Spirit’s Psychedelic ‘I Got a Line on You’

Share This:

SpiritSome of you might have asked in the wake of the 2016 Led Zeppelin plagiarism trial: Just who is this band Spirit? Those of us alive and listening in in the late ’60s and early ’70s – and growing our hair and likely smoking some boo – can tell you: One of the finest rocking psychedelic bands of the era. We could also tell you about how they recorded such irresistibly hooky classics as “Mr. Skin,” “Fresh Garbage,” “Animal Zoo” and “Nature’s Way.” Or how guitarist/singer Randy California played with Jimi Hendrix. Or how guitarist/singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes went on to start Jo Jo Gunne, and Andes later played with Firefall and Heart. And how they did manage to score one gold (and fondly remembered) album: 1970’s The 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. Can we say influential?

Spirit LP coverBut the best way to show you how special Spirit was is to ask you to simply listen to and dig this clip.

And judge this band – whose other members were drummer Ed Cassidy and keyboard player John Locke – by the company they keep in this truly Classic Video. It’s a redux of perhaps their best song, “I Got a Line on You” (a #25 hit in its first 1968 incarnation, and covered by the Hollywood Vampires in 2015) that was on the group’s second reunion album in 1984, titled Spirit of ’84 in the U.S. (and The Thirteenth Dream in the rest of the world).

Joining Spirit on the album and in this live video performance are: guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers), guitarist Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac; it took Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to replace him), Joe Lala (CSNY, Bee Gees, Manassas and many more), drummer Keith Knudson (Doobie Brothers), guitarist Howard Lesse (Heart) and other notables. There’s only one word to describe this super-jam: Killer!

Guitarist Randy California (nee Randy Craig Wolfe) was born February 20, 1951. He died January 2, 1997, in a drowning accident, while rescuing his son (who survived).

  • Sign up for the Best Classic Bands Newsletter

Best Classic Bands Staff
Share This:

10 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. JohnnyCNote
    #1 JohnnyCNote 24 June, 2016, 00:22

    THIS is Spirit: https://youtu.be/EjKTPh2FEqk

    The video (film) is pretty hokey, but at least it’s authentic. This one shows their psychedelic side, of which they were masters, and features Randy California’s Hendrix influence:

    Reply this comment
  2. Hippie Dave
    #2 Hippie Dave 25 June, 2016, 03:38

    Love Spirit!! Awesome and members formed other awesome bands!!

    Reply this comment
    • Mick
      Mick 21 February, 2019, 00:44

      They are a favorite of mine. Saw them several times back in the day.

      Reply this comment
  3. LouisVA
    #3 LouisVA 24 March, 2019, 18:28

    Never had the good fortune to see Spirit; however, they are still on my current playlist. 12 Dreams is an incredible album.

    Reply this comment
  4. Dick Wingate
    #4 Dick Wingate 3 January, 2020, 08:18

    Wow. Had never seen this jam. Thx.

    Reply this comment
  5. Bobby Frufracker
    #5 Bobby Frufracker 3 January, 2020, 09:23

    Yes, we grew our hair long and dug Spirit! I got my worn-out copy of “12 Dreams…” signed by Mark Andes in 2006! It was Spirit’s “Sgt. Pepper’ s” LP — simply brilliant!

    Reply this comment
  6. Joe
    #6 Joe 4 January, 2020, 20:55

    First saw Spirit at Atlanta Pop Festival ‘’69 at 19 years old after buyin’ their first album and graduating in ‘68. “I Got A Line On You Babe” was a must on our band’s playlist. Now Mark Andes is with Firefall still making great music!

    Reply this comment
  7. Mack Maloney
    #7 Mack Maloney 9 September, 2020, 08:37

    Jimi Hendrix once said Randy California was a better guitar player than he was. Randy later died saving his son from drowning.

    Reply this comment
  8. Richard B Ellenberger
    #8 Richard B Ellenberger 9 September, 2020, 14:49

    It’s always been hard for me to believe Led Zep DIDN’T rip off Randy Caly and that he lost his lawsuit. What did other bands and entertainers think of this result? That said, Spirit was one of the best bands ever and Randy California one of the most talented musicians. His end was tragic but he saved his son. RIP

    Reply this comment
  9. David S Pease
    #9 David S Pease 8 January, 2021, 10:20

    1984 was my favorite song by them.

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.