Shifters - Friend of Mine (1969)

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With their fourth album “Friend of Mine”, Shifters returned to the rock n’ roll scene after a forced hiatus, due to singer Marcus Slade’s forced military draft and subsequent deployment in the Vietnam War. “Friend of Mine” is considered a fully-fledged anti-war album with every song looking at societal issues and impacts on individuals in relation to the ongoing war. Some songs contain first hands experiences by Slade, which drove significant media attention to his character and became a distinctive voice in the public debate on the war. Upon returning from his deployment, Slade was outspoken about his experiences in the war as well as the racism inherent in the system and his draft. The majority of the songs were written and prepared by guitarist Ronald Terry and bassist Neil Woodward, ready for the return of Slade. However, upon Slade’s return, Woodward and Terry decided to rearrange and rewrite many songs on the basis of Slade’s impactful experiences and insight.

Releasing in March of 1969, three years after “Roundabout” the album was widely anticipated by audiences and critics alike. The high expectations were met, as the record received only positive reviews and was also commercially very successful. The hit “Raining From Above” became an important anthem of the anti-war movement and contemporary counterculture.

“Friend of Mine” positioned Shifters at the top of the 1969 world rock scene along British acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Cream as well as American acts such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin and many more. On August 17th of 1969, Shifters would go on to play at Woodstock at 11 pm until midnight, succeeding The Band and preceding Johnny Winter.

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