"Itchycoo Park" is a song written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, first recorded by their group, the Small Faces. Largely written by Lane, it was one of the first music recordings to feature flanging, an effect at that time made possible by electro-mechanical processes. The location and etymology of the titular park has long been debated; many claiming it to be Little Ilford Park in Manor Park, East London or Wanstead Flats in Wanstead, East London. The single was not featured on any of their UK albums, but was however featured on the North American release There Are But Four Small Faces.
|Single by Small Faces|
|from the album There Are But Four Small Faces|
|B-side||"I'm Only Dreaming"|
|Released||4 August 1967|
24 July 1967
|Songwriter(s)||Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane|
|Producer(s)||Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane|
|Small Faces singles chronology|
Released on 4 August 1967 on Immediate Records, the song was the Small Faces' fifth top-ten song in the UK Singles Chart, reaching a position of number three. "Itchycoo Park" became the Small Faces' sole top-forty hit in the United States, reaching number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1968. It fared similarly well throughout Continental Europe, reaching the top ten in several countries there. The single was re-released in December 1975, reaching number nine in the UK Singles chart, and is often attributed as the reason for the Small Faces reunion during the mid-1970s.
"Itchycoo Park" was released by 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.
"Itchycoo Park" climbed the charts again when it was re-released on 13 December 1975.
The song was one of the first pop singles to use flanging, an effect that can be heard on the drums in the bridge section after each chorus. Most sources credit the use of the effect to Olympic Studios engineer George Chkiantz who showed it to the Small Faces' regular engineer Glyn Johns; he in turn demonstrated it to the group, who were always on the lookout for innovative production sounds, and they readily agreed to its use on the single.
Although many devices were soon created that could produce the same effect by purely electronic means, the effect as used on "Itchycoo Park" was at that time an electro-mechanical studio process. Two synchronised tape copies of a finished recording were played simultaneously into a third master recorder, and by manually retarding the rotation of one of the two tape reels by pressing on the flanges, a skilled engineer could subtly manipulate the phase difference between the two sources, creating the lush 'swooshing' phase effect that sweeps up and down the frequency range. The original single version was mixed and mastered in mono, and the phasing effect is more pronounced in the mono mix than in the later stereo mix.
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 songwriter 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.
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.
Ronnie Lane said of 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 actually".
Other possible etymologiesEdit
In an interview Steve Marriott stated that Itchycoo park is " Valentine's Park in Ilford. We used to go there and get stung by wasps. It's what we used to call it". This was reiterated by actor Tony Robinson, a childhood friend of Marriott's 
The term "Itchycoo" also appears in the Scots language from around the 1950s.
Steve Marriott once said of The Small Faces "(We) were a mix of R&B and music hall. The R&B came from Detroit, the music hall from Stepney. That's what 'Itchycoo Park' is about… having a drink and a party."
Itchy Park refers to the grounds of Christ Church Spitalfields in the East End of London, laid out as gardens in 1890.
In Japanese, Ginkgo is called "Itchyoo" and Itchycoo looks like misspell of "Itchyoo", there was memorial planting of "Itchyoo" at the Pembroke Dock, Wales, by Togo Heihachiro in late 19th century, and it might has some relation to the Itchycoo park.
M People versionEdit
|Single by M People|
|from the album Bizarre Fruit II|
|M People singles chronology|
British band M People did a dance version of "Itchycoo Park" in 1995. The track peaked on number 11 at the UK Singles Chart and was remixed by David Morales. It also peaked at number 21 in New Zealand, number 24 in Iceland and number 27 in Australia.
Aberdeen Press and Journal described the song as "refreshing". Jose F. Promis from AllMusic said it is an "epic version". Music & Media wrote that "chart darlings M People have reworked this Small Faces classic with equal measures of dance beats, a Billy Joel/River Of Dreams piano sound and marvellous gospel undertones. Their innovative arrangements will take them high into the charts with this one."
|1.||"Itchycoo Park" (Radio Edit)||3:52|
|2.||"Itchycoo Park" (M People Master Mix)||6:42|
|3.||"Itchycoo Park" (Morales Classic Club Mix)||7:52|
|4.||"Itchycoo Park" (Hed Boys Post-op Mix)||9:04|
|5.||"Itchycoo Park" (Morales Beautiful Instrumental)||6:22|
|Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)||22|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||55|
|Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)||24|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40 Tipparade)||14|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100 Tipparade)||4|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||21|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||11|
|UK Dance (OCC)||7|
Uses and other notable versionsEdit
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- 1984: covered by progressive rock band The Enid
- 1992: Rymes with Orange, on the album Peel
- 1993: Blue Murder cover on the album Nothin' But Trouble
- 1993: Heavy metal band Quiet Riot covered on the album Terrified.
- 1996: covered by Ben Lee for the I Shot Andy Warhol soundtrack
- 1996: Tasmin Archer covered the song as a bonus track to the Japanese edition of her album Bloom
- 1996: The song is featured in the soundtrack to the Australian film Mr. Reliable
- 1999: Itchycoo Park 1999 was a "Pre-Bonnaroo" like music festival in Manchester, Tennessee, the same place in which Bonnaroo is today. The festival was successful its first year but did not fulfill its plans to return in 2000.
- 1999: The song can be heard in the marijuana documentary Grass.
- 2006: The original version is heard in the opening scenes of the British film Severance starring Danny Dyer.
- 2009: Used in soundtrack for the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges.
- New Zealand/Australian band Dragon covered the song on their album It's All Too Beautiful (2011).
- 2015: Covered by Nellie McKay on her album My Weekly Reader.
- 2015: Covered by Alice Cooper's Hollywood Vampires on their debut album.
- 2018: The song can be heard in the Season 2 finale of The Handmaid's Tale. Commander Lawrence plays the song at his home.
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- Kent, David. (2005). Australian chart book (1940-1969). Turramurra, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-44439-5. OCLC 62561852.
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- "FRIDAY NOVEMBER 17 1995". Aberdeen Press and Journal. 17 November 1995. page 12. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
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- "Offiziellecharts.de – M People – Itchycoo Park" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 149 Vikuna 23.12. '95 – 5.1. '96)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 23 December 1995. p. 44. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
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- "M People - Itchycoo Park" (in Dutch). top40.nl. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
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- "Mr. Reliable - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
- "Itchycoo Park, soundtrack to Severance film". 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2007.