Secret Selector: “I Like What I Like” by Everyday People (1971)
When your band’s name is a reference to a song by Sly & The Family Stone, you’re setting yourself up to a high standard of musical expectations for sensational vibes and electrifying grooves. Needless to say, those are some huge platform shoes to fill.
Luckily for Everyday People, a Canadian band spearheaded by legendary Nova Scotia guitarist and songwriter Bruce Wheaton from 1971-1974, the sole album produced by the short-lived funk rock ensemble housed one particular track that solidified cult status. “I Like What I Like” from the eponymous 1971 Everyday People album was an underground hit which gained steady rotation at dance clubs across North America. Ultimately, this 1971 house rocker single might have shook just enough asses to deem Everyday People worthy of their Family Stone namesake.
“I Like What I Like” begins with a rhythmic 2 minute instrumental build-up that falls somewhere between a dubby funk break and the atmospheric soundscapes used in interludes by radio rock bands of the era such as Zeppelin or the Stones. The dark baroscopic rain clouds of the looming jungle beat intro soon crack wide open to the bright up tempo lights of a full-fledged feel-good pop song that falls into the final four minutes of the track. The vocals on the verse takes flight with the climbing spirit and howling talents of vocalist Pam Marsh, and the homely feel in the chorus could give any staple classic rock hit a run for its money.
The talented roster that once comprised Everyday People collectively sports a musical resume that is as eclectic as it is impressive. Guitarist and vocalist Bruce Wheaton had previously dawned his psychedelic Beatle boots with The Stitch in Tyme in the late 1960’s, and would later go on to form Molly Oliver with fellow Everyday bassist Carson Richards in the 1970’s and 80’s. Alongside Wheaton and Richards was vocalist and keyboardist Pamela Marsh. After Everyday People, Marsh’s vocal talents were greatly utilized as a collaborator with Crowbar, as well as a backup singer on sessions with artists as diverse as April Wine and Rick James. Possibly the biggest curveball from the Everyday People alumni is guitarist Chris Paputts, later known as Chris Hate in the original ’77 Screamin’ Fist lineup of seminal Toronto punk rockers The Viletones.
Everyday People toured extensively during their short tenure, and even appeared on the 1970’s Kenny Rogers variety show titled Rollin’ On The River. Though countless sold out Eastern Canadian dates are undoubtedly impressive, the biggest musical accolade that survived Everyday People’s breakup was the incredibly successful stint enjoyed by the song “I Like What I Like”. Spilling from the wave of enthusiasm in the night club DJ scene, the track eventually found its way into the hands of music directors and record executives. “I Like What I Like” was considered by, and demoed for, many major label recording artists, and was eventually recorded and released by Mama Cass Elliott during her solo departure from the Mamas & the Papas.
Cass Elliott released her live rendition of “I Like What I Like” on her 1973 album Don’t Call Me Mama Anymore. Though Elliott effectively makes the song her own, it is executed with such pop precision that anyone could be convinced the song was written, if not by her, particularly for her affectionately towering delivery.
You can check out some information on Everday People and other Bruce Wheaton projects over on his personal website that charmingly clings to that classic angelfire web aesthetic.