Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series,where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Green-Eyed Lady By Sugarloaf, Album: Sugarloaf (1970)
Who is the green-eyed lady? According to lead singer Jerry Corbetta, it was his girlfriend at the time, Kathy, who is bandmates referred to as the green-eyed lady. He wrote the song with producer J.C. Phillips and a songwriter named David Riordan.
Since “Green-Eyed Lady” gets almost daily play on US radio stations to this day and none of their other songs do, many will be surprised to know that Sugarloaf is not a one-hit wonder; their other hit is “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” from 1975 at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Green-Eyed Lady,” at #3, is their best-known (and somewhat overplayed) single.
One of the reasons that the hook is so catchy is that it’s based on a piece of a scale exercise that frontman Jerry Corbetta found in a book.
The band was originally called “Chocolate Hair” but after getting signed to a record label, they had to change their name because managers were nervous about the potentially racist interpretation of that name (that and the name would have permanently branded them as ’60s psychedelics). They chose “Sugarloaf” after a local Colorado ski resort.
Jerry Corbetta played the organ solo on this track in addition to singing lead. He played it in the style of jazz musician Jimmy Smith, his idol.
In the single version, which is all you’ll hear on the radio and also in most compilation albums, the song length is about three and a half minutes. The album version is extended to seven minutes for Corbetta’s lengthy – but dazzling – organ solo.
Sugarloaf was formed from the remains of the band The Moonrakers, with five members of that group carried over. Interestingly, “Moonraker” doesn’t just refer to a James Bond film, but also to a nickname for people from Wiltshire in South West Country England. The story goes that the people there were discovered running a rake through a pond at night, trying to retrieve treasure. When a revenue man asked what they were up to, their excuse was that they were trying to retrieve a wheel of cheese from the pond (the reflection of the full moon). The revenue guy walked off chuckling at their simple-mindedness, and the villagers didn’t have to pay taxes.