Arthur Lee – Everybody’s Gotta Live

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Bring up the name Arthur Lee and hipsters in the know will wax poetic about the legendary 3rd album by Love, Forever Changes. A drug fueled trip the dark side of the summer of love (1967), it justifiably is always listed on greatest albums of all time lists. A culmination of Arthur Lee’s folk, jazz, & rock n roll fusions, this spells the end of the original Love band. It also marks the point where most people say “After that, Arthur just lost it, man!”. I’m here to tell you that is not true – not even close. The original band split and Arthur put together a new version of Love. Streamlined, it was a different band in tone and feel. Arthur’s new songs alienated his old audience, but he was following his muse. 1972’s Vindicator was released as a solo record instead of a Love record – kind of a mystery to me since the backing players changed steadily in the late 60’s and 70’s anyway. Everybody’s Gotta Live was the single, and what a single it was. A life affirming anthem, it blurred the lines between soul & singer songwriter poetry. Arthur’s always had a way of delivering lines that hit you right in the heart, and this one is no different. “Everybody’s gotta live / And everybody’s gonna die…I had a dream the other night, baby / I dreamt that I was alone / But when I woke up I took a look around myself / And I was surrounded by fifty million strong”. Note that the song was originally released in 1972, then remade for Love’s 1974 album Reel to Real. The solo version is superior. When I saw Arthur Lee & Love (Baby Lemonade was Arthur’s backing band after his release from prison) in 2002 in Seattle they played the song as a medley with John Lennon’s Instant Karma. At that time I was one of those aforementioned hipsters – not really aware of Arthur’s latter-day material. It gave me chills and changed my life. He passed away just a few years later and I’m left revisiting the magic on vinyl, video, and through words. Everybody’s gotta live…

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Hey Joe

Hey Joe

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

Born and raised in Seattle, WA. A guitar hero. Died tragically early at the age of 27. You might be thinking Kurt Cobain, but I am referring to the late, great Jimi Hendrix. The mid 60’s had found Hendrix playing with The Isley Brothers and Little Richard, while also providing session work to various artists. It was during a session with Rosa Lee Brooks that Jimi met Arthur Lee, who would go on to form the influential band Love. Frustrated with his inability to break through in the US, Jim relocated to London, England in late 1966 and put together The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Featuring Noel Redding on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums, and Jimi on guitar & vox, the band was met enthusiastically almost immediately. The debut single was a cover of the Billy Roberts classic Hey Joe. Jimi’s friend Arthur Lee had covered the tune on Love’s January 1966 debut album in the traditional faster tempo. The Jimi Hendrix Experience covered tune in a much slower manner, perhaps based off of the versions Tim Rose and The Creation were playing around the same time period. Jimi’s vocals are emotionally resonant, weaving a tale of tragedy and heartache. Musically, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, and Jimi are perfectly in sync, allowing the explosive guitar solo to hit hard when it finally lets loose. The song was a top 10 hit in the UK for The Jimi Hendrix Experience in January 1967 (released December ’66) and did not chart in the United States when it was released there in May 1967. Each version came with a different b-side – Stone Free for the UK and 51st Anniversary for the US. As an added bonus, the video of this song embedded below features Jimi playing the guitar solo with his teeth. Seattle’s original guitar hero.