Elusive Butterfly

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"Elusive Butterfly"
Single by Bob Lind
from the album 'Don't Be Concerned'
B-side "Cheryl's Goin' Home" (original A-side)
Released December 1965
Format 7" single
Genre Folk
Length 2:51
Label World Pacific
Writer(s) Bob Lind
Producer(s) Richard Bock
Bob Lind singles chronology
"Elusive Butterfly"
"Remember The Rain

"Elusive Butterfly" is a popular song written by Bob Lind, released as a single in December 1965,[1] which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1966. The song was also recorded and released in 1966 in the British Isles by Val Doonican, with both the Lind and Doonican versions reaching a UK chart peak of #5 - Lind's subsequent to Doonican's - in March/April 1966, while in Ireland only Doonican had the major hit with "Elusive Butterfly" his version peaking at #3. In Australia, Lind's "Elusive Butterfly" entered the charts on April 10, 1966 and spent three weeks at #2 during July 1966.

In the US "Elusive Butterfly" was originally the B-side of Lind's debut single "Cheryl's Goin' Home," but this was flipped by a DJ on Florida radio station WQAM and this kickstarted the success of "Elusive Butterfly."[2]

The prominent string arrangement on Lind's "Elusive Butterfly" was by Jack Nitzsche, known for his work with The Rolling Stones. With this song, Bob Lind gave World Pacific Records its one and only big hit. Bob Lind's debut album, Don't Be Concerned borrowed its title from a line in the song – "Don't be concerned, it will not harm you."

In the song the narrator sees himself as a butterfly hunter. He is looking for romance, but he finds it as elusive as a butterfly.

Notable recordings[edit]

Jane Morgan recorded "Elusive Butterfly" for her 1966 album release Fresh Flavor with the track reaching #9 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary (A/C) chart then known as the Easy Listening chart. "Elusive Butterfly" returned to the A/C chart in 1968 via a version by Carmen McRae which peaked at #35 A/C.

Petula Clark recorded "Elusive Butterfly" for her 1966 album release I Couldn't Live Without Your Love and Lind has cited her version of "Elusive Butterfly" as his favorite, adding: "nobody believes me when I say that – she wasn’t considered cool in the 60s – she was considered mainstream and very vanilla but I love her version of 'Elusive Butterfly.'"[3]

Cher recorded "Elusive Butterfly" for her 1966 album release The Sonny Side of Chér: the track subsequently served as B-side for Cher's international 1968 single "You Better Sit Down Kids" (the original US pressing of "You'd Better Sit Down Kids" featured "Mama (When My Dollies Have Babies)" as B-side, with "Elusive Butterfly" subsequently substituted).

Billy Walker recorded "Elusive Butterfly" for his 1966 album release A Million and One with the track subsequently serving as B-side for Walker's 1969 #12 C&W hit "Smoky Places".

Dolly Parton recorded "Elusive Butterfly" for her 1984 album release The Great Pretender, which comprised remakes of classic hit songs: the track served as B-side to Parton's single release of "Save the Last Dance For Me".

"Elusive Butterfly" has also been recorded by Richard Anthony (French rendering "Un Papillon Qui Vole"/ EP It's Hits Francais/ 1966), the Bachelors (album Hits of the 60's/ 1966), Graham Bonney (album Super Girl/ 1966), Carmen McRae (Portrait of Carmen/ 1968), Glen Campbell (album Hey Little One/ 1968), Lou Christie (album Painter of Hits/ 1966), the Four Tops (album Still Waters Run Deep/ 1970), Aretha Franklin (album Soul '69/ 1969), Susan Jacks (album Ghosts/ 1980), the Lettermen (album Hurt So Bad/ 1969), Gary Lewis and the Playboys (album Now!/ 1968), Johnny Mathis (album So Nice/ 1966), Jane Olivor (album Songs of the Season/ 2001), Livingston Taylor (album Unsolicited Material/ 2006), and Bobby Vee (medley: "A Hundred Pounds of Clay"/ "Elusive Butterfly"/ album 30 Hits Of The 60's, vol 2/ 1966).

Florence Henderson performed "Elusive Butterfly" on the first season of The Muppet Show.

"Elusive Butterfly" has also been commonly sung by John Linnell of They Might Be Giants as a bridge during live performances of their song "Particle Man".


  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 40 – Ballad in Plain D: Bob Dylan. [1966] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ Elusive Butterfly Songfacts Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  3. ^ "Finding Bob Lind Again". Rhythms.com.au. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]