The fourth of seven Top 10 hits for Gary Lewis & the Playboys, this was the first song recorded song that Lewis also wrote; he composed it with his arranger Leon Russell along with Thomas Leslie. Lewis said in a Songfacts interview
: "I always used to hang out at Leon Russell's house with him, because it was very conducive over there to creation. Musical creation. I mean, everybody that lived over there with Leon were musicians from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I liked all those guys a lot and everybody was always working on songs and beats and words. So hanging out with them, I started getting some ideas of my own. And for 'Everybody Loves a Clown,' I suggested to Leon, 'Why don't we write a song along the lines of a circus calliope.' I just thought of that. And he liked the idea and he worked on it for a little bit. He says, 'Well, I don't want to actually play a calliope, let's just put that feel to a normal piano and harpsichord sound.' And we bounced back and forth. So when we finally figured out what we were going to do, we came up with the line, [singing], 'da da da da da da day, du du du, du du du,' and it wasn't really a calliope thing, but it was circus-y. I liked it and we wrote the words together."