Classic Singles #73: The Lyrics – So What!! / They Can’t Hurt Me (1965)

Lyrics_labelSan Diego, California’s The Lyrics have already been mentioned in passing in a previous post, as two members of the band, Michael Allen and Chris Gaylord, ended up in The Magic Mushroom of ‘She’s Gone / Cry Baby’ fame.

‘So What!!’ is an absolutely killer garage stomper with superb wailing harmonica and sneering vocals, both courtesy of Chris Gaylord, who also wrote the song. Chris was a big Rolling Stones fan at the time and that clearly translates to both sides of the 45. The put down lyrics were written about a girl he was seeing who lived in a pleasant house with all the mod cons that was in stark contrast to the small ranch where Chris was staying with his grandmother – “well, I guess there ain’t too much you haven’t got, but all I can say to you about that is – so what!!”.

‘So What!!’

‘They Can’t Hurt Me’, originally called ‘Sticks and Stones’, is another thumping good tune in a similar vein to the a-side. Once more we can thank the songwriting skills of Mr. Gaylord for this one, with the lyrics being inspired by the same girl as the a-side.

‘They Can’t Hurt Me’

The 45 was the band’s debut release and was issued on Hollywood label Era in October 1965. ‘So What!!’ was released again in May 1968 on Feather Records but with a different flip side, ‘Why’d He Go’.

Chris and Michael Allen left the group in 1966 after a disagreement with manager Harlan Peacock, but the rest of The Lyrics carried on without them, playing at The Hullabaloo Club on Sunset Strip and supporting the likes of The Doors and The Yellow Payges.

Both sides of third single ‘Mr. Man / Wait’ are very enjoyable, with a more poppy garage sound – ‘Mr. Man’ with a ripping break and the flip with raga-esque lead guitar. ‘Wake Up To My Voice’ is a neat pop psycher, but ‘My Son / So Glad’ are soulful pop ballads and best avoided unless that is your bag.

Reissues: ‘So What!!’ was first reissued on Pebbles Volume 2 and is also on the Nuggets box set and Essential Pebbles Volume 1. The flip is on Back From The Grave Volume 1 (CD, Volume 2 for vinyl).

  • So What!! / They Can’t Hurt Me (Era, 1965)
  • My Son / So Glad (GNP Crecendo, 1966)
  • Mr. Man / Wait (GNP Crecendo, 1967)
  • Can’t See You Any More / Wake Up to My Voice (Feather, 1968)
  • So What!! / Why’d He Go (Feather, 1968)

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