Favorite Rock Lyrics 3

I again took all of your suggestions and now we have a post that we made together. Thank you for all of the suggestions. I usually don’t repeat artists on one post but we had 3 Neil Young requests…I used two and the other one will be on the next.

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson

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Met myself a coming county welfare line, I was feeling strung out, Hung out on the line…Creedence Clearwater Revival

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He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week / All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek…Kinks

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Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…The Beatles

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As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes. And say, Do you want to make a deal?…Bob Dylan

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Set my compass north, I got winter in my bloodThe Band

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And the sign said, The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls… Simon and Garfunkel

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They say that Cain caught Abel rolling loaded dice,
ace of spades behind his ear and him not thinking twice…Grateful Dead

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When I said that I was lying, I might have been lyingElvis Costello
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Though nothing will keep us together/We can be heroes/Just for one day…David Bowie

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It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…Bruce Springsteen

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The motor cooled down, the heat went down, and that’s when I heard that highway sound…Chuck Berry

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We were the first band to vomit at the bar, and find the distance to the stage too far…The Who

Peter, Paul & Mary Tour Dates & Concert History – Songkick

Shule, shule, shule-a-roo, Shule-a-rak-shak, shule-a-ba-ba-cooWhen I saw my Sally Babby Beal, Come bibble in the boo shy Lorey… Peter, Paul, and Mary

Little Feat | Discography | Discogs

But then one night at the lobby of the Commodore Hotel, I chanced to meet a bartender who said he knew her well, And as he handed me a drink he began to hum a song, And all the boys there, at the bar, began to sing along…Little Feat

Throwback Track of the Day: “Cripple Creek Ferry” | Microphone Memory  Emotion

 But me I’m not stopping there got my own row left to hoe; just another line in the field of time Neil Young

You are like a hurricane there’s calm in your eye and I’m getting’ blown away…Neil Young

Roddy Frame

When I was young the radio played just for me, it saved me… Roddy Frame

The Music of 1968

Dave from A Sound Day (check out the other posts on Dave’s “Turntable Talk”) posted this on November 5, 2022. He wanted a group of us to write about what we thought was the best year in music…I ended up picking the turbulent year of 1968.

When I think of the best year of music …for me it’s between 7 years. I would pick 1965 through 1971. I cannot pick all so here it goes…I pick 1968. It had some of the greatest albums and singles ever.

It was a turbulent year, to say the least. We lost two proponents of peace—Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Other events include the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, riots in Washington, DC, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and heightened social unrest over the Vietnam War, values, and race.

The music was also toughened up by moving away from psychedelic music. The social climate and The Band’s album Music from Big Pink had a lot of influence on this. You still had psychedelic music released but overall, music was more stripped down to the basics.

My favorite album of all time was released by The Beatles. My favorite album by The Rolling Stones was released that year as well. Let’s look at the albums released in 1968…it’s outstanding.

The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)

The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

The Kinks – Are the Village Green Preservation Society

The Band – Music From Big Pink

Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

Cream – Wheel Of Fire

The Byrds – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Big Brother and Holding Company – Cheap Thrills

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle

The Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends

Traffic – Traffic

That list could be on my desert island list… those albums are still being played today. I’ve only scratched the surface of the albums that year.

The Holy Trinity of Rock all released music that year… which would be The Beatles, The Who, and The Stones. I can’t imagine living in the era when these bands were in their prime and roamed the earth. The Who didn’t release an album, but they did release some singles and were gearing up for the following year. Let’s look at some of the singles of that year.

The Beatles – Hey Jude/Revolution

The Beatles – Lady Madonna

The Who – Magic Bus

The Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild

The Doors – Hello, I Love You

The Rascals – People Got To Be Free

Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love

Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay

The Supremes – Love Child

The Chamber Brothers – Time Has Come Today

Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

The year featured the debut album of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Brian Jones made his final album with the Rolling Stones and it was the start of their great 5 album stretch. The Who started to record the album that would break them worldwide with Tommy. Dock of the Bay would be released posthumously after Otis Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. The Grateful Dead would release their second album Anthem of the Sun and continue to build one of the largest fan bases ever. Jimi Hendrix was breaking barriers with his experimentation in the studio as well as live.

The Band would change the game by releasing Music From Big Pink. It influenced nearly everyone at the time to go back to a rootsy kind of music. Fleetwood Mac would release their debut album this year. Jeff Beck would release his legendary album Truth.

FM radio was getting huge at this time and showed that audiences didn’t have to have top 40 hits to buy albums. Take Van Morrison for instance. Astral Weeks didn’t have a “hit” on the album but continued to be played and sell. The Beatles  The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in for good measure. No singles were released from this album or Sgt Pepper the previous year. They treated singles and albums as two different things. Hey Jude and the hit version of Revolution was recorded during the White Album but yet they left those two off. The Stones would do the same and leave off Jumpin’ Jack Flash from  Beggars Banquet.

1968 set the stage for the coming decade’s rock music. Bands like The Who, Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin didn’t need hit singles. You bought the album now and listened to the music in the context of that format. There were still pop/rock singles but the albums were gaining traction.

To wrap it up…I think any of the years between 1965-1971 could have a strong argument for my tastes. If you are into disco or synth music…not as much.

Infamous Rock and Roll Locations…Part II

I did a post earlier on Infamous Rock and Roll Locations and I wanted to do a follow-up on it. If you don’t want to click on the link…I mentioned the Riot/Hyatt House, The Edgewater Inn, The Rainbow Bar and Grille, Villa Nellcôte, and Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco.

To be honest….a few are infamous but the other are just cool. I love reading rock music bios and there are some places I would love to visit one day. A warning though…a few are very morbid.

The Highland Gardens Hotel…Ok…this one is a little morbid…well a lot morbid. On October 4, 1970, Janis Joplin stayed here and it was called The Landmark Motor Hotel. She died in room #105 of a suspected heroin overdose. The same hotel stands but it’s called The Highland Gardens Hotel now. Yes, you can rent room #105. She lived there for months while working on her last album Pearl. The closet has handwriting by visitors but the rest of the room is normal. Yes, I would love to go.

Band Pink House

Big Pink in Saugerties/Woodstock: This is the house where The Band and Bob Dylan recorded The Band’s debut album…Music From Big Pink…this house was pink then and is now. Now you can rent the house but you cannot go down to the basement where they recorded…what’s the fun in that?

The World Famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood CA

Whisky a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip: The one on the Sunset Strip opened in 1964. So many bands played and visited there. The Doors, Van Morrison, Buffalo Springfield, Alice Cooper, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Chicago, Germs, Elton John, Oasis, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, Johnny Rivers, X, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, KISS, Guns N’ Roses, Death, AC/DC, Linkin Park, Metallica, Mötley Crüe Stryper, and many many more.

The Whiskey is still open now.

The Joshua Tree Inn | Joshua Tree National Park | Joshua Tree CA

The Joshua Tree Inn – Another morbid one but I would stay there. On September 18, 1973, Gram Parsons purchased liquid morphine on that night from an unknown girl and died of an overdose. This all happened in Room 8 of this Inn. Yes, you can rent room 8 today in fact..it’s decorated with posters of Gram.

curzon place cass elliot keith moon

Mayfair…Curzon Square – This apartment was owned by Harry Nilsson at the time. It was in this building, in the same apartment that both Cass Elliot (Mama Cass) and Keith Moon died 4 years apart. Nilsson liked the location because it was near Apple Records and nightclubs. It was decorated by  ROR…Ringo and Robin (Ringo Starr and designer Robin Cruikshank).

On July 29, 1974 after a performance…Mama Cass died of a heart attack. In 1978 Keith Moon wanted to rent it from Nilsson but he was afraid to rent it again because Nilsson remembered what happened to Cass. He ended up talking to Pete Townshend and Townshend told him that  ‘lightning does not strike in the same place twice’ so he let Keith rent it. On September 7, 1978, Keith Moon died because of an overdose of clomethiazole…a prescription drug for combating alcoholism in the same bedroom.

Janis Joplin – Ball and Chain

I always thought Janis had the voice of a songbird. A cigarette smoking and Southern Comfort drinking songbird…but a songbird all the same. Janis and Aretha Franklin are my two favorite female artists of all time. They put every ounce of themselves into their songs. They cheated no one.

I first heard this song on Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits. I bought the album for the song Me and Bobby McGee and I found out I liked every song on the album. Unlike other singers I listened to at that time…Janis left everything on the field so to speak. That is the same quality I liked about Bruce Springsteen later.

Ball and Chain was written and originally recorded by a blues singer named Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, who recorded the original version of “Hound Dog.” Thornton was introduced to church music at an early age. A skilled singer, songwriter, dancer, self-taught drummer, and harmonica player.

Janis’s big break came at the Monterey Pop Festival singing this song. She would go on to sing it at Woodstock also. It was on the album by Big Brother and the Holding Company called Cheap Thrills released in 1968. With the help of their appearance at Monterey, the album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album charts for 8 consecutive weeks.

This was their breakthrough album. The album was supposed to be called Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills; Columbia nixed it. The album ended up being the band’s last album with Joplin, who left by the end of the year to launch a solo career.

The cover was designed by legendary artist Robert Crumb. He didn’t care for Big Brother too much but liked Janis.

Cheap Thrills [LP] VINYL - Best Buy

Robert Crumb: “She was a swell gal and a very talented singer. Ever heard any of this pre-Big Brother stuff she recorded? She was great. Then she got together with those idiots. The main problem with Big Brother was they were amateur musicians trying to play psychedelic rock and be heavy and you listen to it now and it’s bad… just embarrassing.”

“She wasn’t nationally known yet. I remember going to see her at the Avalon Ballroom and you could tell right away that she had an exceptional voice and she would go far. She started out singing old time blues like Bessie Smith. She was kind of a folknik originally.“

 “Janis had played with earlier bands just playing country blues and it was much better. Way, way better. She’s singing well, not screaming, not playing to the audience that wanted to watch her sweat blood. In the beginning she was just an authentic, genuine Texas country-girl shouter.”

Ball and Chain

Sitting down by my window
Honey, looking out at the rain
Sitting down by my window, looking out at the rain
All around that I felt it
All I can see was the rain
Something grabbed a hold of me
Feel to me, oh, like a ball and chain
Hey, you know what I mean that’s exactly what it felt like
But that’s way too heavy for you, you can’t hold them all

And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, oh, that cannot be
Just because I got oh, your love, please
Why does every
Oh, this can’t be just because I got to need you, daddy
Please don’t you knock it down now, please
Here you’ve gone today
What I wanted to love you and I wanted to hold you, yeah, till the day I die
Yes, I did, yes, I did, yeah, hey, hey, alright

Say, whoa, whoa, whoa, honey
This can’t be anything I’ve ever wanted from your daddy tell me now
Oh, tell me, baby
Oh, say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, honey
This can’t be, no, no, no, no, no
Yeah, yeah
I hope there’s someone out there who could tell me
Tell me why just because I got to want your love
Honey, just because I got to need, need, need, need your love
I said I understand
Honey, what I’m wanna trying to say hi
Trying, try, try, try, try, try, try
Honey, everybody in the world, also same, baby
When everybody in the world what needs, seem lonely
What I wanted work for your love, daddy
What I wanted trust your love, daddy
I din’t understand how come you’re gone
I don’t understand why half the world is still crying, man
And the other half of the world is still crying too, man
I can’t get it together
I mean if you go to ? Oneday, man
I mean, so baby, you want ? Three and sixty five days, right
You ain’t gonna within sixty five days, you gonna for one day, man
I tell you, that one day, man, better be your life, man
Because you know, you can stay oh man, you can cry about the other three and sixty four, man I said whoa, whoa, whoa
But you gonna lose that one day, man
That’s all you got, you got to call it love, man
That’s what it is, man
If you got today, you don’t worry about tomorrow, man
Because you don’t need it
Because the matter of the fact, as we discovered tat’s rain, tomorrow never happens, man
It’s all the same fucking day, man

So you gotta when you want to hold someone
You gotta hold them like it’s the last minutes of your life
You gotta hold, hold, hold and I say, oh, whoa, whoa, now babe, tell me why
Hold, baby, ’cause some come on your shoulder, baby
It’s gonna feel too heavy, it’s gonna weigh on you why does every thing, every thing
It’s gonna feel just like a ball
Oh, daddy and a chain

Janis Joplin – Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)

The song was written by Jerry Ragovoy and  Chip Taylor. Chip Taylor is famous for writing Wild Thing.

Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)” is the opening track on I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

That was Janis’s debut solo studio album and it was released on September 11, 1969. It was the first album which Joplin recorded after leaving her former band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. This would be the only solo album released in her lifetime. Pearl came out in January 1971 three months after her death on October 4, 1970.

This song charted in Canada at #89 in 1969. The album peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Charts and #4 in Canada in 1969.

She got good reviews for the album partly because she wasn’t trying to out shout the loud Big Brother and The Holding Company…although I did like Big Brother…without them she might not have made it.

Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)

Try, try, try just a little bit harder
So I can love, love, love him, I tell myself
‘Cause I’m gonna try, oh yeah, just a little bit harder
So I won’t lose, lose, lose him to nobody else, yeah
Hey, I don’t care how long it’s gonna take ya
But if it’s a dream I don’t want No I don’t really want it
Yeah if it’s a dream I don’t want nobody to wake me

Yeah I’m gonna try, oh yeah, just a little bit harder
So I can give, give, give, give him every bit of my soul
I’m gonna try, oh yeah, just a little bit harder
So I can show, show, show him love with no control, yeah
Hey! I don’t care how long it’s gonna take ya
But if it’s a dream I don’t want
No I don’t really want it
Yeah if it’s a dream I don’t want nobody to wake me
Hey, dig it! Yeah! Yeah yeah yeah!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, all right

Try oh yeah, hey, try oh yeah, Lord, Lord, Lord
Try oh yeah, try oh yeah, Lord, Lord, Lord
Try oh yeah yeah, try, whoa, try oh yeah, Lord, Lord, Lord,
Push, work, push, work, oh yeah, try, oh yeah hey!
Try oh yeah, hey try oh yeah
Try Lord, try, try, you ain’t trying man
You’re not trying out man, come up with it
Come on, that’s a wanker that listens to words, man
Hey you gotta work all night
Hey little girl, gotta push on
You gotta need
Work a little more, hey, try a little more
Need a little more
Yeah, work on, push on, move on, move on
You gotta work for it, you gotta work on it
Push on, need on, move on
Move on, hey hey hey

Work it daddy
Work it daddy
Come on, work it daddy, oh
Yeah, yeah, you better try, try, try, try a little more
You ain’t never gonna get any man if that’s the sort of thing you can do
Shit, there’s lot more talent around than that man
Try, try, try, try try try
You’ve gotta try, try, try, try
Try, try, try, try, try, try…
You gotta try, try, try, try…
Lord, try, try, try, try
Lord, try, try, try, try
Hey, try, try, try, try

Hey, try oh yeah, try oh yeah, Lord, Lord, Lord
Try oh yeah, hey, try whoa, try oh yeah
Try oh yeah, Lord, Lord, Lord, try oh yeah
Try oh yeah, hey, hey, hey
Try oh yeah, try oh yeah
Lord, Lord, Lord, oh Lord

Janis Joplin – Move Over

I listened to Pearl today and was remembering  Janis who died 50 years ago on this date at the Landmark Motor Hotel (now Highland Gardens Hotel) while working on her album Pearl.

Janis Joplin is my favorite rock/blues female singer. I like a gravelly voice and Janis had that covered. She put her soul in every song and left everything on stage. Like her or not she was genuine. She had a rough life growing up in Port Arthur Texas being bullied in High School and College and finally making it in 1967 with Big Brother and the Holding Company when she moved to San Francisco.

Move Over was the first track on the Pearl album, which sold four million copies and hit #1 on the charts, all after Joplin passed away. She wrote this one herself and recorded it the same day as Trust Me and Me And Bobby McGee.

The album was released January 11, 1971, three months after her death. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #20 in the UK.

Janis went on the Dick Cavett Show on September 25, 1970, to perform “Move Over.” On the show, she stated that the song was about men…specifically the guy who tells you your relationship is over but won’t move on, thus equating the way some guys hold on love to the way one would dangle a carrot in front of a mule.

Move Over

You say that it’s over baby, Lord
You say that it’s over now
But still you hang around me, come on
Won’t you move over

You know that I need a man, honey Lord
You know that I need a man
But when I ask you to you just tell me
That maybe you can

Please don’t you do it to me babe, no!
Please don’t you do it to me baby
Either take this love I offer
Or just let me be

I ain’t quite a ready for walking, no no no no
I ain’t quite a ready for walking
And what you gonna do with your life
Life all just dangling?

Oh yeah
Make up your mind, honey
You’re playing with me, hey hey hey
Make up your mind, darling
You’re playing with me, come on now
Now either be my loving man
I said-a, let me honey, let me be, yeah

You say that it’s over, baby, no
You say that it’s over now
But still you hang around me, come on
Won’t you move over

You know that I need a man, honey, I told you so
You know that I need a man
But when I ask you to you just tell me
That maybe you can

Hey! Please don’t you do it to me, babe, no
Please don’t you do it to me baby
Either take this love I offer
Honey let me be

I said won’t you, won’t you let me be
Honey, you’re teasing me
Yeah, you’re playing with my heart, dear
I believe you’re toying with my affections, honey

I can’t take it no more baby
And furthermore, I don’t intend to
I’m just tired of hanging from the end of a string, honey
You expect me to fight like a goddamned mule
Wah, wah, wah, wah, honey

Janis Joplin – Down On Me

Whenever I hear this song I think of a story that Dick Cavett told. He said he met Janis in a restaurant and a Janis song was playing on a jukebox while they sat down. Cavett asked Janis what the name of it was…and she said “Down On Me.” Dick said “Wow, I guess that is one you cannot sing on television”…Janis smiled and said “Dick, it’s a gospel song.

It was a traditional gospel song from the 20s that Janis reworked. The song was on the debut album of Big Brother & the Holding Company featuring Janis and the album had the same name. The song peaked at #43 in the Billboard 100 in 1967. The album was sloppy…Big Brother and the Holding Company were really raw with no polish. On their second album “Cheap Thrills” they would improve but Janis left after the that album to work with better musicians.

This is not the best Joplin song but I do like it.

Down On Me

Down on me, down on me,
Looks like everybody in this whole round world
They’re down on me.

Love in this world is so hard to find
When you’ve got yours and I got mine.
That’s why it looks like everybody in this whole round world
They’re down on me.

Saying they’re down on me, down on me.
Looks like everybody in this whole round world
Down on me.

When you see a hand that’s held out toward you,
Give it some love, some day it may be you.
That’s why it looks like everybody in this whole round world
They’re down on me, yeah.

Lord, they’re down on me, down on me, oh!
Looks like everybody in this whole round world
Is down on me.

Believe in your brother, have faith in man,
Help each other, honey, if you can
Because it looks like everybody in this whole round world
Is down on me.

I’m saying down on me, oh, down on me, oh!
It looks like everybody in this whole round world
Down on me!

Favorite Lines from Songs Part 2

I did Part 1 over a year ago and it was a fun post. I’ve been meaning to do this again. I remembered some of the lyrics suggested by my friends hanspostcard and allthingsthriller on the last post…I have added those to list. Thanks to both of you.

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back, And started walkin toward a coffee colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson

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And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time Jimmy Webb

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Doesn’t have a point of view / Knows not where he’s going to / Isn’t he a bit like you and me…The Beatles

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Met myself a coming county welfare line, I was feeling strung out, Hung out on the line…Creedence Clearwater Revival

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And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above…Bruce Springsteen

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He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week / All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek…Kinks

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Well it’s too late, tonight, To drag the past out into the light, We’re one, but we’re not the same, We get to carry each other, Carry each other…U2

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You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a firePeter Gabriel

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Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…The Beatles

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Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola, C-O-L-A Cola…Kinks

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It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart…Bob Dylan
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A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see oneThe Band

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And the sign said, The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls… Simon and Garfunkel

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I lit up from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds, Didn’t get to sleep that night
Till the morning came around…Grateful Dead

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When I said that I was lying, I might have been lyingElvis Costello
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Though nothing will keep us together/We can be heroes/Just for one day…David Bowie
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Lose your dreams and you. Will lose your mind…Rolling Stones

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It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…Bruce Springsteen

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The motor cooled down, the heat went down, and that’s when I heard that highway sound…Chuck Berry

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We were the first band to vomit at the bar, and find the distance to the stage too far…The Who

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Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz

This is based on a song called C’mon, God, and buy me a Mercedes Benz by the Los Angeles beat poet Michael McClure. Joplin saw McClure perform it, and on August 8, 1970, she reworked it into her own song, which she performed about an hour later.

This was a fun song off of Janis’s last album Pearl. The song did not chart as a single but the album peaked at #1 in 1971 after Janis died.

Janis Joplin never got a Mercedes Benz, but she did have a 1965 Porsche that was painted to become a piece of hippie art.

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A lot of song facts for such a short song.

From Songfacts

As recounted in the Patti Smith memoir Just Kids, before her show at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, she went to a nearby bar (likely Vahsen’s, later renamed Little Dick’s) with her good friend, the songwriter Bob Neuwirth, and two more recent acquaintances, the actors Rip Torn and Geraldine Page. Joplin started reciting the line, “Oh, Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” – the first line of McClure’s song. The four started banging beer mugs on the table to form a rhythm, and Neuwirth wrote down lyrics he and Joplin came up with on a napkin. They finished the song, and Janis performed it at the show, introducing it by saying, “I just wrote this at the bar on the corner. I’m going to do it Acapulco.”

That show was recorded and widely bootlegged, as it was her penultimate performance and the debut of “Mercedes Benz.” Joplin played her last concert on August 12 at Harvard Stadium and died on October 4.

The song is a social commentary on how many people relate happiness and self-worth with money and material possessions. Sung a capella in a blues style, Joplin was poking fun at the mindset that luxury goods will make everything better.

Janis Joplin is from Port Arthur, Texas, a small city close to the Gulf of Mexico near the Louisiana border. In the second verse, the line “Dialing for Dollars is trying to find me” refers to a segment the local NBC station ran called “Dialing for Dollars.” The station would announce a password on the air, then call a local phone number at random later on. If whoever answered knew the password, that person would win a cash prize. Variations of “Dialing for Dollars” ran in many cities throughout the United States and Canada in the ’60s and early ’70s.

This song spoke to the shift in the counterculture, as some of the impoverished musicians speaking out against the system were now very rich. As Barney Hoskyns, who wrote about Joplin and the song in his book Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock told us, “Rock was now big business, and a lot of money was flooding into the pockets of people who never expected to make it. This set up a mixture of expectation and guilt – they were acquiring a taste for the finer things but knew that a good hippie shouldn’t be materialistic. By the early ’70s it had all changed, and rock stars were the new Yuppies.”

Joplin recorded this song at Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles on October 1, 1970 with producer Paul Rothchild, famous for his work with The Doors. It ended up being her last recording session, as she died three days later (she also recorded a version of “Happy Trails” as a 30th birthday present for John Lennon” in this session).

The Pearl album was just about finished when Joplin died. Rothchild included her raw take of “Mercedes Benz” on the album, leaving it a capella. A quip Joplin made before her vocal take – “I’d like to do a song of great social and political import” – was included as an introduction. In its unadorned state, the song showcased Joplin’s humor and raw vocal talent.

In the mid-’90s, Mercedes used this in commercials for their cars. It was one of the great misappropriations of a song in a commercial, as Joplin’s song was meant to convey the message that owning a luxury automobile does not make you a better person. Joplin’s estate – sister Laura and brother Michael – allowed Mercedes to use it.

There are three credited songwriters on this track: Joplin, Michael McClure, and Bob Neuwirth. McClure says he never earned a cent from his poetry, but “Mercedes Benz” paid for his house in the Butters Canyon section of Oakland, California.

In an interview published in hE@D Magazine, Michael McClure said that Joplin called him before recording the song to get his permission. She sang him the song, then he sang her his original version, and they both liked their own renditions better. “Then she asked me if she could sing it, and I agreed,” McClure said. “I had no idea that her songs were worth so much money.”

The soul singer Bobby Womack claimed credit for inspiring this song. According to Womack, Joplin got the idea for the song after riding in his new Mercedes 600. Womack was having success as a songwriter, and Joplin commissioned him to write a song for her Pearl album, which turned out to be “Trust Me.” She recorded that one (which also appears on the Pearl album), and asked for another.

As recounted in his Womack’s book Midnight Mover, he took her for a ride, and she was impressed with the new car. After a few blocks, she started singing: “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedez Benz…”

When they returned to the studio, the band had gone home, but Joplin put down the vocal track. 

This took place on October 1, 1970. As Womack told it, Joplin got a phone call, which he presumed was her drug dealer. She asked him to leave, they hugged goodbye, and Joplin was found dead three days later.

Mercedes Benz

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

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

My Favorite Singers

There are so many singers that I cannot possibly list them all. I could make a top 30 and not get them all. This is my personal favorite top 10 plus some extra.

For the most part, I like singers with soul and meaning to their singing…not vocal gymnastics.

1…Aretha Franklin – Aretha could make any song better by singing it.

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2…Van Morrison, Them and Solo  – Probably my favorite male singer.

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3…John Lennon, Beatles – John hated his voice and always wanted an effect on it…It didn’t need it…one of his best performances was “A Day In The Life”

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4…Bob Dylan – Bob changed popular singing.  I would rather hear Bob sing than many of the great traditional singers.

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5…Elvis Presley – Hey he’s Elvis…

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6…Otis Redding – Just a fantastic singer and performer and just taking off before he was killed in a plane crash.

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7…Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones – Mick makes the most out of his voice.

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8…John Fogerty…CCR – If I could have the voice of anyone…it would be Fogerty. The power that John has is incredible…his voice is its own instrument.

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9…Janis Joplin – She put everything she had in each song. Her last producer Paul A. Rothchild was teaching Janis how to hold back and sing more traditional to save her voice for old age…which never came.

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10…Johnny Cash – Last but far from least.  Only one man can sound like Cash…and that is Cash

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Honorable Mention…any of these could have easily been on the list.

Steve Marriott, Paul McCartney, Levon Helm, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Elton John, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Joe Cocker, Billie Holiday, Freddie Mercury, Kate Bush, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Rodgers, David Bowie.





Janis Joplin

I cannot say how much I love this woman. Janis had the most powerful voice I have ever heard. She could sing with beauty and she could sing with a sound like Southern Comfort pouring through razor blades. There was soul, confidence, strength, and vulnerability in her voice that came through in every song.

She moved from Texas to San Francisco and became part of the San Francisco music scene with the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Her influences were Billy Holiday, Bessie Smith. Big Mama Thornton, Odetta, and Leadbelly.

She played with Big Brother and the Holding Company who were as raw as you could get and they played at Monterrey and broke through. She went solo with a couple of backing bands The Kozmic Blues Band and the Full Tilt Boogie Band.

There are few artists who give everything they have all the time. Bruce Springsteen is one…Janis was one. On film it comes through…she gives everything she has and more.

My favorite songs by Janis are…. well I could hear her sing the phone book and I would be happy….but some I really like are…Down On Me, Summertime, Piece of My Heart, Ball, and Chain, Try (Just a little bit Harder), Maybe, Little Girl Blue, Cry Baby, Me and Bobby McGee, Mercedes Benz and anything live she did with either band…She could sing the blues and she lived them…

Her nickname was Pearl and that was the name of her last album. She left $2,500 for her wake…. 200 guests were invited with invitations that read…”Drinks are on Pearl”…

I only wished she could have survived and been alive today. Much like Jimi Hendrix, I hate to think what we missed out on.

The Dick Cavett Show


The Dick Cavett Show on ABC  was a smart alternative to the Tonight Show with  Johnny Carson and Cavett frequently booked intellectuals for extended and in-depth conversations

You actually got to really know the guests. He took more than 10 minutes, unlike today…there were no distractions, no busy sets just great conversations.

The knock on Cavett was….snob, name-dropper and controversial guests. All three were correct and I loved it. Yes, he attended Yale and yes he was/is a name dropper…If I got to hang out with people like Groucho Marx I would be a name dropper also… you better believe it. He would book John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and many more. He welcomed the counterculture and Nixon hated him…that is a seal of approval for me.

He would mix and match guests….Janis Joplin, Raquel Welch and Gloria Swanson on the same show…together!

His ABC show in the early 70s was the best out of all of his different shows (PBS, CBS, USA Network). If he had a special rare guest he would only have that one guest for the entire show or sometimes two…

He had Norman Mailer and. Gore Vidal going at it… One show featured Salvador Dalí, Lillian Gish, and Satchel Paige. He took chances and it paid off… Johnny Carson once said that Dick Cavett was the only one that could have given him a serious challenge…but ABC then was a distant 3rd in the network race. 

This is not knocking Johnny whatsoever. Johnny’s show is the blueprint of today’s talk shows…Cavett just gave you a smarter show.

Watching the shows now it’s like watching a time capsule. Not everything is topical though. To hear Marlon Brando and Katherine Hepburn who hardly ever did talk shows is very interesting.

It was NOT… hey my name is Miss fill in the blank and my favorite color is blue…bye until next time I need to plug something… You really got to know the person and Dick could usually bring out something interesting. My favorite interview of George Harrison is by Dick. It didn’t look promising at first but George finally warmed up to a very relieved Cavett… this one was right after John and Yoko were guests.

Cavett and the 72 Rolling Stones Tour

Cavett and Woody Allen