Seven and Seven Is: Background
The piece, by Arthur Lee and recorded by Love in 1966, took a great deal of work to record. Love’s drummer, Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer, was unable to cope with its frantic demands after 30 takes and was replaced on drums by Lee. The song climaxes in an apocalyptic explosion—the supposed sound of an atom bomb— before a peaceful conclusion, in a blues form, before it fades out.
The song drew inspiration from a high school sweetheart of Lee’s who shared his birthday, the 7th of March. It also describes Lee’s frustration at teenage life. The reference to “in my lonely room I’d sit, my mind in an ice cream cone” suggests sitting in the corner, wearing a dunce’s cap. The song peaked at 33 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and was the band’s only hit single. Described as “protopunk,” it was later covered by the Ramones and Alice Cooper before Rush. It’s thought that the song’s use of kicking a reverb unit to create the explosion sound might be one of the first, if not the first, use of this device to create a “psychedelic” sound on a recording.—Wikipedia
Neil in the liner notes to the Feedback album suggests neither he nor his bandmates covered the song in their early years, but they included it in their EP because it was among the songs they liked from the era and they thought they could cover it effectively “meaning not too many backing vocals” and have some fun with.
The song title is spelled out as “Seven & Seven Is” on the original album cover, but written as “7 and 7 Is” on the original 45.
Rush’s version of the song was included on one side of a special vinyl release, along with the original version of the song by Love, on Record Store Day 2014, which was April 19. Learn more.
~ by rvkeeper on January 12, 2011.