“Three”

“Three” is the name of a Strawberry Alarm Clock song distinguished by the fact that it was released three times on the b-sides of three different singles, apparently as a joking reference to the title (and maybe as a testament to a dearth of material being written by the band’s final incarnation, with Paul Marshall as the lead singer).

“Three” is more fun than some of Marshall’s other work with the band; it’s a well-written and very playful tune that seems to achieve what it sets out to do. Most notable is the guitar work from Ed King and the deft, melodic bass guitar that is placed very prominently in the mix. The song has a pretty stripped-down feel; it’s just the band with no arcane instrumentation or orchestral overdubs. The lyrics are silly (in a good way), with winking drugs and/or sex allusions behind the track’s G-rated first-glance impression:

“Take three in the morning and three at night
I’m gonna give you a little lovin’
Make you feel all right”

The overall vibe of “Three” is 1950s rock ‘n’ roll with a Woodstock-era update in the sound; the words, harmonies, and chugging boogie beat are Buddy Holly, while the galumphing bass, overdubbed guitar chorus, and flashy solos are pure 1969. I can’t say that “Three” actually deserved to be released three different times, but it’s one of the better things put out by the post-Jim Pitman Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Appears on

45: “I Climbed The Mountain” b/w “Three” (Uni 55190) (1969)
45: “California Day” b/w “Three” (Uni 55218) (1970)
45: “Girl From The City” b/w “Three” (Uni 55241) (1970)
CD: Good Morning Starshine (1969) Japanese bonus-track CD version
CD: Strawberries Mean Love (1992 compilation)

Right now on eBay: Strawberry Alarm Clock

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