Thursday, March 17, 2016

A George Martin Production: Sister Golden Hair

While George Martin had produced numerous #1 hits with The Beatles and others, he had a drought between 1970 and 1975. His final top charting song with The Beatles was his production on the “Let it Be” single. Although the band would have one more number one with “The Long and Winding Road,” it was Phil Spector’s term at the helm that time.

George Martin’s next number one hit was America’s “Sister Golden Hair” that was released as a single from their album “Hearts.” Gerry Beckley, who wrote and sang the tune, was looking for a song that was a marriage between the styles of Jackson Browne and George Harrison. I think he succeeded.

While the song has the flavor of a Jackson Browne message, the slide guitar was quite reminiscent of the nascent sound of the former Beatle – leading some to speculate that Harrison played these parts. Alas, it was one of the members of America. It is unclear from the liner notes who actually played slide guitar parts, but only the members of the band are credited as guitarists on the album.

Beckley admitted that the song was originally written for the previous LP, “Holiday.” For some unknown reason it was shelved. Since Martin produced “Holiday,” it is likely that it would have been recorded in the same vein as it was in 1975. Besides “Holiday” and “Hearts,” Martin would also produce the following albums by America: “History: America’s Greatest Hits,” “Hideaway,” “Harbor,” “America Live,” and “Silent Letter.”

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