Nuggets: Shape of Things to Come by Max Frost & The Troopers

Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, 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 to 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 58/118: Shape of Things to Come by Max Frost & The Troopers
From: Nowhere, because they’re fictional…
Aphoristic Rating: 8/10

SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (From the Motion Picture Wild In The Streets) – Max Frost & The Troopers [1:57]
(Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil)
Personnel/PAUL WYBIER: vocals [+ unknown studio musicians]
Recorded in Studio City, CA
Tower single #419 (8/68); Pop #22

For those keeping track at home, this is the final track on the second disc of the Nuggets box set, marking the approximate halfway point in this project.

‘Shape of Things to Come’ comes from the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. They’re known for a diverse range of 1960s hits like The Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Outta This Place’, Paul Revere & the Raiders’ ‘Kicks’, and The Drifters’ ‘On Broadway’. The Righteous Brothers’ ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin”, written with Phil Spector, is the most-played song of the 20th century. Impressively, given their career in showbiz, Mann and Weil have maintained a 60-year marriage.

‘Shape of Things to Come’ is less attention-grabbing than their big hits – it’s a well-crafted garage rock song. The song was written for the film Wild in the Streets. The film is about a fictional band, Max Frost & The Troopers. Max Frost is played by Christopher Jones, but Paul Wybier takes lead vocals on the studio version. The song takes its title from an H.G. Wells short story – Ornette Coleman’s album The Shape of Jazz to Come presumably grabbed its name from the same source.

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Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.


  1. I remember seeing that movie at the drive-in as a kid. It had a great shock effect for a kid and this kick azz song. I had no idea it was based on an HG Wells story, but it does not surprise me. Such a rebellious song of its time.

  2. I like the song but I don’t remember it. I’m shocked that Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil are still alive and still married….that is really cool and rare.
    That movie seems familiar… Richard Pryor is in it…I might check it out.

  3. I agree with you it’s about a 8 out of 10. Not really a top 10 Mann/Weil though, which is understandable considering how many great ones they have. I never did see that movie but I want to. Sounds great.

  4. I remember this song well. They used to play it a fair amount on the radio. “Wild in the Streets” is one those B-movies that Hollywood used to make in the Sixties to relate to the burgeoning hippie/youth/counterculture cohort. Most of them are pretty embarrassing. Usually they had lines like “Hey, man! We’ve got to stick it to the man. Let’s go protest the war” or some other crap. I can’t help but note that Millie Perkins – who played Anne Frank in the movie – was in this. And comedian Richard Pryor plays a drummer called Stanley X. The Sixties are an admixture of great stuff an absolute schlock. I don’t recall which side this one falls on.

    • I’m pretty badly versed in old movies – I don’t think I’ve seen any of those 1960s counterculture b-movies. Don’t know how I get to see them, although I guess maybe they’re on YouTube since they’re of little commercial value now.

      • They weren’t even of any commercial value then. “Easy Rider” was one of the few that caught the zeitgeist and it hasn’t dated really well. Although, that said, it did put Jack Nicholson on the map.

        • I have seen Easy Rider. We used to use Wyatt as a codename for a difficult coworker, when we were young and foolish.

          • That’s funny. For a reason I can’t recall, I saw thar movie with my mother. I can’t imagine she got it or enjoyed any part of it. Likewise, I saw Alice’s Restaurant (another Sixties flick) with my father.

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