THIS COULD BE THE NIGHT by The Modern Folk Quartet.
"This Could Be The Night" is a song that sounds like it should be the happy couple's first dance at the wedding reception... doesn't it? This sort of thing has been on my mind.
In my world, the following is a high compliment: This Could be The Night sounds like something Harry Nilsson would write and something Brian Wilson would love. Which is exactly what it is! A quick history: The Modern Folk Quartet were four guys from Honolulu who moved to L.A. and tried to make it on the scene. It didn't go very well, but right before the group broke up, they hooked up with Phil Spector, who (in addition to having them sing backup on Ebb Tide by the Righteous Brothers) gave them this song to record in 1965. Henry Diltz (the banjo player), picks up the story:
We were recording a single for Phil Spector and we thought finally we were going to make it. Brian Wilson came down and sat in the control room listening to it over and over and over… it was a Harry Nilsson song called "This Could Be The Night." But then we waited that summer for Phil to put it out and he never put it out because he was going through his paranoid stage where he was afraid to put something out for fear it wouldn't be 'number one' and his reputation would fall.
The song never did get put out in time for the Modern Folk Quartet to make it big, but the boys in the band made it pretty well in the music business anyway. Jerry Yester (the keyboard player) played on "Do You Believe in Magic" by the Lovin Spoonful and became a producer (including for a couple of Tim Buckley albums). Chip Douglas (the bassist) played bass with the Turtles and for Gene Clark, and also became a producer (including a bunch of the Monkees' biggest hits). Cyrus Faryar (the guitarist) also played sessions on a lot of great records (one of which we'll hear in a couple of days).
So here is "This Could Be The Night," a Spectorized folk-rock shoulda-been-number-one oldie but goodie.
Photo: Hershey Park swings, 1999.