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02/27/2010

Lee Freeman, Strawberry Alarm Clock's gentle soul

February 27, 2010 | 11:23 am

Lee Freeman, a founding member of the 1960s group the Strawberry Alarm Clock, was "a gentle soul and free spirit," said bandmate George Bunnell. "You can hear it in his songs." Freeman died Feb. 14 of cancer. He was 60.

StrawberryI asked Bunnell during an e-mail conversation for a story about Freeman that was connected to a specific song. Here is part of his reply:

"We were asked by Dick Clark to take part in his movie 'Psych-Out.' He asked us not only to appear in it as ourselves, but to provide several songs as the landscape.

"More importantly he asked us to write the theme song. He had been using Simon & Garfunkel's 'Sounds of Silence' as the temporary theme. He wanted something along those lines as the central character played by the late Susan Strasberg was deaf and blind.

"Lee immediately had an idea for the lyrics and along with our guitarist Ed King they wrote and sang one of the most gorgeous pieces of psych pop ever recorded, 'Pretty Song From Psych-Out.' Not the title they had intended the song to have ... but, oh well. It was released as a single (the B side to 'Sit With the Guru') and appears on both the 'Psych-Out' soundtrack LP (but performed by a group called the Story Book ... oddly enough?) and on the Strawberry Alarm Clock's 'Wake Up It's Tomorrow' LP."

Above you'll find a video to another song from the "Psych-Out" soundtrack, "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow." And you can find Freeman's obituary here.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: The cover of the Strawberry Alarm Clock's album "Incense and Peppermints."

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