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A perfect ending
It's the perfect climax to the Seasons website I've been looking for for years. The "hippie" mantra read by Les Crane, who sorta invented the confrontational-style talk show we all know and love so well (think Morton Downey and Bill O).

Les started out his TV career in New York (WABC-TV) in August 1963. This local show was the first to feature that up-and-coming group The Rolling Stones (June 64). The show was picked up for national distribution, becoming the first challenger to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The show only lasted until November 1965. Among the guests on his show were Bob Dylan (rare appearance - Youtube link), Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy. Phil Ochs named-checked (what a crappy 90s term) Les on "Love Me I'm A Liberal." Rating were never good and the show was "retooled" into a business-oriented talk fest.

Crane then tried movies (no go) and finally settled into a hip talk show in LA. In September 1971, he recorded this poem (written by Max Ehrmann), which to everybody's surprise became a hit on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy for "Spoken word recording." When asked about the record in the 80s, he's quoted as saying: "I can't listen to it now without gagging."

Desiderata was then parodied by the National Lampoon on a single the next year (as Deteriorata) and was included on their Radio Dinner album. There is a rumor that Crane preferred this version to his own!

 

Desiderata / A Different Drummer
Werner (3:58) / Werner (2:25)
Warner Bros 7520, 9/71 BB

 

Desiderata
Warner Bros BS-2570
9/71 BB
Back Cover

 
Poster


poster was wrapped around record
Side One
Prologue   0:18
Desiderata Ehrmann-Werner 3:58
Vision Trad American Indian Poem, arr Werner 3:00
Friends Crane-Werner 4:30
Beauty (Shining From The Inside Out) Wilson-Werner 2:45
Happiness (I Got No Cares) Wilson-Werner 2:12
Side Two
Esperanza (Hope) Gorky-Werner 2:27
Nature (Wilderness) Thoreau-Werner 2:43
Courage (Eyes That See) Wilson-Werner 4:15
Independence (A Different Drummer) Thoreau-Werner 2:25
Love (Children Learn What They Live) Nolte-Werner 3:38
Epilogue   0:30

Les Crane-narration
with:
The Crane Gang:
  Evangeline Carmichael-lead vocals
  Carol Carmichael-vocals
  Jim Horn-flute
  Dennis Budimir-guitar
  Semu Huaute-narration (Vision)
and
Louie Shelton-guitar
Michel Rubini-piano
Chuck Domanico-bass
Joe Porcaro, John Guerin-drums
Emil Richards-percussion
Fred Werner-arranger and conductor
Produced by: Fred Werner, Les Crane

Note: And they said our records were pretentious crap!!
 

Note: Read Richie Unterberger's liner notes for the CD reissue.
 

 


As mentioned, the National Lampoon released a parody single in 1972. The B-side belongs in everybody's music library . The group also parodied a famous festival in an off-Broadway revue. Hmmm.
 
Deteriorata / Those Fabulous Sixties
Guest (4:25) / No Credit (1:45)
Banana [Blue Thumb] BTA 218, 10/72 BB

A-side credit: voice of Norman Rose; B-side credit: Bob Dylan played by Christopher Guest

 


To wrap everything up—who was one of the first to record Desiderata? A visitor from the planet Vulcan!

That's right Mr Spock (using the alias Leonard Nimoy) released an album in 1967 called The Two Sides Of Leonard Nimoy, which included the track Spock Thoughts. It's Desiderata, all right. That album also contained a hit single! Ole pointy ears actually released five! (that's right 5) records from 1967 to 1969. I'll leave to you to track them down....

 
 


Links!
Wiki: Story of poem
Wiki: Les Crane

 


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