I can see you, you can see me as we stand
We can live forever, God and God is wonderful
And your face I’ve never seen it
Quite like this before
Though the moon is out, the sun still shines
‘The Pretty Song’, from the 1968 movie Psych-Out is probably one of the most underrated and unsung anthems of the late sixties, and was never embraced by a wider public.
It appears in the opening scene of the movie, as we follow the character Jenny Davis (played by actress Susan Strasberg) on a bus, which is about to take off to San Francisco at the height of the flower-power movement.
This dynamic and powerful song was performed by Strawberry Alarm Clock, and composed by guitarists Ed King and Lee Freeman, especially for the 1968 movie – which starred Jack Nicholson – but did also appear on the group’s 1968 album, Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow.
The version in the film incorporates a different arrangement with an instrumental interlude during the slow waltz break between the verses. In addition to album version, it can also be found on later album, Strawberries Mean Love (1992) and the 16-track Anthology (1991).
The whole song is one monstrous blast of psychedelic poetry, and one can’t help but being taken away by lyrics such as:
I am lost in a poet’s dream
where skies are burgundy
Just to wave my hands and say the words
they will be blue
The melody is dashingly pretty and full of soaring phrases and quirky, minor-key diversions, with great moments of grandeur poking through the faint haze at the most dramatic of moments.
Dancers, the ball scenes
the gay colored children of happiness
Waiting the artists surround it
with flowers and holiness
With all that surrounds you
your problems will have no more meaning
Your mind will be free
And you will see it all
Put your trust in me, and try to see, that all you need is this.
Words: Anders Knudsen
Photo: Michael Ochs Archive