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The Electric Prunes are a rock band who first achieved international attention as an experimental psychedelic group in the late 1960s, and contributed two tracks to the soundtrack of Easy Rider. After a period in which they had little control over their music, they disappeared for thirty years, reforming as a recording and touring band in 2001.
 OriginThe group started in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, though during the group's long disbandment, rumors circulated that they were from Seattle, probably because their records were very popular in that city. The first members, Ken Williams (guitar), James Lowe (lead vocal, autoharp), Michael Weakley (drums) and Mark Tulin (bass) called themselves The Sanctions, and later, Jim and the Lords. Soon, Dick Hargrave joined on organ, but shortly thereafter left to pursue graphic arts. Their lineup changed many times, including one lineup with Kenny Loggins.
Lowe, Tulin, Williams and Weakley were introduced to David Hassinger, then resident engineer at RCA studios, who arranged for them to record some demos at Leon Russell's home recording facility (which he called Sky Hill Studios). Hassinger also suggested they needed a new name. In response, the band produced a long list of suggestions, with The Electric Prunes last as a joke. Somehow it stuck.
A single Ain't It Hard/Little Olive was released from these sessions, and flopped.
 Early successThe Prunes' next single, I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) (1966), was chosen from material Hassinger culled from the established songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz. It remains their highest charting success, reaching 11 in the USA and 49 in the UK. Personnel included Jim Lowe on vocals, James "Weasel" Spagnola and Ken Williams on guitar, Mark Tulin on bass and Preston Ritter on drums. This is regarded by many as the classic Prunes lineup.
Their third single, Get Me to the World on Time, was also successful but less so, peaking at 27 in the USA and 42 in the UK. Both their first album, The Electric Prunes: I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) (1967) and consisting mainly of Tucker/Mantz material, and the followup Underground (1967) which featured mainly original Prunes material, charted in the lower reaches of the Billboard charts.
By the time Underground was complete, there had been several more personnel changes. Original drummer Weakley returned to replace Ritter, and Spagnola was replaced on guitar by Mike Gannon, who appears on only two songs. Their fourth single Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, was recorded by this line-up, but does not appear on this album.
The Axelrod periodThe Prunes's third album, Mass in F Minor (1968), was a psychedelicized setting of the Mass, written and produced by David Axelrod, and somewhat of an underground favorite. Kyrie Eleison from this record was used to back the Mardi Gras drug-trip scene in Easy Rider. The band reportedly broke up during the recording, and Axelrod completed the album using Canadian band The Collectors and session musicians. A tour had been planned to follow the album release, but it was cancelled after one disastrous show at which it was obvious that the Prunes couldn't play the music, some of which they had seen for the first time only a few days before the concert.
This was followed by Release of An Oath (1968), another religious-themed Axelrod work this time combining Jewish and Christian liturgy. It was produced by Axelrod using top session musicians for all instruments, backing the Prunes's vocal work.
"the new improved Electric Prunes" The following album Just Good Old Rock and Roll (1969) was recorded by another, completely different, group of musicians, originally from Colorado, who were assigned the Prunes's name, which was not legally owned by Hassinger (according to James Lowe in a recent interview). The album cover read the new improved Electric Prunes. This band toured and also released a single on Reprise Records in 1969, but had totally dissolved by 1970.
1. Ain't It Hard
2. Little Olive
3. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
5. Get Me To The World On Time
6. Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
8. Train For Tomorrow
9. Sold To The Highest Bidder
10. Try Me On For Size
11. Dr Do-Good
13. The Great Banana Hoax
14. Children Of Rain
15. Antique Doll
16. I Happen To Love You
17. Long Day's Flight (Til Tomorrow)
18. You Never Had It Better