"Itchycoo Park" was released by mod band The Small Faces in August, 1967. Together with "Lazy Sunday", "Tin Soldier" and "All or Nothing", the song is one of the band's biggest hits and has become a classic of its time. The song reached number 16 in the American Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968.
Long running British music magazine NME cites readers poll voting "Itchycoo Park" number 62 out of top 100 singles of all time.
"Itchycoo Park" climbed to the top of the charts again when it was re-released on 13 December 1975. The song was first thought of by Ronnie Lane, who had been reading a leaflet on the virtues of Oxford which mentioned its dreaming spires.
A number of sources claim the song's name is derived from the nickname of Little Ilford Park, on Church Road in the London suburb of Manor Park, where Small Faces' singer and song-writer Steve Marriott grew up. The "itchycoo" nickname is, in turn, attributed to the stinging nettles which grew there. Other sources cite nearby Wanstead Flats (Manor Park end) as the inspiration for the song.
Marriott and Small Faces manager Tony Calder came up with the well-known story when Marriott was told the BBC had banned the song for its overt drug references, Calder confirms:
"We scammed the story together, we told the BBC that Itchycoo Park was a piece of waste ground in the East End that the band had played on as kids - we put the story out at ten and by lunchtime we were told the ban was off." - Tony Calder
Ronnie Lane on the true location of Itchycoo Park:
"It's a place we used to go to in Ilford years ago. Some bloke we know suggested it to us because it's full of nettles and you keep scratching". - Ronnie Lane
Another local park, in the nearby town of Ilford, called Valentines Park, was also often referred to as Itchycoo Park. Itchy Park is located in the East End of London and dates back to the Victorian era.
Most clips from that era are lip-synced. According to those who actually saw the band live (which I unhappily am not amongst) claimed they were monsters live, with a massive, heavy sound belying their pop origins.
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