I’m Going Home – Ten Years After – 1969

March 28, 2013

 Alvin Lee

19 December 1944 – 6 March 2013

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHrip alvin

Yes, I know this track falls a few months outside of making it as a bona fide 70s hit. In fact, when it came to hit singles, Ten Years After never really had any. But no one can deny the contribution Alvin and his band made to hard rocking 70s blues.

so close

The closest Ten Years After came to having a hit single was in 1971 when I’d like to Change the World peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100.

ten years after and Woodstock

Hailing from Nottingham in the UK, Ten Years After produced eight Top 40 albums on the UK Albums Chart and 12 on the US Billboard 200. Perhaps their best known track, in my mind anyway, is I’m Going Home which they performed at Woodstock and which was subsequently included on both the Woodstock album and movie.

The band were active from 1966–1974, in 1983, and from 1988 to the present.

The performed at Woodstock on Sunday, August 17, from 8:15 – 9:15 pm, between Country Joe and the Fish and The Band.

back to alvin

Alvin left Ten Years After in 2003, but continued to perform until his death. He died in Spain on 6 March, 2013 from unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure.

i’m going home fax

  • I’m Going Home was written by Alvin Lee, featured on the Ten Years After album Undead, and was performed by the band at Woodstock.
  • I’m Going Home lyrics.

I’m Going Home – Ten Years After at Woodstock – 1969

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Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon – 1978

March 21, 2013

Warren Zevon-Werewolves of London-1978In 2004, BBC listeners voted Warren Zevon’s 1978 hit, Werewolves of London, the song with the best opening line of all time.

underrated but not everyone thinks so

Known for having a rather dark sense of humour which he managed to convert into great lyrics and catchy songs, Warren Zevon is underrated as a musician.

Fortunately, not everyone thinks so. Musicians such as Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young have worked with him and praised his work.

warren zevon 2only the good…

In 2002 Warren was diagnosed with a form of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. He refused treatment because he believed it would rob him of his ability to make music. Instead, he threw himself into recording his final album, The Wind. Close musical friends including Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, David Lindley, Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, and others contributed to it.

at least get his greatest hits

If your album collection is void of Warren’s albums, go out and get one ASAP – even if it’s just his Greatest Hits album. It contains brilliant songs like, Werewolves of London, Poor, Poor Pitiful Me (a hit for Linda Ronstadt), Lawyers, Guns and Money, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, Hasten Down the Wind and Prince’s, Raspberry Beret.

zevon trivia

  • She Quit Me, one of Warren’s early compositions was included in the 1969 soundtrack for the movie Midnight Cowboy.
  • Throughout the 70s, he also toured as keyboard player and band leader for The Everly Brothers.
  • And, occasionally, between 1982 and 2001, Zevon filled in for Paul Shaffer as bandleader on David Letterman’s late night show.

werewolves of london fax

  • Werewolves of London was composed by LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon. It was included on Warren’s 1978 album Excitable Boy.
  • Playing the bass and drums on Werewolves of London were Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie and Mick Fleetwood respectively. The producer was Jackson Browne.
  • Werewolves of London peaked on the US American charts at #21 and stayed on the top 40 for six weeks.
  • Warren Zevon 4Werewolves of London has been covered live by Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett and members of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, David Lindley and El-Rayo X and The Grateful Dead.
  • Werewolves of London featured in the 1986 movie The Colour Of Money, starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Robbie Robertson from The Band put together the soundtrack.
  • In 2004 BBC Radio 2 held a poll to find the best opening line in a song. The winner was:

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,

Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain.

  • The Chinese restaurant mentioned in the song, “Lee Ho Fook,” is a real location situated on Gerrard Street in London’s Chinatown.
  • When Zevon played Werewolves of London live, he sometimes replaced the line, “I’d like to meet his tailor,” with, “And he’s looking for James Taylor!”
  • Kid Rock sampled Werewolves of London in his hit All Summer Long.
  • Werewolves of London lyrics.

werewolves of london – warren zevon – 1978 – video

all summer long – kid rock – 2008

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What the World Needs Now / Abraham, Martin and John – Tom Clay – 1971

March 14, 2013

TomClayMedley singlePerhaps the most moving song of all time? Tom Clay’s tribute song, What the World Needs Now / Abraham, Martin and John, were originally two songs; one released in 1965, the second in late 1968.  Then Tom turned them into his touching medley.

tom clay

Tom Clay was an American disc jockey. Back in the 1950s he was caught up in the Payola Scandal. Turns out DJ’s had been accepting huge pay outs from record companies in return for playing nominated records on their shows.

tom clay 1Tom was fired, but soon found work on other stations.

Scandal followed Tom (who BTW, was a friend of Marilyn Munroe!). He once interviewed The Beatles. From there he devised a scheme. He started the Beatles Booster Club. People could send in a dollar to join and would receive a membership card and a personal item used by one of the Beatles. The items were a crock! They turned out to be things like cigarette butts or used tissues.

But, good news for Tom, over 80,000 fans responded—a lot of money in those days—meaning he lived quite comfortably for some time on the cash. Which was just as well because, he was fired again!

tom’s claim to fame

Abraham Martin and JohnTom’s best remembered for his Motown single, What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin and John. It’s basically a series of interviews and speeches from Jack and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King emphasising tolerance and civil rights, placed over the top of two popular songs. The result is very moving—perhaps one of the most moving songs you’ll ever hear.

Tom had a #8 hit and sold over one million copies of the single.

no, they don’t play it much anymore

Despite owning a single version of this song, I haven’t heard it for a long time, but two things made me post it here this week. The first is that I heard Dionne Warwick’s version of What the World Needs Now on the radio the other day. Interestingly, when she was first offered this song, she turned it down. Jackie DeShannon recording it instead.

The second thing that drew me to this song was talking to a friend of mine who has just returned from Washington DC.  He spoke of how moved he was by the various memorials he saw there; particularly the ones for Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

what the world needs now / abraham, martin and john fax

  • What the World Needs Now was written in 1965 by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. It’s been recorded and played live by over 100 artists including Dionne Warwick, Jackie DeShannon, The Staple Singers, Judy Garland, The Supremes, Cilla Black, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Luther Vandross, Rick Astley, Coldplay and Ronan Keating.
  • What the World Needs Now has appeared in numerous movies including: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and Happy Gilmore.
  • The song Abraham, Martin and John was written by Dick Holler and released in 1968 by Dion. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. BTW – Dick Holler also wrote the well-known song Snoopy vs the Red Baron!
  • Abraham, Martin and John has also been recorded by: Andy Williams, (who was a close friend of Robert Kennedy), Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, and Paul Weller. In 1970, Wilson Pickett, recorded a version of the song titled Cole, Cooke and Redding which paid tribute to deceased performers Nat “King” Cole, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.
  • Tom Clay’s version peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 14, 1971.
  • Abraham, Martin and John lyrics.

what the world needs now / abraham, martin and john – tom clay – 1971 – video

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Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin – 1971

March 7, 2013

Janis-Joplin-Bobby-McGee-1970-single-coverJanis Lyn Joplin would have been 70 last January if not for her tragic death on October 4, 1970. Her legacy contains some of the finest blues music of the early 70s and one of the greatest hits of the decade, 1970’s Me and Bobby McGee.

Janis Joplin 1janis and her big brother

Janis Joplin’s singing career really kicked off when she was in her mid-twenties. First, as the lead singer of psychedelic rock band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, then as a soloist with The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band as her backing bands.

lovin’ those festivals

It was at the Monterey Music Festival in 1968 that Big Brother and the Holding Company was first noticed—or, to be more precise, their lead singer was noticed. Within a short while they were Janis Joplin 2riding the top of the popularity charts. On April 7, 1968, they played at “The Wake for Martin Luther King, Jr.” concert in New York. Also on the bill were Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Paul Butterfield, and Elvin Bishop.

By 1969, Janis had gone solo and was one of the feature acts at Woodstock festival and the Festival Express train tour. She charted five singles, but only one hit #1; that was Me and Bobby McGee.  In fact, it was her only song to make it into the US top ten.

the 27 club

Janis died, aged 27, at the Landmark Hotel in Hollywood. The official cause of death was an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Janis #46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004 and #28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Janis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

me and bobby mcgee fax

  • Me and Bobby McGee was written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster. The first recording was by Roger Miller, but it was Janis who had the biggest hit with the song.
  • Me and Bobby McGee (Janis’ version) hit #1 on the US singles chart in January 1971, three months after her death. It was the second posthumous #1 single in US chart history after Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.
  • Janis recorded Me and Bobby McGee about three days before she died. It was released on her album Pearl—Pearl being a name Janis was often referred to by.
  • In 2004, Janis’ version of Me and Bobby McGee was ranked at #148 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • The song was originally written to a woman; Janis changed the gender and some of the lyrics to that of a man.
  • Other artists to record Me and Bobby McGee include: Roger Miller, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Gordon Lightfoot, Kris Kristofferson, Bill Haley & His Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Grateful Dead, Arlo Guthrie, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Chet Atkins, Thelma Houston, Olivia Newton-John, Lonnie Donegan, Joan Baez, Melissa Etheridge, LeAnn Rimes, Anne Murray, and Pink. In the first five years of the 70s 12 notable versions were released by well-known artists.
  • Me and Bobby McGee lyrics.

me and bobby mcgee – janis joplin – 1970 – video

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