‘It Never Rains in Southern California’ by British singer/songwriter Albert Hammond was released in the US on his album of the same name by Columbia subsidiary Mums Records in 1972. It reached #5 on the Billboard charts but he never achieved the same success in the UK where he never cracked the top 40. But it is one of those memorable songs that just hangs on and still receives airplay today. Hammond wrote or co-wrote songs for a number of famous artists including The Hollies, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson and ‘One Moment in Time’, the theme song of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, performed by Whitney Houston.
“I’m out of work, I’m out of my head. Out of self respect, I’m out of bread. I’m underloved, I’m underfed, I wanna go home.”
Tim Hardin wrote ’Reason To Believe’ and released it on his first album, ‘Tim Hardin l’, (Verve Forecast label) in 1966. Hardin’s version did not chart but Rod Stewart released a very popular cover of the song on his smash hit album ‘ Every Picture Tells a Story’ released in 1971. The song was covered by many other notable artists during the 60s including Scott McKenzie, The Youngbloods, Jackie DeShannon, Marianne Faithfull, Peter Paul & Mary, Cher, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Cash. Hardin wrote and released another popular and widely covered song, ‘If I Were a Carpenter’, the following year. In 1969, he released ‘Simple Song of Freedom’ to some success and appeared at the Woodstock Festival. Erratic performances and heroin addiction derailed his career and he died of a heroin overdose in 1980 at the young age of 39 but his music is still very memorable today. Hardin’s version of ’Reason To Believe’ was included on the soundtrack of the 2000 film ‘Wonder Boys’.
“If I listened long enough to you,
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true.
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried.
Still I look to find a reason to believe.”
In 1966, Judy Collins recorded, in my opinion, the most beautiful cover of the amazing classic Lennon-McCartney ballad, ‘In My Life’ which The Beatles first released in 1965 on their album, ‘Rubber Soul’. The following year, it was released by Elektra Records on Collins’ sixth album of the same name. The song was ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in spite of the fact that none of the many covers over the years ever charted high. I also really like Chantal Kreviazuk’s cover which was used as the theme song for the TV series Providence. Collins’ album also included Leonard Cohen’s classic folk song ‘Suzanne’.
This video is from Judy Collins’ live performance on BBC in 1966:
It doesn’t seem right to post the Joan Baez version of ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ without recognizing The Turtles’ cover which launched their career and helped usher in the folk rock genre. The Turtles evolved from a California surf/rock group called The Crossfires started by Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. White Whale Records released The Turtles first album with the title ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ in 1965. Their single of ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ out-charted Bob Dylan’s original version, Joan Baez’s cover, and a cover released by Johnny Cash in 1965 on his Orange Blossom Special’ album, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. This is the version I recall hearing the most on the radio that year. The album included another top 40 single ‘Let Me Be’ and covers of two other Dylan classics, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’.
‘Bang Bang’ is a song written by Sonny Bono and released as a single by Cher in 1966. This cover by Nancy Sinatra was included on her 2nd studio album ‘How Does That Grab You?’ released by Reprise Records in 1966. It did not get much attention at the time (most of us were listening to rock and roll and British Invasion bands) but was revived when it was used in the soundtrack of the Quentin Tarantino film ‘Kill Bill Volume 1’ in 2003. It is a slow soulful rendition backed by Billy Strange on acoustic guitar. The following video was recorded for French television in 1967.
Joan Baez’s fifth album entitled Joan Baez/5 was released in 1964 by Vanguard Records and considered by some to be her best work. The album included some contemporary folk tracks highlighted by one of Dylan’s most popular songs, ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ from his ‘Another Side Of Bob Dylan’ album. Other songs from the album include ‘There But For Fortune’, written by Phil Ochs and released as a single and ‘Birmingham Sunday’ about the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, AL which was featured in the 1997 documentary film ‘4 Little Girls’.
Check out this beautiful video showcasing Baez’s amazing voice performing ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ on a 1965 “BBC In Concert” show:
Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ is one of only three albums to sell more than 50 million copies worldwide and for good reason. It was released by Harvest Records in 1973 to much acclaim and success and remained in the Billboard charts for an amazing 15 years! I own the original Canada version SMAS11163 (not sure why, they must have been selling them in Detroit). I saw them perform live at Olympia Stadium, Detroit June 23, 1973 and it is still by far the best concert I have ever seen. I often turn to music for inspired writing and there isn’t any better example than the lyrics from ‘Time’:
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day.
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town.
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today.
And then the one day you find, ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking.
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older.
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines.
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say.”
This is a video of Pink Floyd’s live performance at Earls Court, London, in 1994:
Simon and Garfunkel’s fourth studio album ‘Bookends’, released in 1968 by Columbia Records, was a worldwide hit and is ranked #233 on Rolling Stone Magazines’ list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Four singles from this album were released and all reached the Billboard charts with the huge hit ‘Mrs. Robinson’, from the classic film ‘The Graduate’, reaching #1. ‘America’ and ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’, which was written for ‘The Graduate’ but rejected, are among my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs. ‘America’ was featured in the soundtrack of the 2000 movie ‘Almost Famous’ starring Kate Hudson that provided the breakout role for Zooey Deschanel. This video is from Simon and Garfunkel’s live performance in Central Park in 1981.
“Kathy, I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh, Michigan seems like a dream to me now. It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw, I’ve gone to look for America.”
‘Highway Star’ was the opening track on Deep Purples sixth studio album ‘Machine Head’ recorded in Montreux, Switzerland and released in the US by Warner Brothers Records in 1972. Their best-selling album, it was a worldwide hit reaching #1 on the charts in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany. It was influential in the development of heavy metal music. Other hits from the album include ‘Smoke On The Water’, ‘Space Truckin’, and ‘Lazy’.
“Nobody gonna take my head, I got speed inside my brain. Nobody gonna steal my head, now that I’m on the road again. Oooh I’m in heaven again I’ve got everything. Like a moving ground an open road, and everything.”
‘Not Fade Away’ was written by rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly and he recorded it with his band The Crickets in 1957 though it never made the Billboard charts. The Rolling Stones cover of the song was their first single released in the US by London Records in 1964 and was the lead song in their first US album, ‘England’s Newest Hitmakers’ also released in 1964. The album reached #11 on the Billboard 200. Phil Spector and Gene Pitney contributed to the recording sessions. Many artists covered this seminal rock and roll song including Rush, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Tanya Tucker, James Taylor, and Sheryl Crow. The song was ranked #107 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
These images, songs, and videos are the property of the respective copyright holders and it is not my intent to distribute them. I post them here purely for sharing the enjoyment of these pop culture works of art and a little bit of nostalgic music history.
“Sliding down the karma slide,
Seems like it never ends.
When we get to the other side,
Maybe then we'll make amends.
It's the end of the line.
The end of time.
Can you feel it?”
- Lindsey Buckingham
“I only get down when my loves come through, I only get down when there’s nothing else to do. Don’t pull me around, I’m a mess, I’m a fool, I’m a seven story wreck. But my love ain’t no lie, its just screaming out of check. The one thing I still know, is how morning comes around, out on the riverview.”
- Jess Klein
PEACEFUL EASY FEELING
"I like the way your sparkling earrings lay, against your skin, it's so brown.
and I wanna sleep with you in the desert tonight, with a billion stars all around.
I get this feeling, I may know you as a lover and a friend.
But, this voice keeps whispering in my other ear, tells me I may never see you again."
- Jack Tempchin (from the Eagles song 'Peaceful Easy Feeling')
GET IT WHILE YOU CAN
" Don’t you know when you’re loving anybody, baby, you’re taking a gamble on a little sorrow, but then who cares, baby, ‘cause we may not be here tomorrow, no.
And if anybody should come along, he gonna give you any love and affection, I’d say get it while you can, hey, hey, get it while you can ..."
- Jerry Ragovoy (Janis Joplin from ‘Get It While You Can’)
LEARN TO BE STILL
“It's just another day in paradise,
As you stumble to your bed,
Give anything to silence,
These voices ringing in your head,
You thought you would find happiness,
Just over that green hill,
You thought you would be satisfied,
But you never will,
Learn to be still.
Like sheep without a shepherd,
Don't know how to be alone,
So we wander 'round this desert,
Wind up following the wrong gods home …”
- Don Henley, Stan Lynch (the Eagles from 'Learn To Be Still')
"You know what I wish?
It was just you and me.
Sitting in this corner bar.
You can tell me how you are.
I'm not going to lie.
You don't even have to speak.
If you keep looking at me.
I could go all night.
But they're turning up the lights.
It would be so easy.
To do or say anything.
But I'm not going to lie.
I won't let you in my heart.
But you are always on my mind."
- Kathleen Edwards (from ‘Goodnight, California’)
FOR YASGUR'S FARM
"Who am I but you and the sun?
A slight reflection of everyone.
Was it me who let you walk away?
Were you the one or is it we're the same?
What are we in time going by?
A simple story of a younger life.
Having dreams and somehow through the day.
We haven't come so far to lose our way.
Look at me.
I believe it's true.
You're a part of me.
I'm a part of you."
- Collins, Gardos, Laing, Pappalardi, Rea (Mountain from 'For Yasgur's Farm')
QUESTIONS 67 AND 68
“Can this love we have found within us, suddenly exist between.
Did we somehow try to make it happen, was it just a natural thing.
I'd like to know, can you tell me please don't tell me, It really doesn't matter anyhow.
It's just that the thought of us so happy, appears in my mind, as a beautifully mysterious thing.”
- Robert Lamm (Chicago from 'Questions 67 and 68')