Handy Man (song)

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"Handy Man"
Single by Jimmy Jones
B-side "The Search is Over"
Released 1960 (1960)
Recorded 1959
Genre Pop
Label Cub Records (US)
MGM Records(other)
Writer(s) Jimmy Jones, Otis Blackwell
Jimmy Jones singles chronology
"Handy Man"
"Good Timin'"
"Handy Man"
Dutch cover
Single by James Taylor
from the album JT
B-side "Bartender's Blues"
Released 1977 (1977)
Genre Pop rock
Length 03:17
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jimmy Jones, Otis Blackwell
Producer(s) Peter Asher
James Taylor singles chronology
"Woman's Gotta Have It"
"Handy Man"
"Your Smiling Face"

"Handy Man" is a rock and roll song written by singer Jimmy Jones and songwriter Otis Blackwell. Some recordings[which?] of "Handy Man" list Charles Merenstein as a co-writer, as does BMI.

It was originally recorded by The Sparks Of Rhythm, a group Jones had been a member of when he wrote it, although he was not with them when they recorded it. In 1959, Jones recorded the song himself, in a version which had been reworked by Blackwell,[1] who also produced the session. "Handy Man" went to number three on the R&B charts and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960, becoming a million seller.[2] The song was a hit again in 1964 for Del Shannon, and again for James Taylor, whose slow version was a hit in 1977.

Measured in terms of peak position on any Billboard chart, Taylor's version of the song was the most successful, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went to No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart.[3] Taylor's version also earned him his second Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Male.[4] Taylor's version featured Leah Kunkel, the ex-wife of Russ Kunkel, as backup singer.

Allmusic critic Jason Elias compares Jones' original with Taylor's version stating that "where Jones’s version was chipper and a little obnoxious," Taylor's version "is so laid back it’s almost somnolent."[4] Elias notes that Taylor's slowed down version has the benefit of allowing him to shade the words in new ways.[4] Elias also praises Taylor's guitar playing.[4]

Other cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Otis Blackwell Interview". Archived from the original on July 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 307. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 239. 
  4. ^ a b c d Elias, J. "Handy Man". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  5. ^ "Release: The John Peel Session - Frank Black & Teenage Fanclub (November 24, 1997)". Second Hand Songs. Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  6. ^ "Karma Chameleon by Culture Club Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2013-07-22.