Wednesday Night Music Byte
How about a “One Hit Wonder” from the 1960’s?
The Count Five was a 1960s garage rock band from San Jose, California, best known for their Top 10 single “Psychotic Reaction”.
The band was founded in 1964 by John “Mouse” Michalski (born 1948, Cleveland, Ohio) (lead guitar) and Kenn Ellner (born 1948, Brooklyn, New York) (harmonica, vocals), two high school friends who had previously played in several short-lived outfits. After going shortly under the name The Squires, and several line-up changes later, the Count Five were born. Roy Chaney (born 1948, Indianapolis, Indiana) took over bass duties, John “Sean” Byrne (born John Sean Byrne, in 1947, in Dublin, Ireland, died 17 December 2008) played rhythm guitar and lead vocals, and Craig “Butch” Atkinson (born 1947, San Jose, California, died 1998) played drums. The Count Five gained distinction for their habit of wearing Count Dracula-style capes when playing live.
“Psychotic Reaction”, an acknowledged cornerstone of garage rock, was initially devised by Byrne, with the group refining it and turning it into the highlight of their live sets. The song was influenced by the style of contemporary musicians such as The Standells and The Yardbirds. The band members were rejected by several record labels before they got signed to the Los Angeles-based Double Shot Records. “Psychotic Reaction” was released as a single, peaking at #5 in the U.S. charts in late 1966. The band got along for about another year, but dropped out of view altogether when their only hit had fallen from public memory. Another setback to a potential career in the music business was the decision of the five members (who were between the ages of 17 and 19) to pursue college degrees.
Please enjoy The Count performing their one and only hit.