40) The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, “Mr. Tree”
If you look up the definition of “twee,” any decent dictionary will cite this song. Twee in a good way — delicate and heart-breaking. Three students at Juilliard formed the band, including Marty Fulterman — who as Mark Snow would compose the X-Files theme!
41) Nick Garrie, “St. Tropez Whore”
This song didn’t make the cut of the justly legendary “lost” Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas album. Nick recorded it for release in 2009.
“She’s the St. Tropez whore, and if your heart is sore, you can always turn to her to calm the pain. Oh she’s the St. Tropez whore and she always wants more, so please don’t leave her standing in the rain.”
42) Joe Tex, “Buying a Book”
Dave Marsh says in All Music Guide that Tex “made his mark by preaching over tough hard soul tracks, clowning at some points, swooping into a croon at others. He was perhaps the most rustic and back-country of the soul stars . . . .” In this story song, which reached #47 in May ’69 (#10 on Billboard’s R&B chart), a man of a certain age patiently answers the concerned but impertinent query of a youngster: “I saw this old man with this young girl the other night, I walked over to him and pulled him off on the side, and I said, pops, what are you trying to prove? I said, I’ve seen you out here every night this week, with a different young girl wrapped around your arm, I said, you can’t keep this pace up . . . .”
The band came from the Kinks’s neighborhood of Muswell Hill and the Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle loved them, but to no avail. This single had nothing to do with the Woodstock Festival — it was issued in late ’68. But it did include a killer Dylan impersonation.
38) Pink Floyd, “Summer ‘68”
’70 album Atom Heart Mother was named after a woman with an atomic pacemaker. Paul Matt’s writes that:
Summer ’68” was written by Rick Wright, reminiscing about the band’s time on tour in America. Wrights sings of emptiness following an encounter with a fan. “In the summer of ’68, there were groupies everywhere,” Wright said in Barry Miles’ Pink Floyd: The Early Years. “They’d come and look after you like a personal maid, do your washing and sleep with you and leave you with a dose of the clap.” You get the picture. The sound has West Coast vocal elements, as well as a return of the brass section, creating a huge sound at times.
“I hardly even like you, I shouldn’t care at all. We met just six hours ago, the music was too loud. From your bed I gained a day and lost a bloody year.” Apparently, make love and war.
39) Jacqueline Taieb, “7h du Matin”
’67 single by wonderful French ye-ye singer. Schoolgirl wakes up on Monday morning . . . (English translation) “It’s, uh, Monday, isn’t it? Oh, I have an English exam today. Mmm, I wish I had Paul McCartney to help me.” Yeah, me too.
You know the phrase “achingly beautiful”? It perfectly describes this April 1966 #47 “hit” by the Corpus Christi pop/folk group.
“Time, oh time where did you go? Time, oh good, good time where did you go? . . . Some people never get, some never give, some people never die and some never live.”
35) Tintern Abbey, “Vacuum Cleaner”
The B-side to the December ’67 A-side titled “Bee Side.” Is that clear? “In any event, A + B were “arguably the finest one-off UK psychedelic 45 of all.” (Vernon Joynson, The Tapestry of Delights).
“Fix me up with your sweet dose, now I’m feelin’ like a ghost . . . let’s have it now girl, don’t you know I need it all the time . . . maybe now I’ll show some willin’ to help you with the house work, if you want to.” WTF?
36) France Gall, “Laisse Tomber les Filles”
A big star in France, the standout “ye-ye” girl (derived from the Beatles’s “yeah, yeah, yeah” refrain) sings a “brilliant rocker” that is “easily as good as any pop single produced in the U.S. or Great Britain at the time.” (Thom Jurek, All Music Guide).
“Stop messing around with the girls, you’ll have to pay for it one of these days [English translation].”
Per Jim Dunn in All Music Guide, the psych-tinged soul band was “one of England’s great lost musical treasures of the mid- to late ’60s — immensely popular among club audiences [but] never able to translate their ability to win over crowds into chart success . . . .” This ’67 single deserved so much better.
32) The Fleur De Lys, “Mud in Your Eye”
Nuggets II calls this ’66 single “milestone U.K. freakbeat.” Yup. “Girl, you’re driving me mad, you’re making me sad, you’re treating me bad . . . While you’re running around my life’s going down and now the future’s looking dim.” The future’s so blighted I gotta wear shades!
33) The Birds, “You’re on My Mind”
Blame the Byrds for their clipped wings, and see Ron Wood (writer of this ’64 single) soar with the Faces and the Stones.
The lovely theme song for The Family Way, a ’66 UK comedy-drama about newlyweds. Paul and George (Martin) wrote the film’s score with time on their hands after the Beatles stopped touring and John went off to film How I Won the War.
29) John Lennon, “Child of Nature”
Of course it sounds familiar — think “Jealous Guy” on the Imagine album, but John actually wrote the music on the Beatles’s trek to India. From “I’m just a child of nature, I don’t need much to set me free. I’m just a child of nature, I’m one of nature’s children” to “I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m sorry that I made you cry. Oh no, I didn’t want to hurt you, I’m just a jealous guy.” Yeah, I guess that was Yoko.
30) The Idle Race, “Days of Broken Arrows”
This May ’69 single flopped. “Don’t be too sad when you’re waiting for death. The message on the garden wall says Mickey Mouse is bad.” WTF? Jeff Lynne went on to dominate the 70’s.
Brooding ’66 single by a Danish band led by two teenage brothers. Get your mind out of the gutter — “Stripped of all your wealth, stripped of all your fame, when your time will come, you won’t have a name, naked when you come, naked when you go.”
26) The Lemon Fog, “Summer”
’68 pop-psych single by this Houston band who were really big in . . . Houston. In praise of . . . summer.
27) The King Biscuit Entertainers, “Priscilla Brown”
The B-side of one of three ’68 singles by this Pacific Northwest band. Wonderful pop-psych that sounds like it came straight outta England.
This was the B-side of the Liverpool band’s (named after an English highway exit to Liverpool) October ’67 single. One of the most gorgeous songs I have ever heard.
“Why should it be that a man such as me, who cares not for money and fame, shouldn’t be rich with God’s natural gifts, to have something to show at the end of life’s game?”
23) Minnie Riperton, “Les Fleurs”
The song is from her first solo album, before she became famous in the 70’s and died tragically at 31. All Music Guide’s Jason Ankeny calls the album “chamber soul” and the song as “embracing both intimacy and majesty to haunting effect.” Yup.
24) The Holy Mackerel, “Wildflowers”
The group was notable for being led by 70’s uber-presence Paul Williams, but this song was written by former Jefferson Airplane bassist Bob Harvey (who left the band before the associated album was completed).
“Hearts aglow I’ll walk, I know like rainbows bursting with colors in the air for rainbows bursted, I find the air is new. My love will guide me through the wildflowers. I walk blindly through a field of wildflowers . . . .”
“I’d like to stroll along the seashore of your mind and whisper all my secrets to the breeze”
20) Tom Northcott, “Sunny Goodge Street”
Northcott’s cover of Donovan’s song reached #20 on the Canadian charts.
“On the firefly platform on Sunny Goodge Street, a violent hash-smoker shook a chocolate machine, involved in an eating scene, smashing into neon streets in their stonedness.”
21) Gil-Scott Heron, “Whitey on the Moon”
A new black poet indeed. Is this song satire or straight on? Well, Gil-Scott was born on April Fool’s Day. “I can’t pay no doctor bill, (but Whitey’s on the moon), ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still (while Whitey’s on the moon) . . . I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills Airmail special (to Whitey on the moon).”
A young band from St. Louis writes a wonderful and haunting song, gets signed by EMI and gets to record the song (and an entire album’s worth of material) in England at the Abbey Road studios . . . the single is released to little attention and the album remains unreleased for decades.
17) Jotta Herre, “Penina”
You can’t make this stuff up: Late in 1968, a Portuguese band is playing at the Penina hotel in Portugal, where they met a drunken Paul McCartney. He ends up getting up and playing with them, and offers them a song — “Penina” — which he had written on the spot. The song was never released as as single in the U.S.
18) Lee Mallory, “That’s the Way It’s Gonna Be”
Sunshine pop legend Lee Mallory (of the Millenium) releases a song by folkies Phil Ochs and Bob Gibson. His version, unrecognizable as a folk song but a sizzling pop creation, makes it all the way to . . . #86 (but #2 in Seattle and #1 in Holland).
This was the glorious B-side of the November ’67 “Apples and Oranges” single, written not by Syd Barrett but by Richard Wright. “Last night I had too much to drink, sitting in a club with so many fools.” Been there, done that.
14) The Carrie Nations (Lynn Carey), “In the Long Run”
Surprisingly great song from Roger Ebert and Russ Meyer’s camp classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, “performed” on film by the Carrie Nations, actually sung by Lynn Carey.
“In the long run, you’ll need someone to trust and count on, somewhere along the way. In the long run, will there be someone that you can lean on, come a rainy day?” Words to live by.
15) Chris Britton, “Fly with Me”
From the self-proclaimed ’70 “ego trip” solo album by the Troggs’s guitarist.
“Fly to the moon above, fly on the wings of love, it’s free, dance through the mountain streams, see just how wild your dreams can be.”
10) Merrell Fankhauser and H.M.S. Bounty “Girl (I’m Waiting for You)”
Of the West Coast pop-psych album from which I drew this song, Fankhauser himself says that it is “one of the rare lost psychedelic gems of the late 60’s.” Presumptuous, but I agree!
11) Dana Gillespie, “You Just Gotta Know My Mind”
Dana Gillespie, later to become a prolific blues singer, was discovered by Donovan. He wrote this smoking song and it was produced by Jimmy Page.
12) Los Mad’s, “I’ve Got that Feeling”
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards saw this Peruvian band perform at a party on the Lima beach of Ancon, which got them invited to England. They recorded demos that were finally released decades later — this song was written by Ray Davies and appeared on a few early Kinks albums. The Mad’s give the song true feeling, and outdo the original.
It did hit #35 in the UK in May ’70. “Wouldn’t you like to know I love you, jump on a plane and take a ride, come on before I forget you.”
8) Jackson Frank, “Blues Run the Game”
Bruce Eder in All Music Guide calls Frank’s 1965 folk-rock album, from which I picked this song, “a lost classic, daringly complex and honest”. Yup. “Catch a boat to England baby, maybe to Spain, wherever I have gone, wherever I’ve been and gone, wherever I have gone, the blues are all the same.” OK, a bit nicer sentiment than Barnes’s.
9) Davy Jones, “You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving”
No introduction necessary. Davy Jones, not Davy Jones the Monkee, but Davey Jones the David Bowie. His third single, from August ’65, yes 1965, with the Lower Third.
Brian Epstein picked their name . . . John Lennon loved them . . . but they only released one single (and this song wasn’t on it). Apple lost interest . . . what a shame.
5) Factory, “Path Through the Forest”
The Nuggets liner notes proclaim this October ’68 single to be “as memorable as it is obscure” and creating a “magical, otherworldly mood.” Yup, yup. “You’ve just got to swing past the forest, where colours can blind you, and everything finds you, it can drive you insane.”
6) The Honeybus, “I Can’t Let Maggie Go”
“Maggie,” written by Pete Dello, made it to #8 in the UK charts in March of ’68. But Pete didn’t want to be a rock star and quit the band! Honeybus nevertheless created more wonderful music, but without the success.
Bruce Eder in All Music Guide says that Jan “was part of the ubiquitous legions of girl singers who poured into London, and whose recorded work streamed out of the British record industry across the early to mid-’60s.” This was the B-side of an April 1969 single. “Small time girl that soon became a big time girl.” As Marlon Brando once said, “STELLAAAAAAAA!!!”
2) Billy Nicholls, “Would You Believe”
Billy Nicholls’s Would You Believe was one of the two great lost albums of the 1960s (sorry, “Smile”). Vernon Joynson says in The Tapestry of Delights Revisited: The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976 that the album was Andrew Loog “Oldham’s attempt to concoct a British answer to the Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds.” The Immediate label cancelled the album’s release because of financial problems and “boxes of never-issued copies are said to have ended up as ballast for ships.” So sad. Billy later became the Who’s music director.
3) Nick Garrie, “Wheel of Fortune”
Nick Garrie’s The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas was the other great lost album of the 60’s. If Nick’s French record company’s owner hadn’t committed suicide on the eve of Stanislas’s release, who knows what might have been. Stunning song — I was transfixed the first time I heard it and I have been a huge fan of Nick’s music ever since. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with him in Gstaad.