Song History: You'll Lose A Good Thing

I’ll admit it; I’ve lost my energy for keeping up with the newest music. But this doesn’t mean I stop learning about music. There is apparently a wealth of older music I don’t know about.

This particular adventure started with the Coverville podcast (#756) about Aretha Franklin. As you may or may not know, Aretha was signed to Columbia Records in 1960, and recorded with the label with only moderate success; her entire output, plus extras, from her years on Columbia Records, is being released in a boxed set in 2011. Though raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin never recorded with Motown; rather, her greatest success was with Atlantic.

One of the songs on Coverville, covered in this case by Madness, was You’ll Lose A Good Thing. But it wasn’t originally recorded by Aretha. It was written and recorded by Barbara Lynn; it went to #8 on the pop charts and #1 on the soul charts in 1962. Here’s the original recording and here’s a live version – check out Barbara’s nifty guitar playing! Aretha’s version came out in 1964. Incidentally, Barbara’s rendition appears on the Hairspray movie soundtrack, the original movie with Divine, which inspired the Broadway musical, which inspired the Travolta-starring movie.

Interestingly, the song was also covered by Freddy Fender. It went to #1 on the country charts and #32 on the pop charts in 1976. This showed me, once again, how universal music is – pop, soul, country: it’s pretty much all the same.

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