Let’s Get Together

Let’s Get Together

          "Let's Get Together" is on of the most recognizable songs of the 1960s, particularly the version done by the Youngbloods. The name Dino Valenti should also be as known since it was he who penned the song. Valenti may or may not have written another staple of the era, "Hey Joe," though there seems to be some fuzziness about that. It may be a reworked traditional song or a song written by Billy Roberts and Len Partridge who "gave" the song to Valenti while Valenti was in jail (marijuana charges) to help Valenti financially.

          To add to a bit of the confusion that can surround Valenti, one should also know that he was born Chester William "Chet" Powers, Jr.  on October 7, 1937 and was also known as a songwriter, as Jesse Oris Farrow. He was the lead singer of the outstanding Quicksilver Messenger Service.  Valenti died on November 16, 1994.

dino valenti

          In any case, it was on this date, June 1, 1964 that the Kingston Trio released "Let's Get Together" on their Back to Town album. If you were a Kingston Trio fan and bought the album, then you would have become familiar with the song. The album did reach #22 on Billboard Pop Album charts.
Kingston Trio singing "Let's Get Together" from their Back in Town album.
          Here is Dino Valenti singing the song himself:

          The We Five (of "You Were On My Mind" fame) covered the song in 1965, but it still didn't catch on.

Let’s Get Together

             Even in 1967 when Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods did what became definitive version, it did not do well commercially reaching #62 on the charts.

             Fortuitously for the song and them, the song became part of a Public Service Announcement and re-energized their version which was re-released in 1969 and finally established deep roots in American music.

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Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

June 1, 1967
The Feast of the Lonely Hearts Club Band
              "We're Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. We hope you've enjoyed the show."

              And then came, of course, "A Day in the Life." "A Day in the Life"!!!

              How far the Beatles had taken us. For thirty-five minutes we'd listened to song after song, not realizing that "A Day in the Life" was about to tell us, among other things, how many holes it took to fill Albert Hall, whatever and wherever that was.

              Did you follow along with each song because the lyrics were right on the back of the album. Right there!!

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

              Or we were trying to decide whether to actually cut out the pieces from the insert? Should we? Shouldn't we? Should we? Shouldn't we? What did you decide? Do you still have that vinyl? Mono? Stereo?

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
              And if we weren't following the lyrics (because this was the 10th time we were listening to the album--"I'll be down soon, Mom."), were you trying to figure out who's who on the cover?

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

              Fortunately we are caught in the world wide web today and can easily get those 62 answers.
1.Sri Yukestawar Giri
2. Aleister Crowley
3. Mae West
4. Lenny Bruce
5. Stockhausen
6. W.C. Fields
7. C.J. Jung
8. Edgar Allen Poe
9. Fred Astaire
10. H.L. Mencken
11. Early Vargas Girl
12. Huntz Hall
13. Simon Rodia
14. Bob Dylan
15. Audrey Beardsley
16. Sir Robert Peel
17. Aldous Huxley
18. Dylan Thomas
19. Terry Southern
20. Dion Di Muci
21. Wallace Berman
22. Tony Curtis
23. Tommy Handley
24. William Burroughs
25. Marilyn Monroe
26. Guru
27. Stan Laurel
28. Richard Lindner
29. Oliver Hardy
30. Karl Marx
31. H.G.Wells
32. Guru
33. Lawrence of Arabia
34. Stuart Sutcliffe
35. Early Pretty Girl
36. Max Miller
37. Early Pretty Girl
38. Marlon Brando
39. Tom Mix
40. Oscar Wilde
41. Tyrone Power
42. Larry Sell
43. Dr. D. Livingstone
44. Johnny Weismuller
45. Stephen Crane
46. Issy Bonn
47. Goerge Bernard Shaw
48. Alexander Graham Bell
49. Albert Stussing
50. Guru
51. Lewis Carroll
52. Sonny Liston
53. Gorge Harrison
54. John Lennon
55. Ringo Starr
56. Paul McCartney
57. Albert Einstein
58. Bobby Breen
59. Marlene Dietrich
60. Sukarno
61. Diana Dors
62. Shirley Temple
              Here we are. 49 years later and still know in our hearts that those Lonely Hearts led us along paths we had never known. The introduction (an introduction?) hoping we'll enjoy the show and telling us to sit back and let the evening go.

              Good ol' Ringo getting a little high with his friends. John's Lucy. How long did it take for you to see the initials? 

              Getting better. Optimism. "Me used to be angry young man." And how each song slides into the next one. Not angry because I'm fixing a hole. Then we pause because she's leaving home. Motorman?
              And good morning. Feeling low down. You're on your own. Take a walk.  Time for tea and meet the wife. But it's OK. That dog barking reminded a few of us of Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds.

              And back to the beginning to get to the end.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

              This finish may finish us. A holy shit moment. John's voice warning us. He blew his mind...lights changed...[Ringo's drums!]...had to look...I'd love turn you on!

              Woke up...late...hat...bus...smoke...went into a dream...[Ringo's drums!]...

              The holes were rather small...I'd love to turn you on...

              It didn't end!

              It hasn't ended!

              Thank you.

 

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Give Peace A Chance

Give Peace A Chance

June 1, 1969

Give Peace a Chance

           While the Beatles as a group typically remained apolitical, their fame visibility, and life style put them on the world stage whether they wanted to be there or not. By 1969 the Vietnam war was still raging despite new President Nixon's promises to end it. The Beatles were still recording as a group (they'd begin the Abbey Road  album  in exactly a month) and were still controversial (radio stations were banning the "Balled Of John and Yoko" because of the line "Christ you know it ain't easy.")
          It seemed the more others criticized Yoko Ono and her supposed negative impact on The Beatles, the more John fell in love with her and wanted to prove to the world he wasn't listening to those criticisms.
              John and Yoko married on March 20, 1969 and began to do a number of peaceful events to promote peace and end war. In an Amsterdam interview he said: What we’re really doing is sending out a message to the world, mainly to the youth, especially the youth or anybody really that’s interested in protesting for peace, or protesting against any forms of violence and we say everybody’s getting a bit heavy or bit intellectual about it. Everybody’s talking about peace, but nobody’s doing anything about it, except for a few people, and the things like the Grosvenor Square marches in London. The end product of it was just newspaper stories about riots and fighting. And we did the bed event in Amsterdam and the Bag Piece in Vienna just to give people an idea, that there’s many ways of protest and this is one of them. And anybody could grow their hair for peace or give up a week of their holiday for peace or sit in a bag for peace, protest against peace anyway, but peacefully. Because we think that peace is only got by peaceful methods and that to fight the establishment with their own weapons is no good, because they always win and they’d been winning for thousands of years. They know how to play the game ‘violence’ and it’s easier for them when they can recognize you and shoot you. They don’t know how to handle humor, and peaceful humor. And that’s our message really.

              One of these events, a Bed In, took place in Toronto and on June 1, 1969 they recorded "Give Peace a Chance" while in their room with several others helping such as including Timothy Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, DJ Murry the K, Derek Taylor, and Tommy Smothers. Smothers also played acoustic guitar with Lennon.
                 The recording became the first single released by Lennon while still a Beatle. It was even credited at first as a Lennon-McCartney tune.

                Lennon and Ono would perform the song live on September 13, 1969 at the Toronto Peace Festival. Their band was called the Plastic Ono Band and included Klaus Voorman, Alan White, and Eric Clapton.
From the Varsity Stadium on the campus of the University of Toronto and attended by some 20,000 persons. The event was produced by John Brower and Ken Walker.

Give Peace a Chance

Ev’rybody’s talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m


All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance


C’mon
Ev’rybody’s talking about Ministers
Sinisters, Banisters and canisters
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Pop eyes
And bye bye, bye byes


All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance


Let me tell you now
Ev’rybody’s talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation
Flagellation, regulation, integrations
Meditations, United Nations
Congratulations


All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance


Ev’rybody’s talking about
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer
Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare, Hare Krishna


All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

          The song has become one of the most powerful peace songs ever written and is still sung today.
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