Hazlewood & Sinatra’s Cult Psych Classic: Some Velvet Morning

“To attempt to logically fathom the lyrics of this vague and nonsensical contemporary adult psych ballad without the aid of a powerful psychedelic would be a lost expenditure of time.”

A short time after Lee Hazlewood wrote and produced the massive hit, “These Boots of Made For Walking” for Nancy Sinatra in 1966, the producer and singer continued to record songs together, and released a plethora of tracks as an uncomfortably sexy (the age difference between Sinatra and Hazlewood was strikingly apparent) psychedelic pop musical duo.This eerie emotionally tongue twisting track, Some Velvet Morning was released in 1968, and came no where near the success of “Boots”. Nonetheless, the song is a psychedelic classic that is as mythical and logically off putting as it is darkly sexy and creatively presented.

If “These Boots are Made for Walking” is a pseudo masochistic overture to the inner workings of the heart and the outer consequences of love, then “Some Velvet Morning” is the even darker (if not relationally ominous) side of that moon, as it insinuates the presence of a non physical and romantic spell that forced Hazlewood’s character in the song to allow Sinatra’s character “Phaedra” infiltrate his tripped out, testosterone latent life.

To attempt to logically fathom the lyrics of this vague and nonsensical contemporary adult psych ballad without the aid of a powerful psychedelic would be a lost expenditure of time. There are so many elements to this unique track that contributed to its Billboard chart disappointment and cult success that only deciphering the lyrics and tone of the song too deeply would sully the abstract grandiosity of this ballad.

Compositionally, Hazlewood and Sinatra’s parts are written in two different time signatures. Hazlewood’s solo is in 4/4 and Sinatra’s part is in 3/4. This track is also said to have been recorded live, and was distinctly set apart from other pop songs of the era. A psych rock love ballad about a man on drugs who had an encounter with a mysterious nymph like creature must have been beyond some music listeners,because the song only reached number 26 on the Billboard charts in 1968, but historically, this song set the stage for an era of psychedelic music that continues to make it’s mark on western culture to this day. It has been covered just short of 20 times from 1968-2010, and arguably opened doors for psychedelic rock to hit the pop mainstream, as the only other successful bands who changed time signatures in their music were groups like, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa.

Who would have thought a psychedelic cowboy and a pop princess who had experienced a string of pop failures would come together to make psychedelic history.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s