Hurt So Bad

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"Hurt So Bad"
Single by Little Anthony & The Imperials
from the album Goin' Out Of My Head
A-side "Hurt So Bad"
B-side "Reputation"
Released 1965 (1965)
Genre Soul, pop
Length 02:15
Label DCP
Little Anthony & The Imperials singles chronology
"Goin' Out Of My Head"
"Hurt So Bad"
"Take Me Back"

"Hurt So Bad" is a classic 1965 Top 10 hit ballad originally recorded by Little Anthony & The Imperials and re-recorded by numerous artists including Linda Ronstadt and The Lettermen.

The Imperials' original version[edit]

Little Anthony & The Imperials' original version was taken from their album, Goin' out of My Head. It was the follow-up to that album's smash-hit title song, and like that song, also became a Billboard Top 10 hit as well as a Top Five R&B hit.[1] It was also performed by the group on their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was written especially for The Imperials by Teddy Randazzo, a long-time friend of the group, along with Bobby Weinstein and Bobby Hart (Harshman), and was produced by Don Costa for his DCP record label, later absorbed by United Artists Records and re-released on its Veep Records subsidiary. A powerful, dramatic ballad recording, it has become one of The Imperials' best-known songs, and has inspired numerous cover versions by other artists, including hit versions by Linda Ronstadt, The Lettermen, and Jackie DeShannon,[2] along with versions by Alicia Keys, Ramsey Lewis, The Delfonics, David Cassidy, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Grant Green, Willie Bobo, El Chicano, Nancy Wilson, Anne Renée (fr) (rendered in French as "Ça Fait Mal") and others. Philly Devotions hit #10 in 1976 on Billboard's Disco chart. (Joel Whitburn's Hot Dance/Disco Charts 1974-2003)

El Chicano version[edit]

El Chicano released a cover of "Hurt So Bad" on their 1970 debut album Viva Tirado. It was one of 9 songs on the album, including their first hit single "Viva Tirado".

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

Linda Ronstadt recorded a cover for her Platinum-certified album Mad Love, and released the song as a single, with a scorching guitar solo by Danny Kortchmar. It stands as the most successful version ever recorded of the song, which peaked at #8 on the Hot 100 in 1980.[3]

The Imperials' re-released version[edit]

Little Anthony and the other Imperials, Sammy Strain, Ernest Wright and Clarence Collins, reunited in 1992 after a 17 year hiatus, and performed the song as part of a "greatest hits" medley on Dick Clark's American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special and also on two PBS specials: Rock, Rhythm and Doo-Wop, and Soul Spectacular: 40 Years of R&B, in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

  • "Little Anthony" Gourdine - lead vocals
  • Clarence "Wah-Hoo" Collins - baritone/bass
  • Ernest Wright - second tenor
  • Sammy Strain - first tenor


  1. ^ Steve Huey. "Little Anthony & the Imperials Biography & Awards". Billboard. Retrieved 7 November 2009. The Imperials' streak of good fortune continued with the equally dramatic ballad "Hurt So Bad," another Top Ten hit that also became their second R&B Top Fiver in 1965. 
  2. ^ William Ruhlmann. "Hurt So Bad". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 November 2009. The Lettermen, who had previously covered "Goin' out of My Head," revived it in 1969 for a Top 20 hit; Jackie DeShannon combined it in a medley with "You Keep Me Hangin' On" that reached the charts in 1976; and Linda Ronstadt took it back into the Top Ten in 1980. 
  3. ^