There’s a reason musical legend Lenny Kaye put The Electric Prunes' debut single ‘I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night’ as the first song you heard on his influential Nuggets compilation of 60s garage music—it sets the scene!
Formed in 1966, The Electric Prunes had a novel approach to being a band, initially deciding to be a recording unit rather than a live performance band. They rehearsed at Leon Russell’s house, discovering their signature sound – reverb-drenched, beautifully chaotic garage/pop. Taking that route also led them on one of the strangest career trips and recorded outputs of the mid to late '60s.
Signed to Reprise Records, they would release one of the most fantastic, fuzzed-out singles of all time, ’I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)’. Written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, this debut single went to #11 on the US Hot 100 charts, and then it was decided that their debut album, The Electric Prunes (1967), would be written by the team of Tucker & Mantz.
The results were anything but a creative stranglehold on the band. Imagine a combination of Headquarters-era The Monkees smashed together with the jazzy elements of De Capo-era Love and just a generous dose of The 13th Floor Elevators screams, and you’ve got quite a record. Guitar effects drip and splatter as they lay into the material with brute force as if they had written it themselves.
With the absence of their producer, the band took advantage of the adults not being in the room and created an incredible follow-up of original material on 1967’s Underground. Here is where the band really leaned heavily into their knack for challenging pop. This album came to define what later gravediggers of the garage genre came to devour: Iggy Pop, The Ramones, and Patti Smith; all took a riff here, an attitude there. And, of course, it bled onto the next wave of sonic maniacs (from the Paisley Underground to the American hardcore scene, to the new-psychedelia of Spacemen 3).
By this point, The Electric Prunes had taken both familiar LA recording artist paths: the first, a pure musical curatorial give-away with their management & label, and the second; the freedom to do what they want. So what to do next? Of course, no one saw their next move coming.
In 1968 they collaborated with classical-trained musician David Axelrod to create Mass in F Minor, a religious-based rock opera that has become one of the era’s most bizarre and hypnotic releases. Sung in Latin with the band hanging onto Axelrod’s ambitious arrangement, you’ve never heard anything like it. It created enough of a cultural mark that the lead track ‘Kyrie Eleison’ was even used in the movie that defined the late ‘60’s generation, Easy Rider.
Praised by musical legend Lenny Kaye in his influential Nuggets compilation (1972), Jackpot is pleased to bring these ear- and mind-burners to your record player in three limited edition Jackpot-exclusive colors, limited to 500 copies each. Standard colors are also available.