Released in March of 1966, “Eight Miles High” was one of the Byrds’ biggest hit after they abandoned their signature folk rock for riskier sounds. It is also a convenient signpost for the beginning of the Psychedelic Era – whether or it it was actually the first truly “psychedelic” song, with its droning bass and its free jazz-inspired guitar fills, it was pretty close to the first hit song to so clearly embrace both Indian music and jazz. It’s a landmark, in other words; arguably one of the most important singles of the decade even if it wasn’t a Top 10 hit. (A radio ban due to its controversial lyrics is usually credited for this lack of commercial success.)
In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.
“Jim Croce knew about the America he sang of; he was a sweet, peaceful person who had tasted of life, and having tasted, desired only to tell people through song about the people he knew and the feelings he had…. The world is full of people like Big Jim Walker and Leroy Brown, but maybe without the music and poetry of Jim Croce, it’ll be a little harder to find them.”
Those words come from a PBS broadcast of a concert Croce gave less than six weeks before he died in a plane crash at the age of 30. Were he still alive, he would be turning 73 today.