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Evie Sands originally recorded this song in 1967. Her version was doing well, but two weeks after it was released, her record label, Cameo/Parkway, went bankrupt. Chip Taylor, who wrote the song, was devastated when he found out that the label could not promote it or even make more copies of the song. A few months later, Rush's version became a hit for another label.
According to Kent Kotal at Forgotten Hits
, Chip Taylor came up with this song in about 20 minutes. Writes Kent: "After strumming any variety of chords for close to two hours and coming up with nothing, he says the complete lyrics 'There'll be no strings to bind your hands, not if my love can't bind your heart' flowed out of his mouth. His first thought was 'What is that? That's beautiful!' He then thought, 'Nobody actually TALKS like that!!! Where did those words come from?' Incredibly, in one sitting, spread out over no more than twenty minutes, he completed the entire song. He says that during the entire process, he never once thought, 'I'm gonna say this' or 'I'm gonna say that.' In fact, most of the time he was thinking 'I don't even know what this means!' In his own mind, he feels that he didn't so much as WRITE this song as that he DREAMED it... the way the lyrics flowed out, meshing perfectly with the series of chords he had been strumming - there just had to be some kind of divine intervention. 'I write melody and words at the same time and I hum nonsense things until something comes out. So I don't think about what I want to say... I just let the emotion carry me. In this song, the emotion just totally took over and carried me. It was magic.'"
This song is about premarital sex, and while the '60s were very permissive in some regards, it was still a taboo subject in the media.
Merilee Rush was born in Seattle, Washington, and got a break when fellow Pacific-Northwest musicians Paul Revere and the Raiders asked her to join their tour. They also hooked her up with producers Tommy Cogbill and Chip Moman, who produced this song, using lush orchestration and even a pedal steel guitar.
This tender ballad is surprisingly virtually the same song as the primitive rocker "Wild Thing
." Chip Taylor, who wrote both songs explained to Mojo
magazine September 2008: "I heard some guy playing 'Wild Thing' real slow on a guitar. It sounded nice. So I did the same, lifting one of my fingers off a chord to create a suspension. Then the words 'There'll be no strings to bind your hands, not if my love can't bind your heart' came out. It was as beautiful a love connection as I could ever feel." Taylor added that it was the producer who added the sweeping strings.
This was a crossover hit for Country singer Juice Newton in 1981. Her version hit #4 on the US Pop charts, and a few months later, she had a bigger hit with "Queen Of Hearts." The song was also covered by Chrissie Hynde in 1994 for the soundtrack album of the TV show Friends, and in 2001, Reggae artist Shaggy sampled it for his hit song, "Angel."
This was a hit for P.P. Arnold in the UK in July 1968, reaching #29. (thanks, Andy - Orkney, Scotland)
Juice Newton's version can be heard during Drew Barrymore's first scene in the 2000 film Charlie's Angels. (thanks, David - Victoria, BC)
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