“Stoned Soul Picnic” a well-known cover by The 5th Dimension is an American popular music vocal group, whose repertoire includes pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera and Broadway—the melange was coined as “Champagne Soul.”
The song was also recorded by its composer, Nyro, and released on her Eli and the Thirteenth Confession album in the same year and an instrumental version was recorded by jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers.
The word surry, used frequently in the lyric (e.g. “Surry down to a stoned soul picnic”), is a neologism by Nyro; its meaning is unclear. The verb surry is spelled differently from the noun surrey (an old-time carriage). When asked by producer Charlie Calello what the word meant, Nyro told him, “Oh, it’s just a nice word.” One possible meaning is that surry is a shortening of “let’s hurry.”
Crystal Waters sampled the song on her single “Ghetto Day” from her 1994 album Storyteller. The British pop group Swing Out Sister recorded a cover version on their 1997 album, Shapes and Patterns. Afro-Celtic artist Laura Love covered the song in 2000 on her album ‘Fourteen Days.’ It was covered by Julie London on her 1969 album Yummy, Yummy, Yummy; and by the New York Voices on their 2007 album A Day Like This. It also appeared on the 2004 album Don’t Talk, recorded by British jazz singer Claire Teal. Singer-Songwriter Jill Sobule covered it as a single in 2001. It also appears on the Billy Childs album Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro sung by Ledisi