Single Stories: The Young Rascals record “Groovin’”

Monday, March 27, 2017
Single Stories: The Young Rascals record “Groovin’”

50 years ago today, The Young Rascals recorded one of their signature singles, a track which would go on to provide the band with the second #1 hit of their career.

Written by two of The Young Rascals – Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati – and produced by the band themselves, “Groovin’” made good on its title with its sound, which was inspired by Cavaliere’s then-recent discovery and appreciation of Afro-Cuban music. With its mixture of conga and bass, along with a harmonica performance by Michael Weinstein (although Gene Cornish played the instrument on the album version of the song), the song went down as smooth as a well-aged bottle of whiskey…and yet Atlantic Records originally wasn’t even going to release it!

“To tell you the truth, they didn’t originally like the record because it had no drum on it,” Cavaliere told Goldmine. “We had just cut it, and [Murray the K] came into the studio to say hello. After he heard the song, he said, ‘Man, this is a smash.’ So when he later heard that Atlantic didn’t want to put it out, he went to see [Atlantic Record head] Jerry Wexler and said, ‘Are you crazy? This is a friggin’ No. 1 record.’ He was right, because it eventually became No. 1 for four straight weeks.”

In addition, “Groovin’” helped The Young Rascals make waves across the pond – the song hit #8 on the UK Singles chart, giving the band their first and only entry into the UK top 10 – and in America it was a cross-demographic success, hitting #3 on Billboard R&B Singles chart. As such, it’s fair to say that its spot within the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll was well-earned.