You're No Good

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"You're No Good"
You're No Good - Dee Dee Warwick.jpeg
Single by Dee Dee Warwick
B-side"Don't Call Me"
Songwriter(s)Clint Ballard, Jr.
Producer(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

"You're No Good" is a song written by Clint Ballard, Jr., first performed by Dee Dee Warwick for Jubilee Records in 1963 with production by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It has since been covered by many artists, including charting versions by Betty Everett in 1963, The Swinging Blue Jeans in 1964, and Linda Ronstadt in 1975, whose version was a number 1 hit in the United States.

Betty Everett version[edit]

"You're No Good"
Single by Betty Everett
B-side"Chained to Your Love"
Songwriter(s)Clint Ballard, Jr.
Betty Everett singles chronology
"Prince of Players"
"You're No Good"
"The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"

Betty Everett's version for Vee-Jay Records of Chicago became the first hit version, in November 1963. The single peaked at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number 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]

"You're No Good"
Single by The Swinging Blue Jeans
B-side"Don't You Worry About Me"
ReleasedMay 1964
Songwriter(s)Clint Ballard, Jr.
Producer(s)Walter J. Ridley
The Swinging Blue Jeans singles chronology
"Good Golly Miss Molly"
"You're No Good"
"Promise You'll Tell Her"

In the UK the Swinging Blue Jeans had the hit version of "You're No Good" reaching number 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] Their version also charted in France at number 26 and was successful enough regionally in the US to reach number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

"You're No Good"
You're No Good - Linda Ronstadt.jpg
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)
ReleasedNovember 19, 1974
Songwriter(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"


Linda Ronstadt began performing "You're No Good" to close her live shows in early 1973, after her band member Kenny Edwards suggested it to her. She first included it in her setlist while opening for Neil Young. Ronstadt gave an early televised performance of "You're No Good" on an episode of The Midnight Special which was broadcast December 21, 1973.

Ronstadt recorded her album Heart Like a Wheel with producer Peter Asher in the summer of 1974 at the Sound Factory; "You're No Good" was a last-minute choice for recording, and while the song was Ronstadt's suggestion, Asher recalls: "It was an odd coincidence. She’d been doing the song already, and it was always a favorite song of mine...the version I fell in love with [being by] the Swinging Blue Jeans".[5] The original backing track intended for Ronstadt's version of "You're No Good" was recorded July 1, 1974. According to Bob Warford, a guitarist in Ronstadt's touring band who played on the July 1 track, "They were trying to do an R&B version of the song, which was actually closer to the way we did it live than to the released version. We played it at a faster tempo live, which we did on that recording [ie. of July 1]."[5] Ronstadt vetoed the July 1 arrangement; she recalls: "It was just the wrong groove for me. I don’t think I knew how to phrase around [the players], certainly no fault of theirs. They were fantastic."[5]

The final recording of the Ronstadt version of "You're No Good" was made July 5, 1974. 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 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 Andrew Gold's guitar solo from the track, necessitating Asher and Gold's reconstructing that solo from scratch.[6]

In late August 1974 a string arrangement - by Gregory Rose - was added to the track at AIR Studios. According to a Classic Tracks article by Mick Hurwitz at "It ends with a strong, long held note, which Asher conceived, executed by Garay with a slow riding of the level on the string faders during the final mix."[5]

Capitol Records 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.

Linda Ronstadt's version of "You're No Good" became the song's most successful cover. The track ascended to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated February 15, 1975. "You're No Good" was also an international hit for Ronstadt, reaching number 15 in Australia, number 17 in the Netherlands, and number 24 in New Zealand. The B-side of "You're No Good", "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You), originally sung by Hank Williams, also charted and was simultaneously a number 2 C&W hit for Ronstadt. "When Will I Be Loved" was then issued as the follow-up single.[7]

Buoyed in part by the success of "You're No Good", the album Heart Like a Wheel, which was released in late 1974, was a major success, and eventually went double platinum. It was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

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.

In a 1983 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ronstadt expressed reservations about the recordings she had made during her 1970s heyday, specifically citing "You're No Good": "I thought the production on 'You're No Good' was very good but [that] I didn't sing it very well. As a song it was just an afterthought. It's not the kind of song I got a lot of satisfaction out of singing."[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Other versions[edit]

Artists who have covered "You're No Good" include:

Also a French version:

  • Les Kelton - Au nom de la loi in 1964


  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 (2011). Things I Couldn't Tell My Mother (e-book ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9781409034698.
  4. ^ Knowles, Christopher (1 October 2010). The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781573445641 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b c d "Classic Track: You're No Good". Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  6. ^ Ronstadt, Linda (2013). Simple Dreams: a musical memoir (1st hardcover ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1-4516-6872-8.
  7. ^ The New York Times, 15 November 1974, p.32
  8. ^ "Ronstadt Marching to a Different Drum", The Deseret News, 14 December 1993 p. 4-SO
  9. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  10. ^ " – Linda Ronstadt – You're No Good". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "Linda Ronstadt Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  12. ^ "Linda Ronstadt Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  13. ^ "Top 100 1975-02-15". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  14. ^ David Kent's Australian Chart Book 1970-1992 Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  16. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1975/Top 100 Songs of 1975". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1975". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-01-17.
  18. ^ Sarasota Herald Tribune 21 October 1985 p.94

External links[edit]