Rose Garden – Lynn Anderson – 1970

January 24, 2017

lynn-anderson-rose-garden-single-cover-1970Now, here’s a blast from the past. I was planting a rose garden at home the other day and, try as I did, could not escape this ear-worm; Rose Garden, Lynn Anderson’s 1970 country hit.

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  • Born in Canada, very close to the US border, Lynn Anderson parents registered her birth in Grand Forks, USA, so that she would have US citizenship.
  • Lynn’s mother introduced her to music. Lynn was working as a secretary at a Sacramento radio station when one of her mother’s songs, All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers, was recorded by Merle Haggard.  Lynn’s mother signed with RCA Victor and toured with many of the country stars of the 60s.  One night, at an informal sing-a-long, a record producer heard Lynn sing.  He invited her to join his label and… a star was born.
  • In all, Lynn had twelve #1 and over 50 Top 40 hits on the US country music charts. She was nominated for a Grammy Award seven times and won a Grammy in 1971 for the Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
  • Lynn’s first hit was Ride, Ride, Ride, back in 1966 when she was just 19.
  • Outside of music, Lynn was an accomplished equestrian sportswoman, winning 16 national and eight world championships.
  • Lynn died of a heart attack on July 30, 2015.

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  • Rose Garden, also known as (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden, was written by is a song written by Joe South – a song writer and guitarist who played on some great albums including; Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence and Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools.
  • Rose Garden was first released by Billy Joe Royal in 1967 but the best-known version was Lynn Anderson’s cover, released in October 1970.
  • Lynn’s version sat at #1 on the US country chart for five weeks and made the top 3 singles charts in both the US and UK (and hit #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and Norway).
  • The song won Lynn a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971, and earned Joe South two Grammy nominations, Best Country Song and Song of the Year in the pop category.
  • Lynn once said of the song,

“I believe that ‘Rose Garden’ was released at just the right time. People were trying to recover from the Vietnam years. The message in the song—that if you just take hold of life and go ahead, you can make something out of nothing—people just took to that.”

  • k.d. lang and her band The Reclines covered Rose Garden on their 1987 album Angel with a Lariat. While failing to chart, it was k.d.’s first release in the US. Then, in 2005, Martina McBride included the song on her album of covers, Timeless – featuring classic country songs from the past.  Rose Garden was released as a single, peaking at #18 on the country singles charts.
  • Canadian band Kon Kan sampled parts of Rose Garden in their 1989 single I Beg Your Pardon – their song peaked at #15 in the US and #5 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • Rose Garden lyrics.

rose garden – lynn anderson – 1970 – video

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Wildfire – Michael Murphey – 1975

January 16, 2017

wildfire-michael-murpheyKnown to sometimes appear in those lists of “Worst Song Lyrics of All Time,” Michael Murphey’s 1975 hit Wildfire has been described by David Letterman as, “haunting and disturbingly mysterious, but always lovely.”

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  • American Michael Murphey is a true cowboy – a lover of the outdoors, a native of Texas, a ranch owner and a writer and singer of western music.
  • With six gold albums to his name, Michael’s had 12 singles reach the American Country top ten.
  • Originally singing as Michael Murphey, since 1982 (yes, he is still performing) he has added his middle name and performed as Michael Martin Murphey.
  • Michael has been married four times. His first wife was Diana Vero, former secretary to Brian Epstein.  Diana was with The Beatles when they travelled through the US in 1964.  Their son, Ryan, has also made a name in the American country music scene.

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  • Wildfire was written by Michael Murphey and Larry Cansler, and was originally recorded by Michael.
  • It is the lead single from his 1975 gold album Blue Sky – Night Thunder, and is Michael’s highest charting US single, peaking at #2 on the US singles charts.
  • In all, Wildfire has sold over two million copies.
  • It is listed by the members of the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
  • In 2007, David Letterman, seemed to become infatuated with Wildfire. Over a course of several weeks and a number of episodes of The Late Show, he discussed the song and its lyrics.  Eventually, Michael was invited on the show to sing.
  • Wildfire appears in an episode of The Simpsons named Lisa’s Pony. Lisa plays Wildfire to her pony with her saxophone.
  • It hasn’t all been good for Michael’s tune – it has occasionally appeared in worst song lyric lists.
  • Wildfire lyrics.

wildfire – michael murphy – 1975 – video

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Year of the Cat – Al Stewart – 1976

January 1, 2017

year_of_the_cat_-_al_stewartFor over 50 years, Al Stewart has been a part of the English music scene. He’s best remembered for his 1976 hit, Year of the Cat.

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  • Alastair Stewart, born in Glasgow but growing up in Dorset, England, became an integral part of the British folk revival of the 60s and 70s.
  • In 1965, Al bought his first guitar from Andy Summers (a long time before Police was even thought of) but traded it in for an acoustic guitar when he was offered a weekly slot at a Soho coffee shop. He went on to compere at the Les Cousins folk club on Greek Street, where he played alongside Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Roy Harper, and Paul Simon.  He and Paul used to flat together.
  • Al’s best known for his 1976 hit single Year of the Cat, the title song from his platinum album of the same name; and for the 1978 follow-up album Time Passages which also went platinum.
  • Al played at the first-ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970.
  • Since his 1967 debut album Bedsitter Images, Al has released 16 studio and three live albums. [Editor’s note: his latest live album, Uncorked, is tremendous and showcases his wonderful guitar skills.]
  • Al has, in his 51 years in the music industry, worked with some of musical greats such as: Alan Parsons, Jimmy Page, Richard Thompson, Rick Wakeman, and Tori Amos.
  • Since 1976, Al has lived in Los Angeles. He’s well-known for writing lyrics that tell the tales of characters and events from history.

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  • Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Year of the Cat was released in July 1976 and is the title track of Al Stewart’s third album.
  • It was written by Al and Peter Wood – keyboard player for a number of bands and artists including Pink Floyd.
  • Year of the Cat peaked at #8 on the US singles chart and #31 on the UK singles chart.
  • Two versions of the song were recorded; the 4:38 length single version and the 6:40 album version.
  • The song’s title referred to one of the twelve signs of the Vietnamese zodiac. It corresponds to that of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac but, at the time of the song’s release, the most Chinese year was the Year of the Rabbit – Al thought that didn’t have quite the same ring to it and so went with the Vietnamese Year of the Cat.
  • Year of the Cat appears in the film version of Running with Scissors (2006).
  • Year of the Cat lyrics.

year of the cat – al stewart – 1976 – video – short version

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