Wednesday, August 17, 2016

U.K. 60's Pop Psych Classics: "King Midas In Reverse"

THE HOLLIES-King Midas In Reverse/Water On The Brain US Epic 5-10234 1967

It is often said that the commercial "failure" of Graham Nash's opus "King Midas In Reverse" was yet another nail in the lid of the coffin that was his career in The Hollies. I'm not sure I completely buy this as it did make #18 in the U.K. when it was released in September 1967 (Parlophone R 5637) and a more disappointing #51 in the United States in the same month. I guess when you're used to Top Ten placings #18 isn't a reason to jump for joy....

Oft retold rock n roll mythology aside "King Midas In Reverse" is one of the Hollies most ambitious recordings ever attempted. Starting off with just a simple acoustic guitar and Nash's vocals it's eventually joined by Allan Clarke's vocals and then the entire band joins in and it builds and builds to a massive pop psych magnum opus.  Eventually when the second verse comes in there's a full orchestra and horns and by the middle there is a brilliant excursion in pop psych with sawing strings, regal horns and Bobbie Elliott's thundering drums and timpani. The lavish orchestration was scored by Johnny Scott with production by the band's own George Martin, Ron Richards. On the fade out of the mix of the U.S. 45 the horns become phlanged and add an even more trippy effect.

C/o Dig Clarkey's Fab Four stache and Hendrix perm!

The U.S. release omitted "Everything Is Sunshine" on the flip and replaced it with "Water On The Brain" from the band's U.K. LP "Evolution" (which is missing from the altered U.S. issue which substituted "Carrie Anne" for "Leave Me" and did not include "When Your Light's Turned On", which would be utilized as the U.S. flip to "Dear Eloise" two months later). Despite the slightly druggy title, "Water On The Brain" is not as trippy as one would expect with archetype Hollies three part harmony brilliance, some bashing guitar chords, and a tuba solo that always reminds me of "The Munsters Theme" (arranged by our hero Mike Vickers) with some high speed bongo percussion adding to it's frenetic effect.

A few years back Graham Nash resurrected "King Midas In Reverse" on his solo tour with interesting results which you can view below.

Hear "King Midas In Reverse":

Hear "Water On The Brain":

1 comment:

diskojoe said...

I always thought that this song sounds like it should have been on Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom (even the title sounds like something that Elvis C would think up)