Open Herbs



  1. Songs about herbs?

    The is admittedly a stretch, however, there are a handful of plants that are both the source of herbs and spices.  Since culinary herbs are typically derived from leaves and spices from other areas of the plant, there aren’t many plants that are the source of both herbs and spices. Exceptions would include dill (dill weed – herb and dill weed – spice), coriander (leaves – herb and seeds – spice), and some members of the mint family.  

    “Sugar and Spice” was first recorded by the Merseybeats in 1963. The Searchers released a cover version later that year which rose to #2 on the U.K. charts and #44 in the United States. The version with which I’m the most familiar was released by the Cryan’ Shames in 1966. It became a regional hit in the Midwest, but it only reached #49 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  

    Since peppermint is considered an herb and some incense employs herbs to create unique frangrances, such as patchouli, sage and bay, taking that as a cue, we have the 1967 song “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, which spent sixteen weeks on the Billboard charts, finally reaching #1 on November 25, 1967. The magical million mark was reached the following month, achieving Gold Record status on December 19, 1967.

    The group expressed dislike for the lyrics during recording sessions, so the lead vocals were sung by a friend of the band, who were relegated to providing background and harmony vocals.  

    Group member Ed King contributed to the writing of the song, but was not credited as such. He became better known when he resurfaced in the 1970s as a member of the group Lynyrd Skynyrd.  

    And then there was a group named Peaches and Herb, which enjoyed their greatest popularity in 1978, when their disco songs “Shake Your Groove Thing” and “Reunited” reached #5 and #1, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. “Reunited” topped two million in sales and also received a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year in 1980.  

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