Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 by Mike McKay
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The 101 number one song of the day had an odd journey to the top of the heap and the lead vocalist wasn’t even a member of the band – ever – before or after it became a hit.
It was recorded by a group called Thee Sixpence whose members had composed the instrumental track. The lyrics were added by a college student named John Carter who was invited to be at the session. Thee Sixpence resented someone putting words to their music and relegated the song to the status of an afterthought so they didn’t bother to protest when Carter said their lead singer wasn’t right for the song. Carter picked another guy who was there to sing lead. The next day, that guy was gone and when asked what happened to him, the band members said he was just someone who happened to be there that day and he wasn’t part of the group. Since they didn’t think much of the song in the first place, his vocals were left in place. When a couple of their songs were released on a small label, they looked in Billboard magazine and discovered two other bands with similar “sixpence” names. So they turned the page and closed their eyes and pointed to a random spot. A finger landed on a Beatles’ song. It was Strawberry Fields Forever and that pointed them in the direction of the name they would use when they song they didn’t care for was at number one on November 28th, 1967. And when they made appearances to support the song, the lead vocal was performed by their drummer who sounded the most like the anonymous guy whose voice is actually on the record. And by the way, he played the bongos with his hands on fire. Go figure – it’s the Strawberry Alarm Clock and “Incense and Peppermints.”