Jim Sullivan: U.F.O.

I picked this LP up on eBay three years ago after hearing a different version of it during a listening session in the apartment of a San Francisco record dealer. I made note of the artist and label and plugged that info into my eBay “Favorite Searches” list when I got home. A couple weeks later, I received two saved searches e-mails announcing new items found for “Jim Sullivan” and “Century City.” Following the links brought me to a listing for a “rare private ’70 folky outsider” record by Jim Sullivan titled U.F.O. on Monnie records. That, of course, was not the record I was looking for or expecting to see listed, but I went ahead and read the description, hoping that it would aid me some way in my search. It’s a good thing I did, because the seller—sonray66—was musically knowledgeable enough to note in the description that Jim Sullivan’s U.F.O. album contained the same songs as those on his self-titled album on Century City (the record I was looking for). If the seller hadn’t mentioned that, I may have never discovered this gem.

Thinking that it would contain the same exact same music, I spent the next two years looking for the Century City press of the album; but when I finally got a hold of a copy, what I immediately noticed upon hearing it was that the drums, percussion and bass were moved way back in the mix and made quieter, while Sullivan’s vocals and guitar were brought to the forefront—as perhaps they should have been for the more official release.

The differences between most of the songs on the two albums are striking: the Monnie versions sound like lost Axelrod sessions with Earl Palmer on drums and steroids, while the Century City versions are more subdued and in line with how a singer/songwriter/folk album is “supposed to” sound—which I guess is fine for those who don’t particularly enjoy being slapped upside the head by Earl Palmer’s snares, or for those who want to hear the intricacies of Sullivan’s vocals and guitar work instead of percussion. While I can definitely understand and appreciate that point of view, there’s still something magical about the sound achieved on U.F.O.—the way the drums punch holes through the mix of sounds to assert their dominance, turning a standard folk album into something one of a kind.

As for the rarity of U.F.O., from everything I can tell, it is an extremely difficult record to turn up. I’ve been patiently waiting for another copy to show up on eBay—so I can upgrade my VG+ copy—but I have yet to see one listed, and searches for “Jim Sullivan – U.F.O.“still stump google, suggesting that the record is still fairly far under the radar (not for long, I suppose).

Regardless of whether U.F.O. was a “mistake” that needed to be corrected in order to shift the listeners’ attention from the drummer to the main artist, or a masterpiece that was remixed and watered down slightly for the sake of salability, to me, the album is a unique and powerful work of music that has stood up after countless listens and that must be heard, which is why I want to share it with you in its entirety. See below for full album audio and song lyrics, and enjoy the Jim Sullivan U.F.O. experience.




Jim Sullivan – Vocals, Guitar
Earl Palmer – Drums
Don Randi – Keyboards
Jimmy Bond – String Bass
Lyle and Max – Fender Bass
Jimmy Bond – Arrangements and Production
Jerry Dumas and Jim Pewter – Co-Producers
Peter Abbot and Richard – Engineers



And I found a magic man.
I bought a pound of magic and
a kinda dream and plan
where you lay you hand.
I found a magic man.
Where is where it’s at Jerome?
Where is there I want to go?
Where is where it’s at Jerome?
Is it a place out there?
Just a town down there,
if you’re driving slow.
Where is where it’s at Jerome?
If you take your magic slow
maybe you can find Jerome.
Sits on top of a hill
overneath a hole.
If you’re driving slow,
maybe you can find Jerome.
Maybe you can find Jerome.
Maybe you can find Jerome.
Look all around and see if you can spot Jerome.

“Plain As Your Eyes Can See”

I have decided
to part from you as company.
Everything I have is borrowed
and you could give it all to me.
I started thinking
about those voices in the crowd
Words that started with a whisper.
It seems they’ve gotten all too loud.
Yet it finally got to me and so,
it’s doubtful that I’ll ever be
someone that you love.
Plain as your eyes can see.
Read what the signs say.
Fallin rocks are on the road.
The bridge is out you better drive slow.
I guess there’s no place left to go.
Yet it finally got to me and so,
it’s doubtful that I’ll ever be
someone that you love.
Plain as your eyes can see.
Read what the signs say.
Fallin rocks are on the road.
The bridge is out you better drive slow.
I guess there’s no place left to go.
Yet it finally got to me and so,
it’s doubtful that I’ll ever be
someone that you love.
Plain as your eyes can see.

“Roll Back The Time”

Oh the clock on the wall is a fine clock,
chasin the minutes in a climb
And the clock on the wall is a fine clock.
Why can’t I just roll back the time.
Why can’t I just roll back the time?
Sweet Mary I thought you’d been faithful and true.
I guess not.
You gave me the business while I sat there grinnin.
Thanks a lot.
And you have sold me a ticket of tears for a while
A trainload of anger that boils up to danger
in a pile.
And the clock on the wall is a fine clock.
chasin the minutes in a climb
Why can’t I just roll back the time.
Why can’t I just roll back the time?
All I ever wanted from you was some peace of mind,
But clocks don’t tick backwards and you just don’t
run on bein’ kind.
And the clock on the wall is a fine clock.
The clock on the wall is a fine clock.

“Whistle Stop”

Thunder and lightning in my eyes
and when the train began to move
then she waved goodbye
to me and for a while
all the air seemed quite foggy to me.
We had spoken in a way and I knew
That I had known her before
this day echoing inside
memories still unknown to me.
Do you know the feeling?
Can you love someone
you’ve only met a while ago?
It’s just like a lifetime gone.
Who’s that stepping off the train?
And can she hear what I am thinkin?
And maybe if she remembers what I said
About a High, High-Flying Dutchman.
Do you know the feeling?
Can you love someone
you’ve only met a while ago?
It’s just like a lifetime gone.


Calls you by the name of Rosey,
face a shiny bright sunbursting smile.
A pocketful of diamonds for you Rosey
You just stay here with me for a while.
Just one more time will do it, won’t it Rosey?
A pocketful of diamonds and you’re free
And you’ve met a man who loves you Rosey
He got diamonds in his eyes for you to see.
Just those diamonds in his eyes
everytime he looks inside you head,
and he sees a part of you
that you often thought was dead.
Turn and face the man who’s called you Rosey.
Looks like all the others in you file.
Lookin kinda funny ain’t he Rosey.
Pays for everything but not a smile.
Your silly country boy don’t know you Rosey.
If he did I’m sure he wouldn’t mind at all.
Just the diamonds in his eyes for his Rosey.
Put him in your file.
He’d have no dime to call.
Just those diamonds in his eyes
everytime he looks inside you head,
and he sees a part of you
that you often thought was dead
don’t he Rosey.
Just those diamonds in his eyes for you…



There’s a highway
telling me to go where I can.
Such a long way,
I don’t even know where I am.
Such a long way …long long way.
Gonna sit right here where I am
and it’s easier to stay here,
think I know my way here
I’m gonna lay here alright.
Tomorrow I’m gonna hang my feet in a stream,
pretending my world is real, yours a dream.
And no highways …highways.
I’m gonna sit right here where I am.
And it’s easier to stay here.
Think I know my way here.
I’m gonna lay here alright.
Taking time now.
City life ain’t my cup of tea.
And it’s fine how
some take it like gulls do the sea.
Needing highways …highways.
I’m gonna sit right here where I am.
And it’s easier to stay here.
I think I know my way here.
I’m gonna lay here alright.
Gonna sit right here and write a song
every time one comes along
I’m alright …gotta be alright …


Shakin like a leaf on the desert heat,
his daddy’s got a bog that’s hard to beat
Bought me a ticket got a front row seat.
I’m checkin out the show
with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?
Lotta tricks were pulled in a book I read.
Only man I know that got up from the dead.
Lotta people living by the words that he said.
I’m checkin out the show
with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?
Think he’ll ever come again a different way
and maybe he has come and gone while I was away.
Too much goodness is a sin today.
I’m checkin out the show
with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?
There is something happening that isn’t too clear.
Just a little different than in previous years.
I think that happiness is getting very near.
I’m checkin out the show …
with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?

“So Natural”

Standing outside of St. Marks Church
there’s a line.
Waiting as they carried Arthur by
I stood there in a daze.
And I heard the things that they’d say
and the words that they spoke
gave me an awful fright
“He looked so natural tonight.
He had his hair combed just right.”
A more natural pose
I couldn’t bear to see.
And I hope that these people never visit me.
It’s my time to go,
I just want the wind to blow
my ashes till they’re completely out of sight.
And they won’t say that,
“He looked so natural tonight.
He had his hair combed just right.”
It’s my time to go,
I just want the wind to blow
my ashes until they’re completely out of sight…


See the people run and gather.
How something high has caught their eye.
Frightened with the sound of something,
the speaker stands to wave and cry.
Hey says, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Now something dreadful
has occured.
Waste no time to heed my warning.
Little Johnny thinks he is a bird.”
Johnny come down come down from the sky.
Johnny come down you’re flyin too high.
Johnny yells from lofty posture.
Sitting high above the ground,
“I won’t drink your muddy water
you try your best and I won’t come down.”
“‘Cause I can see your picture painted
and true it’s part of life I’m sure.
And that don’t mean I’ve got to like it
and when the air is clean and pure.”
Johnny come down come down from the sky.
Johnny come down you’re flyin too high.
“Johnny tell us tell us will you
just what secret have you found?
Do you really know the answer,
how to sail above the ground?”
“Half is part of all an answer
and it’s better sure than none at all.
And I can’t love no hand that strikes me.
If I shot him down then I’d surely fall.”
Johnny come down come down from the sky.
Johnny come down you’re flyin too high.


Here I am at your back porch door
Will you kindly let me in?
Yes it’s me I’m hangin around
Honey now your Sandman’s back in town
How long since you’ve slept my dear?
Have you waited all this time?
Did you know I wouldn’t let you down?
Honey now your Sandman’s back in town
I’m here honey close your eyes.
Reach your arms out to me.
I have made it after a long ride.
Honey now your Sandman’s back in town
No more hiding from my memory.
I’m here honey dry your eyes.
It’s a pleasure just being around.
Honey now your Sandman’s back in town
I am here honey dry your eyes.
Reach your arms out to me.
I have made it after such a long ride.
Honey now your Sandman’s back in town …


Jim Sullivan: S/T (Century City Records); CCR5000

Thoughts from Jim Sullivan (copied from inside the gatefold of CCR5000):

“Born Aug 13 which makes me a Leo I guess but actually my name is Jim Sullivan, 7th son of a Nebraska farmer that came to the big city during World War II to work in the defense plants.”

“I grew up in a government housing project with a bunch of other Oakies and Arkies (…of all sizes and colors) in a fairly clean pile—“

“I decided that I would like to play music when I would sit and listen to the blues groups practicing around various houses—you could even hear the upright piano in the early electric blues groups…”

“I watched the guitar players studiously and then went home to practice “Oakie-Doakie Stomp” by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown until I had grown callouses on my finger tips and brain.”

“At the same time I was going to college and working (so what?). Anyhow me and another guy bought a bar near the college [and used] that for income. We damn near starved to death.”

“The bar went broke and I went to work with a few different rock groups, the music got louder and louder. A few years of bangin around went by. I decided to move to L.A. and concentrate on writing and here I am…”






Jim Sullivan: “Rosey / Roll Back The Time” 45 (Century City); CCR-1004


  • Ditto Wow!
    Thanks for such a thorough post!
    This was perfect listening for this morning…


  • I seriously don’t know what it is about this record but I have listened to it more than several times now and it continues to grow further and further under my skin. Plain As Your Eyes Can See and U.F.O. are continually playing in my head. Is it the melodies? His smooth but not-quite-professional voice? I don’t know…

    All I know is this thing rocks!

  • I have been friends and bandmates with Jim Sullivan’s nephew for over 15 years. I used to see the gatefold album cover hanging up on my friend’s wall. When I asked him about it, he told me that his Uncle Jim had died when he was 3 years old. All he really had to remember him by was this unusual collection of songs and a story about Jim being abducted by aliens. The last he heard was that Sully had been murdered. This is indeed a strange story and I’d love to hear from anyone who has more information…

  • The best thing I’ve heard in years, what an LP, if anyone has a copy for sale please holler, every track is a winner, thanks for sharing this, it’s made my days brighter and put my weary mind at ease…

  • You’ll probably have to settle for the Century City press – different mix, but still really great. I got mine for $50, but you might be able to get one cheaper on eBay.



  • I got the Century City press for $24 with shipping, happy with that, this LP needs a repress, not a bad track, it’s got me in its grasp and doesn’t appear to be letting go anytime soon!!

  • It’s more than that, it’s total genius…

  • Well, you guys should watch what you wish for.
    Just found a pretty nice copy of the original lp on Monnie.
    It’s now on ebay and here’s the link:


    hope one of you wins it. good luck!!

  • Perfect.

  • Very good s/sw LP, thanks for the generous post. Someone put a lot of $$$ into this recording project…

  • I recently stumbled across your site and downloaded the U.F.O. album. One of the best things I’ve heard in a long while. I found a copy of the Century City release today and there is such a huge difference in the mix. Thank you for posting this album and for writing such a thorough review.

  • reynaldo – the people’s republic of new philadelphia applaud your commitment to the process of cultural inheritance.

  • Any clue as to what year this was recorded?

  • new john, my best guess would be ’69 or ’70.
    I have one more piece of trivia about this guy Jim Sullivan… he’s in a scene from “Easy Rider”, basically playing himself, a singer in a bar band.

  • Came along looking for info on the song U.F.O., didn’t expect this… thanks!

  • Saw Chris Hillman and Herb Petersen last nite at McCabes. They did a Sullivan song-wish I could remeber the name. Not any of the above.

  • There’s another rare album from 1969 by a group called Sunforest titled ‘Sounds Of Sunforest’ which credits a Jim Sullivan as guest on guitar. I don’t know if there is a connection or not, but some of the musician’s on the record were from the states. I think the record was recorded in London. The first track “Overture For The Sun” was later included on the Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” Soundtrack.

  • Ric-just watched Easy Rider and did not see a scene with Jim Sullivan. Is it another movie you are think of? Also, I think the Jim Sullivan credited on the Sunforest lp is a British musician of the same name who also went by Big Jim Sullivan.

  • eye – thanks… That’s a piece of info given to me by Jim’s nephew. I took it to be true, but honestly have not watched the movie since then to look for Jim’s scene. May have to do that now…

  • ric-any chance you have any more info on Jim? would love to know what happened to him and hear more about his abduction. Does his nephew have more info???

    Gotta say thanks to waxidermy for turning me on to one of the finest lps i’ve ever heard…

  • I wish I knew more. My friend’s memories of his uncle were foggy to say the least, he was very young when Jim died. He thinks that his relatives concocted the alien abduction story to hide the ugly truth that Jim had been killed (how this would put a child’s mind at ease, I’m not sure!) The good news is that Jim’s nephew, Josh Steely, has carried the musical torch and is now a successful musician himself. He is currently touring the country as lead guitarist for Daughtry.

  • I FOUND ANOTHER JIM SULLIVAN RECORD. I spent a few months looking for a copy of U.F.O. & happened to stumble upon another self-titled Jim Sullivan record released in 72′ on Playboy Records. It’s a promotional copy, so it may have never actually been released to the public.

    It’s got alternate versions of “Sandman” & “Plain As Your Eyes Can see,” which on this record is called “Plain To See.” There’s also a brief biography on the jacket which says Jim was “A six foot three Nebraska born Irishman, who’s played his 12 string guitar in every beach bar from Acapulco to Big Sur.”

    Anyhow, i’ll try & transfer the vinyl & post some pics of the record, like they’ve done so kindly above with UFO…

  • Thanks very much for digging this one out and sharing it with the world. I would very much like to hear more from Jim Sullivan.

  • I was thinking about my friend Jim Sullivan
    and decided to google his name. I found this
    site and not much more. Jim’s wife Barbara was
    my secretary at Capitol Records (1968-69). I
    tried to get him signed but they thought he was too much like their new artist James Taylor at the time. I left Capitol and played bass for Jim in bars around L.A. for maybe a year on and off. Many years ago I heard that he had dissappeared. I think it was in New Mexico. He was pulled over by a trooper because he was driving funny (swerving). The trooper found that he was just tired and told hime about a motel just up the road. When they looked for him, they found his guitar on the bed and his truck still parked where he put it. But, no Jim. This is the story I was told by a very reliable source a very long time ago. I would like to hear from anyone who might be associated with Jim Sullivan.
    I have some good stories and memories. By the way,
    he was in Easy Rider I was at his house the day after they finished filming.
    John Rankin

  • I’m Jim’s sister in law.(and Josh’s aunt). He was in Easy Rider, the commune scene wearing his “Lions” cowboy hat.
    He was an extrordinary writer and guitarist. He taught me a little guitar when I was in high school.
    After years of having some small successes and seeing some of his music stolen, he became a troubled soul who developed a drinking problem. He did disappear in New Mexico as John Rankin said. I still listen to his alb ums with tears in my eyes.

  • We, his family, have always loved his music and have shared it with whomever would listen, but never on this scale. I think it’s magic, but I may be a bit partial.
    Like my mom, Linda C, I cry to hear him.

    I was just a little girl when he disappeared, and he was my huge larger than life Uncle Sully…

  • I really am happy to see that Jim’s family and friends are still around and keeping his memory alive. Please post any stories you can remember and want to share. Jim Sullivan’s story should be told!

  • I’m Jim Sullivan’s niece. What a surprise to come across this site. He had a beautiful voice and we listened to his album “Sunny Jim” over and over again back in the day. Thank you for sharing the info and making the music available.

  • I absolutely adore this, and hope that should you get a NM copy or E+ or WHATEVER (Earl Palmer version:) then you’ll put it up here – seeing as the chances of me affording to buy the vinyl itself are very slim!
    Great stuff

  • I have the Jim Sullivan Century City Records album. Thank you for your site! I didn’t know anything about him, and was ready to post the album on ebay.

  • great!!!
    is the version on city records still worth picking up? i found it online for not that much….

  • I recently heard a song on a local Bay Area radio station, and it struck me right away. I even pulled over and waited out several songs so I could see who it was. The song was “Rosie.” I found what scant info there was online, and found a way to download the album. I feel like I have found an lost jewel. What an amazing find.Thanks for helping to get this man’s music out there.

  • Highway just blows my mind. What a record. I’ve instantly purchased a copy of it on 45 and the later release on Playboy records. Haunting, melodic beauty that is getting better with every play, and I must have played highway 15 times today already…


  • Wow! Wow! I’ve listened to dozens of lost albums from the 60’s and 70’s this year and this is the absolute best find among the bunch…BY FAR! This is such a great album, and within 10 listens or so it made it into my Top Five albums of all time.
    It’s a damn shame that this LP is so hard to find…I’ve been looking for six months and can’t find a copy anywhere, even on the net.
    Are there really other albums out thereby Jim Sullivan?

  • Great blog, fascinating story. Looks like Light in the Attic records is planning to reissue the U.F.O. album this summer.

  • I am in love with this album.

    He is in the commune scene!
    Holding a guitar, just comes in noodling takes a look around smiling in good spirits, and then leaves.

    I’m pretty hooked.

  • There’s a story about Jim Sullivan in The Guadalupe County Communicator this week. It is the local newspaper in Santa Rosa, NM. This is the last place Jim stayed before he went missing.

  • I have come to understand that I have an unusual family. We are extremely close, and I know that is very special.
    Jim Sullivan was my Uncle. He disappeared when I was 9. It left a painful hole in our family for a very long time.
    It still can make me cry~
    I just wanted to acknowledge Light in the Attic records for trying to bring his music to the masses~
    He was a complex man of great talent~
    Much love and appreciation,
    Chelle L.

  • Jim Sullivan’s disappearance is the subject of the Coast to Coast AM radio program, Nov. 20, 2010.

  • It’s 0025, 11-20-2010, and I’m listening to COAST TO COAST AM with guest host IAN PUNNET, filling in for the vacationing GEORGE NOORY. His guest is AL DOBBS, the topic is the mysterious disappearance of JIM SULLIVAN!!!!

  • My feature article on Jim Sullivan, covering the reissue of the UFO album, an overview of Jim’s personal story, and interview quotes from my talk with Jim’s good friend Al Dobbs, is in the current issue of Shindig! magazine. You can purchase the mag. from their web site, via Amazon, or at a store near you (check the stocklists page on their site).
    Happy to have given some coverage to this outstanding album and remarkable story.

  • there is a review of Jim Sullivan is british music magazine UNCUT Jan 2011. they give the album 5 stars *****, there is a page called unsung heros on Jim Sullivan. Another review on page 76 says “this is a genuine L.A. classic on a par with John Phillips “wolfking of L.A.” & Gene Clarks “No Other” UNCUT 5/5. hope you can get this in the states, the record is being re-issued on CD!

  • We should make an indy movie of this guy. a folk singer disappeared in FL in an unusual occurrence as the gov & police tag it. highstone studios, reddington beach, fl, owner, world renown sculptor & screen writer formerly from Hollywood. rob epstein

  • I just heard about Jim Sullivan on NPR. New Mexico is a favorite vacation desination for my family and me so I turned it up when I heard the state mentioned. I am thankful that I did! The lyrics to UFO are so haunting and compelling….and this is coming from a high school English teacher! They brought to mind the stories of the return of Jesus. Such a fasinating and bittersweet thing that Mr. Sullivan’s music is being rediscovered.

  • The record has been re-issued by Lights In The Attic records. Brilliant album.

  • sullivan’s u.f.o. is a VERY serious record! just purchased it not too long ago (reissue, but hey i got it till i find the original) the music, the lyrics and orchestration all blend together oddly but perfectly.heard there’s a 7′ for rosey on century city which im on the hunt for. but until then…

  • The first time I heard the song U.F.O. by Jim Sullivan I was at a retail store, this was like two months ago and it blew my mind, I am a music fan and therefore I had to know who sang that song with such different style on his voice but also a classic feel to it.

    So I spent these two months trying to figure out what he was singing. Today I found out and I am not disappointed. What a great record! but sad and intriguing story.

  • Bought the Light In The Attic reissue last week. I downloaded it several months ago. U.F.O. is a grower, definitely. At first it sounded just OK, then I forgot it, and after a couple of weeks some songs began to resonate in my head. The rest is history.
    I’m very glad to learn there’s been a growing interest in Sully’s music, and even happier his family still thinks of him. His death will remain a mystery unsolved forever? Hope not.
    LITA made an epic effort reissuing this masterpiece. Two thumbs up. I need more music like this.

  • Greetings from Liverpool England.

    I’ve adored Jim and this record since I first heard the opening bars.

    I tell everyone and anyone about him and I’ve got several friends in to him.

    Thanks for this site, superb.

    Feel free to tweet or follow me my username is m_jones_82

  • Hit my initials if you please to hear my solo studio multitrack attempt
    at a UFO coversion
    Yay Jim! it took a while but we your fans are alive

  • oops that initials-linky thing didnt work above

  • Thanks for the excellent post – this album is one of the best! I’ve only heard the Light In The Attic version but am really keen to hear the Monnie cut (ears perked at Axelrod). I’ve been scanning the page up and down looking for a download link and am not seeing anything. Feeling pretty daft right now. Anyone willing to help a brother out?

  • My wife has been on me about going through the piles of records in our living room that I accumulated over the years. So today I sat and dug through about a dozen of them–one of which included the Century City version of Jim Sullivan’s album. I put it on (started with side 1… Highways..) and was like, hmm, that’s cool, how come I’d never heard of this guy… So I plugged his name into google.. and got lost! I listened to the whole album, read a few stories, and then found my way here. I got the record as a student in college.. it was withdrawn from our library and on its way to the landfill.. I snatched it up on impulse but never listened to it.

    I’d like to “bump” the last post here also ‘cuz I couldn’t find any link either… I must be daft was well.

  • Was there a link to the Monnie version?

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