The Tages — “Halcyon Days”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 16, 2021

286) The Tages — “Halcyon Days”

This ‘68 A-side by the Swedish band uses the same melody as the Herd’s ‘68 B-side “Our Fairy Tale” with largely different lyrics. Makes sense, as both were written by Andy Bown and the Herd’s Peter Frampton. See I guess the Swedes achieved Herd immunity!

Both songs are unapologetically giddy, sharing similar sentiments — “You will be happy with me in our fairy tale” vs. “Happiest days of our life (are here again)” — and sharing significant lyrics, but I think “Halycon Days” just works better. The words even sound more natural coming out of Swedish mouths. Maybe that explains ABBA?

As to the Tages, Richie Unterberger opines in All Music Guide that:

The[y] were without a doubt, the best Swedish band of the ’60s and one of the best ’60s rock acts of any sort from a non-English speaking country. Although the group’s first recordings were pretty weak Merseybeat derivations, in the mid-’60s they developed a tough, mod-influenced sound that echoed the Who and the Kinks. More than any other continental group, the Tages could have passed for a genuine British band . . . . Big throughout Scandinavia, the group actually made a determined effort to crack the English market in 1968, playing quite a few U.K. shows and releasing records there; they failed, and disbanded at the end of the year.

And Nostalgia Central tell us that:

The band released a number of singles and LPs in their native Sweden to considerable success, making the Swedish Top 10 more than a dozen times. Though remembered as one of the finest non-English speaking bands of the 1960s, they failed to ever really break into the US or UK markets. In . . . 1967 . . . they signed directly to Parlophone and one of their singles . . . was the (at the time) very controversial She’s Having A Baby Now which many radio stations refused to play because of the subject matter. The Tages also produced one of the world’s first psychedelic albums, named Extra Extra in 1966. Then they wanted to create a pop-music that was totally Swedish by learning old Swedish folk-music. After this, they produced their fifth and last album – named Studio – at Abbey Road in 1967. The album is very influenced by Swedish folk music and psychedelia and is remembered as the finest album from the sixties from a non-English speaking country (it has been called the ‘Sgt Pepper Of Sweden’).

Here is Herd:

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