Nuggets: Too Many People by The Leaves

Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.

Track 90: Too Many People by The Leaves
Release Date: 1966
From: San Fernando Valley, California
Rating: 8/10

‘Too Many People’ is the second song from The Leaves on Nuggets. They’re best known for their cover of ‘Hey Joe’, recording their version before Jimi Hendrix or The Byrds. ‘Too Many People’ was their debut single, and it’s a worthy addition to the set.

The Leaves formed in 1964, inspired by The Beatles. They played their first gig at a school gym in 1965, on the same bill as Captain Beefheart. They replaced The Byrds for a residency at Ciro’s on Sunset Strip, where they were discovered by Pat Boone and offered a recording contract. The band only stuck around for two albums, and are mostly known for the two songs contained on Nuggets.

‘Too Many People’ is a solid song with a nice bassline, and vocalist Jim Poms is a cut above most Nuggets singers. Poms is the band’s most notable member – he went on to play with The Turtles and Frank Zappa, before embarking on a long career as a football video director.

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  1. Catchy tune. Don’t know it but like it. And is ‘Hey Joe’ such a great song that everybody has to record it? Pons has quite the interesting unknown story. His bass playing is pretty propulsive in this but he must be pretty good technically because Zappa’s music is complex. And then he becomes a football movie director? Well, like many of us, he finds out that rock and roll doesn’t always provide a living wage. He should write a book. Oh, wait!

  2. I almost blogged this one a few years ago. The rhythm section is fluid in this and yes I do like his voice. I really like the album cover…you can’t beat paisley.

    • Yup, there are other British Invasion bands that the garage bands were mimicking too – The Animals, The Stones, The Kinks, etc. But The Beatles hitting in early 1964 was a watershed moment for a lot of those bands I think.

    • I have this old Rolling Stone collection of articles and the Captain Beefheart interview is pretty amazing – paints him as psychic etc.

  3. I like the music on this but the song is just kind of okay. A couple weeks ago I was comparing the original two disc Nuggets with the four disc Nuggets and trying to decide which tracks I would take from each one to make an ideal Nuggets. To tell the truth, most of the best ones are on the four disc version, but I think there’s way too much on it that isn’t that good. If I was making an ideal Nuggets I would put The Leaves other nuggets track on it, which would be Hey Joe. But probably not this one. I don’t think there’s anyone who has two tracks on Nuggets where I would put both of them on. Not that I can remember anyway.

    • I’ve spent way more time with the fourth disc than the others so far. It is long, but I haven’t found any tracks that are outright bad so far – just range from decent to excellent. I do feel like I’m giving a lot of listening time to white male baby boomers though.

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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person. It features album reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.

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Graham Fyfe has been writing this website since his late teens. Now in his forties, he's been obsessively listening to albums for years. He works as a web editor and plays the piano.

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