. It peaked at number one in the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in August and September that year. The song was written and composed by Rick Evans in 1964 and originally released on a small regional record label (Truth Records) in 1968. Zager and Evans disbanded in 1971.
The overriding theme, of a world doomed by its passive acquiescence to and overdependence on its own overdone technologies, struck a resonant chord in millions of people around the world in the late 1960s.
The song describes a nightmarish vision of the future as man’s technological inventions gradually dehumanize him. It includes a reference to the Second Coming. (In the year 7510, if God’s a-coming, He ought to make it by then.)
Interestingly, “The song was included in the controversial 2001 Clear Channel memorandum, a document distributed by Clear Channel Communications to every radio station owned by the company. The list consisted of 165 songs considered by Clear Channel to be “lyrically questionable” following the September 11, 2001 attacks.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Spinning Wheel by Blood Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears is a contemporary jazz-rock American music group. They are noted for their combination of brass and rock band instrumentation. They were originally formed in 1967 in New York City. Since their beginnings, the band has gone through numerous iterations with varying personnel and has encompassed a multitude of musical styles. The band is most notable for fusing of rock, blues, pop music, horn arrangements and jazz improvisation into a hybrid that came to be known as “jazz-rock”. The songs of Blood, Sweat & Tears merged the stylings of rock, pop and R&B/soul music with big band, while also adding elements of 20th Century Classical and small combo jazz traditions.
“Spinning Wheel” is the title of a popular song from 1969 by the band Blood, Sweat & Tears. The song was written by the band’s Canadian lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas and appears on their self-titled album.
Released as a single in 1969, “Spinning Wheel” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July of that year, remaining in the runner-up position for three weeks. In August of that year, the song topped the Billboard easy listening chart for two weeks. It was also a crossover hit, reaching #45 on the US R&B chart.
“Spinning Wheel” was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 1970 ceremony, winning in the category Best Instrumental Arrangement. The arranger for the song was the band’s saxophonist, Fred Lipsius. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year; the album won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
Clayton-Thomas was quoted as describing the song as being “written in an age when psychedelic imagery was all over lyrics…it was my way of saying, ‘Don’t get too caught up, because everything comes full circle’.” (Source: Wikipedia)
A Beautiful Morning by the Rascals
“A Beautiful Morning” is a song written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and recorded by The Rascals. Coming out in early 1968, it was the group’s first single released under that name rather than The Young Rascals. The first album on which the song appeared was Time Peace: The Rascals’ Greatest Hits. It continued the theme of carefree optimism that had distinguished the previous year’s “Groovin'”. The song was a big hit in the United States, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also reaching number 36 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. It was RIAA-certified as a Million Seller on June 28, 1968. The song had an introductory sound of mystical wind chimes and bells. (Source: Wikipedia)
Wild Thing by the Troggs
“Wild Thing” is a song written by Chip Taylor. Originally recorded by American band The Wild Ones in 1965, “Wild Thing” is best known for its 1966 cover by the English band The Troggs, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966. The song peaked at No. 2 in Britain.
As performed by The Troggs, “Wild Thing” is ranked #261 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers
The Chambers Brothers are an American soul band, best known for its eleven-minute long 1968 hit “Time Has Come Today”. The group was part of the wave of new music that integrated American blues and gospel traditions with modern psychedelic and rock elements. Their music has been kept alive through heavy use in film soundtracks.
“Time Has Come Today” is the hit single written by Willie & Joe Chambers. The single was released in 1968. Although the single never quite reached the top ten in America, spending five weeks at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the fall of 1968, it is now considered one of the landmark rock songs of the psychedelic era.
Various effects were employed in its recording and production, including the alternate striking of two cow bells producing a “tick-tock” sound, warped throughout most of the song by reverb, echo and changes in tempo. It also quotes several bars from “The Little Drummer Boy” at 5:40 in the long version. The song blends a fusion of psychedelic rock, soul and acid rock with its use of the guitar’s fuzz/distortion. (Source: Wikipedia)
Here is an interesting video put together by someone with strong political views. He served in Vietnam and showcases a great photo montage. No matter your political views, this is a great uncut version of this song:
The Letter by the Box Tops
“The Letter” is a popular song, written and composed by Wayne Carson Thompson, which was a US #1 hit in 1967 for the Box Tops. The Box Tops were an American rock band, formed in Memphis in 1963. They are best known for the hits “The Letter”, “Cry Like a Baby”, and “Soul Deep” and are considered a major blue-eyed soul group of the period.
The Letter by Joe Cocker – “The Letter” has been covered in over 200 different versions! It was also recorded and covered by Joe Cocker, who brought back the popularity of the song in 1970 with the release of his live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
Windy by The Association
The Association is an American pop band from California in the folk rock or soft rock genre. During the 1960s, they had numerous hits at or near the top of the Billboard charts (including “Windy”, “Cherish”, and “Along Comes Mary”) and were the lead-off band at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival.
“Windy” is a pop music song written by Ruthann Friedman and recorded by The Association. Released in 1967, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of that year. Later in 1967, an instrumental version by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery became his biggest Hot 100 hit when it peaked at #44. “Windy” was The Association’s second U.S. number-one, following “Cherish” in 1966. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 4 song for 1967.
According to rumor, the original lyrics by Ruthann Friedman were about a man and The Association changed them to be about a woman.
Along Comes Mary by The Association
“Along Comes Mary” is a song composed by Tandyn Almer, originally recorded in 1966 by the Association, and released on their debut album And Then… Along Comes the Association. It was their first hit and reached number seven on the U.S. charts. “Mary” in the song’s title subtly refers to marijuana.
City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie
“City of New Orleans” is a folk song written by Steve Goodman (and first recorded for Goodman’s self-titled 1971 album), describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central Railroad’s City of New Orleans in bittersweet and nostalgic terms.
Goodman got the idea while traveling on the Illinois Central line for a visit to his wife’s family. The song has been recorded by numerous artists both in the US and Europe.
While at the Quiet Knight bar in Chicago, Goodman saw Arlo Guthrie, and asked to be allowed to play a song for him. Guthrie grudgingly agreed, on the condition that if Goodman would buy him a beer, Guthrie would listen to him play for as long as it took to drink the beer. Goodman played “City of New Orleans,” which Guthrie liked enough that he asked to record it. The song was a hit for Guthrie on his 1972 album Hobo’s Lullaby, reaching #4 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart and #18 on the Hot 100 chart, and is now more closely associated with him, although Goodman continued to perform it until his death in 1984.
Here is that great folk rock classic:
How Long (Has This Been Going On?) by Ace:
“How Long” is a 1974 song by the British group Ace from their album Five-A-Side. It reached No. 3 in the US and Canadian charts, and No. 20 in the UK chart. Lead singer Paul Carrack composed the song upon discovering that bassist Terry Comer had been secretly working with other bands. Comer returned to Ace in time to play on the song. (I always thought the song was about infidelity, as do most people).
To Be Continued…