GET SPIRIT INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
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As this year’s nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced a group that made a seminal contribution to the music of the late 60’and early 70’s has once again been slighted. Spirit (Randy California guitar and vocals , Jay Ferguson, vocals, John Locke, keyboards, Mark Andes, bass and Ed Cassidy drums) the groundbreaking band founded in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, has been virtually neglected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since it original eligibility in 1993, This petition aims to right that situation
Spirit, have never gotten the acclaim they deserve. While other west coast groups like the Doors the Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield, have gone on to both critical and popular recognition interest in Sprit remain an underground but vital phenomenon. The four albums this LA quintet cut between 1968 and 1971 (and a faith soundtrack for motion picture Model Shop) certainly rank among the best albums of that period. Their final album in their original configuration “The twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” is viewed as one of the first concept albums, and in the words of a reviewer were “diverse yet cohesive effort, and long considered by fans, critics and musicians alike to be one of the finest albums ever recorded.” It extended the experimentalism Spirits earlier albums with ne elements that anticipated the rock trends of the 70’s . As one critic notes “Spirit should be remembered as one of the half-dozen best American bands of the 60s”
If music is the universal language, spirit was its rock n roll translator. Like other innovative groups of the 60’s spirit set out to create new musical forms. Mixing influences from free forms and small group jazz with improv psychedelia, hard rock and even pop sensibilities, they aimed to create a more universal musical forms. They often succeeded creating music with the widest range of musical expression of any rock group before or since. Another critic writing in 1968: “Spirit makes use of all the variables available to modern music; in form, style, tone color, dynamics, rhythms, lyric subjects, modes, scales, feelings, everything.” Spirit was among the earliest and most successful fusion groups. Spirit also displayed an early ecological sensibility and a concern for social justice critical and adventurous lyrical spirit that captured the sense of the times. California’s Nature's Way and Ferguson’s “Fresh Garbage” illustrate their early environmental concerns, while California’s 1984 (apparently banned for it’s political content) and Ferguson’s ‘policemen’s ball (about Chicago 1968) didn’t hesitate to confront political issues.
In a spirit retrospective JimWashburn wrote “The Doors were alright but for many rock fans in the late 60’s the band that really mattered was Spirit”
Spirit is the forgotten super group of the 60’s. They headlined for groups like Led Zeppelin and the Police and were it not for an unfortunate management decision would have been featured at Woodstock.
Though the original Spirit lineup broke up in1971, Spirit continued until Randy California’s death in 1997 centered around the virtuoso musicianship of drummer Ed Cassidy and guitarist Randy California. California is recognized by many as one of the premier guitarists of rock. Spirit kept writing music and producing albums that challenged conformity, record company executives, and received ideas in times of political quietism. Spirit’s last studio album California Blues is a thoughtful and original return to California’s blues roots. It is infused with an underlying sense of the community of mankind that can be traced back to California’s early work with Spirit.
If you’re a fan of spirit please sign this petition and show the rock establishment that spirit still lives. If you haven’t listened to spirit for a while or at all, take a chance to listen to one of rock’s neglected treasures. Then sign on to the petition.
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