“Changes” (song)

“Changes” is the song that closes out Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s final album, Good Morning Starshine from 1969. It is a slow, dramatic blues, featuring some great soloing, ethereal organ atmospherics, and Jim Pitman’s gutbucket wailing.

Built around a simple chord sequence, “Changes” is an opportunity for the Clock to stretch out and take its time, slowly sculpting a tower of blues-rock in a way they had not been able to do (or had not taken the time to do) previously. Quite unlike the busy psych confections of Incense And Peppermints and Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow, and certainly different than the opaque luxuriance of The World In A Sea Shell, “Changes” sounds more like a track from an early-70s blues-rock band; it’s rather ahead of its time. Strawberry Alarm Clock was indeed committed to “change” with (or ahead of) the times.

Front and center are Pitman’s agonized vocals; he really gives it his all here, and the song is yet another argument in his favor. He would be gone as SAC’s vocalist soon after Good Morning Starshine‘s release, however. Pity — he really could bring a range of things to the band. He certainly doesn’t hold anything back on this performance.

“Changes” was used as the b-side of a single, “Desireé”, and also lent its name to an interesting 1971 compilation album. Although in a blind test many 1960s music fans wouldn’t be able to guess what band recorded it, “Changes” is in fact a long-lost, too-obscure late 60s blues classic, and it’s a wonder it hasn’t received more attention from the band’s various anthologizers. It’s not Led Zeppelin, but it’s in the same ballpark. Not bad for a little psych band from California.

Appears on

LP: Good Morning Starshine (1969)
45: “Desireé” b/w “Changes” (Uni 55158) (1969)
LP: Changes (1971 compilation)

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