From: San Francisco, CA, USA
Blue Cheer was a San Francisco based band that hit the ground running with an original and very heavy cover of Eddie Cochran's 'Summertime Blues', which topped #14 on the U.S. charts in early 1968. The original power trio included Dickie Peterson (bass, vocals), Leigh Stephens (guitar, vocals) and Paul Whaley (drums) who named the group after a type of LSD. Their sound was originally characterized by a simple combination of borderline over the top, hard driving guitar and bass, but as the band matured, their songs became more melodic and complex. Many consider them to be one of the primary U.S. bands to pioneer heavy metal.
Their first LP ('Vincebus Eruptum'), which is Latin for "Control of Chaos") hit #11 in the U.S. and includes the hammering 'Summertime Blues' along with another great, hard-driving tune, 'Out Of Focus'. Unfortunately they were never able to match this success as the band was continually plagued by a virtual revolving door of personnel changes throughout their career, starting with the addition of Burns Kellogg (keyboards) on their second LP 'Outsideinside'. The highlight from this album is the excellent 'Feathers From Your Tree'.
Their third LP ('New! Improved!') was released in the spring of 1969 and saw the departure of Stephens, replaced by Randy Holden (guitar) who had previously been in the garage bands the Sons Of Adam and the Other Half. This album includes the outstanding and ground breaking power ballad 'Peace Of Mind'. Their fourth, self-titled LP saw the departure of Holden and Whaley and the addition of Bruce Stephens (keyboards, bass) who was the brother of Leigh Stephens and former Sopwith Camel member Norman Mayell (guitar, drums).
In the fall of 1970, they released their fifth LP titled 'The Original Human Being', which includes the hard rockin' 'Good Times Are So Hard To Find' and the eastern influenced instrumental 'Babaji (Twilight Raga)'. This album saw the departure of Bruce Stephens and the addition of ex-Kak member Gary Yoder (guitar, harmonica). This lineup also released a sixth and final LP, 'Oh! Pleasant Hope', in the spring of 1971, which contains the awesome 'I'm The Light', considered by many to be one of their best songs.
Artist information sources include: The book, 'Fuzz, Acid, and Flowers Revisited' by Vernon Joynson. Artist photo courtesy of Herb Greene.
This compilation CD contains the following songs by this artist that are played on TWOS:
- Babaji (Twilight Raga)