Saturday, February 16, 2008

The accidental "discovery" of Eve of Destruction

P. F. Sloan, who wrote the lyrics for Eve of Destruction as a 19 year old, observed that on McGuire's 45 "What's Exactly The Matter With Me" was originally the A-side of the record and a midwestern DJ accidentally played "Eve of Destruction," the B-side:

Somewhere in the Great Midwest of America a DJ played the wrong side by mistake! So as you can see, when people had written that this song was some calculated idea on how to capitalize on the emerging folk scene, it's simply B.S. Honest to God that's what happened and how the song got played.

Eve of Destruction was originally recorded by The Turtles, who released it on their first album earlier in 1965 than the release of McGuire's single.

McGuire knew Mama Cass Elliott and ultimately connected the group to Lou Adler. Happy about the opportunity to record, the Mamas and the Papas offered "California Dreamin'" to McGuire as thanks for the connection to Adler. The song went onto McGuire's album This Precious Time, with the Mamas and the Papas singing background vocals.

The website notes:

Originally, "California Dreamin'" was going to be Barry’s second single from This Precious Time. Barry says that while they were recording his version, “it just really came together for them, and John asked me if they could release it as their first single rather than my second one, and I said, ‘Sure, John, it's your tune, man, you wrote it.’ So, they just took my voice off of it, put Denny's voice on it, put a flute on it, and that was their first megasong.” [Supposedly, if one listens closely to the Mamas and Papas hit recording of the song, you can still hear Barry McGuire's voice, not quite erased, singing "All the leaves are brown.."

This Precious Time includes: "This Precious Time," "Upon a Painted Ocean," "Child of Our Times," "Let Me Be, " California Dreamin," "Yesterday" and "Do You Believe in Magic?"


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