Spirit – Nature’s Way

This is a song that I had forgotten about until Aphoristical brought it up on his blog a few months ago. The song that I remember the most by Spirit is the popular I Got a Line on You. I remember hearing this when I was a kid on the radio.

It wasn’t a big hit…it peaked at #111 in the Billboard 100 in 1971. The song was on the album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. It peaked at #63 in the Billboard Album Charts, #49 in Canada, and  #29 in the UK. The album is named after a 1963 horror movie called Dr. Sardonicus.  Five years after its release, and with the original lineup split up, the album went gold.

Spirit guitarist and songwriter Randy California wrote “Nature’s Way” in San Francisco one afternoon while the band waited to perform at the Fillmore Auditorium. That environmental anthem coincided with the inaugural Earth Day celebration, becoming the first pop song to seriously address concerns about pollution and ecological problems.

At 15, Randy California (Randy Craig Wolfe) played guitar for Jimmy James and the Blue Flames, the New York band led by Jimi Hendrix…Hendrix dubbed him Randy California to avoid confusing him with another band member named Randy Palmer.

From Songfacts

This song is a reflection on mortality, and also a lament for the fate of the Earth, as nature is telling us that something is wrong. 

It was a very personal song, and in some ways, his maxim. The song deals with how nature guides you, and that’s just what he did throughout his career. Spirit reached #25 US in 1969 with “I Got A Line On You,” a track from their second album, but the group remained on the fringes of breakout success, in part because they turned down an invitation to play Woodstock.

California got heavy into LSD and became even more mercurial. In 1970, he was riding a horse on the streets of Topanga Canyon when he fell off and fractured his skull. The same year, he wrote “Nature’s Way,” which was included on Spirit’s fourth album, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. California left the group in 1972 and the band splintered soon after. Sardonicus found a following and eventually sold over a million copies, prompting an iff-fated band reunion in 1976. California died in 1997 when he drowned while swimming in Hawaii.

David Briggs, who was one of Neil Young’s producers, produced this track. The back was dealing with a lot of internecine conflict at the time, and Briggs helped keep them focused and productive enough to complete the album.

Randy California recorded various versions of this song as a solo artist. In interviews, he sometimes talked about never being able to get it right.

This song is unusual in that every line begins with the phrase “It’s nature’s way.”

Nature’s Way

It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong
It’s nature’s way of telling you in a song

It’s nature’s way of receiving you
It’s nature’s way of retrieving you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong

It’s nature’s way of telling you, soon we’ll freeze
It’s nature’s way of telling you, dying trees

It’s nature’s way of receiving you
It’s nature’s way of retrieving you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong
It’s nature’s way, it’s nature’s way
It’s nature’s way, it’s nature’s way

It’s nature’s way of telling you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong
It’s nature’s way of telling you
It’s nature’s way of telling you
In a song, oh-h

It’s nature’s way of receiving you
It’s nature’s way
It’s nature’s way of retrieving you
It’s nature’s way
It’s nature’s way of telling you
Something’s wrong, something’s wrong, something’s wrong

Spirit – I Got A Line On You

I have always liked this song. I saw this song listed in my friend Hanspostcard‘s countdown of the songs of 1969 a few months ago and I have been listening to it ever since.

I Got A Line On You peaked at #25 in 1969. Randy California wrote this song and it was on their second album The Family That Plays Together which peaked at #22 in 1969. Spirit was formed in 1967 in Los Angeles.  Randy California (born as Randy Craig Wolfe)(guitars, vocals), Mark Andes (bass), and Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion). With the addition of California’s stepfather Ed Cassidy on drums, and keyboard player John Locke.

Jimi Hendrix gave Randy Wolfe the nickname Randy California.

 

I Got A Line On You

Let me take you, baby, down to the river bed
Got to tell you somethin’, go right to your head
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe

Gotta put your arms around me with every bit of your love
If you know what to do, I’ll make love to you
We got the right line to make it through these times

I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe

I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe

Now listen, our winter’s almost over
This summer, she’s comin’ on strong
I can love you, love you, love you
Love you all year long

I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe

I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe
I, I got a line, I got a line on you, babe

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_(band)