Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
The old saying goes, "You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."
The song hit the top of the charts, but the guy singing it wasn't in the band, and though Strawberry Alarm Clock wrote most of the music, they've never been credited and have never seen a dime of royalties.
The Strawberry Alarm Clock were Ed King (lead guitar, vocals), Michael Luciano (vocals), Lee Freeman (rhythm guitar, harmonica, vocals), Gary Lovetro (bass), Gene Gunnel (drums) and Steve Rabe (guitar, vocals), who was replaced by Mark Weitz (keyboards, vocals).
While recording the first album, Incense and Peppermints, Weitz and King wrote an instrumental track that was going to be used as a B-side. Producer Frank Slay, who was also the band's publisher, sent the track to one of his clients, John Carter, who had a title, “Incense and Peppermints,” and instructed him to write lyrics to Weitz and King's music.
Mark Weitz and Lee Freeman didn't appreciate Carter showing up to oversee the handling of his lyrics, so they gave lackluster efforts on the lead vocal, then decided to give 16 year old Greg Munford of The Shapes, who was there to sing back up, a shot at the lead vocal, and that's who you hear on the finished record.
Slay planned to credit Carter, his songwriting partner Tim Gilbert (because of a previous contractual obligation) Weitz and King as the writers. But the band's manager, Bill Holmes, insisted that his name be added. Slay refused to list more than four names, so he released it with Carter and Gilbert (who had nothing to do with it) as the songwriters. To this day they are the only people who have received royalties.
When it came time to record the next album, Wake Up...It's Tomorrow, Weitz and King were determined to write a hit. They wrote the words and music to "Tomorrow," and this time they didn't let anyone near it.
Mark Weitz plays a tasty little organ solo and Ed King plays a quick, nasty guitar solo, holding the last note so long, you could hear the guitar practically screaming, "Take that, you bastards!"
King, who co-wrote and played the guitar solo on "Sweet Home Alabama," while he was a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, considers the guitar and bass on "Tomorrow" to be his best work ever.
The song has a crazy ending, rich harmonies, and while it has some psychedelic trappings, it's more straightforward than "Incense and Peppermints" and less of a timepiece. Allmusic called it "very possibly the band's finest moment."
The song hit #23 on the Billboard charts, and if they felt vindicated, they had every right to.
Isn’t that what we’re all waiting for?
Truthfully, how many times have you thought about it?
You'll see, "Tomorrow," things won't be the same.
(Jim Pace is a musician and filmmaker living in NY.)