3614 Jackson Highway is easily the best and most ambitious recorded work of Cher’s career, and demonstrated early on the potential she had as a performer when separated from the artistic influence of Sonny Bono. The duo hadn’t managed a major hit since 1967’s “The Beat Goes On”, which reached #8 on the Billboard charts. Sonny had been concentrating on his own solo album, Inner Views, and sex, drugs, and rock were in. That meant the hippy-vaudeville cuteness of Sonny and Cher, as well as their pop sound, were pretty much out.
Songwriter: Jimmy Webb Recorded by: Don Ho, Glenn Campbell, Jimmy Webb
In 1969, public sentiment against the Vietnam War had grown strong in the United States. It was a year after the TET offensive and Richard Nixon, who had campaigned on the promise of peace with honor was the fifth US president looking for a way out of the war. As ’69 wore on, there was outrage over the senseless loss of American soldiers at Hamburger Hill, and the NY Times broke the story, exposed through leaks, of the secrete bombing of Cambodia. In addition, two of the largest anti-war protests draw crowds over 250,000 to Washington D.C.
The story goes that Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield asked Barry Godber, the only artist he knew, to paint something for In the Court of the Crimson King that would get the album noticed in record stores. Sinfield, working a day job as a computer programmer at the time, created the iconic cover, an illustration of the song “21st Century Schizoid Man”and the lesser known inside art, a representation of the sad-eyed but smiling Crimson King.