Original v. Cover — #67 in a Series

Diversity Pictures, Images and Photos

This week’s selection would seem particularly timely, especially given the bare-knuckled assault on the working class playing out in many states across the country, most notably in Wisconsin. The progressive factions have, quite predictably, splintered into numerous warring factions, much to the delight of the oligarchs who now see absolute power and control of the masses within reach. Our challenge, if we wish to survive, is to reach out to those whose core values are similar, while at the same time realizing that most of those individuals will not agree with us on all counts.  

Written in the early 1960s by singer-songwriter Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti), this week’s selection represents a heartfelt plea for peace and brotherhood. The message also speaks to the frequent struggle between the mutually exclusive sentiments of love and fear, as well as the importance of the path we choose.    

The song was first recorded by The Kingston Trio and released on June 1, 1964, on their album, “Back in Town.” Although it was never released as a single, they frequently included it in their live performances. In 1965, We Five released their cover version as a followup to their hit, “You Were On My Mind”, which peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The Jefferson Airplane’s cover version was included on their debut album, “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off”, released on August 15, 1966.  

In 1966, Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti), needing funds for his legal defense against drug charges, sold the rights to the song to Frank Werber.

Judy Collins performed her version at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, which she included in a later album. From 1967-1969, Joni Mitchell oftentimes performed her cover version as an encore.  

In 1967, The Youngbloods, whose best known member was Jesse Colin Young, released their cover version under a slightly different title, which rose to a modest #62 ranking on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Their version saw new life when it was used for a television public service announcement in a call for brotherhood by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The version that is most familiar to us was re-released in 1969, and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also appears on the soundtracks for several films, including “Purple Haze”, “Forrest Gump”, “Riding the Bullet”, and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

And now, without further ado, this week’s selection is the Youngbloods’ hit from 1967 and again in 1969, “Get Together.”  

In the aftermath of 9/11, Clear Channel Communications placed The Youngbloods’ version of “Get Together” on a list of “lyrically questionable” songs. This list was sent ot their 1200 radio stations across the United States.  

Here is songwriter Chet Powers’ recording of January, 1964, first collected in 1996 on the album “Someone To Love: Birth of the San Francisco Sound” and later in “Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970.”  

The Kingston Trio (1964)

David Crosby (pre-Byrds & Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) – 1964

We Five (1965)

Jefferson Airplane (1966)

The Youngbloods (1967, 1969)

H. P. Lovecraft (1967)

The Carpenters’ cover version was included in their debut album, released in 1969.  The album was repackaged as “Ticket to Ride” in 1970…

Joni Mitchell with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1969?)

Andy Williams with Loadstone – October 6, 1969

Released in February, 1970, The Dave Clark Five’s version reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart during the following month with their version, which was retitled “Everybody Get Together”. The song itself can be heard after some annoying preliminaries, at about the 1:30 mark…

Jesse Colin Young’s 1979 cover version was included on both an album and a film, both entitled, “No Nukes”, which was related to the Musicians United for Safe Energy concerts…

Ann Wilson, along with Nancy Wilson and Deanna Carter, from her 2007 album, “Hope and Glory”…

The Baja Blues Band performed their interpretation at a live concert held at Battelle Auditorium in Richland, Washington on March 12, 2009…

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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3 comments

  1. From the cutting room floor…

    diversity Pictures, Images and Photos

    Making Peace Pictures, Images and Photos

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    Unlikely Friends 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

    people making peace Pictures, Images and Photos

    The Youngbloods apparently had one more Top 100 hit that actually predated “Get Together”, the song “Grizzly Bear”, which peaked at #52 earlier in 1967…

    To my knowledge, “Four in the Morning”, from their 1967 debut album, did not chart, but is still worth a listen…

  2. Another great song, “Darkness, Darkness”, from their 1969 album, entitled, “Elephant Song.”  Be sure to check out the lyrics…

    • Diane G on February 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Possibly my husband but he is asleep. He’s the music encyclopedia in the house, I’m just a lyric savant.

    One of my favorite songs ever, and I had no idea who wrote it or what a history it had. Totally cool way to spend the first part of my morning, listening to all these.

    Better yet? I had forgotten that the Carpenters covered it, and that album was my very first album of my own at 6 or 7 yrs old. I remember it because at the time, my Dad was getting all (heh ~ if you’ll forgive the term) curmudgeonly about my older brothers and sisters music, and when I asked for it and GOT it? He said he was glad I had better taste than they did, but it was the last time he & my Mom would step foot in one of those hippie music stores. Little did he know I was also listening to my brother’s Zappa in the basement.

    Thanks for the flashback.

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