1968 Was a Year of Change for The Nickel Revolution

Posted: November 5, 2011 in 1968

It’s interesting to note that the year of 1968 held many changes and new opportunities for The Nickel Revolution. Rock and roll music had evolved and the messages in music were stronger than ever. Why?

Music is a reflection of the times and our country was going through many changes and challenges, consequently the songwriters and bands were responding with songs that would become anthems for many.

The year begins for The Nickel Revolution on an “easy feeling,” and the band goes into the studio to record Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ a cover of the Platters hit. Kent Saunders added his excellent vocals. The second recording was Ron Honeybear Hort singing, “Treat Her Right,” by Roy Head.

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The main point of talking about these songs is very clear as it relates to 1968. The year begins with an easy R&B feel for The Nickel Revolution and by the end of the year a heavier rock and roll version of the band emerges. Look at the clothes and style of the band. At the beginning of the year the band wears suits, including tuxes for some shows, and by the end of the year The Nickel Revolution is no longer in matching outfits. Individual style, custom-made clothes with each member expressing their own taste and appearance and long hair.

As 1968 began, we were a show band and the line up included Kent Saunders (lead guitar), Ron Honeybear Hort (keyboards), JohnBerman (sax), Scott Jeffy (bass), Louie Lenz (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Lenz (drums). By early spring, Kent Saunders and John Berman would leave to join other R&B show bands as The Nickel Revolution was moving toward a different sound. Keith Luer is added to the band on lead guitar, bringing original songs and a new rock flavor to the band.

Oddly enough, it was the same year that the band would win, “Best New Material” Award and the Connie Awards in May and be contracted with Mercury Records/Phillips label for the Candy Floss recording of Oscar Crunch, a bubblegum song. It’s awkward because this happened when the band was changing its sound and direction.

Oscar Crunch would become a local and regional hit for the band in the Midwest and radio play included eastern states as well. The Nickel Revolution were booked and packaged with bubblegum groups, but they only played one bubblegum song. Audiences didn’t mind, nor did the concert promoters and venue managers as The Nickel Revolution drew audiences.

Looking back at the music and news headlines of 1968 will demonstrate just how much change was taking place. One interesting story of that year for the band happened when a few of the guys traveled to Chicago to buy clothes and “hang out.” We had finished a gig in Wisconsin and part of the band returned to Minneapolis while Louie, Scott, Jerry and Rich Lindquist (one of our roadies) headed to the Windy City. We traveled in Louie’s brand new 1968 Ford Torino. It was dark blue with a white racing stripe down the center of the car, so it did stand out.

The band checked into a hotel and went out to cruise the streets of Chicago. Especially the north side where the emerging hippie shops were. We had our first real experience of being “hassled” by the cops. The corruption of Mayor Daley’s administration was legendary, including the police force.

Some undercover cops in an unmarked, beat up old dodge, pulled us over. It was unnerving as the car and the cops did not look right. The two “officers” looked like bar slobs. They made us get out of the car and sit on the curb while they searched our vehicle—and there was no traffic infraction or probable cause to search the car, nor did we give them permission to search us and the car. They were mad and disgusted to not find any pot or other illegal substances. They yelled at us and told us to get, “the hell out of Chicago,” noting our Minnesota plates and ID’s. The long hair didn’t help and they said we looked like girls. Fortunately we saved our comments about them for later. Daley’s welcoming committee taught us a lesson—be careful in a corrupt city. This was just a few short weeks before the huge anti-war protests in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention where the police brutalized the protesters. There are plenty of articles and photos online to demonstrate how bad the situation was.

The leading news stories of 1968:

<>Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy assassinated two months apart.

<>The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive

<>1968 – Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act

<>Shirley Chisholm becomes first black woman elected to U.S. Congress

<>Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention

<>U.S. signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

<>United States presidential election, 1968 (Richard Nixon elected president)

Now let’s look at the changes in music and the Billboard Top 100 of 1968


Hey Jude The Beatles


I Heard It Through The Grapevine Marvin Gaye


Love Is Blue Paul Mauriat


Love Child Diana Ross &The Supremes


Honey Bobby Goldsboro


Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay Otis Redding


People Got To Be Free The Rascals


This Guy’s In Love With You Herb Alpert


Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) JohnFred &His Playboy Band


Woman Woman Gary Puckett &The Union Gap


Mrs. Robinson Simon &Garfunkel


Who’s Making Love Johnnie Taylor


Hello I Love You The Doors


Tighten Up Archie Bell &The Drells


Young Girl Gary Puckett &The Union Gap


HarperValleyPta Jeannie C. Riley


Those Were The Days Mary Hopkin


Little Green Apples O.C. Smith


The Good, The Bad And The Ugly HugoMontenegro


Bend Me, Shape Me American Breed


Cry Like A Baby The Box Tops


Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf


Green Tambourine The Lemon Pipers


Midnight Confessions The Grass Roots


For Once In My Life Stevie Wonder


It’s A Beautiful Morning The Rascals


Spooky Classics Iv


Abraham, Martin AndJohn Dion


Stoned Soul Picnic 5th Dimension


Chain Of Fools Aretha Franklin


Mony Mony Tommy James &The Shondells


Classical Gas Mason Williams


Cowboys To Girls The Intruders


I Love How You Love Me Bobby Vinton


The Ballad Of Bonnie AndClyde Georgie Fame


I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You Bee Gees


Grazing In The Grass Hugh Masekela


Angel Of The Morning Merrilee Rush &The Turnabouts


Fire Crazy World Of Arthur Brown


(Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls Dionne Warwick


Born To Be Wild Steppenwolf


The Horse Cliff Nobles &Co.


Lady Willpower Gary Puckett &The Union Gap


Slip Away Clarence Carter


I Wish It Would Rain The Temptations


Jumpin’ Jack Flash The Rolling Stones


Light My Fire JoseFeliciano


(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone Aretha Franklin


La-La Means I Love You The Delfonics


Girl Watcher The O’kaysions


Different Drum Stone Poneys F/Linda Ronstadt


Stormy Classics Iv F/ Dennis Yost


Yummy Yummy Yummy OhioExpress


Hold Me Tight Johnny Nash


The Look Of Love Sergio Mendes &Brazil66


Sunshine Of Your Love Cream


Dance To The Music Sly &The Family Stone


Turn Around Look At Me The Vogues


Over You Gary Puckett &The Union Gap


Reach Out Of The Darkness Friend And Lover


Simon Says 19l0 FruitgumCo.


Revolution The Beatles


Bottle Of Wine The Fireballs


Lady Madonna The Beatles


Love Is All Around The Troggs


MacarthurPark Richard Harris


Take Time To Know Her Percy Sledge


Hurdy Gurdy Man Donovan


White Room Cream


I Got The Feelin’ James Brown


Nobody But Me The Human Beinz


1,2,3, Red Light 1910 Fruitgum Co.


Think Aretha Franklin


You Keep Me Hangin’ On Vanilla Fudge


Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You The Lettermen


The Unicorn The Irish Rovers


Baby, Now That I’ve Found You The Foundations


Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell


The Fool On The Hill Sergio Mendes &Brazil’66


Susan The Buckinghams


Time Has Come Today Chambers Brothers


I Say A Little Prayer Aretha Franklin


IndianLake The Cowsills


I Thank You Sam And Dave


Elenore The Turtles


Hush Deep Purple


Here Comes The Judge Shorty Long


My Special Angel The Vogues


I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite Tommy Boyce &Bobby Hart


Stay In My Corner The Dells


Both Sides Now Judy Collins


The House That Jack Built Aretha Franklin


You’re All I Need To Get By Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell


The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo] Manfred Mann


Suzie Q (Part One) Creedence Clearwater Revival


Do You Know The Way ToSanJose Dionne Warwick


If You Can Want Smokey Robinson &The Miracles


Say It Loud-I’m Black And I’m Proud (Part 1) James Brown


I Love You People


Piece Of My Heart Big Brother &The Holding Company

If you are familiar with the music, it is very easy to see the contrasting sounds and the emergence of more, “message music” as you look at the Billboard Top 100 for 1968. Interesting to note that Here Comes The Judge by Shorty Long came in at number 87, because at the beginning of the same year, The Nickel Revolution recorded a version of Here Comes da Judge for Candy Floss Productions which was never released (available on Amazon and iTunes). You can see the story on this blog in an earlier entry.

Back to the changing music of 1968, let’s look at two artists and their releases. The first is Dion with Abraham, Martin And John (number 28 on the chart above).

Dion Dimuci was the lead singer in a 50s Doo Wop group, Dion and the Belmonts and he had a lot more to say in his 1968 recording.  Abraham, Martin And John which was in reference to the assassinations of  President John F. Kennedy, the Reverend Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.




Another true reflection of the changing times, anger over the Viet Nam war and musicians working to bring more message music, is  John Fogerty’s song Fortunate Son recorded by his group, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Here are the lyrics:

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yoh

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate son, no, no

1968 truly was a year of change and you can see how The Nickel Revolution was changing and evolving in their sound, direction and style.

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:



© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved


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