Love is but a song to sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why
Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
[Selected from Get Together, Chet Powers]
Everyone’s familiar with this quintessential 1960s folk song, right? You know, the one that was covered by The Youngbloods (1967) and Kingston Trio (1964)? Sure you do. But, do you know anything about the guy wrote it? He was none other than the legendary Chester “Chet” W. Powers, more commonly known by his stage name Dino Valenti, whom Ben Fong-Torres once dubbed the “Underground Dylan” in a 1969 article in Rolling Stone.
Dino Valenti was an all-American original who was raised, along with his sister, under a carnival tent by free-spirited carnies. Later, Valenti found himself and his music among some of the greatest folk and, later, rock and roll stars around, including Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Hoyt Axton, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, and The Grateful Dead. Valenti was a musical genius and pioneer, and everything that goes along with it, according to his contemporaries.
Want to learn more about singer-songwriter Dino Valenti? Check out these Top 5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Dino Valenti. Sure to surprise you.
Dino Valenti Fact No. 1. The son of two carnival workers or “carnies,” as they were called, Dino Valenti found his calling playing guitar in Greenwich Village coffee houses. In 1963, Valenti moved to North Beach in the San Francisco Bay area. Among the names he took as a performer are Dino Valente, Dino Valenti, Jesse Oris Farrow.
Dino Valenti Fact No. 2. Dino Valenti is best known as the author of The Youngblood’s hit song (Get Together) and as lead singer/songwriter for the 1960’s San Francisco-based rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service. Valenti wrote two of Quicksilver’s most commercially viable hits, Fresh Air and What About Me?
Dino Valenti Fact No. 3. Quicksilver Messenger Service was originally established as an artistic vehicle for Dino Valenti who, shortly after the rock band’s formation, got busted and faced drug charges.
Dino Valenti Fact No. 4. Dino Valenti was best known for his incredibly compelling live performances, original songs and guitar style. He wrote songs and played with several artists and rock and roll bands over the years.
Dino Valenti Fact No. 5. Dino Valenti died in 1984 at the age of 51, but his memory lives on in his music, free spirit and unique place among some of the greatest folk and rock and roll musicians of the day. Several of his tongs, including Get Together, were covered by several rock and roll bands, including The Byrds and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
Dino Valenti (Tribute Website)
Dino Valenti Dies; Rock Singer Was 51
Obituaries, New York Times (November 17, 1984)
Bay Area Bands
Official Website for Quicksilver Messenger Service
Quicksilver Messenger Service Biography
Richie Unterberger. Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers: Overlooked Innovators and Eccentric Visionaries of ’60s Rock. (Miller Freeman Books, 2000)