My Little Red Book

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"My Little Red Book"
Single by Love
from the album Love
B-side "A Message to Pretty"
Released March 1966 (single release)
April 1966 (album release)
Format 7" single
Recorded Winter 1965
RCA Studios
Genre Garage rock,[1] protopunk[2]
Length 2:38
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Burt Bacharach, Hal David
Love singles chronology
"My Little Red Book"
"7 and 7 Is"

"My Little Red Book" is a song co-written by Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David. "My Little Red Book", the title of which is likely a tongue-in-cheek reference to Mao Zedong's Little Red Book (which was first published by the Communist Party of China in April 1964)[citation needed]. After gaining affection for the British Invasion, Bacharach began working hands-on with beat groups of the era such as the Manfred Mann.[1] Manfred Mann covered the song for the 1965 film "What's New Pussycat?, filmed between October 1964 to June 1965; the entire catalogue of music for the film was written by both Bacharach and David.[3] In 1966, the song became a rock standard when remade by the Los Angeles based group Love, where it managed to reach No.52 in the US national charts.[1]

Love version[edit]

Love's adaptation was the opening track for their debut album. The track was released as a single with its B-side "A Message to Pretty". Love's version managed to gain moderate mid-chart success and, a stone's throw away from the original's pop sensibility,[clarification needed] with its radical interpretation became a garage rock standard.[1][4] The track, unlike its predecessor, features a strong primitive sensibility, stiff chord progression simplified by Arthur Lee and guitarist Johnny Echols and blasted out over a stomping, tambourine-fueled rhythm section. As well as its garage traits, the song has been credited for its "punk" quality; a sound fully achieved with their later single "7 and 7 Is".[2][4][5][6] A feature[clarification needed] found within the track was Lee's rugged vocal performance, which has been highlighted by music critic Stewart Mason stating its main importance within the lyrics "All I did was talk, talk about you/Hear your name and I start to cry".[4]

"My Little Red Book" received a negative review from one half of the song's collaborators, Burt Bacharach: Love had altered the former Marlene Dietrich bandleader's chord changes. Nonetheless, the record was a Southern California hit and won Love a spot on American Bandstand. The disc did not chart in the UK but received airplay on the offshore pirate radio stations Radio London and Radio Caroline. (The opening lines of the melody of Love's version reminded some British listeners of the theme tune to the popular BBC TV comedy series Steptoe and Son). The guitar riff to the song had been considerably altered by Syd Barrett on the Pink Floyd song "Interstellar Overdrive", released on their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967).[7] The riff found on "Interstellar Overdrive" originated when early Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner was trying to hum a song he could remember (that being "My Little Red Book").[7]

"My Little Red Book" and "Always See Your Face" (from Four Sail) appeared on the soundtrack of John Cusack's adaptation of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. The song was also featured over the final credits of the movie High Fidelity in 2000, and the Beverly Hills 90210 episode "Alone at the Top" in 1995.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d S.Dominic, Burt Bacharach, Song by Song: The Ultimate Burt Bacharach Reference for Fans, (Music Sales Group, 1 Jun 2003), pp.149-50, ISBN 0825672805
  2. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Love, Love: Album Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Buchanan, Jason. "What's New Pussycat?: Film Review". Allmovie. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Mason, Stewart (2012). "My Little Red Book". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Da Capo, Love: Album Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Schinder, S. & Schwartz, A. (2008). Icons of Rock. ABC-CLIO. p. 263. ISBN 9780313338465. 
  7. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  8. ^ "Alone at the Top". Beverly Hills 90210. 22 February 1995. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 

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