Former 13th Floor Elevators frontman and sporadically brilliant solo performer Roky Erickson turns 66 today. In his prime, Erickson was a shamanic howler and riveting rhythm guitarist, and one of the most explosive catalysts of psychedelic rock.
While many fans favor Roky's wild-man histrionics on the Elevators' 1966 debut LP and sage mystic on 1967's Easter Everywhere, he could be a tender troubadour when the occasion called for it. His performance on "I Had to Tell You" is incredibly poignant, a surefire tearjerker—especially if it's heard while coming down from something. This is one of the Elevators' most anomalous and best tunes, and you can't hear it enough times in this life. Happy birthday, Roger Kynard Erickson.
NB: Light in the Attic is reissuing three Erickson solo titles in August and September: The Evil One, Don't Slander Me, and Gremlins Have Pictures.