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"Psychotic Reaction" is an early garage rock song released by the American rock band Count Five in 1966, and also the title of their only album. Guitarist John "Sean" Byrne was sitting in a Health Education class in his freshman year at San Jose City College in California, learning about psychosis. His friend Ron Lamb leaned over and whispered: "You know what would be a great name for a song? Psychotic Reaction."(YouTube)   Byrne had been writing a tune in his head that day, and used the title to finish it, with the entire band given writing credit. The song hit number five on the Billboard charts.[1]

The song was modeled after the Yardbirds's song "I'm a Man", with a repetitious rhythm that eventually changes to a faster beat, an electric guitar playing a hypnotic melody going up the scales, and a similar style of percussion to that of the Yardbird's hit.

This song was popular in the Vietnam War era, and appears in the game Battlefield Vietnam. Probably the best known of the many obscure covers that were made in the 1960s is the one by Positively 13 O'Clock that was included on the original Pebbles compilation album. The song was covered by The Cramps on their 1983 live mini-album, Smell of Female, and by Nash the Slash on his album American Bandages. Television included this in their early sets, emphasizing the "rave-up" section. It was also recorded in more heavily psychedelic manner by the 60's studio only band The Leathercoated Minds in 1966 on their album A Trip Down the Sunset Strip.

The song is one of the many songs quoted and parodied on the album The Third Reich 'n Roll by the avantgarde group The Residents.

This song is also played live by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on the Playback box set and seen in the currently out of print concert video, "Take the Highway".

John Byrne died on December 15, 2008 at 61, from cirrhosis of the liver.[

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