Sister Golden Hair

December 9, 2011 • 5:19 am

Last song of the week: perhaps not to most people’s taste, but I’ve always liked it.  This is America, live, performing “Sister Golden Hair” live on Burt Sugarman’s “Midnight Special.”  It was recorded in 1975 and reached #1 on the American charts.

According to Wikipedia, “Although the song is a message from a man to his lover, explaining that he still loves her despite being not ready for marriage, the title was initially inspired by the mothers of all three members of the group, all of whom were blondes.”  Whatever.

16 thoughts on “Sister Golden Hair

  1. At least you got rid of my Ravel’s Bolero earworm that I’ve been struggling with for the last day or so…

    “Not to most people’s taste..” There was a lot worse stuff on the radio than “America” back then. Thanks for not posting Horse With No Name, though. 😉

  2. Wait a minute—that opening melody line is the same musical phrase as “Mother and Child Reunion” –maybe that explains the connection!

  3. I found this when searching for the lyrics. 🙂

    Highway Highlight (from the box set booklet)
    Released in March 1975, Hearts launched a hit single right out of the boxy with “Sister Golden Hair,” a buoyant Beckley number that went to #1 in June of that year. The song had existed in demo form before Holiday but didn’t make it the first time around. Was this a romantic ode to anyone in particular? “No, no,” says Beckley. “Again, this is all poetic license. With ‘Sister Golden Hair,’ as far as my folks were concerned, I was writing a song about my sister, and I couldn’t quite fathom it; they must not have listened to the lyrics.” The song has a lyric revision courtesy of Jackson Browne: “We toured with Jackson a couple of times, and we’d always play each other songs backstage. I sang ‘Meet me in the middle, will you meet me in VA [short for Virginia].’ And he thought I was singing, ‘Meet me in the air.’ He was singing along, and he sang that line, and I said, ‘Oh, that’s better.'”

  4. Ben Hoffman, you have the right of it. A mediocre group, not quite bad enough to be an earworm,thank dog.

  5. Some songs, bad or not, evoke their era very nicely, and this is one. So many personal memories and feelings come rushing out when I hear this song. It may have virtually nothing to do with the quality of the song itself, but then again, there were a lot of songs back then, and most didn’t forge this kind of timeless link in me or in many other people.

  6. There were certain songs and groups is the 1970s (too many actually, so I mainly listened to the R&B station while driving) that made me quickly reach out and punch a button to change the station. America might have been at the top of this ignominious list. I don’t think I ever listened to more than a few seconds of a single one of their songs after the first time.

  7. Great song, terrible rendition. Most good rock, and especially pop songs, don’t sound as good to me live as the studio versions.

    I never like HWNN when it came out, but it grew on me over the years. Ventura Hwy was one of my favs as a junior in HS.

    But SGHS is my all time fav America song, probably because it reminds me of the girl I was going steady with in ’75. As far as I’m concerned, its defects are more than made up for by the melody. Anyone who doesn’t like it probably doesn’t place melody as high as I do in the list of a song’s most important attributes.

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