Blood, Sweat & Tears – Spinning Wheel

Blood, Sweat & Tears – Spinning Wheel

‘Spinning Wheel’ is a song from 1968 by the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, written by Canadian lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas and appearing on their self-titled album.

Released as a single in 1969, ‘Spinning Wheel’ peaked at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July of that year, remaining in the runner-up position for three weeks. ‘Spinning Wheel’ was kept out of the No.1 position by both "The Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" by Henry Mancini and "In the Year 2525" by Zager and Evans. In August of that year, the song topped the Billboard Easy Listening chart for two weeks. It was also a crossover hit, reaching No.45 on the US R&B chart.

‘Spinning Wheel’ was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 1970 ceremony, winning in the category Best Instrumental Arrangement. The arranger for the song was the band's saxophonist, Fred Lipsius. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year; the album won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Blood Sweat & Tears

Clayton-Thomas was quoted as describing the song as being "written in an age when psychedelic imagery was all over lyrics ... it was my way of saying, 'Don't get too caught up, because everything comes full circle'." In Clayton-Thomas's 2010 autobiography, Blood, Sweat and Tears, he wrote that the Joni Mitchell song The Circle Game inspired some of the lyrics. They lived across the hall from one another in Yorkville, the bohemian rock music epicenter of Toronto, similar to Greenwich Village in Manhattan at the same time. He said, “I was so completely smitten by her that I borrowed a phrase from her song 'The Circle Game,' the line about 'painted ponies,' and used it in my song 'Spinning Wheel.'”

This song was huge in the summer of 1969, which made Blood, Sweat & Tears a big draw for Woodstock. They were the second-highest paid act at the festival (next to Jimi Hendrix), although in the end it didn't matter, since they weren't paid. "Nobody was paying for tickets," David Clayton-Thomas told us. "There was no money. Jimi got $17,500. We got $15,000. We were the two highest-paid acts. But we didn't get paid. Nobody got paid." Clayton Thomas adds that they were not included in the Woodstock film because they would have been owed a percentage of the box office. "In a way it's a shame, because we were kind of cut out of history," he said.

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Label – Columbia
Songwriter – David Clayton-Thomas
Producer – James William Guercio


[Verse 1]
What goes up must come down
Spinnin' wheel got to go 'round
Talkin' 'bout your troubles it's a cryin' sin
Ride a painted pony let the spinnin' wheel spin
[Verse 2]
You got no money and you got no home
Spinnin' wheel all alone
Talkin' 'bout your troubles and you never learn
Ride a painted pony let the spinnin' wheel turn
Did you find the directing sign on the
Straight and narrow highway
Would you mind a reflecting sign
Just let it shine within your mind
And show you the colors that are real
[Verse 3]
Someone is waiting just for you
Spinnin' wheel, spinnin' true
Drop all your troubles by the riverside
Catch a painted pony on the spinning wheel ride
[Verse 4]
Someone is waiting just for you
Spinnin' wheel, spinnin' true
Drop all your troubles by the riverside
Ride a painted pony let the spinning wheel fly


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