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Old 06-13-2021, 02:30 PM   #1
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Music Note The game changers for folk-rock music!

I compiled a list of the dozen hits from rock's formative years (1954-69) that expanded the boundaries of rock music in this previous thread:

https://www.crf2.com/showthread.php?t=70057

Here now are the dozen tracks that were equally influential in impacting the direction of folk-rock:


Tom Dooley - Kingston Trio



This single sold over six million copies and was key to kicking off the folk music boom that lasted well into the 1960's. I always wondered though why the Kingston Trio were compelled to taunt widely hailed American aid worker/missionary Tom Dooley who had been diagnosed with cancer and died in 1961. But the Kingston Trio's hit refers to a Tom Dula who'd been convicted of an 1866 murder in North Carolina.


Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul & Mary



Folk could be whimsical. The message could be very subtle indeed.


Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan



This track demonstrated that folk music can be electrified, particularly if your backing musicians include Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Al Kooper trying his hand(s) on the organ.


Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire



Hey! Messages don't have to be metaphoric. They can be very direct and to the point.


Turn! Turn! Turn! - Byrds



Folk music wasn't the exclusive purvey of folk artists. A rock band could successfully take a folk song to unprecedented heights.


Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel



Spellbinding! And what gave this song the punch it needed to become an international hit was the electric guitars and drums that producer Tom Wilson overdubbed onto Simon and Garfunkel's original recording. Superimposing the gentle harmony of the vocals over an instrumental backing that jumped right out at the listener took the track over the top and made the duo international recording stars. Ironically Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel didn't even like what Tom Wilson had done to the song when they first heard it on the radio - until they got their first royalty cheques anyway.


California Dreamin' - Mamas & the Papas



I still remember being entranced by the ethereal melody and harmonies of this song when I first heard it over the car radio in March 1966 while on a road trip or two to see high school basketball games in southern Maine. I knew immediately that the bar had been set higher for not just folk-rock but top forty hits in the future. I also remember grooving to These Boots Are Made for Walking by Nancy Sinatra and I Fought the Law by the Bobby Fuller Four on those road trips.


Sunshine Superman - Donovan



Well Donovan looked and sounded like a folkie but the only message I got from the tune was that he too was a big fan of Green Lantern:




Society's Child - Janis Ian



Miscegenation was an incredibly edgy theme for top forty radio in 1967!


Ode to Billie Joe - Bobbie Gentry



What did they throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? Down home folk music at its finest.


Suzanne - Leonard Cohen



Hey! We all knew that folk artists didn't have to be singers. They were beatniks and thus poets on the side. And this is the song that clinched the argument.


Black Day in July - Gordon Lightfoot



Monumental! So edgy and timely that hardly any U.S. radio stations would touch it.




Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints?

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Old 06-13-2021, 03:54 PM   #2
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Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

Each one of these fork performers could stake a claim to influencing rock's formative years.

The Seekers - I'll Never Find Another You
The Youngbloods - Get Together
Richie Havens - Handsome Johnny
Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant
Strawbs - The Man Who Called Himself Jesus



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Old 06-13-2021, 04:02 PM   #3
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Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

Each one of these fork performers could stake a claim to influencing rock's formative years.

The Seekers - I'll Never Find Another You
The Youngbloods - Get Together
Richie Havens - Handsome Johnny
Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant
Strawbs - The Man Who Called Himself Jesus



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Old 06-13-2021, 06:05 PM   #4
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Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

A few more that impressed me back then
Beatles-Norwegian Wood
Lovin Spoonful- Do You Believe in Magic
Joni Mitchell/Judy Collins -Both Sides Now
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:06 AM   #5
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Music Note Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

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Each one of these fork performers could stake a claim to influencing rock's formative years.
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Originally Posted by dr wu View Post
A few more that impressed me back then
Interesting picks!

Here now are my honourable mentions for tracks up to the end of the 1960's that stretched the boundaries of folk-rock (albeit not quite as much as did the tracks in my initial list of twelve):


He's Got the Whole World in His Hands - Laurie London



Hey! Brits too could do folk. And with a touch of gospel for good measure.


If I Had a Hammer - Trini López



And Hispanic Americans could add a little salsa to a folk classic and take it to new heights! Trini López' cover of this campfire standard is the best version of them all.


Four Strong Winds - Ian and Sylvia



By adding a touch of country our cousins from up in Canada set the bar higher yet again.


I'll Never Find Another You - Seekers



Aussies could do it too!


Norwegian Wood - Beatles



The Beatles demonstrated that Indian string instruments could add a delightful new element to the sound of folk.


Lady Jane - Rolling Stones



Who would have thought that it would be the bad boys of rock who would re-introduce centuries old minstrel music to the hit charts?


Guantanamera - Sandpipers



Hey! Folk songs don't have to be in English. The spoken words near the end also constitute a very early pre-cursor to the rap music that would explode onto the pop charts a quarter of a century later.


Lady Godiva - Peter & Gordon



Hey! The Brits knew that folk could be very light-hearted indeed.


Harper Valley P.T.A. - Jeannie C. Riley



Jeannie C. Riley aptly demonstrated that adding a country twang could give added punch to the message.


Indian Reservation - Don Fardon



Folk doesn't have to address merely the present human condition. It can provide a commentary on historic events/injustices as well.

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Old 06-22-2021, 12:44 AM   #6
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Exclamation Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

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Indian Reservation - Don Fardon

Folk doesn't have to address merely the present human condition. It can provide a commentary on historic events/injustices as well.
Paul Revere & the Raiders did an excellent cover of Indian Reservation three years later in 1971:





For sheer visuals though, nothing beats this performance by Orlando Riva Sound from 1979:




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Old 06-25-2021, 12:26 AM   #7
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Exclamation Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

Had I not cut my list off at 1970, these two tracks would have been on it:


Imagine - John Lennon



While this one did little to expand the boundaries of folk music, it's been so incredibly influential in the fifty years since its release that it certainly qualifies as a game changer.


Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot



A folk song in the time honoured tradition of commemorating some local tragedy but with a rare nautical theme that's very nicely reflected in the instrumental backing as well.

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Old 06-28-2021, 12:46 PM   #8
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Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

Folk Rock is a wide net but these always impressed me...the last one wasn't until '69 so not real early but it's one of the most beautiful I have ever heard....but then it's Sandy Denny withy Fairport.





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Old 06-28-2021, 01:00 PM   #9
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Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

https://www.npr.org/2009/06/19/10567...ial-folk-songs
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Old 06-28-2021, 09:49 PM   #10
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Exclamation Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

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Folk Rock is a wide net but these always impressed me....

Fabulous track! Buffalo Springfield at its best.


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...the last one wasn't until '69 so not real early but it's one of the most beautiful I have ever heard....
Working on my game changers lists, I stumbled upon this tune which I think is simply sublime:



I'm working on a very short list of folk-rock tunes which I'd rank as "essential" as opposed to game changers, but I've not yet decided on the ones that make the cut.

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Old 06-29-2021, 11:28 AM   #11
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Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

NPR already did that list for you......
Never cared for ABBA....to this day I don't own a single thing from them...more of a pop song than folk to me on 'I have A Dream'...but again folk rock is a wide net.
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Old 07-11-2021, 02:40 PM   #12
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Music Note Re: The game changers for folk-rock music!

Here from when folk began to make real inroads onto the pop charts in the early 1960's are the three folk songs that I'd term quintessential in the sense that they best encapsulated the genre:


Greenfields - Brothers Four (1960)



Where Have All the Flowers Gone? - Kingston Trio (1961)



Blowin' in the Wind - Peter, Paul & Mary (1963)




They were so well done that you could say they were state of the art when it came to folk music in the early 1960's before the revolution in pop music began. But because they reflected the genre so very well, they were actually prototypical meaning they didn't actually expand the boundaries of folk music. That's why I didn't give them a place in my two lists above.

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