Perhaps the most influential compilation album of all time, the original Nuggets album was lovingly assembled by guitarist/author Lenny Kaye in 1972. Collecting some of the greatest psychedelic garage rock onto one collection was no small feat, but the album went on to inspire tons of musicians in the US and the UK. On this episode, we honor the 50th anniversary of this landmark collection with a look back at some of the best tracks by these long-gone, and mostly forgotten, bands.

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We’re back with another edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast network. I’m your host, Brad Page, and if you’re a music lover like me, I’m sure you’ve had this experience before: You hear about a record, maybe someone tells you that you should check it out, or you just keep seeing it referenced in articles or interviews. So you take a chance on it, and it opens up a whole new world of music for you. Well, today on the show, we’re going to take a look at an album that did that for me in a big way. This episode we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the compilation album known as ““Nuggets””, and we’ll be listening to some of the great psychedelic proto-punk garage rock songs from the late ‘60’s.


Lenny Kaye is probably most known for playing guitar in the Patti Smith Group – he played on her first four critically acclaimed albums. He was also a record producer, but before all that, he was a writer and a music journalist. Lenny loved the psychedelic garage rock of the 1960’s, and in 1972, he compiled 27 of the best garage rock singles onto a double album called ““Nuggets””.

The original ““Nuggets”” album was released by Electra Records 50 years ago this month, in October 1972. ““Nuggets”” would go on to become hugely influential, inspiring generations of bands. In the 1980’s, Rhino Records revived the “Nuggets” brand and not only reissued the original “Nuggets” album, they created a whole series of “Nuggets” albums, eventually releasing about 15 albums worth of this stuff. And that’s when I first discovered these records.

In 1998, Rhino collected the best of those songs into a CD box set of over 100 tracks. And we’re going to be listening to a selection of tracks from that box set. Some of these songs are on the original “Nuggets” album, but all of them can be found on that “Nuggets” box set, which I highly recommend.

All of these songs represent a time when kids all across the country, inspired by the Beatles and the Stones and dozens of other bands, went out and bought their own guitars and drums, taught themselves how to play and started bands in their basements or garages, hence the term “garage rock”.

The sound of these records is rough. The performance is even rougher. Any particular skill at your instrument, including vocals, was, uh, a plus, but not required. This was music created in the passion of the moment. It’s about inspiration, not technical skill. As Bill Inglett put it in his liner notes to the box set, “Attitude ruled over aptitude”. Or to paraphrase Lenny Kaye, this is the sound of teenagers yearning to play in a band.

And even though this music was a product of the social norms breaking down at the time free love, psychedelic drugs and all of that, there’s also a certain innocence or naivete to this music that I find charming, as odds that sounds.

So, here’s a baker’s dozen of great tracks from “Nuggets”, starting with Count Five – “Psychotic Reaction”. Originally a surf rock band from San Jose, CA, they were captured by the British Invasion and changed their name to Count Five. They wore vampire-inspired capes on stage. After being rejected by the major record companies, they signed to a small Los Angeles label called Double Shot Records and released “Psychotic Reaction” in June 1966. Singer and guitarist Sean Byrne came up with the song one day in health education class. It became a big part of their live shows with the “rave up” section in the middle, no doubt inspired by The Yardbirds, giving their lead guitarist named Mouse a chance to let loose on his fuzz-tone guitar. The song actually made it to number five on the Billboard Hot 100.


That’s “Psychotic Reaction” by Count Five.

Next up, Michael and the Messengers, “Romeo and Juliet”. The Messengers were originally a high school band from Winona, Minnesota. The bass player reformed the band in college and they released a version of “In the Midnight Hour” on Chicago’s USA Records label. That was enough of a regional hit that the Messengers got picked up by Motown Records, which left the tiny USA label without their hit band. So USA put together their own version of the Messengers. It was actually a band from Leminster, Massachusetts– not far from where I went to high school– called the Del Mars, that USA renamed Michael and The Messengers and recorded this version of “Romeo and Juliet”. Despite the fact that there was nobody named Michael in the band, that didn’t stop them from having a minor hit with this single in 1967.


Michael and the Messengers with “Romeo and Juliet”

Tthis next track is by The Sparkles. It’s called “No Friend of Mine”. The Sparkles were a band from Texas, and their single “No Friend Of Mine” is a perfect specimen of garage rock. Nasty fuzz guitar? Check. That buzzing organ sound? Check. A lead vocal that’s somewhere between spoken word and screaming frustration? Check. it’s a textbook example.


“No Friend Of Mine” by The Sparkles

Let’s check out another track. This one is by the Gollywogs. It’s called “Fight Fire”. Now, a band called the Blue Velvets came out of El Cerrito, CA as far back as 1959. But when they signed to Fantasy Records in 1964, the label changed their name to The Gollywogs. They hated that name. They released a handful of singles, including “Fight Fire” in 1966. A year later, the band would change their name again– this time to Credence Clearwater Revival. That’s right. This is CCR before they were CCR. Let’s have a listen to “Fight Fire”.


The Gollywogs with “Fight Fire”.

Next up is The Rationals with “I Need You”. The Rationals formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan around 1963, signed to a local label and released a bunch of singles that did well in Michigan, but not so much elsewhere. Their version of the Kinks song, “I Need You” released in 1968, one-ups Dave Davies with an even gnarlier guitar sound.


The Rationals and their version of “I Need You”.

Now let’s hear a song by the Sonics called “Psycho”. This is the earliest song of this bunch, released way back in January 1965. But it’s as intense and wild as anything on this list. The Sonics started in Tacoma, WA, and in November ‘64 had a regional hit with a song called “The Witch”, which became the biggest selling local single in the Northwest’s history. They released their first album in 1965 called “Here Are the Sonics”. And it is a seminal piece of garage rock history. Recorded on a two-track recorder with only one microphone for the drums, this album features all their best songs, including this track, “Psycho”. By 1968, the band had split up, but they managed to influence Nirvana, the White Stripes, and are often referred to as the first punk band.


“Psycho” by the Sonics.

Things start to get psychedelic on our next song. It’s The Balloon Farm with “A Question Of Temperature”. Before The Balloon Farm formed, two of the members played in a band called Adam, where every member changed their first name to Adam. Their first and only single was a song called “Eve”. Of course.

When that band split, those two guys formed a new band, and named it The Balloon Farm after a club in New York with the same name. “A Question of Temperature” was their only hit, released in October 1967. Reached 37 on the Billboard chart. But it has everything you want in a psychedelic pop song: A pulsating beat, breathy vocals, fuzz-tone guitar and trippy sound effects. It’s a classic in my book.


“A Question of Temperature” by The Balloon Farm.  One of the members of The Balloon Farm was a guy named Mike Appel, who would later go on to manage Bruce Springsteen. But that’s a story for another podcast.

Next is the DelVettes with “Last Time Around”. The DelVettes were a Chicago band that recorded a handful of singles for the Dunwich label. They released “Last Time Around” in May 1966. It features a killer riff on bass and fuzzed out guitar, with a nice chorus. And it’s another tune that shows the influence of The Yardbirds, with its rave -p style solo right in the middle.


“Last Time Around” by The DelVettes.

Now here’s a song by The Elastic Band called “Spaz”. Straight out of Belmont, CA, came the Elastic Band. Get it? Elastic Band. I can’t tell you anything about this group, except that they released two singles. And this one, “Spaz”, managed to get released by ATCO Records, a legit major label, in 1967. And I don’t know what to say about this song. Just listen to this:


“Spaz” by The Elastic Band.

Now, if there’s any song in this episode that you recognize, it’ll be this one: The Strawberry Alarm Clock with “Incense and Peppermints”. This song actually hit number one on the Billboard charts in 1967, and it’s a lot poppier than most of the tracks we’ve been listening to, but no less psychedelic, with its fuzz-tone guitar and vintage 60’s organ sound.

The band was from Glendale, CA, and originally known as The Sixpence, but changed their name after the song was first released. There’s actually a pretty convoluted history to this song. It started out as an instrumental by band members Mark Weitz and Ed King and initially released as a B-side to a single by The Sixpence. Apparently, most of the band members didn’t like the lyrics, so the lead vocal ended up being sung by a guy who wasn’t even in the band. He was a friend who was just hanging out at the recording session. Weitz and King never got songwriting credits. The credits went to John Carter, who wrote the lyrics, and his partner Tim Gilbert, who actually had nothing to do with the song. Guitarist Ed King would later join the original lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd– About as far away as you could get from the sound of the Strawberry Alarm Clock.


“Incense And Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Next: Love – “7 and 7 Is”.  If the Strawberry Alarm Clock was the most commercially successful of this bunch of songs, the band Love was the most influential. An interracial band at a time when that was rare in rock, fronted by Arthur Lee, singer songwriter, guitarist, keyboard player. Lee had a distinct vision, not like anybody else. Love came from LA, but had a sound miles away from the sunny “California Dreaming” sound. Love was the first rock band signed to Electra Records, and released their first album in early 1966. By the summer, they released a brand new single, “7 and 7 Is”. The song explodes with a pent-up teenage frustration, never lets up on the intensity until a bomb literally goes off at the end. This song has been covered countless times, by everyone from Alice Cooper to Billy Bragg to Rush. Here’s the original:


“7 And 7 Is” by Love.

And here’s The Blues Magoos with “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet”. The Blues Magoos arose from the Bronx in New York, playing around Greenwich Village under various names, before they changed their name to the Blues Magoos in 1966. They released their first album, “Psychedelic Lollipop” in November ‘66, which featured their single, “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet”, one of the most infectious bits of garage rock you’re ever going to find. It actually reached number five on the Billboard charts, featuring a driving bass line, a pseudo sitar-sounding guitar riff, and the sound of the vox continental organ, such a key element to so many garage rock tunes.


“We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet” by the Blues Magoos.

And one last tune: The Remains with “Don’t Look Back”.  The Remains were a Boston band formed in 1964 at Boston University by Barry Tashian, who would eventually end up in Emmy Lou Harris’s band. But at this time, he was freshly back from a trip to Europe, where he was inspired by bands like The Kinks to start his own group back home. They built a following in and around Boston and signed with Epic Records. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and even scored the opening slot on the Beatles final US tour in 1966. But they never broke into the big time. Too bad, too, because they had the chops and the talent to do it, but it just never came together for them. “Don’t Look Back” was their final single, released in August 1966. Should have been a hit.


“Don’t Look Back” by The Remains.

It’s funny… when the original “Nuggets” album came out in 1972, most of these songs were five, six years old at the most, but they were already considered artifacts of another time. Here we are, 50 years later– a lifetime ago. But if you look out there somewhere, you’ll still find bands being inspired by these songs from the first psychedelic era.

These days, that DIY spirit, “I want to do that too”, has moved out of the garage and into the bedroom, with digital technology. Things have shifted to software; towards beats and samples, and away from guitars and amplifiers, which I admit, bums me out. But that’s okay. It’s not like anyone’s confiscating all the guitars.  And the spirit of “Nuggets” is still there. That idea that passion is more important than technical chops, that anyone can make music if they put enough heart and soul into it. And there’s nothing more rock and roll than that.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. You can find all of our previous shows on our website,, as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon… we are everywhere podcasts can be found.

Leave comments or reviews on Podchaser or wherever you listen to the show. And don’t forget to check out the other great shows on the Pantheon network.

We’ll see you again in two weeks with another new episode. Until then, here’s one more nugget– The Knickerbockers with “Lies”.


“See Emily Play” was only Pink Floyd’s 2nd single, but it was a watershed moment in psychedelic rock history. Though Syd Barrett’s body of work was relatively small, he left behind a huge legacy that’s still influencing people today. This song is one of the highlights of his short and tragic career.

“See Emily Play” (Syd Barrett) Copyright 1967 Westminster Music Limited


It’s time to hop on your bike and pedal into interstellar overdrive, because on this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, we are swinging by for a visit with Sid Barrett and Pink Floyd.

I’m your host, Brad Page, and you’re joining me here on the Pantheon Podcast Network, where each show, I pick a favorite song and we explore it together, listening to all the elements that make it a great song. If you’ve been listening to this show, or any of the podcasts on the Pantheon Network, then you know we’ve been on board with Nick Mason and his “Saucer Full of Secrets” tour this year. Nick is, of course, the drummer for Pink Floyd; he’s played on every Pink Floyd album. In fact, he’s the only member of Pink Floyd who’s played on every single Pink Floyd album. There’s a trivia question for you. With his “Saucer Full of Secrets” project, he performs all the early Pink Floyd material. These are the songs that the other guys just don’t play, in particular the Sid Barrett-era stuff. So these concerts, they’re really something special. I just got back from seeing two shows on this tour in Boston, MA, and Providence, Rhode Island, and it was great. It inspired me to dig into one of the songs he’s playing on this tour, one of the earliest Pink Floyd recordings and one of Sid Barrett’s classics– a song called “See Emily Play”.


Nick Mason was born on January 20, 1944 in Birmingham, England, though his family moved to London when he was pretty young. When he was twelve years old, he would spend all night listening to “Rockin’ to Dreamland” on the radio and fell in love with rock and roll. He picked up the drums, and while a student at Regent Street Polytechnic, he met two other budding musicians: Roger Waters and Richard Wright.

Richard Wright was born July 28, 1943. He learned piano and trumpet, and taught himself how to play guitar, and studied at the Eric Gilder School of Music in London. But then he switched to architecture, and that’s how he ended up at the Regent Street School.

George Roger Waters was born September 6, 1943. His father was killed in World War II when Roger was only five years old; his mother moved the family to Cambridge, where he became friends with a young lad named Sid Barrett.

Roger Keith Sid Barrett was born in Cambridge on January 6, 1946. His father, Dr. Barrett, worked at the university and was also a musician, and he encouraged all five of his children to play, but Dr. Barrett died from cancer when Sid was about 15. Around that time, Sid started playing guitar and formed his first band.

Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason began playing together and formed a band called Tea Set. They moved into a house owned by Mike Leonard, and they were joined by another resident of that house, a guitar player named Bob Close. Shortly after that, Sid Barrett would join the band.

So now the band known as Tea Set included Sid Barrett on guitars and vocals, Bob Close on guitar, Rick Wright on keyboards, Roger Waters on bass and Nick Mason on drums. Tea Set recorded a few demos, including a cover of the Slim Harpo song “I’m a King Bee”:


That’s Sid singing the lead vocals on both of those tracks. By the middle of 1965, Bob Close had left, and the remaining four– Barrett, Waters, Wright and Mason– renamed themselves the Pink Floyd Sound. Sid came up with the band name by combining the names of two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Counsel.

The Pink Floyd Sound began playing these events known as “Happenings” in 1966. It was at one of these Happenings that they caught the attention of Peter Jenner. Amongst many things, Jenner had set up a small record company called DNA Productions. One of their productions was a band called AMM, who were avant-garde pioneers. They released an album in 1966 called AMM Music, one of the earliest experimental rock albums.


You can imagine how those sounds would influence a band like Pink Floyd.

Peter Jenner was knocked out by what Pink Floyd was doing, and along with his friend, Andrew King, they signed on as Pink Floyd’s first managers. Jenner and King started getting them bigger and better gigs, including at the legendary UFO or UFO Club, which Pink Floyd played for the first time on December 23, 1966. This is where they began working with a psychedelic light show.

At the UFO Club, they met a producer named Joe Boyd who wanted to sign them to Electra Records. But Electra wasn’t interested. But Joe Boyd did end up producing Pink Floyd’s first single, Arnold Lane.


In February 1967, Pink Floyd finally signed a contract with EMI.  “Arnold Lane” could have been a big hit, but it was banned by the BBC because of its lyrics about a cross-dressing underwear thief.

The next single, “See Emily Play”, would fare a little better. Recorded in May 1967 and released as a single in June, “See Emily Play” was written by Sid Barrett, and features Sid on guitar and lead vocals, Richard Wright on keyboards, Roger Waters on bass and Nick Mason on drums. It was produced by Norman Smith.

Norman was a house producer and engineer at EMI. With a pretty impressive resume including work with the Beatles, he was the perfect choice to capture Pink Floyd’s psychedelic visions on tape.

The song opens with Rick Wright’s Farfisa organ, Roger Waters playing alternating notes an octave apart on his bass, and some trippy sound effects, most likely created by Sid messing around with his Binson Echorec on his guitar sound. Back in the day, the way you created an echo sound on stage or in the studio was to use a mechanical device like a tape loop, or in the case of the Binson Echorec, a magnetic drum. Binson was an Italian company that pioneered the magnetic drum recorder for producing echoes. The Echorec had a record head and four playback heads arranged around a rotating drum. Every echo device– the EchoPlex, the Fender Dimension Four, the Watkins Copycat, Roland Space Echo and the Binson Echorec– Each has a unique sound. The Binson Echorec became an essential element in the Pink Floyd sound. Sid Barrett, Rick Wright and Roger Waters would all use it, as would David Gilmour when he joined the band later that year.

Let’s go back and listen to just Sid’s guitar sound with that Binson Echorec. Rick plays a short organ solo while Roger plays a prominent bass riff pretty forward in the mix.


The intro has been hanging around an A chord, but once the verse begins, it’s going to shift down to a G, which changes the mood a little bit.


So, who is Emily? The character in the song could have been inspired by Emily Young, daughter of Lord Kennet, who was a frequent guest at the UFO club, and she would become a famous sculptor. It could be Anna Murray, a friend of Sid’s, or probably most likely just a product of Sid’s imagination.

Let’s listen to the vocals which are doubled with some backing vocals, probably overdubbed by Sid and Rick.


That brings us to the chorus. It’s a pretty short verse. Notice the little piano fills in the chorus. They have a quick echo effect on them. Once again, that’s the Binson Echorec.


The last line of that chorus is “free games for May, see Emily play”. Earlier that same month, May 1967, Pink Floyd played a special concert in London called “Games for May”. It was billed as “Space Age Relaxation for the climax of spring”. Sid wrote a song especially for the occasion, which he called “Games for May”. That song would quickly evolve into “See Emily Play”. Let’s listen to the vocals for this chorus.


At the end of the chorus, there’s a sound like a rocket or an engine taking off that was created by Sid using a metal slide, or maybe his Zippo lighter, and sliding it up the guitar strings. With plenty of that echo, of course.

Then there’s a short section where the track speeds up for a few bars. So for that part, Rick Wright’s piano, along with a little bit of guitar and drums, were recorded at half speed, so that when the tape was played back at normal speed, the part was twice as fast. So let’s slow that down to get an idea of what that might have sounded like originally:


And here’s how it sounds again after it was speeded up and edited back into the song:


The more subtle but interesting thing is the way Nick Mason’s drum beat shifts between regular time and double time throughout the whole song. Let’s hear his drums during that verse.


And that verse leads us to the second chorus. So let’s let that play through.


Let’s go back and listen to the backing tracks for this chorus. Listen specifically for the sharp, staccato chords that Sid is playing on his guitar, and to that piano with the echo effect. That chorus ends with a blast of fuzz-tone guitar. And then we’re into the solo section. Rick Wright takes the lead on keyboards, but Sid is doing some fun stuff in the background on his guitar.


Let’s see if we can hear more of Sid’s guitar at the end there. Again, he’s using some kind of a metal slide, probably his Zippo lighter, high up the strings with that Binson echo to create those chirping sounds.

That brings us to the final verse. Sounds to me like there might be some timpani drums overdubbed at the beginning of the verse. Let’s listen to that verse.


I’d like to hear those vocals at the end again. Here’s the last chorus.


And let’s go back and listen to those harmony vocals.


And rather than a big finale at the end, the song fades out on a two-note phrase played on the bass by Roger Waters, leaving the song somewhat unresolved at the end.

“See Emily Play” by Pink Floyd.

The song was released as a single on June 16, 1967 in the UK; I don’t think it was released in the US. Pink Floyd’s first album, “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, was released two months later. This song is not on the UK version of the album, but the record company did stick it on the American version for the US market. The song has also been included on numerous compilation albums, and it’s on the deluxe 3-CD reissue of “Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, which I highly recommend. And that’s the version that I used here, which is in mono, by the way. With all those psychedelic effects, you don’t even notice that it’s not in stereo.

I got to thank Nick Mason for working with Pantheon on the tour. I know all of the podcasts that participated were really grateful for the opportunity to go and see the shows, and to talk to Nick and the guys in the band.

We’ll be back in two weeks with another new episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song podcast. I’m especially looking forward to the next episode, as it’s a fun one and a great follow-on from this episode.

You can find all of our previous shows on our website,, or just look for them in your favorite podcast player. You can leave a review on or share your thoughts and feedback with us on our Facebook page– just look for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on Facebook and you’ll find us.

Remember, if you care about an artist, support them by going to their shows and buying their music. And if you want to support this show, the best thing you can do is to tell your friends about it, because your word of mouth is the best advertising we could ever have.

Thanks for listening to this episode on Pink Floyd and “See Emily Play”.


Before you move on, I just wanted to make a couple of recommendations: If you enjoyed this episode, you should check out a few of our other shows. We’ve done multiple episodes on the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and The Who. We’ve discussed songs by Todd Rungren, Yes, Aerosmith, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin and Queen. We’ve done deep dives into songs by Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Stevie Wonder. And of course, we’ve discussed John Lennon, George Harrison and a few McCartney songs. So there’s plenty of other shows for you– I hope you give them a listen. Thank you for being a part of the “I’m in Love With That Song” podcast.

Music was expanding in all directions in the 1960’s; one of my favorite genres is the psychedelic/garage rock from that era.  Few songs capture the sound & the spirit of that style as “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” by The Electric Prunes.  Take a trip with me back to those halcyon days with one of the flagship songs from the psychedelic period.  

“I Had Too Much To Dream” (Annette Tucker & Nancie Mantz) Copyright 1966 4-Star Music; copyright 2004 Acuff Rose Music Limited

— This show is one of many great music-related podcasts on the Pantheon network. Give ’em a listen! And remember to follow this show, so you never miss an episode. 

“Rain” was the first glimpse of The Beatles exploration of psychedelia. Perhaps more than any other Beatles track, this song highlights the rhythm section with brilliant performances by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Add Lennon’s lyrics and great vocals, and you’ve got one of the best songs to come out of the trippy, mind-expanding ’60’s. On this episode, we take a closer look at the individual performances and studio trickery– backwards, forwards, sped up & slowed down– that went into this classic track. 

“Rain” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) Copyright 1966 Northern Songs

The Zombies only released 2 albums during their prime, so how did they get into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?  Because one of those albums is a bona fide classic: Odessey and Oracle is widely considered to be one of the greatest albums of the ’60’s, holding its own against classics by The Beatles, the Stones, Velvet Underground, The Who… by virtually any measure, it’s an iconic album.  And it was a complete flop when it was first released, along with its first single, “Care Of Cell 44”.  But over time, it’s been recognized as a true masterpiece.  Let’s give The Zombies their due and take a deep dive into their orchestral pop magnum opus, “Care Of Cell 44.”

Here’s a link to the article I mention in the podcast:

It’s definitely worth checking out!

The Zombies – “Care Of Cell 44” (Rod Argent) Copyright 1967 Verulam Music Company Limited