Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Electric Prunes – "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" (1966)

Then came the dawn
And you were gone

Today’s featured song was written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, the female songwriting duo who wrote most of the songs on the Electric Prunes’ eponymous debut album.

Producer Dave Hassinger reached out to Tucker and Mantz to do the songwriting honors for that album because he thought the band’s original songs were dreck.  

Annette Tucker later said that she and Martz wrote “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” in half an hour.  

Songwriter Annette Tucker
The band recorded the song at Leon Russell’s house.  James Lowe, the lead vocalist for the group, later gave this account of the recording of the song’s introduction by Electric Prunes guitarist Ken Williams, who played a 1958 Gibson Les Paul guitar with a Bigsby vibrato unit:

We were recording on a four-track, and just flipping the tape over and re-recording when we got to the end.  Dave [Hassinger] 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.

Maybe that makes sense if you’re a recording engineer or a guitar player, but I’m neither.  So it’s all Greek to me.

“I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” made it all the way to #11 on the Billboard “Hot 100” in February 1967 — that’s fifty years ago this month, boys and girls.

I don’t know about you, but the song sounds just as crazy today as it did fifty years ago.  It’s surprising that it did as well as it did on the pop charts, but the music that was getting played on the radio in early 1967 was remarkably diverse.

Here’s “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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