Song of the Week – Judy in Disguise, John Fred & His Playboy Band


Today’s SotW is the “one hit wonder” called “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” by John Fred & His Playboy Band, released 50 years ago this month.

This song is often considered a novelty because it made a play on the Beatles’ popular “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” that was released on Sgt. Pepper just a few months earlier. It even has some goofy, pseudo-psychedelic lyrics to further the parody.

Judy in disguise, well that’s what you are
Lemonade pies with a brand new car
Cantaloupe eyes come to me tonight

But John Fred was no novelty. The dude had been in bands since he was 15 and made records in his home state of Louisiana since 1958.

After a hiatus to go to college, he put together an updated version of his Playboys in 1963 and began recording again on several different labels. By 1966 he was signed to the Paula label and released “Up and Down” (which is on the same album as “Judy…,” Agnes English). That song was a regional hit at home in Louisiana but wasn’t able to generate much notice nationally.

Then came “Judy…” that, ironically, booted the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” out of the #1 position in the singles pop charts in January 1968!

The song is actually pretty good. The iconic bass line is the hook but the song would have been even better if they had ditched the cheesy string solo and let a guitar or sax rip one off instead. And if you listen to the rest of Agnes English you will hear that the band was a very competent rock & soul bar band. In fact they preceded the more popular “horn rock” groups (BS&T, Chicago, etc.) by including brass and woodwinds as full time members of the band as early as the mid-60s.

Enjoy… until next week.