I first heard this song through the Smashing Pumpkins. They did a cover of it in Pisces Iscariot, and I fell in love as soon as I heard the bass line. It’s very rare for me to hear a song and immediately like it, but this was just one of those songs that grabbed you. I was lured in by its psychedelic bass line and curious about the song title and lyrics. “Was it about a fleeting romance?” “Who is this mysterious girl?” “Who the fuck names their kid Sandoz?” A lot of questions were going through my head, and lo and behold, I find out the song is about LSD.
This song is HEAVY with a bass line that is so impactful; it has hypnotic qualities that are almost trance like, which makes sense considering the origins of the song. "Sandoz Laboratories" was the name of the drug company that first commercially introduced LSD in 1947; thus, “A Girl Named Sandoz” was birthed in 1966 by the Animals in their fifth studio album titled “Animalism”. The song is said to be about lead singer Eric Burdon’s experience with the drug, personifying LSD with simple lyrics that paint a user’s journey with a life changing hallucinogen.
I used to think that I liked the Smashing Pumpkins version a lot more. It still has the original bass line, but it is has a more intricate guitar solo and heavy usage of pedals, a signature of the Smashing Pumpkins. It is much more complex at times, specifically after the bridge of the song; the drums and lead guitar take off, mimicking each other’s syncopation with the trance inducing bass steadily playing in the background. The Animals version is a lot simpler, keeping the drum beat and melodic guitar pretty much the same even after the bridge of the song, but simple and heavy are synonymous to me; I’d take the heavier of the two, making the Animals the winners in my eyes. This song is masterful, deserving much more attention. The heaviness of this song was ahead of its time, and its blues inspiration cuts through so strongly. I’ve never taken LSD before, but man, thank you Eric Burdon for taking me there.