The Leaves — “Too Many People”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 2, 2022


656) The Leaves — “Too Many People”

Hey Joe, this “bluesy and funky slow drag number” (Woody Anders, was the Leaves’ first A-side (’65). And it is not about Yoko Ono!

Richie Unterberger says:

[It] was a substantial hit in the Los Angeles area in 1965, though it didn’t make a national dent. . . . Perhaps it may sound naïve in its catch-all protest against society telling you what to do and think and how to conform. But there’s an engaging, almost uplifting rebelliousness to its garage pop-blues swagger . . . . in tune with the mid-1965 zeitgeist of young people starting to buck against the establishment. . . . [and] a good example of protest folk-rock-influenced garage rock.

As to the Leaves, Unterberger notes that:

One of the first L.A. folk-rock groups to spring up in the wake of the Byrds in the mid-’60s, the Leaves are most remembered for recording the first . . . rock version[] of “Hey Joe,” which reached the Top 40 . . . in 1966. None of their other releases approached this success . . . . [T]hey . . . disbanded after a disappointing follow-up . . . .

Bruce Eder adds that the band’s “music roughly paralleled that of the Byrds, but with some twists: though their music was also labeled as ‘folk-rock,’ the[y] were more obviously beholden to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles for some of their music, and generated a harder, somewhat heavier sound.” (

“Too Many People” was co-written by Leaf Bill Rinehart, who also co-wrote yesterday’s “Elevator Operator”. Bruce Eder gives us the skinny on this unsung L.A. rock hero:

Guitarist/bassist/producer Bill Rinehart is a figure who seems to inhabit the background of a lot of history of Los Angeles bands of the mid- to late ’60s — he crops up across and adjacent to the stories of Emitt Rhodes, the Leaves, the Byrds . . . yet he never ascended to stardom in his own right. . . . He co-authored . . . “Too Many People[]” . . . and he was all over the resulting Hey Joe album, though the version of the latter song that was a hit for the group was recorded following his exit in 1966. . . . He spent a good chunk of 1967 connected to . . . the Gene Clark Group, put together to accompany . . . Clark in his solo performances, and the Merry-Go-Round [see #50, 156], formed by Emitt Rhodes . . . . The Clark group didn’t last too long, though some of their work was preserved on his debut solo album . . . . [B]y the time it came out, Rinehart was part of the Merry-Go-Round . . . . which was otherwise comprised of semi-professional musicians all, like Rhodes, in their mid-teens. He’d been brought in to shore up their instrumental sound, and was present on the singles “Live” and “You’re a Very Lovely Woman.” . . . [H]owever . . . the very attributes that got him hired also forced his exit . . . the age difference . . . . At 20, he was already a veteran with three years of playing professionally behind him . . . . He also made his first foray into producing that same year, when he helmed the Sonny & Cher’s single “A Beautiful Story” . . . .

Here they are live:

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