Grazing in the Grass
|"Grazing in the Grass"|
|Single by Hugh Masekela|
|from the album The Promise of a Future|
|B-side||"Bajabula Bonke (Healing Song)"|
|Recorded||March 12, 1968|
|Hugh Masekela singles chronology|
"Grazing in the Grass" is an instrumental composed by Philemon Hou and first recorded by the South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Released in the United States as a single in 1968, it hit no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, ranking it as the 18th biggest hit of the year.
"Grazing in the Grass" was inspired by an earlier Masekela recording, "Mr. Bull No. 5". Hou, an actor and singer, came up with the melody while the backing track was already being recorded. The session was held at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood.
- Hugh Masekela - Trumpet
- Bruce Langhorne - Guitar
- Al Abreu - Alto sax
- William Henderson - Piano
- Henry Franklin - Bass
- Chuck Carter - Drums
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
The Friends of Distinction version
|"Grazing in the Grass"|
|Single by The Friends of Distinction|
|from the album Grazin'|
|B-side||"I Really Hope You Do"|
|Format||Vinyl 7", Single, 45 RPM, 8-Track|
|Genre||Pop, R&B, psychedelic soul|
|Writer(s)||Philemon Hou, Harry Elston|
|The Friends of Distinction singles chronology|
The Friends of Distinction recorded a vocal cover version of the tune in 1969 on RCA Victor which was also a Top Ten pop and R&B hit, reaching no. 3 on the former and no. 5 on the latter. One of the group's members, Harry Elston, wrote lyrics for the song and sang lead on the Friends Of Distinction's version of it.
- The Friends of Distinction - vocals
- Max Bennett - electric bass,
- Johnny Guthrie - drums,
- Al Casey and Arthur Wright - guitars,
- Gene Cipriano - piccolo flute,
- John Audino, Anthony Terran, Bud Childers, Dalton Smith - trumpets,
- King Efferson - congas,
- Douglas Davis - cello,
- Jim Horn - tenor saxophone,
- Garry Nuttycombe - viola,
- Harry Bluestone, Jimmy Getzoff - violins,
- Jack Arnold - percussion, and
- Larry Knechtel - piano.
|US Billboard Hot 100||3|
|US Billboard Hot Soul Singles||5|
Other cover versions
|"Grazing in the Grass"|
|Single by Raven-Symoné|
|from the album The Lion King 1½ and
This Is My Time
|Genre||R&B, dance-pop, soul|
|Raven-Symoné singles chronology|
"Grazing in the Grass" has been recorded by many other musicians, including Stevie Wonder (on his 1968 album Eivets Rednow), Chet Atkins, Galapagos Duck, Boney James, Rick Braun, Larry Harlow, Willie Mitchell, The Monitors, The Scofflaws, Meco, and cc: DIVA.
In 2004, the song was covered by Raven-Symoné; her version was played on Radio Disney, but it never received a general commercial release as a single for airplay in other venues. The video for her version features her and dancing extras interacting with scenes from The Lion King 1½.
It is also a staple in the repertoire of New Orleans brass bands.
Appearances in other media
- In the 2007 biopic Talk to Me, it can be heard following the scene in which Petey Greene is told by his manager that he is to appear on The Tonight Show.
- In the 2006 film Bobby, the song plays during the ballroom scene.
- It is in the soundtrack of the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland.
- In the 2004 film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the Friends of Distinction version can be heard during the pool party scene. The song is also heard in the trailers for both that film and its sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
- In the 2000 film Space Cowboys, it is played in the background during the scene when Clint Eastwood's character meets up with Tommy Lee Jones's character at the latter's place of business. This particular version of "Grazing in the Grass" was recorded by Rick Braun and Boney James.
- In the 1997 film "Jackie Brown," the version by Larry Harlow's Orchestra Harlow can be heard playing in the background when Samuel L. Jackson's character, Ordell Robbie, shoots Robert De Niro's character, Louis Gara.
- In the 1995 film I Shot Andy Warhol, it is heard at the beginning of a party at The Factory.
- In the 1988 film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, The Friends of Distinction's version plays on a car stereo in a scene featuring Isaac Hayes singing along--but off-key, for comic effect--to annoy his passenger, played by Jim Brown. Brown had actually discovered The Friends of Distinction, leading to their signing with RCA Records and the release of "Grazing in the Grass" as their first single.
- Raven-Symoné covered the song for The Lion King 1½ soundtrack, as noted above, and she included her version of it in her third studio album This Is My Time (2004) as the first single.
- The Friends of Distinction's version of "Grazing in the Grass" played in the background of an Old Navy commercial featuring Morgan Fairchild, and at the end of a series of 2013 co-op TV ads for the movie Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (in whose trailer it also appears, as noted above) and Dodge Durango trucks.
- "Grazing in the grass is a gas, baby, can you dig it?" was used as a riff during a picnic scene in the short film, A Day at the Fair, on the comedy show Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was said in a dry, stodgy tone that mimicked the narrator of the short.
- Hugh Masekela's 2004 autobiography, which he dictated to journalist D. Michael Cheers, is titled Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 380.
- Bronson, Fred; Adam White (1993). The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits. Billboard Books. p. 49.
- Payne, Douglas. "Hugh Masekela Discography 1955-1969". Retrieved August 12, 2009.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 215.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top 40 Hits: 1955-2009. Record Research. p. 256.
- Masekela, Hugh, as told to Cheers, D. Michael, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela. Crown Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-609-60957-2.
"This Guy's in Love with You" by Herb Alpert
|Billboard Hot 100 number one single
(Hugh Masekela version)
July 20, 1968 - August 3, 1968 (two weeks)
"Hello, I Love You" by The Doors
"I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)" by The Temptations
|Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
July 13, 1968 – August 3, 1968 (four weeks)
"Stay in My Corner" by The Dells