Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

Album: The First Edition (1968)
Charted: 5
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  • 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 three songs on the album, which would provide four 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.

Comments: 11

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenColbert is wrong about most things, so no shock that's he's also wrong about who wrote this.
  • Grimjac from Houston, TxStephen Colbert recently credited Mel Tillis with writing this song as an example of how easy it is to write psychedelic rock.
  • C.g. Dee from Big D, Texas, UsaAs I understand it Glen Campbell did the guitar on the classic studio version. I just listened to Kenny and The First Edition, live from 1972. Newbury is loving it in his afterlife experience. OMG! Those boys and girls could play and sing their booties off. Till I go to my grave, Kenny and gang. Wonderful stuff.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenI just dropped in to see who commented about this song.
  • Johnny from Tucson, AzDoes anyone know who played the vibraphone on this hit? The instrument was very prominent in the recording, matched with the bass, probably as a reflection of the George Shearing sound. I'm thinking the player could have been Julius Wechter, of "The Wrecking Crew", but who knows?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.legacy.com/ {02-08-2018}...
    Mickey Jones, rock drummer who became a popular character actor, has died at the age of 76, according to multiple news sources.
    Cherry Hepburn, his representative, confirmed the sad news to The Hollywood Reporter.
    "Mickey died at 2:17 a.m. Wednesday, February 7th, 2018, of the effects of a long illness," Hepburn said.
    The bearded Jones would often play a biker or criminal type in movies and television shows.
    Jones portrayed marijuana dealer Rodney ‘Hot Rod’ Dunham on the FX series “Justified.” He had a recurring role as Pete Bilker on the sitcom “Home Improvement.”
    He also appeared on “Flo,” “Entourage,” and “Lizzie McGuire.” On the big screen, he had roles in “Tin Cup,” “Sling Blade,” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”
    Jones was born in Houston, Texas. In high school, he took up the drums. He became the drummer in Trini Lopez’s backing band.
    He then left Lopez to drum for singer Johnny Rivers. In 1966, Dylan asked Jones to join his backing band for his tour of Europe and Australia. Jones played with most of the musicians who would later become The Band.
    After Dylan, he became the drummer for the band The First Edition, with lead singer Kenny Rogers. Their hit songs included "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)."
    After The First Edition broke up in 1976, Jones turned to acting full time.
    In 2009, Jones published his autobiography "That Would Be Me", the title was the catchphrase often used by his character on "Home Improvement."
    May he R.I.P.
  • Richard from CaliforniaAnyone know who the amazing backup singers are?
  • Rob from FloridaFirst 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
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn 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).
  • Coy from Palestine, TxOne 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".
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandAs seen in "The Big Lebowski"
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