Among the top 10 Bob Lind songs, odds are fans are going to identify with “Elusive Butterfly” the most. This was the international hit that put the American folk singer from Baltimore, Maryland, on the map as a global fan favorite. He was among the key influencers during the 1960s and its infamous folk-rock movement that would reshape the music industry as the world knew it. Many songs originally written and recorded by Lind have been covered by many artists, including some of the biggest names in the business.
Born on November 25, 1942, in Baltimore, Bob Lind witnessed his parents’ divorce when he was five years old. After his mother remarried, his stepfather’s career was with the Air Force so this meant extensive travel for a number of years before calling Denver, Colorado their home. While growing up, Lind’s collection of memories made a great landscape to dive into some fantastic songwriting. The musically inclined Lind was attending college in Colorado when the urge to become a folk musician gave him cause to drop the books and take up writing and performing songs instead.
This led to a 1965 recording contract with World Pacific Records. It was in 1965 he recorded “Elusive Butterfly” for the label and it became a big breakthrough hit for the man in the United States and the United Kingdom. At the same time, Ireland’s Val Doonican released a cover version of this song and the two recording artists were competing against each other on the UK Singles Chart. Both versions peaked as high as number five in the UK in 1966.
Another song Lind wrote with the label was “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home.” This popular favorite was covered by several recording artists, including Sonny & Cher. The proficiency of Lind’s songwriting talent won the attention of over two hundred recording artists who covered his musical material. Such artists include Glen Campbell, Eric Clapton, Cher, Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops, Dolly Parton, and the Turtles. As brilliant of a songwriter as Lind was, he had a difficult time with his addiction to alcohol and drugs. He was reputed to be a hard person to work with and by 1969 his run with World Pacific was done. In 1972, Capitol Records released Lind’s album, Since There Were Circles. Although it was favored by critics, it wasn’t as commercially successful as hoped. This resulted in a disappointed Lind opting out of the music industry for an extended period of time.
Writing the Waves
The break from his involvement with the music industry allowed Lind to gain an important victory in his battle against alcoholism and drug abuse. By the summer of 1977, Lind cleaned himself up and has kept away from any form of alcohol and substance abuse since then. In 1978, he was written about as a fictional character named Dinky Summers for a novel named Women. His friend, Charles Bukowski was the author. Writing novels also became Lind’s passion as he wrote five stories, an award-winning play, and a screenplay. Refuge earned him the Florida Screenwriters’ Competition in 1991, three years after he moved to the Sunshine State. Lind also wrote for Sun and Weekly World News, two different tabloid magazines.
It wouldn’t be until 2004 that Lind would make his return to the music industry. He did so after he was encouraged by a friend, Arlo Guthrie, to play at the Guthrie Center in Becket, Massachusetts. Two years later, he began his own website and independently released Live at Lunar Star. Also in 2006, RPM Records released Since There Were Circles as a reissue. In 2007, UK’s Ace Records released Elusive Butterfly: The Complete 1966 Jack Nitzsche Sessions. Adding to Lind’s legacy was the 2001 release of We Love Life, an album produced by the British-based band, Pulp.
The tracklist featured “Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)” as a song the group named after him as a tribute. As for Lind, his return to the music industry wouldn’t see a brand new studio album recorded by him until 2012. Finding You Again was the first time in over forty years since the release of Since There Were Circles. This was followed by the 2016 release of Magellan Was Wrong. Aside from covering Tom Paxton’s “Bottle of Wine,” the folk music material performed by Bob Lind was original. In 2022, Something Worse than Lonely was released as one of his best albums yet.
In 2013, Lind was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, six years before he was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame. Altogether, Bob Lind has eight studio albums and a compilation album to his credit. The first three were released in 1966, starting with Don’t Be Concerned. The second was Photographs of Feeling while the third was The Elusive Bob Lind. The first two were with World Pacific Records while the third was with Verve Folkways Records. All three of these were regarded by critics and fans of folk rock with favor. It was no easy accomplishment as mainstream music focused heavily on Beatlemania and other rock sounds that were so popular at the time. What Lind did with these three albums was open up a wide door for other musicians to burst through with their brand of folk-rock.
This was followed with the 1972 recording of Since There Were Circles with Capitol Records before Bob Lind would take a forty-one-year break from recording. Bob Lind’s true talent was in his songwriting as he treated his brand of folk rock as a delicate piece of art. Thankfully, several recording artists recognized that art as songs worthy of covering for their albums that sometimes kept the folk-rock formula Lind used while others altered the formats according to their own musical styles. One such example comes from the Yardbirds as one of its stars, Keith Leif, performed a psychedelic cover version of “Mr. Zero.”
Top 10 Bob Lind Songs
#10 – Cool Summer
“Cool Summer” was a song of heartache Bob Lind wrote and first performed when he was seventeen years old. Instead of singing about a festive summer season with youthful energy, Lind shared a tale of heartache as a young man sharing bittersweet memories as someone who just lost his love. This was one of Lind’s earliest songs recorded that would be featured on The Elusive Bob Lind album that was released by Verve Folkways Records in 1966. Between 1964 and 1965, Lind strove to win a recording contract by recording and releasing demos, hoping to be noticed.
He was noticed by Legacy Records and its subsidiary, World Pacific Records. However, after “Elusive Butterfly,” the label tried too hard to turn Lind into another Bob Dylan. Songs like “Cool Summer” feature Bob Lind performing a brand of folk-rock music that was his own without having to comply with whatever expectations were made of him by a label that failed to capitalize on his full potential as an artist.
#9 – Bottle of Wine
When Bob Lind released Magellan Was Wrong as an album in 2016, it revealed a tracklist from a man who wasn’t as jovial about life as he was during the 1960s. His version of “Bottle of Wine” took this Tom Paxton and the Fireballs 1968 classic and turned it into a somber number. What made Lind’s version of “Bottle of Wine” stand out over the collection of covers performed by other artists was the lamenting approach he took. It was rare for Bob Lind to cover songs previously recorded by other artists. The beauty behind Lind’s “Bottle of Wine” was it was a song he could personally relate to. Until he became clean and sober in 1977, alcoholism plagued his life and it certainly played a role when it came to his career in the music industry. Perhaps better than anyone, Lind delivered the true meaning behind “Bottle of Wine.”
#8 – Mister Zero
“Mister Zero” was one of the songs written and recorded by Bob Lind that was covered by numerous artists such as Keith Relf from the Yardbirds. It originally came from The Elusive Bob Lind album, a 1966 release by Verve Folkways Records. Relf’s version became a number fifty hit on the UK Singles Chart when he released it as a single in 1966. Lind’s influence as a songwriter wasn’t just limited to “Elusive Butterfly.”
While “Mister Zero” was a folksy gem from Lind, Reif’s version took a psychedelic approach that served as a musical influencer dictating the course of British-based rock that took form during the second half of the 1960s and going into the 1970s. “Mr. Zero” was an easy-listening performance about a man who met a woman who won his heart but it was a short-lived relationship. Feeling helpless and lonely, he had to contend with the reality his love was flying back home while he stayed behind in a world that somewhat felt like a prison.
#7 – Black Knight
1966’s The Elusive Bob Lind featured “Black Knight” as one of the gems recorded by the folk artist who excelled as a songwriter. This song joined the list of Lind’s earliest set of recordings that would be released by Verve Folkways Records the same year World Pacific Records produced his two studio albums, Don’t Be Concerned and Photographs of Feeling. As a songwriter, Lind seemed to pour his heart out as a man who experienced love and heartache at such a profound level. There was a reason why at least two hundred recording artists favored Lind’s musical material enough to record cover versions of their own.
#6 – Truly Julie’s Blues (I’ll Be There)
“Truly Julie’s Blues (I’ll Be There)” was a Cascades 1966 original that was covered the same year by Bob Lind. While with World Pacific Records, the label wanted Lind to become a carbon copy of Bob Dylan. Another cover he performed was Dylan’s classic, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” “Truly Julie’s Blues” was released on the B-side of the record belonging to “Remember the Rain,” the single that was released as a follow-up after “Elusive Butterfly” became a huge hit. While Lind’s version may not stand out as a classic as the one from the Cascades, it’s still a great cover that does the song justice. This was one of the songs belonging to the 1966 release of Don’t Be Concerned, Lind’s debut album with his first record label.
#5 – Drifter’s Sunrise
Originally recorded and released in 1966 by Bob Lind, “Drifter’s Sunrise” came from his album, Don’t Be Concerned. It has since been covered and released as a single in 1967 by The Gants. This was one of many songs from Lind that earned him a loyal fan following as one of the engineering forces behind the influence of folk rock. The inner meaning behind this song was embracing each moment for the short period of time it has. Even at a young age, a reflective Bob Lind knew life was like a highway where everything in front of him offered some great scenery but became a memory as soon as one drove by it. The gentleness of Lind’s voice, along with the acoustic guitar performance that was his musical niche, “Drifter’s Sunrise” is one of those songs to just sit and listen to, perhaps with a cup of morning coffee as you look out the window to watch the sun come up.
#4 – Counting
“Counting” was one of many songs written and recorded by Bob Lind that was covered numerous times by several recording artists. Among the most popular versions, Marianne Faithfull’s 1966 cover from her album, Love In a Mist, approached Lind’s song as a wonderfully romantic number. This love song was full of hope and sweet memories as Lind eagerly shared his patient wait for the love of his life to spend some more quality time with him. From the 1966 release of The Elusive Bob Lind, the strum of his guitar, along with the melodic vocals that went with it featured a young Lind revealing a vulnerable side to him that would later meet with heartache after his big count was over.
#3 – Cheryl’s Goin’ Home
Originally, “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home” was released as a single in 1965 while “Elusive Butterfly” was on the B-side. When this song seemed a bit too slow to win over a fan base, a radio station in Miami flipped the record, and “Elusive Butterfly” became a big hit. However, the appeal of “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home” was enough to inspire recording artists such as the Blues Project and the Cascades to cover it. Both songs were part of the tracklist belonging to Bob Lind’s debut album, Don’t Be Concerned. This was one of many songs Bob Lind performed as he was paired up with Jack Nitzsche as World Pacific Records hoped to mold the singer-songwriter into its version of Bob Dylan.
When “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home” received minimal airplay, it was assumed the song itself would fade into obscurity. As fate had it, there was a fan base that became inspired enough by it to record versions of their own. Sonny and Cher slightly altered the title to “Cher’s Goin’ Home” but it was still the same song. The Cascades, Noel Harrison, and the Hondells all covered this song within a matter of months after it was first heard on the radio. There was also an Italian group named the Rokes who had a version that was titled “Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi.” This became a big hit for them as it sold over a million copies in Italy alone. Lind’s “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home” was written in 1964 while he was staying in a hotel room in San Francisco. The song came to him after waking up from a nightmare of abandonment.
#2 – Remember the Rain
“Remember the Rain” was released in 1966 as a follow-up to “Elusive Butterfly.” It was a minor hit at number sixty-four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at number forty-six on the UK Singles Chart. This one belonged to Bob Lind’s second studio album, Photographs of Feeling. This was among many songs he wrote that shared bittersweet memories of a summer when he was in love.
At such a young age, it appeared as if heartache already gripped the man that gave him cause to pour his heart out in the form of this charming, easy-listening folk song. One of the best covers of “Remember the Rain” came from the Canadian folksy rock group, the Poppy Family as a song from its 1971 album, Poppy Seeds. While this song didn’t become a big hit like its predecessor, it was still Bob Lind at his finest as a songwriting expert who knew how to put together classic fan favorites that could win over an audience even long after it was first released as a single.
#1 – Elusive Butterfly
“Elusive Butterfly” was Bob Lind’s debut single that peaked on the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 at number five. This was a song written in 1964 while he was living in Denver, Colorado, performing at local folk clubs. In 1965, he headed to California and signed up with Richard Bock’s World Pacific Records. “Elusive Butterfly” was sent along with “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home” on the B-side of a record that was received by radio stations across the nation. “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home” was first released as a single but it didn’t win over much of an audience.
When a Miami-based radio station flipped the record to play “Elusive Butterfly,” this was the song that caught on enough to cause Liberty Records to reissue the song as an A-side by January 1966. “Elusive Butterfly” inspired several recording artists to cover this song as well. Aside from Val Doonican’s rival version in the UK that was released at the same time, there was also Jane Morgan’s version that was also released in 1966. Her version became a number nine hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart.
According to Lind, “Elusive Butterfly” was a song about embarking on a quest that find something that is hard to see. It was about the thrill of the search and the determination to find a piece of that special magic so many people yearn to have for themselves. What “Elusive Butterfly” did was ignite fans of folk rock to fully embrace the rise of a genre that inspired so many songwriters and musicians across America and around the world. The strings featured in the song came from Jack Nitsche as he worked with Lind on this and many other recordings the two had together.
“Elusive Butterfly” was one of the first folk-rock songs that would have this string arrangement. There was no other song quite like it and at first, it was assumed “Elusive Butterfly” didn’t have what it took to become a hit. As it turned out, they were wrong. When Florida’s DJ at the time chose to choose this song over “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home,” it won over an audience Liberty Records knew it had to capitalize on. By this time, other listeners with musical talent were quick to have “Elusive Butterfly” covered, including Val Doonican from Ireland. He and Lind both had “Elusive Butterfly” competing against each other on the UK Singles Chart at the same time.
Top 10 Bob Lind Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain Creative Commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.