I remember oh so well the summer of 1966. That was the year that I first started paying attention to music and the radio. Prior to that time, about the only exposure I had to music was my folks watching Lawrence Welk or Sing-A-Long with Mitch Miller. I much preferred Friday Night at the Fights to those fuddy-duddy music shows.
Then, in February 1966, I walked past disc jockey Kirk Wilde, who was on-site at a KPUG remote broadcast in downtown Bellingham. From that point forward, this Bellingham kid listened exclusively to pop and rock music---they were pretty much synonymous with one another at that time. Little did I know, back then, that I would have my own a 30 year career in radio broadcasting.
The summer of 1966 was a hot one. My friend and I would go out to Lake Samish and swim on warm days. The sunshine made me feel like superman....hint, hint.
Before we got in the water, we always made sure that our transistor radio was in a dry spot on the dock and that the music was blaring. KPUG radio always played the hits of the era: The Beatles, The Supremes, The Dave Clark Five, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, etc.
One song I heard often that summer, when I came out of the water for air, was by a British solo artist. Honestly, back then, I never understood what the song was all about. But it certainly implied drug abuse and the psychedelic references were over the head of a 14 year old.
The single was released in the USA in July. It topped the charts for one week in September: That week the Brit knocked the Lovin' Spoonful out of #1 and then, the next week, the Supremes took him down a notch to the #2 position. Little known fact: Ace session guitarist Jimmy Page, later of Led Zeppelin fame, was responsible for the nifty guitar work in the original studio version of this summertime hit.
To see and hear a video of this chart-topper, as recorded by the original artist, you need to change channels on the vintage television set. Lawrence Welk will never forgive you for your disloyalty, but go ahead and click on the play button anyway. Bye, bye Lawrence!