(You're) Pushin' Too Hard

"Pushin' Too Hard"
The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard.jpg
The cover of the 1966 re-issue
Single by The Seeds
from the album The Seeds
  • "Out of the Question"
  • "Try to Understand" (re-issue)
ReleasedNovember 1965
October 1966 (re-issue)
LabelGNP Crescendo
Songwriter(s)Sky Saxon[4]
Producer(s)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 Pushing 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, and number 44 in Canada in March.

The song became the signature tune for the group and a template for their musical style – so much so that Creem magazine later wrote, not disapprovingly, that "the Seeds, of course, managed to work 'Pushin' Too Hard' into every song they ever did."[5] It was included on the influential Nuggets compilation in the 1970s, and earned a reputation as a protopunk garage rock classic. 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" while sitting in the front seat of a car waiting for his girlfriend to finish grocery shopping at a supermarket.[6][7] The lyrics can be interpreted as the protagonist warning his girlfriend against controlling him,[8] or as a rant against society as a whole.[9] 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.[10]


The Seeds released "You're Pushing Too Hard" as a single in November 1965.[11] 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.[12] 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.[12][13] It peaked at number 36 in February and spent 11 weeks on the chart.[14][15]

Some radio stations banned the song, believing that the title dealt with being a pusher of illegal drugs. WLS apparently disagreed, because the record reached number one in its tenth week on the playlist of the Silver Dollar Survey on 17 February 1967,[16] and so did rival station WCFL, where the record reached number two on the Sound Ten Survey on 9 February 1967.[17]


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"[18]

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."[10] 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.[19][20] 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".[21] Dave Marsh selected the song to his 1989 book, The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.[22] In 2003, a special ion issue of Q magazine, titled "1001 Best Songs Ever", ranked "Pushin' Too Hard" at number 486.[23] The song placed 16th on Paste Magazine's 2014 list of the "50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time".[24]

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.[25] The song is featured on the soundtracks to the films Air America (1990),[26] 976-Evil II (1992), Wild America (1997),[27] and Easy Rider (2004; expanded ion).[28] In the second-season episode of Lost titled "The Whole Truth", Jack and Locke listen to the song while Ana Lucia interrogates Henry.[29] The song featured in a 2012 Nike commercial titled "Game On, World" which pays homage to classic video games.[30]

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.[31] |Brazilian Jovem Guarda singer Wanderléa recorded, in 1967, a version of the song, called Vou lhe Contar, with portuguese lyrics written by Rossini Pinto.[32] Disco singer Paul Parker released a cover version of "Pushin' Too Hard" as the B-side to his 1982 single "Right On Target".[33] Experimental rock group Pere Ubu included a live version of the song on their 1996 box set Datapanik in Year Zero.[34] A version by American rock band The Makers appears on the band's 1997 compilation album Shout On!/Hip-Notic.[35] Garage rockers The Embarrassment released their rendition of the song on their 2001 album Blister Pop.[36] The Bangles performed "Pushin' Too Hard" for their 2007 live DVD Return to Bangleonia - Live in Concert.[37] 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.[38] Sky Saxon re-recorded the song on his 2008 album The King of Garage Rock.[39] The Residents parodied the song on their Third Reich & Roll album.

Track listing[]

7" Vinyl (1965)
1."(You're) Pushin' Too Hard"Sky Saxon2:38
2."Out of the Question"Saxon, Russ Serpent2:15
7" Vinyl (1966)
1."Pushin' Too Hard"Saxon2:38
2."Try to Understand"Saxon2:53


Chart performance[]

Chart (1967) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[14] 36
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[40] 40
Can. RPM Top 100[41] 44


  1. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie. "The 50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time". Paste. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  2. ^ David Luhrssen; Michael Larson (February 28, 2017). Encyclopedia of Classic Rock. Greenwood. p. 325. ISBN 9781440835131.
  3. ^ Jim DeRogatis (December 1, 2003). Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 63. ISBN 9780634055485.
  4. ^ "secondhandsongs.com". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  5. ^ Hull, Robot A. (October 1977). "Steve Miller/Seeds Records: The Steve Miller Band: Book Of Dreams (Capitol) and The Seeds: Fallin' Off The Edge (GNP Crescendo)". Creem. Retrieved August 31, 2019 – via Rock's Backpages.
  6. ^ Ziegler, Chris (2003-11-06). "Pushing Kinda Sorta Hard". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  7. ^ Erickson, Steve (November 2001). "L.A.'s Top 100". Los Angeles. Emmis Communications. 46 (11): 85. ISSN 1522-9149. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  8. ^ Weber, Bruce (2009-06-29). "Sky Saxon, Lead Singer and Bassist for the Seeds, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  9. ^ Clark, Doug (1985-07-14). "Ex-Rock Star No Longer 'Pushin' Too Hard'". The Spokesman-Review. Cowles Publishing Company. p. I-1.
  10. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. ""Pushin' Too Hard" - Review". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  11. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2003). The Great Indie Discography (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. ISBN 978-1-84195-335-9.
  12. ^ a b Joynson, Vernon (1997). Fuzz, Acid and Flowers: A Comprehensive Guide to American Garage, Psychedelic and Hippie Rock (1964-75) (4th ed.). Glasgow: Borderline Productions. p. 286. ISBN 978-1-899855-06-3.
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 78 (52): 20. 1966-12-24. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  14. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 560. ISBN 978-0-8230-7499-0.
  15. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 79 (9'cas): 24. 1967-03-24. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  16. ^ "Silver Dollar Survey". WLS. 1967-02-17. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  17. ^ "Sound Ten Survey". WCFL. 1967-02-09. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  18. ^ Kubernik, Harvey (2009). Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon. New York: Sterling Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-4027-6589-6.
  19. ^ Savage, Jon (2002). England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond (Revised ed.). New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 64, 81, 561. ISBN 978-0-312-28822-8.
  20. ^ Gray, Marcus (2004). The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (2nd ed.). Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-634-08240-5.
  21. ^ "Experience the Music: One Hit Wonders and the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  22. ^ Marsh, Dave (1989). The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 410. ISBN 978-0-306-80901-9.
  23. ^ Trynka, Paul (or-in-chief) (2003). "1001 Best Songs Ever". Q. Bauer Media Group (Special ion).
  24. ^ Stiernberg, Bonnie (2014-08-27). "The 50 Best Garage Rock Songs of All Time". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  25. ^ Childs, T. Mike (2004). The Rocklopedia Fakebandica. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-312-32944-0.
  26. ^ "Air America Soundtrack - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  27. ^ "Wild America Soundtrack - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  28. ^ "Easy Rider Soundtrack (Expanded) - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  29. ^ Stafford, Nikki (2006). Finding Lost: The Unofficial Guide. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 270. ISBN 978-1-55022-743-7.
  30. ^ Nudd, Tim (2012-07-18). "Ad of the Day: Nike+W+K and Adam Berg turn your world into a video game in sublime new spots". Adweek. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  31. ^ McDonald, Lisa (2010-10-27). "Project/Object an interview with Andre Cholmondeley". TimesSquare.com. Retrieved 2012-10-09.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "Wanderléa, "Vou lhe Contar"". Vagalume. 2017-10-28. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  33. ^ Shapiro, Peter (2006). Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco. New York: Faber and Faber. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-86547-952-4.
  34. ^ "Datapanik in Year Zero - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  35. ^ "Shout On!/Hip-Notic - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  36. ^ "Blister Pop - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  37. ^ McIntosh, Dan (2007-08-14). "The Bangles: Return to Bangleonia: Live in Concert [DVD]". PopMatters). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  38. ^ "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Rubinoos - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  39. ^ "The King of Garage Rock - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  40. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/25/67". Cashbox Magazine, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  41. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - March 3, 1967" (PDF).

External links[]