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."