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Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) by The First Edition

Album: The First EditionReleased: 1968Charted:
  • Written by country music "outlaw" Mickey Newbury as a song about junkies, this was first recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis on a country album in 1967, but he vetoed releasing it as a single. Meanwhile some members of the New Christy Minstrels (including Kenny Rogers) broke away to form their own group to do an elective mix of pop, rock and country songs. The idea was to have four lead singers in the group, each singing 3 songs on the album, which would provide 4 different sounds to choose from. In addition to Rogers, the group's vocalists were Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho.

    The group was produced by Mike Post, who went on to fame as a TV theme song writer, writing the opening music for L.A. Law, Law & Order, Magnum P.I. and many others. In an interview with the Archive of American Television, Post recalls disliking Rogers as a singer, saying, "I didn't know what he brought to the party." When the group needed another song to complete the album, Rogers brought in the Jerry Lee Lewis version of "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," which Post described as "Dope and Roll." They decided to perform it as a psychedelic song, and it became a hit and helped establish Rogers as a star. Said Post, "What became the hit but the last thing in with the guy who I thought was the least talented. Shows what I know."
  • Post gathered some of the top studio musicians in the area, including Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine, to do the backing and used tricks innovated by The Beatles, like phasing and backward mastering, to give the song the trippy feel that was popular at the time.
  • This was released in 1968 to a lukewarm reception, but when the group appeared on the Smothers Brothers show to lip-sync in a psychedelic video, the song shot into the top 10.
  • According to Kenny Rogers, Jimi Hendrix once told him that this was his all-time favorite song.
  • The song can be heard, almost in its entirety, during a psychedelic dream sequence in the Coen Brothers' 1998 film The Big Lebowski.
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Comments: 4

First Edition guitarist Terry Williams recently revealed some of the particulars of the recording session for "Just Dropped In..." in an email sent to this author while I was doing research for a website. Terry said that no members of The First Edition played any of the instruments on the single and that Mike Post used all studio musicians. Concerning the now infamous opening, Post had Glen Campbell do the center section solo first but didn't like it and rejected it. Post then had Mike Deasy have a try at it and liked his solo. He asked Terry to have a go at it since Williams played it live every night. Post like that solo too. So the final cut was a layered combination of Deasy's and Williams' solos, with Deasy adding drones and acoustic psychedelic bits at the end. Almost as an after thought, Post then took Campbell's solo, reversed a small section of it and tacked it onto the beginning of the song, which when performed in concert had just begun with the vocal line "Yeah, yeah, oh yeah, what condition my condition was in..."

Studio musicians used on the single as identified by Terry Williams:
Joe Osborn: bass, Hal Blaine: drums, Terry Williams: guitar, Glen Campbell: guitar, Mike Deasy: guitar/sitar, David Cohen: guitar, vocals: The First Edition
Rob - Florida
On March 10th 1968, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My condition Was In)" by the First Edition peaked at #5 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on February 4th at position #63 and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 4 of those 10 weeks in was on the Top 10)...
Was composed by Mickey Newbury; he also penned "An American Trilogy", which charted twice in 1972, Mr. Newbury took it to #26 and Elvis's live version reached #66 on the Top 100...
R.I.P. Mr. Newbury (1940 - 2002) and to The King (1935 - 1977).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
One of the few songs to be featured nearly in it's entirety in the dream sequence in "The Big Lebowski". One of the funniest moments in movie history features "The Dude" (Jeff Bridges) doing a Busby Berkelely dance rountine with viking maidens in a bowling alley to "Just Dropped In to See What Condition my Condition was In".Coy - Palestine, Tx
As seen in "The Big Lebowski"Zabadak - London, England
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