June 7, 2010

Monday Music

In 1968 a new band released their first album. The group, featuring guitarist and singer Randy California, bassist Mark Andes, and percussionist Jay Ferguson, started their rise to brief stardom as a Los Angeles club band known then as The Red Roosters. Randy California’s previous claim to fame had been a brief stint with an unheard of band called Jimmy James & the Blue Flames. Jimmy James moved onward and upward, changing his name to Jimi Hendrix.

The Red Roosters added drummer Ed “Mr. Skin” Cassidy (Randy California’s step-father) and keyboard player John Locke. They first changed the name to Spirits Rebellious, after the Kahlil Gibran book, then later shortened that to simply, Spirit

That first release I mentioned, titled Mechanical World, listed the playing time as “very long,” but was actually only a little over 5-minutes.

Shortly after this single hit the airwaves, an album by the same name was released and became an immediate hit. The acid-head, counter culture of the day loved Spirit, and drove that album to #31 on the Billboard top 100, where it stayed for eight months.

As record labels will do, Spirit's jumped on the success bandwagon. Late in that same year another single was released. I Got a Line on You is considered their best effort, and is perhaps the only real legacy left by the band. It hit 25 on the Billboard charts.

These were all good productions, but there were some other, perhaps lesser-known tunes by this band that caught my attention more so than their hits. Fresh Garbage is not really obscure, but it didn’t get the airtime the earlier singles found.

Then, from the 1969 album “Clear,” my very favorite…

Spirit is one of the few “favorite” bands of the late 60’s not appearing at Woodstock, but not because they weren’t invited. Their promoter advised them against it, insisting they stay on the road promoting their latest album. If Spirit had accepted the invitation they would have been the act appearing just prior to Jimi Hendrix.

In 1973 Spirit began a rapid self-destruction, but first this short-lived band had one last hit left in them. It was a brief shooting star titled 1984. The song was released first as a single, then on the album critics would call later their best, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.



Anonymous said...

If you appreciate spirit sign the petition to help get spirit into the hall of fame