One Toke On Lawrence Welk


One Toke Over The Line


Even in the tranquility of hindsight, Mike Brewer cannot hide a stunned shudder of stupefaction at the epic contradictions that befell him and partner Tom Shipley in the immediate aftermath of the release of their signature single "One Toke Over The Line" in 1971.  Returning from a mini-vacation in the Florida Everglades, they discovered that "the Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew, had named us personally as subversive to American youth," Mike recalls. "At exactly the same time, Lawrence Welk performed "One Toke Over The Line", on his TV show, introducing it as a gospel song."  ~ Bruce Pollock

Spiro T. Agnew labeled
"One Toke" subversive

  Ah-one toke, and Ah-two  
The Lawrence Welk Show (1951 -1982) was America's wholesome musical variety show.  In the '70s, the show tried to broaden its appeal by including current pop songs, country music, and religious music.  On one such show in early 1971, the Welk Show actually covered Brewer & Shipley's recently banned hit song.  Accordionist Myron Floren introduced it as "one of the newer songs" as Welk singers Gail Farrell & Dick Dale launched into their wholesome rendition of "One Toke Over The Line".  At the close of the song Lawrence Welk looked on approvingly and said "And there you heard a modern spiritual by Gail & Dale."

Welk called "One Toke"
"a modern spiritual"

  Show becomes mythical  
  Brewer & Shipley were performing in London when the Champagne Music Makers covered "One Toke Over The Line," so they mssed the show.  But never ones to miss the irony, Michael and Tom made it habit over the years to introduce "One Toke" in concert by explaining that the song was simultaneously banned by the FCC at Agnew's prodding, while at the same time it was performed on Lawrence Welk as a gospel song.  Through the years Brewer & Shipley searched for a video of the show, and as the decades passed it appeared less and less likely that the search for the episode would ever be successful.  The video became known as the "Holy Grail" of Brewer & Shipley lore.  But Sweet Jesus, finally in 2007 a copy of the show was actually found.  Of course the side-splitting Welk rendition quickly made its way to the internet and has subsequently been viewed over a million times.  It is truly must-see TV!

Sweet Jesus!


One Toke on Lawrence Welk - The Holy Grail
Gail Farrell & Dick Dale perform "One Toke Over The Line" on The Lawrence Welk Show in 1971.



One Toke Over The Line