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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Me and You and a Dog Named Boo –Lobo – 1971

June 3, 2016

Lobo Me and You and a Dog Named BooAnother artist who had mega-hits in the 70s and continues to perform today.  Me and You and a Dog Named Boo was Lobo’s first hit, way back in 1971.

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  • Lobo was born Roland Kent LaVoie in Tallahassee, Florida way back in 1943.
  • He had three top ten hits in the early 70s, Me and You and a Dog Named Boo, I’d Love You to Want Me and Don’t Expect Me to Be Your Friend.
  • Lobo’s musical career began as a member of a local band named The Rumours.  The band included 70s musicians Gram Parsons and Jim Stafford.Lobo 1
  • Lobo’s first solo album was released in 1969 under his real name.  His name change came in 1971 – Lobo is Spanish for “wolf.”
  • It was in 1971 that Lobo’s first single was released – Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.  It became the first hit for his label Big Tree Records.  The song featured on Lobo’s debut album Introducing Lobo which was released a couple of months after the single.
  • Lobo 2I’d Love You to Want Me, released in November 1972, became Lobo’s biggest hit reaching #2 in the US and #5 in the UK.  It topped the charts as a #1 hit in Germany.
  • To date Lobo has released 17 albums, the last in 2010.
  • Lobo continues to tour and play gigs – he is particularly popular in Asia.

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  • Me and You and a Dog Named Boo is lifted from the 1971 album Introducing Lobe.
  • Written by Lobo under his real name Kent LaVoie, it reached #5 on the US charts and #4 on the UK charts.
  • Also in 1971, country artist Stonewall Jackson recorded Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.  It was his final Top 40 hit on the US country chart, peaking at number seven.
  • The Brady Kids sung the song on their TV show – an animated version of The Brady Bunch.
  • Me and You and a Dog Named Boo lyrics.

me and you and a dog named boo – lobo – 1971 – video

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Full Circle – The Byrds – 1973

March 3, 2016

The byrds full circle 1973While their influence on rock music cannot be denied, by the beginning of the 1970s, The Byrds’ popularity was waning.  During the 60s, however, they had multiple hits including two #1’s (Mr Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!) and the psychedelic Eight Miles High.  Full Circle was released in 1973 and again in the UK in 1975, their last single release.

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  • Formed in Los Angeles in 1964, The Byrds underwent multiple line-up changes during the various metamorphoses.  They performed from 1964–73, between 1989–91, and 2000 (for the Fred Walecki tribute concert).
  • The Byrds’ one constancy was frontman Roger McGuinn.  Other members included: Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons and Gene Parsons.
  • It’s often suggested the band went through three stages: a folk rock stage from 1964 – 1965, a ppsychedelia from late 1965 to 1967, and a country rock stage from 1968 – 1973.  One thing that went unchanged in all those years was the band’s popularity with them being mentioned alongside names like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
  • The byrds 1Many bands have listed The Byrds as being among their influences.  These include: Eagles, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, R.E.M., the Bangles, and the Smiths.
  • In January 1991, the Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It was the final time that all five original members performed together; Roger McGuinn, Dave Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark (died of a heart attack in 1991), and Michael Clarke (died of liver failure in 1993).
  • In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed The Byrds at #45 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
  • The Byrds’ biggest hit single was the first single (and title track) from their first album; Mr Tambourine Man.

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  • The byrds 2Sometimes called Full Circle Song, Full Circle was written by Gene Clark of The Byrds in 1972.
  • Full Circle Song originally appeared on Gene’s solo album Roadmaster (1973), which was initially released only in the Netherlands.  Full Circle was then included on The Byrds’ 1973 reunion album, Byrds.
  • The Byrds’ version of Full Circle was released in the US on April 11, 1973 and peaked at #109.  It was re-released in the UK on August 8, 1975 – it failed to chart.
  • Dan Fogelberg covered the song on his 2003 album, Full Circle.
  • Full Circle lyrics.

full circle – the byrds – 1973

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Heart of the Night – Poco – 1979

November 11, 2015

Poco Heart of the Night cover 1979Perhaps the first of the family of West Coast country-rock bands, Poco began life as an offshoot of Buffalo Springfield.  In 1979 they had a hit with Heart of the Night.

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  • Poco formed in California in the late 60s – original members including Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Rusty Young.
  • It was during the recording of Buffalo Springfield’s final album that the band’s three lead singers Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay each recorded songs without the other members present. Richie’s (Kind Woman) featured Jim Messina and Rusty Young. Buffalo Springfield split and Poco was formed.
  • Many place Poco at the forefront of the West Coast country-rock genre that was later headlined by The Eagles.
  • Poco has performed in various line-ups over the years and is still (just) active.
  • Amongst musicians to make up Poco have been Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit who both went on the play as part of The Eagles.
  • Of all members, Rusty Young had been, until recently, the ever-present force; he left the band in 2013 after 45 years playing and touring with Poco.
  • Not high-fliers on the singles charts, Poco released 19 albums – the last in 2013.

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  • Released as a single in May 1979, Heart of the Night is lifted from Poco’s 1978 album, Legend.
  • The lead vocal features Heart of the Night’s composer, Paul Cotton.
  • The song was not originally intended to be released by Poco – it was recorded by Paul and Rusty Young and was to be credited to the Cotton-Young band.  Their record company had other ideas; the song and others recorded were released as Legend, Poco’s eleventh album.
  • Heart of the Night peaked at #20 on the US charts.
  • Heart of the Night features a saxophone solo by Phil Kenzie whose talents can be heard on Al Stewart’s Year of the Cat.
  • Heart of the Night lyrics.

heart of the night – poco – 1979 – video

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Spiders and Snakes – Jim Stafford – 1973

October 10, 2015

Jim Stafford - Spiders and Snakes CoverNow, here’s a song that may have slipped from your memory bank!  From the man who gave us, Under the Scotsman’s Kilt and Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne, comes Spiders and Snakes – a big hit for Jim Stafford back in 1973/4.

Jim Staffordjim stafford fax

  • Jim Stafford is an American comedian, musician, and singer-songwriter best known for his light-hearted 1970s recordings many of which became hits.
  • Jim released two albums in the early 70s and a third in 1993. He has since released a couple of classical guitar albums.
  • The 70s albums produced the hits, Spiders and Snakes, I Got Stoned and I Missed It, My Girl Bill and Wildwood Weed.
  • During college years, Jim played in a band with Gram Parsons and Kent LaVoie (better known to 70s music fans as Lobo).
  • Jim’s biggest hit was Spiders & Snakes in 1973.
  • Jim wrote tunes for a number of movies including Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way You Can  which he also appeared in.
  • In 1975 Jim had his own variety show on television – it lasted for six weeks and was quite popular.
  • Jim was married briefly to Bobbie Gentry with whom he has a son.
  • In 1990, Jim opened his own theatre in Branson, Missouri where he continues to play most nights…

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  • Released in November 1973, Spiders & Snakes is a hit song recorded by Jim Stafford.
  • Spiders and Snakes was written by Jim and David Bellamy.
  • Spiders and Snakes hit the US singles charts in 1974 and peaked at #3.
  • Selling over a million copies, it sat on the US charts for almost six months.
  • Conway Twitty covered Spiders and Snakes substuting the name Loretta Lynn for the name of the girl (Mary Lou).
  • Jim and Dolly Parton sometimes performed Spiders and Snakes together (video below).
  • Spiders and Snakes lyrics.

spiders and snakes – jim stafford – 1973 – video

spiders and snakes – jim stafford and dolly parton

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Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me – Mac Davis – 1972

September 24, 2015

Mac Davis - Baby, Don't get hooked on me 1972In 1972, the man who wrote one of Elvis’ greatest hits had a hit of his own; Mac Davis – Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me.

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  • Hailing from Lubbock, Texas and known as a country singer, Mac Davis also made quite a name for himself as an actor and songwriter.
  • Mac wrote and produced three hit records for Elvis Presley; In the Ghetto, A Little Less Conversation and Memories.
  • In the 70s Mac launched his solo career and had a handful of charting songs including, Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me, Stop and Smell the Roses, One Hell of a Woman and Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble.
  • In 1974, Mac was awarded the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award.
  • As an actor Mac had his own television variety show for three years.  He then appeared in a number of movies including, North Dallas Forty (1979), Cheaper To Keep Her (1981), The Sting II, and The Dukes of Hazzard movie.
  • Mac was listed as one of 12 Promising New Actors of 1979 by Screen World magazine.
  • In 2000, Mac was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.  He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the recording industry.

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  • Mac Davis 1Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me was written and sung by Mac Davis.
  • It is the title track of Mac’s third album.
  • Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1972.
  • Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me was covered by Liza Minnelli.
  • Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me lyrics.

baby, don’t get hooked on me – mac davis – 1972 – video

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