Bad Blood

Album: The Hungry Years (1975)
Charted: 1


  • Sedaka wrote this song with Philip Cody, who also helped write his hit "Laughter In The Rain." Cody told us it's his least favorite song. Here's the story of how it came together: "I went to visit my family and I spent some time with my grandmother, who is an old Sicilian lady. She was telling stories about the lady up the street who used to be a witch, a Strega. And the whole idea of people being good or evil because of what goes on in their blood was just part of the superstitious nature of my Sicilian upbringing that I tried to stay as far away from as I could. (laughing) I just thought it would be an interesting way to approach a lyric: rather than from a place of enlightenment the idea is that love makes us stupid. And that's where I went. It wasn't (heavy sigh - pause)... I did it, and I didn't think I did a very good job on it, and before I had a chance to do a re-write Neil was in the studio with Elton doing the song, and that was it. So I guess the best things are left undone." (Here's our full Philip Cody interview.)
  • This is a surprisingly bitter breakup song by an artist who was then known mostly for feel-good music. Here, it's the friend of the narrator's who gets dumped by a woman who's referred to as "the bitch" and "an evil child," while he takes a "better you than me" attitude towards the whole situation. Speaking about this song in Rolling Stone, Sedaka said: "The lyric is a little controversial, with words like 'bitch' and such. I like it because it's not such a goody-goody two-shoes thing. That the mistake I made in my first career - the songs were too predictable, there's no message intended."
  • This song turned out to be Sedaka's biggest hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Top 100, remaining there for three weeks. He was helped by his friend Elton John, who sang back-up for this song which ensured airplay. In an odd coincidence, this song was knocked out of its #1 position by an Elton John song, "Island Girl." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA, for above 2
  • Elton John revived Sedaka's fortunes in American by releasing "Laughter In The Rain" on his new label, Rocket Records. Sedaka continued to record for Rocket, and Elton continued to help. For The Hungry Years album, Elton asked to sing backup on a track. After showing up to the studio 90 minutes late, he listened to the album and picked "Bad Blood."
  • This song didn't age well. In 1986, Sedaka said it was the least-requested and least-played of his hits at his concerts.
  • In case you're wondering about the doo-wop stuff at the end that sounds like, "Did you run, did you run?," Cody says that was a spur of the moment thing between Elton and Neil in the studio. Says Phil, "I was a literate snob and would never have written anything like doo doo run."

Comments: 8

  • Sludge from Jerkwater, Usa This has the classic Bo Didley backbeat.
  • Melinda from AustraliaA very under-rated great song by Sedaka. About dishonest, deceitful shifty chicks people should aim to NOT fall in love with.
    Bad Blood. It’s an old fashioned concept. But it’s well known fact once you’re older.
    That some people are just inherently bad to the bone.
    And lovin them, is a bad idea....highly risky. And gets way too humiliating after a while.
    I didn’t know Elton John sang on this song. The more I learn about Elton John, the more I like him.
    For 1 thing, he thinks Madonna is a sh..t human being. He knows, from experiences with her.
  • Erik from Wa StateIn Season One episode 18 of -That 70's Show-, entitled "Career Day," Eric Forman is driving home with his mother, Kitty Forman, after he spent the day observing her at work as a nurse at a hospital. When "Bad Blood" comes on the radio, Kitty starts signing, and eventually gets Eric to sing along. (One of my favorites!)
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 21st 1963, Neil Sedaka performed "Bad Girl" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time it was at #34 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; the next week it peaked at #33 for one week, then the following week it was at #52 and that was its 8th and final week on the chart...
    And twelve years later on October 5th, 1975 “Bad Blood” peaked at #1 for three weeks on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 17th 1977, Neil Sedaka performed "Bad Blood" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special' and he was also the guest host...
    Two years earlier on September 7th, 1975 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #66; and on October 5th it peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It reached #25 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    The 3 weeks it was at #1, the #2 record for those 3 weeks was "I’m Sorry/Calypso" by John Denver (but Mr. Denver did reach #1 on September 21st)...
    Between 1958 and 1980 Mr. Sedaka had thirty Top 100 records; nine made the Top 10 with three reaching #1, his other two #1s were "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" (for 2 weeks in 1962) and "Laughter In The Rain" (for 1 week in 1975)...
    Mr. Sedaka celebrated his 75th birthday three months ago on March 13th, 2014.
  • Linda from Inland Empire, CaI think this song is a mid 70s gem. The bitter lyrics with the peppy music and the vocal interplay between Elton and Neil makes the song fun and hard to get out of your head. I am not entirely sure if I'm glad Songfacts helped me re-discover it because now I can't stop singing it. :-)
  • Mark from Topeka, KsThis song was supposedly written because the bad blood that occurred when the Carpenters got upset that the opening act who was Neil Sedaka was getting more applause.
  • David from Youngstown, OhElton John was a big Neil Sedaka fan. He signed Sedaka to his Rocket Records label and sang this song with him. By the way, this is such a great song!
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