Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus is the fourth album by the American psychedelic rock group Spirit. It was produced by David Briggs, who is best known for his work with Neil Young. The original LP was released in November 1970 by Epic. The band's lowest charting album to that point, it peaked at #63 on the Billboard 200 in February 1971, spending only fourteen weeks on the chart. However, it sold well as a catalog item and became the band's only album to ultimately attain a RIAA gold certification in the U.S., achieving that status in 1976.[5] On the Canadian RPM Magazine Top 100 charts, the album reached #49 and was in the top 100 for 10 weeks.[6]

Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 27, 1970
RecordedApril–October 1970
GenrePsychedelic rock, progressive rock [1]
ProducerDavid Briggs
Spirit chronology
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[4]

"Nature's Way" became one of Spirit's signature songs, but was not a big hit at the time, peaking at #111 on the Billboard pop charts in 1971. To capitalize on the album's enduring appeal, "Mr. Skin" (the B-side of "Nature's Way") was released as an A-side in 1973 and also charted, peaking at #92. It was voted number 332 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). [7]

Despite these commercial limitations, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus enjoyed significant airing on college FM radio. The album was re-issued on CD in 1996 by Sony in remastered form, with bonus tracks.


Writing in Rolling Stone, Nick Tosches opined that the album was a "blockbuster" despite some shortcomings.[8]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Randy California except noted:

Side one
1."Prelude – Nothin' to Hide" 3:41
2."Nature's Way" 2:30
3."Animal Zoo"Ferguson3:20
4."Love Has Found a Way"California, Locke2:42
5."Why Can't I Be Free?" 1:03
6."Mr. Skin"Ferguson3:50
Side two
7."Space Child (instrumental)"Locke3:26
8."When I Touch You"Ferguson5:35
9."Street Worm"Ferguson3:40
10."Life Has Just Begun" 3:22
11."Morning Will Come" 2:58
12."Soldier" 2:43
Total length:38:58
Bonus tracks on the 1996 reissue
Bonus tracks
13."Rougher Road" †¹" 3:16
14."Animal Zoo (mono single version)†"Ferguson3:10
15."Morning Will Come (mono version)†¹" 2:58
16."Red Light Roll On (mono single version) †" 5:40
Total length:52:22
  • † – Tracks specific to the 1996 reissue
  • ¹ – Previously unreleased material



Additional personnelEdit

  • Matt Andes – Dobro (on "Nothin' to Hide")


  • David Briggs – Producer
  • Vic Anesini – Mastering
  • Adam Block – Project Director
  • David Blumberg – Horn Arrangements ("Mr. Skin", "Morning Will Come")
  • Ira Cohen – Photography
  • Jeff Smith – Package Design
  • Bob Irwin – Compilation Producer



Year Chart Position
1971 Billboard 200 63
1971 RPM TOP 100 49

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sir Robbo's Double Dipped Dozen: a psychedelic summer selection" (PDF). Cyclic Defrost. November 1998. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 13, 2019 – via
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  5. ^ RIAA Database
  6. ^ title RPM Magazine
  7. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 133. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  8. ^ Tosches, Nick (4 March 1971). "Spirit: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2011.

External linksEdit