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The Youngbloods were an American rock band formed in the 1960s, known for their folk-rock and psychedelic sound.
The band's history is a tale of collaboration, artistic evolution, and a commitment to peace and love during a transformative era in American history.
Formation and Early Years:
The Youngbloods were formed in 1965 in New York City. The founding members included:
1. Jesse Colin Young (vocals, bass guitar) - Jesse was the primary songwriter and the driving force behind the band.
2. Jerry Corbitt (guitar, vocals) - He contributed his songwriting and vocal abilities to the group.
3. Lowell "Banana" Levinger (guitar, electric piano, and various instruments) - He was a multi-instrumentalist who added a unique dimension to their sound.
4. Joe Bauer (drums) - Joe completed the original lineup, contributing his percussion skills.
The band was initially known as "The Youngbloods," but to avoid confusion with a similarly named group, they later became "The Youngbloods."
The Early Music and Albums:
The Youngbloods' early music was heavily influenced by folk and folk-rock, capturing the spirit of the 1960s counterculture. Their self-titled debut album, "The Youngbloods," was released in 1967 and included the hit single "Get Together," which would become their most famous and enduring song. "Get Together" was written by Chet Powers (Dino Valenti) and became an anthem of peace and love during the turbulent 1960s.
The band's second album, "Earth Music," followed in 1967. It continued in the folk-rock vein and included songs like "Darkness, Darkness," which would be covered by many artists in the future. Their third album, "Elephant Mountain" (1969), showed a shift toward a more psychedelic sound, featuring songs like "Sunlight" and "Darkness, Darkness."
"Get Together" and Cultural Impact:
"Get Together" found new life when it was used in a radio public service announcement and became a rallying cry for unity and peace. It was a sentiment that resonated with the idealism of the late 1960s and remains an iconic song associated with the era. The song was later covered by artists such as The Dave Clark Five, Jefferson Airplane, and more.
Later Years and Dissolution:
As the 1970s approached, the Youngbloods experienced several lineup changes. Jesse Colin Young continued to lead the group, but Corbitt left in 1969, and Bauer departed in 1972. Levinger also left the band temporarily but rejoined later.
The band released several more albums during the 1970s, including "Rock Festival" (1970) and "High on a Ridge Top" (1972). These albums showcased a departure from their folk-rock roots into more rock-oriented territory. However, despite some critical acclaim, they did not achieve the same level of success as their earlier work.
By the mid-1970s, the Youngbloods had dissolved, leaving Jesse Colin Young to pursue a solo career. He enjoyed some success as a solo artist.
The Youngbloods' legacy remains rooted in their association with the peace and love movement of the 1960s, primarily due to their iconic song "Get Together." Their earlier folk-rock material continues to be celebrated, and the band is remembered for their contributions to the counterculture music of the era.
Despite the band's relatively short existence and changing lineup, their impact on the music of the 1960s and the enduring popularity of "Get Together" have solidified their place in rock and folk-rock history.