April 1966: The Rascals' "Good Lovin'" Adds Soul to the Top of the Charts

"Good Lovin'"
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Atlantic Records

On April 30, 1966, the Young Rascals - soon to be known simply as The Rascals - scored their first No. 1 hit with a song that frontman Felix Cavaliere heard on the radio and decided that he wanted to cover with his own band.

Written by Rudy Clark and Arthur Resnick, “Good Lovin’” was originally recorded by R&B singer Lemme B. Good - dig that swingin’ name! - in March 1965.

You might notice the lyrics of Lemme B. Good’s version are decidedly different than what you’re used to hearing. That’s because it was recorded again a month later with considerably tweaked lyrics by the doo-wop group The Olympics, who earned a minor hit with the tune, taking it to No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In a story Cavaliere has told more than a few times over the years, he happened to hear the version by The Olympics on a radio station in New York City and promptly knew that he wanted his band, The Young Rascals, to take a crack at the track.

After adding the song to their set list, The Young Rascals decided to lay down a version of the track in the studio, with producer Tom Dowd doing everything in his power to maintain the sonic power of the band’s live version. Whether he succeeded on that front or not is a matter of personal opinion, but what’s undeniable is that both disc jockeys and record store consumers ate it up. In short order, the Young Rascals’ version of “Good Lovin’” had found its way to the top of the charts.

More than that, however, “Good Lovin’” has gone down in history as one of the great rock ‘n’ roll tunes of all time: in addition to being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, it’s also on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and in Dave Marsh’s book The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Marsh’s take? He calls it “the greatest example ever of a remake surpassing the quality of an original without changing a thing about the arrangement.”

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