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The Tickle

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  • Years Active: 1960s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

The Tickle were one of numerous British bands to put out just one or two psychedelic singles in that strange period, 1967 (and to a lesser degree 1968), when major UK labels were taking their chances with a lot of psychedelic one-offs. By the standards of this genre -- and indeed the standards of psychedelic rock as a whole -- their one single, "Subway (Smokey Pokey World)," was pretty phenomenal. An arresting melody; exuberant multi-layered harmonies; a dense arrangement with pounding drums, classical-influenced piano, and squiggly guitar; effects which made some of the vocals sound as if they were issuing from an alternate dimension; and a whimsical, cheerful lyric make this one of the best British psychedelic singles, and certainly one of the very best little-known ones in the style. The B-side, "Good Evening," was much less memorable, but again demonstrated their affinity for complex arrangements and unpredictable melodies that nonetheless had some appeal for pop ears.

This November 1967 single, issued on Regal Zonophone in the U.K., could have been a hit (albeit one that would have been rather adventurous for some listeners and programmers to embrace), but it wasn't. Having grown out of the obscure mod rock band the Bunch of Fives, the Tickle were reported to have done five tracks at the session that yielded their 45, but none of these other three were released; they were also reported, in Record Collector, to have done some demos of songs later recorded by the Foundations. Guitarist and chief songwriter of the Tickle, Mick Wayne (who had formerly been in the Hullaballoos as well as the Bunch of Fives), went on to form Junior's Eyes and play in the Pink Fairies.