‘Hair’: 20 covers by pop and rock artists of songs from the musical (WITH VIDEOS)

by JAY LUSTIG
hair songs

The cover of The 5th Dimension’s 1969 album, “The Age of Aquarius.”

“Hair,” the ’60s musical that is now running at the Two River Theater in Red Bank (read review HERE), is notable for a lot of reasons. And one of those reasons is that it had a huge impact on the entire world of popular music, at the time, producing big hits for artists like The 5th Dimension (“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”), Oliver (“Good Morning Starshine”), Three Dog Night (“Easy to Be Hard”) and The Cowsills (“Hair”). Many other pop and rock acts of the day recorded these songs, and others, or sang them live, and the songs have continued to be performed, occasionally, since then.

Here are 20 covers of songs from “Hair,” mostly from the years that the original production was on Broadway (1968-1972), but also from the decades since then.
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A medley of the songs “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In” was a No. 1 hit for The 5th Dimension in 1969.

Here is Diana Ross covering the same “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” medley on a 1969 TV special.

Ross and the Supremes also sang this medley of “Where Do I Go?” and “Good Morning Starshine” at a 1969 concert.

The sibings group The Cowsills had a No. 2 hit with “Hair” in 1969.

“Easy to Be Hard,” with a great lead vocal by Chuck Negron, was a No. 4 hit for Three Dog Night in 1969.

The Scottish rock and blues musician Alex Harvey, who played in the pit band of the original London production of “Hair,” recorded this edgy version of “Donna” for his 1969 album Roman Wall Blues.

“Good Morning Starshine” was a No. 3 hit for Oliver in 1969. Or, to quote him, “Glibby gloop gloopy, nibby nabby noopy, la la la lo lo. Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, li li lo lo.”

The same year, Strawberry Alarm Clock, of “Incense and Peppermints” fame, made No. 87 with a rock version of “Good Morning Starshine.”

Canadian singer-songwriter Serena Ryder recorded this very different version of “Good Morning Starshine” in 2006.

Soul singer Carla Thomas had a No. 86 hit with “Where Do I Go?” in 1968.

Nina Simone recorded a medley of the “Hair” songs “Ain’t Got No” and “I Got Life” for her 1968 album, ‘Nuff Said!

To honor Simone when she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, Lauryn Hill sang her “Ain’t Got No/I Got Life” medley.

Barbra Streisand released “Frank Mills” as a single in 1969.

Here is Liza Minnelli doing “Frank Mills,” on television.

Alt-rock group The Lemonheads recorded “Frank Mills” on their 1992 album It’s a Shame About Ray.

Clara Ward & the Ward Singers gave “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” the full-blown gospel treatment on their 1971 album, Walk a Mile in My Shoes.

Jennifer Warnes recorded “Let the Sunshine In” as a single in 1969, with “Easy to Be Hard” as the B-side.

In 1969, Mort Garson released an entire album of songs from “Hair,” recorded on the recently invented Moog synthesizer. Here is his “Where Do I Go?”

And, of course, the 2005 comedy “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” ends with a goofy all-cast medley of “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In.”

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