The Electric Prunes
Biography - Part 5


The band's return to the States in early 1968 saw the release of the 'Everybody Knows You're Not In Love / You Never Had It Better' single. According to critic Brian Hogg, this single was "a chunk of pure Prune pop" which suggested that they were about to enter a new phase of tough, high energy rock; but it was not to be. Also in early 1968, the band recorded 'Shadows' as the soundtrack to the film 'The Name of the Game is Kill' which starred Jack Lord and Susan Strasberg.

Publicity poster for the film 'The Name of the Game is Kill'
Bottom left : 'Hear the Electric Prunes sing Shadows'

The history of The Electric Prunes gets rather confusing at this point.

There appeared to be an abrupt shift in music policy with the release of the 'Mass in F Minor' (January 1968) album. This was a concept rock opera mixing gregorian music and psychedelic pop with vocals in Latin.

'Mass in F Minor' Billboard magazine poster

The LP was written, arranged and conducted by one David A. Axelrod - a formally trained neo-classical musician who was called in by Hassinger for this specific project.

Picture of a young David Axelrod

Axelrod seemed to take over the output of the Prunes at this stage which did suggest that the album was not a bona fide Prunes product despite their name and pictures appearing on the album.

It is only recently that the truth about the 'Mass in F Minor' LP has become known. Hassinger brought in Axelrod whose ideas were pitched to the band. An interview with David Axelrod which appeared in the January 1999 edition of the U.K. magazine "Dazed and Confused" claimed that the original idea for the 'Mass in F Minor' LP came not from himself but from the Prunes manager - Lenny Poncher! It was suggested to the band that this would be a good career move for commercial success. The band agreed to be involved and it is now known that the first three tracks on the album were cut by the original Prunes from the European tour.

'Mass in F Minor' recording session

All the music was charted out note by note by Axelrod and it was made clear to the band by Dave Hassinger that they were not moving fast enough in the studio and it was taking too long. The Prunes seemed to be out of their depth with a project that wasn't even under their control.

It transpires that Mark Tulin and Quint played on every track and Jim Lowe did all the lead vocals. Richie Podolor, the band's engineer, also helped out on guitar! Ken Williams added some solos. Another Hassinger property, the Canadian group - The Collectors, were brought in to finish off the album.

The opening track of the 'Mass in F Minor' LP - 'Kyrie Eleison' - is widely known and backed the acid trip scene in the movie 'Easy Rider' (1969). Electric Prunes songs were also included in several other films of the late sixties - one such film being 'The Name of the Game Is Kill' (1968). Promotion of the album led the band to even appearing on the Pat Boone Show where they did a lip sync performance of 'Kyrie Eleison'.

Early in 1968, Quint left the band for the second time and was replaced by a new drummer :

Joe Dooley (b. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) - drums

Joe, Mike & James live in concert in '68

Joe came from a very popular band called 'The Nomads'. Mike Gannon had also been a member before joining The Electric Prunes. Joe played on some memorable concerts on the same bill as big name bands such as The Who, Steppenwolf and Cream.

The Electric Prunes (featuring Joe Dooley on drums) on the same
handbill as The Who at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit in 1968

Also during this period, David Hassinger along with The Collectors provided the soundtrack music to a Canadian based film called 'Don't Let the Angels Fall' (1968). Further information regarding this film can be obtained from the National Film Board of Canada's web site.

Stills from the film 'Don't Let the Angels Fall'
for which David Hassinger provided the soundtrack

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