Blame Chuck Miller for getting The Shape of Things in my head. For his K-Chuck Radio: More Forgotten 70’s Hits, half of which I’d never heard, I wondered which version of the title song the Headboys played. As it turns out, it a different iteration altogether, and now that I heard it, it was vaguely familiar.
One of my few singles purchases in the 1960s was The Shape Of Things To Come by Max Frost And The Troopers, written by the prolific Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. I remember it being a very short song, less than two minutes, and with a red label.
What I did not know until far later was that the attributed band was in fact “a fictional rock music group created for the exploitation film Wild in the Streets, released in 1968. The film featured Christopher Jones as the highly influential singer Max Frost.” It only got to #22 on the US charts, which surprised me; I thought it was a bigger hit. But it stayed two weeks at #2 in Canada.
It was only around then that I heard an earlier song with a similar name. The British invasion group the Yardbirds had recorded The Shape of Things, arguably “can justifiably be classified as the first psychedelic rock classic.”. This would be the iteration of the band with Jeff Beck, after Eric Clapton left, and before Jimmy Page joined. It was a #11 single in the spring of 1966 in the US, getting to #3 in the UK and #7 in Canada.
The Headboys was a Scottish group, and their Shape of Things to Come only got to #67 on the US pop charts, and #45 on the UK charts, in 1979, a classic one-hit-wonder.