Spinning Wheel (song)

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"Spinning Wheel"
Single by Blood, Sweat & Tears
from the album Blood, Sweat & Tears
B-side "More and More"
Released 1969
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Recorded October 9, 1968
Genre Jazz fusion, pop rock
Length 4:05 (Stereophonic album version)
3:26 (Quadraphonic album version)
2:39 (single edit)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) David Clayton-Thomas
Producer(s) James William Guercio
Blood, Sweat & Tears singles chronology
"You've Made Me So Very Happy"
"Spinning Wheel"
"And When I Die"
"Spinning Wheel"
Single by Peggy Lee
from the album A Natural Woman
B-side "Lean on Me"
Released March 1969
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Genre Jazz fusion, pop rock
Label Capitol
Writer(s) David Clayton-Thomas
Producer(s) Phil Wright
Peggy Lee singles chronology
"Big Spender"
"Spinning Wheel"
"Is That All There Is?"

"Spinning Wheel" is the title of a song from 1969 by the band Blood, Sweat & Tears. The song was written by the band's Canadian lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas and appears on their self-titled album.

Released as a single in 1969, "Spinning Wheel" peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July of that year, remaining in the runner-up position for three weeks.[1] In August of that year, the song topped the Billboard easy listening chart for two weeks.[2] It was also a crossover hit, reaching #45 on the US R&B chart.

"Spinning Wheel" was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 1970 ceremony, winning in the category Best Instrumental Arrangement. The arranger for the song was the band's saxophonist, Fred Lipsius. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year; the album won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Clayton-Thomas was quoted as describing the song as being "written in an age when psychedelic imagery was all over lyrics...it was my way of saying, 'Don't get too caught up, because everything comes full circle'."[2]

The song ends with the 1815 Austrian tune "O Du Lieber Augustin" ("The More We Get Together" or "Did You Ever See a Lassie?")[3] and drummer Bobby Colomby's comment: "That wasn't too good", followed by laughter from the rest of the group. According to producer James William Guercio this section was added in at the last minute after the end of the master tape was recorded over accidentally by an engineer at the studio. Most of this section and the trumpet solo were edited out for the single version. The eight-bar piano solo which precedes the trumpet solo on the album version is overlapped with guitar on the single version before the last verse. Alan Rubin sat in on trumpet for Chuck Winfield, who wasn't able to attend the song's recording session.

Peggy Lee's 1969 single release climbed the Easy Listening chart, with a peak at #24, even before the BST version.[4]

The original studio arrangement has recently received extensive airplay on many San Francisco Bay Area radio stations. In December 2016 it was listed at #13 on radicalwave.com's list of the 'Top 50 Annoying Songs of the 20th Century'. It also warranted a mention in a similar list compiled by The Stranger magazine in Seattle, Washington.

Other artists who have covered "Spinning Wheel" are Shirley Bassey, who included the song on her 1970 album Something, and Nancy Wilson, who covered it in the Hawaii Five-O episode "Trouble in Mind," which originally aired September 23, 1970. In 1970 Marianne Mendt released a version of the tune in Austria, as "A g'scheckert's Hutschpferd" and Barbara Eden performed a live version [5] that aired in the U.S. Jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith recorded an extended instrumental version for his 1970 Blue Note album Drives. American organist Lenny Dee covered Spinning Wheel an and album by the same name in 1970.[6] James Brown scored a minor hit in 1971 with an instrumental version of the song, reaching #90 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7][8] The Canadian a cappella music group, Cadence also covered this song. In 1970 P.P. Arnold recorded a version produced by Barry Gibb but it was not released. An instrumental rendition of this song was used as a cue on the first Wheel of Fortune pilot titled Shopper's Bazaar. Maynard Ferguson released a big-band arrangement by Adrian Drover on his 1972 album "M.F._Horn_Two". In Germany, a part of the song was used as opening tune for the political cabaret TV show "Neues aus der Anstalt", aired 2007-13.

In 1983, British company Graham & Brown launched a famous and long-running UK television advertising campaign for their wallpaper Super Fresco, set to the tune of "Spinning Wheel" (albeit slightly modifying the original phrasing) – "what goes up, must come down. Super Fresco makes it easy, it's by Graham & Brown". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLzpKm3ruZI

"Spinning Wheel" was sampled in "War Photographer" by Jason Forrest,[9] "Sons of Third Bass" by Third Bass, and "Big Willie" by Run DMC.

A brief segment of "Spinning Wheel" plays in the 1993 film Indian Summer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 68.
  2. ^ a b Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 74.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 66. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  4. ^ http://www.peggyleediscography.com/p/capitolee2c.php
  5. ^ Barbara Eden "Spinning Wheel" on YouTube
  6. ^ AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn (1970-01-02). "Drives - Dr. Lonnie Smith | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000). Top Pop Singles 1955–1999. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc. p. 79. ISBN 0-89820-140-3. 
  8. ^ White, Cliff (1991). "Discography". In Star Time (pp. 54–59) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet"
by Henry Mancini
US Billboard Easy Listening number-one single
by Blood, Sweat & Tears

August 2, 1969 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"In the Year 2525"
by Zager & Evans