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Bob Lind has enjoyed a sizable cult following based on a rather small body of work; he released just four albums between 1966 and 1971 (one a collection of demos never intended for commercial release), and landed just one single in the Top 40, but he's acknowledged as one of the key artists in the '60s folk-rock boom, and over 200 different artists have recorded his songs. Robert Neale Lind was born in Baltimore, Maryland on November 25, 1944. His family moved a great deal when he was young, but as a teenager he settled in Denver, Colorado, and began singing rock & roll and rhythm & blues when he was in eighth grade. In high school, Lind formed a band called the Moonlighters, and while attending Western State University in Gunnison, Colorado, he led a rock group, Bob Lind & the Misfits, specializing in early rock covers. As a new breed of songwriters emerged on the folk music scene in the early '60s, Lind took up songwriting and started playing occasional shows at local coffee houses. He relocated to San Francisco, where he continued writing songs and playing small venues, and in 1965, he headed south to Los Angeles, where he scored an audition with World Pacific Records, a subsidiary of Liberty Records. World Pacific signed Lind to a record contract, and after he landed a publishing deal with Metric Music, he was introduced to producer and arranger Jack Nitzsche, who liked Lind's songs and agreed to work with him. With Nitzsche providing artful backdrops for Lind's emotionally literate songs, the two proved to be an inspired pairing in the studio, and World Pacific had high hopes for Lind's first single, "Cheryl's Goin' Home." However, several disc jockeys began playing the flipside, "Elusive Butterfly," and the song rose to number five on the Billboard Singles charts in 1966.
Lind's debut album, Don't Be Concerned, was released shortly afterwards, which also featured "Elusive Butterfly"'s follow-up, "Remember the Rain" b/w "Truly Julie's Blues," which peaked at number 65 in the United States. A second album, Photographs of Feeling, also produced by Nitzsche, was released by World Pacific by the end of the year, while Verve-Folkways issued an album called The Elusive Bob Lind, which featured early unreleased demos overdubbed with new accompaniment without Lind's input. By Lind's own admission, he developed a powerful taste for alcohol and drugs once "Elusive Butterfly" made him a celebrity, and he became angry and difficult to work with; he severed ties with Nitzsche, and was dropped by World Pacific after a pair of unsuccessful singles. He briefly retired from music and moved to New Mexico, but recorded a new album in 1971 at the behest of Doug Weston, who ran the successful Los Angeles music club The Troubadour. 1971's Since There Were Circles was an accomplished set of folk-infused country-rock, but Capitol Records put little promotional effort behind it, and after it tanked in the marketplace, Lind once again turned his back on the music business.
Lind moved to Florida, gave up drinking and drugs, and began working as a writer, penning novels and screenplays while also contributing to the surreal tabloid the Weekly World News. Meanwhile, other artists continued to cover his songs, and his small body of work earned a following both in America and abroad; Jarvis Cocker paid homage to Lind in the song "Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)" on Pulp's 2001 album We Love Life, and Richard Hawley has cited Lind as a influence. Lind continued to write songs during his time away from the spotlight, and in 2004, he booked a small show at the Luna Star Café in North Miami. The show was well received, and Lind was soon invited by his longtime friend Arlo Guthrie to perform at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Since then, Lind has resumed regular touring, playing clubs in the United States, and theaters and festivals in United Kingdom, while the majority of his back catalog has been reissued on CD. In 2006, Lind released a limited-edition live album from one of his periodic Miami shows, Live at the Luna Star Café, and after collaborating on new recordings with Jamie Hoover of the Spongetones, Lind released a fresh studio album, Finding You Again, in 2012.
Bob Lind (born Robert Neale Lind, November 25, 1942, Baltimore, Maryland) is an American folk music singer-songwriter who helped define the 1960s folk rock movement in America and England. Lind is best known for his transatlantic chart hit single, "Elusive Butterfly", which reached #5 on both the US and UK charts in 1966, but continues to write, record and perform throughout America and Europe.
More than 200 artists - including Cher, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton, Nancy Sinatra, The Four Tops, Richie Havens, Hoyt Axton, The Kingston Trio, Johnny Mathis, and Petula Clark - have recorded songs written by Lind.
In 1965, Lind signed a recording contract with Liberty Records' subsidiary, World Pacific Records, and it was on that label that he recorded "Elusive Butterfly." The single might have done even better on the UK Singles Chart had there not been competition from established Irish recording artist Val Doonican, who released a cover version of the song at the same time. In the end, both versions of "Elusive Butterfly" made #5 in the UK in the spring of 1966. Lind also wrote the cult standard "Cheryl's Goin' Home," which was covered by Adam Faith, The Blues Project, Sonny & Cher, John Otway, The Cascades and others. It was Faith's last British hit.
Plagued by drug and alcohol problems, Lind gained a reputation in the business for being "hard to work with." In 1969, Lind severed ties with World Pacific. Three years later, Capitol Records released Since There Were Circles, an album that was well received by critics but not commercially successful. Lind dropped out of the music industry for a number of years.
In 1988, he moved to Florida. He wrote five novels, an award winning play, and a screeenplay, Refuge, which won the Florida Screenwriters' Competition in 1991.
For eight years he was a staff writer at the satirical supermarket tabloids Weekly World News and Sun.
Lind returned to music in 2004 when, at the urging of his friend Arlo Guthrie, he played The Guthrie Center in Beckett, Mass. Since then Lind has been touring nonstop, playing England, Spain and Canada, as well as L.A., San Francisco, New York, Denver, Miami, Knoxville, Tennessee, Green River, Wyoming, and various cities in New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
Lind established an official website in 2006. That same year, RPM Records re-issued the album Since There Were Circles, and Lind self-released the Live at Luna Star album featuring performances of new material. In 2007, Ace Records (UK) released Elusive Butterfly: The Complete 1966 Jack Nitzsche Sessions.
The British band, Pulp, have a song named after him: "Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)", from their album, We Love Life. A Lind recording, "Cool Summer" was also included on the compilation album, The Trip, compiled by Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey.
In 2009, filmmaker Paul Surratt completed a concert/documentary DVD called Bob Lind: Perspective.
In October 2012, 41 years after the release of his last studio album, Lind issued a CD of new music that some critics hailed as his best work ever: Finding You Again, produced by veteran rock guitarist Jamie Hoover of The Spongetones and released by Ace Records.