Simon Says

Album: Simon Says (1968)
Charted: 2 4
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  • Simon Says is a popular game played by children where whoever has the role of "Simon" commands the other players to perform specific actions, which must only be followed if preceded by the phrase "Simon Says." This song is based on the game.
  • Jeff Katz and Jerry Kasenetz managed the 1910 Fruitgum Company and guided them into one of the most successful Bubblegum acts of the '60s. This was the first hit for the group, and it established a theme of songs based on children's games. The song was written by Elliot Chiprut, who Katz and Kasenetz brought in. Floyd Marcus, who is the drummer for the 1910 Fruitgum Company, told us: "At the time their business plan was to focus on this neglected age group and market records and songs to that age group. So Elliott was just one of the people they happened to bring in. We did write our own tunes. We did get enough of our tunes on the albums. Actually, I wrote the song 'Keep Your Thoughts On The Bright Side,' and Jeff and Jerry had proposed that to Neil Bogart as their second release. But the record company had a plan for us. They wanted to stick with the game genre, they liked that. So the next release was 'May I Take A Giant Step.'" (Here's the full Floyd Marcus interview.)
  • Floyd Marcus talks about how this song came together: "When it was presented to us, it was presented almost like "The Calypso Song," believe it or not. And we thought what the heck is this? You know, 'Simon Says.' And we were kind of goofing around with it in the studio at the time. Frank (Jeckell) and I both remember it differently, but somehow one of us kind of said, 'Let's do it like 'Wooly Bully.' And we wound up counting it off and doing that whole intro to 'Wooly Bully,' 'it's time to play Simon Says,' and over the talkback speakers they scream, 'That's it, that's it, they love the idea.' So we went on and recorded that day."
  • At the time, the term "Bubblegum Music" didn't exist. Floyd Marcus told us: "There wasn't really a genre at that time. I guess it partially came as a rebellion against the music. There was so much social commentary in music back then, there was a lot of sexual innuendo. But I think a lot of it was that there was so much serious content in the years of the Vietnam War, and all the rebellion that was going on, all the drug culture that was going on. When these songs were released, especially 'Simon Says' being the first one in '68, a lot of people didn't take to it, feeling it didn't have a lot of substance. But looking back in retrospect, we feel that its time had come, because people in that five-year period were kind of tired of all the heaviness of music.

    There was Jimi Hendrix, there was The Doors, Zeppelin came on the scene around '69. The Beatles had morphed from this pop group into Sergeant Pepper, It was getting heavier out there. I think it was kind of a rebellion, and people wanted a rest from all that. So when 'Simon Says' came out, and 'One, Two, Three Red Light' came out, and 'May I Take A Giant Step' came out, there was a market that we were playing for. And that was probably the young teenager that was neglected in the industry with all the music that was coming out. But I think it caught on with a lot of older people, too. We find that out on the road, when we're out on the road, our fans weren't just little kids coming to see us. They were girls and guys our age: 18, 19 years old, 20 years old, who were into the music." (Check out our interview with Floyd Marcus.)

Comments: 10

  • Kev from Rogers, ArI remember this song from 1968. I was in a summer recreation program, and my teacher/coach was driving us around town trying to find a place where we kids could run around and be kids. But it was kind of cold on that day, early June 1968, and I think she finally gave up. But I remember that song on her car radio :)
  • Perry from OttawaDear Kevin from Oregon. 99.9% of people who listen to this song hear Simple Simon Says as...Simple Simon Says! Only you have made that connection to an hallucinogenic most people never heard of. That's why nobody else mentioned it. Whatever the hell you're on Kevin, get off it!
  • Jan from DevonKevin from Oregon: Simple Simon was a game way, way before the song. We used to play it at the end of the school day. Teacher would say, Simon says put your hands on your knees (head, toes, touch your nose, touch your ears etc.) if you got it wrong your were out. No underlying psychedelic meaning, no mushrooms or any other vegetables involved at all.
  • Kevin from Oregon I can't confirm it for sure but the way they say Simple Simon sounds alot like psilocybin: the psychoactive ingredient to many psychedelic mushrooms... no ones mentioned it yet on here but it cant be a coincidence.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 9th 1968, the 1910 Fruitgum Company performed "Simon Says" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #4 on Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart {See the next post below}...
    On the same 'Bandstand' the New Jersey quintet also performed "May I Take A Giant Step (Into your Heart)"; and the following month on April 14th, 1968 it entered the Top 100, eventually it peaked at #63 and spent 9 weeks on the chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 3rd 1968, "Simon Says" by the 1910 Fruitgum Co. peaked at #4 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on January 21st at position #77 and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 6 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    Between January 1968 and August 1969 the quintet had seven records on the Top 100; with three making the Top 10 (besides this one, the other two were "1,2,3, Red Light" (#5 for 2 weeks in 1968) and "Indian Giver" (#5 for 1 week in 1969).
  • Mamie from Cleveland, OhI'm curious as to why Mark always looks so unhappy, to me, he looks unhappy when he sings this song. i have seen two vidoes of the song and he does not look happy to sing it in either video. i've always loved the song still do. just wonder why mark looks the way he does in both videos, like he hates the song. and it is such a happy song. always thought he was the cutest member of the band.
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzPukey
  • Xavier from Plantation, FlMy all-time favorite childhood song.
  • Mark from London, EnglandThe flip-side of this record, Reflections From A Looking Glass, is a lost psychedelic classic.
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