Song of the Week – Groovy Kind of Love; Diane and Annita, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells, The Mindbenders, Phil Collins

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Today’s SotW is another installment of the Evolution Series – where I trace a song from its original version through various cover interpretations.  Today’s subject is “Groovy Kind of Love.”

“Groovy Kind of Love” was written in 1965 by Toni Wine and Carol Bayer Sager.  Wow, I didn’t realize those ladies were in the biz when they were that young – they were only 18!

They picked up on a “new” slang word and decided to write a song using it.  When it was done – they claim to have finished it in about 20 minutes – they pitched it to Leslie Gore, but her producer rejected it.  He didn’t like the word “groovy.”

So it was recorded by Diane and Annita and proceeded to go nowhere.

There isn’t much information about Diane and Annita on the internet.  The most common “fact” about them is that they met working for Ray Anthony’s Bookends.

In 1966, the next version was recorded by Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells and was produced by Bert Berns of Bang Records fame as well as writing and producing songs for the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, and numerous early soul/R&B acts.

The LaBelle version made it across the Atlantic to England where it was introduced to the Wayne Fontana-less Mindbenders.  Fontana was replaced as the group’s lead singer by guitarist Eric Stewart, who would later go on to be a key member of 10cc.

The Mindbenders took the song all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late Spring of 1966.

The song bounced around on oldies stations for the next 20+ years until Phil Collins recorded a remake in 1988.

Collins was working on the soundtrack for the movie Buster that was mostly a compilation of oldies.  He thought “Groovy Kind of Love” would be a good fit and recorded a demo to present to the movie’s production team.  They agreed and decided to use his demo, untouched, instead of The Mindbenders’ version.  Collins’ recording did even better than the Mindbenders’, topping the charts in both the US and UK and finding its way onto many wedding reception playlists.

Covers have been recorded by Sonny & Cher, Gene Pitney, Petula Clark, and Neil Diamond, among others.

The melody of the song was based on the “Rondo from Sonatina in G Major” by 18th/19th century classical composer Muzio Clement.

Enjoy… until next week.

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