Dino Valenti Gets Together

Dino Valenti Gets 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

Dino Valenti Gets Together

Kingston Trio

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.

Dino Valenti Gets Together

Dino Valenti 

Here is Dino Valenti singing the song himself:

Dino Valenti Gets Together

We Five

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

Dino Valenti Gets Together

Youngbloods

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.

Dino Valenti Gets Together
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Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

First, I’ll clear up the seemingly ignorant error in my post’s title. Yes I know that it is Sgt Pepper’s (possessive) but for Search Engine Optimization purposes, the algorithm rejects apostrophes. And besides that, as you can see Ringo’s drum kit has the leaders last name as Peppers, not Pepper.

So I stand on one weak leg to support my blog’s title.

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Recording

The Beatles (and George Martin) completed recording the album on  21 April 1967 and had used–by today’s standards–primitive four-track equipment to do so.

They did use various tricks with that equipment. Geoff Emerick was the lead engineer.

Forbes magazine did an excellent article about the recording.

For example, Emerick, “…had Ringo tune his toms very low by loosening the skins on the drum heads. Emerick then removed the skins from the bottom of the toms, wrapped a mic in a tea cloth, put it in a glass jug, and placed it on the floor under the drums. The result was the huge, tympani-like drum sounds you hear on the verses in “A Day in the Life”.”

For Lovely Rita, he “…introduced a wobble underneath the piano sound by sticking pieces of editing tape to the guide rollers on the tape machine that was feeding the audio from the piano to an echo chamber. “

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Officially released June 1, 1967

The official release date was June 1, but it was rush-released in the UK on May 26 and actually released in the US on June 2.

It spent the rest of the year at #1 on the UK charts and 15 weeks at the top in the US.

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Feast of the Lonely Hearts Club Band

Keep in mind that although some might have been able to know that the Beatles were releasing something new and different, for most fans, given the lack of accessibility to such information, Sgt Pepper was a surprise.

At the beginning they greet us as Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and by the time we get almost to the end of Side 2 they are hoping that we’ve enjoyed the show.

Of course, the end was “A Day in the Life.” “A Day in the Life”!!! The BBC banned the song because of it’s “I’d love to turn you on” lyric.

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Long road

How far the Beatles had taken us on that album. 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!! That was a first.

Sgt Peppers 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 Peppers 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
Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Decades Later

Here we are: decades later and we 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 Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Holy Shit moment

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!

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

It hasn’t ended!

Thank you.

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
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John Yoko Give Peace Chance

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

June 1, 1969

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Apolitical Beatles

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.

1969 and the Vietnam war continued 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.”)

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

John & Yoko

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 had married on March 20, 1969 and began 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.

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Toronto Bed-In


 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.

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Recording song

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 performed 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.

John Yoko Give Peace 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

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

Legacy

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

John Yoko Give Peace Chance

More about John & Yoko in Canada via The Conversation dot com

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