Smashed Blocked (John’s Children)

16 OCTOBER 1966

The debut single by English pop-art/mod band John’s Children was released during this week in 1966. ‘Smashed Blocked’ failed to chart in the UK but sneaked into the lower reaches of the US Billboard Hot 100. The song is a strange mix of arthouse experimentation and '50s doo-wop, but is not without its charms.

They were managed by the Yardbirds's manager Simon Napier-Bell, who described them as 'positively the worst group I'd ever seen' (early songs like 'Smashed/Blocked' were recorded with session musicians). He encouraged them to attract attention by being outrageous, and they would fight each other on stage, used fake blood and feathers, smashed their instruments, and often posed naked for the press, with flowers covering their private parts. They were even thrown off a tour with the Who in 1967 for upstaging the headline act with their onstage lunacy. Pete Townshend - of all people - called them 'too loud and violent'!

The next single from John's Children managed to break the UK Top 40, but they generally enjoyed little commercial success, even after a young Marc Bolan joined their line-up. They were never going to be a mainstream band (getting an album banned for four years because they called it 'Orgasm' didn't help), but they did have their moments (a favourite of mine is the 1967 B-side 'Remember Thomas à Becket'). They disbanded in 1968 but have reformed occasionally.

B-side: 'Strange Affair'
Released: October 1966
Length: 3:02
Label: White Whale, WW 239
Writers: Hewlett and Napier-Bell
Producer: Simon Napier-Bell

Smashed Blocked (John’s Children)