On this day in music history: June 7, 1965 - "You Were On My Mind" by We Five is released

On this day in music history: June 7, 1965 - "You Were On My Mind" by We Five is released. Written by Sylvia Fricker, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the folk rock band from San Francisco, CA. The younger brother of Kingston Trio member John Stewart ("Daydream Believer", "Gold"), Michael Stewart (guitar, bass, banjo) forms The Ridgerunners in 1964 while attending the University Of San Francisco. Originally a quartet, the band also includes Bob Jones (guitars), Pete Fullerton (bass), and Jerry Burgan (guitars). In early 1965, Stewart is introduced to Beverly Bivens by Terry Kirkman of The Association, who at the time is dating her sister. Impressed by her voice, Mike invites Beverly to join the band. They change their name to the Mike Stewart Quintet and finally We Five. While performing at the legendary Hungry I nightclub in North Beach, they meet Herb Alpert. Also the co-founder of A&M Records, Alpert is looking to expand and diversify the label's artist roster. With the folk rock music movement reaching its commercial peak, We Five are signed to the label. The band are soon in the studio recording their first album, recording at producer and engineer Frank Werber's Columbus Recorders in San Francisco. Reflecting their varied and eclectic musical tastes, We Five's debut album features a mixture of jazz, show tunes and recent pop hits ("Cast Your Fate To The Wind", "My Favorite Things", "Can't Help Falling In Love"). One song that stands out above the rest is "You Were On My Mind". Written by Canadian born musician and singer Sylvia Fricker, it is originally recorded by the folk duo Ian And Sylvia in 1964. Michael Stewart comes up with a new arrangement. The song becomes a smash over the Summer of 1965. Entering the Hot 100 at #78 on July 24, 1965, it peaks at #3 nine weeks later on September 25, 1965. It also tops the Adult Contemporary chart for five weeks, beginning on September 4, 1965. The success of the single earns We Five a Grammy nomination for Best Performance By A Vocal Group, but lose the award to The Anita Kerr Singers' "We Dig Mancini". The band are only able to notch one more Top 40 hit with "Let's Get Together" (#31 Pop) in 1967, which becomes a much bigger hit, when it is covered by The Youngbloods as "Get Together". After recording a second album, Beverly Bivens leaves We Five, marrying jazz musician Fred Marshall (formerly of The Vince Guaraldi Trio), and raising a family. We Five continue on with new lead singer Debbie Graf Burgan (wife of Jerry Burgan), but are unable to score another hit before disbanding in 1970. The band reunite on various occasions between 1978 and 1989, prior to Michael Stewart's death in 2002. Guitarist Bob Jones also passes away in 2013, after battling pancreatic cancer.

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