Vincebus Eruptum by Blue Cheer on Apple Music

6 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Credited with both inspiring the term “power trio” and inventing heavy metal, Blue Cheer’s debut album, Vincebus Eruptum, was titled after a Latin phrase meaning “controlled chaos.” Released in 1968, this album rocked harder and louder than most everything that preceded it and influenced much of the hard rock that followed it. And with its opening psychedelic slaughter of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” (which became a top 20 hit), Blue Cheer shared a dark side to San Francisco's music scene that catered more to bikers than hippies. “Doctor Please” better exemplifies the band’s uncanny chemistry—guitarist Leigh Stephens made good use of the 11 setting on his Marshall amps, with a towering, distorted fuzz that fit perfectly alongside bassist/frontman Dickie Peterson’s soulfully wailed rasp. But it was the hamfisted bludgeoning of drummer Paul Whaley that gave the band its thundering presence. Blue Cheer turned the piano jazz of Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm” into a sonic mushroom cloud while retaining the song’s bluesy roots. “Second Time Around” blasts a bad-trip acid-rock attack that comes dangerously close to derailing the song’s performance.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Credited with both inspiring the term “power trio” and inventing heavy metal, Blue Cheer’s debut album, Vincebus Eruptum, was titled after a Latin phrase meaning “controlled chaos.” Released in 1968, this album rocked harder and louder than most everything that preceded it and influenced much of the hard rock that followed it. And with its opening psychedelic slaughter of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” (which became a top 20 hit), Blue Cheer shared a dark side to San Francisco's music scene that catered more to bikers than hippies. “Doctor Please” better exemplifies the band’s uncanny chemistry—guitarist Leigh Stephens made good use of the 11 setting on his Marshall amps, with a towering, distorted fuzz that fit perfectly alongside bassist/frontman Dickie Peterson’s soulfully wailed rasp. But it was the hamfisted bludgeoning of drummer Paul Whaley that gave the band its thundering presence. Blue Cheer turned the piano jazz of Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm” into a sonic mushroom cloud while retaining the song’s bluesy roots. “Second Time Around” blasts a bad-trip acid-rock attack that comes dangerously close to derailing the song’s performance.

TITLE TIME
3:47
4:22
7:53
3:58
5:49
6:17

About Blue Cheer

San Francisco-based Blue Cheer was what, in the late '60s, they used to call a "power trio": Dickie Peterson (b. 1948, Grand Forks, ND) (bass, vocals), Paul Whaley (drums), and Leigh Stephens (guitar). They played what later was called heavy metal, and when they debuted in January 1968 with the album Vincebus Eruptum and a Top 40 cover of Eddie Cochran's hit "Summertime Blues," they sounded louder and more extreme than anything that had come before them. As it turned out, they were a precursor of much that would come after. Unfortunately, Blue Cheer itself didn't get much chance to profit from its prescience. Shortly after its breakthrough, the group was wracked by personnel changes. Leigh Stephens was replaced by Randy Holden after the release of the second album, Outsideinside (August 1968). Holden left during the recording of the third album, and Bruce Stephens (b. 1946) (vocals, guitar), and Ralph Burns Kellogg (keyboards) joined to finish New! Improved! Blue Cheer (March 1969). Then Whaley quit and was replaced by Norman Mayell (b. 1942, Chicago), leaving Peterson as the only original member. Bruce Stephens quit during the recording of the fourth album, Blue Cheer (December, 1969), and Gary L. Yoder joined to complete it. Peterson, Kellogg, Mayell, and Yoder then made The Original Human Being (September 1970), and Oh! Pleasant Hope (April, 1971) before Blue Cheer broke up. Dickie Peterson reorganized a new version of the group in 1979, and in 1985, Peterson, Whaley, and guitarist Tony Ranier released a new Blue Cheer album, The Beast Is Back... ~ William Ruhlmann

  • ORIGIN
    San Francisco, CA
  • FORMED
    1967

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