Spinning Wheel (song)
|Single by Blood, Sweat & Tears|
|from the album Blood, Sweat & Tears|
|B-side||"More and More"|
|Format||7" (45 rpm)|
|Recorded||October 9, 1968|
|Genre||Jazz fusion, pop rock, psychedelic rock|
|Length||4:05 (Stereophonic album version)|
3:26 (Quadraphonic album version)
2:39 (single edit)
|Producer(s)||James William Guercio|
|Blood, Sweat & Tears singles chronology|
|Single by Peggy Lee|
|from the album A Natural Woman|
|B-side||"Lean on Me"|
|Format||7" (45 rpm)|
|Genre||Jazz fusion, pop rock|
|Peggy Lee singles chronology|
"Spinning Wheel" is the title of a song from 1968 by the band Blood, Sweat & Tears. The song was written by the band's Canadian lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas and appears on their eponymous album.
Released as a single in 1969, "Spinning Wheel" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July of that year, remaining in the runner-up position for three weeks. "Spinning Wheel" was kept out of the #1 position by both, "The Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" by Henry Mancini and "In the Year 2525" by Zager and Evans. In August of that year, the song topped the Billboard easy listening chart for two weeks. 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'."
The song ends with the 1815 Austrian tune "O Du Lieber Augustin" ("The More We Get Together" or "Did You Ever See a Lassie?") 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 inserted 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 Lew Soloff's 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.
Cover versions and samples
- Peggy Lee's 1969 single release climbed the Easy Listening chart, with a peak at #24, even before the BST version.
- Benny Goodman's instrumental version was released on a Reader's Digest album in 1973.
- Sammy Davis Jr. included the song on his 1970 album Something for Everyone
- Shirley Bassey included the song on her 1970 album Something.
- Nancy Wilson covered the song 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"
- Barbara Eden performed a live version on U.S. television in 1970.
- Jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith recorded an extended instrumental version for his 1970 Blue Note album Drives.
- American organist Lenny Dee covered Spinning Wheel on an album by the same name in 1970.
- James Brown scored a minor hit in 1971 with an instrumental version of the song, reaching #90 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Canadian a cappella music group, Cadence also covered this song.
- In 1970 P.P. Arnold recorded a version produced by Barry Gibb; it remained unreleased for almost five decades until the long-delayed 2017 issuing of her album "The Turning Tide".
- Maynard Ferguson released a big-band arrangement by Adrian Drover on his 1972 album "M.F. Horn Two".
- "Spinning Wheel" was sampled in "War Photographer" by Jason Forrest, "Sons of Third Bass" by Third Bass, "Big Willie" by Run DMC, and "Zatsunen Entertainment" by the Japanese rap group Rip Slyme.
- The Milli Vanilli song "All or Nothing", released as a single in 1990, has a similar melody to "Spinning Wheel", and was later the subject of a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by David Clayton-Thomas.
In popular culture
- An instrumental rendition of this song was used as a cue on the first Wheel of Fortune pilot titled Shopper's Bazaar.
- 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.
- Towards the end of 2016, the original studio arrangement 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 earned inclusion in a similar list compiled by The Stranger magazine in Seattle, Washington.
- The song is performed by Jeffrey Tambor's character Hank Kingsley in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show ("Larry's Agent"), where he creates a more Latin sound to it, hoping to perform tap-dancing along with the song.
- "Spinning Wheel" appears in the films: Indian Summer, Where the Truth Lies, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Elvis & Nixon.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 68.
- Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 74.
- Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 66. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
- "Various - Linger Awhile". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
- Bruce Kennewell (2011-06-17), Benny Goodman & Orchestra - Spinning Wheel, retrieved 2017-10-26
- "Something for Everyone".
- on YouTube
- AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn (1970-01-02). "Drives - Dr. Lonnie Smith | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- Whitburn, Joel (2000). Top Pop Singles 1955–1999. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, Inc. p. 79. ISBN 0-89820-140-3.
- White, Cliff (1991). "Discography". In Star Time (pp. 54–59) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
- Maull, Samuel (December 7, 1990). "Songwriter-Singer Sues Milli Vanilli for Alleged Copyright Infringement". AP News.