June 8, 2012

The Smoke - completely unknown in the States, owing to a banned song or two in the UK.

The history of Pop music fairly overflows with perplexities. Bands that should have made it, didn't. Bands that had no reason to exist became wildly popular. Bands with infinite promise that, for whatever reason, never made it out of the starting gate. Bands that just got lost in the shuffle.

It's not clear why a band like The Smoke never managed to secure a licensing deal with a U.S. label, but were relegated to cult status for almost their entire existence. True, their first single, My Friend Jack, became something of an underground legend, based on the fact that it was banned from the start because of it's alleged drug reference. And there were also several other bands calling themselves The Smoke, including a one-off band put together by West Coast wunderkind Michael Lloyd. But those didn't seem like good enough reasons to just ignore the band altogether.

But like I said, the history of Pop Music is no stranger to whims and perplexities.

Tonight's track, It Could Be Wonderful, issued in 1968, was one of a handful of singles that made their way into the hands of collectors and fans throughout the UK and Europe, where they enjoyed a modicum of popularity.

Luckily, because of their cult status, The Smoke have been enjoying a new-found popularity the past several years, due in large part to reissues of their completely rare singles and sessions.

Pop Music may be vague and perplexing, but fortunately it doesn't forget.

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