Kites (song)

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Kites Simon Dupree.jpg
Single by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound
B-side "Like The Sun Like The Fire"
Released October 27, 1967 (1967-10-27)
Format Single
Genre Pop, psychedelic pop
Label Parlophone
Songwriter(s) Hal Hackady, Lee Pockriss
Producer(s) David Paramor

"Kites" is a ballad written by Hal Hackady and Lee Pockriss. It was first recorded by the Rooftop Singers as their last single in 1967.[1]

The song then became a hit for Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, the group of the Shulman brothers who went on to form the progressive rock band Gentle Giant. Their first releases had not been successful and they looked to their manager, John King, for inspiration. He suggested "Kites", which he had obtained from Robbins' Music. This was not their preferred style but King insisted.[2]

The song was recorded at Abbey Road using unconventional instruments such as a wind machine and included a spoken interlude in Chinese, composed of "sweet nothings"[3] and performed[4] by the actress Jacqui Chan[5], a friend of the band. The single reached number 8 in the UK Singles chart in late 1967,[6] and as an exemplar of the early psychedelic rock style it has since appeared on many compilations, especially those themed around psychedelia[7].It features the mellotron.[8]

Other performances[edit]

  • The Finnish rock singer Kirka recorded a Finnish version, "Leijat", in 1969.
  • The Cyrkle released a version of the song on their 1970 album, The Minx [Original Soundtrack].[9]
  • The Israeli band Nikmat Hatraktor (נקמת הטרקטור, "The Tractor's Revenge") recorded a Hebrew version of the song, which appeared on their eponymous debut album (1990).
  • A version of Kites is included in Arthur Brown's 2007 album The Voice of Love.
  • In 1981, Billy Mackenzie of The Associates covered this song under the name "39 Lyon Street."
  • The Associates also included a version of it on the 12" single of "Breakfast".
  • In 1990 the group Ultraviolet released a progressive house version of the track. It was featured on the compilation Northern Exposure by Sasha and Digweed in 1997 and is held in high regard by many as one of the best examples of the genre.


  1. ^ "The Rooftop Singers - Kites / My Life Is My Own - Atco - USA - 45-6526". 1967-10-07. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  2. ^ Paul Stump (2003), Gentle Giant: Acquiring the Taste, p. 18, ISBN 978-0-946719-61-7 
  3. ^ For a brief discussion and possible translation, see: "In the 1967 hit "Kites" by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, a girl speaks in an apparent Chinese dialect. Does anyone know what it means? | Notes and Queries |". Retrieved 2017-07-13. 
  4. ^ Dupree, Peter O'Flaherty, Bass Player with Simon. "Simon Dupree - Trivia stories about the band". Retrieved 2017-07-13. 
  5. ^ "Person - National Portrait Gallery". Retrieved 2017-07-13. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 173. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ See, for example, "Various - The Psychedelic Years". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-07-13. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  9. ^ Richie Unterberger. "The Minx [Original Soundtrack] - The Cyrkle | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 

External links[edit]