John, Bobby, and John- Mixed CD

My CD for my Gordon mixed bag thing turned out to be a concept album, about the murders of icons of the 1960s.

I SHOT JOHN LENNON – Pretty direct tune by the Cranberries.
HERE TODAY- Macca’s response to the event.
ALL THOSE YEARS AGO – And George’s. I had it in my head that Ringo also had a response, but my Beatles expert wrote: “I don’t think there was one. George was going to give Ringo the song that turned into All Those Years Ago (new lyrics were written for it after the tragedy), and Ringo played on George’s version. Paul wrote Here Today for John, and Ringo wrote Never Without You for George on Ringo Rama.”
WHEN THE BEATLES HIT AMERICA – John Wesley Harding did a bit about the Beatles’ reunion of 1993.
THE LATE GREAT JOHNNY ACE – The transitional song. Ostensibly about the 1950’s singer, it namechecks JFK, and talks about John Lennon, ending with some Philip Glass moodiness.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL (Full Phat Remix) – When I think about the Kennedy assassination, of course I think of this Rolling Stones song, not this version necessarily.
FAMILY SNAPSHOT – I’ve read that Peter Gabriel was inspired to write this song after the attempted assassination of George Wallace, but look at the lyrics.
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT – Live Kinks, with almost cheerful reference to the JFK shooting.
CIVIL WAR – “And in my first memories, They shot Kennedy.” This Guns ‘N Roses fits into any civil war, including VietNam.
LEE HARVEY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE- Laura Cantrell’s character says, “They said he shot the President, but I don’t I don’t think he did.”
WHO SHOT MR. BURNS (Part 1) – The Simpsons end theme in the style of the JFK movie.
LONG TIME GONE- CPR is one of David Crosby’s groups, doing a song about Robert Kennedy, originally performed by one of his other groups.
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS KNOW IS LOVE/ABRAHAM, MARTIN, AND JOHN- Read what it says in my Joel Whitburn Billboard book about this guy:
Born Thomas Clague on 8/20/29 in Binghamton, New York [my hometown!] Died of cancer on 11/22/95 (age 66). Was a DJ at KGBS in Los Angeles when he created this recording.” It debuted on the charts on 7/10/71, peaking at #8, and spent nine weeks on the chart. B-side: The Victors [spoken word]. Mowest 5002.
The Blackberries (vocal accompaniment); picture sleeve issued ‘compliments of KGBS radio’.

I tell all that to explain why this was the first song to be selected on the disc. When my family and I were visiting Fred Hembeck and his family this past summer, Fred and I started talking about this very song. We weren’t SURE we were talking about the same song; one of us remembered the Abraham part, while the other remembered the Love part, or maybe it was the kid section.

This is one of the weirdest damn songs ever to chart. You MUST check out the lyrics here. The first section, and the last, is an announcer, I assume Clay, talking to a kid, about bigotry, etc. There’s a little musical “sigh” at certain points, such as after Brinkley says, “Dallas, Texas.”

My sense, and it’s only that, is that Clay and his radio station, feeling awful about the death of Bobby Kennedy in their city of Los Angeles, plus the other turbulence of the time, were compelled to make a statement by taking the Dion hit of three years earlier and merged it with the tune written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, made famous by Dionne Warwick. The song, I’ve discovered, appears on Motown Salutes Bacharach, an import . (Mowest was a Motown subsidiary when the label moved to California.) I have it on 20 Hard-to-Find Motown Classics, Vol. 2, which itself is now hard to find.

If you would like a copy of the collection I put together, or just of this last song, please e-mail me.

Oh, and does anyone out there know if the Tom Clay who was an L.A. DJ in 1971 was also the Tom Clay who was a Detroit-area DJ in 1964 and put together this Beatles collectible?

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “John, Bobby, and John- Mixed CD”

  1. I got a couple of Anonymous comments from the old blog:

    I was searching the internet in order to identify a CD where I could get Tom Clay’s great song and I found your web site. I thought I would pass along what I recall that the Tom Clay who did this song was originally from Detroit. I used to have the album that this song was on, it had several other interesting selections. I also was in the Air Force at the time this song was released, with a person from Detroit who was very proud of the fact that Tom was also from Detroit.
    Great site.
    9:07 PM, March 22, 2007

    Yes, I can definitely tell you they are the same. Tom Clay was my Grandpa, and I happen to know that he was a DJ in Detroit, New York, LA, and Ontario. I can also tell you that he was a wonderful person and Grandpa. That is his voice interviewing the little girl in the song. And as for him being from Detroit… his career started in Detroit, but he was actually born in New York in 1929.
    12:16 AM, April 27, 2007

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