Top 10 Blood, Sweat & Tears Songs
The late-'60s and early-'70s were a very, shall we say, horny time for rock and roll. From the brilliance of the Buckinghams in the middle of the decade up through the one-hit wonders like Chase and Lighthouse, and on to the massive success of Chicago, the use of a brass section in rock and roll was prominent in the era.
One of the more successful acts to travel this path were Blood, Sweat and Tears. Originally the brainchild of the legendary Al Kooper, BS&T made their first strike with the now classic 'Child Is The Father To The Man' album back in 1968. Kooper left the band after this debut. The band brought in vocalist David Clayton-Thomas and would soon scale the pop charts with a series of hits. Though the hits would eventually run dry, the songs have lived on over the last 45 years or so. Here, then, is our list of the Top 10 Blood, Sweat & Tears Songs.
Guitarist Steve Katz was one of the founding members of the band and his contributions are essential. Though primarily known as the lead guitarist and songwriter, he takes the lead vocal on this one as well. Somewhat hidden among the hits on the band's massively successful second album, 'Sometimes In Winter,' which begins our list of the Top 10 Blood, Sweat & Tears Songs, is a beautiful ballad with the BS&T signature augmented by an almost baroque quality.
Another killer written by singer David Clayton-Thomas, 'Lucretia MacEvil' is stone cold soul-funk BS&T style. The horns accents push the song along as Thomas belts it out. A nice guitar vs. horn battle ensues mid-song. The record made it to No. 29 in the fall of 1970 and helped push their third album to the No. 1 position.
Much of Blood, Sweat & Tears best material came from outside writers. Case in point, their version of the Tim Buckley classic 'Morning Glory.' Found on his 1967 album 'Goodbye and Hello,' 'Morning Glory' is simply a beautiful song. While Buckley's remains the definitive version, Blood, Sweat & Tears put their own stamp on it and remake it in their own image. The song was also covered early on by the Stone Poneys, featuring a young Linda Ronstadt.
'Go Down Gamblin'' kicks off the band's fourth album in full rocking style. The horns blare while Steve Katz whips out some killer lead guitar work. Meanwhile, the always spot-on drumming of Bobby Colomby drives the song home. The song would sneak its way into the Top 40, peaking at No. 32 in the summer of 1971.
'High on a Mountain' is the highlight of the group's fourth album. Written by founding member Steve Katz, the song is loaded with a dynamic soulfulness that radiates over 40 years on. "Wild eyed and lonely running out of time, some will say I died half crazy." David Clayton Thomas delivers another trademark vocal here and, as always, the horns shine brightly.
The band's third No. 2 hit in a row is another of their most well-known songs. The track, No. 5 on our list of the Top 10 Blood, Sweat & Tears Songs, was written by singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, and was first recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1966. Nyro would record her own version on her 1967 debut album, 'A New Discovery,' but the song wouldn't fully take flight until Blood, Sweat & Tears put their name to it in 1969. The song would help cement the success of their self-titled second album in the fall of that year.
Another gem from the pen of Al Kooper, 'I Can't Quit Her' resounds like a great hit that never was. It is a perfect soul-influenced pop record, but failed to make any impact. There are traces of the Blues Project woven into the sound alongside a strong Motown vibe. Throw in the brass and some strings, and you have a true classic.
Blood, Sweat & Tears first big hit, 'You've Made Me so Very Happy' hit the charts in March 1969 and rode the rails for over three months, peaking at No. 2. The song was originally recorded by singer Brenda Holloway for Motown in 1967. She co-wrote the song with Motown head Berry Gordy, but it barely made the Top 40. BS&T took the song and, as they would with many other songs, totally made it their own.
Written by founding member Al Kooper, 'I Love You More than You'll Ever Know' shows off the band at their most soulful and bluesy. The song was the lead-off track to the band's debut album, 'Child Is The Father To Man,' and served as not only a good introduction to the band's sound and style, but also proof that Kooper was much more than just a sideman.
'Spinning Wheel,' which tops our list of the Top 10 Blood, Sweat & Tears Songs, was the band's second big hit within two months following the release of their second album in early 1969. Written by singer David Clayton Thomas, 'Spinning Wheel' is about as good as it gets in displaying the band's game plan. Horn-driven pop/rock with soulful vocals never got much better than this. The record hit the No. 2 slot in the spring of 1969. They would have three singles in a row that all just missed the top spot.