'Doodle O/Turtle Love/Dude Low' How 'Good Lovin' By The Young Rascals Hit #1

Photo of American group The Young Rascals (later known as the Rascals) posed circa 1965. (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

Maybe you don’t remember where you were when you first heard “Good Lovin’” the timeless cover song by the Young Rascals but that’s okay. Released in 1966, this single has been a part of the musical zeitgeist since its release, popping up in the ‘70s as a cover by the Grateful Dead and again in the ‘80s in a crucial scene in The Big Chill. As much as The Young Rascals (they dropped the “young” a year after the song’s release) are known for this song, it was written by The Olympics, a soul group who released the song a year earlier. In spite of claims of thievery, The Rascals made the track their own with its raucous live recording.

The Olympics Laid The Groundwork For The Rascals

source: pinterest

Formed in Los Angeles by a group of high school friends, The Olympics came together in 1957 and started churning out doo-wop singles. Ironically, their biggest hit wasn’t “Good Lovin’” but the novelty single “Western Movies.” That song went to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1965 The Olympics released a reworking of the track “Lemme B. Good” that they called “Good Lovin’” but the single only hit #81 on the Billboard charts. This version of the song may not have made a huge splash with audiences, but the members of The Young Rascals were listening, and they felt that it would be perfect to add to their live repertoire.

The Young Rascals Were Looking For Their First Hit In The Mid '60s

source: nostalgia central

While The Olympics were working on “Good Lovin’” The Young Rascals were just getting together. The band was made up of former members of the Starliters - Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati and Gene Cornish - with drummer Dino Danelli. They started out as The Rascals but after a legal run-in with a band called “Harmonica Rascals” they changed their name to The Young Rascals. That settled, the band started performing live while trying to find a good song to cover, something that would make the audience get on their feet and dance.

Their Version Of 'Good Lovin'' Was Recorded Live

source: wsj

According to legend, Rascals singer Felix Cavaliere was listening to the radio in New York City when he heard The Olympics’ recording of "Good Lovin'" and he added the song to his band’s live set without changing much of the arrangement or lyrics. When they recorded the song in 1966 co-producer Tom Down suggested that the band record the whole thing live in one take rather than splitting it up, hence the count off of “One, two” at the top. The group didn’t love their performance on the track but whatever magic they created helped the song hit number one on the Billboard charts. Their version of the song is considered by Rolling Stone to be #333 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Writer Dave Marsh wrote that the song is “the greatest example ever of a remake surpassing the quality of an original without changing a thing about the arrangement.”

The Grateful Dead Covered The Track

source: pinterest

“Good Lovin’” is a favorite cover song of bands of all stripes, but one of the most well known covers of this cover comes from the Grateful Dead. The track was a long running aspect of their live set throughout the ‘60s with Ron "Pigpen" McKernan on vocals, and after his death Bob Weir took over on the mic. The Dead must have enjoyed playing the song because they included it on their studio album Shakedown Street with Weir singing. Obviously it doesn’t have the live power of the band, but the studio version of their version is still pretty good. When Shakedown Street was released in 1975, Rolling Stone wrote that the song “feature[s] aimless ensemble work and vocals that Bob Weir should never have attempted.” Even so, the band performed it on Saturday Night Live on November 11, 1978.

A Trailer Editor’s Favorite Song

source: Columbia Pictures

This song doesn’t stay out of the culture for long, and in 1983 it played an important role in The Big Chill, reminding audiences of how great “Good Lovin’” is while showing filmmakers the versatility of this simple pop song. Following its appearance in The Big Chill this song popped in movies throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s including Joe Vs The Volcano, Grumpy Old Men, More American Graffiti, and about a million trailers for Disney movies. It makes sense that “Good Lovin’” is all over the pop culture landscape, it’s short, simple, and repetitive - just what you want when you’re cutting a montage.

You’re Probably Singing The Wrong Lyrics

source: atlantic

“Good Lovin’” features some of the most misheard lyrics in music history, with many people reporting that they hear lyrics about loving a turtle. Fortunately the lyrics have nothing to do without falling in love with an animal. The words go as follows:

I was feelin' so bad
I asked my family doctor just what I had
I said "Doctor (Doctor), Mr. M.D. (Doctor)
Now can you tell me what's ailin' me?" (Doctor)
He said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"

Yes indeed, all I, I really need
Good lovin', now gimme that good, good lovin'
Good lovin', all I need is lovin'
Good lovin', good, good lovin', baby
Good lovin'

Honey, please squeeze me tight (squeeze me tight)
Don't you want your baby to be all right? (be all right)
I said baby (baby), "Now it's for sure (it's for sure)
I got the fever, yeah, and you got the cure"

Good lovin', come on, now gimme that lovin'
Good lovin', all I need is lovin'
Good lovin', good, good lovin', baby
Good lovin'

Good lovin', good lovin'
Good lovin', all I need is lovin'
Good lovin', all I want is lovin'
Good lovin', lovin' early in the morning
Good lovin', lovin' late at night
Good lovin', love is love

Good lovin', love, love, love, love, love

Tags: Good Lovin | Song Meanings, Lyrics, And Facts | The Big Chill | The Grateful Dead | The Rascals

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Jacob Shelton


Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based writer. For some reason this was the most difficult thing he’s written all day, and here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the funny part of that last sentence. As for the rest of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, baby. He’s obsessed with the ways in which singular, transgressive acts have shaped the broader strokes of history, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which means that he’s great at a dinner party. When he’s not writing about culture, pop or otherwise, he’s adding to his found photograph collection and eavesdropping on strangers in public.