Though Queens of the Stone Age had released one album prior, they really enjoyed their breakout with the 2000 album, Rated R, which featured the singles “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” and “Feel Good Hit of the Summer.” Though it might be hard to pick out, Rob Halford is actually credited on “Feel Good Hit of the Summer,” but his vocal on the track was once considered for a more prominent feature according to former Queens bassist Nick Oliveri.
Oliveri recalled the sessions recording the album, including when Halford dropped in to record a backing track for them on the song. As Oliveri recalled, there are versions in which Halford’s vocal is more prominent, but they ultimately weren’t used, though he still has CD mixes from those sessions.
Speaking with SongFacts, Oliveri states, “Bands kind of came and went [while we were in the studio]. We weren’t there for that long, but maybe the band Fight or Halford was there for the whole time we were there. I remember being in there and Rob Halford being super cool to us. I’m an old fan of Judas Priest, I just love that stuff. It’s good rock and roll. Their early stuff is really, really great.”
He continues, “One of my favorite memories was when [producer] Chris [Goss] asked Rob if he’d sing on ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer.’ He’s not really featured in there, but I have mixes of CDs from every day. We recorded all those sessions from Songs for the Deaf and Rated R. I took a CD home every day to see where we were, because whole different words would come for a song, guitar parts, piano, you name it. So I have all these different versions of these songs on CDs in my house in a box somewhere.”
As it turns out, the debate over Halford’s vocal backing came with which part would be featured. As Oliveri recalls, “One of them is with Rob Halford being more featured with ‘COCAINE!’ – with the Rob Halford-style singing. Josh [Homme] didn’t want to put that in there. He wanted what he called ‘the more sinister Rob’ for the ‘Nicotine, valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol’ parts. But I liked the ‘Cocaine’ parts with the high-pitched singing.”
As it turns out, Halford’s vocal is only used in the final chorus of the song, but it was enough to earn him a credit. As Oliveri recalls, “We asked him, “Hey, what do you want to be credited as?’ He goes, ‘Just put down ‘vocals by the Metal God,’ and he walked out!”
The song has gone on to become one of the band’s biggest songs in the live setting, though the drug content likely kept it from being a radio hit. It did briefly chart in the U.K. and Australia. Hear the song in its final form below.