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The Third 100 from 1969. #1: Everyday People (2 Viewers)

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
42. Listen -- Chicago (from Chicago Transit Authority)

Despite the horns and a penchant in their later years for ballads, Chicago, especially in its early years, could rock out with the best of them, thanks mainly to Terry Kath. The best evidence of that is 1970's 25 or 6 to 4 (which surely will rank highly for Tim if he ever counts down that year), but this may be the second-best example. Kath's solo at 1:35 ranks with anything Clapton and his peers could do, and the horns and rhythm section manage to make heavy music sound swinging. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
41. I've Been Waiting for You -- Neil Young (from Neil Young)

I ranked this #84 on my Neil countdown and said:

Fuzzed-out bliss. The "ahs" between the guitar blasts at the beginning are a nice touch. One of the few tracks from Neil's solo debut that wasn't done in by overproduction/bad mixing. Confusingly, Neil did not perform this live much around the time of its release; all that's documented before 2001 is three acoustic performances in the late '60s. Since 2001 it has appeared 53 times. Bonus points for being covered by David Bowie, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr.
Bowie cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNgsCmcIYKo

Pixies cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5oY9mXB1Oo

Dinosaur Jr. cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot0xLoY_Z2w

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Yes, Hendrix had reportedly once said that Kath was the best guitarist in the world. Although he seemed to say the same about Billy Gibbons, Rory Gallagher and probably a few others. He just seemed to love guys that could almost keep up with him. 
Indeed, in a Terry Kath documentary I saw a few months ago, some of his bandmates mentioned that Hendrix had come backstage after seeing one of their LA club shows to tell Kath "you're better than me." 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
40. Jesus Is Just Alright -- The Byrds (from Ballad of Easy Rider)

The Byrds were the first band to rockify this gospel song, written three years earlier by Arthur Reynolds and first recorded by his Art Reynolds Singers. It was the second single from Ballad of Easy Rider but only hit the lower reaches of the Hot 100. Three years later, the Doobie Brothers, using a very similar arrangement, hit the top 40 with it. 

The fuzz guitars and pulsating bass let you know you're listening to a psychedelic band in 1969, but the vocals are unmistakably gospel. In fact, in concert, the Byrds would begin it with a wordless vocal intro (arranged by drummer Gene Parsons) playing that up even more, but it was cut from the studio version. Here's a good example of how that went. I'll take the time here to reiterate how great a live band the Roger McGuinn/Parsons/Clarence White/Skip Battin version of the Byrds were; they could have carved out a Grateful Dead-like career on the road if they'd wanted to. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
39. Gypsy (of a Strange and Distant Time) -- The Moody Blues (from To Our Children's Children's Children)

Bracie took a few songs from the first Moodies album from 1969. This is the best song from the second one. It wasn't released as a single -- it was passed over for the much less interesting Watching and Waiting -- but found its way into rotation on FM stations. There's a certain intense majesty about this one, with Justin Hayward turning in a particularly strong vocal. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
38. Rock Me -- Steppenwolf (from At Your Birthday Party)

Originally written for the 1968 "psychedelic sex farce" film Candy, this song was released as a single in February '69 and included on Steppenwolf's third album a month later. Even though it's only three and a half minutes long, it feels like two different songs in one. The first 2 minutes is a hard-charging guitar rocker with a shifting, sliding melody. Then most of the rest of it is a drums-and-percussion breakdown -- which presumably corresponded with what was going on in the movie (I've never seen it). I normally can't stand drum solos, but this has enough different stuff going on, and only lasts for a minute, so it works here. Then we return to a brief rehash of the chorus, then we're done. 

This song is also notable for being written by an all-male band with lyrics lamenting the objectification of women. We didn't see much of that in 1969.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
37. Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) -- Janis Joplin (from I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!)

The first song on Janis' first solo album, it signaled that she was leaving behind psychedelic rock for soul and R&B. Joplin was best with big sounds and big deliveries, and this song delivers on those fronts. I especially love what she does with her voice on the "if it's a dream" part. 

 

Sea Duck

Footballguy
37. Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) -- Janis Joplin (from I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!)

The first song on Janis' first solo album, it signaled that she was leaving behind psychedelic rock for soul and R&B. Joplin was best with big sounds and big deliveries, and this song delivers on those fronts. I especially love what she does with her voice on the "if it's a dream" part. 
Originally by Lorraine Ellison, who projected a Dionne/Aretha mashup in her delivery. Co-written by Jerry Ragavoy (Janis covered several of his songs, e.g. "Piece Of My Heart") and Angelina Jolie's uncle.

 

Sea Duck

Footballguy
35. How Many More Times -- Led Zeppelin (from Led Zeppelin)

There are some blues-parody elements in this one too, but everyone is on overdrive here and they completely destroy your ears at the end of the song. 
It has been (wrongly) claimed that Zep was inspired by a Howlin' Wolf song called "How Many More Years", but it's far more likely that they were inspired by two other Wolf songs: "You Gonna Wreck My Life" and "Smokestack Lightning", the latter of which was covered by The Yardbirds and was one of the few songs that was performed with all three of their famous guitarists -- and the live versions with Page were basically prototypical variations on what would become "How Many More Times" just a few months later.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
34. Commotion -- Creedence Clearwater Revival (from Green River)

This frenzied track was the B-side of the title track of Green River but hit #30 anyway. Given its energy, it was not surprisingly a staple of the band's live sets. Imagine rockabilly cats taking speed and then tapering it with a little weed. The lyrics, which are about everybody being in a hurry all the time, fit well with the music. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
33. I'm Set Free -- The Velvet Underground (from The Velvet Underground)

The third VU album had a lot of reflective ballads about love and life, and this was one of the most gorgeous. It boasts one of Lou Reed's most compelling vocals and I love how each section of the song builds up to the revelatory chorus. Lines like 

I've been set free and I've been bound
To the memories of yesterday's clouds

&

and

I'm set free to find a new illusion
&

will make you think for days. 

I saw Reed play in Asbury Park in 2006. He only did four Velvets songs and this was one of them. (The others were Sweet Jane, Pale Blue Eyes and I'm Sticking with You, which was used in the then-current movie Juno.)

Tomorrow we get to the first of what are the really heavy hitters in my mind. After I compiled my list of potential songs, I did a first pass and highlighted 31 songs I wanted to rank highly. 

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
Velvet Underground's Velvet Underground might be the best chill music I listen to. I can actually think during it, unlike a lot of the immersive vocal-led stuff that I usually have on. "I'm Set Free" is a wonderful track. I can hear it my head as I type. It sort of creeps into my consciousness from the background, as I'm often listening to that album as background music, no small compliment (I generally can't think straight when I'm listening to music).

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
rockaction said:
Chicago is really one of the bands that history underrates because of their later output and the saccharine taste it leaves in one's mouth.

But their early stuff is dope every time I hear it (which isn't all too often, I'll admit). Isn't Kath the one Hendrix admired or something like that?
yeah, really became a completely different band (realizing some of the core guys still there)

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
yeah, really became a completely different band (realizing some of the core guys still there)
It happened most obviously after Terry Kath died in 1978, but after the first album there was a gradual shift toward more commercially accessible music, culminating in those synthed-out ballads of the '80s. 

That being said, I highly recommend Chicago VII, a double album from 1974. It has three big hits on it, but much of the rest of the record is experimental. All of side 1 and some of side 2 are basically jazz. 

 

shuke

Black Ice Skeptic
Velvet Underground's Velvet Underground might be the best chill music I listen to. I can actually think during it, unlike a lot of the immersive vocal-led stuff that I usually have on. "I'm Set Free" is a wonderful track. I can hear it my head as I type. It sort of creeps into my consciousness from the background, as I'm often listening to that album as background music, no small compliment (I generally can't think straight when I'm listening to music).
I'm the same way about Fleet Foxes' first album.  Probably have done more work to it than anything else.  

 

rockaction

Footballguy
I'm the same way about Fleet Foxes' first album.  Probably have done more work to it than anything else.  
It's a very strange feeling to me, one of listening to music while being able to do other things intently. Fleet Foxes are an interesting band I don't listen to enough of. I really have a blind spot for the late aughts' folk indie/chamber pop stuff aside from Sufjan Stevens's Illinoise and Grizzly Bear's output. And a lot of that folk/chamber pop stuff is really good.

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
I can do it while surfing the net/reading for pleasure, but I can't do it while working. At all. 
I can relate. I can talk on the internet and chat for sure, but I don't know if I could be back in school and read a court case or difficult expository piece and listen to the Velvets. I might be able to with that album, but I generally need silence. Loud noises of any sort are very verboten.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
32. Run Away Child, Running Wild -- The Temptations (from Cloud Nine)

This was the second Temptations' "psychedelic soul" single, after the title track of Cloud Nine (which is on Bracie's list). All the elements of the Whitfield/Strong formula are already there -- socially conscious lyrics (about the perils of running away), alternating lead vocal lines by all five members, wah-wah guitar (played by Dennis Coffey on this track), heavy percussion and, in this case, extended instrumental passages -- the album version, linked above, is more than 9 minutes long. 

This ambitious, thrilling track topped the R&B chart and hit #6 on the Hot 100. 

(The grammatically incorrect phrasing listed here is how the title appeared on the original 45.)

 
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wikkidpissah

Footballguy
32. Run Away Child, Running Wild -- The Temptations (from Cloud Nine)

This was the second Temptations' "psychedelic soul" single, after the title track of Cloud Nine (which is on Bracie's list). All the elements of the Whitfield/Strong formula are already there -- socially conscious lyrics (about the perils of running away), alternating lead vocal lines by all five members, wah-wah guitar (played by Dennis Coffey on this track), heavy percussion and, in this case, extended instrumental passages -- the album version, linked above, is more than 9 minutes long. 

This ambitious, thrilling track topped the R&B chart and hit #6 on the Hot 100. 

(The grammatically incorrect phrasing listed here is how the title appeared on the original 45.)
top-o-the-pg link again

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
31. Let Me! -- Paul Revere and the Raiders (from Alias Pink Puzz)

I never heard this song until I started doing research for this countdown, and I wonder where it has been all my life. This is an extraordinary slice of garage rock with a driving beat and blissful fuzzed out guitars -- the screams of "all right!" by Mark Lindsay almost qualify this as proto-punk. 

Just when you think you know how this song is going to play out, the band throws a massive curveball at 2:15. The song starts to fade, and then all of the sudden Lindsay interjects with "ah-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma!" and it kicks into gear again. 

The Strokes would kill for this sort of sound and execution. 

This was a top 40 hit in 1969. Why it has mostly disappeared since then -- at least in circles I'm familiar with -- is a complete mystery to me. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
30. That's the Way God Planned It -- Billy Preston (from That's the Way God Planned It)

There are few better examples of how soul was influenced by gospel than this. As you might expect, the organ playing is first rate, but Preston's vocal is the revelation here -- it's truly rapturous. 

It was the title track of Preston's first album for Apple, which was produced by George Harrison. It was a major hit in the UK but didn't make much of an impact in the US on its initial release, likely because Apple didn't have a very good idea of how to navigate the US market for acts who were not the Beatles. It was re-released in 1972 after some subsequent successes and did somewhat better, and is now considered one of his signature songs on this side of the pond as well as the other side. 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Pip's Invitation said:
31. Let Me! -- Paul Revere and the Raiders (from Alias Pink Puzz)

I never heard this song until I started doing research for this countdown, and I wonder where it has been all my life. This is an extraordinary slice of garage rock with a driving beat and blissful fuzzed out guitars -- the screams of "all right!" by Mark Lindsay almost qualify this as proto-punk. 

Just when you think you know how this song is going to play out, the band throws a massive curveball at 2:15. The song starts to fade, and then all of the sudden Lindsay interjects with "ah-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma!" and it kicks into gear again. 

The Strokes would kill for this sort of sound and execution. 

This was a top 40 hit in 1969. Why it has mostly disappeared since then -- at least in circles I'm familiar with -- is a complete mystery to me. 
Probably one of the most underdog/underrated bands in even garage rock history, never mind rock history. Not extolled among the current cognoscenti like The Monks, nor revered like The Sonics, nor anything, really...

Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere and the Raiders were a wonderful Pacific NW standard-bearer with their wild shows, sound, and costumes. I think sometimes the costumes make people underestimate the edge of their music and lead to assessments of the band as some sort of high camp. It is, but for garage rock, the music is often sublime and transcendental of genre. 

 
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Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
29. Sour Milk Sea -- Jackie Lomax (from Is That What You Want?)

This song holds the record for most Beatles without being credited to the Beatles or any of their members. It was written and produced by George Harrison and the backing band consisted of Harrison and Eric Clapton on guitars, Paul McCartney on bass, Ringo Starr on drums, Nicky Hopkins on piano and an uncredited organist. 

It was released as a single in 1968, one of the first four issued simultaneously by the Apple label. It didn't do well because radio favored two of the others, the Beatles' Hey Jude and Mary Hopkin's Those Were the Days, and didn't want to go all-in on Apple right away lest they get blowback from the other record companies. It qualifies for this list because it appeared on Lomax' 1969 album Is That What You Want?

This was one of many songs George wrote during the Maharishi visit and considered for use on The White Album. (Would that he had chosen this instead of Piggies.) The lyrics espouse transcendental meditation, and George wanted them to reach as wide an audience as possible, so he arranged it in the popular hard rock style of the time. And rock hard it does -- George and Clapton both turn in great solos, Hopkins dazzles in the boogie-woogie style, Paul and Ringo propel things along as they always do, Lomax delivers an impassioned vocal and everyone maintains high energy throughout. 

Lomax had known the Beatles via participation with various bands in the Merseybeat scene and he was signed to a management deal with Brian Epstein at the time of Epstein's death. His rights were shifted to Apple but he only made the one album there before the label imploded, after which he drifted from project to project without much note. He died in 2013. 

 
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Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Probably one of the most underdog/underrated bands in even garage rock history, never mind rock history. Not extolled among the current cognoscenti like The Monks, nor revered like The Sonics, nor anything, really...

Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere and the Raiders were a wonderful Pacific NW standard-bearer with their wild shows, sound, and costumes. I think sometimes the costumes make people underestimate the edge of their music and lead to assessments of the band as some sort of high camp. It is, but for garage rock, the music is often sublime and transcendental of genre. 
They were never really embraced by the '60s counterculture, maybe because of the costumes, but possibly because their biggest '60s hit, Kicks, was anti-drugs. Some of the people from that counterculture were the ones who got to determine the rock "canon," and left them out. 

Similarly, Blood Sweat and Tears was ostracized by the counterculture because they played USO shows at the request of the government. They had done so as a condition of Canadian singer David Clayton-Thomas receiving a work visa. 

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
They were never really embraced by the '60s counterculture, maybe because of the costumes, but possibly because their biggest '60s hit, Kicks, was anti-drugs. Some of the people from that counterculture were the ones who got to determine the rock "canon," and left them out.
Sounds about right. And certainly there were people that tried to make tastes according to sociological theory. Still happens. My friend, a local music critic for an independent weekly back when, would fully admit his radical politics informed his reviews of content. A lot of crappy bands beloved, a lot of good bands panned.

 

rockaction

Footballguy
I'm serious. I remember when Sahara Hot Nights, an all-female garage Scandinavian band, was getting tons of press. Compared to the Hives and stuff. Their album? Terrible. I don't think they made another. The press is sort of suckers for faddish or intentionally hip things and the counterculture is no different.

That's really just a divergent thing, I just remember Sahara Hot Nights. They sucked compared to the press they were getting. My friend told me he absolutely graded on a typically political curve. That's all. Just confirmed what I thought. 

 
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Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
I'm serious. I remember when Sahara Hot Nights, an all-female garage Scandinavian band, was getting tons of press. Compared to the Hives and stuff. Their album? Terrible. I don't think they made another. The press is sort of suckers for faddish or intentionally hip things and the counterculture is no different.

That's really just a divergent thing, I just remember Sahara Hot Nights. They sucked compared to the press they were getting. My friend told me he absolutely graded on a typically political curve. That's all. Just confirmed what I thought. 
Yeah, too many reviews based on trendiness or politics played a big part in why I don't really read anything by professional music writers/critics anymore. 

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Pip's Invitation said:
Preston's vocal is the revelation here -- it's truly rapturous. 
Doesn't sound anything like Preston's other vocals.  I didn't read before listening but was going to look up to see who was singing but figured you would mention it.  Surprised it was Preston.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
28. I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothin (Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself) -- James Brown (released as a single)

This may be the longest James Brown song title, which is saying something. Over a tight groove and an extended sax solo, Brown testifies not only about self-reliance, but about how the Black community needs to band together to support each other and how success can happen with good education, etc. Utterly infectious.

The 9-minute track in the link was released as a single, with the first half on the A-side and the second half on the B-side. It hit #3 on the R&B chart and #20 on the Hot 100. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
I had never heard it before so as I was listening I was thinking, hmmn only the Beatles would think 'sour milk' would be a good title and chorus, lol.
Same guy who wrote Savoy Truffle!

It's a metaphor derived from Hindu texts regarding the fallow period before the Earth goes through a regenerative period. 

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Same guy who wrote Savoy Truffle!

It's a metaphor derived from Hindu texts regarding the fallow period before the Earth goes through a regenerative period. 
His lyrics at times left a lot to be desired. 

Being honest the Beatles, for as great as they were creatively....  got too much credit for some things they said off the cuff or for lyrics they wrote. They were just a couple of guys in their twenties with much too big a bully pulpit with thongs of people shoving microphones in their faces wanting to unearth some inscrutable mystery.  

George is soo deep, should have figured he was cryptically referencing Hindu texts when I visualize my sister throwing up sour milk out of her nostrils as kids at the breakfast table.  🤣

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
27. Hot Burrito #2 -- The Flying Burrito Brothers (from The Gilded Palace of Sin)

The second Gram Parsons/Chris Ethridge collaboration from the first Burritos album is a perfect blend of pop, rock and country. The crazy effects on Sneaky Pete Kleinow's steel guitar never sounded better than they do here, the melody sticks in your head forever, and the song boasts yet another compelling Parsons vocal. 

This should have been a massive hit, but no one had any idea how to market it. It has built up quite a legacy, however, and has been covered a ton. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
26. 1984 -- Spirit (released as a single)

This is another one where sources disagree on the date of release (some say Dec. 69, others Jan. or Feb. 70), but I'm counting it. This was a standalone single released between the band's third and fourth albums and was an early indicator of the sonic adventures they would take on that fourth album, The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. 

As you might expect, the lyrics draw heavily on the George Orwell book by the same name, but for me the draw is the music. Mark Andes plays a highly memorable, rumbling bass line, and Randy California's guitar solo is iconic; I still have every note memorized in my head. 

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
I'm serious. I remember when Sahara Hot Nights, an all-female garage Scandinavian band, was getting tons of press. Compared to the Hives and stuff. Their album? Terrible. I don't think they made another. The press is sort of suckers for faddish or intentionally hip things and the counterculture is no different.

That's really just a divergent thing, I just remember Sahara Hot Nights. They sucked compared to the press they were getting. My friend told me he absolutely graded on a typically political curve. That's all. Just confirmed what I thought. 
never heard of them ...this is pretty good though

 

rockaction

Footballguy
I'm just getting a picture of them when I click. Lower in the page there looks to be video, but it's doing nothing.

Apropos of nothing, they are indeed Sahara Hotnights. I even got the name wrong, which I had edited to keep the proper way. It is "Hotnights." Maybe I was in a mood or something listening to them. They're probably not all bad, I guess. But I couldn't help but think there was a sociopolitical thing going on with their gushing press. That's when I asked that friend about it.

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
I'm just getting a picture of them when I click. Lower in the page there looks to be video, but it's doing nothing.

Apropos of nothing, they are indeed Sahara Hotnights. I even got the name wrong, which I had edited to keep the proper way. It is "Hotnights." Maybe I was in a mood or something listening to them. They're probably not all bad, I guess. But I couldn't help but think there was a sociopolitical thing going on with their gushing press. That's when I asked that friend about it.
yes - the video is in the middle of the article ...took a few seconds for it to come up - it was blank initially for me as well

 

rockaction

Footballguy
yes - the video is in the middle of the article ...took a few seconds for it to come up - it was blank initially for me as well
Ah, okay. Will try and check it out. It probably wasn't as bad as I'm making it out to be, but they were supposed to be the new Hives or Strokes or whatever garage rock revival act was huge at the moment.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
25. Sweet Dream -- Jethro Tull (released as a single)

Grandiose but not excessive, this hard rocker with orchestral backing is one of Tull's best tracks. I particularly enjoy the transition from the main part to the "get out and get what you can" part. A non-album single, it reached #7 in the UK but was relegated to FM radio cult status over here (and was collected on the Living in the Past compilation a few years later). 

Fun fact 1: The orchestra was arranged and conducted by David Palmer, who became a full-time member of Tull in the mid-70s. 

Fun fact 2: There was a video for this in regular rotation in the early days of MTV, featuring Ian Anderson as a vampire. It had been put together for their 1981 tour and I guess someone at the network liked it. The audio is actually from the live version on Bursting Out. 

 

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