Tommy James & the Shondells had a great stretch of hits from 1966’s “Hanky Panky” to 1971’s “Draggin The Line” but only 2 #1 hits (Hanky Panky & Crimson and Clover). This is my favorite of them all, along with “Sweet Cherry Wine” and the 1967 “Out of the Blue”. Tommy also wrote “Tighter and Tighter”, a #7 hit for Alive and Kicking and also “Sugar on Sunday” a #22 hit for The Clique, a band out of Beaumont, Texas that also had moderate success with “I’ll Hold Out My Hand”
,When he looks down
On every green field
And every town
All of his children
And every nation
There’ll be peace and good
Crystal blue persuasion
The above is the final verse and I love the final coda in this song. When this came out in 1969 and I was 16, the message of peace and love which resonated with many people, resonated with me. This song can still give me goosebumps, and hope!
Another member of my “druggie” music Hall of Fame. I was at college in Boston when this one was playing on the radio, the album was “Marblehead Messenger” and I thought this group was a local Massachusetts band that was picked up by WRKO &WMEX, but that’s not the case. They are actually a band from California and 2 of the members were also part of the Blues Project with Al Cooper (they did relocate to Marblehead, Mass. after their second LP) The lyrics paint an interesting picture, which I’m sure adds to the mystique portrayed by the drug culture: “Deep in the darkest hour of a very heavy week, Three Earthmen did confront me, and I could hardly speak. They met me in a hurry, they left me tired and sore, And when I’m fit for wishing, I hope they’ll come no more. When I’m wishing, I hope they’ll come no more. Standing by the exit, with one eye on the door, I listened to them argue. I asked them “Why? What for?” They showed me 19 terrors, and each one struck my soul, They threw me 13 questions, each one an endless hole.”
This single reached #49 in 1971 off their Seatrain album, produced by George Martin
My original Facebook post from July 2009:
Back to 70’s “druggie music” ? A one hit wonder from Ashton, Gardner, & Dyke that spent 10 weeks on the Billboard charts in 1971, peaking at #40, another band from England with a devil may care approach to music. If you are a fan of this song, check out this video from youtube, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the Tom Jones version that I didn’t know existed until tonight (not the world’s biggest TJ fan here).
“Put out your tongue
Put your head in the air.
Make a “V” sign
And you just don’t care.
Now you feel free
You gotta loose control.
All Gods children gotta
Little bit of soul.”
As I ‘m posting this in 2017, I’ll add another version with the same intro, I didn’t know this existed til today, but I am an Osmond fan:
Facebook post July 2009
Southwest F.O.B. from Dallas, Texas gave us “Smell of Incense” in October of 1968. Another entry in my druggie music hall of fame ? The surprising thing here is that the vocalist is Dan Seals and the keyboardist is John Coley. Later they would combine as England Dan & John Ford Coley and provide a number of “mellow” hits like “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight”, “Nights Are Forever Without You” and my favorite “It’s Sad To Belong”. Dan Seals had a string of #1 country hits in the mid-eighties, including “Bop”. And one last connection, Dan’s brother Jim Seals was the Seals in Seals & Croft. In 1968, I didn’t care about any of that, “Smell of Incense” was one of my favorite songs with that rolling keyboard melody used as background and between verses.
January 2017 – Still one of my very favorite songs, I did discover that the Southwest F.O.B. “swiped” this from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, here is their version:
It has it’s own psychedelic feel to it with an extended instrumental section in the middle.
For more here’s the link to my podcast featuring Dan Seals
Summer of 1968 – what a great musical time! This is a single from a group from San Francisco called “Fever Tree” It is another of my “druggie music” Hall of Fame – It wasn’t a big hit – peaked at #91 and only hung around on the charts for 6 weeks but definitely fits those psychedelic times. and San Francisco seemed to be the epicenter of the hippie movement, a city immortalized in several songs of the time. (San Franciscan Nights – Animals, (If You’re Going To) San Francisco – Scott McKenzie…)
Fever Tree was originally The Bostwick Vines, they started in Houston, Texas. “San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native)” was their only charting record, off a great LP self titled “Fever Tree”