No sooner had 1967's "summer of love" passed than it all started to unravel. In 1868 both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated. LBJ (President Lyndon Johnson) had so escalated America's involvement in the Viet Nam conflict that across the nation's campuses students were rioting, while the "war on poverty" seemed to be going nowhere. In the US the civil rights movement gave up its non-violence philosophy as it was taken over by radical extremists; in Oakland the Black Panther movement, the extremest of the extreme, was born. Richard Nixon was elected president, and Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California; both ran on strong law-and-order campaigns.
Rock music took a step back from its drug-fueled experiments of just a year before, and turned to less-experimental sounds, while the topics became angrier. Creedence Clearwater Revival was the most successful of the roots rock groups, with hits ranging from "Green River" and "Proud Mary" to the ferocious anti-Vietnam song 'Fortunate Son'. Even mainstream acts like Elvis Presley and The Supremes released protest songs. The Yardbirds broke up, and Led Zeppelin, the quintessential seventies hard rock band, grew up out of its ashes (that was also the year that the first version of Pink Floyd appeared, although it would still take a couple years of tinkering with the line-up to create the progressive-album-rock juggernaut that would reign over the FM airwaves in the next decade). Finally, the rise of the Black Power movement helped spur soul music to heights of popularity never before experienced. Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin became major stars.
Top 20 Singles of 1968
1. Those Were The Days - Mary Hopkin
Welsh songstress Mary Hopkin (right) was one of the most talented finds of The Beatles' Apple Corporation. The story goes that model Twiggy saw her performing Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn" on a TV talent show, she rang Paul McCartney and Paul rang Mary up straight away and offered her a recording contract. She agreed and within a month she had recorded "Those were The Days". She became an international celebrity when it went to No.1 on the hit charts.
Like ABBA's "Our Last Summer", it is a reflective ballad about lost love, sung with a great depth of feeling by Mary. To give "Those Were the Days" that "old country" feel, Apple's arranger Richard Hewson concocted a simple arrangement consisting of an acoustic guitar, upright bass, tuba, banjo, drums, a clarinet section, violins & violas, trumpets and an Hungarian instrument called a "cembalon". "It was an unusual instrument played with hammers, like a dulcimer. There was only one guy in England who could play one - one of my professors, Gilbert Webster. That's who's on that recording." The song was topped off by the addition of a boys choir. Hewson began working regularly for Apple through 1969, scoring Hopkin's album, Post Card, as well as her next single, "Goodbye," written and produced by Paul. The latter featured "all violas, 12 of them in fact, with no other classical instruments. That was a first!" recalls Paul.
At just over 5 minutes, "Those were The Days" is one of the longest songs to ever to make No. One and sell over eight million copies. The origins of the melody are strongly claimed by the Russians and Russian gypsies consider it their song. The name of this song seems to be "Dorogoj dlinnoju'. The first known recording of it was by Alexander Vertinsky in the 1920's. The English lyrics were written by American composer Gene Raskin in the early 1960's. The first known recording was by The Limelighters in 1963. It has been covered by many artists since, including Sandie Shaw and more recently The Three Tenors did an incredible performance of it. Paul McCartney heard Gene and Francesca Raskin singing the song in a club called the Blue Lamp in London in the mid 1960's, and after 'discovering' Mary Hopkin he remembered this song and suggested it to her, the rest as they say is history, although apparently he did offer the song to others such as Donovan, but nobody thought it suited them, that is until Mary came along.
2. Star Crossed Lovers - Neil Sedaka (right)
If Neil Sedaka had been born a bit earlier, he probably would have felt quite at home as a straight Tin Pan Alley tunesmith. Rock 'n' roll had taken over by 1960, though, so he made a niche for himself as one of the famous Brill Building's pop-oriented writers. Unlike most of the Brill Building heavyweights, he sang most of his hit records himself rather than just writing for others. By the mid-1960s, popular music had changed dramatically and the simple love song he could write standing on his head just didn't sell anymore. Keeping up with the times, Neil's songs began to take a much deeper look at love and romance, as evidenced by this thoughtful examination of falling in love with someone from the other side of the tracks.
3. Scarborough Fair / The Canticle - Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66
In Medieval England, 'Scarborough Fair' was a popular folk song that bards would sing when they travelled from town to town. Scarborough Fair was a popular gathering in Medieval times, attracting traders and entertainers from all over the country. The fair lasted 45 days and started every August 15th. In Medieval times, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues - parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage. The traditional version of the song, whose author is unknown, has many more lyrics.
The "Canticle" part of the song, originally written alone as "The Side of a Hill" and later juxtaposed with "Scarborough Fair," is an anti-war ballad. After the initial breakup with his singing partner Art Garfunkel after Simon & Garfunkel's first album bombed, Paul Simon went to live in England for a while, scratching out a living on the folk circuit. He heard 'Scarborough Fair' from Martin Carthy. Bob Dylan also heard the song from Carthy, and turned it into 'Girl from the North Country'. After Simon and Garfunkel got back together and recorded the song, Sergio Mendes (above right) & Brasil 66 had a major hit with their interpretation of it, infusing a touch of light jazz, bossa nova and rich vocal harmonies.
4. Love Is Blue (instrumental) - Paul Mauriat & his Orchestra
Paul Mauriat (right) is a French orchestra leader who specialised in light music. He is best known for "L'Amour est bleu" ("Love is Blue"), an instrumental masterpiece written by André Popp and originally recorded by Vicky Leandros. Many of Mauriat's recordings are recompositions of other composers' songs and music. However, the music stands out because of his unique style of instrument usage. Mauriat gave his final performance in 1998 in Osaka, Japan, but his orchestra keeps touring around the world and has twice travelled to China.
5. White Room - Cream
A classic song of its era about depression and hopelessness (or is it about a bad acid trip?) that is set in an empty apartment. The lyrics, which suggest a long-ago romantic romp, poignant in retrospect, that are now being resurrected in another woman, were written by a beat poet named Pete Brown, who was a friend of Cream bass player Jack Bruce. Brown also wrote the words for "Sunshine Of Your Love" and "I Feel Free". Brown recalls: "It was a miracle it worked, considering it was me writing a monologue about a new flat." Clapton refused to play this after leaving Cream until 1985, when Paul Shaffer urged him to play it while he was sitting in with the band on 'Late Night With David Letterman'.
6. Macarthur Park - Richard Harris
In the summer of 1967, songwriter Jimmy Webb composed a 22-minute cantata that ended with a seven-minute coda called 'MacArthur Park'. He offered it to Bones Howe, who produced The Association, for possible inclusion on the group's fourth LP. Howe loved it, but the group did not want to give up half the album for Webb's project, so they rejected it, and somehow Richard Harris picked it up. Harris was an actor, not a singer. His performance on this was essentially "acting," though, he "read" the lyrics with a great deal of drama, having recorded it shortly after starring in the movie, Camelot.
The song must sound a little pretentious to today's audiences, but it was revolutionary at the time, especially at that length (remember that contemporary music back then was largely limited to three-minute singles on AM radio). And while Richard Harris is about as much of a singer as Rex Harrison was in My Fair Lady, the lyrics and orchestration are incredibly moving. What does it all mean? It describes a love affair that is over too soon for at least one of the lovers. Some say it is a poem and therefore is not meant to be read literally but interpreted by each person personally. And what does Jimmy Webb say the song was about? He's never said much, but what he has said indicates he wrote it about nothing in particular, which might explain why it makes little sense! Why call it 'Macarthur Park'? That's the name of a park in Los Angeles renown for its drug dealers, gang bangers and prostitution ... which might give just an inkling as to what it's really about.
7. To Sir With Love - Lulu (right)
This was the title song for a British made film of the same name. It stars Sidney Poitier as an engineer awaiting a posting who takes on a temporary job teaching teens from a rough neighbourhood in London's East End. Scottish born Lulu (real name Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie) OBE, who starred in the film as well as singing the title song, turned the single into her second No.1 hit and follow-up to her debut hit single, "Shout", which had been released two years earlier.
She also sang the title song for the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. From 1969 to 1973, Lulu was married to pop star Maurice Gibb. The upbeat Neil Diamond composition "The Boat That I Row" on the "To Sir With Love" Epic single flip side had made the top 10 in England during the summer of 1967. In America, disc jockeys preferred the ballad "To Sir With Love", thus becoming a No.1 hit for five weeks late in 1967. Incredibly, "To Sir With Love" never became a hit in England.
8. Love Child - Diana Ross & the Supremes (right)
This was The Supremes' first number No.1 hit not composed by the team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, having been recorded after they had right Motown. In fact Motown founder Berry Gordy wrote it with staff songwriters Deke Richards, Pam Sawyer, R. Dean Taylor and Frank Wilson. Instead of writing about love, they came up with a much more controversial song about a child born to unmarried parents. A year after this song was released, The Supremes released a sequel called 'I'm Livin' In Shame', which told the story of the child growing up embarrassed by her mother, but it failed to chart. 'Love Child' was the first Motown single whose production costs exceeded $1 Million. The success of this single in America was the start of a short comeback for The Supremes after two commercially disappoining singles.
9. Honey - Bobby Goldsboro
'Honey' was written by Bobby Russell who got the idea for the song when he noticed how much a tree in his front yard had grown in four years. It tells of a woman who plants a tree, but dies a few years later. The story is told from the husband's perspective, who misses her terribly and is reminded of her every time he sees the tree. Russell was a Nashville songwriter who was briefly married to actress/singer Vicki Lawrence, and wrote her 1973 hit "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia." He also wrote "Little Green Apples" for O.C. Smith. Russell died of a heart attack in 1992. For Goldsboro, this was by far his biggest hit, staying at No.1 in the US for 5 weeks. Incidentally, this is Al Bundy's (TV's Married ... With Children) most hated song and he wouldn't be the only one to feel that way.
10. Eloise - Barry Ryan (right)
Barry Ryan, along with his brother Paul, who were identical twin sons of fifties pop singer Marion Ryan, were signed by Decca in 1965. With neat long hair and carefully selected fashionable clothes they were skillfully marketed by Decca. In 1968, Barry went solo and Paul took to songwriting. An early result of this new partnership was "Eloise", a powerful single with a melodramatic vocal style and heavily orchestrated backing. This was certainly Barry's magnum opus and he soldiered on for several years without achieving the same heights again. Sadly, Paul died of cancer in 1992, aged only 44.
11. You Keep Me Hanging On - Vanilla Fudge
The US east-coast band Vanilla Fudge didn't last long, but in their short life their star shone very brightly. 'You Keep Me Hanging On' was a minor hit in Britain in 1967, but when it was released in the US and Australia a year later, with guitars replacing the Fudge's organ domination, it was a huge hit.
12. Classical Gas (instrumental) - Mason Williams (right)
One of the all-time great guitar instrumentals, 'Classical Gas' was written and played by Mason Williams, who in 1967 was a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on US television. He loved playing guitar for relexation but his heavy script writing schedule meant he had little time for his guitar. At the end of 1966, he went home to Los Angeles and spent an entire weekend alone with his guitar. "It felt so good to get back to my old friend that I decided to compose something," recalls Williams. "I didn't really have any big plans for it, other than maybe to have a piece to play at parties when they passed the guitar around. I envisioned it as simply repertoire or "fuel" for the classical guitar, so I called it "Classical Gasoline". I began to record The Mason Williams Phonograph Record that fall and "Classical Gasoline" was one of the tunes to be included. On the parts for the session (musicians), the music copyist inadvertently abbreviated Gasoline to Gas and so that's how it actually got its title. It truly wasn't until sometime later that I realised most people were thinking that Gas meant to be hip."
14. Dream A Little Dream Of Me - Mama Cass Elliot (right)
With words & Music by Wilbur Schwandt & Fabian Andrem, 'Dream A Little Dream Of Me' was written in 1931 and has been a romantic standard sung by just about everyone ever since. Cass Elliot's was by far the best seller and most well known of all versions recorded. Born Ellen Naomi Cohen in 1941, "Mama Cass" Elliot was a member of the short-lived Californian pop group The Mamas & The Papas. After they split up, Cass went solo, recording only this single before her untimely death. She soon became a pop culture legend for how she didn't die. Initial reports from London said that she had choked to death on a sandwich, and this became an enduring rumour. In fact, an autopsy concluded that she died of a heart attack.
15. This Guy's In Love With You - Herb Alpert (right)
A rather drab sounding song (this version, anyway) that marked Alpert's temporary switch from trumpet player and bandleader to singer. Alpert started a record label with Jerry Moss in 1962, naming it A&M Records, after their last names. This song was the first No.1 hit for both Alpert and the record label. Alpert's previous material consisted of instrumental songs recorded with The Tijuana Brass Band. The song was written by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was their first No.1 pop hit in the US. Alpert first sang the song to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended for release, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.
16. Lady Madonna - The Beatles
The only Beatles single to enter the Australian top 5 in 1968, it was their last single to be released on the Parlophone label prior to The Beatles launching their own Apple label. Listen carefully and it is somewhat of a re-worked up-tempo version of 'Eleanor Rigby', with its theme of loneliness wrapped in a boppy rock arrangement remeniscent of the music of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. 'Hey Jude' was also released as a Beatles single in 1968, and though it sold well, it failed to make the top 5 in Australia.
17. Little Arrows - Leapy Lee
Leapy Lee (born born Graham Pulleyblank, which he legally changed to Lee Graham) sold 3.5 million copies of his song "Little Arrows", topping the charts in 18 countries around the world. Record sales, along with subsequent tours and cabaret shows, established Leapy as an international performer, though no further hits were forthcoming. 'Little Arrows' was prevented from going to No.1 in the UK charts by The Beatles' 'Hey Jude'. When The Beatles came off the top, Leapy had to stay at No.2 when Mary Hopkin's "Those Were The Days" leapfrogged his song into the top spot.
18. The Unicorn - The Irish Rovers (right)
This song was written by New Yorker Shel Silverstein (1930-1999), a famous children's author who was also an adult writer before, during and after he wrote for children. In fact, he was a prolific songwriter, humorist, singer, playwright, adult cartoonist, poet and author whose work has been embraced by millions of people of all ages since the early 1950s. 1970s rock group Dr Hook introduced his verse and songs to an international audience, with songs like 'Sylvia's Mother', 'Everybody's Making It Big But Me' and 'Cover Of The Rolling Stone'. 'The Unicorn' was the first international hit for the Irish folk troupe, The Irish Rovers.
19. Delilah - Tom Jones (right)
Known for his overt sexuality and exuberant live act which included wearing tight breeches and billowing shirts, Welsh born Tom Jones (real name Thomas J. Woodward) burst onto the international music scene in 1965 with the hit song, 'It's Not Unusual'. Within a few years, Jones' popularity had begun to slip, so moves were made to redesign his image into a more respectable, mature tuxedoed crooner. Tom released his most successful single ever, 'Green Green Grass of Home' (written by Claude "Curly" Putman Jr.), and it reflected his attempts to reach a much wider audience. His new repertoire included a string of hit singles and albums including 'What's New Pussycat?', 'Help Yourself' and 'Delilah'. The strategy worked, as he returned to the top of the charts worldwide.
20. Sky Pilot (Parts 1 & 2) - Eric Burdon & the Animals (right)
A powerful ballad with a strong anti-war message that hammered home the sentiments of the young people of the day who wanted out of the Vietnam War. The song tells of a Sky Pilot - the military name for a chaplain - hence the lyric "He blesses the boys as they stand in line." Genuine sound effects of fighting, gunfire and airplanes are included, along with the Royal Scot's Dragoon Guards Highland regiment pipe band. The tune they play is "All The Bluebonnets Are Over The Border", a classic Scottish war piece that was written during the Scottish Jacobite rising. It has since become the regimental tune of the King's Own Scottish Borderer's as well as a tune used by other Scottish regiments. Lead singer Eric Burdon tape-recorded them at a school without their knowledge, which resulted in him receiving an angry letter after the song was released. 'Sky Pilot' is over seven minutes long; the single was split into two parts to fit on the 45. One had to flip the record to hear the whole song. "Sky Pilot" was the first 45 rpm single to be produced in stereo.
2. I've Gotta Get A Message To You - The Bee Gees
This song was recorded by The Bee Gees after they had right Australia and were making a name for themselves in the US and Britain. Selt penned as most of their material was, this is one of the few Bee Gees recordings that sees the lead passed to each of the three brothers Gibb as the song progresses. One the album version, during the second last chorus, Maurice appears to get a frog in his throat and is heard calling in his twin brother Robin to finish the song. After this single was released, Robin right the group to embark on a relatively unsuccessful solo career, which came to an end when he returned to the Bee Gees fold in 1972.
3. If I Only Had Time - John Rowles
New Zealand born John Rowles made his career direction clear at the age of 10 when he won a talent quest singing Elivs Presley's 'All Shook Up'. In his teens, Rowles and the trio he was working with moved to Melbourne, after which he moved to Sydney to join a showband. Rowles then moved to Britain when he went solo and had a string of hits both there and in Australia; 'If I Only Had Time' was the biggest of these. His last hit single, 'Cheryl Moana Marie', was released in 1971.
4. Jamie - Johnny Farnham
Eager to move away from the novelty songs of his early career, Johnny Farnham began look for more serious songs in 1968 so as to broaden his appeal beyond his predominantly teenage audience. Two Hans Poulsen compositions - 'Jamie' and 'Rose Coloured Glasses' - became the bridges whereby Farnham successfully crossed over from being a teen sensation to a serious, consistent adult performer.
5. My Prayer / Let Your right Hand Know - The Vibrants
This single was one of two hits enjoyed by the short-lived band, The Vibrants. Coming out of Adelaide, they moved to Melbourne in July 1966 and enjoyed success with two singles (this was the second release) within their first year there. Membership changes led to the group disbanding in October 1968. "Something about youu, Baby", a driving cover of the Four Tops' "Something About You, Baby" (Jan. '67) was a Top 20 local hit in Melbourne, reaching No.17. It has since become the track for which they are best known.
6. Cinderella, Rockefella - Anne & Johnny Hawker
When bandleader Johnny Hawker married vocalist Anne Hathaway, it was only natural for them to team up and record together. The result of this musical union was 'Cinderella Rockafella', which had been a hit in Britain for another husband and wife team, Esther and Abi Ofarim. That latter's version of the novelty song rocketed to No. 1 after they appeared on television on such variety shows as Rolf Harris and Eamonn Andrews.
7. Soothe Me - Groove
Established with the intention of being a supergroup, Groove hit the jackpot from the word 'go' when their first single, 'Simon Says', topped the charts upon its release in September 1967. Five months later, they toured Australia and released their second single, 'Soothe Me'. These two songs went a long to ensuring they would win the Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds and its first prize, a trip to England.
Their failure to capitalise on their early success led to the band's demise in the following year. "Soothe Me", an infectious and swinging number which went Top Ten in most major Australian cities in March 1968, was written by soul legend Sam Cooke, who also produced the original version, which was the first US hit for The Simms Twins in 1964. Cooke cut a gospel version with The Soul Stirrers as "Lead Me Jesus" about six months later. Sam & Dave (who were strongly influenced by The Simms Twins) cut their version for Stax in 1967, and they were the source for The Groove's version. While he was in the UK with Normie Rowe, Rod Stone saw Sam & Dave perform "Soothe Me" live in London and was greatly impressed. This was during the legendary 1967 Stax-Volt European package tour that featured Sam & Dave, Arthur Conley, Booker T & the MGs and Otis Redding.
8. Cathy Come Home - The Twilights (right)
Former Adelaide band The Twilights hit the peak of their success in 1967-68, with three top ten hits - 'What's Wrong With The Way I Live', 'Young Girl' and 'Cathy Come Home'. The latter song, written by the band's lead guitarist, Terry Britten, reached No. 4 and stayed in the charts for the 12 weeks after its release at the end of November 1967. The film clip, very much in the style that made The Monkees so famous and perfected later by the Monty Python comedy troupe, has a genuine comic twist to it.
9. World - The Bee Gees
After making a film called Cucumber Castle with Spike Milligan in November 1967, the Bee Gees returned to the studio and recorded the album, Horizontal. The previously released single 'Massachusetts' appeared on it, as did 'World', which was also released as a single and went straight to No. 5. Before the year was out, the group had toured America, released three more top 20 singles ('Words', 'Jumbo' and 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You'), Robin had collapsed suffering a nervous breakdown, and Barry had announced he was quitting the group after their current commitments had been fulfilled.
It was in fact Robin who would leave, rejoining his brothers in 1972. Of the song, Barry Gibb says: "It goes 'Now I've found that the world is round and of course it rains everyday.' What we are saying is that you can't live in your own little world, because somewhere there's trouble - rain - and you must face up to it. It may be sun, flowers and beauty in England today, but it's rain and misery somewhere else. It's always raining somewhere in the world for somebody." Maurice recalls: "Vivid memories of Robin's great performance on the organ, and me playing a very compressed piano (which we also used on "Words"). A big thank you to Mike Clayton, our engineer, for helping us in the making of this epic".
10. Underneath The Arches/Friday Kind of Monday - Johnny Farnham
Even though 'Sadie' was hugely successful, Farnham was loathe to do another novelty song unless the B-side was a 'straight' song. He got his wish with his second single, which went to No. 6, which features the novelty 'Underneath The Arches' as the A-side and the straight 'Friday Kind of Monday' on the flip side. The latter was composed by the hugely successful American songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. One of their last co-writing efforts, it was recorded by Greenwich and also by a British group called The Shanes. View the video online | Eliie Greenwich's version
More Hits of 1968
Lily The Pink - The Scaffold
The British pop group The Scaffold has three claims to fame; one of them was Paul McCartney's brother (Mike McGear), one was the Liverpool poet Roger McGough, and they had a long-running No.1 hit with what most people took to be a children's song called "Lily the Pink". Attributed to tradition, it tells the story of an American business woman named Lydia Estes Pinkham who ran a medicine business.
In 1875, after her husband went bankrupt, Lydia started probably the first widely successful business run by a woman in America. Her product was a medicine for "all those painful Complaints and Weaknesses so common to our best female population." Even though Mrs. Pinkham had been in the temperance movement, as a student of phrenology she had studied human nature, and almost 20% of her concoction was alcohol, which she said acted "as [a] solvent and preservative," certainly solving many a problem and preserving not a few of her fellow citizens. Many similar medicines of the past used alcohol as the active ingredient, which was often the only way respectable women were able to enjoy the intoxicant. And during the banning of alcoholic beverages in America, especially in the 1920s, the Pinkham "medicine" enjoyed its greatest success. Incidentally, Picallilli is an English mustard and vegetable relish - hence the play on "pickled".
Although The Scaffold enjoyed success with 'Thank U Very Much' (1967) and 'Lily The Pink' (1968), these tongue-in-cheek releases contrasted Scaffold's in-concert revues and albums. Here McGough's poetry and Gorman's comedy routines were of equal importance and their versatility was confirmed on the LPs 'The Scaffold' and 'L The P'. The schoolboyish 'Gin Gan Goolie' gave the group a minor chart entry in 1969, before The Scaffold was absorbed by Grimms, a larger, if similarly constituted, act which also featured members of the Liverpool Scene. View the video online
I think It's Going To Rain Today - Randy Newman
Randy Newman's self-titled debut album, released in 1968 when the artist was 25 years old, was not received as well by critics as Newman's acclaimed 1970s albums 12 Songs, Sail Away and Good Old Boys, nor did it make any sort of impact on sales charts around the world (it was out of print for over fifteen years until it made its appearance on CD in 1995). With this album, Newman emerged as the slyest, meanest, and funniest of the post-Dylan singer/songwriters. His music was steeped in old-time Tin Pan Alley piano; his sardonic lyrics inhabited sleazy characters from the B side of Richard Nixon's America, hustlers and racists and glad-handers and backslappers.
Though it was bypassed by everyone else, the album stunned musicians, who rushed out to cover its songs, the most popular being the lonely piano ballad "I Think it's Going to Rain Today". It was popularised by Bette Midler (on the Beaches soundtrack), and covered by everyone from David Gray to Nina Simone, Judy Collins, Dusty Springfield, Neil Diamond, Brian Short (of Black Cat Bones), Dave Van Ronk, Joe Cocker, and more recently by Katie Melua. Even the reggae-band UB40 included a version on its first album. View the video online
Daydream Believer - The Monkees (right)
Lifted from the album 'The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees', this song introduced Davy Jones as lead singer. In interviews about the song, Davy has said that the conversation at the beginning of the track was him talking to engineer Chip Douglas who had a funny way of numbering the takes. The song's composer was John Stewart who was a member of The Kingston Trio from 1961 to 1967. He wrote this shortly after leaving the group and before teaming up with the pre-fame John Denver. In 1968, Stewart became the official musician of the Democratic party, which involved travelling with Senator Robert Kennedy during his Presidential campaign. In the book Monkeemania: The True Story of the Monkees, Jones recalls: "We'd done twelve songs and the thirteenth was "Daydream Believer". I said, 'That's terrible.' I was a baritone and it was in the wrong key for my voice. I'd been in the studio all day, I was tired and I'm singing these words about twelve times. Hank Cicalo, the engineer, had his own way of numbering takes so he could find them, he'd call them 1A or 2A, like that.
Anyway, all of a sudden he says '7A' over the talkback and I wasn't listening so I said 'What number is this?' and they said '7A!' in unison. That kicked me on a bit and I got it down but you can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off." The whole verbal intro go like this. Chip: "7A". Davy then asks, "What number is this Chip?" Chip & the other 3 Monkees shout: "7A!" Davy responds: "Ok, you know what I mean, like don't get excited man, it's because I'm short I know." Davy jokes that he didn't hear Chip and needed to ask again as a problem of his being short. View the video online
Brandeburg Concerto No. 3 - Walter Carlos
The world of classical music was put on its ear with the release of the album, Switched On Bach, a selection of pieces by baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, played on a brand new, still-experimental instrument, the Moog Synthesiser by Walter Carlos (who later had a sex change and became Wendy Carlos). Carlos was using a patchable modular Moog synthesizer with a different architecture than that of the Alesis Andromeda synthesizer of the same era. Each one has some advantages and disadvantages over the other but both use analog circuitry.
Switched-on Bach became an immediate success, in part because of the release of a single of the 1st Movement of Bach's Brandenberg Concerto lifted from the album. It was acclaimed as real music by musicians and the listening public alike. As a result, the Moog Synthesizer was suddenly accepted with open arms by the music business community. We witnessed the birth of a new genre of music - classical music, realised with impeccable musicianship on synthesizer and tape recorder - and the introduction to the world of classical music by a whole generation. View the video online
Mrs Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel (right)
'Mrs Robinson' was used in the movie The Graduate, starring Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, a middle age woman who seduces the much younger Dustin Hoffman. The story of The Graduate appears to be based on an event in the life of Branwell Bronte, brother of the literary Bronte sisters. Branwell was a young man searching for his life (he never found it). He got a break by getting a job as a tutor with a family, but he messed it up by having an affair with the mother - a Mrs. Lydia Robinson. According to a making of feature on The Graduate DVD, Paul Simon did not originally write a full-length version of this song, only the parts that are heard in the movie. The only part of the song that appeared in The Graduate was in fact the chorus: "And here's to you Mrs. Robinson ..."
And even that was different from the final version: The last two lines in the movie were, "Stand up tall, Mrs. Robinson, God in heaven smiles on those who pray." Besides "Mrs. Robinson" there were no new songs by the duo in the film or on the soundtrack. The new songs Simon did write for the film were in fact rejected as not being "right". Perhaps this idea miffed Simon ... but whatever the reason, the song he produced after the film was completed was not at all about the movie
After the movie became a hit, Simon finished the lyrics and the duo recorded the full version that is known today. Simon is said to have begun writing this as "Mrs. Roosevelt" long before being asked for a song for The Graduate, but changed it to "Mrs. Robinson" for the movie. He may have written this about Eleanor Roosevelt. Some of the lyrics support this, such as "We'd like to help you learn to help yourself. Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes " and "Going to the candidates debate. Laugh about it, shout about it. When you've got to choose. Ev'ry way you look at it, you lose." Roosevelt was a female rights and black rights activist, always helping everyone but herself during the Great Depression. A lot of the time she seemed to have been running the country as much as her husband, but never would have actually won the presidency because she was female. The line, "Goo goo g'joob", is Inuit (culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic coast lands) for "Living is easy with eyes closed". John Lennon also used the line in his song, 'I Am The Walrus'. He got the line from the book, Finnegan's Wake, by James Joyce. Hear the song online
Albatross - Fleetwood Mac
A guitar-based instrumental that was composed by Peter Green. The composition suggests a relaxing sea setting, with cymbals imitating the sound of waves and a dreamy solo from Green's guitar. It is notable for containing only two chords, Emaj7 and F#m, from start to finish, and could be seen as an early ambient work. It is often assumed that Green used his famous Les Paul guitar in the song. Green has revealed that it was actually his Fender Stratocaster, as there is subtle use of the vibrato bar. Green had been working on the piece for some time before the addition to the band of 18-year old guitarist Danny Kirwan. With Kirwan's input, Green completed the piece and it was recorded just two months after Kirwan joined.
Albatross has been re-released many times as a single in various countries, with many different B-sides. It has been suggested that the piece is associated with the metaphorical use of the word albatross to mean a 'wearisome burden'. The use of the word in this manner is an allusion to Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798); the title of the album it appears on, The Pious Bird of Good Omen, definitely alludes to and quotes from the Coleridge poem. This composition is one of only a few classic tracks to come out of the original lineup of Fleetwood Mac. View the video online
America - Simon & Garfunkel
This song, which appears on the S&G Bookends album, is believed to be a sequel to "Homeward Bound". In the latter, Simon is in England longing to be back in familiar territory; here, the dream has come true. He has returned to America with his long time girlfriend Kathleen Mary Chitty (the Kathy of "Kathy's song"), eager to re-discover his homeland. But he finds himself deeply confused and unsatisfied, and he doesn't know why. He just knows that something is missing, perhaps now that the American Dream has become a reality (S&G were the top US recording artists when he wrote the lyrics), it's not quite what he expected it to be - the reality of "America" the dream versus "America" the reality begins to dawn. Kathy and Paul met at the very first coffeehouse Paul played when he arrived in England in 1964.
She was three years younger than him. Kathy and Paul broke up in 1965-6, right about the time 'Sound Of Silence' became a big hit. Some accounts have it that Kathy wanted no part in the success and fame that awaited Paul, who returned to the US to fame and fortune without her. Like "Mrs. Robinson", "A Most Peculiar Man", and "Bookends", this song is essentially blank verse with little or no rhyme, yet it maintains such perfect rhythm. The conversation is natural, yet rhythmic, and flows with the music. Long forgotten folk singer Bert Sommer performed the song at Woodstock on the first day of the festival. He also featured it on his album. Paul Simon has said Sommer's is his favorite cover version. Prolific session drummer Hal Blaine played on this, and considers it one of his all-time favourites. Blaine also played on Simon And Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." View the video online
Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones (right)
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" was recorded during the Beggars Banquet album sessions, but was not included on the album. According to The Stones, this song came about after Keith and Mick were up all night trying to think of a song. Keith's gardener's footsteps woke them up. When Mick asked what the noise was Keith said it was "Jack Flash" outside. The gardener's name was Jack Dyer and it is to him the song is dedicated. Bill Wyman claims he wrote most of the music, including the main riff, on the piano. It is credited only to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, something Wyman was never happy about. What the song is really about is anyone's guess. It is rumoured to be about drugs - a "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is supposedly to refer to injecting heroin into the tear ducts. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is also a nickname of Scottish politician Jack McConnell. One question that still remains to be answered is that, if Jumpin' Jack Flash is a gas gas gas, at what temperature would he become a solid? View the video online
Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf (right)
Written by Mars Bonfire, the song is often used in popular culture to denote a biker appearance or mentality. The song is frequently described as the first heavy metal song ever written and is also said to have inspired the name of the emerging heavy metal genre - the song's second verse (which refers to "heavy metal thunder") contains the first recorded reference to "heavy metal". Although initially offered to other bands, 'Born to Be Wild' was first recorded by the Canadian rock band, Steppenwolf. It was the band's second and most successful single, appearing also on the soundtrack for the movie Easy Rider (1969).
Unlike the album or single version, the song on the soundtrack is accompanied by the sounds of motorcycles as its introduction. Another Steppenwolf song from their first album, The Pusher, was also used in the film. When the movie was in production, 'Born to Be Wild' was used simply as a placeholder, since Peter Fonda had wanted Crosby, Stills and Nash to do the movie's soundtrack. Eventually, it became clear that the song was well suited for the movie. Because of the song's prominence in the movie, 'Born to Be Wild' is probably the song that is most closely associated with motorcycles. Other movies that have used the Steppenwolf version of 'Born to Be Wild' include Coming Home, One Crazy Summer, Opportunity Knocks, Dr. Dolittle 2 and Speechless. View the video online
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
One of the biggest hits by The Foundations that features Colin Young singing the lead vocals. The song was featured twice in the 1990s; it was covered by rock band, The Goops, in 1995 for the soundtrack of Mallrats. Three years later, it was included (as its original version) in the 1998 film There's Something About Mary starring Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz. The actors of the film also made a video for the song, with all the main actors miming to the words in character. Numerous cover bersions have been released. Hear the song online
Dance To The Music - Sly & The Family Stone (right)
"Dance to the Music" was one of the most influential songs of the late-1960s and paved the way for the Disco craze. The Sly & the Family Stone sound became the dominating sound in African-American pop music for the next three years, and many established artists, such as The Temptations, Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Impressions, The Four Tops, The 5th Dimension and War began turning out Family Stone-esque material. "Dance to the Music" and the later Family Stone singles also helped lead to the development of what is now known as funk music. In 1998, "Dance to the Music" was admitted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was later ranked No.223 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. "Dance to the Music" featured four co-lead singers, black musicians and white musicians in the same band (segregation had just been repealed four years prior), and a distinct blend of instrumental sounds: rock guitar riffs from Sly's brother Freddie Stone, a funk bassline from Larry Graham, Greg Errico's syncopated drum track, Sly's gospel-styled organ playing, and Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson on the horns.
Notably, none of the band members particularly liked "Dance to the Music" when it was first recorded and released. The song was recorded at the insistence of CBS Records executive Clive Davis, who wanted something more commercially viable than the band's 1967 LP, A Whole New Thing. Bandleader Sly Stone crafted a formula, blending the band's distinct psychedelic rock leanings with a more pop-friendly sound. The result was what saxophonist Jerry Martini called "glorified Motown beats. ['Dance to the Music'] was such an unhip thing for us to do." View the video online
Do You Know the Way to San Jose? - Dionne Warwick (right)
A popular song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David which has been recorded over the years by many artists, it was written for the songwriting duo's premier interpreter, Dionne Warwick. The 1968 version by Warwick featured on her album Dionne Warwick and in movie, Valley of the Dolls. It earned Warwick a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance, Female. However, it was a hit and an award that almost didn't happen for Warwick.
She has maintained in interviews that she didn't want to record the song, but was heartily encouraged by the songwriters. The lyrics of "San Jose" tell the story of a woman who moved to Los Angeles to pursue fame and fortune, but plans to move back to San Jose, where she was born and raised. In 2000, e-Bay did a cover of the song for their commercial, titling it "Do You Know the Way To Use e-Bay". In 2006 Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis covered the song on her album "The Look of Love" with The Metropole Orchestra, as a tribute to Burt Bacharach. Bacharach himself produced the album. View the video online
Harper Valley P.T.A. - Jeannie C. Riley (right)
A country music song written by Tom T. Hall that became a major hit single for one-hit wonder country songstress Jeannie C. Riley. The song tells the story of a junior high student who is sent home with a note to her single mother from the Parents & Teachers' Association (PTA) of the school decrying her scandalous behavior by small-town standards. The mother decides to speak to a meeting of the PTA where she addresses various episodes of misbehavior on the part of several of its members, concluding, "This is just a little Peyton Place / And you're all Harper Valley hypocrites." In an interview, Hall admitted his inspiration for the song was passing by the Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee, not far from his then-home in Franklin.
He liked the sound of the name and decided to write a song using a similar place name. The song was later the inspiration for a 1978 motion picture and a 1981 television series, both starring Barbara Eden, playing the heroine of the song, Stella Johnson. Riley's recording became the first song by a female country artist to top both the U.S. pop and country charts. Her accomplishment would not be repeated until 1981 when Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 (which was also associated with a film and a television series) also reached No.1 on both charts (Parton would also cover "Harper Valley" in 1969). Cover versions of "Harper Valley" appear on albums by virtually every female country singer of the period including Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Norma Jean, Billie Jo Spears, and Dottie West. Country Music singer Margie Singleton was actually the original singer to record "Harper Valley PTA". View the video online
Hello, I Love You - The Doors (right)
Lifted from The Doors' 1968 album, Waiting for the Sun, this song, along with the album, were considered more commercial than The Doors' previous efforts, leading many to believe that the band had sold out. In the liner notes to The Doors Boxed set, Robbie Krieger has denied the allegations that the song's musical structure was stolen from Ray Davies, where a riff similar to it is featured in the song "All Day and All of the Night". Instead, he said the song's vibe was taken from Cream's song, "Sunshine of Your Love". The song has been covered by Buddy Rich, The Cure, Eurythmics, Simple Minds, Adam Ant and Adam Freeland, and just recently Program The Dead. View the video online
Hey Jude/Revolution - The Beatles
"Hey Jude" was written by Paul McCartney, though credited jointly to Lennon/McCartney. Despite being over 7 minutes long, it went to No. 1 worldwide, and spent nine weeks at the top spot in the United States, the longest spell at that position by a Beatles single. The song has made many "Best of..." lists compiled by magazines such as Rolling Stone, where it was number 8 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Originally titled "Hey Jules", it was written by McCartney to comfort John Lennon's son Julian when Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia Powell, were divorced. Later, Powell recalled, "I was truly surprised when, one afternoon, Paul arrived on his own. I was touched by his obvious concern for our welfare ... On the journey down he composed 'Hey Jude' in the car. I will never forget Paul's gesture of care and concern in coming to see us." Julian Lennon discovered the song had been written for him almost twenty years later. He remembered being closer to McCartney than to his father: "
"Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit - more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad." Although McCartney originally wrote the song for Julian Lennon, John Lennon always thought it had actually been written for him: "But I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it... Yoko's just come into the picture. He's saying. 'Hey, JudeHey, John.' I know I'm sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me ... Subconsciously, he was saying, Go ahead, leave me. On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead.” In his 1970 Rolling Stone magazine interview, Lennon gave rare praise to the song as one of McCartney's best and most genuine songs. More ...View the video online
Revolution was written primarily by John Lennon and attributed to Lennon-McCartney. The song appeared in two distinctly different incarnations, a raucous electric "Revolution", and a slowed acoustic "Revolution 1". A third connected piece, the heavily experimental "Revolution 9", appeared on the same album side (i.e., side 4) as "Revolution 1" on The Beatles (aka The White Album). The first version of "Revolution" to be released (though the last to be recorded) was the B-side of the "Hey Jude" single.
A product of the recording sessions for The White Album, "Revolution" featured distorted guitars and an electric piano solo by session musician Nicky Hopkins. This track is said to be one of the loudest and most aggressive Beatles songs; it begins abruptly with a loud, overdriven electric guitar played by Lennon, a thundering, compressed drum beat from Ringo Starr and a monstrous scream from Lennon. The musical form is a simple rock chord progression, but the highly processed elements and hyperbolic approach distinguished the track from nearly anything that had come before; the sound of "Revolution" is often cited as presaging heavy metal. Lennon claimed the song was inspired by the May 1968 uprising in France. More ...View the video online
Lady Willpower - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
"Lady Willpower" was the follow-up single to this band's first hit, "Young Girl", also released in 1968, which was a controversial song that tells the tale of a man trying to resist seduction by an underage girl who has "all the charms of a woman". Dramatically delivered in Puckett's trademark rich tenor and with a memorable strings and brass arrangement, the song was an instant classic and is still much played on radio today.
The band had three more top 10 singles before fading from prominence on the late 60s music scene. Many of their songs were loosely linked by a common theme of female empowerment, which was unusual for the era and genre. Another characteristic of The Union Gap that distinguishes it from its contemporaries was the band's (at the time) risqué lyrics. One of the band's gimmicks was that the members often performed dressed in Civil War era Union Army uniforms. The lead singer, Gary Puckett, was born in October 1942 in Hibbing, Minnesota, the town where Bob Dylan grew up; the pair went to the same schools. Although The Union Gap was disbanded in 1971, Puckett has had modest success as a solo artist, mostly performing and re-recording the band's classic songs. View the video online
Little Green Apples - O. C. Smith
Born Ocie Lee Smith in Mansfield, Louisiana, Smith joined the US Air Force and served throughout the US, Europe and Asia, after completing a psychology degree at Southern University. While in the Air Force, Smith began entering talent contests and toured with Horace Heidt. On his discharge in July, 1955, Smith went into jazz music to pay the bills. Smith's debut release was a cover of the Little Richard hit "Tutti Frutti" in December, 1955. It was not a hit, but convinced MGM Records to sign Smith to a solo contract, resulting in three more releases, but still no hits.
In 1961, Smith was recruited by Count Basie to be his vocalist, a position he held until 1965. He By 1968, Smith's then label, Columbia Records, was ready to release him from his contract, when he entered the charts for the first time with "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp". Smith changed the first part of his name to O.C. and recorded this cover of the Bobby Russell song "Little Green Apples", which won Smith a 1969 Grammy Award for "Best Song". Though he continued to record, Smith was unable to scale these heights again. He retired from music to study divinity and in 1985, Smith became Dr. O.C. Smith, pastor of the City of Angels Science of Mind Centre in Los Angeles. He continued to preach until his death in 2001. A cover of "Little Grren Apples" by Glenn Campbell outsold O.C. Smith's version in Australia. View the video online
(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding (right)
Redding wrote the first verse of the song under the abbreviated title "Dock of the Bay" on a houseboat at Waldo Pier in Sausalito, California. He had come off his famed performance at the Monterey Pop Festival just days earlier in June 1967. While touring in support of the LPs King & Queen (collaborations with female vocalist Carla Thomas) and his live set, Live in Europe, he continued to scribble lines of the song on napkins and hotel paper. In December of that year he joined producer and guitarist Steve Cropper at a recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Together, they completed the music and melancholy lyrics of "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay".
From those sessions emerged Otis Redding's final recordings, including "Dock of the Bay". The result was a song quite different in style from most of Redding's other recordings, but one with which he was reported to be very pleased. Redding continued to tour after the recording sessions and, on 10th December, the charter plane which was carrying him crashed into Lake Monona, outside Madison, Wisconsin. Redding and six others were killed. Only one passenger survived. Redding's body was recovered from the lake the day after the crash. "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" was released in January 1968 amid the fall-out of Redding's death. The song went on to win two Grammy Awards: Best R&B Song (for songwriting) and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (for vocals). The song, featured on various soundtracks, has come to represent the decade of its creation, and it has been covered by many artists, from his peers like Percy Sledge and Sam & Dave to artists of various genres, including The Foundations (1968), Willie Nelson, Dennis Brown, Michael Bolton, Pearl Jam, The Format, and Sammy Hagar. "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay" was ranked twenty-eighth on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the second highest of four Redding compositions on the list, after "Respect". Hear the song online
Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
"Sunshine of Your Love" was Cream's best-selling song and Atlantic Records' best-selling to date as well. It features an immediately recognisable guitar/bass guitar riff (even to those who have never heard the song in its entirety) and an acclaimed guitar solo from Eric Clapton. It was written by bassist Jack Bruce, Pete Brown, and Clapton. Development of the song began in January 1967 when Bruce and Clapton attended a Jimi Hendrix show at the Saville Theatre in London. Bruce returned home and wrote the now memorable guitar riff that runs throughout the song.
The lyrics were written during an all-night creative session between Bruce and Brown, a poet who worked with the band: "I picked up my double bass and played the riff. Pete looked out the window and the sun was coming up. He wrote 'It's getting near dawn and lights close their tired eyes' The distinctive riff is based on a D blues-scale (pentatonic). Clapton later wrote the bridge which also yielded the song's title. Clapton's guitar tone on the song, created using his Gibson SG guitar and a Marshall amplifier, is renowned among guitarists as perhaps the best example of his legendary late-'60s "woman tone", a thick yet articulate sound that many have tried to emulate. For the solo Clapton quoted the opening lines from the pop standard "Blue Moon". Drummer Ginger Baker's distinctive playing was suggested by producer Tom Dowd, who drew his inspiration from what he called the "Indian beat" of classic Western films. This slow, downbeat-stressing beat forms a key element of the song. Amazingly, the band's publisher, Atlantic Records, initially rejected the song. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Sunshine of Your Love" at No.19 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. View the video online
Valleri - The Monkees (right)
Coming from the pens of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart specifically for The Monkees, "Valleri" was written in response to Screen Gems president and music supervisor Don Kirshner's early-morning request for a "girl's-name song" to be used in The Monkees television series. Boyce and Hart improvised "Valleri" on their way to Kirshner's office, after pretending over the telephone that the song was already finished. Nonetheless, Kirshner was pleased with their work, and "Valleri" took its place on the Monkees recording schedule.
The original recording (with instrumental backing by the Candy Store Prophets, plus session musician Louie Shelton contributing a flamencoesque guitar solo) was featured in the show's first season in 1967; a staged performance showed Michael Nesmith copying Shelton's guitar licks, and singer Davy Jones appearing to physically outgrow his bandmates through forced perspective and camera trick shots. While the first version of "Valleri" went unreleased, a few off-air recordings received radio airplay, and later surfaced on bootleg recordings. By the end of 1967, the Monkees had gone from only singing on their records to also playing, to a mix of both. For their fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees, The Monkees assumed both performing and producing roles, and remade both "I'll Be Back Upon My Feet" and "Valleri", duplicating the latter as closely as possible to the original, to the point of bringing back the Candy Store Prophets and Louie Shelton to perform. The remade "Valleri" became the band's last top ten hit of the 1960s (it was also their last single to receive a push from their television series). View the video online
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
A seventeen-minute rock song by Iron Butterfly, released on their 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, and occupying the entire second side of the album. This single was a cut down version of the album track. The lyrics are simple, and heard only at the beginning and the end. One of the most memorable parts of the song is the guitar riff, which is also one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock music. The song is significant in rock history because, together with Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf, it marks the point when psychedelic music evolved into heavy metal. Later 1970s heavy metal and progressive rock acts like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin owe much of their sound, and even more of their live acts, to this recording. A commonly repeated story says that the song's title was originally "In the Garden of Eden" or "
In the Garden of Venus" but in the course of rehearsing and recording, singer Doug Ingle slurred the words into the nonsense phrase of the title while under the influence of LSD. However, the liner notes on 'the best of' CD compilation state that drummer Ron Bushy was listening to the track through headphones, and couldn't hear correctly; he simply distorted what Doug Ingle answered when Ron asked him for the title of the song (which was originally "In-The-Garden-Of-Venus"). An alternate version of the story states that Ingle was drunk when he first told Bushy the title, so Bushy wrote it down. He then showed Ingle what he had written, and the slurred title stuck. The song features a memorable guitar and bass riff which functions as an ostinato repeated for almost the entire length of the song. It is also used as the basis for extended organ and guitar solos, which are interrupted in the middle by an extended drum solo, one of the first such solos on a rock record and one of the most famous in rock. What made this particular drum solo so unique was its surreal tribal sound. Bushy had his drums miked and fed into a rotating Leslie speaker to give them a phasing sound and also took the bottoms off his toms to give them a more heavy sound. It is then followed by Doug Ingle's ethereal polyphonic organ solo (which resembles variations on "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen") to the accompaniment of drums. View the video online