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You're No Good

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"You're No Good" is a classic song written by Clint Ballard, Jr. which first charted for Betty Everett in 1963. It was a #1 hit in 1975 for Linda Ronstadt.


Original versionEdit

The original version of "You're No Good" was cut by Dee Dee Warwick for Jubilee Records in 1963 with production by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller but the song first became a hit in November 1963 when recorded by Betty Everett for Vee-Jay Records of Chicago. The single peaked at number fifty-one on the Hot 100, and at number five on "Cashbox's R&B Locations" chart.

Vee-Jay's head a&r man Calvin Carter found the song while visiting New York City in search of material for his label's roster and he originally intended to cut "You're No Good" with Dee Clark but, he recalled; "when I went to rehearsal with the tune, it was so negative, I said, 'Hey, guys don't talk negative about girls, because girls are the record buyers. No, I better pass on that.' So I gave the song to Betty Everett." During the playback of Everett's track her label-mates the Dells "were sitting on the wooden platform where the string players would sit... just stomping their feet on this wooden platform to the beat of the song as it was playing back... I told the engineer 'Let's do it again, and let's mike those foot sounds, 'cause it really gave it a hell of a beat.' So we did that, and boom, a hit."

In the UK the Swinging Blue Jeans had the hit version of "You're No Good" reaching No. 3 in the summer of 1964: this version also charted in France at No. 26 and was successful enough regionally in the US to reach No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was also mentioned in Elliott Smith's Waltz #2 on the album XO.


Linda Ronstadt's versionEdit

Genya Ravan has indicated she vainly attempted to interest the producer of her 1974 album Goldie Zelkovitz in the idea of a remake of "You're No Good" while Maria Muldaur, discussing in a 1985 interview how she "didn't go out of [her] way to find followup hits" to her 1973-74 breakthrough "Midnight at the Oasis", cited "You're No Good" when explaining: "I've turned down songs that have gone on to be hits for other people because I thought the lyrics were negative or neurotic".

It was Muldaur's friend and professional associate Linda Ronstadt who'd remake "You're No Good" for her Double Platinum career defining Heart Like A Wheel album released in late 1974 byCapitol Records; Ronstadt's version benefited from the contribution of Andrew Gold who provided virtually all the track's instrumentation, and string arrangements by Gregory Rose. Capitol was unsure whether to release "You're No Good" or "When Will I Be Loved" as the lead single off Heart Like a Wheel only deciding to release "You're No Good" a week after the album's release; the track ascended to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated 15 February 1975. ("When Will I Be Loved" would be issued as the follow-up single.) The success of "You're No Good" set a precedent for Ronstadt's single releases which over the next five years would virtually all be remakes of classic rock and roll songs. (The B-side of "You're No Good": "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)" - originally by Hank Williams - was simultaneously a major C&W hit for Ronstadt at No. 2.) "You're No Good" was also a hit for Linda Ronstadt in Australia (No. 15), the Netherlands (No. 17) and New Zealand (No. 24).

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