Little Bit O' Soul

Album: Little Bit O' Soul (1967)
Charted: 2


  • 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.
  • All that roof raising that was going on in the late '90s can be traced back to this song, with frontman Jamie Lyons singing, "When you raise the roof with your rock 'n roll, you'll get a lot more kicks with a little bit o' soul."
  • The controversial rap group 2 Live Crew sampled the riff in their 1989 song "The F--k Shop." The group's Luther Campbell, aka Luke, also recorded a #1 rap single in 1997 called "Raise the Roof," which popularized the hands-in-the-air dance of the same name.
  • The Music Explosion disbanded in 1969. Their only other hit on the Hot 100 was 1967's "Sunshine Games," which peaked #63.
  • The Ramones covered this on their 1983 album, Subterranean Jungle.
  • This was used on the TV drama The Wire in the 2004 episode "Middle Ground."
  • This was used in the 2017 film Detroit, set during the 1967 Detroit riots.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

How The Beatles Crafted Killer ChorusesSong Writing

The author of Help! 100 Songwriting, Recording And Career Tips Used By The Beatles, explains how the group crafted their choruses so effectively.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

JJ Burnel of The StranglersSongwriter Interviews

JJ talks about The Stranglers' signature sound - keyboard and bass - which isn't your typical strain of punk rock.

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.