Small Faces – Itchycoo Park

This song was released in 1967 by The Small Faces and it peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada and #3 in the UK. I was born in 1967 and cannot remember a thing but this song makes me feel like I was there. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott. A psychedelic song that hit on both sides of the ocean which was rare for the Small Faces who never toured America.

Glynn Johns used a new technique of phasing in the drum breaks.

From Songfacts.

“Itchycoo Park” is the nickname of Little Ilford Park in London. An “Itchycoo” is slang for a flower found in the park called a “Stinging Nettle,” which can burn the skin if touched. Said Lane: “It’s a place we used to go to in Ilford years ago. Some bloke we know suggested it to us because it’s full of nettles and you keep scratching.”

McLagan (from Uncut magazine): “I never liked ‘Itchycoo Park’ because me and Ronnie had to sing, ‘It’s all too beautiful,’ and you sing that a few times, and you think… It’s not.”

“But years after that I’d finally, properly, checked out the words, and realised it was about education and privilege,” he added. “The ‘bridge of sighs’ is the one in Cambridge. The ‘dreaming spires’ are a reference to Oxford. Then ‘to Itchycoo Park… That’s where I’ve been,’ Ronnie was saying, ‘I didn’t need privilege or education. Found beauty in a nettle patch in the East End of London.”

 

Itchycoo Park

Over bridge of sighs
To rest my eyes in shades of green

Under dreaming spires
To Itchycoo Park, that’s where I’ve been

(What did you do there?) I got high
(What did you feel there?) well, I cried
(But why the tears there?) tell you why
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun

I’ll tell you what I’ll do (what will you do?) I’d like to go there now with you
You can miss out school (won’t that be cool?) why go to learn the words of fools?

(What will we do there?) we’ll get high
(What will we touch there?) we’ll touch the sky
(But why the tears there?) I’ll tell you why
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, hah

It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful
It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful

 

 

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

11 thoughts on “Small Faces – Itchycoo Park”

    1. I can’t explain it really but it’s one of a few songs that make me feel like I was there at that time if that makes sense…or my own interpretation of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This song is so ’60s’, I love it. I never put together what it was about, but I loved the psychedelic feel. I did try to look up Itchycoo Park once, and didn’t get very far. Good job in digging it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure the itchycoo park in Little Ilford is likely, even though they said it was. Several parks in East London (but particularly one in Spitalfields) were referred to as ‘Itchy park’ because of the homeless sleeping on benches there – most had the misfortune of having fleas or worse, so itched and scratched themselves. Stinging nettles – I’ve only ever heard referred to as Stinging nettles (or just nettles), in London. I’m a Londoner, originally, born in the east end – though not the Small Faces’ patch of it – but a few years ago moved to rural Wales.

    As to the feel of the times with this song, it’s probably because it’s spacey in feel – not as in psychedelic-spaced out, but in the sense of atmosphere. There was a particular atmosphere then that you’re probably picking up on (it will still have been around when you were little, so you’ll have absorbed it and it’s probably in your soul!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is what is hard writing about these songs. You read 5 different things and get 5 different answers. I guess the songs have a legend built around them and they override the truth at times.

      You are probably right. I had a cousin who introduced me to all of this music. She was a teen when I was 7-8 and she helped formed my musical outlook. She dressed in 60s clothes in the early to mid-seventies and very much was a hippie…

      Liked by 1 person

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