May 29, 2017 It Stoned Me Too

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Van Morrison, Moondance, Warner Brothers WS-1835, 1970

Sometimes a remarkable album comes out by someone you’d least expect from.  Yes, Van Morrison had made bit of a name for himself as the lead singer of Them, and with a slightly bubblegum-ish 1967 hit single, Brown Eyed Girl.  But who knew he had THIS in him?  Brown Eyed Girl was a big enough hit that he got a major label deal with Warner Brothers, and Morrison spent most of 1968 preparing his Warner’s debut, Astral Weeks.  It was a very jazzy and abstract record that was a hit with musicians and critics but didn’t really sell.

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Moondance was the follow-up, and Morrison spent most of 1969 writing and recording it in Woodstock New York.  When a half million hippies rolled into town, Morrison left for the city where he finished the record.  Dropping a needle on side one, the record opens with And It Stoned Me, a song that literally jumps out at you.  From there, you’re drawn in deeper and deeper until it ends.  Crazy Love, Moondance, and Into The Mystic are classics of their-or any other-era.  Yes, I love this record.

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Oddly, there were no hit singles from Moondance.  Come Running and Crazy Love were both released as singles, but neither charted.  For some bizarre reason, Moondance was released as a single at the height of the Disco era in 1977, when it climbed all the way to #92.  The album only reached #29 on the charts, but despite failing in all of the traditional measures of a hit album, Moondance still sold over three million copies.  It has probably never been out of print.  Naturally, I held out for an original Warner Brothers copy, with its gatefold cover and extensive liner notes.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $7, $19 Remaining

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April 25, 2017 Reuse Recycle Repeat

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Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds Of Silence, Columbia CS-9269, 1966

How many times can one song appear on an artist’s albums?  If you’re Simon & Garfunkel, and the song in question is The Sounds Of Silence, the answer is three.  As crazy as it might seem today, this was the second of three albums that Sounds came out on.  The basic track was recorded in 1964 for Wednesday Morning 3A.M., which went on to sell about 74 copies worldwide.  Disappointed with the sales, and without S&G’s knowledge, Columbia took the song and had a staff producer add electric guitars and drums.  Released as a single in September 1965, the song took a slow climb to the #1 spot at Christmas 1965.

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With a #1 hit on their hands, Columbia eventually got around to tracking down Art Garfunkel in New York and Paul Simon in London to see if they could maybe come up with a few more songs for a new album.  The answer was “I guess so”.  and the bulk of this album was recorded in one day.  Even Columbia was surprised by the reaction, and when the follow up single I Am A Rock took off, they redesigned the cover of the album to feature the new smash.

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But that’s not all!  Two years later, as the producers of The Graduate were waiting for new Simon & Garfunkel songs to use in their film, they used filler songs like The Sounds Of Silence as a placeholder.  The film was edited around the songs and everyone seemed to like the film as it was.  So once again, Sounds was released again on The Graduate Soundtrack.  Luckily, all three of the albums can be found in virtually any record store, thrift store or yard sale for next to no money.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $3, $202 Remaining