We stumbled across this wonderful story about the resurrection of what was apparently the first all-girl rock band, straight out of Haight in the sixties. It’s amazing what we find when we go down rabbit holes looking for rights owners for a song. Life on the border of music and advertising can be quite fascinating at times.
You’ll find the full transcript below:
You probably know this already, but we work on the border of two industries: music and advertising, brokering sync licensing deals between one and the other. So every now and again, we come across fascinating stories about music, particularly when we dive down into rabbit holes in the music industry. Now, this one is an absolute classic in every sense of the word.
Now, it all started with a sync licensing inquiry from Marketforce, the biggest advertising agency in Perth, part of the BBO chain, so a global, massive communications agency. They were interested in licensing a song called ‘Everybody’s Gotta Live’ by Arthur Lee. Now, even though I pride myself on being a bit of a connoisseur of ’70s rock, I can’t say that I’d ever heard of Arthur, although the song was familiar when I played it. His career is a bit of an interesting story in itself, one of those pioneers of West Coast Rock. A very exciting time to be alive, I guess.
Anyway, that’s not actually the story we’re here for today. It actually took a bit of work to track down the right version of this song, which was recorded by Arthur’s band in 1974. They were called Love. Very 1960s, yeah? And then we had to dig even deeper to find someone to talk to about the recording. Eventually, we found a company called High Moon Records out of New York. They only had a distribution deal for the music though, so they couldn’t talk to us about sync licenses. But they did put us onto Arthur’s estate, and they were incredibly helpful, delightful to deal with, actually.
But that’s not the story here either. The real story is about High Moon Records down the rabbit hole. They’re a very unusual record label. They specialize in resurrecting really old records, mostly from people who weren’t successful in the early days, certainly never had hit records in the old days, kind of like archeologists searching for hidden treasures. And their biggest success story is a band called Ace of Cups. Never heard of them, right? Well, what a story we have here.
Apparently, they were the first all-female rock band of any significance. And talk about exciting times, they were based in San Francisco during the height of the hippie movement from about ’66 to ’72. What a ride that would’ve been. They performed with Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, and Bob Dylan’s band called The Band, and Jimi Hendrix. He went back to England and said, at the time, “I heard some groovy sounds last time in the States, like this girl group, Ace of Cups.” But they never scored a record deal. They just faded away, I guess, mostly into variations of suburbia, marriage, children, all that stuff, individual careers.
I guess the music was forgotten for a while until High Moon Records found them, of course. And so their debut album was finally launched in 2018. And they went back into this studio and rerecorded the old songs about 50 years after the original private recordings were made, which means they were rediscovered when they were all in their 70s. So there’s hope for all of us yet, I guess. One of them quipped that they would like to be considered for the Best New Artist Awards, which would be great.
Of course, I have to play you a song, just the one this time. I’ll digress for a moment and talk about feel good songs. I mean, we often get asked for songs for advertising that make you feel good, especially ‘Feeling Good’, made famous by Nina Simone. And it’s perfect for advertising because ads want to make you feel good.
Well, here’s a cracker, an exemplar of the genre from Ace of Cups called, of all things, ‘Feel Good’. As soon as I heard it, I really liked it. Reminds me a bit of The Mamas and the Papas, one of my old favorites. And if you want to use it in an advertising campaign, of course, get in touch. We can help. Now I’m going to go and ask Clare if she has anything to say about Ace of Cups. Here she is, Clare the painter. What did you think of Ace of Cups?
I thought they were wonderful. Yeah, no, I thought they were really good. Yeah, just to unearth some jewels, I guess. (singing)
Please contact us if you need help with music searches or licensing songs for advertising campaigns, or just want to chat about music and advertising. We would love to hear from you! About anything really.
bruce at musicmill.com.au
Credit: the opening and closing sequences feature “Strong Hands” from Ben Catley:
The song: https://soundcloud.com/bencatley/stro…
About Ben: open.spotify.com/artist/66OGdUyXn2WSipn6ZYq7id
Disclaimer re copyright and fair use: https://www.musicmill.com.au/fair-use/