Opal Butterfly "Opal Butterfly" 1969 UK Pop Rock Psych with Lemmy (Sam Gopal,Hawkwind,Motorhead) 1968 unreleased acetape.
Opal Butterfly is a classic B-list pop-psych band best remembered for an impeccable taste in covers and the people who passed through its ranks on their way up. Lead guitarist Robbie Milne and 17-year-old drumming wiz Simon King formed the band in 1967; bassist Richard Bardey, guitarist Tommy Doherty, and vocalist Allan Love rounded out the lineup. A wealthy banker's backing enabled the band to spend the first half of 1968 rehearsing. A deal followed with CBS, for whom the band recorded an unreleased demo of the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night." Opal Butterfly debuted in mid-1968 with "Beautiful Beige"/"Speak Up," an agreeable enough slice of psychedelic pop that made no impact.
Opal Butterfly's finest recorded hour came in early 1969 with an organ-powered remake of the Who's "Mary Anne With the Shaky Hands." The B-side, "My Gration Or?," is better yet, boasting enough feedback to stoke the most ardent Creation fanatic. But the song faded after its initial airplay -- and the band couldn't muster more than underground support gigs, so Doherty and King jumped ship. Milne briefly continued with a lineup that also included guitarist Davy O'List, then abandoned it to join the New Look Soul Band. But keeping the name didn't benefit King's lineup, for which Doherty switched to bass, while Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister -- fresh from his bout with raga-rock in Sam Gopal's Dream -- joined on guitar. The revamped Butterfly also switched labels -- this time to Polydor.
For its final single, "Groupie Girl"/"&"The Gigging Song," the band turned to homegrown subjects. The A-side snarkily puts down women who pursue bands -- but not the rockers who inspire the chase, of course -- while the flip side looked at life on the road. "Groupie Girl" jump-started a film of the same name and a radically reworked version of the title track (which doesn't feature all the bandmembers). Lemmy didn't appear on the single or film, having been booted out and replaced by Ray Major. But neither project made any impact, and all the personnel shuffles made little difference if no album deal was imminent, so Opal Butterfly dissolved by the end of 1970. Ironically, Lemmy and King would meet up (and fall out) again in the classic space rock band Hawkwind. Major joined the ill-fated Mott, then worked as a solo artist.