The Ides of March — “My Foolish Pride”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 28, 2022

431) The Ides of March — “My Foolish Pride”

As Clark Besch notes, “with 1967’s [A-side] “My Foolish Pride,” we get the first taste of the layered horn sound to become the [IOM’s] trademark in a few short years.” ( The culmination of that sound was, of course, “Vehicle”, the band’s #2 hit in 1970. Anyway, “Pride” is a remarkably sophisticated garage rock tune, especially considering it was written and performed by teenagers from Berwyn, Illinois.

As to IOM’s origins, Mark Deming explains:

The [band is] best-known for the tough, “hard rock with horns” sound of their 1970 hit “Vehicle,” but that’s just one facet of the group’s body of work. In the mid-’60s, they played British Invasion-influenced garage rock with a dash of folk on a handful of singles . . . . The story of the Ides of March began in 1964, when four friends who went to school together in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, Illinois decided to form a band. With Jim Peterik [yes, the “Eye of the Tiger” Jim Peterik] on vocals and guitar . . . the group adopted the name the Shon Dels . . . . and in 1966, they changed their name to the Ides of March, after [a band member] had read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in English class. . . . [After] Parrot signed the band . . . . “You Wouldn’t Listen” rose to number five on the Chicago singles charts, and . . . [#]42 [nationwide].

Richie Unterberger adds:

Although they recorded a number of singles throughout the rest of the 1960s . . . and had another sizable local hit with “Roller Coaster,” the Ides never did break nationally at this stage, or manage to get an LP out. They continued to work as a popular regional live act, however, in the process expanding into harder, heavier, more soulful sounds from their original British Invasion-inspired style. They . . . add[ed] a horn section along the way and ke[pt] their multi-part vocal harmonies. “We started as a British Invasion wanna-be band, really, kind of Curtis Mayfield-meets-the-Hollies,” remarks . . . Peterik . . . . “We loved that sound, but as the band wore on, we started wanting to do songs with brass, like the James Brown stuff and Arthur Conley’s ‘Sweet Soul Music.’ We got a trumpet, and that was seductive; then we got another. It was kind of a gradual process . . . . But then we started injecting some of the brass in even one of the Parrot singles, ‘My Foolish Pride.'”

Peterik explained in an interview that “My Foolish Pride was very Rubber Soul inspired (reference Girl). I wrote it on this cheap little Performachord organ . . . and in fact that sound made it on to the record and contributed to its unique character. Steve Daniels had just joined the band on trumpet and I wrote a cool line for him to play.” ( The interviewer, Kent Kotal, said that “It is, without question, one of my all-time favorite Ides Of March tracks.  This song should have been a monster hit.  Was this an attempt to take the band in another direction?” Peterik responded “[t]o an extent, since this was really the first use of horns on an Ides record.” Kotal then observed that: “Honestly in hindsight it sounds a little Tijuana Brassy … but it has SUCH a great feel to it . . . there isn’t another Ides record that I can think of that captures so many different moods in under three minutes!”  Peterik concluded that: “It’s a really bittersweet ode.  Many moods as you say.  And that cheesy Performachord organ really makes it. Yes, Tijuana Brassy for sure.”

Kent, it is also one of my all-time favorite IOM tracks. Oh, and Kent, I think you’re on to something:

[C]heck out that opening note pattern . . . listening to it again, I am now convinced that Jimi Hendrix took that very same patten and was inspired to create . . . “Purple Haze” a year later . . . seriously . . . just listen to this intro . . . .

Yes, Jimi Hendrix stole “Purple Haze” from the IOM!

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