Bob Lind — “Eleanor”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — October 26, 2022


619) Bob Lind — “Eleanor”

As we used to say at the University of Michigan, “Oh how I hate Ohio State.” Well, oh how I hate “Elusive Butterfly”. But:

1) I love “Eleanor”! As Joe Viglione says, “when you hear . . . “Eleanor” (not the Turtles hit of the same name), you hear the real Bob Lind, and it is probable people were telling him what to do and who to be, not allowing songs like this to permeate the listening experience.” ( “[W]hen you walk through your memories, I’d like to think that you look for me.” Pure class, pure feeling. Bob, all is forgiven!

2) As Bob himself explained:

“Elusive Butterfly” was five verses long. I wanted to do all five verses. Jack [Nitzsche] said no one would listen to a song that long, and I should only do two. Of course, he was right. . . . After we’d finished . . . four [songs], the company was looking for a single. We both favoured “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home”. So we released that and – just to be safe, so we wouldn’t get split airplay – we put what we thought was the weakest song, “Elusive Butterfly”on the other side. But the record went nowhere. There was no interest in it at all. Then a disc jockey in Florida turned it over and started to play “Elusive Butterfly”. It started to catch on, one market, then another. . . .

My managers had a certain view of my career. Their decisions for Sonny & Cher were great. They were pop singers; they didn’t care. The kind of music that I wrote was intimate stuff. It was about feelings that are not general commodities that can be packaged. They were wrong for lip-sync shows with go-go dancers jumping around. It made no sense. This wasn’t the course that I was trying to follow. Right then I started hating the business. I had gotten bent and warped and taken so far away from the direction I was trying to head.

Listen, Bob, there is no problem that can’t be solved with more go-go dancers! At least in the ‘60’s. As to BL, Mark Deming tells us:

Bob Lind has enjoyed a sizable cult following based on a rather small body of work. He released only four albums between 1966 and 1971 . . . and landed just one single in the Top 40. Despite this, he’s acknowledged as one of the key artists in the ’60s folk-rock boom, and over 200 different artists have recorded his songs. “Elusive Butterfly,” a chart success in 1966, was a breezy number that nodded to psychedelia and sunshine pop, and his material of the era . . . is carefully crafted folk-rock with a pop sensibility.

In high school, Lind formed a band called the Moonlighters, and while attending Western State University in Gunnison, Colorado, he led a rock group, Bob Lind & the Misfits, who specialized in early rock covers. As a new breed of songwriters emerged on the folk music scene in the early ’60s, Lind took up songwriting and started playing occasional shows at local coffee houses. He relocated to San Francisco, where he continued writing songs and playing small venues, and in 1965, he headed south to Los Angeles, where he scored an audition with World Pacific Records . . . . [which] signed Lind to a record contract, and after he landed a publishing deal with Metric Music, he was introduced to producer and arranger Jack Nitzsche, who liked Lind’s songs and agreed to work with him. With Nitzsche providing artful backdrops for Lind’s emotionally literate songs, the two proved to be an inspired pair in the studio . . . .

By Lind’s own admission, he developed a powerful taste for alcohol and drugs once “Elusive Butterfly” made him a celebrity, and he became angry and difficult to work with; he severed ties with Nitzsche and was dropped by World Pacific after a pair of unsuccessful singles.

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