Youngbloods, The

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Youngbloods, The

Youngbloods, The, West Coast hippie-rock band of the late 1960s. Membership:Jesse Colin Young, voc, gtr., bs. (b. Perry Miller on Nov. 11, 1944, N.Y.C.); Jerry Corbitt, gtr., bs., voc. (b. 1946, Tifton, Ga.); Lowell “Banana” Levinger, kybd., gtr., bjo., mdln., pno. (b. 1946, Cambridge, Mass.); and Joe Bauer, drm. (b. Sept. 26, 1941, Memphis, Term.; d. 1988).

Jesse Colin Young dropped out of college and assumed his stage name in 1963 to play East Coast folk clubs. He recorded one album for Capitol before switching to Mercury, where he recorded Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods with Peter Childs and John Sebastian. During 1965, he formed a duet with Jerry Corbitt, adding Lowell “Banana” Levinger and Joe Bauer by year’s end. As The Youngbloods, the group performed as the house band at N.Y.’s Cafe A-Go-Go and signed with RCA Records, achieving their first minor hit with the silly dance ditty “Grizzly Bear” by Corbitt. Their RCA debut album included “Get Together” by Chester Powers (a.k.a. Dino Valenti), a minor hit in 1967 and a smash hit upon re- release in 1969. Earth Music, recorded in N.Y.C., contained Young’s “All My Dreams Blue” and “The Wine Song,” the ditty “Euphoria,” and an excellent version of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe.” In late 1967, Corbitt left The Youngbloods for a solo career, and the others continued as a trio, moving to the San Francisco Bay area. Elephant Mountain, recorded in Hollywood with Charlie Daniels as principal producer, came to be regarded as their finest album. It included “Rain Song,” several gentle Young songs such as “Sunlight,” “Beautiful,” and “Ride the Wind,” and two rather ominous Young songs, “Darkness, Darkness” and “Quicksand.” In 1970, The Youngbloods signed with Warner Brothers Records and formed their own label, Raccoon. However, none of the albums for the label by The Youngbloods, Bauer, Young, and two spinoff groups featuring Bauer and Banana sold particularly well, and by 1972 the group had broken up.

Jesse Colin Young’s first solo album for Warner Brothers,Song for Juli,contained idyllic songs such as “Morning Sun/’ “High on a Ridgetop,” and “Country Home,” as well as the title song, written for his daughter. The album became the best-selling album of his solo career, although he continued to record for Warner Brothers through 1977. He switched to Elektra forAmerican Dreams and eventually recorded The Highway Is for Heroes for Cypress Records. In the 1990s, he re-emerged with Swept Away on his own Ridgetop label.


JESSE COLIN YOUNG: The Soul of a City Boy (1964); Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods (1965); Two Trips with Jesse Colin Young (1970); Together (1972); Song for Juli (1973); Light Shine (1974); Songbird (1975); On the Road (1976); Love on the Wing (1977); American Dreams (1978); The Highway Is for Heroes (1987); Swept Away (1994). THE YOUNGBLOODS: The Youngbloods (1967); Earth Music (1967); Elephant Mountain (1969); Rock Festival (1970); Ride the Wind (1971); Sunlight (1971); Good and Dusty (1971); High on a Ridgetop (1972). JERRY CORBITT: Corbitt (1969); Jerry Corbitt (1971). JOE BAUER: Moonset (1971). BANANA AND THE BUNCH: Mid-Mountain Ranch (1972).

—Brock Helander