The Nightcrawlers

The Little Black Egg

Composed by Chuck Conlon

Song Review by

With vague and left-of-center lyrics begging the question "What kind of creature actually lays a black egg with white specks?" and the accompanying chiming Byrds-like guitar, it is no wonder that "Little Black Egg" has been covered by artists ranging as far afield as the underground garage Neighb'rhood Childr'n and the Cars. The unhurried rhythm ambles along a folky midtempo melody. The earliest reading to have made an impact was the Nightcrawlers' November 1966 hit, barely making the charts (number 86) and adapted from a demo by the song's co-author, Chuck Conlon, according to the Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 liner booklet. The definite British Invasion feel, captured in the prominently tapped tambourine and quirky chord changes, is especially evident when Conlon is joined by Robbie Rouse and Pete Thomason for a distinct three-part harmony. That said, the slightly twangy fretwork and discernible drawl in (presumably) Rouse's vocals are harbingers of other tracks from the Nightcrawlers' debut long-player, named after this, their most famous side. Although it remained vaulted until the 1997 Long Years in Space anthology, the Neighb'rhood Childr'n's take of "Little Black Egg" is distinguished if for no other reason than copious similarities to the original. Collectors and keen-eared enthusiasts should also be aware that the single edit runs significantly shorter than the version on the Nightcrawlers CD compilation from the Big Beat reissue label. Another vintage rendition recorded in the '60s comes courtesy of the Boston-based Bourbons, and can be found on the thoroughly excellent House Party 1964-'66: Rockin' Sounds from Boston's South Shore (1996) collection. the Cars' 1981 demo is included on the double-disc Just What I Needed (1995) anthology, sporting a suitably techno approach with a synth drum backbeat, a few stray electronic keyboard whirs, and a great lead from Benjamin Orr. The Rattlers, Pagans, and Mouserocket offer their own respective spins on decidedly more recent releases.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1985
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
Classic Rock: Bubblegum, Garage and Pop Nuggets 1991
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:02
The Little Black Egg [Big Beat] 2000 Big Beat Records 3:26
Garage Rock Classics 2004
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande 2:45