Our Top 10 Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs looks back at a band that were part of that great psychedelic San Francisco music scene that came alive in the mid 1960s. The group was formed in 1965. It would be a couple of years until they released their first album in 1968 entitled Quicksilver Messenger Service. The group would follow up their debut with a live album entitled Happy Trails in 1969. The Happy Trails album would become the band’s only Gold Album of their career. The group would release six more studio albums with their final record being released in 1975. Over the years, an abundance of live albums have been released documenting many of the band’s late 1960’s concerts when they were known as one of the most exciting live bands in rock.
Gary Duncan had reformed Quicksilver Messenger Service in 1986 with no other original members. In the 2000’s Gary Duncan and David Freiberg went back out on the road as Quicksilver Messenger Service one final time and toured until Gary Duncan passed away in 2019. Many of the band’s original or early members such as John Cipollina, Jim Murry, Nicky Hopkins and Dino Valenti had previously passed away. Our Top 10 Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs list looks back at the years between 1968 and 1975.
# 10 – Gypsy Lights
We open up our Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs list with the last single the band ever released. Of course, Quicksilver Messenger Service was not really a band that celebrated hit singles, but who doesn’t want a hit. This one really wasn’t much of a hit, but who cares, it’s a great song. Its a rocking groove oriented piece with amazing vocals, great guitar work and a nice organ solo. Just one of those songs you wanted to roll down the window and cruise off into the sunset listening too. The song was released in 1975 on the album Solid Silver. The LP was viewed as a comeback album as it reunited many of the band’s original members.
# 9 – The Truth
Continuing with our top 10 Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs list we turn to the band’s sixth album titled simply Quicksilver. The album was released in 1971. Many of the bands original members such as John Cipollina, David Freiberg and the legendary Nicky Hopkins had already left the group by the time this album came out. Nonetheless, the album presented fans with some great new Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs. One of our favorites on the record was the track “The Truth.”
Listen to that great guitar work that opens the song. The vocals are killer and Mark Naftalin delivers a smoking organ solo. This one got a lot of airplay on FM album oriented rock radio. A true classic. The song featured Dino Valenti and Gary Duncan on guitars and vocals, Mark Naftalin on keys, Mark Ryan on bass and Greg Elmore on drums and percussion. This one sounds like a mix of Santana and the Classics IV.
# 8 – Who Do You Love
One of the reasons we all loved Quicksilver Messenger Service is how the band covered some simple blues classic songs and turned them into long extended psychedelic jams. In this case of Bo Diddley’s classic “Who Do You Love,” it was an extended jam that lasted an entire album side. This great version took up the entire A side of the Quicksilver Messenger Service album Happy Trails. The record was released in 1969. The recording of “Who Do You Love,” was taken from a live show at the Fillmore East in 1968. The band on the recording included John Cipollina and Gary Duncan on guitar and vocals David Freiberg on bass and Greg Elmore on drums.
# 7 – Dino’s Song
If you ever heard a Quicksilver Messenger Service Song, this is the one that you might recognize. “Dino’s Song,” was released on the album Quicksilver Messenger Service. The LP served as the band’s debut record. It was released in 1968. “Dino’s Song,” was released as a single from the record. It wound up being the band’s second highest charting single of their career peaking at number 68 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1968.
# 6 – Mona
Once again, we turn to another great cover version of a classic rock song. The Quicksilver Messenger Service cover of Buddy Holly’s “Mona,” was released on their Happy Trails album. “Mona,” was a widely covered rock song by Buddy Holly. The Rolling Stones covered it on their first album. Bruce Springsteen played it during his entire 1978 tour. However, Quicksilver Messenger Service’s arrangement of the song was nothing like the original or most other cover versions. Quicksilver Messenger Service laid out their extended psychedelic jam ideas all over this baby.
# 5 – Shady Grove
“Shady Groove,” was the title track to the band’s third album Shady Groove. The album was released in 1969. The band’s sound changed direction a bit on this one because of the addition of legendary keyboardist Nicky Hopkins to the group. You can hear it right away as the song opens up with a fascinating keyboard lick that circles around the striking guitars and then evolves into a great riff that almost sounds like The Who. Such a great tune!
# 4 – Holy Moly
One more track from the great Shady Groove album. The song “Holy Moly,” closed out side B. This one is completely dominated by Nicky Hopkins piano playing which sounds so good on this fabulous track.
# 3 – What About Me?
As we get closer to the end of our Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs list we turn to the title track from the album What About Me? The band’s San Francisco roots are clearly present on this one as they sound like Jefferson Airplane on this one. The album also featured pretty much everyone who played with the group up to that point in time.
# 2 – Pride Of Man
Returning to the band’s debut album at number two on this top 10 Quicksilver Messenger Service songs list, we present the album’s opening track “Pride and Joy.” This is one of the most popular songs in the Quicksilver Messenger Service catalog. At the time of release, the band consisted of John Cipollina and Gary Duncan on guitars and vocals, David Freiberg on bass and strings and Greg Elmore on drums.
# 1 – Fresh Air
We close out our Quicksilver Messenger Service Songs list with the band’s legendary track “Fresh Air.” The song was released on the album Just For Love. The album was released in 1970. The song “Fresh Air,” was released as the album’s single. It turned out to be the band’s most successful commercial single as it reached the number 49 position on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. The guitar solo is simply killer on this one.