You never know who you're going to meet on the internet and I came to know Peter Tibbles (bio here) via email over the past couple of years. His extensive knowledge of most genres of music and his excellent taste became apparent only gradually (Peter's not one to toot his horn) but once I understood, I knew he needed his own column at Time Goes By - or, better, that TGB needed his column - which appears here each Sunday. You can find previous Elder Music columns here.
What happened in 1967?
- Well, I entered the work force in the I.T. Industry. Okay, there wasn’t any such thing back then; we just made it up as we went along.
- The Doors’ great first album was released.
- The town of Winneconne, Wisconsin, announced secession from the United States because it was not included in the official maps, and declared war. Nobody noticed.
- Pink Floyd released their debut album. Nobody noticed.
- Elvis and Priscilla were married in Las Vegas (where else?).
- The Monterey Pop Festival was held; the first and arguably the best of its kind.
- Charlie DeGaulle visited Canada and shot his mouth off.
- Australia won the Davis Cup (again).
- Che Guevera died.
This was the year of...
All You Need Is Love
Light My Fire
For What It's Worth
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
Strawberry Fields Forever
A Whiter Shade of Pale
None of which will be featured here today.
I’ll start with "possibly the most beautiful song of the rock and roll era" as it’s been called by someone or other - I’ve forgotten who. Not too far off the mark though. This is, rather surprisingly, by THE KINKS.
You could put the best work by The Kinks on to a gold record and say to anyone, “This is what a great pop song should be.” Of course, when you listen to the rest you’d ease slowly out of the room, closing the door behind you.
They only had two modes of songs – great and lousy, nothing in between. Fortunately, there are enough of the great ones to satisfy me.
The Kinks were the brothers Ray and Dave Davies who have been the constants throughout the group’s life in spite of their pretty much continual bickering with each other. Originally, Peter Quaife and Mick Avory made up the foursome. They were replaced in 1969 by John Dalton and Bob Henrit, and the comings and goings within the group continued for the life of The Kinks.
Anyway, this is the song referenced above, Waterloo Sunset.
THE EASYBEATS formed in Sydney; however, all its members were born elsewhere.
Stevie Wright and Snowy Fleet were from England, George Young from Scotland and Harry Vanda and Dick Diamonde were from the Netherlands. They all met when they were in a migrant hostel at the same time. George is the big brother of Malcolm and Angus, who started AC/DC.
In 1965 and ’66, The Easybeats took Australia by storm and the fan reaction at their concerts resembled that which greeted The Beatles. They decided to expand their horizons and left for England where they recorded Friday On My Mind which was a world-wide hit.
They were the most successful Australian rock group of the Sixties until they fell apart in 1969.
THE YOUNG RASCALS or The Rascals as they became as they aged a bit, have a song that might rival that of The Kinks mentioned above.
The group originally consisted of Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere, Gene Cornish and Dino Danelli and they all got together in their hometown of Garfield, New Jersey. Eddie, Felix and Gene had previously been members of Joey Dee and the Starlighters, so I guess they could twist a bit.
They wanted to call their group The Rascals but another group objected so they added the Young. I imagine the other one wasn’t around when they reverted to their original choice of names.
Anyway, they had a bunch of hits in a style that seems to be called blue-eyed soul to distinguish them from purveyors of some-other-color-eyed soul. This is Groovin'.
THE DELLS lineup remained constant for nearly 40 years. Only The Four Tops could beat that record of consistency.
For all those years, the group consisted of Johnny Carter, Marvin Junior, Mickey McGill, Verne Allison and Chuck Barksdale. The group formed in 1952 after attending school together, originally calling themselves The El-Rays. They changed their name to The Dells and had a hit with the song, Oh, What a Night. They re-recorded it in the late Sixties and had a hit with it all over again.
In 1958, one of the original members, Lucius McGill, not mentioned above, was seriously injured in a car accident and the group decided to call it a day. That only lasted about a year and the core of the group got back together again and lasted until 2009 when Johnny Carter died.
The Dells’ song from this year is called O-O I Love You. It sounds rather like a throwback to the previous decade.
THE SMALL FACES were Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan by the time this song was recorded. They used the adjective small for the group as each member was rather short. Later, they evolved into The Faces, dropping the small when Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart joined them, as these two were considerably taller than the others.
They started out playing covers of R&B songs and developed their own songs in this style. They became favorites of the Mods at the time. The song today is a departure from that style and has been dubbed psychedelic, a term that was heaped on many bands from San Francisco at the time.
The effort was caused by flanging, which really means just putting your finger on the tape reel to alter its speed while recording or overdubbing. It’s an interesting effect but I wouldn’t want to listen to too many songs done this way. This is Itchycoo Park.
I’ll take any opportunity to include SMOKEY ROBINSON and here he is with THE MIRACLES.
Smokey and the gang were probably the most successful group on Motown records until The Supremes came along. William Robinson gained the nickname as a kid because of his love of cowboy films. I can’t see the connection myself, but I’m sure there’s one somewhere.
In the early days of Motown, Smokey not only wrote songs for his own group, he pretty much wrote them for everyone else as well. Here’s one of those, well one he wrote for the Miracles, I Second That Emotion.
Okay, here’s my bit of ordinariness. You didn’t think I was just going to include good songs, did you? The Sixties weren’t all rock & roll or soul music. This is VIKKI CARR.
Shh, don’t tell anyone. Especially don’t mention it to anyone I know, but I quite like Vikki.
Vikki, or Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona as she was known to her folks, was from El Paso. She was the first to record He’s a Rebel. Phil Spector heard her while she was recording it and rushed out a version by The Crystals – an interesting reversal of what usually happened back then.
Her next album produced the rather overwrought song, It Must Be Him which sold a million. Here it is.
THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL are often lumped in the category of folk-rock. However, their musical influences are much wider, including blues, jug band music and full tilt rock & roll. Even a bit of country at times. There was also a more melodic touch to their songs than others in the genre.
The main man from the Spoonful, John Sebastian, had already been in a couple of bands, including one with future members of The Mamas and The Papas. He was also in demand as a session musician, particularly on harmonica but also on autoharp (not too many players of that instrument around outside the Carter family) and guitar.
This is one of a couple of hits they had this year, their tribute to country session musicians, Nashville Cats.
THE BEE GEES are known these days for singing meaningless songs in very high voices. However, before the disco craze made them rich beyond imagining, they were pretty decent crafters of pop songs.
The core group was made of the three brothers, Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. They were born in England and moved to Brisbane, Australia, before they were teenagers. They didn’t ever lose their English accents.
They started performing very young and appeared on TV in their adopted country when barely teenagers. They had a score of songs in this country that weren’t quite hits where it mattered (Melbourne and Sydney) and they returned to Britain at the height of Beatlemania.
Their first recordings there were thought to be the fab four under an assumed name. We here in Oz knew who they were.
In the Seventies, they went to America where they were asked to do the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever. Boy oh boy oh boy, did that set them up for life (several lives, really). Here is one of their early songs, New York Mining Disaster, 1941.
I’ve mentioned beautiful songs above, now we have a singer whose voice is so beautiful it makes angels weep with jealousy, AARON NEVILLE.
Aaron was the third of the Neville Brothers and he had a considerable solo career before the band got together (and during and after as well). He was the first of the brothers who came to be noticed by the general public with this song, Tell It Like It Is.
1968 will appear here in two weeks.