A Bit Like You And Me Radio

October 21, 2015

Bert Sommer - Jennifer (1968)

Today’s featured artist, Bert William Sommer (born February 7, 1949), was a friend of The Left Banke’s Michael Brown and was chosen to be one of the new lead singers of Brown’s Left Banke (along with Michael McKean) when the group divided and competed with one another. Although the effort was unsuccessful and short-lived, it provided Sommer with connections that aided in advancing his career.

Sommer also made a connection with Leslie West (later of Mountain), which led to him writing five songs (“And When It’s Over,” “Things Are Going My Way,” among others) for West’s band The Vagrants in their mutual hometown of Long Island, New York.

It was these connections and experiences which led to Sommer getting his first record deal with Capitol Records; and, nearly simultaneously, being cast as the character Woof in the original West Coast production of Hair. It was also his giant afro which was used in the original playbill promoting the play.

Photo credit.

Perhaps most notable is the fact that Sommer played at Woodstock. While making his first album for Capitol, titled The Road to Travel, he befriended Capitol’s Vice President of Rock Music, producer Artie Kornfield. Kornfield was a co-creator of the Woodstock festival and reserved a slot for Sommer to perform. Sommer was the third act to perform on the opening day, after Richie Havens and Sweetwater, and sang ten songs over the span of an hour. When recalling the standing ovation he received after performing Simon & Garfunkel’s “America,” Sommer famously quipped, “Yeah, I got the standing ovation… on their way to the bathrooms!”

The song below is the second track on Sommer’s debut album, The Road to Travel, released in 1968. It was also the lead song performed by Sommer during his set at Woodstock. The music and lyrics were written by Sommer himself, and the track was produced by Artie Kornfield.

album art

Bert Sommer - Jennifer (1968)

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Lyrics:

Jennifer’s heaven, for Jenny I’d stay
Skin shining white as a dove
Lying beside her, I melted away
Into her river of love

Whoa, I’m lost in a maze
Counting the ways that she smiles
Time is slipping away
Lost in the arms of her love
So gentle and wild

Jennifer’s something you handle with care
Fragile as crystals of glass
Jennifer’s lips are as soft as the air
Kissing her here in the grass

Whoa, I’m lost in a maze
Counting the ways that she smiles
Time is slipping away
Lost in the arms of her love
So gentle and wild

Jennifer’s heaven, for Jenny I’d stay
Skin shining white as a dove
Lying beside her, I melted away
Into her river of love
Into her river of love
Into her river of love

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