Depression in Song

NoBullying.com, in their April, 2015 piece entitled “Songs About Depression,” reminds us Beatles fans that the song “Every Night” from Paul McCartney’s debut solo album — recorded while still legally a Beatle — was created while the bassist was battling depression.

How nice to see Richie Havens take this song and imbue it with his own very upful feeling:

“Every Night”     Richie Havens    1980

Elektra would release “Every Night” b/w “Here’s a Song” as a single.  “Every Night” would also find itself in the enviable position of side one, track two on Havens’ Connections LP, released in 1980.

Richie Havens:  Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Ann Lang & Gail Wynters:  Backing Vocals
Andy Newmark:  Drums
Chuck Rainey:  Bass
Montego Joe:  Congas & Tambourine
Elliot Randall, Jeffrey Baxter:  Electric Guitar
Jack Waldman:  Keyboards

Richie Havens 45Note:  you have until Halloween to bid on a sealed 8-track of Richie Havens’ Connections.

Richie Havens 8-trackWhen Were 8-Track Tapes Officially Put Out to Pasture?

1980 sounds a little late for 8-track tapes possibly — makes me wonder when production finally ceased for that lowly country mouse of audio playback formats (created by Bill Lear of celebrity jet fame).  According to technology-and-society blog, For the First Time (or the Last Time):

“There is a debate about the last commercially released 8-track by a major label, but many agree it was Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits in November 1988.  Some 8-track titles were still available through record clubs until 1989.  Many of these late-period releases are highly collectible due to the low numbers that were produced.  Among the most rare is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Texas Flood.  The record club-only 8-track cartridge that seems to sell for the highest amount is The Police’s The Singles, which has sold for over $200 for a single copy. Another highly sought-after title among collectors has been The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols, which has sold for over $100 for an open copy in average condition.”

Nina Simone & Richie Havens Each Extol the Sun

I was sorry to learn of the passing of Richie Havens, whose legendary performance as the opening act of Woodstock was so riveting – in no small part due to the sheer physicality and novelty of Havens using his considerable thumb as a moving capo, holding down all six strings of his openly-tuned guitar as he chorded up and down the neck of the guitar.

My Richie Havens music library, unfortunately, consists of exactly one song, “Minstrel from Gault” – from Ronco’s aforementioned Do It Now “music collage” album.  However, a recent vinyl purchase – Nina Simone’s 1971 RCA album, Here Comes the Sun – led to the discovery that she and Richie Havens each did a great job of interpreting the classic Abbey Road track that George Harrison had famously written one day while “playing hooky” from an Apple Records business meeting:

Compare Nina’s version with Richie Havens’ which went to #16 in the pop charts in 1971 – his only charting single, interestingly:

Intrigued to learn that even though “Here Comes the Sun” was a radio staple, this song was never released as a single – instead, that distinction went to George’s other great Abbey Road contribution, “Something,”  his first ever A-side.

Thanks, EMI:

According to Wikipedia, “astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan had wanted [the original Beatles version of “Here Comes the Sun”] to be included on the Voyager Golden Record, copies of which were attached to both spacecraft of the Voyager program to provide any entity that recovered them a representative sample of human civilization. Although the Beatles favored the idea, EMI refused to release the rights and when the probes were launched in 1977 the song was not included.”

EMI was justifiably concerned about the possibility of aliens bootlegging and profiting from a song that had been a worldwide radio smash back on the home planet.