Autumn Records

Autumn Records  was a 1960s San Francisco-based pop record label.  Among the notable acts on its roster was The Beau Brummels, a band who released a pair of top 20 singles, “Laugh, Laugh” and “Just a Little”.  Also on the Autumn Records roster was The Great Society, a short-lived Haight-Ashbury group that recorded the first version of “Somebody to Love”, which became a 1967 hit for Jefferson Airplane.  The label dissolved in 1966.  Tom Donahue, a San Francisco DJ, who worked for KSAN radio, owned the record label.  Donahue invented the genre “underground radio”.  (More from Wikipedia)

Yet another song on Buffy Sainte-Marie’s album It’s My Way!,Cod’ine” – adapted from codeine, a compound often found in cough syrup, but pronounced “co-dyne” – is one of the first songs to deal with the dangers of drug use.  


On the box set Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era is another version of “Cod’ine” by a psychedelic rock band called the Charlatans; they are considered by many critics to be one of the earliest bands to play in what was later called the San Francisco Sound.  Formed in the summer of 1964, the band auditioned for Autumn Records in September 1965 and was later signed by Kama Sutra Records in early 1966.  The Charlatans wanted to release “Cod’ine” as their first single, but Kama Sutra officials vetoed the idea because of its drug connotations, even though the song did not at all promote drug use.  The Charlatans’ version of “Cod’ine” was later used in the soundtrack of the 1999 Hilary Swank film, Boys Don't Cry.   


The Charlatanssecond drummer was Dan Hicks, who later formed the band Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.  In the late 1970’sCharlatans founding member Mike Wilhelm joined the Flamin’ Groovies as their lead guitarist for 6 years. 


(August 2013)


Last edited: March 22, 2021