One Hit Wonders and Other Songs that I Forgot

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.[citation needed]
  • 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…

 

 

Music and Words Award #MWA

music-and-words-award-jpg

I was recently awarded with the Music and Words Award by Mary from Jingle Jangle Jungle, a fabulous blog about music, artists and the stories behind them. Thanks Mary!

The Music & Words Award was created by blogger, Miss Andi, to acknowledge and link people who love music so much that they blog about it. She gives out 5 awards each Friday. The purpose is to feature great music blogs from all over the world and artists from all genres.

Once the award is accepted, there are five steps:

  1. Link back to the person who nominated you
  2. Answer the questions with words AND music
  3. Pass the award on to 5 bloggers who inspire you with their posts about music
  4. Tag your post with #MWA, for Music&Words Award so that we can all find you down the line
  5. Quote these 5 steps and the award icon in your post. You can display the icon on your sidebar as well.

Q1: What does music mean to you?

To me, music is art. A form of art that so powerfully evokes emotion and, to me, is the #1 elicitor of memories. Music takes me back in time and can stir deep emotions. It can make me laugh, it can make me cry; it can put me in melancholy moods or it can put me on a high. Mostly music makes me happy.

I enjoy all types of music but for the most part, I’m a classic rock ‘n roller. Here’s a few of my favorite songs about music:

Playlist:

Listen to the Music by the Doobie Brothers

It’s Only Rock & Roll by the Rolling Stones

I Love Rock & Roll by Joan Jett

Long Live Rock by The Who

Rock & Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution by AC/DC

Word Up! by Cameo

Jazz Man by Carole King

Roll Over Beethoven by Chuck Berry

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. by John Mellencamp

Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger

Let There Be Rock by AC/DC

 

Q2: What is your first music-related memory?

I used to rummage through my older brother’s record collection and I remember pouring over the album pictures and liner notes while listening to the Beatles, the Monkees and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.  Another memory that sticks out in my mind is the first time I ever heard Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia. We went to visit some family friends and there was this boy there who I was crushing on. The song had just been released and he kept playing the record over and over. That must have been 1970. I would’ve been 7 or 8 at the time.

Before that, I remember singing and dancing to the children’s albums that I had. I wish I could remember the titles of them…

Q3: What was the first album you’ve purchased yourself?

I used to use my allowance to buy 45 records. Every week I got to buy one record so I had tons of those. I wish I still had them! As far as a full album goes, I believe it was Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and playing Bitter Fingers over and over.

 

Q4: What was the latest music you purchased? (No online streaming or free downloads, I’m talking about cash here!)

I was downloading yet another song from iTunes… Luke Bryan’s Play It Again:

 

Q5: Which song did you listen to last? (No cheating, come out with the dirty pleasures!)

If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free by Sting

 

NOMINATIONS:

Here are the bloggers to whom I’m passing on the Music & Words Award. No one is obligated to participate and some may already be participating. In any event, be sure to visit their blogs. They all have some great posts featuring music:

Debbie from The Doglady’s Den

Arlee Bird from Tossing It Out

Shady from Shady Dell Music & Memories

John Horton from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Jeffrey from J.A. Scott

 

Thanks again Mary. This was fun!

 

Z is for the Zombies and Z Z Top!

Z

DISCLAIMER THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2015 PAGES:

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…

Wow, today is the last day of the A-Z Challenge! And it all comes down to this:

Z is for the Zombies – The Zombies are an English rock band, formed in 1961 in St Albans, England, and led by Rod Argent (piano, organ and vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals). The group scored British and American hits in 1964 with “She’s Not There”. In the US two further singles, “Tell Her No” in 1965 and “Time of the Season” in 1969, were also successful. Their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (Source: Wikipedia)

She’s Not There – This song was released in 1964 as their debut single and reached #12 in the UK charts:

Tell Her No –  Rod Argent’s “Tell Her No” became another big seller in the United States in 1965, peaking at No.6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1967 the Zombies signed to CBS Records and they recorded the album Odessey and Oracle (odyssey was accidentally misspelled by Terry Quirk, an art teacher who designed the cover). But by the time Odessey and Oracle was released in April 1968, the group had disbanded (in December 1967). The album sold poorly and was given a US release only because musician Al Kooper, then signed to Columbia Records, convinced his label of the album’s merits. One of its tracks, “Time of the Season”, written by Argent, was released as a single and eventually (1969) became a nationwide hit (Billboard Hot 100 peak position: No.3).

Time of the Season

After the Zombies disbanded, Rod Argent formed a band called Argent in 1969, with Chris White as a non-performing songwriter. Atkinson worked in A&R at Columbia Records and Grundy joined him there after a brief spell in auto sales. Colin Blunstone started a solo career after a brief period outside the music business, including working in the burglary claims section of an insurance company. Both Argent and White provided him with new songs. He also did studio vocals for The Alan Parsons Project.

 

 

And finally:

Z is for ZZ Top – I have been a fan of ZZ Top since their 1972 Tres Hombres album. My brother turned me on to their Texas boogie rock and I was hooked immediately. It ZZ Top stubwas cool then that my brother took me to see them back in 1983 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Interestingly (for me, that is), Sammy Hagar opened for ZZ Top and kicked off his set with Bad Motor Scooter, a Montrose song that always reminds me of my brother.

So who are these bad boys from Texas? “ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band comprises guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons (the band’s leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), bassist and co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. One of the few major label recording groups to have held the same lineup for more than forty years, ZZ Top has been praised by critics and fellow musicians alike for their technical mastery. Of the group, music writer Cub Koda said “As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers; Gibbons is one of America’s finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom […] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.”

Since the release of the band’s debut album in January 1971, ZZ Top has become known for its strong blues roots and humorous lyrical motifs, relying heavily on double entendres and innuendo. ZZ Top’s musical style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired rock on their early albums, then incorporating new wave, punk rock and dance-rock, with heavy use of synthesizers. One of the best-selling musical artists in history, the band has had global album sales in excess of 50 million as of 2014.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are a few bits of ZZ Top Trivia for you:

In 1985, they turned down a $1 million offer to appear in a Gillette razor commercial, which would have required Gibbons and Hill to shave their beards. They claimed they were too ugly to be seen without them. According to Gibbons, “The prospect of seeing oneself clean shaven in the mirror is too close to a Vincent Price film…A prospect not to be contemplated, no matter the compensation.”

On the official ZZ Top website, I discovered another interesting tidbit: ZZ Top had to quit playing their song Just Got Paid (from their 1972 Rio Grande Mud album) at concerts because every time they played it, fans would throw coins on the stage. And apparently getting pelted with coins kinda hurts! They’d typically end up with about $50 in change on the stage after playing that song. They took the song out of their set lineup for quite a while. Now it’s back in as the coin-throwing phase has passed.

And if you’ve ever wondered where they got their name: According to TodayIFoundOut.com, “the name ZZ Top, according to band member Billy Gibbons, came from a tribute to B.B. King. The band was originally going to call themselves “Z.Z. King” in King’s honor [and a nod to Z.Z. Hill as well, but they decided it was too similar to B.B. King. Since B.B. King was at the “top” of the Blues world, they changed it to ZZ Top.”

There are so many ZZ Top songs that I like and since this is the only band that I’m posting about, I’m going to include a bunch of videos. So sit back and enjoy some boogie and blues from “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas”:

Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – ultimately, my favorite ZZ Top song, set to this cool motorcycle montage video:

Hot, Blue and Righteous – (audio only):

Jesus Just Left Chicago – Live at the Crossroads Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2010:

La Grange –  photo montage video:

Blue Jean Blues – Live at Gilford, 2007 (video ©U.S.Cellular Pavilion,NH USA)

Balinese – photo montage video of the Balinese Ballroom in Galveston, TX:

Mexican Blackbird – ZZ Top photo montage video

Tush – Live performance in 2014:

I Thank You – a photo montage video:

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – a lyric video:

Cheap Sunglasses – a 1980 performance on BBC’s guitar heroes show:

Tube Snake Boogie – live performance at Rockpalast in Germany, April 1980:

Pearl Necklace – photo montage video:

Party on the Patio – 1983 performance for Sweden TV, right before the release of the Eliminator album:

Gimme All Your Lovin – official music video:

You Got Me Under Pressure – live at the Hellfest in Clisson, France on June 22nd, 2013:

Sharp Dressed Man – Official music video:

I Need You Tonight – a lyric video:

Legs – Official music video (from Rhino); I had that keychain that is featured in the video. I have no idea where it is but I’m sure it’s in my house somewhere…

Thug – audio only:

TV Dinners – official music video:

Sleeping Bag – official music video:

Stages – official music video:

Rough Boy – official music video:

My Head’s in Mississippi – official music video:

Doubleback – official music video:

Give It Up – official music video:

Arrested for Driving While Blind – Live at Rockpalast April 1980 in Germany:

 

So that’s it for the Letter Z. And that’s it for the Blogging A-Z Challenge! Wow, what a ride, huh? It’s been a blast exploring the soundtracks of my life and I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have this last month. 

Thanks so much for joining me on this musical tour of my life. All the posts have been compiled and indexed on one page (see the 2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge Collection) so please come back and visit soon! I’ve loved having you all here. Happy Trails! And as always, Rock On…

Y is for the Yardbirds, Yes and the Youngbloods

DISCLAIMER THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2015 PAGES:

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…

 

Y is for the Yardbirds – “The Yardbirds is an English rock band that had a string of hits in the mid-1960s, including “For Your Love”, “Over Under Sideways Down” and “Heart Full of Soul”. The group is notable for having started the careers of three of rock’s most famous guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, all of whom are in the top five of Rolling Stone’s 100 Top Guitarists list (Clapton at No. 2, Page at No. 3 and Beck at No. 5). A blues-based band that broadened its range into pop and rock, the Yardbirds had a hand in many electric guitar innovations of the mid-1960s, such as feedback, “fuzztone” distortion and improved amplification. Pat Pemberton, writing for Spinner, holds that the Yardbirds were “the most impressive guitar band in rock music”.[2] After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, their lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin.” (Wikipedia)

For Your Love – 1965 performance:

Heart Full of Soul – album cover photo montage video:

I’m a Man – a 1964 performance (with Eric Clapton):

Over Under Sideways Down – live (not sure of the date):

Shapes of Things – recorded in a sports stadium for French TV in 1966:

 

 

 

Y is for Yes – Yes reminds me of high school summer school. I went to summer school two years in a row, so I could get class credits and graduate early, which I did, one full year early. The first summer school, I took a history class with two of my hang-out buddies, Joe and Mike. Mike was a huge Yes fan and he turned Joe and I onto songs we didn’t know from Yes. Every time I hear a Yes song, it takes me back to those warm summer days sitting in a high school classroom, goofing off with my friends and getting yelled at by Mr. Letourneau…

“Yes is an English rock band that achieved success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. They are distinguished by their use of mystical and cosmic lyrics, live stage sets and lengthy compositions, often with complex instrumental and vocal arrangements.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Although I wasn’t a Yes fan to the degree that my friend Mike was, I did like most of the songs that got commercial airplay and there are a few songs that I will crank up when they come on:

Going for the One

I’ve Seen All Good People – performance at the Beat Club in 1971:

Perpetual Change – from “The Yes Album” released in 1971:

Long Distance Run Around

Owner of a Lonely Heart – music video

Leave It – music video:

Wonderous Stories – music video:

Yours is No Disgrace – recorded live at the Rainbow Theatre December 1972

Roundabout – Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK. Dec 15 & 16, 1972 (‘Close to the Edge’ Tour):

Starship Trooper

It Can Happen – June 24, 1984 at Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany

 

Y is for the Youngbloods –  an American folk rock band consisting of Jesse Colin Young (vocals, bass), Jerry Corbitt (guitar), Lowell Levinger, nicknamed “Banana” (guitar and electric piano), and Joe Bauer (drums). Despite receiving critical acclaim, they never achieved widespread popularity. Their only U.S. Top 40 entry was the song Get Together. I love this song:

(studio version, audio only):

This is a slower version of the song, with fabulous video footage from (I think) Woodstock:

Here they are performing on a TV show (not sure which one) in 1970, combining the songs Get Together and Sunlight in their performance set:

Here’s Darkness, Darkness, a neat song from their 1969 album Elephant Mountain:

Here’s their performance of Grizzly Bear, with an introduction by Dick Clark. The interview discusses the song as well as some tidbits about the band members. Airdate: January 14, 1967 (video quality not great but it’s a wonderful snapshot of the past):

 

 

That’s it for the Letter Y. Hope you enjoyed these three bands that I showcased. What songs did you like best that I posted here? Who are your favorite Y bands?

 

 

W is for Wild Cherry, War, the Who and Warren Zevon!

DISCLAIMER THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2015 PAGES:

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…

 

Because I’m in a disco kind of mood –which doesn’t happen very often- I’ll start this letter off with Wild Cherry.

W is for Wild Cherry Wild Cherry was an American funk-rock band best known for their 1976 hit Play That Funky Music. The song ended up being a number one hit but that was the only hit the band ever had. Their subsequent singles and albums failed to chart. I guess you could say they were a One Hit Wonder, right? It’s a shame too, because they had some serious momentum going after Play That Funky Music:

From Wikipedia: “”Play That Funky Music” became a huge hit when released in 1976, peaking at number one on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. Both the single and Wild Cherry’s self-titled debut album went platinum. “Play That Funky Music” was No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 3 weeks. The band was named Best Pop Group of the Year by Billboard, and received an American Music Award for Top R&B Single of the Year, as well as a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Vocal Group and Best R&B Performance by a Group or Duo that year, adding to their success.”

Here’s Wild Cherry performing the hit Play That Funky Music on the Midnight Special in 1976:

 

 

 

W is for War – “War (originally called Eric Burdon and War) is an American funk band from California, known for the hit songs “Low Rider”, “Spill the Wine”, “Summer”, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”, “The Cisco Kid”, and “The World Is a Ghetto”. Formed in 1969, War was a musical crossover band which fused elements of rock, funk, jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues, and reggae. The band also transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up.

Although War’s lyrics are often socio-political in nature, their music usually had a laid-back, California funk vibe. A particular feature of War’s sound is the use of harmonica and saxophone playing melody lines in unison, sounding like a single instrument, for example in the melody of “Low Rider”.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Eric Burdon and War toured all over the US and Europe. Here’s a bit of trivia: “Their show at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London on September 18, 1970 is historically notable for being the very last public performance for Jimi Hendrix, who joined them onstage for the last 35 minutes of Burdon & War’s 2nd set; a day later he was dead.” Source: Wikipedia 

Low Rider – This is a fun low-rider video:

Cisco Kid – a 1973 performance on the Midnight Special:

Why Can’t We Be Friends? – Here’s a flashback video from the vault on VH1:

Spill the Wine – here’s a September 26, 1970 performance Live at the Beat Club:

Summer – I like this song, not only because it’s evokes images of summer but the lyrics mention “Ridin’ around town with all your windows down, 8-track playing all your favorite sounds” – that was me over a number of summers. My poor 8-track in my ’71 Monte Carlo got a workout for sure.

 

 

W is for The Who – I saw the Who in concert sometime in the late 80s or the early 90s. I can’t find my concert ticket stub. I may not have even had one. I worked at WCXR, Washington DC’s Classic Rock station and we were presenting the Who, made possible because the station’s owners decided it was worth it to buy out the stadiums in all the cities in which they had rock stations in order to be the concert presenter and give away tickets on-air to countless lucky listeners. WCXR literally bought every single seat in RFK Stadium just so we could say on air that “WCXR Brings You the Who”. How cool is that? If I am remembering correctly, I believe we also bought all the parking spaces so when people came to the show, they would pull up to park only to find out that WCXR had paid for their parking. I’m almost positive it was the Who concert that we did that for; if not we did it for some other concert at RFK. Yeah, I worked for a very cool radio station. While it was owned by two guys, that is. Once they sold to a corporation things really changed. No longer could decisions be made with a single phone call. That’s exactly how it went down with the Who concert. I think our Music Director came up with the idea and our station manager called the owners and said, “Hey, how about we spend a couple hundred thousand dollars and buy out every seat in RFK Stadium so we can be the concert presenter?” About an hour later the station’s owner calls back and says, It’s a Go. And by the way, we’re going to do it in Philadelphia and Detroit too!” Now that’s some powerful dudes with some big cash. Working for the station while they owned it was super fun. Then they sold their group of stations to a big radio conglomerate (Group W Radio) and everything changed. A simple request seemed to take an act of Congress, for God’s sake. There was always a lengthy chain of command and so many rules and regulations. It just got to me after a while. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not big on corporations…and I’m not big on rules either. I think rules are made to be bent. Not necessarily broken, but bent on occasion.

Anywho, I saw the Who. It was fun. So just who are The Who? “The Who is an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century…
The Who developed from an earlier group, the Detours, and established themselves as part of the pop art and mod movements, featuring auto-destructive art by destroying guitars and drums on stage. Their first single as the Who, “I Can’t Explain”, reached the UK top ten, followed by a string of singles including “My Generation”, “Substitute” and “Happy Jack”. In 1967, they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and released the US top ten single “I Can See for Miles”, while touring extensively. The group’s fourth album, 1969’s rock opera Tommy, included the single “Pinball Wizard” and was a critical and commercial success. Live appearances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival, along with the live album Live at Leeds, cemented their reputation as a respected rock act. With their success came increased pressure on lead songwriter and visionary Townshend, and the follow-up to Tommy, Lifehouse, was abandoned. Songs from the project made up 1971’s Who’s Next, which included the hit “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. The group released the album Quadrophenia in 1973 as a celebration of their mod roots, and oversaw the film adaptation of Tommy in 1975. They continued to tour to large audiences before semi-retiring from live performances at the end of 1976. The release of Who Are You in 1978 was overshadowed by the death of Moon shortly after.

Kenney Jones replaced Moon and the group resumed activity, releasing a film adaptation of Quadrophenia and the retrospective documentary The Kids Are Alright. After Townshend became weary of touring, the group split in 1982. The Who occasionally re-formed for live appearances such as Live Aid in 1985, a 25th anniversary tour in 1989 and a tour of Quadrophenia in 1996. They resumed regular touring in 1999, with drummer Zak Starkey. After Entwistle’s death in 2002, plans for a new album were delayed. Townshend and Daltrey continued as the Who, releasing Endless Wire in 2006, and continued to play live regularly.

The Who’s major contributions to rock music include the development of the Marshall stack, large PA systems, use of the synthesizer, Entwistle and Moon’s lead playing styles, and the development of the rock opera. They are cited as an influence by several hard rock, punk rock and mod bands, and their songs still receive regular exposure.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are 20 of my favorite Who songs! :

Baba O’Riley – How many people thought the name of this song was “Teenage Wasteland”? I did. I even got into an argument over it. I used to be so hard-headed! I’ve learned along the way that it’s okay to be wrong and it’s okay to admit that you don’t know something. I still don’t get why the song is called Baba O’Riley though…

(Wikipedia says “the title of the song is derived from the combination of the song’s philosophical and musical influences, Meher Baba and Terry Riley.”) So, there you go…

From the Classic Rock Hits YouTube channel, here’s the official Baba O’Riley video:

Bargain – here’s a lyric video:

Getting In Tune – a great photo-montage video:

Going Mobile – another photo-montage video:

Behind Blue Eyes – Live December 28th, 1979 at Hammersmith Odeon, London

Won’t Get Fooled Again

I Can’t Explain – Here’s a great video of the early Who:

I Can See for Miles – a 1968 performance from Melody Varieties

Pinball Wizard – from 1975’s movie Tommy, featuring Elton John. Pinball Wizard was featured on the Who’s 1969 rock opera album Tommy. The original recording was released as a single in 1969 and reached No. 4 in the UK charts and No. 19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100:

Magic Bus

I’m Free – Live in 1977:

The Seeker – from 1970:

See Me, Feel Me – Live at Woodstock, 1969

Join Together

Love Reign Over Me – from the Live Aid concert, introduced by Jack Nicholson:

Squeeze Box –  photo-montage video:

Slip Kid – a lyrics video:

Who Are You

You Better You Bet – music video with an MTV promo lead-in

Eminence Front – a VH1 Classic video:

 

W is for Warren Zevon – (January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003) “Warren Zevon was an American rock singer-songwriter and musician. He was known for the dark and somewhat outlandish sense of humor in his lyrics.

Zevon’s work has often been praised by well-known musicians, including Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. His best-known compositions include “Werewolves of London”, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and “Johnny Strikes Up the Band”, all of which are featured on his third album, Excitable Boy.” (1978 album produced by Jackson Browne and guitarist Waddy Wachtel).

Werewolves of London:

Zevon was a regular guest on the David Letterman show. Here he performs two songs on the show in 1988:

Trouble and Lawyers, Guns & Money

“In interviews, Zevon described a lifelong phobia of doctors and said he seldom received medical assessment. Shortly before playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2002, he started feeling dizzy and developed a chronic cough. After a period of suffering with pain and shortness of breath, Zevon was encouraged by his dentist to see a physician; he was diagnosed with inoperable peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the abdominal lining that is associated with exposure to asbestos). Although Zevon never revealed where he may have been exposed to asbestos, his son Jordan suggests that it came from Zevon’s childhood, playing in the attic of his father’s carpet store in Arizona. Refusing treatments he believed might incapacitate him, Zevon instead began recording his final album, The Wind, which includes guest appearances by close friends including Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, David Lindley, Billy Bob Thornton, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, and others. At the request of the music television channel VH1, documentarian Nick Read was given access to the sessions; his cameras documented a man who retained his mordant sense of humor, even as his health was deteriorating over time.

On October 30, 2002, Zevon was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman as the only guest for the entire hour. The band played “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” as his introduction. Zevon performed several songs and spoke at length about his illness. Zevon had been a frequent guest and occasional substitute bandleader on Letterman’s television shows since Late Night was first broadcast in 1982. He noted, “I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years.” It was during this broadcast that, when asked by Letterman if he knew something more about life and death now, he first offered his oft-quoted insight on dying: “Enjoy every sandwich.” He also took time to thank Letterman for his years of support, calling him “the best friend my music’s ever had”. For his final song of the evening, and his final public performance, Zevon performed “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” at Letterman’s request. In the green room after the show, Zevon presented Letterman with the guitar that he always used on the show, with a single request: “Here, I want you to have this, take good care of it.”

The day after Zevon’s death, Letterman paid tribute to Zevon by replaying his performance of “Mutineer” from his last appearance. The Late Show band played Zevon’s songs throughout the night.

Zevon stated previously that his illness was expected to be terminal within months after the diagnosis in the fall of 2002; however, he lived to see the birth of twin grandsons in June 2003 and the release of The Wind on August 26, 2003. Owing in part to the first VH1 broadcasts of Nick Read’s documentary Warren Zevon: Keep Me In Your Heart, the album reached number 12 on the US charts, Zevon’s highest placement since Excitable Boy. When his diagnosis became public, Zevon told the media that he just hoped to live long enough to see the next James Bond movie, a goal he accomplished.

Warren Zevon died on September 7, 2003, aged 56, at his home in Los Angeles, California. The Wind was certified gold by the RIAA in December 2003 and Zevon received five posthumous Grammy nominations, including Song of the Year for the ballad “Keep Me In Your Heart”. The Wind won two Grammys, with the album itself receiving the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, while “Disorder in the House”, Zevon’s duet with Bruce Springsteen, was awarded Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. These posthumous awards were the first Grammys of Zevon’s thirty-plus year career.” (Source: Wikipedia; much more about his life and career can be found here).

Keep Me In Your Heart (for a While): taken from the documentary  about the achievement of his latest album “The Wind”, 2003. Keep Me In Your Heart: Written by Warren Zevon & Jorge Calderón

 

That’s it for the Letter W. So tell us, who are your favorite bands or music artists that begin with W?