You're No Good

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"You're No Good"
Single by Dee Dee Warwick
B-side "Don't Call Me"
Released 1963
Format 7" single
Genre R&B
Length 2:30
Label Jubilee 45-5459
Writer(s) Clint Ballard, Jr.
Producer(s) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
"You're No Good"
Single by Betty Everett
B-side "Chained to Your Love"
Released 1963
Format 7" single
Genre R&B
Length 2:18
Label Vee-Jay
Betty Everett singles chronology
"Prince of Players"
"You're No Good"
"The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"
"You're No Good"
Single by The Swinging Blue Jeans
B-side Don't You Worry About Me
Released May 1964
Genre Beat
Label HMV
Producer(s) Walter J. Ridley
The Swinging Blue Jeans singles chronology
"Good Golly Miss Molly"
"You're No Good"
"Promise You'll Tell Her"
"You're No Good"
Single by Linda Ronstadt
from the album Heart Like a Wheel
B-side "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)" (w/Emmylou Harris)
Released November 19, 1974
Format 7" single
Genre Rock
Length 3:44
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Clint Ballard, Jr.
Producer(s) Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt singles chronology
"Love Has No Pride"
"You're No Good"
"When Will I Be Loved"

"You're No Good" is a song written by Clint Ballard, Jr. which first charted for Betty Everett in 1963 and became a number 1 hit in 1975 for Linda Ronstadt. The original version of "You're No Good" was cut by Dee Dee Warwick for Jubilee Records in 1963 with production by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Betty Everett version[edit]

The song first became a hit in November 1963 when recorded by Betty Everett for Vee-Jay Records of Chicago. The single peaked at #51 on the Hot 100, and at #5 on "Cashbox's R&B Locations" chart.[1]

Vee-Jay's head a&r man Calvin Carter found the song while visiting New York City in search of material for his label's roster and he originally intended to cut "You're No Good" with Dee Clark but, he recalled: "when I went to rehearsal with the tune, it was so negative, I said, 'Hey, guys don't talk negative about girls, because girls are the record buyers. No, I better pass on that.' So I gave the song to Betty Everett." During the playback of Everett's track her label-mates the Dells "were sitting on the wooden platform where the string players would sit... just stomping their feet on this wooden platform to the beat of the song as it was playing back... I told the engineer 'Let's do it again, and let's mic those foot sounds, 'cause it really gave it a hell of a beat.' So we did that, and boom, a hit."[2]

The Swinging Blue Jeans version[edit]

In the UK the Swinging Blue Jeans had the hit version of "You're No Good" reaching #3 in the summer of 1964. Sue Johnston, then PA to Peter Brown, was dating Swinging Blue Jeans drummer Norman Kuhlke and claims that she brought "You're No Good" to the attention of the Swinging Blue Jeans,[3] whose version also charted in France at #26 and was successful enough regionally in the US to reach #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

It was Linda Ronstadt who would have the biggest success with a remake of "You're No Good" for her double platinum career-defining Heart Like A Wheel album released in late 1974 by Capitol Records. Ronstadt had been featuring the song to close her live shows, her band member Kenny Edwards having suggested it to her. Ronstadt made a last-minute decision to record "You're No Good" for Heart Like a Wheel and, rather than using an arrangement similar to the Betty Everett original she and her bandmates decided to work out a new arrangement for her recording of the song. Ronstadt would recall: "Ed Black, who played six-string guitar and pedal steel, started to play a rhythm riff on his Les Paul. Kenny Edwards...the bass player...echoed the riff in octaves. Andrew Gold added a sparse drum track, giving me a basic track to sing over. We did a few takes, picked one we liked, and then Andrew, who always played guitars and keyboards went to work with [producer] Peter [Asher] and began to work up layers of guitar, piano and percussion tracks." Ronstadt recalls that during a playback after several hours of work Val Garay the engineer accidentally erased the backing track necessitating Asher and Gold's reconstructing of the track from scratch.[4]

Capitol was unsure whether to release "You're No Good" or "When Will I Be Loved" as the lead single off Heart Like a Wheel, only deciding to release "You're No Good" a week after the album's release; the track ascended to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated February 15, 1975. ("When Will I Be Loved" would be issued as the follow-up single.)[5] The success of "You're No Good" set a precedent for Ronstadt's single releases which over the next five years would virtually all be remakes of classic rock and roll songs. (The B-side of "You're No Good", "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You), was originally by Hank Williams, and was simultaneously a #2 C&W hit for Ronstadt.) "You're No Good" was also a hit for Linda Ronstadt in Australia (#15), the Netherlands (#17), and New Zealand (#24).

Other versions[edit]

Genya Ravan has indicated she vainly attempted to interest the producer of her 1974 album Goldie Zelkovitz in the idea of a remake of "You're No Good". Maria Muldaur, discussing in a 1985 interview how she "didn't go out of [her] way to find followup hits" to her 1973-74 breakthrough "Midnight at the Oasis", cited "You're No Good" when explaining: "I've turned down songs that have gone on to be hits for other people because I thought the lyrics were negative or neurotic".[6]

Artists who have covered "You're No Good" include Graham Bonney, Alma Cogan (unreleased), Elvis Costello, Dusty Springfield, Ike & Tina Turner, Reba McEntire, The Muppets, Jose Feliciano, Lulu, Aswad, Michael Bolton as Michael Bolotin, Ellie Campbell, Keith Hampshire, Jill Johnson, Rosie & The Originals, Floortje Smit, Van Halen (on Van Halen II), Wild Orchid. The 2004 album release California by Wilson Phillips contains a version of "You're No Good" which like the Ronstadt version was produced by Peter Asher but radically reinvents the song. International renderings include Finnish versions, "Olet Paha", a 1964 single release by Eddy and the Boys, and "Paha Oot" on the 1975 album Bimbo by Marion Rung. The Plastiscines' 2009 version from their album About Love was featured on season 6 episode 3 of True Blood, "You're No Good".

Preceded by
"Fire" by Ohio Players
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Linda Ronstadt version)
February 15, 1975
Succeeded by
"Pick Up the Pieces" by The Average White Band


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 193. 
  2. ^ "The Vee-Jay Story, Page 3". Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  3. ^ Johnston, Sue (201). Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother (e-book ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9781409034698. 
  4. ^ Ronstadt, Linda (2013). Simple Dreams: a musical memoir (1st hardcover edition ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1-4516-6872-8. 
  5. ^ New York Times 15 November 1974 p.32
  6. ^ Sarasota Herald Tribune 21 October 1985 p.94