Blood, Sweat, and Tears had an enviable winning streak in 1969. During a six month period, three of their songs reached #2 on the charts: “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” and the Laura Nyro classic, “And When I Die.” By spring of the following year, if you’d been listening to Top 40 Radio, you’d have heard these three horn-driven hits a thousand times. And if you turned on your radio in April of 1970 and heard the brand new horn-driven single “Vehicle” you could be forgiven for thinking it was Blood, Sweat, and Tears when in fact it was The Ides of March. “Vehicle” was written by Jim Peterik, a guy whose heart had been broken by a girl named Karen. Some months after she unceremoniously dumped him, Karen had the nerve to call and ask him for a ride somewhere. Of course, he obliged. Well this happened several more times before Jim tired of being nothing more than her chauffer. And one day he looked at her and said, “You know, all I am to you is your vehicle.” That’s when the light bulb came on over his head and the heartbreak finally paid off.
But that’s not the song that got me started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. That honor goes to the Blood, Sweat, and Tears hit, “And When I Die.” A song with lots of horns, two false endings, and a cold end. Well, as you know, we have a rule here in the Way Back Studios that says if you find a song with a hole, stick something in it. As you might expect, we’ll put the Ides of March and their horns into one of those holes. But what you might NOT expect in the other is “Thirteen Questions,” a song with a violin riff that echoes the horn riff from “Vehicle” and also has a false ending. And that’s just the first half of the set. After that, it’s a left turn into Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac, then some more hand mixing between two versions of Pete Townshend’s “Pure and Easy” before ending up with one from Chicago Transit Authority. And when I die, I just hope they have satellite radio where ever I end up.
|Blood, Sweat & Tears||And When I Die (part 1)|
|Seatrain||13 Questions (part 1)|
|Ides of March||Vehicle|
|Blood, Sweat & Tears||And When I Die (part 2)|
|Seatrain||13 Questions (part 2)|
|Blood, Sweat & Tears||And When I Die (part 3)|
|Van Morrison||Jackie Wilson Said|
|Fleetwood Mac||Keep On Going|
|Pete Townsend||Pure and Easy (part 1)|
|The Who||Pure and Easy (part 2)|
|Pete Townsend||Pure and Easy (Part 3)|
|Chicago Transit Authority||Listen|
I said, all you got to do is “Listen.” Chicago Transit Authority. Before that, there once was a note, listen. We did a little mixing between the two versions of “Pure and Easy” one from The Who and the other from Pete Townshend’s first solo album. At the top of the set, we heard why a lot of people, back in April of 1970, thought the Ides of March hit “Vehicle” was actually Blood, Sweat and Tears. We also heard how similar it’s main horn riff was to the violin riff in Seatrain’s “Thirteen Questions.” As I mentioned earlier, “Vehicle” was written by Jim Peterik after being dumped by a girlfriend who then kept calling him, asking for rides in his ‘64 Valiant. As Jim tells the story on his website, the original opening line of the song was, “I got a set of wheels pretty baby, won’t you hop inside my car?” He did a rewrite after a friend showed him a government-issued anti-drug pamphlet illustrated with a drawing of a dope dealing degenerate cruising in his car looking for easy targets. The caption read, “I’m the friendly stranger in the black sedan, won’t you hop inside my car?” Peterik, by the way, went on to form Survivor, and he co-wrote their hit “Eye of the Tiger.” He also wrote songs recorded by .38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Outlaws, among many others. In the middle of the set, Fleetwood Mac’s “Keep On Going.”
And a Van Morrison track with an interesting heritage that goes back to a 1943 Louis Jordan song called “Reet, Petite, and Gone.” Fifteen years later, Berry Gordy and Billy Davis took part of that title and wrote “Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)” a song that became a big hit for Jackie Wilson. And about fifteen years after that, Van Morrison wrote “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile).” Even if we’re all out of time, which we are. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, saying Reet Petite from the Way Back Studios and I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.