“Daydream Believer” is a song composed by John Stewart shortly before he left the Kingston Trio. The song was originally recorded by The Monkees, with Davy Jones singing lead vocals. The single hit the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, remaining there for four weeks, and peaked at number five in the UK Singles Chart. It was the Monkees’ last number one hit in the U.S. In 1979, “Daydream Believer” was recorded by Canadian singer Anne Murray, whose version reached number three on the U.S. country singles chart and number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been recorded by others including a 1971 version by John Stewart.
Incense and Peppermints” is a song by the Los Angeles-based psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. The song is officially credited as having been written by John S. Carter and Tim Gilbert, although it was based on an instrumental idea by band members Mark Weitz and Ed King. It was released as the A-side of a single in May 1967 by Uni Records and reached the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for one week before beginning its fall down the charts. Although the single was released in the United Kingdom it failed to break into the UK Singles Chart.
“To Sir With Love” is the theme from James Clavell’s 1967 film To Sir, with Love. The song was written by Don Black and Mark London (husband of Lulu’s longtime manager Marion Massey). Mickie Most produced the record, with Mike Leander arranging and conducting. In her recording, Lulu makes notable use of melisma.
“To Sir With Love” was initially recorded by Lulu (with The Mindbenders, who also acted in the film). It was released as a single in the United States in 1967 and in October reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for five weeks. The single ranked No. 1 in Billboard’s year-end chart, though the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer”, which debuted in December 1966 and spent most of its chart life in 1967, was the overall bigger hit. Canada’s RPM Magazine put the song at No. 2 for the year 1967. “To Sir with Love” has the distinction of being the only record by a British artist to reach No. 1 on the US charts while not charting in the UK, where it appeared only as a B-side to “Let’s Pretend” (released in the UK on 23 June 1967), which reached No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart.
“The Letter” is a popular song, written and composed by Wayne Carson Thompson, which was a US #1 hit in 1967 for the Box Tops.
Wayne Carson (sometimes known as Wayne Carson Thompson) wrote and composed “The Letter” after his father, who performed as Shorty Thompson in country group the Tall Timber Trio, and also dabbled in songwriting, suggested the opening line, “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane.” Carson wrote and composed the song, of which he then sent a demo tape to Chips Moman, who agreed to record the song with a new band.
The track was recorded at American Sound Studio in Memphis in a session produced by Dan Penn. Previously a musician and engineer at FAME Studios, Penn had been hired as production assistant by American Sound’s owner, Chips Moman, whom Penn felt was shutting him out as a collaborator. Penn recalls: “Finally, I just told [Moman]…’Look, we can’t produce together…I think I can produce records [alone]…But I do need somebody to cut. Give me the worst one you got.'” Moman suggested Penn record a local five-man outfit who had been pitched to him by disc jockey Roy Mack (Penn – “Chips was just graspin’. He’d never heard [the group]”) and also passed on to Penn a demo tape of songs cut by his friend, Wayne Carson Thompson, which included “The Letter.” Penn met with some of the members of the group–to which the name “The Box Tops” was eventually given– “and told them to pick anything they wanted from this tape [by Thompson], but make sure that we do ‘The Letter'” which Penn considered the one outstanding song.
The recording session for “The Letter,” with Box Tops members Alex Chilton on vocals, Danny Smythe on drums, Russ Caccamisi on bass, John Evans on keyboards, and Richard Malone on guitar, began at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning and took over thirty takes wrapping at either three or five o’clock that afternoon. Penn met Box Tops vocalist Chilton for the first time at the session: “I coached him a little…told him to say ‘aer-o-plane,’ told him to get a little gruff, and I didn’t have to say anything else to him.” (Composer Thompson, who says he played guitar at the session, was thrown by Chilton’s vocal, having imagined the song being sung in a higher key.) Penn recalled: “[Chilton] picked it up exactly as I had in mind, maybe even better. I hadn’t even paid any attention to how good he sang because I was busy trying to put the band together…I had a bunch of greenhorns who’d never cut a record, including me…I borrowed everything from Wayne Thompson’s original demo – drums, bass, guitar. I added an organ with an ‘I’m a Believer’ lick.” Penn added the sound of an airplane take-off to the track by recording it from a special effects record played in an office adjacent to the recording studio. When the track was previewed for Chips Moman, he suggested the take-off sounds be excised, to which Penn responded angrily: “Give me that razor blade right there–[and] I’ll cut this damn tape up! The airplane stays on it, or we don’t have a record.”
Augmented with strings and horns (arranged by Mike Leach), the track was picked up by Larry Uttal of Bell Records who released it on the subsidiary Mala label in July 1967 to reach #1 that September. Retaining the #1 position for a total of four weeks, Billboard ranked the record as the No. 2 song for 1967. The track also gave the Box Tops an international hit charting in Australia (#4 for six weeks), Austria (#9), Belgium (Flemish Region) (#2), Chile (#1), Denmark (#7), France (#2), Germany (#5), Greece (#2 foreign release), Ireland (#11), Israel (#1), Malaysia (#4), New Zealand (#4), the Netherlands (#3), Norway (#1), Poland (#1), South Africa (#4), Spain (#9) and Sweden (#2). The Box Tops also reached #5 in the UK, besting a cover by the Mindbenders which reached #42.
The Box Tops sold more than one million copies of “The Letter” and received a gold disc. At only 1 minute, 58 seconds, “The Letter” is one of the shortest songs to top the chart. Lead singer Chilton was only 16 years old when recording “The Letter.”
The song appears on the soundtrack of Michael Apted’s 1974 movie Stardust.
The song appears as background music in the Gotham episode “Everyone Has A Cobblepot.”
The song appears in the 2015 movie Minions.
“Ode to Billie Joe” is a 1967 song written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry, a singer-songwriter from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. The single, released in late July, was a number-one hit in the United States, and became a big international seller. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song for 1967 (the other two were #2 “The Letter” by the Box Tops and #1 “To Sir With Love” by Lulu). The song is ranked #412 on Rolling Stone’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The recording of “Ode to Billie Joe” generated eight Grammy nominations, resulting in three wins for Gentry and one win for arranger Jimmie Haskell.
“All You Need Is Love” is a song by the Beatles that was released as a non-album single in July 1967. It was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The Beatles performed the song as Britain’s contribution to Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by over 400 million in 25 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967.
The Beatles were asked to come up with a song with a message understood by everyone. “It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message”, said Brian Epstein. “The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.” According to journalist Jade Wright, “Lennon was fascinated by the power of slogans to unite people and never afraid to create art out of propaganda. When asked in 1971 whether songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs, he answered: ‘Sure. So was All You Need Is Love. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.'”
The band started work on recording the song on 14 June 1967, with Lennon playing harpsichord, Paul McCartney on double bass, George Harrison on violin (an instrument he had never previously played), and Ringo Starr on drums. They recorded 33 takes, choosing the tenth take as the best. Over the following days they recorded overdubs including vocals, piano (played by their producer, George Martin), banjo (by Lennon), guitar and orchestral parts.
The interviews on The Beatles Anthology documentary series reveal that McCartney and Harrison were unsure whether “All You Need Is Love” was written for Our World, while Starr and Martin assert that it was. When asked, McCartney replied: “I don’t think it was written specially for it. But it was one of the songs we had. … It was certainly tailored to [the broadcast] once we had it. But I’ve got a feeling it was just one of John’s songs that was coming there.”
“Light My Fire” is a song by the Doors, which was recorded in August 1966 and released in January 1967 on their self-titled debut album. Released as an edited single in May 1967, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late July, and one week on the Cash Box Top 100, nearly a year after its recording.
A year later, it re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968 following the success of José Feliciano’s version of the song (which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard chart), peaking at number 87. The song was largely written by the band’s guitarist Robby Krieger, and credited to the entire band. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1967 for one million units shipped. As of December 1971 it was the band’s best-selling single, with over 927,000 copies sold.
A live version was released in 1983 on their album Alive, She Cried, the first of several live albums released in subsequent decades to include the song. “Light My Fire” achieved modest success in Australia, where it peaked at number 22 on the ARIA chart. The single originally reached number 49 in the UK in 1967, but experienced belated success in that country in 1991, when a reissue peaked at number 7. The reissue occurred on the back of revived interest in the band following Oliver Stone’s film biopic The Doors. The song is number 35 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was included in the Songs of the Century list. Feliciano’s cover version won a 1969 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, the same year he won another Grammy for Best New Artist.
“Windy” is a pop music song written by Ruthann Friedman and recorded by The Association. Released in 1967, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of that year. Later in 1967, an instrumental version by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery became his biggest Hot 100 hit when it peaked at #44. “Windy” was The Association’s second U.S. number-one, following “Cherish” in 1966. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 4 song for 1967.
According to rumor, the original lyrics by Ruthann Friedman were about a man and The Association changed them to be about a woman.
“There are many explanations of who Windy actually was in Ruthann’s life. She would have you know, she being me, Ruthann Friedman, that none of them are true. Windy was indeed a female and purely a fictitious character who popped into my head one fine day in 1967…
During the recording session the Association members, sure that they were in the middle of recording a hit, called the song writer, me again, in to sing on the fade at the end. I can be heard singing a blues harmony as the song fades out…”
Session musician Hal Blaine was brought in to play drums.
“Respect” is a song written and originally released by American recording artist Otis Redding in 1965. The song became a 1967 hit and signature song for R&B singer Aretha Franklin. The music in the two versions is significantly different, and through a few minor changes in the lyrics, the stories told by the songs have a different flavor. Redding’s version is a plea from a desperate man, who will give his woman anything she wants. He won’t care if she does him wrong, as long as he gets his due respect, when he comes home (“respect” being a euphemism). However, Franklin’s version is a declaration from a strong, confident woman, who knows that she has everything her man wants. She never does him wrong, and demands his “respect”. Franklin’s version adds the “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” chorus and the backup singers’ refrain of “Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…”
Franklin’s cover was a landmark for the feminist movement, and is often considered as one of the best songs of the R&B era, earning her two Grammy Awards in 1968 for “Best Rhythm & Blues Recording” and “Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female”, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2002, the Library of Congress honored Franklin’s version by adding it to the National Recording Registry. It is number five on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Franklin included a live recording on the album Aretha in Paris (1968).
“Groovin” is a single released in 1967 by the Young Rascals that became a number-one hit and one of the group’s signature songs.
Written by group members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati and with a lead vocal from Cavaliere, it is indeed a slow, relaxed groove, based on Cavaliere’s newfound interest in Afro-Cuban music. Instrumentation included a conga, a Cuban-influenced bass guitar line from ace session musician Chuck Rainey, and a harmonica part, performed first for the single version by New York session musician, Michael Weinstein, and later for the album version by Gene Cornish.
The result was fairly different from the Rascals’ white soul origins, enough so that Atlantic Records head Jerry Wexler did not want to release “Groovin'”. Cavaliere credits disc jockey Murray the K with intervening to encourage Atlantic to release the song. “To tell you the truth, they didn’t originally like the record because it had no drum on it,” admits Cavaliere. “We had just cut it, and he [Murray the K] came in the studio to say hello. After he heard the song, he said, ‘Man, this is a smash.’ So, when he later heard that Atlantic didn’t want to put it out, he went to see Jerry Wexler and said, ‘Are you crazy? This is a friggin’ No. 1 record.’ He was right, because it eventually became No. 1 for four straight weeks.”
Lyrically, “Groovin'” is the evocation of a person in love:
Life would be ecstasy, you and me endlessly …
Groovin’ … on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn’t get away too soon —
“Groovin” was inspired by Cavaliere’s then-girlfriend, Adrienne Buccheri. He said of her, “I believe she was divinely sent for the purpose of inspiring my creativity.” 
The single became an instant hit in May 1967, spending four weeks atop the Billboard pop singles chart, but not four consecutive weeks. The sequence was interrupted by Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” which spent a week at No. 1 in the middle of “Groovin'”‘s run. The song was RIAA-certified a gold record on June 13, 1967.
“Groovin'” dropped so quickly from the charts that Casey Kasem remarked about it in his radio show American Top 40 five years later.
Showing it (and the group’s) crossover appeal, the song also reached No. 3 on the Billboard Black Songs chart chart. “Groovin'” was the only hit the group ever had in the United Kingdom, reaching No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart.
The Rascals performing “Groovin'” during their 2013 Once Upon a Dream show, with a peaceful park scene showing on the video screen behind them. Gene Cornish plays the well-known harmonica part.
“Groovin'” was subsequently included on the Young Rascals’ late July 1967 album Groovin’, but with the alternate harmonica solo.
“Groovin'” is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, and is also the recipient of a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
The phrase “you and me endlessly” was often misheard as the mondegreen “you and me and Leslie”.