Ignored Obscured Restored
Today’s SotW is the next installment of the Evolution Series. Let’s start with the most popular version of the garage classic, “A Little Bit O Soul” by the Music Explosion.
The Music Explosion was a band out of Mansfield, Ohio. In 1967 they left Ohio for New York to work with the Kasenetz-Katz production team that became the leading purveyors of “bubblegum music” with groups like The Ohio Express (“Yummy, Yummy”), 1910 Fruitgum Company (“Simon Says”, “1-2-3 Red Light”, “Indian Giver”) and Crazy Elephant (“Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’”).
The Music Explosion’s recording of “A Little Bit O Soul” reached #2 in 1967. I loved it as an 11-year-old and still love it now.
But most have never heard the original by The Little Darlings, from Coventry England.
It was written for them by Ken Lewis and John Carter in 1965. These British songwriters also penned Herman’s Hermits’ “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” (another favorite of mine), and they sang back up on The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” as The Ivy League!
The Little Darlings’ version of “Little Bit O Soul” is rougher and dirtier than the Music Explosions’. It is the type of “nugget” that would later influence the early punk rockers.
So it’s no surprise that The Ramones latched onto it and laid down their own version on 1983’s Subterranean Jungle.
Now when your girl is gone and you’re broke in two
You need a little bit o’ soul to see you through
And when you raise the roof with your rock ‘n’ roll
You’ll get a lot more kicks with a little bit o’ soul
Ain’t that the truth!
Enjoy… until next week.
Excellent post. I was 11 too, when it was a hit, and I loved the Music Explosion version. And it turns out it was the best version. Though I didn’t know that then. I would haveguessed that the Ramones would beat it, but no.
I like the Talking Heads bubble gum covers, but am not judging them in this same crucible.