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From: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sagittarius was a pop-psych studio outfit formed in the spring of 1967 by record producer and songwriter Gary Usher. Usher had been involved with music as a songwriter since the early 1960s (including writing lyrics for some of Brian Wilson's earliest songs), and soon branched out into production work. After considerable success, he eventually became a staff producer for Columbia Records where he produced what are now known as classic LPs for the Byrds, Peanut Butter Conspiracy and Chad & Jeremy. Usher began working with Chad & Jeremy in early 1967 and, as he was searching to find them a hit to record, ran across the Ivy League's outstanding 'My World Fell Down', which he fell in love with and pitched to the duo as a sure fire hit. Unfortunately they balked at the idea of covering the track, so Usher decided he would record it himself.

To form a studio group, Usher brought in various L.A. session musicians, as well as friends such as Beach Boys touring alumnus Glen Campbell (lead vocals) and Bruce Johnston (backing vocals), along with singer-turned-producer Terry Melcher (backing vocals). He finished the recording by adding an interesting musique concrète bridge and presented it to Columbia executives under the moniker Sagittarius, named after his astrological sign. A single was quickly released and reached #70 on the Billboard Hot 100, which gave Usher the green light to begin work on an LP, which he brought in fellow producer Curt Boettcher to collaborate with, along with former Music Machine bassist Keith Olsen as an arranger. As a side note, Boettcher and Olsen had also previously worked together on an obscure project they called the Oracle.

In the summer of 1968, the debut album (Present Tense) was released, which includes an improved version of 'My World Fell Down' as well as other highlights in the excellent 'Another Time' and 'The Truth Is Not Real'. Unfortunately, the LP didn't sell well prompting Usher to leave Columbia and start his own label with Boettcher called Together. It should also be noted that prior to this departure, Usher, Boettcher and Olsen collaborated again, releasing another LP on Columbia in late '68 as the Millennium. Veering off on their own allowed them to start work on a second Sagittarius LP (The Blue Marble), which was issued during the fall of 1969. This album makes extensive use of the Moog synthesizer throughout the record, as Usher had previously utilized in the production of the Byrds' LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Highlights on the record include 'Gladys' and a cover of the Beach Boys' 'In My Room', which became a minor hit peaking at #86. Unfortunately, this album too was a commercial failure, bringing an end to Sagittarius.

Artist information sources include: The book, 'Fuzz, Acid, and Flowers Revisited' by Vernon Joynson.

Original LPs/EPs

Present Tense

Original LP/EP Label: Columbia CS 9644

Released: July, 1968

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Songs from this album played on TWOS:

  • Another Time

    (Original 45 Label: Columbia 4-44398, A - December, 1967)

  • My World Fell Down

    (Original 45 Label: Columbia 4-44163, A - May, 1967)

  • The Truth Is Not Real

    (Original 45 Label: Columbia 4-44503, A - April, 1968)

The Blue Marble

Original LP/EP Label: Together ST-T-102

Released: October, 1969

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Songs from this album played on TWOS:

  • Gladys
  • In My Room

    (Original 45 Label: Together T-105, A - July, 1969)

General Compilations

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era

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This compilation CD contains the following songs by this artist that are played on TWOS:
- My World Fell Down

Where The Action Is!: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968

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This compilation CD contains the following songs by this artist that are played on TWOS:
- The Truth Is Not Real