Incense And Peppermints

Album: Incense And Peppermints (1967)
Charted: 1
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  • Ba, ba, ba, ba
    Ba, ba, ba, ba

    Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind
    Dead kings, many things I can't define
    Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
    Incense and peppermints, the color of time

    Who cares what games we choose?
    Little to win but nothin' to lose

    Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns
    Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around

    Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah
    Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    To divide this cockeyed world in two
    Throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do
    Beatniks and politics, nothing is new
    A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view

    Who cares what games we choose?
    Little to win but nothin' to lose

    Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind
    Dead kings, many things I can't define
    Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
    Incense and peppermints, the color of time

    Who cares what games we choose?
    Little to win but nothin' to lose

    Incense and peppermints
    Incense and peppermints

    Sha la la, sha la la
    Sha la la, sha la la, sha la la, sha la la Writer/s: John Carter, Timothy P. Gilbert
    Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 39

  • Gary Griffin from Warwick, RiI recall seeing them at Rocky Point in late '60s in Warwick, R.I. Someone (I believe a band member) did a theatrical rendition of the Edgar Allen Poe poem "The Raven" on stage that was impressive. I never can find anything about it. I wish I could see it again.
  • Scott Minor from Reading OhioThis song along with The Association's "Along Comes Mary" ARE the quintessential pop songs of the 1960's. There can be no dispute. Bring back the Hammond organ to rock!
  • Dan from SeattleFirst time I ever heard this song was on the AFVN station in Saigon.
    Adrian Cronauer had finished his tour, but other DJs kept his "Good Morning Viet Nam" program going. Other than this program, most of their music was pretty "middle of the road" - Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Mitch Miller, etc. It had to be military-approved to get air time. Which was why Adrian Cronauer was so memorable - he got away with bucking the system.
  • Gt from Peoria, IlI'm certain that I heard (on an oldies radio show many years ago) that the lyrics to this song were penned in about 10 minutes on a layover at Stapleton Airport in Denver. I can't find any reference to this on the internet. Has anyone else ever heard this story?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 23rd 1967, the Strawberry Alarm Clock performed "Incense and Peppermints" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One day later on September 24th, 1967 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88; and on November 19th, 1967 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between September 1967 and May 1969 the West Coast sextet had five Top 100 records; their next biggest hit was "Tomorrow", it reached #23 for 2 weeks on February 4th, 1968...
    For the week of January 7th, 1968 "Incense & Peppermints" was at #37 {it was its last week on the Top 100} and on that same week "Tomorrow" was at #50.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI like to think that the Beatles had incense and peppermints on the Yellow Submarine.
  • Guest2491 from Pen Argyl, PaAbout the song and its meaning: : 1. The psychedelic was in full swing when Incense and Peppermint became popular. Incense is often burned to mask the smell of marijuana. Peppermints are used to mask the smoke on a person's breath. 2. In the first phrase, we are told innocense and good sense are nice, but they can disable you. "Who cares what games we choose, little to win and nothing to lose" means that it doesn't matter what types of drugs a person uses -- only that you don't gain much by doing or not doing the drugs. 3. "Tune on, tune in, drop out" is a phrase Timothy Leary used to promote the use of LSD. It is used in the second verse to tell the listener to take a look at him/herself. The fact that incense and peppermints are "meaningless nouns" may means that these words are strung together and aren't intended to mean anything in particular. Beatnics and Politicians each have their own point of view. Every group has their own way of looking at things and there's no use in fighting over who is right. (taken from site MusicBanter)
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesBrian in Boston - The use of the Hammond organ in various subgenres of rock and roll is well documented. It's one of the things I miss most. You can approximate the Hammond sound with today's synthesizers, but not quite duplicate it.
  • Brian from Boston, MaI never thought this was a great song but it had some potential. I think instead of the organ as the prodominant instument it needs a good rythm guitar. The organ makes it sound like a novelty song.It's as if some executive at the time put out what he thought a psychadelic song should sound like. I realize the Beatles had organ in some of their music at that time [strawberry fields] but to me the organ complimented the song it did not overpower it.
  • Brian from Boston, MaI always thought that Incense and peppermints were ways to get rid of the smell of pot. Incense for the room in wich it is smoked and peppermints for your breath.
  • Chainsaw from Sedro Woolley, WaHas anyone else noticed that the lyrics, if you lay them out and read them instead of singing along to the music, are basically Postmodernism 101?

    - Good sense, innocence, crippling mankind.

    - Occasions, persuasions, clutter your mind.

    - Who cares what games we choose?
    - Little to win, but nothing to lose.

    - Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns.

    - A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view.

    It ain't "c'mon people now, get together" by any means. But it sure sounds hip. The words wouldn't have sounded out of place if Kurt Cobain had sung them.
  • Dave from Fairfield, IlIs John Carter, Jr. from Fairfield, Illinois?
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI love this song! It's awesome! It makes you want to dance!
  • Pamela from Miami, FlI am very good friends with the group, and wanted to let everyone know they are back together, and making new cd's. They have already recorded a few new songs, and hopefully they will have a new CD out this year. They sound better than ever, and still have the Alarm Clock sound. There are 2 drummers, Randy Seol, and Gene Gunnels. They have a website , www.strawberryalarmclock.com . You can visit the website and check for upcoming concerts. I've loved them for 41 years, as they are still my very favorite group. If anyone wants to send them a message, go to the website and post a message !!!!
  • Eric from Minden, NeI worked with Tim Gilbert for about a year when I was Design Director at KUSA-TV in Denver in the mid-80's. He was a short, very straight-looking, short little dude on the sales team. Mentioned his association with the Strawberry Alarm Clock and I remember looking at him in his polyester suit and tie and thinking, WTF?
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaI discovered this song late, but immediately dug it -- dunno about the drug references but always suspected -- it was a common theme in the 60's & this is just the type of psychadelic sound to showcase it. . .

    Personally Ithink there's another hidden meaning -- n the band name -- a strawberry alarm clock being a girl's rude awakening to her first menstrual period.
  • Eddy from Miami, Flthis song is really groovy, incense and peppermints the color of time!!
  • Kristin from Bessemer, AlTHIS song was released on the UNI label, at a time when the record label released tunes by artists with weird sounding names: fever tree, The Rainy Daze, Orange Colored Sky, The Hook, Durango, etc.
  • Kristin from Bessemer, AlTHIS SONG is considered to be the most quintessential song of the entire 1960s - with its mysterious melody and non-sensical lyrics, it really found its place and everyone could relate to it!
  • Mark from London, EnglandThis song was covered by The Adult Net - a band led by The Fall's then-wife, Brix E. Smith - on Beggars Banquet. A virtually note-for-note copy!
  • William from Redding, Ca I experienced' this band @ a old church taken over by hippies...I will never forget going up the stairs w/ black lights and glowing paintings..the band was wailing away up on the church pulpit as we walked down the center aisle between the pews,we swung in one up front and grooved to the scean,overhead oil-projectors throwing pulsating colored lights everywhere...the band was dressed in very colorful flower & paisley type clothes and sounded very loud and good..people were dancing freeform in the aisles.barefoot lovely girls w/ flowers in their hair...[a snapshot frozen in time,this is how it was]...nothing like it before or after...Peace&Love,Billy
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesTo Dave in Scottsdale: 'Tomorrow' did chart in Chicago. Debuting in the #36 position on the WLS survey the week of December 22, 1967, it made it to #13 for the week of February 19, 1968. It was also heard on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" at about the same time.
  • Andy from Terre Haute, InThis was co-written by my old Boss Tim Gilbert and John Carter. If I recall he told me it was kind of a nonsense song But I got the impression it was heavily Drug influenced (Pot). He also told me Strawberry Alarm Clock wasn't even a band when it was recorded they used Studio musicians. And I dont think the lead singer actually played with Strawberry Alarm Clock. It was a band created after the song was released. I don't know where Tim Gilbert is now but I do recall he enjoyed those residual checks. I think he told me he got $10,000 when the movie "She's out of control" used it.

    Saw this on the web:

    OK, this has always been credited to John Carter and Tim Gilbert, but according to the SAC article in _Goldmine_ #359 John Carter wrote lyrics to SAC (and future Lynyrd Skynyrd) guitarist Ed King's instrumental track, 'The Happy Whistler'; Tim Gilbert had written other songs with John Carter before (most notably the Rainy Daze 'That Acapulco Gold', which hit #70 nationwide before program directors found out what 'Acapulco Gold' was) and was apparently co-credited by mistake.

    Regardless, Tim Gilbert told me he wrote this, As I believe ASCAP States, and has the Gold record (I have seen it with his name on it) as well as received a great deal of money from royalties for this song over the years.
  • Gary from Seattle, WaHad Ed on the show. The group took their name while rehearsing. Starwberry Fields by The Beatles was playing on the radio and an alarm clock went off at the same time. The rest his hystory.

    Be safe,

    Gary
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzThe SAC had a couple other singles that almost charted- "Tomorrow", "Barefoot In Baltimore", and "Good Morning Starshine" which was beat out by the version by Oliver.
  • David from Los Angeles, CaI was just a kid at the time, but I DO REMEMBER
    this fantastic song. I will always cherish it because of its super melody, its crazy but serious lyrics, and, of course, my childhood memories. All I can say: Greg Munford had a powerful voice and its his voice that gave this song such a bang coming out of a 16-year-old. Wow.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesThe band appeared as themselves in the Dick Clark film "Psych-Out" which starred Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, and Dean Stockwell (in an amazingly Neil Young-like role).... I'm with Leya Qwest, the songs she named along with "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" by Bubble Puppy, the Supremes' "Reflections", and "Pretty Ballerina" by the Left Banke were the core of what I thought of at the time as psychedelia. And they still do something to me. Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around.
  • Gil from Abilene, TxThis song was also parodied in the short lived Canadian animated series "Clone High" that used to air on MTV. In the episode "Raisin' the Stakes: A Rock Opera In Three Acts", the students went on a hippie-mushroom-trip... from smoking raisins, and during the scene where they express themselves through "Manic Sexualized Dancing" the parody plays with the lyrics:

    Bug dance, gravy trance, butterfly dream
    Hog, frog, veagan bread, sunflower cream
    Tye-dye, contact eye, love from the sun
    Smoke, fly, raisins, high, Vietnam fun
    Merry Clark, pistolâ??
  • Rob from Vincennes, In I saw the Strawberry Alarm Clock perform at a club called "The World" in Vincennes, Indiana on Dec. 23 1967 (I still have the ticket stub). They used two drummers at the time. They were pretty good. Played a long, long, long version of The Doors' "Light My Fire", as well as their #1 hit "Incense & Peppermints". They were dressed in the typical "Summer of Love/ hippie" garb......pretty cool to us midwest "plow-boys" !
  • Wolf from Valparaiso, InDespite the similarity in the title to the Murmaids' "Icicles, Popsicles" and the mentioned: "Sunshine & Lollipops and Polka Dots & Moonbeams. And possibly Pennywhistles & Moonpies," this is a very different song. The drug references start in the title -- Incense to cover the smell of marijuana and peppermints to cover it on your breath.
  • Erich from Atlanta, GaThe Strawberry Alarm Clock made an appearance in Russ Meyer's 1970 movie "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," performing this song during a party scene. (One character remarks "I've been to parties where they've played records by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, but never one where the Strawberry Alarm Clock played!" The use of "Incense and Peppermints" in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" was an homage to the Russ Meyer film (with Mike Myers' line "This is my happening and it freaks me out" being a direct quote from the party scene).
  • Leya Qwest from Anchorage, AkThis awesome tune is one of the only few that left a very lasting impression on my young soul each time I heard it back in the seventh grade. I was sort of a dummy, not into the psychedelic scene with the nuns, priests and strict Catholic upbringing, but I believe that this music, along with "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" by Status Quo and "Itchycoo Park" by Small Faces, lets me feel like I wasn't totally out of the loop, as the song still definitely does something BOSS to me. Thank you Strawberry Alarm Clock for the wonderful inspiration you alwaya give each time I hear this hit. Sha-la-laaaaaa, sha-la-laaaaaa!
  • Jordan from Renton, Wait's definetly a drug song. you can tell at the end when he goes "Sha-la-la"
  • Ted from Los Angeles, NyThis was obviously a rip-off of Sunshine & Lollipops and Polka Dots & Moonbeams.

    And possibly Pennywhistles & Moonpies.
  • Michael from Pekin, IlI have to take issue with the comment from joey in Korea. The band was indeed arrested at a motel in East Peoria, Illinois early in 1968. The trial was held in my hometown that summer. They had hired Melvin Belli to defend them and as I recall, he got them off pretty much scott free.
    Mike, Pekin IL
  • Brandon from Seattle, WaThe melody and music was influenced by the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper" and the Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit."
  • Brett from Edmonton, CanadaThis is one of the coolest tunes EVER written, bar none. Almost eerie, I think. And a great song for the Austin Powers film.
  • Joey from Pusan, Korea - SouthOne of the members of this band was Scott Gorham, who went on to the band Thin Lizzy. Scott and his brother both worked this band and Thin Lizzy. Also, on-and-off members of this band were John Howard and Mike Luciano. The band hung out around Hoover High School in Glendale, California. They were busted in Peoria, Illinois in 1968 for marijuana possession, which led to jail-time, and the breakup of the band.
  • Randy from Beaumont, TxOnly a drug song if you intrepret is as such. I think it was King himself who said that they were under pressure to write a psychedelic-sounding song and said that they basically sat down and wrote "...a collection of nouns..."
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