Song: “Incense and Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock
Reached #1: November 25, 1967 (their first, 1 week)
They took their name as an partial homage to a Beatles hit. The lead singer of their only #1 hit wasn’t a member of the group, but they’ve ridden that single to an off-and-on 45-year career.
That’s the story of the Strawberry Alarm Clock in a few words.
The version of “Incense and Peppermints” we know was the second version. The first, in the band’s previous incarnation as “Thee Sixpence”, featured songwriter John Carter on lead vocals. When the band became “Strawberry Alarm Clock”, reportedly Carter’s idea, producer Frank Slay called in a friend, 16-year-old Greg Munford, who had no further association with the band.
The band fell apart a couple of years after their one big hit due to management issues. After several members left the band, the remaining members of SAC fired their manager – who promptly assembled the departing members into a second version of SAC, and sent them on the road. Once promoters stopped booking either SAC, the band fizzed out.
In 1982, they were reunited by a tricky music club. The club placed an ad in the Los Angeles papers for a Strawberry Alarm Clock gig. At least one former band member went to check out who was playing as SAC – only to find the owners had placed the ad to see if they could lure the real SAC back together. It worked. And the band has been together ever since, doing the oldies circuit.
The song’s connection with Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls has helped the band at times, as they’ve done gigs connected to both the DVD release and the movie’s appearance at Roger Ebert’s annual film festival.
The band is recording an EP for release in 2013.
Tomorrow, one of the most notorious singers of the 21st Century, finally using the word “hit” in the musical, rather than physical, sense…
Other songs that reached #1 on November 25:
1989 – “Blame It On The Rain” “by” Milli Vanilli (their third, 2 weeks)
1995 – “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” by Whitney Houston (her eleventh, 1 week)