Song History: You’ll Lose A Good Thing

Barbara’s rendition appears on the Hairspray movie soundtrack, the original movie with Divine.

barbaralynn-notlp183_borderI’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.


Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “Song History: You’ll Lose A Good Thing”

  1. I think your photo might be of Norma Jean Wofford (Bo Diddley’s rhythm guitarist) not Barbara Lynn. A few people have used this same pic to illustrate articles about Barbara Lynn, but the big clue is in the guitar – Barbara Lynn plays left handed. Also I think she’s always played Les Pauls or Fender Strats and Teles. It’s difficult to tell from those super-stylised publicity shots, but it doesn’t really look like Barbara Lynn either. Norma-Jean Wofford is a pretty remarkable too though. Sorry to be so geeky!!

  2. That’s fine, Becky. The source labeled it as Barbara Lynn. I’ll replace if I can.

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