Classic Singles #77: The Galaxies IV – Don’t Lose Your Mind / Piccadilly Circus (1967)

GalaxiesIV_labelThe Galaxies IV were formed in 1962 by classmates at the Blessed Sacrament Grammar School in Trenton, New Jersey. The band appeared two summers running at the New York World’s Fair held in Flushing Meadow in 1964 and 1965, playing at various pavilions to packed crowds. New York politician Robert Moses even declared a ‘Galaxies IV Day’ at the fair in the summer of 1965, presenting the group with a plaque! The picture below shows The Galaxies IV meeting New Jersey Governor Richard Hughes.

The group also won the First Annual Rock ‘n Roll Olympics in Lambertville, NJ in September 1965, a major battle of the bands event sponsored by the National Tea Council with 400 bands from across the globe competing and Phil Spector as one of the judges. The win lead to an article in the New York Times by novelist James A. Michener and representation by the William Morris Agency who booked the band on the so-called East Coast College Tour, playing at weekends north from New Hampshire and south to Virginia and Maryland.

GalaxiesIV_band‘Piccadilly Circus’ first appeared as the a-side of the band’s second single released on the Mohawk label in August 1966. It is a  re-write of The Rolling Stones’ instrumental ‘2120 South Michigan Avenue’ (the address of Chess Studios in Chicago) that appeared in the US on the 12 x 5 album in 1964. The Galaxies IV add some very neat fuzz guitar work and a great rave-up finish.

‘Piccadilly Circus’ was picked up by RCA Victor for national distribution as the flip to ‘Don’t Lose Your Mind’ in June 1967. The latter is a breathtaking slice of insistent acid punk with spacey sound effects, powerful vocals and harmonies, a trippy lead guitar break, and the last third of the song builds in impressive fashion to a suitably freaked out conclusion. The record picked up airplay but disaster struck when a strike at the pressing plant meant that the 45 was unavailable in stores.

‘Piccadilly Circus’

‘Don’t Lose Your Mind’

The band later morphed into Alexander Rabbit, releasing a couple of singles and the interesting The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Bells Were My Friends) album in 1970 on Mercury. They were booked at Woodstock but their manager cancelled the appearance.

Reissues: ‘Don’t Lose Your Mind’ is on Garage Beat ’66 Volume 4 and Mayhem and Psychosis Volume 1, ‘Piccadilly Circus’ on Garage Beat ’66 Volume 6 and Buzz Buzz Buzzzzzz Volume 1.

Discography
  • Till Then You’ll Cry / Let Me Hear You Say Yeah (Veep, 1965)
  • Piccadilly Circus / I’m Goin’ for Myself (Mohawk, 1966)
  • Don’t Lose Your Mind / Piccadilly Circus (RCA Victor, 1967)
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