Going Psychedelic Today

In the Summer of 1968, The Moody Blues made their third album titled In Search of the Lost Chord, which I guess makes it 50 years old now.  I am taking you to a drug enhanced utopia, trippy destination with spacey, hippie themes and psychedelic illusions today and although this album is too far out for most people, I am going with what I consider to be the best song on this album ‘Ride My See-Saw’.  I am cheating today as the prompt is only good for the album, and the word search is not in this song.  In Search of the Lost Chord, is based around the concept of the spiritual and philosophical concerns of the psychedelic era, and it is seen by many Moody Blues devotees as the group’s masterpiece.

This was the second album to feature Justin Hayward who played guitars, keyboards, sitar and sang vocals and John Lodge who played bass, cello and sang.  The other members are Mike Pinder who played piano, Mellotron, harpsichord, cello, harp and tambura, Ray Thomas who played flute, saxophone, oboe, French horn and vocals and Graeme Edge who played drums, percussion and vocals.  The members played approximately 33 instruments on this album, exploring eclectic sounds, but In Search of the Lost Chord is still a rock album, accented by the same mix of British pop, psychedelia, and spoken-word poetry that the Moody Blues used on their previous album Days Of Future PassedIn Search of the Lost Chord peaked at #23 on the US album charts and #5 in the UK.  John Lodge wrote ‘Ride My See-Saw’ which went to #42 on the UK Singles Chart and it got to #61 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On January 14, 1967, the acid guru Dr. Timothy Leary spoke at the Human Be-In, a gathering of 30,000 hippies in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco where he said these famous words, “Turn on, tune in, drop out”.  The Moody took him seriously, and his words are exactly what ‘Ride My See-Saw’ is about.  Leary was a nonconformist and his moral was “Think for yourself and question authority.”  He said that ‘Turn on’ meant to activate your brain power, so you could become more sensitive to different levels of consciousness and this was mostly accomplished with drugs.  ‘Tune in’ meant to interact harmoniously with the world around you.  ‘Drop Out’ means change.

Most people who try drugs are doing this as an experiment, usually because their friends are doing it and their first time is usually free.  The See-Saw is a drug habit, where a person is hooked on drugs going through euphoric highs when the drugs kick in and then they come down to devastating lows as the drugs wear off and this song entices people to take drugs saying, “take my place on this trip, it’s for free.”  This song dares to suggest that things which you learn in school may end up not being true.  This ‘60s rock‘n’roll song gives us poetic images and ideas that may provide hope for someone who is spaced out.

This song starts off with a short poem called ‘Departure’ where someone is talking and then starts laughing like he is in a insane asylum.

Be it sight, sound, the smell, the touch.
There’s something,
Inside that we need so much,
The sight of a touch, or the scent of a sound,
Or the strength of an Oak with roots deep in the ground.
The wonder of flowers, to be covered, and then to burst up,
Thru tarmack, to the sun again,
Or to fly to the sun without burning a wing,
To lie in the meadow and hear the grass sing,
To have all these things in our memories hoard,
And to use them,
To help us,
To find…

Ride, ride my see-saw,
Take this place
On this trip
Just for me.

Ride, take a free ride,
Take my place
Have my seat
It’s for free.

I worked like a slave for years,
Sweat so hard just to end my fears.
Not to end my life a poor man,
But by now, I know I should have run.

Run, run my last race,
Take my place
Have this number
Of mine.

Run, run like a fire,
Don’t you run in
In the lanes
Run for time.

Left school with a first class pass,
Started work but as second class.
School taught one and one is two.
But right now, that answer just ain’t true.

Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah, ah ah ah ah ah

My world is spinning around,
Everything is lost that I found.
People run, come ride with me,
Let’s find another place that’s free.

Ride, ride my see-saw,
Take this place
On this trip
Just for me.

Ride, take a free ride,
Take my place
Have my seat
It’s for free.

Ride, my see-saw.
Ride, ride, ride, my see-saw.
Ride, my see-saw…

Written for 9/30/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is “search”.

13 thoughts on “Going Psychedelic Today

  1. This album was actually the first thing that came to my mind when I first read Helen’s prompt, but I decided to go a different way. I’m glad you chose to go with the album and the song you used.

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  2. I almost mentioned these people when I was talking about some favorites of mine recently. (I was impressed with Days of Future Passed most of all). Even with passing favorites, this group was a favorite that just stayed for me. I’m glad to know the background of this song. (I looked up the meaning of Knights in White Satin, today, which I hadn’t really known either.)

    The Moody; haven’t heard them referred to that way. But you were “there.”

    Interesting to know about the Leary saying too. Good thoughts; too bad it was primarily through drugs (addictive and dangerous — some more or less than others).

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