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Tomorrow

In the early days of British psychedelia, three bands were consistently cited as first-generation figureheads of the London-based underground sound: Pink Floyd,The Soft Machine, and Tomorrow.

tomorrow_355Emerging from the mod influences of The In-Crowd, the band included singer Keith West, guitarist Steve Howe (later of Yes), and bassist Twink – later of The Pink Fairies.

Pink Floyd became superstars, and The Soft Machine, influential cult legends, but Tomorrow is mostly remembered (if at all) for featuring Howe as their lead guitarist. That’s a pity, as Tomorrow were nearly the equal of the two more celebrated outfits.

With the early Floyd and Soft Machine, they shared a propensity for flower-power whimsy. Though they were less recklessly innovative and imaginative, their song writing was accomplished, with adroit harmonies, psychedelic guitar work, and adventurous structures and tempo changes.

They never succumbed to mindless indulgence or jamming – indeed their tracks were rather short and tightly woven in comparison with most psychedelic bands.

A couple of singles were underground favourites, especially My White Bicycle – a song about the campaign by an Amsterdam group of hippies known as The Provos to leave free, white-painted bicycles all over the city, for the free use of all – but the group only managed to record one (self-titled) album before breaking up in 1968.

tomorrow_232That sole album contained a number of first-rate tracks though; Real Life Permanent Dream has engaging harmonies and sitar riffs, Revolution is an infectious hippie anthem, and Now Your Time Has Come features intricate riffing from Steve Howe.

Hallucinations – with its irresistible melody, gentle harmonies, and affectingly trippy lyrics – was perhaps their best track, while the aforementioned My White Bicycle was one of the first songs to prominently feature backwards guitar phasing.

Lead singer Keith West, even before the break-up, had a number two British hit with Excerpt from a Teenage Opera (1967), which helped inspired Pete Townshend‘s Tommy.

Drummer Twink joined The Pretty Things and, later, The Pink Fairies.

Keith West
Vocals
Steve Howe
Guitar
John ‘Junior’  Wood
Bass
John ‘Twink’ Alder
Drums

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