Monday, October 11, 2010

The Electric Prunes - "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" - Reprise, 1966

Today I've got something a little different and..psychedelic - The Electric Prunes! Is this band's name aweful or awesome? Too close to call really, although rumor is that it was jokingly suggested as a last minute name idea for their first release "Ain't It Hard"/"Little Olive".  That single flopped.

But the next one, today's 45 "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" was a hit! It remains their highest charting success, reaching 11 in the USA and 49 in the UK.  This tune wasn't penned by the group, but rather the songwriting team of Annette Tucker and lyricist Nancie Mantz.  Apparently the band's producer,  Dave Hassinger, thought they needed some help in the songwriting department and made the connection. The signature reversed guitar lick which opens the songs appears to have been a happy accident of the recording process.  Here's a qoute from singer James Lowe:
"We were recording on a four-track, and just flipping the tape over and re-recording when we got to the end. Dave cued up a tape and didn't hit 'record,' and the playback in the studio was way up: ear-shattering vibrating jet guitar. Ken had been shaking his Bigsby wiggle stick with some fuzztone and tremolo at the end of the tape. Forward it was cool. Backward it was amazing. I ran into the control room and said, 'What was that?' They didn't have the monitors on so they hadn't heard it. I made Dave cut it off and save it for later."
This record was a slow starter when released, but it gradually picked up steam and became the hit that really started the bands career.  "Too Much To Dream" was later covered by Stiv Bators, The Damned, Doro Pesch, Paul Roland and others.
This song was included in the classic "Nuggets" compliation in 1972, allowing it to reach many new fans.  The Nuggets album is just a tremendous collection of mid to late 60's Rock, and you MUST pick it up.  Over the years it's been expanded into a several CD set I believe. Oddly, I was exploring 60's Rock and I found the Nuggets compliation late - after I had already purchased most of the songs individually. At any rate, when I realized this comp existed I just had to have a copy - here's a pic of my copy of the early 70s vinyl release.
The Electric Prunes actually got back together in around 2000, and in 2002 released a new recording titled "Artifact". They're still touring, and I hear they are working on some new material with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins.
And finally, the clip!

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