Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Get Together

Flower Power: Part 3
Okay, I realize this next band might appear to have nothing to do with Flower Power but their unique sound seemed to greatly appeal to "flower children."
Formed in 1967 in San Francisco, Santana was a Latin rock band based around guitarist Carlos Santana, and have received a total of eight Grammy Awards over the years. After the group's first audition for a concert promoter, the promoter told them they would never make it in the San Francisco Music Scene playing Latin jazz fusion, and suggested to Carlos to keep his day-job. However, because their style contrasted with the other acts, the group gained public attention after performing at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Immediately following the festival, Santana recorded their debut album, including their first hit single "Evil Ways." Reaching #9 on the charts, this song features Gregg Rolie on lead vocals and Hammond organ, and of course a notoriously-rockin' guitar solo by Carlos Santana.

Formed in 1964 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Arbors were a pop group consisting of two sets of brothers who met while attending college: Tom and Scott Herrick, and Ed and Fred Farran. After scoring a few minor hits in the '60s, they scored their biggest success with a 1969 easy listening version of "The Letter" that reached #20 on the charts (had been a hit two years prior for The Box Tops). After releasing one final album later that year, they began writing and playing music for commercials for the next 30 years. Although The Box Tops' recording of "The Letter" is a classic, I like The Arbors' version even better with its lush, string arrangement and its use of a great psychedelic effect (at the end) known as flanging. Seriously, turn this one up; it's surprisingly dramatic and beautiful (sorry no real video footage).

A British Invasion band that's been featured a few times here at The '60s Beat, The Moody Blues definitely struck a chord with several audiences with their innovative fusion of rock and classical music. Having sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and been awarded 14 platinum and gold discs, the group continues to perform today with three original members from the '60s. Released as a single and featured on the album Days of Future Passed in November of 1967, "Nights in White Satin" reached #19 on the UK charts, however, it might have scored higher if it weren't for its over 7-minute length. After the success of other lengthy, dramatic songs like The Beatles' "Hey Jude" and Clapton's "Layla," The Moodies re-released this symphonic rock song in 1972 and it charted #2 on the U.S. Billboard chart and #1 in Canada. Written by lead singer Justin Hayward when he was 19, he literally titled the song after a friend gave him a gift of satin sheets. While the London Festival Orchestra performed the orchestral accompaniment in the intro and final sections, the "orchestral" sounds in the main body of the song were played by Mike Pinder's Mellotron (a keyboard device), which became known as the "Moody Blues sound."

Coming from the New York Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-'60s, The Youngbloods were a folk rock band who unfortunately never achieved widespread popularity despite having received critical acclaim. Released in May of 1967, their folk rock single "Get Together" first peaked at #62, however, it received renewed interest after the song was used in a radio PSA as a call for brotherhood by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Re-released in May of '69, it peaked at #5 on the charts, and since has been featured in several films. Written as an appeal for peace and brotherhood by Chet Powers in the early 1960s, the song was performed by several other artists before The Youngbloods including The Kingston Trio, We Five, Jefferson Airplane, and Judy Collins, followed by dozens of artists throughout the decades, but The Youngbloods' version remains the most-remembered today. Here's a live version from The Hollywood Palace.

No comments:

Post a Comment