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One Fine Day at a Stoned Soul Picnic

Lawrence Bush
May 26, 2017

Two songs made into hits by black vocalists and written by white Jewish songwriters were released on this date in 1963 and 1968, respectively: “One Fine Day,” recorded by the Chiffons and written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin; and “Stoned Soul Picnic,” recorded by The Fifth Dimension and written by Laura Nyro. “One Fine Day” hit the top five on the Billboard Chart, and “Stoned Soul Picnic” hit #2 and became a platinum record. The older song made use of dreamy 1950s sexual roles, the girl longing for the day when the run-around boy would “want to settle down.” The newer song mystified with its make-believe verb, “surry” (“Surry down to a stoned soul picnic”) and its sensual spirituality. All three songwriters are in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. To see The Chiffons singing their hit, look below; to see Carole King’s own version, look below that. Then go further down to hear The 5th Dimension, and below that to hear Laura Nyro.

“Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Rain and sun come in akin
And from the sky come the Lord and the lightning” --Laura Nyro

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.