The remedy for life's lows is found in this little pop ditty from 1967, which claims all you need to get by is a "little bit o' soul." It was written by British songwriting duo John Carter and Ken Lewis, who wrote the 1965 hit "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" for Herman's Hermits. That same year, The Little Darlings recorded an early version of "Little Bit O' Soul," but it was largely ignored until a band from Mansfield, Ohio, called The Music Explosion got a hold of it. They were auditioning for producers Jeff Katz and Jerry Kasenetz, known as the Kings of Bubblegum, when they were given the song to practice.
"It was a folk version, sung like a 'Puff The Magic Dragon
,' with a flat-top guitar," Richard Nesta, the band's guitarist, recalled in the book One Hit Wonders
by Wayne Jancik. "It was a chordy song. Nothin' special."
That is, until they came up with the tune's signature bass guitar riff (played by Butch Stahl). The Music Explosion's version started out as a local hit and, once Kasenetz started shopping it around to California stations, it shot to #2 on the Hot 100.