Charlie Rich – Mohair Sam

It’s a song by Charlie Rich who is more known as a country artist and his 1970s hits “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl” off of his album Behind Closed Doors. This is not like Rich’s other hits but it’s a good song.

I first heard about this song when I read The Beatles were listening to this song when they met Elvis and Elvis had it on his jukebox when they all met. The song peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100 in 1966. The song became a hit, ending up in the top 30 on the pop charts.

Charlie played piano on Sun Records in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and then signed with Grove records…after that, he signed with Smash records and this was his first release on that label.

The song was written by Dallas Frazier who also wrote “Elvira”…the song that the Oak Ridge Boys made famous.

Mohair Sam

Well – who is the hippie that’s happenin’ all over our town?
Tearin’ up chicks with the message that he lays down
Who is the coolest guy, what is, what am?
That’s fast-talkin’ – slow walkin’ – good-lookin’ Mohair Sam
Chicks are making reservations for his lovin’ so fine (so fine)
Screamin’ and shoutin’ he’s got ’em all waitin’ in line
Who is the coolest guy, what is, what am?
That’s fast-talkin’ – slow walkin’ – good-lookin’ Mohair Sam
Who is the hippie that’s happenin’ all over our town?
Tearin’ up chicks with the message that he lays down
Who is the coolest guy, what is, what am?
That’s fast-talkin’ – slow walkin’ – good-lookin’ Mohair Sam

Deep Purple – Woman from Tokyo

This song is all about the riff…it is a memorable riff… The song has drive and suspense. Woman from Tokyo peaked at #60 in 1973. This is one of the group’s most popular songs, but they never liked it very much. They didn’t start playing it live until they re-formed in 1984 after their 1976 split.

Because of endless touring and fatigue, Ian Gillan gave a six-month notice and stated that he was leaving the band after fulfilling all of his commitments in 1973. The album Who “Do We Think We Are” was released in January of 1973. The release generated the hit single “Woman from Tokyo.” “Smoke on the Water” was also busy that year becoming Deep Purple’s biggest hit of all-time.

After lead singer Ian Gillian left Deep Purple in 1973 they had two other lead singers before reforming in 1984…and they were David Coverdale and Joe Lynn Turner.

From Songfacts

Deep Purple started recording their Who Do We Think We Are in Rome in July 1972. At this point, the band had yet to tour Japan, but they had three shows scheduled there for August: two in Osaka followed by one at the Budokan arena in Tokyo. Drawing on Japanese imagery (“the rising sun,” “an Eastern dream”), they concocted a story of a lovely lady from that country who drives them wild.

Rome was sunny and relaxing, so the band spent a lot of time in the swimming pool in lieu of working. There was also a sound problem in the studio, and the only track they got out of those sessions was “Woman From Tokyo.” The rest of the album was done in Germany.

In 1973, this was issued as a single, achieving a modest chart position of #60 in America. It aged well and got a lot of airplay on AOR and Classic Rock radio stations, keeping it alive. The stretched out “Toe-Key-Oh” became a bit of an earworm and helped embed the song into many an auditory cortex.

On some compilations from the ’70s, this song is listed as “live,” which Roger Glover insists is a lie, since they never did the song live in that decade.

Woman from Tokyo

Fly into the rising sun
Faces, smiling everyone
Yeah, she is a whole new tradition
I feel it in my heart

My woman from Tokyo
She makes me see
My woman from Tokyo
She’s so good to me

Talk about her like a Queen
Dancing in a Eastern Dream
Yeah, she makes me feel like a river
That carries me away

My woman from Tokyo
She makes me see
My woman from Tokyo
She’s so good to me

But I’m at home and I just don’t belong 

So far away from the garden we love
She is what moves in the soul of a dove
Soon I shall see just how black was my night
When we’re alone in Her City of light

Rising from the neon gloom
Shining like a crazy moon
Yeah, she turns me on like a fire
I get high

My woman from Tokyo
She makes me see
My woman from Tokyo
She’s so good to me

The Who – Happy Jack

It took me a few listens to warm up to this song…after that, I’ve been hooked. Roger Daltrey on Happy Jack. “I remember when I first heard ‘Happy Jack’, I thought, ‘What the f–k do I do with this? It’s like a German oompah song!’ I had a picture in my head that this was the kind of song that Burl Ives would sing, so ‘Happy Jack’ was my imitation of Burl Ives!”

The song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in the UK in 1967.

 

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend based the “Happy Jack” character on the strange and not-too-intelligent guys who used to hang around English beaches and play with the kids. Townshend would play on the Isle Of Man beach as a kid.

This was featured on The Who’s second album, A Quick One. In the US, the album title was changed to “Happy Jack” due to record company fears that the original title was a reference to sex.

In 1966 The Who were slotted to film a television series in much the same vein as the Monkees series. For the pilot episode, the band filmed a clip to go along with this song. It featured the 4 of them as robbers attempting to rob a safe. They get distracted, however, by a cake sitting close by and wackiness ensues as The Who smear themselves from head to foot with frosting. Finally a cop busts in and foils their plan, chasing them out of the room. The show never aired, but the clip can now be found in the Kids Are Alright DVD. The clip is light years ahead of its time for what other bands of the ’60s were doing.

A live version can be found on the expanded Live at Leeds album.

At the tail end of the song, you can hear Townshend yelling the phrase “I saw yer!” to Who drummer Keith Moon. Apparently, Moon had been banished from the studio and was trying to sneak back in. 

This song was used in an ad campaign for the Hummer H2 in 2004. The commercial featured a boy in a wooden car rolling straight down a hill to win a soap box derby instead of taking the winding road down like everyone else. 

Happy Jack

Happy Jack wasn’t old, but he was a man
He lived in the sand at the Isle of Man
The kids would all sing, he would take the wrong key
So they rode on his head on their furry donkey

The kids couldn’t hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied

But they couldn’t stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy

But they couldn’t stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy

The kids couldn’t hurt Jack
They tried and tried and tried
They dropped things on his back
And lied and lied and lied and lied and lied

But they couldn’t stop Jack, or the waters lapping
And they couldn’t prevent Jack from feeling happy

I saw ya!

? & the Mysterians – 96 Tears

I absolutely love the organ riff that starts out this song. It was performed on a Vox Continental.

Well, it’s an original name I will say that much for the group…or the lead singer anyway. This song was written by “?,” the band’s frontman who wanted to be anonymous (he’s listed on the composer credits as (Rudy Martinez). At one point he referred to the individual band members only by three-letter names (at one point, the band was known as XYZ). The mystery helped market the group, who wore dark glasses to add to the intrigue.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 and #37 in the UK in 1966.  They were an American garage rock band of Mexican origins from Bay City and Saginaw in Michigan who were initially active between 1962 and 1969.

From Songfacts

Since mystery has always been a staple of their act, it’s hard to know which stories about the group are factual. When they recorded this song, they were a five-piece whose families migrated from Mexico and Texas to work in the Saginaw Valley in Michigan.

? tells us that the song was always called “96 Tears,” and never “69 Tears” or “Too Many Teardrops” as sometimes reported. He insists that the number 96 has a deep, philosophical meaning, but refuses to tell us what that is. Here’s the full interview with ? – it’s quite an adventure.

Note that the singer is not the one crying the 96 Tears. He’s been dumped, and plans to get revenge by reuniting so he can dump her back. That’s when she’ll be crying the 96 tears.

When the group came up with this song, ? didn’t want to use a title with a number in it because he thought they would be accused of ripping off The Rolling Stones, who had a hit with “19th Nervous Breakdown.” His bandmates convinced him to go with it.

The record was taped in a converted living room in Bay City, Michigan. The band then had the Texas-based Pa-Go-Go Records press 500 copies so they could distribute them to the DJ’s in southern Michigan. The song became the most requested record on WTAC Flint, and CKLW out of Windsor, Canada, which went into Detroit. Cameo Records, having solvency problems, picked up the record after one of its staffers heard it on CKLW.

In our interview with ?, he talked about how this song came together: “Little Frank [keyboard player Frank Rodriguez] comes in singing a tune, and I said, ‘I’ve heard that before. And I ain’t going to do nothing until I’ve heard where that music and the title of it comes from.’ He played it for like 45 minutes. Everybody’s getting mad. And then all of a sudden it dawned on me, I said, ‘Oh, I know where I heard that. I wrote that song long time ago.’

Then the lyrics came out: ‘Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying,’ all that came out just like that. Boom. See, it was meant to be. There are certain things that are meant to be.”

The follow-up to “96 Tears,” “I Need Somebody,” peaked at #22 in 1966. Three more singles followed including “Can’t Get Enough Of You, Baby,” which made #56 in 1967. The group disbanded in 1968, but have reunited from time to time since.

The organ riff on this song is one of the most recognizable in rock, and helped define the sound of that era.
Often thought to be a Farfisa, the band’s keyboard player Frank Rodriguez used a Vox Continental on “96 Tears.” 

This trashy bar band sound would later become vintage – many musicians use a Vox or Farfisa to get a retro sound (see: “Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley). Hearing this sound causes a rush of nostalgia for those of a certain age.

Garland Jeffreys covered this in 1980, with moderate success at the end of the disco era. ? & the Mysterians re-formed that year, with ? the only original member.

This was very popular with American soldiers during the Vietnam War.

96 Tears

Too many teardrops
For one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops
For one heart to carry on

You`re way on top now since you left me
You’re always laughing way down at me
But watch out now, I`m gonna get there
We`ll be together for just a little while
And then I`m gonna put you way down here
And you`ll start crying ninety-six tears
Cry, cry

And when the sun comes up, I`ll be on top
You`ll be way down there, looking up
And I might wave, come up here
But I don`t see you waving now
I`m way down here, wondering how
I`m gonna get you but I know now
I`ll just cry, cry, I`ll just cry

Too many teardrops
For one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops
For one heart to carry on

You’re gonna cry ninety-six tears
You’re gonna cry ninety-six tears
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry, cry now
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry, cry
Ninety-six tears

Come on and lemme hear you cry, now
Ninety-six tears, woo
I wanna hear you cry
Night and day, yeah, all night long

Uh, ninety-six tears, cry cry cry
Come on, baby
Let me hear you cry now, all night long
Uh, ninety-six tears, yeah, come on now
Uh, ninety-six tears

Tanya Tucker – Delta Dawn

I’ve always liked this song and Tanya’s voice.  This song was first recorded by Alexander Harvey in 1972. Tracy Nelson (who sang backup on the original) and Bette Midler put the song in their live repertoire before it became a country hit for a 13-year-old Tanya.

The song peaked at #6 in the Country Charts, #3 in Canada and #72 in the Billboard 100 in 1972.

Helen Reddy would take the song to #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1973.

Barbra Streisand passed on the song after the backing track had been recorded by her producer without her prior knowledge.

 

Delta Dawn

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

She’s forty-one and her daddy still calls her “baby”
All the folks around Brownsville say she’s crazy
‘Cause she walks dowtown with a suitcase in her hand
Looking for a mysterious dark-haired man

In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on
Then a man of low degree stood by her side
And promised her he’d take her for his bride

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Janis Joplin – Get It While You Can

A great bluesy song off of Pearl, Janis’s last album. The song peaked at #78 in the Billboard 100 in 1971. “Get It While You Can” was written by the songwriting team of Jerry Ragovoy and Mort Shuman, and originally recorded by the soul singer Howard Tate. The song was the title track to Tate’s debut album, which was produced by Ragovoy. His version made just #134 in the US, and Tate struggled in the business before giving up music in the mid-’70s.

Pearl was Janis’s most polished album. Janis died on October 4, 1970, and the album was released on January 11, 1971. The album would peak at #1.

John Lennon’s birthday was on October 9 and Janis recorded a birthday message for him while completing Pearl. She sang “Happy Trails”…but by the time John received the tape, Joplin had died.

From Songfacts

In 2002, Tate once again teamed up with Ragovoy to record a new album called Rediscovered, on which they included a new version of this song. Speaking with Record Collector about the new version, Tate said, “The words mean much more to me now than they did back then, then they were just the words of a song someone had wrote for me. Now they have all the meaning in the world, I can relate to them. You have to Get It While You Can because you may not get it tomorrow, you may not get another chance.”

The most popular version of this song was recorded by Janis Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band and included as the last track on her 1971 posthumous album Pearl. So if you listen to her primary studio albums in order of release, this is the last song you hear from her.

This song is about not passing up the opportunity for love and comfort, because life’s too mean and short. Isn’t that just about the cornerstone of Joplin’s philosophy? In the book Love, Janis by Janis’ sister Laura Joplin, Full Tilt Boogie Band guitarist John Till shares this moment of Janis’ free-wheeling spirit: “She’d come boogeying up to me and our faces would come right together like that, and then she’d give me a great big kiss. And I wouldn’t remember nothing except big asterisks and f***ing exclamation points over my head… It was an experience, taking a guitar solo in front of forty thousand people and getting this kiss from Janis.”

Also from Love, Janis, a glimpse into her application of the counter-culture philosophy right towards her last year: “In private, she was changing in small but important ways. When someone who latched onto her group was grumbling angrily about the ‘pigs’ abusing their power, Janis cut him short. ‘They’re cops, just people doing their job, honey. Don’t call them pigs, it just makes it worse.’ When she first started touring with Big Brother, if a waitress was rude to them because of their attire and style, they often left without tipping. On the Full Tilt tour, a rude waitress might be left a $100 bill, as a way to change her attitude about hippies.”

From the same book, a quote from Janis offering a take on her life’s work: “My whole purpose is to communicate. What I sing is my own reality. But just the fact that people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, that’s my reality too,’ proves to me that it’s not just mine.”

This song reached its peak position of #78 US in September 1971, nearly a year after Joplin died.

Get It While You Can

In this world, if you read the papers, darling
You know everybody’s fighting ah with each other
You got no one you can count on babe
Not even your own brother
So if someone comes along
He gonna give you some love and affection

I’d say get it while you can, yeah
Honey, get it while you can, yeah
Hey hey, get it while you can
Don’t you turn your back on love, no, no

Don’t you know when you’re loving anybody, baby
You’re taking a gamble on a little sorrow
But then who cares, baby
‘Cause we may not be here tomorrow, no

And if anybody should come along
He gonna give you any love and affection
I’d say get it while you can, yeah
Hey, hey, get it while you can
Hey, hey, get it while you can
Don’t you turn your back on love
No no no, no no no no no

Oh, get it while you can, yeh
Honey get it when you’re gonna wanna need it dear, yeah yeah
Hey hey, get it while you can
Don’t you turn your back on love
No no no, no no no no, get it while you can

I said hold on to somebody when you get a little lonely, dear
Hey hey, hold on to that man’s heart
Hey hey, get it, want it, hold it, need it
Get it, want it, need it, hold it
Get it while you can, yeah
Honey get it while you can, baby, yeah
Hey hey, get it while you can

Byrds – Eight Miles High

One of the reasons that Roger McGuinn is one of my favorite guitarists is because of this song. Roger has said he was influenced by John Coltrane when arranging the song.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in the UK in 1966

Many people…including me believe this song is about drugs, but the band claimed it was inspired by a flight where singer Gene Clark asked guitarist Roger McGuinn how high they were in the sky. McGuinn told him six miles, but for the song, they changed it to eight.

Roger McGuinn on Eight Miles High

Eight Miles High has been called the first psychedelic record. It’s true we’d been experimenting with LSD, and the title does contain the word “high”, so if people want to say that, that’s great. But Eight Miles High actually came about as a tribute to John Coltrane. It was our attempt to play jazz.

 

From Songfacts.

This story was likely a smokescreen to keep the song in the good graces of sensitive listeners. The band had been doing a lot of drugs at the time, including LSD, which is the likely inspiration. If the band owned up to the drug references, they knew it would get banned by some radio stations, and that’s exactly what happened when a radio industry publication reported that the song was about drugs and that stations should be careful about playing it. As soon as one station dropped it, others followed and it quickly sank off the charts.

When we asked McGuinn in 2016 if the song was really about drugs, he replied: “Well, it was done on an airplane ride to England and back. I’m not denying that the Byrds did drugs at that point – we smoked marijuana – but it wasn’t really about that.”

In his book Echoes, Gene Clark said that he wrote the song on his own with David Crosby coming up with one key line (“Rain gray town, known for its sound”), and Roger McGuinn arranging the song with help from Crosby.

In the Forgotten Hits newsletter, McGuinn replied: “Not true! The whole theme was my idea… Gene would never have written a song about flying. I came up with the line, ‘Six miles high and when you touch down.’ We later changed that to Eight because of the Beatles song ‘Eight Days a Week.’ I came up with several other lines as well. And what would the song be without the Rickenbacker 12-string breaks?”

This song is often cited in discussions of “Acid Rock,” a term that got bandied about in 1966 with the release of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album. The genre covers a kind of psychedelic music that became popular at the time, and also the look and lifestyle that went with it. “Acid Rock” was hailed as a pathway to higher consciousness and derided as senseless drug music. At the end of the ’60s, the term petered out, as rock critics moved on to other topics for their think pieces.

The band recorded this on their own, but Columbia Records made them re-record it before they would put it on the album, partly because they had contracts with unions. The Byrds liked the first version better.

Don McLean referred to this in his song “American Pie,” which chronicles the change in musical style from the ’50s to the ’60s. The line is “Eight miles high and falling fast- landed foul out on the grass.” McLean could be sardonically implying that the song is about drugs, since “foul grass” was slang for marijuana.

Husker Du recorded a noise-pop version in 1985.

For decades, the story went that “Eight Miles High” was a commercial failure because it had been banned from radio due to its perceived pro-drug messages. Research presented by Mark Teehan on Popular Music Online challenges this theory. Teehan instead blames the song’s failure to chart on three factors:

First, its sound was too far ahead of its time, and radio stations didn’t know what to do with it.

Second, the departure of Gene Clark led to Columbia Records significantly shrinking the scope of the band’s advertising campaign.

Third, the success of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Kicks” further diminished Columbia’s support for the Byrds and “Eight Miles High.”

Eight Miles High

Eight miles high and when you touch down
You’ll find that it’s stranger than known
Signs in the street that say where you’re going
Are somewhere just being their own

Nowhere is there warmth to be found
Among those afraid of losing their ground
Rain gray town known for its sound
In places small faces unbound

Round the squares huddled in storms
Some laughing some just shapeless forms
Sidewalk scenes and black limousines
Some living some standing alone