Nothing but a Heartache

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"Nothing but a Heartache" is a pop hit originally released on the Deram Records label in November 1968 by South Carolina trio The Flirtations. Produced by Wayne Bickerton and co-written by Bickerton and Tony Waddington — the British songwriting/producing duo later responsible for the 1970s successes of The Rubettes — "Nothing But a Heartache" just missed the UK Top 50, peaking at 51. However the track reached the Top 40 in both the Netherlands (#36) and in the US, where it spent two weeks at #34 in late May 1969 during what was then considered a lengthy 14-week run on Billboard's Hot 100 – especially for a hit that did not reach the top 30.[1] In late April the single reached #3 in Boston on WRKO-AM.[2] In Australia it charted at #97.

Somewhat reminiscent of the Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love", the record was used on a television advertising campaign for KFC in the United Kingdom along with several other Northern Soul records including Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" and Marlena Shaw's "California Soul".[3] A promotional film for the song featuring the group was shot at Tintern Abbey in Wales.

"Nothing but a Heartache" was one of the songs covered on the Detroit Cobras album Tied & True in 2007.[4] It was also covered in 2007 by the UK dance act Freemasons.[5] This version was 'mashed up' by Dutch dance DJ Pytski with "Umbrella" by Rihanna. Although this mashup was quite popular in clubs, it was not released commercially due to legal reasons. Southside Johnny covered this song on his album Into The Harbour (2005).[6]

Canadian singer/songwriter Carole Pope covered the song in 1988 and released it as a single in 7-inch and 12-inch format, the B-side being "I'm Not Blind", a song written by Pope herself.

A French-language rendering entitled "C'est insensé" was recorded in 1969 by Québécois singer Donald Lautrec.

Nothing but a Heartache is the title of a documentary film (currently in production) about the Northern Irish scooter scene.[7]


  1. ^ ”Billboard Hot 100 Charts – The Sixties”, Record Research Inc, 1990
  2. ^ "WRKO". 
  3. ^ "CO Domain Registration. Pre order your .CO Domain Names at". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  4. ^ Deming, Mark (2007-04-24). "Tied & True - The Detroit Cobras : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  5. ^ "Nothing But A Heartache at Juno Records". 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Atomic 64 Scooter T-Shirts op Myspace". Retrieved 2013-03-04. 

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