One of the most memorable and influential songs from the 1960’s is Good Lovin’ by the Young Rascals. Almost everyone knows the song and it’s been used in several movies. This is the complete story behind that song, going all the way back to the original version written by a cat named Rudy Clark. Dissatisfied with the lyrics after hearing Lemme B Good’s recording, Rudy asked record producer Artie Resnick for help. A new version of the song, with the updated lyrics, was recorded by The Olympics. Artie thought a British Invasion group might cover the song, but that didn’t happen. When The Young Rascals from New Jersey released their version, Artie was disappointed at first. But his mood improved considerably when their version went to number one on the charts!
Lemme B Good was born Limme Snell in 1945 in Dalton, Alabama. When he was very young, his family moved to Canton, Ohio. By age 11, he had already begun cutting soul records on the Columbia, Mercury, and Warner Brothers labels. A few years later, Limmie dropped out of McKinley Senior High School to pursue his dream of becoming a soul singer. Some of his records credit him as Limmie B Good. He moved to the UK and formed a group called Limmie And The Family Cooking that included his sisters, Martha and Jimmie. After that group broke up, he stayed in the UK and created a band called Limmie Funk Unlimited. Limmie had several children and continued to write and record songs until his death in May 1986 of renal failure. He died in Atlanta, Georgia and was buried in Canton, Ohio.
Here’s the original version of Good Lovin’ by Lemme Be Good on Mercury 72418 from 1965:
The Olympics were formed as Walter Ward And The Challengers in 1957. Their first record was I Can Tell on the Melatone label. Lead singer, Walter Ward, was born on 28 August 1940 in Los Angeles. The doo-wop group included Walter’s cousin Eddie Lewis singing first tenor, Charles Fizer singing second tenor, Walter Hammond singing baritone, and Melvin King singing bass. With the exception of Eddie Lewis, the guys all met while attending high school together in Los Angeles and became friends. In the summer of 1958, The Olympics had their first hit record, Western Movies on Demon Records. Their version of Good Lovin’ wasn’t very successful, rising only to #85 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #92 on Cashbox.
Walter Ward died on 11 December 2006. Charles Fizer was shot and killed during the Watts Riots in 1965. Shortly thereafter, Melvin King left the group after his sister died in an accidental shooting. With personnel changes, the group continued to record and perform into the early 1970s, later doing oldies revival shows.
Here’s Good Lovin’ by The Olympics on Loma 2013 from 1965:
The Rascals were Eddie Brigati on vocals, Felix Cavaliere on keyboard and vocals, Gene Cornish on guitar, and Dino Danelli on drums. Eddie and Dino formed the band in their hometown of Garfield, New Jersey. Eddie, Felix and Gene had all been members of Joey Dee And The Starliters. The guys got some help with backing vocals and harmony arrangements from Eddie’s brother, David Brigati, who is sometimes referred to as the “Fifth Rascal.” After being signed by Atlantic Records, a group called The Harmonica Rascals featuring Borrah Minnevitch and Johnny Puleo objected to their use of the name Rascals. That’s why their manager Sid Bernstein decided to rename them The Young Rascals. They made their first appearance on television on 27 February 1965 performing their debut single, I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore. Good Lovin’ was the group’s second single, and it shot up to number one on the charts. It was a #3 hit in Canada on 1050 CHUM in Toronto, and even reached #33 in Australia. Strangely, the song never appeared on the charts in Europe.
Here’s Good Lovin’ by The Young Rascals on Atlantic 2321 from 1966, including the famous ‘false’ ending:
We’ve talked about Hit Records, the budget label out of Nashville, in previous posts. On that label, Bobby Russell and others created cover versions of current hit records for sale at a reduced price in the stores. Lots of kids bought these records thinking they were getting the actual hit versions. Despite the confusion this may have caused, many of these Hit Records covers are really pretty good, including this one!
Here’s Good Lovin’ by The Spartas on Hit 251 from 1966:
Want to hear more original versions of hit songs? It’s easy! Just hang out with MusicMaster Oldies for a while. They’re popping up there all the time!