Classic Singles #21: Park Avenue Playground – I Know / The Trip (1967)

“You’ll feel the sound pulsating, colors will blind!”

ParkAve_labelStarting out as The U.S. Males in 1965 the band changed their name in 1967 to Park Avenue Playground (named after the playground on Park Avenue in their home town of Lansing, Illinois where the band occasionally used to meet up).

500 copies of their single were pressed for radio distribution. But it caught the attention of Chicago’s USA Records who pasted their label over the generic white one while in negotiations to sign the band that never reached fruition (mainly it seems from parental objections to their sons pursuing a musical career when they should be studying for college).

The a-side ‘I Know’ is a very pleasant psychedelic pop song and no doubt their bid for chart success.

 But the flip-side ‘The Trip’, recorded in an old theatre, is on another level entirely. This isn’t a cover of the well-known Kim Fowley number but an original band composition. And whereas many teen garage bands of the time simply imagined what taking an electric sugar cube would be like, Park Avenue Playground had fully embraced the psychedelic experience and the influence is apparent in the wash of sound effects, fuzz guitar, frenetic keyboards, and mind expanded lyrics.

 Reissues: Sundazed’s excellent double-CD 2131 Michigan Avenue compiles both sides of the single.

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