A Public Execution

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"A Public Execution"
A Public Execution.jpg
Single by Mouse and the Traps
B-side"All for You"
ReleasedDecember 1965
Format7" single
Recorded1965, Robin Hood Studio
Songwriter(s)Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss, Knox Henderson
Producer(s)Robin Hood Brians
Mouse and the Traps singles chronology
"A Public Execution"
"Made of Sugar, Made of Spice"

"A Public Execution" is a song by the American band Mouse and the Traps, also credited simply as Mouse, written by Ronnie "Mouse" Weiss and Knox Henderson, and first released as the group's debut single on Fraternity Records in December 1965 (see 1965 in music). The song was a big regional hit in Texas and peaked in the lower reaches of the Billboard charts, but has become better-known today, in large part, due to the band's uncanny imitation of Highway 61 Revisited-era Bob Dylan.[1]

"A Public Execution" was originally a one-time studio-project by Weiss at Robin Hood Studios, with no real expectations for commercial success.[2] The song is based around a basic ascending tandem guitar-organ riff that has a striking similarity to Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone". It's Dylanesque characteristics continue with Weiss's lead vocal, described by music historian Richie Unterberger as being "like vintage Dylan, a grinning, surrealistic, half-spoken rant" that boasted about being better-off without a woman. Weiss's homage, borderline parody, to Dylan concludes with an enthusiastic yowl, again, a detail featured on "Like a Rolling Stone".[3][4] Unterberger goes on to characterize "A Public Execution" as "one of the few rip-offs so utterly accurate that it could easily fool listeners into believing it was the original article". Arguably, the tune is among the most accurate Dylan imitations to emerge from the era, not even replicated by Mouse and the Traps on their later recordings.[5]

Upon release, "A Public Execution" bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100 at number 121.[6] It was a tremendous regional hit for the group and proved to be their most successful release.[1] The tune has since gained wider recognition for being featured on the groundbreaking album Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 in 1972, along with other Nuggets releases More Nuggets, Volume 2 and Nuggets: Volume 6, Punk Part 2. In later years, the song has appeared on the compilation albums Public Execution and The Fraternity Years.[3]


  1. ^ a b Kaye, Lenny (1972). "Nugget: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 (liner notes)". Rhino Records. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ "The Fraternity Years - Mouse and the Traps". acerecords.co.uk. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "A Public Execution - Review". allmusic.com. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Winfree, Martin. "A Public Market". Underappreciated Rock Bands. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Mouse & the Traps". allmusic.com. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.