I had a friend in high school 30 years ago who was a fan of John Fred and the Playboys; this was many years after their big moment in the limelight. My friend got John Fred Gourrier’s phone number from the Baton Rouge customer assistance and gave him a call. Although the call came while he was watching “Monday Night Football,” John Fred was friendly and gracious in fielding questions from his young fan.
If John Fred had better hearing and/or had done his research, the song might have been titled, “Judy in the Sky with Glasses.” Thanks, Nal. Catchy tune, takes me back… Haven’t heard it in years — possibly, decades.
“The song was inspired by Fred’s listening to The Beatles’ hit, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. He mistakenly believed the lyrics were “Lucy in disguise with diamonds,” and was disappointed when he read the liner notes. The song features strings, brass, a sitar, piano, bass, guitar, drums, breathing sounds, and unusual dissonant string sounds.
The other members of the Playboy band did not like the unusual slow abrupt ending with Fred intoning the final line: “I guess I’ll just take your glasses.” However, Fred was the band leader and insisted on that ending. “Judy in Disguise” went on to knock “Hello, Goodbye”, a Beatles tune, off the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in January 1968.
The song also reached #1 in Germany and Switzerland, and #3 in Great Britain.”
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