“Oh, wow!” Song Of The Day: Lighthouse – One Fine Morning (1971)

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How could classic rock radio call itself that and not include this song?

Oh, you’ll hear it in Canada.  Lighthouse is one of Canada’s great rock bands and virtually a national institution.  Here in Detroit, we’re fortunate enough to be able to hear AM 580, CKWW, with its unique blend of rarely played oldies, especially songs by Canadian artists, along with the usual oldies radio fare.  In fact, most of the forgotten songs we’ve spotlighted here can be heard there.  If you want to hear this bona fide rock classic on the radio in 2014, you have to tune to a 500-watt AM station across the border (or stream it – I highly recommend you do).

Lighthouse featured not only a horn section like groups such as Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears, but a string section as well.  The original iteration of the group, formed in Toronto in 1968, had 13 members, some of whom were recruited from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  In their early days, they played the Monterey and Newport Jazz Festivals and the famous Isle Of Wight Festival, and actually turned down the opportunity to play Woodstock.  In 1970 their original record deal with RCA expired, and along with a new label came a new lead singer, Bob McBride.  Lighthouse, now at eleven members, seven of whom were original, was entering its period of greatest commercial success.

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The group’s second album for GRT, 1971’s “One Fine Morning,” yielded a couple of singles, and the title cut, written by drummer and co-founder Skip Prokop, went to #2 in Canada and #24 in the U.S.  Lighthouse went through a few personnel changes and had a few more hits, their last in the U.S. being 1973’s “Pretty Lady,” before disbanding in 1976.  They reunited for one weekend of live shows in 1982, then reunited permanently in 1992; they are very much active today as a ten man band.  Sadly, singer Bob McBride battled substance abuse for years, was dismissed from the reformed band after only a few months, and died in 1998 at the age of 51.  Oh, please don’t confuse Lighthouse with the modern-day American group Lifehouse.  They suck, Lighthouse doesn’t.

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This is a great song; a jazzy and brassy rock classic that truly deserves to be heard.  Now I don’t have the playlist of every U.S. classic rock and classic hits station handy, but Detroit’s WCSX and WOMC are good examples of their respective formats, and you won’t hear it on either.  No, you have to go to one of Canada’s last AM stations that still plays music, and we’re glad they could share it with us here.  We’ll go with the album cut because the single is just hacked up too much.  Here’s Canada’s legendary Lighthouse with the excellent “One Fine Morning.”

Wow, this is a remastered version and it sounds great!  The horns cut right through to the forefront as they should, and it doesn’t sound brickwalled at all.  Good job, remastering engineer!  Come back next time as we once again spotlight a forgotten favorite that’ll make you say…uh, you know.

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