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Preston Ritter, Electric Prunes Drummer, Dies at 65

Electric Prunes
Reprise

Preston Ritter, who drummed on the Electric Prunes’ hits “I Had to Much to Dream (Last Night)” and “Get Me to the World on Time,” died yesterday. He was 65.

Vintage Vinyl News reports that, although no cause of death has been announced, Ritter had a history of kidney problems. The bio on his website states that he underwent a second kidney transplant in 1995 after seven years of dialysis treatment.

Born in 1949, Ritter joined the Los Angeles-based Electric Prunes in 1966 shortly before they recorded “I Had to Much to Dream (Last Night),” their second single for Reprise. Reaching No. 11, it became a garage-rock classic and was the opening track on the original 1972 Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era compilation, which became very influential in the birth of punk rock. “Get Me to the World on Time,” which spotlighted Ritter’s jazz influence in the song’s second half, hit No. 27.

But his time in the band was short-lived. He left in 1967, just as the Electric Prunes were almost finished recording their second album. He then played with Linda Ronstadt, the Beach Boys and Dobie Gray. After that, Ritter worked as a DJ, a police officer, a private investigator and a non-denominational Christian missionary in Korea, where he taught theology. He was also a published author of several books about drumming and theology.

Ritter returned to drumming in later years, this time as a teacher in the Los Angeles area.

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