The Shaggs

Sweet Maria b/w The Missouri Waltz (Missouri State Song)

Release Notes


  • 2016 Record Store Day Exclusive Release
  • All songs previously unreleased
  • Limited to 3,000 copies worldwide
  • These two songs were personally selected by Terry Adams of NRBQ from the incredible Shaggs archive. NRBQ were the guys who turned the world on to the Shaggs in the first place.

In 1968, three sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire strapped on their instruments and declared themselves The Shaggs. At that moment begun a peculiar tale that would last far beyond the group’s five-year run. Dot, Betty and Helen (and occasionally Rachel, the fourth sister) played in the group on the insistence of their father, Austin Wiggin, who was convinced they were going to be big. His prediction didn’t quite prove prophetic.

The band released one album, Philosophy Of The World, which must rank among the most polarizing LPs of all time. Some said it was the worst thing ever made. Frank Zappa famously was said to have dubbed it “better than The Beatles”. Later, its cult appeal snowballed: it was referenced in Empire Records, Deerhoof have cited it as an influence and Kurt Cobain placed it as his fifth favorite of all time.

The group remained together until their father’s death, performing frequently at the Fremont town hall and a local nursing home, and though no further albums were released, some songs were recorded. This special 7" single features the previously unheard “Sweet Maria” and “The Missouri Waltz” (state song of Missouri, no less). It’s the tip of the iceberg – a reissue of the full album Philosophy Of The World follows from Light In The Attic next year.
To the uninitiated, the discordant vocals, slightly out-of-tune guitars, and slightly out-of- step drum-thumping might sound like a hot mess; and that’s just Sweet Maria, before they’ve attempted 3/3 time on the haunting but tipsily performed waltz. But to fans, this is Christmas come early. The ultimate outsider band, they’re famous for making just one solitary album, one that’s been loved, shared, and talked about far more than the 100 or so people who bought a first pressing could ever have predicted.