“We don’t just do a musical performance. It’s a 45-minute happening.”—Marc Bolan on John’s Children in 1967
John’s Children were a mod-era proto-psychedelic, proto-glam, proto-punk rock British beat group who are today mostly regarded as a footnote in the career of Marc Bolan. The future T.Rex leader was briefly brought into the group to replace a departing guitarist by manager Simon Napier-Bell (who also managed the Yardbirds, and later Wham!). They were never Bolan’s band, although he did write a few songs for them.
Their flamboyant stage antics were reminiscent of the Who during their “auto-destruct” phase and featured pillow fights, feathers, fake blood and lots of beating up on their instruments. The group wore all white and apparently played quite loud. Their lyrics “went for it” in ways not typically done at the time, with a song like “Not the Sort of Girl (You’d Like to Take to Bed)” and an album that they titled Orgasm which their American label refused to release for four years. As one rock scribe remarked about John’s Children, they were “generally disrespectful and crazed” and once posed for a magazine advertisement wearing nothing more than some strategically placed flowers.
Probably the most notable John’s Children number is a powerfully strange ditty for the era titled “Smashed! Blocked!”:
Please! I’m losing my mind
Help me now before it’s too late
Try to bring me back
My eyes are tired
I’m losing my way
Where are you, where am I?
A few years ago a “Smashed! Blocked!” clip of somewhat mysterious origin turned up on YouTube. The group’s lead singer, Andy Ellison had this to say:
This is strange film clip, that Chris, John and myself (Andy Ellison) filmed for our first single, at the then famous, basement, ‘Establishment Club’ (Peter Cooks, satirical venue in Greek St Soho), 1967. The clip is made up from bits of film left on the cutting room floor. A technician must have kept them. And Somehow they have made it to YouTube! No Idea what happened to the proper film.
He went on to add:
SMASHED was a mod term for drunk and BLOCKED was a mod term for being pilled up (high on amphetamines).
Now ya know. Original copies of this single can sell for big bucks on Discogs.