Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Have I Mentioned That Bob Lefsetz is a Huge Idiot?

From 1968, please enjoy Johnny Rivers' gorgeous -- and surprisingly post-modern -- "Summer Rain."



"All summer long we spent grooving in the sand
Everybody kept on playing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Mr. Rivers speaks for me in this regard.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great song. Long time fan. Gorgeous, yes.

I love it live without all the "sweetening". Here's an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKLHbOfket8

VR

SuperBillie1 said...

Hola Steve, i was a 5 years old future Beatles fan (in this age my ma and my grandma was my favourite popstars)and because of that i can't really speak as a contemporary witness but everybody that i know who are old enough i asked myself about that time in the sixties assure me that the release of Sergeant Pepper was like the 8th world wonder.
This guy talks about 'history' but it looks that he paint a wrong picture of the past. However it isn't really important what he says about that.
But another thing for me is did we really need every year a new remaster, a more better remaster and all the different editions? Just food for thought folks.
Have a nice day everybody
Frank

Dave said...

Good lyrical catch Steve!

Johnny Rivers seems incapable of committing career atrocities. He is one of the few pop stars of the early sixties who actually improved when he went in a singer-songwriter direction (Summer Rain, Poor Side of Town, and Look To Your Soul -- the other single from Realization -- are beautifully crafted songs) and despite their almost painful earnestness, "Changes" and "Realization" are solid albums.

Still, I think JR's "Mountain of Love" cover is still my favorite song of his. :-)

Dave F

Billy B said...

Always have been a fan of Rivers. Good voice, decent guitar player, wrote some good tunes. He was always underrated, IMHO.

steve simels said...

Plus he produced this for Al Wilson -- best Creedence cover ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsjJeBpsU-o

mainuh said...

Mid to late 60's there were 3 performers who had to bridge the Elvis to Beatles if they wanted their music careers to continue -
Tommy James, Mitch.Ryder and Johnny Rivers.
They went from Vegas suits to Nehru shirts and beads.

Johnny rode the new wave sharing the stage with.the Chamber Bros., Love, Turtles and the Doors among others.

I just read an interview with him and was surprised - Monteray Pop.
He was one of the organizers. (Forbes Mag.)

IIRC - when I was a kid he was on a weekly R/R TV show - Where The Action Is...?

rob

steve simels said...

Where the Action Is was on five days a week, right after school. Paul Revere and the Raiders were the house band; not sure if Johnny was a regular.

Anonymous said...

Steve- I agree with your comments on "Summer Rain". And the drummer on that song, as it was on so many big hits in the 60s, was the legendary Hal Blaine.

Dave F- I agree. Rivers' cover of "Mountain Of Love" is excellent.

J. Lag

Anonymous said...

Who is playing harmonica on Mountain Of Love? Love that song. One of his best.

Johnny really helped pay the bills for the struggling chubby-chaser James Hendricks when he picked Summer Rain and Look To Your Soul as successive pre-Realization A-Sides.

Rivers was also key in introducing Jimmy Webb to the larger public when he covered him on the Changes and Rewind albums. When Glen Campbell heard Rivers' version of By The Time I Get To Phoenix he reached out to Webb to work with him and also record the song. According to Webb, prior to Johnny Rivers recording it, he had been contracted by Motown to write a single for newly signed Paul Petersen of Donna Reed Show fame. Thankfully, Petersen and Motown turned "Phoenix" down. Too weird. Who was the genius at Motown that signed Paul Petersen? Ha.

Rivers also "discovered" the 5th Dimension. They too, were a great vehicle for Webb, especially on the vastly underrated Magic Garden LP. Dusty Springfield recorded a version of the title track which, though inferior to 5D's, is worth checking out.

Rivers also produced one the most underappreciated 1967 singles "Love Years Coming" by the Strawberry Children written and arranged by Jimmy Webb with a heavy tip of the hat to Brian Wilson. It got a local push on SoCal radio that never translated to sales. It's quite exquisite.

Picture this: John & Michelle Philips with Lou Adler at Johnny Rivers house planning out the Monterey Pop Festival while listening to advance copies of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Songwriters Jimmy Webb and P.F. Sloan are also in attendance.

Plus who else has liner notes by Steve McQueen. And who else ever dedicated an album to Ann Atmar.

My parents used to go to the Whisky to party at the mid-60's Rivers shows with all of their wife-swapping buddies. Johnny put that place on the map.

It was my parents who bought all the Rivers albums on LP and 4-track during that time. But I played 'em just as much as they did. A lot of tween go-go dancing was done on the shag rug in front of the full-length mirror on the hall closet. Secret Agent Man helped me get my moves down.

So, yeah, I'm a fan.

VR

Anonymous said...

full length mirror...natch.

mainuh said...

VR -
I think that I've read your posts here in the past, regardless you fleshed out a bit more info and referenced (unwittingly) a couple Philip Roth / John Cheever,late 50's short stories that I have revisited1.

Fun to imagine Johnny sitting around a coffee table, late at night, with John, Michele,Lou. Where was Bobby Darin ?

;-) rob
ps - never had a Nehru shirt but picked up a West Point Cadets jacket from a funky Village thrift shop back then. LOL

Anonymous said...

That excellent Al Wilson version of Lodi, with the late great Indian Ed on slide, was a big hit on the West Coast. It says a lot about the quality of the single that it was bravely released on the heels of CCR's double-sided Bad Moon Rising/Lodi hit.

Rivers also produced Wilson's The Snake, another biggie.

Also, Johnny was not a regular on Where The Action Is. He was a little beyond that, though I'm sure he guested from time to time to plug new singles. The Raiders hadn't broken through when they got the WTAI "in house" gig. A few months after the series started, "Steppin' Out" happened.

VR

P.S. Ain't no girl alive who hasn't vogued in front of mirrors.

Anonymous said...

rob: Bobby Darin wasn't there at Johnny Rivers' house.

It was John & Michelle, Lou Adler, Jimmy Webb, and P.F. Sloan. It's a true story. They really were listening to an advance copy of Sgt. Pepper. I forgot to mention that Alan Pariser was also there, but nobody knows who he is out in the GP.

Anyway, I'm happy you're literate and that I am unwitting.:-)

VR

mainuh said...

Re Bobby Darin - I was kidding, you're to literate... ;-)
Anyhow, you're a fun read -

rob

Anonymous said...

But how many spend their life looking into one?

Anonymous said...

It beckons, it lures. I scry and climb through.

VR

Dave said...

VR,

That is the great rockabilly star Billy Lee Riley on harmonica on Johnny Rivers/"Mountain of Love."

Dave F

Anonymous said...

You're right Dave F.! Man is he on a bunch of great records! This also means that he was involved in two versions of Mountain Of Love. He produced the original Harold Dorman version and plays harmonica on the Rivers version.

My parents had one of his mid-1960's records which was done in a "live go-go" setting like Johnny Rivers' early LP's. Highly danceable. Me and Sandy used to play that record occasionally. It had "Come A Little Bit Closer" on it. We'd admire each other as we danced along. Sometimes we worked on our kissing skills with each other. We were just young girls. The lipstick we were wearing was called Forbidden Fruit. It was flavored. And we immersed ourselves in "Orange Kiss." We glistened. We bathed ourselves in youthful innocence.

Billy Lee is the shit.

VR

Anonymous said...

so are you, vickey rock!