In the 1960s, there was a time as soon as San Francisco was the center of the universe. During the fabled Summer the Love in 1967 as many as 100,000 people, largely young human being sporting hippie fashions and also behaviour, converged in mountain Francisco’s neighbourhood that Haight-Ashbury.

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A most them likewise came come the area because that the Monterey pop Festival, which was a major cultural happening. It to be the very first mainstream music festival because that “pop” music, sporting several of the best bands in the world at the time. Its design template song, sung by Scott McKenzie, was a global hit, and also told united state to wear flowers in our hair if we were walking there. San Francisco was the epicentre of the hippie culture, and the people was paying fist to the new culture, fashions, and also lifestyle the was arising from the area.

Music was a huge part of the step with numerous bands popping up. One of those bands were It’s A Beautiful Day. Lock were among the notable San Francisco bands to emerge from the Summer that Love era, however never quite regulated to capitalise top top the media interest prior to it had moved on. Castle were certainly not without success, and also for a short time they burned brightly, but management issues and also bad happy at key moments in your career worked against them. They stay in the shadow of their contemporaries grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana, v whom they had connections.

It’s A Beautiful Day created in 1967 in mountain Francisco. Your most prominent members were vocalist Pattie Santos together with violinist/vocalist David LaFlamme and also his wife, Linda LaFlamme, top top keyboards. The tape played a unique brand of slightly psychedelic rock mixed with folk, prog, classical, and world music.

Their original manager was the well known Matthew Katz, who had actually previously worked with Jefferson plane and Moby Grape. The members the IABD were unaware that together they signed through Katz, the other bands to be trying to end their business relationship with him. Katz is especially remembered because that his long and bitter legit battles through Moby Grape. The withheld funds and also did not enable the band to usage their name, yet the band prevailed in court and also Katz had to give up the name and also pay earlier stolen royalties.

During 1967 and also early 1968, Katz impede IABD native performing in san Francisco, informing them lock were no ready. Instead, he booked their first public appearances at a club in Seattle, convincing them that it would be a good opportunity come hone their craft. That may have neglected to tell the band the he was the owner the the club. It had been well-known as the Encore Ballroom, however Katz renamed the club mountain Francisco Sound with time for IABD’s stint over there to cash in top top the recent fad. IABD would be the house band of the club throughout December 1967.

The group rented the attic of a victor mansion throughout their stay, located throughout the street native Volunteer Park. It would certainly later come to light the the mansion also happened come be own by Katz. It was a miserable time. Over there wasn’t lot of a food budget. They struggled to obtain transportation around the city. The relocate from sunny san Francisco come a dreary, foggy Seattle winter was also very hard on them.

To optimal it off, the band started coming to be frustrated through Katz. A feeling had started climb in that his attempts come manipulate your career were not totally for their very own benefit. They began resenting the instance he had actually led them into and had moments wherein they wonder if it to be worth it. The did not help when they learned the the mirrors would also be stretching into 1968. This might have seemed choose a far better prospect if the shows had been well attended and also the band’s earnings had been top top a details level, however they were not. With minimal promo the gigs were mainly poorly attended.

Meanwhile, in between honouring their contractually obligated club performances, the tape were tasked with writing and also rehearsing brand-new songs.

White Bird was one of the songs written during those dark December main in Seattle. David and also Linda LaFlamme were functioning away in the attic one day and, together usual, the situation they found themselves in was on your mind. The song advanced from the depression that the band’s circumstances and a solid yearning to it is in free. The song’s recurring chorus is “White bird must fly or she will die.” The tape simply can not remain in the situation they were in in ~ the time.

White bird in a gold cageOn a winter’s day in the rainWhite bird in a gold cage aloneThe pipeline blow throughout the long black roadTo the darkened skies in that rageBut the white bird simply sits in she cage unknown


David LaFlamme later said, “The song describes the photo Linda and also I witnessed as us looked out this small window in this attic. We had actually a tiny Wurlitzer portable piano sitting ideal in the fine of this window, and also I’d sit and work ~ above songs. As soon as you hear lines like, ‘the pipeline blow across the lengthy black roadway to the darkened sky and its rage,’ it’s explicate what ns was seeing the end the window. Where the ‘white bird’ point came from: us were choose caged birds in the attic. We had no money, no transportation, the weather to be miserable. Us were just barely gaining by ~ above a very small food allowance noted to us. The was fairly an experience, however it to be very an imaginative in a way.”

All the experiences and frustrations they had actually while life in Seattle uncovered their way into the track one way or another, musically or lyrically. Crucially, though, the did not an outcome in an angry or frustrated song. The song has actually a many grace, flowing follow me whilst carrying a wistful and melancholic feel.

There is certainly an basic desperation in the song. The singers are sending out a article that says ‘we room captured, we require to acquire out, we have to be free, or we will die’ – yet it’s never allowed to conquer the feel of the piece. The song is tender, sensitive, and also reflective. The song stares the fate that the white bird directly in the eye in a patience manner – as if it acknowledges the doom is the most likely outcome, however still it will certainly not be silenced.

White bird desires of the aspen treesWith their dying leaves turning goldBut the white bird just sits in she cageGrowing oldWhite bird need to flyOr she will certainly die

The song definitely does not stay calm all the way though. The middle eight ar sees the singers work-related their method towards a melodramatic plateau the ends through them both loudly proclaiming “she have to fly” in harmony, offering a beautiful surface on top of what might be viewed as a dreary doomsday message.

The sunsets come, the sunsets goThe clouds role by, and also the earth turns oldAnd the young bird’s eyes do constantly glowAnd she must flyShe must flyShe have to fly

This is the start of the crucial passage which has several solos. A pretty acoustic guitar lead opens it all before a fascinatingly multitracked violin slowly takes over, play up versus itself. Some components are dissonant, rather harmonise beautifully. The solo paint, etc breath at times together it throws itself from one passage to the next, symbolising the bird’s struggle, flying greater and higher in its initiatives to be free.

After getting to its peak, the track is taken earlier down to its mellow roots for one more verse which ends on a sudden note after one much more time stating that the white bird need to fly or die.

White bird should flyOr she will certainly dieWhite bird need to flyOr she will certainly dieWhite bird should fly…

White Bird would become the key song of the band’s job – your magnum opus; your signature song. It was to be the tune they would certainly be psychic for. But its release would be virtually two years after it was written.

By the moment the group members went back to San Francisco they had actually no money and also were not about to allow Katz manipulate your career any longer. They were still contract to him, and also in desperation, they started playing at a few clubs there is no Katz’s approval. The tape gradually began to get some recognition and earn money.

The band got its very first big rest when available a possibility to open for Cream in ~ the Oakland Coliseum ~ above 4 October 1968. Roughly this time, the band first began a long process of trying to disentangle themselves from Katz, which they ultimately did by feather 1969.

With that taken care of, the band taped their debut album in Los Angeles. David LaFlamme would develop the album and also arrange many of the songs, including White Bird. The tune was sung as a duet in between him and also group member Patti Santos. A significant stylistic feature of the song’s original setup are lot of violin parts overdubbed through LaFlamme.


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The tune would open the band’s 1969 eponymous debut album It’s a Beautiful Day. It was released in June 1969, and also rose come #47 on the Billboard 200 album chart, staying on the charts because that a total of 70 weeks. In the UK the album do it come #58 once it was ultimately released in 1970 – a ranking the was completed during the albums lone mainly in the charts.

With no solitary from the album instantly available, White Bird quickly became the popular track come play among FM key jockeys. The struck a chord through people and also started getting requested. While the tune was a lovely, tender and also sensitive ballad, it also contained part memorable hooks – an especially the effective vocal harmonising the LaFlamme and Santos to add LaFlamme’s violin parts. These elements likewise quickly turned it into a live favourite.


Seeing that the track was one obvious solitary selection, the track to be edited and remixed for radio play, reduce the song’s running time from 6:06 to 3:02.


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The solitary was exit on 4 October 1969, however it walk not accomplish success ~ above a national level. It bubbled under Billboard’s hot 100 chart, peaking in ~ #118. The solitary edit is not a popular version the the song and also in hindsight one deserve to speculate the it worked versus its intension. It had been an extremely popular top top radio when the LP version was the only one available, regardless of its ‘problematic’ length.

Bad happy struck again once IABD were nearly invited come play at Woodstock. Bill Graham had actually taken on management of the tape at that point, and also was negotiating through Michael Lang (famed organiser that the woodstock festival) who wanted the thankful Dead to appear. Graham was insisting the Lang put on two various other acts that he also managed top top the invoice – IABD and Santana. Lang finished up agreeing come one, and listened come tapes that the two candidates to choose one. He preferred them both so lot that that couldn’t decide, therefore he flipped a coin. IABD lost, and Santana would certainly go top top to deliver a performance that did a lot to construct his fame worldwide. This may make IABD the just band the is known to literally shed out ~ above the huge time as result of the toss the a coin.

The band would certainly at least proceed to have actually a decent traction in California. In July 1971, the band was one of the last acts to appear at the renowned Fillmore West meet in san Francisco. Their performance that White Bird was included in the music documentary movie Fillmore (1972).

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A almost 10-minute-long version likewise appeared ~ above the 1972 live album It’s a Beautiful Day in ~ Carnegie Hall. The later showed up on ripe compilation albums and four an ext retrospective albums. The song constantly followed the band, and it would stay a highlight for the remainder of their career. A version of the band is tho performing, and also from the start to present day, White Bird has always been their many requested and also popular song.