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Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Albums & Singles of the Summer of Love

USA Today's music critics have tackled the music of 30 years ago to decide which 20 albums "defined" the era. They've also drafted a list of the singles of the year and explored some of the era's musical "oddities", such as Bill Cosby's spoken word novelty hit "Little Ole Man (Uptight-Everything's Alright)", in which he uses "hip lingo", and Peggy Lee's "tepid" album of "mellow, thinly arranged standards", Somethin' Groovy!.

Bill Cosby - Little Ole Man (Uptight-Everything's Alright) (with parenthetical "Uptight-Everything's Alright" melody courtesy of Stevie Wonder's 1965 hit song of the same name"; on Hard To Find 45s On CD, Vol. 5: Pop Classics)

Peggy Lee - Hey, Look Me Over! (...and decide for yourself how tepid it is! On Extra Special!/Somethin' Groovy!)

There's also a poll asking readers which 1967 summer song is their favorite, out of 10 choices. Those 10 summer songs are (in no particular order):

1. The Fifth Dimension - "Up, Up and Away"
2. Procol Harum - "A Whiter Shade of Pale"
3. The Doors - "Light My Fire"
4. Jackie Wilson - "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
5. Scott McKenzie - "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" (on the soundtrack to Forrest Gump)
6. The Beatles - "All You Need is Love"
7. Jefferson Airplane - "Somebody to Love"
8. Stevie Wonder - "I Was Made to Love Her"
9. Bobbie Gentry - "Ode to Billie Joe"
10. Young Rascals - "Groovin'"

The 20 Albums of the Summer of '67:

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced

Bee Gees - 1st

The Rolling Stones - Between the Buttons

Love - Da Capo

The Doors - The Doors

Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music for the Mind and Body

The Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead

The Young Rascals - Groovin'

The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)

Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (USA Today: "An indisputable soul treasure")

Stevie Wonder - I Was Made to Love Her (USA Today: "This kind of filler-packed collection was built for the iTunes shopper.")

Donovan - Mellow Yellow

Moby Grape - Moby Grape [The paper praises the album for its "concise, harmony-heavy rockers (Omaha, Hey Grandma) and brooding, lovelorn ballads (Sitting by the Window, 8:05)", which at the time "seemed out of step with the prevailing freeform jam and psychedelic sounds" but now give it "a timeless appeal".]

Moby Grape - Omaha

Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - United

The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (USA Today calls it "the album that launched a thousand bands, and is now fully ingrained in rock's subconscious.")

The Temptations - With a Lot O' Soul

The Byrds - Younger Than Yesterday

Check out the article for the critics' take on all the albums, including how they were perceived in 1967 and a current perspective.

The paper's list of the singles of '67 includes pop, rock, soul, funk, and the sweetiest, chewiest, of bubblegum. Some of the songs easily stand the test of time; music critic Ken Barnes thinks others were pretty iffy even for their time (every era probably has its iffy songs; how could it not?)

"Strangely traditional (except for the jet sounds)", according to Barnes, The Box Tops' "The Letter", is also deemed "arguably the year's biggest hit."

Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway" gets a bit more praise: "Forget Haight-Ashbury; the Wicked One knew where the enduring action was."

"As close to a definitive ode to a flower child as you could ask for", the Association's "Windy" may come out smelling like a rose, but it's Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) that's credited with having "launched a thousand trips to the titular city, looking for love in all the wrong places." Bonus points to McKenzie for landing in the readers summer songs poll.

The Singles of '67: (see the article for the complete descriptions/reviews)

Van Morrison - "Brown Eyed Girl"
The Hollies - "Carrie-Anne"
James Brown - "Cold Sweat"
Soul Survivors - "Expressway to Your Heart"
Wilson Pickett - Funky Broadway (on the Very Best of Wilson Pickett)
The Beach Boys - "Heroes and Villains"
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - "Jackson"
the Box Tops - "The Letter"
the Music Explosion - "Little Bit o' Soul"
Tommy James & The Shondells - "Mirage"
Bobbie Gentry - "Ode to Billie Joe"
The Monkees - "Pleasant Valley Sunday"
The Supremes - "Reflections"
The Animals - "San Franciscan Nights"
Scott McKenzie - "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)"
The Turtles - "She'd Rather Be With Me"
The Tremeloes - "Silence Is Golden"
Janis Ian - "Society's Child"
Spanky & Our Gang - "Sunday Will Never Be the Same"
Lulu - "To Sir With Love"
The Mamas & The Papas - "Twelve Thirty"
The Fifth Dimension - "Up, Up and Away"
Procol Harum - "A Whiter Shade of Pale"
The Association - "Windy" (on Billboard Top Rock 'n' Roll Hits - 1967)
Jackie Wilson - "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"


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