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Pushin' Too Hard

"Pushin' Too Hard"
The Seeds
Released November 1965
October 1966 (re-issue)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1965
Genre Garage rock, protopunk, psychedelic rock
Length 2:38
Label GNP Crescendo
Writer(s) Sky Saxon
Producer Sky Saxon, Marcus Tybalt
The Seeds singles chronology

"Can't Seem to Make You Mine"
"Pushin' Too Hard"
"Mr. Farmer"

"Pushin' Too Hard", originally titled "(You're) Pushin' Too Hard", is a song by American rock group The Seeds, written by vocalist Sky Saxon and produced by Saxon with Marcus Tybalt. It was released as a single in 1965, re-issued the following year, and peaked at number 36 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1967.

The song is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's exhibit showcasing "The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". The Seeds performed "Pushin' Too Hard" during a 1968 episode of the television sitcom The Mothers-in-Law. Saxon revisited the song on his 2008 solo album The King of Garage Rock.


Sky Saxon wrote "Pushin' Too Hard" in 15 minutes while sitting in the front seat of a car waiting for his girlfriend to finish grocery shopping at a supermarket.[1][2] The lyrics can be interpreted as the protagonist warning his girlfriend against controlling him,[3] or as a rant against society as a whole.[4] The song contains two chords which alternate throughout, as well as instrumental breaks featuring an electric piano solo—played by Daryl Hooper—and a guitar solo played by Jan Savage.[5]


The Seeds released "(You're) Pushin' Too Hard" as a single in November 1965.[6] Though the song did not chart initially, a Los Angeles disc jockey began playing it extensively following the release of the band's self-titled debut album in April 1966.[7] With the title having been changed to "Pushin' Too Hard", a new single was issued in November and the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart a month later.[7][8] It peaked at number 36 in February and spent 11 weeks on the chart.[9][10]


Critical reception

You're always hoping 'maybe this is a good one.' When Sky actually wrote the lyric to that song it was about a girlfriend he was having trouble with. He initially called us 'flower rock music' 'cause the words are kind of flowery, and...the girls used to toss flowers at us on stage. So it became 'flower power'.

–Daryl Hooper, the Seeds keyboardist, on fans' reaction to "Pushin' Too Hard"[11]

Allmusic's Richie Unterberger wrote that "'Pushin' Too Hard' is one of the songs most commonly cited when people are trying to celebrate or denigrate 1960s garage rock, and sometimes championed for precisely the same reasons as others put it down, though in time the critical balance tended toward praising the tune rather than dumping on it."[5] The song was included on 1972's Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968, a compilation double album of American garage rock singles that helped influence the development of 1970s punk rock.[12][13] In 1994, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's curatorial staff, along with rock critics and historians, selected "Pushin' Too Hard" as part of a Hall of Fame exhibit featuring "The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".[14] Dave Marsh selected the song to his 1989 book, The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.[15] In 2003, a special edition issue of Q magazine, titled "1001 Best Songs Ever", ranked "Pushin' Too Hard" at number 486.[16]

Film and television appearances

The Seeds, appearing as fictional band The Warts, performed "Pushin' Too Hard" on a 1968 episode of the television sitcom The Mothers-in-Law.[17] The song is featured on the soundtracks to the films Air America (1990),[18] 976-Evil II (1992), Wild America (1997),[19] and Easy Rider (2004; expanded edition).[20] In the second-season episode of Lost titled "The Whole Truth", Jack and Locke listen to the song while Ana Lucia interrogates Henry.[21] The song featured in a 2012 Nike commercial titled "Game On, World" which pays homage to classic video games.[22]

Other versions

Frank Zappa parodied the chorus of "Pushin' Too Hard" on the song "Sy Borg" from his 1979 rock opera album Joe's Garage.[23] Disco singer Paul Parker released a cover version of "Pushin' Too Hard" as the B-side to his 1982 single "Right On Target".[24] Experimental rock group Pere Ubu included a live version of the song on their 1996 box set Datapanik in Year Zero.[25] A version by American rock band The Makers appears on the band's 1997 compilation album Shout On!/Hip-Notic.[26] Garage rockers The Embarrassment released their rendition of the song on their 2001 album Blister Pop.[27] The Bangles performed "Pushin' Too Hard" for their 2007 live DVD Return to Bangleonia - Live in Concert.[28] A 1978 live version of the song by power pop group The Rubinoos appears on their 2007 compilation album Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Rubinoos.[29] Sky Saxon re-recorded the song on his 2008 album The King of Garage Rock.[30]

Track listing

7" Vinyl (1965)
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "(You're) Pushin' Too Hard"  Sky Saxon 2:38
2. "Out of the Question"  Saxon, Russ Serpent 2:15
7" Vinyl (1966)
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Pushin' Too Hard"  Saxon 2:38
2. "Try to Understand"  Saxon 2:53


Chart performance

Chart (1967) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[9] 36
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[31] 40


External links

  • "Pushin' Too Hard" at Allmusic

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