Do You Know What I Mean – Lee Michaels

Lee Michaels began his career with The Sentinals, a San Luis-based surf group that included drummer Johny Barbata, later of The Turtles, Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship. Michaels joined Barbata in the Strangers, a group led by Joel Scott Hill, before moving to San Francisco. There he joined an early version of The Family Tree, a band led by Bob Segarini.

Michaels began his career with The Sentinals, a San Luis-based surf group that included drummer Johny Barbata, later of The Turtles, Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship. Michaels joined Barbata in the Strangers, a group led by Joel Scott Hill, before moving to San Francisco. There he joined an early version of The Family Tree, a band led by Bob Segarini. In 1967, he signed a contract with A&M Records, releasing his debut, Carnival Of Life, later that year. As a session musician, he played with Jimi Hendrix, among others.

Michaels’ choice of the Hammond organ as his primary instrument was unusual for the time, as was his bare-bones stage and studio accompaniment: usually just a single drummer, most often a musician known as “Frosty” (Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost) member of Sweathog (band) [2] or with Joel Larson of The Grass Roots. This unorthodox approach attracted a following in San Francisco, and some critical notice, but Michaels did not achieve real commercial success until the release of his fifth album (Fifth), which produced a surprise U.S. Top 10 hit, “Do You Know What I Mean,” and a Top 40 follow-up, a cover version of the Motown standard, “Can I Get A Witness”. Michaels recorded two more albums for A&M before signing a contract with Columbia Records in 1973. His Columbia recordings failed to generate much interest, and Michaels went into semi-retirement from the music business by the end of the decade, which was also influenced by his severe hearing loss.

For many years, Michaels owned a chain of restaurants, named “Killer Shrimp”, around Southern California. Apparently, after a trip to New Orleans, Michaels invented a dish that his friends liked enough to urge him to open a restaurant. As of 2008, the last two Killer Shrimp locations have closed and there are no plans to reopen.

Do You Know What I Mean

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Been forty days since I don’t know when
I just saw her with my best friend
Do you know what I mean?
Do you know, know what I mean?

I just saw her yesterday
I just saw her, asked her to stay
Do you know what I mean?
Lord, Do you know what I mean?

Her and Bobby were steppin out
Her and Bobby didn’t know I found out
Do you know what I mean?
Do you know, know what I mean?

So I asked her if she still cared
She didn’t hear me, she just stared
Do you know what I mean?
Lord, Do you know what I mean?

And then she said
Lee you haven’t loved me in nearly four years
You haven’t noticed that I held back my tears
And now you have, but it’s really too late
Better find yourself another girl
Better find another girl
Better find uh, another place

She just left me yesterday
She just left me, had nothing to say
Do you know what I mean?
Oh, do you know what I mean?

She’s a dandy, yes indeed
She’s a dandy, but now she’s free
Do you know what I mean?
Lord, do you know what I mean?

Been forty days since I don’t know when
I just saw her with my best friend
Do you know what I mean?
Lord, do you know what I mean?

I just saw her yesterday
I just saw her, learn how to stay
Do you know what I mean?
Lord, Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, here comes it now..

Hoooo, help.. me

  • Audio from the 1971 album, 5th:


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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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