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Steve Gillette's 1968 Performance at UNC Chapel Hill

by Charly Mann

On March 23, 1968 I had the pleasure to see Steve Gillette, a phenomenal Southern California singer-songwriter, perform at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In spite of not yet releasing his first album Gillette was already a legend in my circle of friends. In 1965 his now classic song Darcy Farrow had appeared on Ian and Sylvia's monumental Early Morning Rain album, and several of his compositions were already staples around campfires and in the sets of several other great folk singers including Gordon Lightfoot. His fame was further cemented in 1967 when he dueted and played guitar with Linda Ronstadt on his song Back on the Street Again. In 1968 it seemed like everyone was covering his songs and Back on the Street Again was a national hit by a group called The Sunshine Company. I, along with most of the crowd around me, was awed by his performance that evening. He proved to be as a good a showman and singer as he was a songwriter. I had always admired a good song no matter what the genre, but to see a composer with such a great voice effortlessly ease through a set of his own songs with good humor made the show a transcendant experience. At the end of his performance the applause seemed to go on forever.

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Comments:

Jeff Phillips      3:03 PM Sun 12/4/2011

Wow! This must be the same Steve Gillette who wrote "Bed of Roses". I have a recording of it by Kenny Rogers, and my sister says it is also done by the Oak Ridge Boys. It is a great song.
 

Phil Davis      2:17 PM Wed 11/30/2011

Was Steve Gillette a member of the band the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt? I recall them doing "Back on the Street Again".
 

Marcie Kaufmann      8:25 AM Tue 11/29/2011

John Denver’s version of DARCY FARROW has been one of my favorite songs for almost forty years. Until today I am embarrassed to admit that I thought the song was written by Denver. Steve, if you read this, I love your song.
 

Nick Karl      8:47 PM Mon 11/28/2011

I think I saw live Gillette before you. It was in New York City in 1967 in a Greenwich Village club I have forgotten the name of. I recall him being good, and always wondered why he didn&#39;t become as popular as Jackson Browne. <br \><br \>I&#39;m glad to hear he is still around and making good music.
 

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Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.

 

 

What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.

-- Charles Kuralt

 

 

Dark Side of the Hill -- Pink Floyd, the creators of the most popular album in history, Dark Side of the Moon, took the second half of their name from Floyd Council, a Chapel Hill native, and great blues singer and guitarist. He once belonged to a group called "The Chapel Hillbillies".

 

 

Check out Charly Mann's other website:
Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies
oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com
http://oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com

 



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There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.

 

 

The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.

 

 

 

 

The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.

 

 

 

 

William Ackland left his art collection and $1.25 million to Duke University in 1940 on the condition that he would be buried in the art museum that the University was to build with his bequest. Duke rejected this condition even though members of the Duke Family are buried in Duke Chapel. What followed was a long and acrimonious legal battle between Ackland relatives who now wanted the inheritance, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina, each attempting to receive the funds. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in 1949 UNC was awarded the money for the museum. Ackland is buried near the museum's entrance. When the museum first opened, in the early sixties, there were rumors that his remains were leaking out of the mausoleum.

 

 

The official name of the Arboretum on the University of North Carolina campus is the Coker Arboretum. It is named after Dr. William Cocker, the University's first botany professor. It occupies a little more than five acres. It was founded in 1903.

 

 

Chapel Hill's main street has always been called Franklin Street. It was named after Benjamin Franklin in the early 1790s.

 

 



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Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill Junior High were on Franklin Street in the same location as University Square until the mid 1960s.

 

 

The Colonial Drug Store at 450 West Franklin Street was owned and operated by John Carswell. It was famous for a fresh-squeezed carbonated orange beverage called a "Big O". In the early 1970s, I managed the Record and Tape Center next door, and must have had over 100 of those drinks. The Colonial Drug Store closed in 1996.

 

 

Sutton's Drugstore, which opened in 1923, has one of the last soda fountains in the South. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Franklin Street that was in operation when I was growing up in the 1950s.

 

 

Future President Gerald Ford lived in Chapel Hill twice. First when he was 24, in 1938, he took a law couse in summer school at UNC. He lived in the Carr Building, which was a law school dormitory. At the same time, Richard Nixon, the man he served under as Vice President, was attending law school at Duke. In 1942, Ford returned to Chapel Hill to attend the U.S. Navy's Pre-Flight School training program. He lived in a rental house on Hidden Hills Drive.

 

 

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