There’s Great And There’s Uniquely Great

I first heard this in the summer of 1969 but it was released in March of 1967. A few months before Sgt. Pepper. The big songs in March 1967 were Ruby Tuesday, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields, and Happy Together. The Supremes’ Love is Here and Now You’re Gone also made it to #1 and is a better record than any of them but that’s another story.

Denise Fumo of all people introduced me to Heroin. I was 14 and madly in love with Denise but she only liked me as a friend. I was ready for some miserable music. Denise had many older boys in pursuit including the lifeguards, one of whom played it for her, and by the way that’s what I call sophisticated pickup technique. Denise was floored, bought it and played it for me, and thus I learned that there was more to this music thing than I thought.

Anyway, this song is every bit a product of 1967 as the others. And you Sgt. Pepper fans, which sounds more visionary now? Heroin by a mile.

Another thing is that Lou Reed covered the song more times than he could count, and he never came close to playing this song. That’s because of Mo Tucker and John Cale and Sterling Morrison. We used to play it in practice in Fun No Fun and did good things with it but not like this.

One thought on “There’s Great And There’s Uniquely Great

  1. Back in the early 90s I took a trip out to Berkeley with my bride to be, and met up with a friend and drove to Yuma for spring training, and Elizabeth headed back east and I travelled south with our friend Jack to see Bip Roberts homer (!). After a couple of weeks on the road, I drove back into LA, after getting shut down by a sand storm headed into Palm Springs, which wrecked the finish on the car, on the San Bernandino freeway with this tune playing on the radio, as I made my way to LA County Museum of Art to see the huge show of Degenerate Art (so determined by Nazis) that had just opened there. The tar pits, I recall, were particularly sweet that day.

    This song also always reminds me of the guitar I made in third grade as a science project, from a shoe box and taut strings. A lot of the guitar on this sounds like that guitar did.

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