Aug 302011
 

With the Nuggets Divisional Playoff Series completed, only 2 songs remain to determine—once and for all—the Best Song on the Original Nuggets Compilation. The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” outlasted a fierce field on Side 1 and then beat The Nazz’s Side 4 winner, “Open My Eyes” to progress to this round. Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction,” won Side 3 before readily dashing the dreams of enthusiastic supporters of Side 2’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” by The Thirteenth Floor Elevators.

Two songs remain. This Friday, September 2, 2011, only one song will be deemed—once and for all—the Best Song on the Original Nuggets Compilation. For the sake of rock history, please make your vote count!

Once and for all: What's the Best Song on the original Nuggets compilation, "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" or "Psychotic Reaction"?

  • "Psychotic Reaction" (Count Five) (66%, 31 Votes)
  • "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" (The Electric Prunes) (34%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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  35 Responses to “Once and For All: “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” and “Psychotic Reaction” Square Off to Determine the Best Song on the Original Nuggets Compilation”

  1. Both songs are great. However, I vote for the Prunes because as good as “Psychotic Reaction” is, it was still largely derivative of other songs and styles. “Too Much to Dream”, on the other hand, was out-of-far-left-field, mind-blowingly original in its time. As I mentioned before, the song was a stunner when it first blasted out over AM radio speakers in December 1966.

  2. I love them both but I give the edge to I Had Too Much To Dream Last night. This is how I expected things to go from the beginning.

  3. saturnismine

    When I was in Jr. High, ca. 1977 / 78, FM radio in Philadelphia was a lot more wide open than it is now. I used to simply tape what was playing on the radio in order to amass a collection of songs to play back later on, because my parents were tight fisted about giving me money to buy rock albums.

    I’ve saved those tapes, and on one of them, from WIOQ, the DJ transitions from “Just What I Needed” to “I Had Too Much to Dream,” to “Is She Really Going Out With Him.”

    Of course, such playlists are unheard of these days, and have been shrinking to the point where those songs are viewed as completely incongruous collectively, and in the case of “Dream,” not part of the canon of what’s permissible to play for casual afternoon-drive listeners.

    In other words, those three songs together may *read* like a list of examples clashing genres now, but as the tape bears out, the transitions sound great, and there’s no reason why those three songs couldn’t be played together.

    I write all of this to note that of those three acts, the Prunes were the least successful, but, predictably to RTH’s lovers of “…Dream”, it was “…Dream” that really stuck with me, turned me into a Nuggets-headed paisley punk in the 80s, and gave me an appreciation for bands like the Rain Parade, Plasticland, the Lyres, and even the Chesterfield Kings (gimmicky!) alongside all of my punk faves like Black Flagg.

    “…Dream” thus put me ahead of the curve when it came to appreciating the psyche leanings of Hüsker Dü (Recurring Dreams on Zen Arcade, e.g.), and post punk pot smoking bands like Sister / Daydream Nation era Sonic Youth, and You’re Living All Over Me era Dinosaur. That was a blend of punk, psyche, and pop that I wanted to hear (and was trying to make) before those albums ever came out.

    “…Dream” was that important for me.

    However, I voted for Pyshcotic Reaction.

    Betcha didn’t see that coming.

    You know why?

    I like listening to it better.

  4. My #1 and #2 songs didn’t make it here but these two are both excellent Nuggets. There isn’t much to separate them, they are both derivative of popular styles at the time, they both charted high about 6 months apart and they both were cool enough to be selected by Lenny Kaye for the original release.

    I’ll take “Psychotic Reaction” on the tiebreaker that the guys in the Count 5 wrote it themselves. A big part of garage for me is the spirit of young, snotty and spotty guys cranking out the aggressive fuzz just because they can. And getting it on the radio and in the charts as a bonus. All in all, a great little moment in Rock n Roll.

    • I never knew until we began conducting this playoff series that the singer for Count Five was an Irish native, did you? I also learned that he died a few years ago, which was too bad, because he was someone I’d hoped we could get a few quotes from, as we did from Jame Lowe and should be receiving from a couple of other participants.

    • saturnismine

      If I was being analytical instead of going visceral, I would probably vote for the Prunes, as my stupid post above suggests.

      But in that case, the fact that the Count 5 wrote “Psychotic Reaction” (and the Prunes didn’t write “Dream”) would be factor that could make it a close call.

      Me and dub-ya. We go with our gut.

  5. machinery

    Voted for Psychotic Reaction — that opening riff and the guitars and drums just smash you over the head. “Too much” sounds too produced and less garage-y.

    I had a great Nuggets compilation in my car for years … and I can’t imagine driving to the Prune’s song. I’m more a Sonics, Seeds guy, and the Count 5 sound raw like that.

  6. cliff sovinsanity

    Last night while running I was listening to the latest edition of Saturday Night Shut-In on my Ipod. When Psychotic Reaction came on I noticed that the beat synched with my half-marathon pace.
    I’m voting for Psychotic Reaction.

  7. I haven’t voted in any of the primaries. Now that we have the 2 standard bearers, I say, well done Hall. Psychotic Reaction has my full support and vote.

  8. tonyola

    Conventional and stoopid is handily beating strange and stoopid at this point. How dull…and conventional. I’m disappointed.

  9. BigSteve

    Yeah I’m disappointed too, but I could see this coming once people started talking about it. Before the voting started, I never would have guessed the one-chord wonder would win it all.

  10. When this started I was fully prepared to go to the mat for “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, but when it came up head to head with Psychotic Reaction, I had to reconsider. I’m pretty old, but I grew up on Psychotic Reaction much more than the Yardbirds. “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” is a little too Prock Psychedelic for the Nuggets Crown. Wasn’t it the sonic Template for the Dukes of Stratosphere’s “25 O’Clock”? Just a little too Strawberry Alarm Clock/Bubble Puppy.

    • saturnismine

      “Just a little too Strawberry Alarm Clock/Bubble Puppy.”

      This ^^^

    • tonyola

      First of all, “Too Much to Dream” predates both Strawberry Alarm Clock and Bubble Puppy. It would be more accurate to say that Strawberry and Bubble are a little too Prunish.

      As for being a sonic template, influencing the Dukes of Stratosphear isn’t such a bad thing, is it?. Besides, Electric Light Orchestra was strongly influenced by the 1967-1968 Beatles. Jeff Lynne has clearly stated as much. Do we hold that against the Beatles, though?

      And what is prock? I’ve seen that term floating around without a clear definition. Progressive rock?

      • I’ll find the links later, if you don’t see them, tonyola, but Prock is a very specific genre that we were working on defining yet never quite defined fully. The research to date is fascinating, I think. We’ll be sure to pick up on it again, probably in the coming weeks.

      • saturnismine

        I don’t think Geo was positing influence in either direction, with his comment, Sir Ola. Nor does there seem to be any indication of a correct or incorrect sense of chronology on Geo’s part.

        I think he was just saying that Too Much to Dream belongs in the same category as Strawberry Alarm Clock / Bubble Puppy material.

        As for its status as the template for 25 o’clock, like you, I see nothing wrong with that.

        But I don’t think that Geo was saying that influence in general (the kind you mention w/ the Beatles and ELO) is a bad thing. He was saying that the Dukes song comes close to being a parody of the genre. I mean, I think he’s saying that TMTD is the kind of thing that people point to when they want to make clichés, Austin Powers style satires, and jokes out of the 60s.

        To him, I suppose, that’s a downgrade.

        Geo, have I put enough words in your mouth?

  11. alexmagic

    When this tournament was announced, these were the two songs I figured would be in the finals and “Psychotic Reaction” was my overwhelming favorite to win it – I was so confident that I withheld commenting on it until now – so I’m neither surprised by how any of this has played out nor disappointed.

    I’ve sung the praises of Too Much To Dream earlier, but I ultimately had to go with The Count Five. I think Psychotic Reaction hits Dream’s levels of greatness but does it in a more simple, direct manner. Basic things that are great: the tone on the opening guitar riff, the drums (I have no idea how ‘technically’ good the drumming is, but man do I love them on this song), the scratchy guitar during the rave up middle, the vocals that get the right sleazy Nuggets sound without being someone doing a Lesser Jagger impression.

    The song also successfully uses two of my favorite rock gimmicks: the song-like-a-train and the gimmick where the band wanders off in a completely different direction, then comes back full stop to where the song started.

    The song-like-a-train approach works by getting the rhythm section to fall in line like they do on the main verse here, and they add to it when bass picks it up for the middle section. And as someone who isn’t a fan of the harmonica, I think hearing it in the “vaguely emulate a train whistle” context is one of its more inoffensive uses.

    As for the wander-and-return bit, I’m just a sucker for it. It usually happens in a longer song where you can really get the listener to think you’ve moved on before finally coming back, as in CCR’s “Ramble Tamble” or The James Gang’s “The Bomber”, so I find it especially impressive that Psychotic Reaction gets the same effect at only around 3 minutes. That rave-up middle basically accomplishes everything that Nugent’s jams on “Journey To The Center Of Your Mind” and “Baby Please Don’t Go” (both songs and performances that I have a lot of love for) do in considerably less time, and when it does slam back into a reprise of the first half of the song again, it suddenly feels like it’s moving at double the speed, though I have no idea if that’s actually the case, and I think maybe the only difference in the second pass through the verse is that the drumming is a little more active.

    In any case, as much as I love Too Much To Dream, I just think Psychotic Reaction does more with less and the end result is the best of what so many bands on the collection were shooting for, just some great, well-performed, scuzzy rock ‘n roll.

  12. Dream is a great song. The Prunes have nothing to be ashamed of by coming in second in this contest.

    This is not dissimilar to when the Devil took on Ralph Macchio in a cutting contest in the movie Crossroads. The Devil performed admirably but hey, it’s Macchio.

  13. I voted for strange and stoopid myself, so I’m with tonyola on the comment about that which he made above.

    Somehow, boiling down Nuggets to its best song, which was a hell of a lot of fun, also managed to shine a harsh light on what was wrong with each of the songs, especially the best ones. That’s hardly a complaint about the game, but I think maybe what it implies is that what’s best about Nuggets is all the songs together, not the greatness of any one or several of them. Each one taken on its own ultimately turns out to show that even the best ones have their crappy elements.

    But I can still listen to the Prunes song after all that, whereas with Psychotic Reaction, I think just hearing it in my head is going to be enough for awhile now.

  14. Just about 18 hours remain in the voting. Please don’t miss out on your chance at determining history.

  15. Less than a half hour left to vote!

 
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