One of the biggest instrumental and vocal hits of the 1960s, "Grazing in the Grass" first appeared as an instrumental by the South African born and world traveled writer Hugh Masakela in late 1967. Combining Afro rhythms, big band jazz trumpet flourishes, and a soul-inspired groove that sucks the listener in, the song was fresh and innovative, yet also had a very easy melody to hum along with. According to legend, it was cut as a studio "toss-off" when record executive Russ Regan felt that Masakela's album, The Promise of a Future, wasn't long enough. Remarkably, when the song was released as a single in 1968, it stayed at the number one spot on the charts for two months. In 1969, the group Friends of Distinction released a vocal version that had echoes of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, which also went to number one. Ultimately, it remains one of the most popular songs of the 20th Century. A newly re-recorded version (which comes very close to Masakela's original on Uni Records) has been included on Columbia's The Best of Hugh Masakela, while the original is available on various compilations, including Rhino's Soul Instrumentals series.