The Loco-Motion

Album: Shinin' On (1974)
Charted: 1
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  • The husband-and-wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote this song, which was originally recorded by Little Eva in 1962 - her version was also a US #1 hit.
  • Grand Funk is a swaggering rock band, but their unlikely cover of the "The Loco-Motion" - a song about a dance craze - worked surprisingly well with their sound and attitude. In a Songfacts interview with Grand Funk drummer and vocalist Don Brewer, he explained: "The idea of 'Loco-Motion' came when we were working on the Shinin' On album in the studio with Todd (Rundgren). We had basically finished the album - 'Shinin' On' was going to be the first single, and we were thinking about what we were going to do for another song. Mark (Farner) came in one day and off the top of his head was singing, 'Everybody's doing a brand new dance now,' just for fun, and we all went, 'Yeah, Grand Funk doing the Locomotion.' It was a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, and we said, 'Let's try it, let's do it,' so we sent off to New York, got the lyrics, and Todd had the idea of doing the song kind of like The Beach Boys' 'Barbara Ann' where it sounded like a big party was going on, except Todd could really crank up everything with the hand claps and all of that stuff. It just had this huge sound to it - it sounded like a big party."
  • This was the second of two Grand Funk #1 US hits, following "We're An American Band." They had no trouble filling arenas in the mid-'70s.
  • Todd Rundgren started working with the band on their previous album, We're An American Band. He helped Grand Funk move from long songs like "Closer To Home" to shorter songs that were huge hits and got lots of airplay.
  • Grand Funk had lots of success with cover songs. They also recorded popular versions of "Gimme Shelter," "Inside Looking Out," and "Some Kind of Wonderful." Says Brewer: "It was always a matter of taking a song and making it be ours. To do that, we as a band had to feel it. So when somebody came up with the idea of doing a cover song, it was like the whole band could feel, 'Oh yeah, this feels great.' We were really kind of a jam band in the studio, we would endlessly jam on stuff."
  • This was just the second cover song to top the Hot 100 after the original hit #1, following "Go Away Little Girl" (also written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King), which was a #1 for Steve Lawrence in 1962 and for Donny Osmond in 1971. In 1975, "Please Mr. Postman" became the third when the Carpenters took the song (a #1 for The Marvelettes in 1961) to the top.

Comments: 13

  • Cgv from FlWho were the two girls who sang in the Locomotion choir…?
  • Dah from FrankfortThis is my favorite version. I always wondered how GFR came to sing this after growing up hearing Little Eva's version. l love hers also.
    Also interesting that Carol King co wrote this.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 3rd 1974, 'The Loco-Motion" by Grand Funk* entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; and eight weeks later on April 28th, 1974 it peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks} and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on May 11th, 1974 it also reached #1 {for 2 weeks} on the Canadian RPM 100 chart...
    Was track three from the quartet's eighth studio album, 'Shinin' On', and the album peaked at #5 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100; "Shinin' On" reached #11 on August 18th, 1974...
    * It was their third release under the name 'Grand Funk', for their first ten charted records they were known as 'Grand Funk Railroad.'
  • Camille from Toronto, OhNever cared for this version of the Locomotion.....too slow and draggy feeling. GFR rocks on "We're An American Band"
  • Don Hertel from Dover, NjI had heard that the Grand Funk version was actually inspired by a similar version by the band Christopher Milk.
  • Harold from San Bernadino, CaMaddie,WA-----i like this version better too, alittle bit more edgy than little Eva.
  • Yvonne from Hastings, MnBest story I heard was when the band got to play it for Little Eva. How cute is that?
  • Michael from Fayetteville, NcOnly R/R song to go to #1 for 3 acts. Little Eva, GFR and Kylie Minogue
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaAnother great Funk cover..."Feelin' Alright".
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI like the original better, but this version is great. It's different than most Grandfunk stuff.
  • L.a. from Washington,, DcNo doubt Grand Funk took and classic and made it more classic. The song sounded good in the studio and it sounded good live. Wish Tod Rundren had produced more of their stuff.
    I too liked their version better than the original.
  • James from Ragin' Rochester, NyEven better than late comers - Van Halen
    A local Oldies station uses the promotion; best hits of the '60's (riff from little Eva version)
    the '70's (same riff from Grand Funk cover)
    and the '80's (same riff from Van Halen cover)
    Truly a timeless classic.
  • Maddie from Yakima, WaI like this version better than the original.
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