It’s Full Band Friday, and a strange smell is wafting up from the basement, stoking visions of a rain gray town; sidewalk scenes and black limousines; shapeless forms, huddled in storms, and the CME House Band will all be eight miles high if they ever touch down.
Eight Miles High" is a song by the American rock band the Byrds, written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), and David Crosby. It was first released as a single on March 14, 1966. Musically influenced by sitar player Ravi Shankar and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, the song was influential in developing the musical styles of psychedelia and raga rock. Accordingly, critics often cite "Eight Miles High" as being the first bona fide psychedelic rock song, as well as a classic of the counterculture era.
The song was subject to a U.S. radio ban shortly after its release, following allegations published in the broadcasting trade journal the Gavin Report regarding perceived drug connotations in its lyrics. The band strenuously denied these allegations at the time, but in later years both Clark and Crosby admitted that the song was at least partly inspired by their own drug use. The failure of "Eight Miles High" to reach the Billboard Top 10 is usually attributed to the broadcasting ban, but some commentators have suggested the song's complexity and uncommercial nature were greater factors.
The song's lyrics are, for the most part, about the group's flight to London in August 1965 and their accompanying English tour, as hinted at by the opening couplet: "Eight miles high and when you touch down, you'll find that it's stranger than known." Although commercial airliners fly at an altitude of six to seven miles, it was felt that "eight miles high" sounded more poetic than six and also alluded to the title of the Beatles' song "Eight Days a Week".