The Lovin’ Spoonful
The track I bring you today is probably a familiar one for most of the folks that stop by Iron Leg on the reg, but every once in a while one needs to grab even the most obvious thing in the room, climb up on something high and sing its praises.
A substantial hit for the Lovin’ Spoonful in the Spring of 1967, ‘Six O’Clock’ is one of those treasures that for me was kind of hiding in plain sight for years.
I was only 5 when it was initially released, but from about my 12th birthday on, I was a devoted listener of ‘oldies’ radio station WCBS-FM in New York City (an ironic designation since most of the songs I was digging were less than ten years old at that point). Even then, on what was the gold standard for oldies programming (not nearly as narrow as most similar stations these days) it was unlikely to hear anything outside of the four or five biggest hits by the Spoonful. Stuff like ‘Summer In the City’, ‘Daydream’, ‘Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind’ and of course ‘Do You Believe In Magic’.
I didn’t encounter my favorite Lovin’ Spoonful songs (‘Six O’Clock’, ‘Darling Be Home Soon’ and ‘Coconut Grove’) until I was an adult and picking up their records wherever I found them.
I’ve always felt that ‘Six O’Clock’ was probably the best thing the Lovin’ Spoonful ever did, for a variety of reasons.
Coming from an era where every band was trying to meet (and beat) the Beatles on their turf, I’d say that the Lovin’ Spoonful comes awfully close to doing it with ‘Six O’Clock’.
Complete with one of John Sebastian’s finest lyrics, a sophisticated melody and structure, and an arrangement that manages to rock while including baroque touches like harpsichord and pump organ, ‘Six O’Clock’ is one of the finest pop 45s of its time.
I’ve always wanted to find some account of the making of the record, especially because there’s a point where Sebastian sounds like his voice is right on the edge of giving out, as if he’d been reaching for the perfect take all night long.
As it is ‘Six O’Clock’ was their last big hit, with both Zal Yanovsky and John Sebastian leaving the band by 1968.
It’s a fantastic record, and I just thought I’d take time out of my week to remind you all.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you next week.