The Letter/Neon Rainbow

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The Letter/Neon Rainbow
Studio album by The Box Tops
Released November 1967
Recorded American Sound Studio, Memphis, TN
Genre Blue-eyed soul, rock
Length 34:56 (LP)
45:33 (CD Reissue)
Label Bell (6011-S)
Producer Dan Penn
The Box Tops chronology
The Letter/Neon Rainbow
Cry Like a Baby

The Letter/Neon Rainbow is an album by American blue-eyed soul band The Box Tops, released in 1967. Following "The Letter" reaching number one on the singles charts, The Letter/Neon Rainbow was quickly assembled for a follow up. The album peaked at number 87 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart in 1968.


Most of the backing tracks were performed by session musicians, however the original group played the hit "The Letter". The session musicians likely consisted of guitarists Reggie Young and Bobby Womack, bassist Tommy Cogbill, pianist and organist Bobby Emmons and drummer Gene Chrisman.[1][2]

Although lead singer Alex Chilton (16 at the time) had already written a number of songs, none were included on the Box Tops' debut LP, perhaps due to his relative inexperience with songwriting. Chilton later had a significant songwriting role in the cult power pop band Big Star, and after the dissolution of the group continued to develop his career as a solo artist.

The Letter/Neon Rainbow was re-released on CD in 2000 on the Sundazed label (SC 6158) with four additional tracks. These included the mono single versions of "The Letter" and "Neon Rainbow", the 1969 single "Turn on a Dream" and a previously unreleased track "Georgia Farm Boy".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]

Writing for Allmusic, music critic Richie Unterberger noted Chilton's strong vocals but called the album "a spotty affair showing every indication of having been assembled very quickly in the wake of "The Letter" soaring to number one."[2]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Letter" (Wayne Carson Thompson) – 1:55
  2. "She Knows How" (Thompson) – 3:08
  3. "Trains and Boats and Planes" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 3:48
  4. "Break My Mind" (John D. Loudermilk) – 2:29
  5. "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (Gary Brooker, Keith Reid) – 4:34
  6. "Everything I Am" (Spooner Oldham, Dan Penn) – 2:20
  7. "Neon Rainbow" (Thompson) – 3:04
  8. "People Make the World" (Bobby Womack) – 2:31
  9. "I'm Your Puppet" (Oldham, Penn) – 2:54
  10. "Happy Times" (Oldham, Penn) – 1:46
  11. "Gonna Find Somebody" (Womack) – 3:02
  12. "I Pray for Rain" (Oldham, Penn) – 2:26

CD Bonus Tracks[edit]

  1. "Turn on a Dream" (Mark James) – 2:50
  2. "The Letter" (Thompson) – 1:58
  3. "Neon Rainbow" (Thompson) – 3:00
  4. "Georgia Farm Boy" (Newbury) – 3:48


  • Alex Chilton – vocals, guitar
  • Bill Cunningham – bass
  • John Evans – keyboards
  • Danny Smythe – drums
  • Gary Talley – guitar, background vocals
  • Dan Penn – background vocals
  • Unnamed session musicians — see above.

Production notes[edit]

  • Produced by Dan Penn
  • Engineered by Chips Moman
  • Remastered by Bob Irwin at Sundazed Studios, Coxsackie, NY
  • Original cover photo by Frank Lerner
  • Cover art by Rich Russell
  • Original cover design – Steven Craig Productions
  • Liner notes by Jud Cost and Hal Smith (original and re-issue)
  • Re-issue photos & graphics courtesy of Bill Cunningham, Danny Smythe, Clark & Steve Besch, Ric Zannitto, and the Sundazed Archive


  1. ^ Box Tops official web site FAQs.
  2. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "The Letter/Neon Rainbow > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved September 1, 2011. 

External links[edit]