The Illusion — “Happy Days”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 18, 2022

359) The Illusion — “Happy Days”

This is not your mother’s “Happy Days Are Here Again”, or even Richie and the Fonz’s “Happy Days.” Bruce Eder and John McCarthy say that the song, from the band’s ’69 album Together (as a Way of Life), is “a dramatic mid-tempo number with choral vocals and prominent electric piano.” Translation: it is a chilling rock retelling of the Old Testament sagas of Adam and Eve and Noah and the Flood — but chilling in a really cool way! The repeated foreboding piano refrain is classic. I’d love to hear Dylan play this song — it’s right up there with “Foot of Pride.”

And to top it all off, the Illusion was a Lon-giland band! Now I can’t imagine Billy Joel doing the song, but the melody is sad and sweet. Anyway, Dennis Folger writes on the band’s official website that:

[O]ne of long Island’s greatest bands[, t]he Illusion will always be remembered for their incredible harmonies, insane light shows, raw energy, intense mind-expanding sound effects, & great musicianship. . . . The[ir first] album did very well, & the band had a hit with: “Did you see her eyes?” which went to #1 in some areas of New York & #[3]2 in the nation. Although the album didn’t make it to gold, it did so well that Paramount (instead of advertising the record) wanted another record from the band. The band’s new album [Together (as a Way of Life)] was rushed in three days, however, it did not have the success of their first lp.  Two songs from this second album charted — “Together” reached #80 and “How Does it Feel?” #110 . . . .

Michael Unold, also on the band’s website, writes that:

Some say the Long Island Sound were The Rascals. The Vagrants. The Vanilla Fudge. But to many, leading the way was a five-man outfit called Illusion. Known for their sweet harmonies and stellar musicianship, the band drew a large & loyal following on the East Coast. . . . Having a top 40 hit on Jeff Barry’s Steed label, “Did You See Her Eyes”, gave them the opportunity to do their first tour with Mitch Ryder. Illusion later went on to open for such acts as Chicago, The Who, Savoy Brown, The Allman Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone just to name a few. Also, along with Cactus, the Illusion were a support act for Jimi Hendrix at the Boston Garden in 1970, shortly before his tragic death.

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song. At present, over 80% of the songs on the Off the Charts roster are available on Spotify and are on the playlist.

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