Signs Tesla

SIGNS (Tesla)
“Signs”  is a song by the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band.  It was written by the band’s frontman, Les Emmerson and popularized the relatively unknown band, who recorded it for their second album, Good-byes and Butterflies, in 1970.  “Signs” was covered and recorded live by Tesla for their Five Man Acoustical Jam album in 1990, peaking at number 8 on the Pop charts.  

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Rock songs with religious themes have always been fascinating to me.  By now, Christian contemporary music has become an industry, but it wasn’t always like that.  One long-time favorite is “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band; as familiar as the song is to me now, the singer who has been complaining about hypocrisy all through the earlier part of the song winds up in church in the final verse, and that is still jarring and unexpected.  The band grew out of a Canadian band called the Staccatos, and I recently picked up a two-CD retrospective of their music, First Sparks: The Anthology.  I was a bit perturbed originally that this set includes none of the Five Man Electrical Band material, but it is amazingly good music nonetheless. 
Tesla did a remake of “Signs” not so long ago on an album they called Five Man Acoustical Jam; and as far as I am concerned, they kind of missed the point:  The instrumental introduction to the original song that I sometimes hear on the local oldies radio station is as free-wheeling an electrical jam as I have ever heard.  Unfortunately, that jam didn’t make it onto the single that I own, and I have never found the Five Man Electrical Band album that features SignsGoodbyes and Butterflies
(December 2012)
Last edited: March 22, 2021