Not Your Father’s “Purple Haze”

I just stumbled upon another freaky coincidence that is not unlike Germany’s 1966 one-off single by The Dead-Heads In the year 1968, two artists – The Jimi Hendrix Experience and singer, Robert Ray Whitley – would both release original songs entitled “1983”!   Am I the only one who finds that bizarre?   Who wants to bet that Ray Whitley’s “1983” sounds even remotely similar to Hendrix’s epic 13-minute underwater odyssey?

That same year Dion (“Runaround Sue”) DiMucci would release his version of hoary Hendrix classic “Purple Haze” that is curiously – and musically – defiant.  Dion uses the song’s lyrics .. and discards the rest!  If you prefer your “Purple Haze” as a downbeat pastoral ballad, then you’re really in for a treat:

“Purple Haze”     Dion     1968

“1983” by “beach music composer” Ray Whitley

Ray Whitley 45

“Your Own Back Yard”: 12-Step Rock

How brave of Dion (“Runaround Sue”) DiMucci to lay his life bare as he does on “Your Own Backyard” about his own personal demons – and then issue the song as a single aimed at the radio market:

Said The Rolling Stone Record Review around the time of its release:

“With anti-drug campaigns all the rage on the AM stations, it’s strange that so few have picked up on this heartfelt autobiography.  It’s hackneyed to say that Dion tells it like it is, but that’s just what he does.  No preachifying, no grass-leads-to-mainlining [baloney], just a conversational ballad about getting [messed] up on drugs and then getting straightened out.  And not only that, it’s good music, too.”

Issued on Warner Brothers in 1970 both here and abroad (UK, Canada & Australia) but only in 7-inch form (#75 on the pop chart) — with the title track of 1970 LP, Sit Down Old Friend, on the flip side.  According to, this song would enjoy LP release five years later – but only in the UK on the album, Born to Be With You (on the Phil Spector International label).  Forty years later (!), the song would finally be reissued in the US on compact disc thanks to the Collectables label.

Famously covered by Mott the Hoople.

“It’s easy to tell other people how to be – Dion doesn’t try.
That’s why we listen”

Dion 45 promo