In the ’70s, prog rock bands like PretenShush were busy topping the charts.
But the underground music scene was different. There was one folk guitar hero who came and went in a heartbeat—like Elvis, but with less of the hip thrusting and more sipping from a warm glass of milk.
Acoustic Angus may not have had the raw energy of Elvis Presley, but he was to folk music like what chutney is to cheddar cheese. And this… is his story.
Strumming to the Sixties
Acoustic Angus began his career at California university.
He was one of those guys who always carried an acoustic guitar with him, insisting on everyone listening to his playing.
Standing at 5’4″, he was a slight man. But with his long blonde hippy hair, he fitted into the vibe of the times.
And his tunes reflected that. After being inspired by hippy extravaganza Woodstock ’69, he penned songs that became cult classics:
- The Sound of Love
- Love is Like Love
- Lovely Love is like a Glove of Love
- Love Shove
- Doves of Love
As he found an audience, he was dubbed Acoustic Angus. The name stuck.
And although some people couldn’t stomach the twee nature of his strumming, much of the audience was stoned enough to not really have any concept of reality.
With his first interview for a major publication, Acoustic Angus told The Trundling Pebbles Magazine in 1970:
“I write songs about love. Because it’s lovely. The songs are lovely and I think, by being lovely, love itself will be lovable and fall in love with itself.
I truly believe that if love falls in love with love, it’ll bind mankind together into one giant, fuzzy, wuzzy ball of loveliness. That’s my purpose in life.”
Although many people struggled to take him seriously after that interview, Acoustic Angus nonetheless found his audience amongst exceptionally stoned hippies still clinging to the Sixties.
The interest was enough for the folk singer to be picked up by California’s (now defunct) Stoner Records, with a multi-album deal.
Acoustic Angus got straight to work on his eponymous debut album, beginning in mid-1970 and finalising the 10 songs in time for Christmas.
With the eponymous album approaching its launch for summer 1971, Acoustic Angus told The Trundling Pebbles Magazine:
“I’m certain society is ready for how lovely this album is. I feel people will listen to it, stop in the street, strip naked, and parade love around through the beauty of nudity. However, I remind people who do this to please respect your fellow citizens. Put your clothes back on. You can listen to the album whilst naked and stoned, as was intended, in the comfort of your own home.”
The album launched with much anticipation amongst the stoner hippy community on 1st August, 1971.
The Downfall of Acoustic Angus
The real tragedy of this tale is how success was there for the taking… but cruel fate so tragically intervened to deny Acoustic Angus.
And it was all down to a simple mistake from his music studio.
For his eponymous debut album, over the first 100,000 vinyl prints there was a terrible typo. One horrific enough to curtail a promising career.
And this typo has gone down in legend: Acoustic Anus.
The music press laughed. The public laughed. Stoned hippies sniggered and said, “Far out, man!” But Acoustic Angus took the typo with stoic reserve. When quizzed by The Trundling Pebbles Magazine, he said:
“It’s just one of those things.”
But then the Bible belt of the US launched onto the matter and it got controversial. It was demanded of Acoustic Angus that he hold a press conference to explain this blasphemy.
Tepid and anxious, he did so for the morning of 8th August, 1971.
With the public and press now baying for his blood, the folk singer took to a small stage to provide answers. This is part of the transcript that fateful day.
Journalist #1: Why do you HATE America, sir!? Acoustic Angus: I don't ha... Journalist #2: NONSENSE! Look at the album cover! What is this sick filth!? The CHILDREN of America must SEE this on store shelves and you print this FILTH and our children will grow up corrupted by your sick, twisted mind! Acoustic Angus: Sir, it was a typo fro... Journalist #3: SILENCE! You sicken me! Bastard. You're the reason this country is going to the dogs! You print this album and we have to look at it... what is this!? Was it satire!? Is it because you're a communist!? Answer me! Acoustic Angus: But, sir... Journalist #3: DON'T YOU PATRONISE ME!!! With this... "sir" stuff, you don't even look at me. DO NOT... EVEN... LOOK AT ME! Demon spawn. DEMON SPAWN!! DEMON SPAWN!!! [At this stage Journalist #3 was dragged from the conference by police officers whilst screaming and roaring about the devil] Journalist #2: Are you happy now, you commie bastard? WELL!? Acoustic Angus: I... Journalist #4: Shut up! You're on public trial here now for crimes against humanity. It just... DISGUSTS me! You're presence in this very room is enough to defile America. This just won't stand. What have you got to say to that? You have no defence, we already know it, you sickening bastard! Acoustic Angus: Sir, it's... Journalist #1: THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Acoustic Angus: But, I... Journalist #1: I SAID THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!! Acoustic Angus: Sir, please... Journalist #5: SHUT UP! SHUT UP!! SHUT UP!!! I can't bear this! He is Satan. This is a message from Satan! This spectre of the damned is here to... he's here to KILL US ALL!!
The press conference then descended into a full-scale riot. It reached such an extent the United States Army was called in to restore order.
Later, the FBI confirmed everything was the fault of Acoustic Angus.
As such, the folk singer was tried, charged, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Since 1972 he’s been in solitary confinement with no chance of parole.
Acoustic Angus, now 81, spends his time whistling hits from the Sixties. To this day, it’s believed he still insists it was just a typo.