Friday 5 November 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 79 (Top Five): Early Examples Of Psychedelia 1965-66

Hmm, so psychedelia – that must mean the ‘summer of love’, right? All Monterey Pop, Sgt Peppers and Magical Mystery Tours? Well, not necessarily. Whilst 1967 will always be heralded as the heyday of all things psychedelic, movements don’t just suddenly erupt out of nowhere overnight. So this week we’re looking at the pioneering songs that set the tone early on, back when flowers were things that you found only in gardens and when hippies were still the things that connected your leggies together. And we come up with some very surprising finds about who the earliest ground-breaking flower powery artists were...

5) The Who “Circles” (AKA “Instant Party”) (First released under the former name as the b-side to single ‘Substitute’ 2/1966): Noisy psychedelia doesn’t come any better than this disorientating track about how the narrator is trapped between needing his love in his life and falling out with her big time. Circles play a big part in 1967-68’s music (The Small Faces had green ones, George Harrison had colliding ones, The Monkees saw one in the sky), partly because they were the most interesting looking shapes used in the ‘acid light shows’ of the psychedelia set (Pink Floyd, et al) and possibly partly because of the idea of everything being possible to the youngsters of 1967 reinventing ‘the wheel’ and claiming the shape for their own. Or perhaps they just thought it looked groovy! Anyway, this song’s music suit its psychedelia-ish words, featuring a droning backing similar in style to eastern ragas and a drenched-in-feedback disorientating sound that was still deeply unusual in those early months of 1966. It took a cover version by one-hit wonder Fleur De Leys to fully exploit this song’s psychedelic sound, however, one well worth seeking out by curious Who fans even if it can’t match the sheer oomph of this original. The fact that this fine song was relegated by The Who to a B-side (and one with a very troubled history when their old producer, Shel Talmy, used it as the scapegoat for this publishing dispute with the band and re-issued his own mix of the song on the back of the A-side ‘Substitute’, renaming it ‘Instant Party!’ against the band’s wishes) shows just how great Pete Townshend’s songwriting was back in 1966 – and needed to be, too, given how many great psychedelia classics are waiting just around the corner...

4) The Beatles “The Word” (First released on the album ‘Rubber Soul’ 12/1965): The word, for those who don’t know, is love. Unusually for this list it’s ‘The Word’s lyrics rather than its melody or production values that set it out as being an early example of psychedelia. And what a psychedelic bunch of words they are too: a slight tongue-in-cheek spoof of gospel, this song is all about ‘spreading the word’ of love so that humanity can delight in its togetherness. A rare example of the Lennon/McCartney partnership in full flow (it’s arguably the last 50/50 track until late 1967’s B-side ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’) the pair celebrated their new found song by writing out this song’s lyrics in brightly coloured crayons – very psychedelic! (The lyric sheet was later given away by Lennon for charity). Musically, this track is very much in keeping with the fab four’s increasingly more sophisticated-sounding pop of 1965 and is played by their usual line-up of instruments, despite the fact that the Beatles had already single-handedly invented most of the sounds of 1967 (feedback on ‘I Feel Fine’, long guitar solos and tape loops).    

3) The Beach Boys “The Little Girl I Once Knew” (First released as a single 11/1965): It may have been the Beach Boys’ biggest flop since 1962, but this little known single arguably paves more of a way towards the ‘Pet Sounds’/’Smile’ recordings the band will go on to be most famous for than any of their better known material. Lyrically, it’s not that different to earlier Beach Boys records, albeit still light years ahead of most songs from the mid-60s – the narrator’s girl has changed since they started dating, growing more mature with every passing day while he wants to stay as a teenager and its causing a big rift between them (it’s a logical extension of Brian Wilson’s jaw-dropping 1964 song about aging ‘(When I Grow Up) To Be A Man’). This forever-changing personality is  a key part of the song, though, transforming herself with such regularity that the narrator is left gasping for breath the second time he ever sees her, after ignoring her the first. Musically, though, it’s the start of a whole new species of songs, the sort that are out to confuse the listener and take them somewhere else rather than merely enforce or reflect what they feel, complete with sudden jolting full stops (part of the reason why this single sold so badly was that radio DJs objected to this song’s few seconds of dead air) and it’s lurching switch between jolly nursery rhyme singalong chorus and verses of desperate grief. Very psychedelic, in other words, and an obvious stepping stone towards the sounds of 1966-68, even though it is yet again all played on conventional instruments.

2) The Kinks “See My Friends” (First released as a single 30/7/1965): Ray Davies was inspired to write this beautiful single after The Kinks played a rare show in India and the elder Kink brother was inspired by the sitar sounds he’d never heard in close proximity before (the same time George Harrison came across the instrument while filming ‘Help!’ , although his experiments with the instrument won’t make it to disc until December that year). This Kinks single doesn’t actually feature any unusual instrumentation outside the two guitar-bass-drums set up, but its droning one-note vibe is clearly inspired by Eastern music and its haiku-like lyric phrases are much closer to summer of love gobbledegook than 1965’s folk-rock boom. The subject matter – betrayal and jealousy – aren’t exactly perennial psychedelic themes but no matter, this song is still clearly

1) The Searchers “He’s Got No Love” (First released as a single 16/7/1965): Bet you didn’t see that coming! But as far as our research goes, the earliest example of the sort of spaced-out, groundbreakingly freeform and other-worldly sounds goes to The Beatles’ baby brothers who have for too long been forgotten for their pioneering work. The band never got much chance to show off their stuff in the ‘summer of love’ when they were at their most unhip, which is a terrible shame given how much this band grows between late 64 and early 66. This flop single ‘He’s Got No Love’ – released at the same time as ‘Help!’ and ‘My Generation’  - sounds much closer in spirit to 1967 than 1965 with its world-weary vocals, smothered production sound and feedback-filled chiming Rickenbacker guitars. The sound of this song also fits nicely with the theme of isolation and despair –not a traditional psychedelia subject, perhaps, but there are lots of examples of it out there on later, much better known summer of love songs. Above all, this song ticks the boxes of sounding other-worldly, transcendental and downright different compared to everything else around at the time. Ha, bet The Spice Girls don’t even know what psychedelia is (or how to spell it!) – hmm, I’ve just got an image of hearing the new Spice Girls reunion single ‘I wanna huh with flowers on’...
A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
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2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

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227) Top ten AAA drummers

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229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

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232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

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236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

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