Rock Report: Legendary ‘Nuggets’ Album Gets 40th Anniversary Reissue
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of a little album called ‘Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-68,’ and to commemorate, Rhino Records is reissuing the grandaddy of all compilation albums on CD, digitally and, as it was first presented, on vinyl.
For those unaware of this piece of rock and roll history, it is, in many ways, where the simple ‘oldies’ compilation took on a whole new meaning. The artists represented on the original two-LP set were, for the most part, one-hit wonders who even by 1972 had been swept into the dustbins. The new reissue hits the streets Nov. 27.
The original two-LP set was conceived by Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, who explains via press release, “AM radio despised ‘long’ tracks, loosely defined as anything that exceeded three minutes, and this was true throughout the ’50s and ’60s. Even our Doors single, ‘Light My Fire,’ had to chop Robby [Krieger]’s incendiary guitar solo to fit the rigid AM formula. It’s what made me think about the snappy, short rock and roll singles that had jump-started AM rock radio, at its beginnings.”
Holzman recruited rock historian, and future Patti Smith Group guitarist, Lenny Kaye to compile the set. “It’s the songs in the end that make Nuggets so memorable,” Kaye says in newly written liner notes. “The lightning strikes of brilliance that move a record past genre into the realm of classic. I just played disc jockey, telling my ear-witness tale of inspiration derived, of desire and belief. Or daring to believe.”
Though names like Chocolate Watchband, Electric Prunes and 13th Floor Elevators might not exactly be household names everywhere (they are here!), you have no doubt heard some of the music. The bands featured represent a sliver of a fraction of the young bands who took their cues from the likes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Byrds and Yardbirds to make their own noise. Some of the players would go onto become stars – Ted Nugent of the Amboy Dukes and Todd Rundgren of the Nazz to name a couple — while for most others, it was just part of their own teenage rampage.
‘Nuggets’ would eventually go on to inspire countless rock and roll bands from 1972 right up through today. The collection, first reissued in 1976, would also spawn a seemingly endless catalog of garage rock compilations from ‘Pebbles’ and ‘Rubble’ to ‘Back From the Grave’ and ‘Teenage Shutdown’ to name but a few. The ‘Nuggets’ brand itself has issued five different four-disc box sets over the past decade or so covering bands from all across the globe.
To this day, just when you think that well has run dry, another compilation of forgotten teen genius pops up, but ‘Nuggets’ is where it all started. Dig in and dig it!