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Music On Monday #9… Summer in the City

imagesHOT TOWN! SUMMER IN THE CITY … On Saturday night we drove the beautiful one and a half  hour trip through the California Delta to the California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento to watch some great motorcycle flat track racing- the famous “Sacramento Mile”. It was HOT! By the time we left the Fair at 10:15 pm it had “cooled” to a balmy 92 F degrees (33.3 C). The evening heat in the city of Sacramento reminded me of the lyrics in SUMMER IN THE CITY.  I remember listening this #1 hit by The Lovin’ Spoonful on the AM radio in my family’s 1964 Chevrolet Belair as we were trekking across the Canadian prairies en route to our cabin in the summer of 1966.

images-1THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL  had its roots in the folk music scene based in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan during the early 1960s.The group’s leader, John Sebastian, was the son of a much-recorded and highly technically accomplished classical harmonica player and grew up surrounded by music and musicians, including Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie and hearing such players as Lead Belly and Mississippi John Hurt in his own neighborhood.

John was influenced by the American folk music revival that began during the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the mid-1960s. He was joined in the Spoonful by guitarist Zal Yanovsky from a bohemian folk group called The Mugwumps (two other members, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty, would later form half of the Mamas & the Papas), playing local coffee houses and small clubs. Drummer-vocalist Joe Butler and bassist Steve Boone rounded out the group.

images-2When asked about his band, leader John Sebastian said it sounded like a combination of “Mississippi John Hurt and Chuck Berry”. This prompted his friend, Fritz Richmond, to suggest the name “Lovin’ Spoonful” from a line in Hurt’s song, “Coffee Blues”.

HIT THESE LINKS TO MORE MUSIC > The band released their first single, the Sebastian-penned “Do You Believe in Magic“, on July 20, 1965 and it reached No. 9 on the Hot 100.  They followed it up with a series of hit singles and albums throughout 1965 and 1966, and The Lovin’ Spoonful became known for such folk-flavored pop hits as “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice“, which reached No. 10, and “Daydream“, which went to No. 2. Other hits included “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” (another No. 2 hit) and their only song to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100, “Summer in the City” (13–27 August 1966). Later that year, the No. 10 hit “Rain on the Roof” and the No. 8 hit “Nashville Cats” completed the group’s first seven consecutive Hot 100 hits to reach that chart’s top 10.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include this performance of “Darlin’ Be Home Soon” by John Sebastian at Woodstock in 1969! (Listen to this awesome cover by Joe Cocker also in 1969).
OK, it’s time to celebrate SUMMER IN THE CITY!

89194ab3d9eaaaa40e22d5ecb667bdcc79784982SUMMER IN THE CITY …

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity?
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I’m wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

But at night, it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat, it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity?
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night, it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat, it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Writer(s): Steve Boone, John Benson Sebastian, Mark Douglas Sebastian
Copyright: Mark Sebastian Music, Trio Music Company  /  Lyrics powered by http://www.musiXmatch.com


How the heck HOT is it in your neck of the woods?


All images and information are from sources on the internet.
This article is just for fun! The writer assumes no liability and is not responsible for errors or omissions.
No copyright infringement is intended.

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9 replies »

  1. Fantastic! Yes, in so many ways those were simpler times… we were younger, and WE were more approachable then maybe? Yet in many ways the times were very complex & changing (there is a famous song or two about that!). WOW, your brother was actually at Woodstock – how I’d love to hear those stories. If I’d been just a year or two older it’s quite possible I might have made the trek there. At the time I lived in Kingston, Ontario. Love your reflections.

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    • Maybe the tumultuous time kept us huddled closely together, and so it felt like a smaller world.
      It was my oldest brother who went to Woodstock. As I recall, he hitchhiked the 200+- miles – in his bare feet! 😉 Those were the days!
      My second oldest brother was in a rock and roll band. When they were playing at a Friday night dance at my high-school, I’d get to put in my requests at the dinner table beforehand! I remember always asking for When A Man Loves A Woman and Suite Judy Blue Eyes.
      My third oldest brother made amazing psychedelic posters, mostly for the dances but to decorate his room too!
      The next brother I wrote about above.
      It was great times, if sometimes pretty unnerving – Vietnam, Kent State, high school moratoriums and so much more.
      Because of my oldest brother, who was a huge Beatles fan, we all became Beatles fans. The excitement over the release of one of their new albums was tantamount to Christmas morning! I remember so well when Abbey Road arrived at the house. Listening to it occupied us for days.
      I’ve been thinking of adding a “Memories” page to my blog. Stirring up these is strengthening my resolve! Thanks!

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      • Oh, wow… talk about stirring up memories Mary! I have an older brother and sister both into music and in bands in their high school years… I think that’s how I started really listening to music at a young age. Then my brother branched out into more rock and started bringing albums home which I added to my small collection of Beatles’ 45’s. Quite an eclectic assortment… I COULD GO ON & ON. But I’ll spare you. (Perhaps an article in the future for my “33 1/3” category!). I remember precisely when Abbey Road dropped and listening to it over and over again at my girlfriend’s house. Over and over… it was just so different. Love the artistry in your whole family! You just keep making my day. xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pop Quiz:
        Speaking of 33 & 1/3…who released an album of that title?! (Hint: think Beatles…way later.)

        I love that we’ve stirred the memory pot! (I’m choosing to ignore the word “pot”- pervasive at the time – and just move on to my original thought! And now there’s a rhyme -pot/thought!) How cool that you had a sister in a band! I don’t think there were a lot of girls in local bands during those years around here.
        Yes, we sure could go “ON & ON” (there was a song of that title!).
        Music, there’s nothing like it for connecting people in a good way.
        Please write the 33 1/3 post! I’d love to read it! I think just as much, I want to know what 45rpm you had!!! So please do a post about those too!
        xo back to you. So fun! Thanks!

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  2. Good thing you remembered Darlin’ Be Home Soon! I was looking for it! In 1972, I sat watching my brother pack for college, both of us too choked up to talk about what was happening. We were 11 months apart in age and we’d grown up like twins. He was playing Darlin’ Be Home Soon over and over as he packed his last things, just in the hour before he left for his school, which was 500 miles from home. I’m sure he was thinking of his girlfriend, but I was thinking of him! Great song.
    Younger Generation is another favorite of mine. The Lovin’ Spoonful (John Sebastian especially) were prolific, all great tunes. Summer In The City is timeless. Thanks for a trip down Memory Lane!

    Like

      • I loved your post! You’ve got me going on a music memory tour! I wish I’d seen The Lovin’ Spoonful in concert. Or John Sebastian. (An older brother was at Woodstock, so I guess that’s as close as I’ll get!)
        A bit of music trivia, tangentially related…the brother who I mention in my comment above wrote home (picture a hand-written letter…) his freshman year of college and told us all to watch for a guy he’d seen perform on campus. He wrote, “Keep an eye out for a guy named Bruce Springsteen. He’s gonna be big.” Springsteen was so approachable in ’72-’73 that my brother chatted with him after the show and strummed his guitar.
        Was the world smaller then, or is it just that way in my memories?!?!

        Liked by 1 person

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