Let's Stick Together (song)

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"Let's Stick Together"
Let's Stick Together single cover.jpg
Single by Wilbert Harrison
A-side"Kansas City Twist" (Fury 1059)
B-side"My Heart Is Yours" (Fury 1063)
Released1962 (1962)
Format7-inch 45 rpm record
Recorded1962
GenreBlues, R&B
Length2:55
LabelFury
Songwriter(s)Wilbert Harrison
Producer(s)Bobby Robinson

"Let's Stick Together" is a blues-based rhythm and blues song written by Wilbert Harrison, released in 1962 by Fury Records. He further developed the song and in 1969, Sue Records issued it as a two-part single "Let's Work Together". Although Harrison's original song did not appear in the record charts, his reworked version entered the U.S. Top 40.

Several artists subsequently recorded the songs; "Let's Work Together" by Canned Heat (1970) and "Let's Stick Together"[1] by Bryan Ferry (1976) were both chart successes.

Original songs[edit]

"Let's Stick Together" is a mid-tempo twelve-bar blues-style R&B song.[2] According to music writer Richard Clayton, "Harrison probably intended 'Let’s Stick Together' as his follow-up single [to 'Kansas City'], but a contract dispute prevented him from releasing it while his star was in the ascendant".[3] In 1959, "Kansas City", written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was a number one hit for Harrison on both the Billboard R&B and Hot 100 singles chart.[4]

In 1962, Harrison recorded "Let's Stick Together" for Fury Records, one of several labels operated by record producer Bobby Robinson, that had issued "Kansas City". Fury pressed the single with two different A-side and B-sides: "Kansas City Twist" (Fury 1059) and "My Heart Is Yours" (Fury 1063). It had been three years since Harrison's last chart appearance[4] and the singles failed to reach the charts.[3]

In 1969, Harrison reworked the song with the title "Let's Work Together".[3] The two songs use the same melody line and structure, but the lyrics differ:[2]

"Let's Stick Together"

Well now the marriage vow is very sacred
The man put us together now you want to make it
Stick together, come on, come on let's stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never

"Let's Work Together"

Together we will stand divided we'll fall
Come on now people let's get on the ball
And work together, come on, come on let's work together, now, now people
Say now together we will stand, every boy, girl, woman, and man

Instrumentally, the 1962 recording is an ensemble piece, while the one in 1969 is a solo performance, with Harrison (credited as the "Wilbert Harrison One Man Band") providing the vocal, harmonica, guitar, and percussion.[5]

Sue Records released "Let's Work Together" as a two-part single that reached number 32 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1970,[6] however, it did not appear on the magazine's R&B chart.[4]

Canned Heat version[edit]

"Let's Work Together"
Single by Canned Heat
B-side"I'm Her Man"
Released
  • January 1970 (1970-01) (UK)
  • August 1970 (US)
Format7-inch 45 rpm record
RecordedDecember 3, 1969
StudioInternational Sound, Los Angeles
GenreBlues rock
Length2:48
LabelLiberty
Songwriter(s)Wilbert Harrison
Producer(s)Skip Taylor, Canned Heat

Shortly after the release of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together", Los Angeles blues-rock band Canned Heat recorded their version of the song.[7] Unlike their previous singles ("On the Road Again", "Going Up the Country", and "Time Was") that featured vocals and harmonica by Alan Wilson, for "Let's Work Together" Bob Hite provided the vocals, with Wilson adding the slide-guitar parts.[3] The song was prepared for release as a single in December 1969, but was cancelled due to the popularity of Harrison's single.[7]

In the UK, where Harrison's single failed to generate interest, Canned Heat's version was released in January 1970.[7] There it became their biggest hit, reaching number two on the UK Singles chart during a stay of fifteen weeks.[8] In the US, Canned Heat's "Let's Work Together" was first released on August 3, 1970, on their album, Future Blues. An American single followed on August 25, 1970, and reached number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100,[7]

Bryan Ferry versions[edit]

In 1976, Island Records released a version of "Let's Stick Together" by Bryan Ferry. It became his highest charting solo single, reaching number four in the UK chart on July 3.[9] The song is included on his album of the same name.[10] Ferry plays harmonica and keyboards, Chris Spedding guitar, Eddie Jobson violin, and John Wetton bass; the tenor saxophone solo is by Chris Mercer.[10] In the official video, model Jerry Hall mimes the "mid-riff yelping of an unnamed female backing vocalist [that] only adds to the frenetic edge of lustful excitement", according to AllMusic reviewer Dave Thompson.[10]

In 1988, Ferry released a remix of the song as "Let's Stick Together '88", on E.G. Records in the UK and on Virgin Records in Germany. The single reached number 12 in the UK chart on October 29.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The original Island Records (UK, WIP 6307-A) and Atlantic Records (US, 45-3351) singles by Ferry are titled "Let's Stick Together (Let's Work Together)"
  2. ^ a b Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel (2015). "Let's Stick Together". Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. Running Press. ISBN 978-0316353533.
  3. ^ a b c d Clayton, Richard (July 31, 2016). "The Life of a Song: "Let's Stick Together"". Financial Times Ft.com. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1988). "Wilbert Harrison". Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 183. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  5. ^ Wenner, Langdon (September 20, 1969). "Let's Work Together, Parts 1 & 2, Wilbert Harrison One Man Band (Sue 11)". Rolling Stone. No. 42.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 276.
  7. ^ a b c d Russo, Greg (1994). Uncanned! The Best of Canned Heat (Compilation booklet). Canned Heat. New York City: EMI Records. pp. 13, 19. E2 29165.
  8. ^ "Canned Heat – Singles". Official Charts. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Bryan Ferry – Singles". Official Charts. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Thompson, Dave. "Bryan Ferry: Let's Stick Together – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved June 5, 2018.