TNB Night Owl – Three Influential Rock Groups

The sixties and seventies are among the most interesting decades in American history. Rapid, tumultuous changes in the culture were reflected in the tunes, especially from 1966 to 1975. Young people of the time knew the music was great then, even as people of all ages struggled to understand the what and the why of society’s transformations. In hindsight, now that we can look back and see the era more clearly, the music is all the more fascinating as a recording of history. I’m drawn to this period of music as much for the history it reflects as the quality and high-water mark of the art.

All of these tunes were originally album length tracks, shortened to fit on a 45rpm single. The numbers in parenthesis after the song title indicate how high in the charts these singles reached.

The James Gang began in Cleveland, Ohio, 1966. They’re famous for two hit singles (below) and the fact that Joe Walsh – vocals, guitars, percussion, piano, and keyboards – went on to become a big part of the Eagles. The James Gang never had another commercially successful hit after Walsh left the group, but the two they had were giants that are the most likely tracks on this playlist to still get airtime.

1970
Funk #49 (#59)
(4:06)

1971
Walk Away (#51)
(3:33)

The only white group to have hit recordings under a Motown label, Rare Earth formed in Detroit in the 1960s. Two of their chart-makers were covers of The Temptations songs: “(I Know) I’m Losing You” and “Get Ready”.

1970
Get Ready (#4)
(2:47)

1970
(I Know) I’m Losing You (#7)
(3:37)

1970
Born to Wander (#17)
(3:11)

1971
I Just Want to Celebrate (#7)
(3:35)

Formed in 1965 in San Francisco, Quicksilver Messenger Service was a popular Bay area group that “typified most of the style, attitude and sound of that era” according to music historian Colin Larkin. Quicksilver was one of the first psychedelic rock bands, and also one of the earliest album-oriented bands. As a result, they never achieved great success with their singles releases which probably goes a long way to explain why they aren’t much remembered or played today the way their contemporaries are. However, a number of Quicksilver’s albums charted in the Billboard Top 30.

1968
Dino’s Song (#63)
(3:08)

1969
Who Do You Love (#91)
(3:33)

1970
Fresh Air (#49)
(5:22)

1971
What About Me (#100)
(6:41)

Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

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About Richard Doud 359 Articles
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