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Love Potion No. 9 "(1959) - All about the song

As the musical styles evolved, The Searchers couldn't hold on to their former positions... Unfortunately, the band never released more hits. In 2018, the members announced their retirement...

The history of the hit "Love Potion No. nine"!

Love Potion No. 9", which means "Love Potion No. 9", is a 1959 hit by The Searchers in 1965 (their version became the most popular)! The song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller - a famous authoring duo: between 1952 and 1969 they wrote more than a hundred songs, some of which were recorded by Elvis Presley himself - the unsurpassed king of rock and roll! The song was originally performed by The Clovers and peaked at number 23 on the US Singles Chart. Subsequently, on "Love Potion No. 9" has recorded many versions, from Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass to The Coasters! However, success came to the track performed by The Searchers: in the winter of 1965, their version reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Cash Box!

A little about the authors...

Duet Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with Elvis Presley
Duet Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with Elvis Presley

The hit was written by Jerry Leiber (songwriter) and Mike Stoller (songwriter) - a famous songwriting and production duo! They have such timeless masterpieces as "Hound Dog" and "Kansas City"! After collaborating with The Coasters, the two's work took on a humorous twist, with an emphasis on the jargon of the then teenagers. Leiber and Stoller were the first of their kind to surround black music with carefully considered production values, thereby enhancing its emotional power (the clearest example is “Goes My Baby” by The Drifters) ... It was this duet that had a huge influence on Phil Spector, who carefully studied their works by playing the guitar in their sessions...

Among their hits, performed by Elvis Presley, is the famous "Prison Rock", as well as "Love Me", "King Creole" and others ... In 1964, together with George Goldner, they launched Red Bird Records, focusing on the sound " women's groups. In the late 1980s, the duo was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Searchers...
The Searchers…

As for The Searchers, they are a British rock band that originated as part of the Merseybeat scene of the 60s. In fact, they became the second Liverpool group after the Beatles, which managed to break into the US charts (composition "Needles and Pins"). Now let's talk about the story of Love Potion No. nine"…

History of creation

The Clovers were one of the few R&B bands of the time to cross over into rock and roll. They began in 1946 as a trio of students from Armstrong High School (Washington, D.C.) and went through many personnel changes over the next four years. They originally recorded for Rainbow in 1950, but moved to Atlantic in 1951, where they stayed for seven years and became famous for their live performances. Love Potion No. 9" was their last hit...

The Searchers' 1965 version was the most popular, peaking at number 3 in the US.

As for the lyrics, the song talks about a man who turns to a gypsy, Madame Ruth, for help in matters of the heart. Using palmistry, she determines that the client needs "Love Potion No. 9" - an aphrodisiac that makes him fall in love with everything he sees and kiss everything around him ... Including the policeman, who ends up breaking the potion bottle! The narrator describes himself as a complete dumbass! The Clovers version contains the line:

"I had so much fun that I'll be back again,
I wonder what will happen to love potion number ten?

Notably, Love Potion No. 9" became the main premise of the 1992 film of the same name starring Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan. The plot of the film is quite predictable (well, almost...): young scientists Paul and Diana - lonely, shy and carried away exclusively by their work - invent an elixir of love, and ... experience it for themselves! In a word - mind-blowing amorous adventures begin!

So, soon after the release, the track written for The Clovers gained huge popularity among white pop groups!

Parodies

In 1970, Xhol Caravan recorded a version called "Love Potion 25" which now references the lyrics to LSD. Paul Shanklin created a parody called "Love Client No. 9": the parody was directed at former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his prostitution scandal that led to Spitzer's removal from office.

Interesting Facts…

The Searchers
The Searchers
  • Among the artists who recorded their version of "Love Potion No. 9", you can highlight: Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, The Ventures, Beau Nasty, Neil Diamond, Tygers of Pan Tang ... In 2020, the cover was released by the indie band The Wallies.

  • The duo Leiber and Stoller have written many songs with funny and entertaining lyrics. The idea was the same: a song about a guy who drinks a love potion brewed by a gypsy... He gets carried away and starts kissing everything he sees!

"I don't know if it was day or night
I started kissing everything I saw
But when I kissed the cop on the street corner
He broke my little bottle of love potion number nine…”

  • As musical styles evolved, The Searchers couldn't hold on to their former positions... Unfortunately, the band never released more hits. In 2018, the members announced their retirement...
  • The words "kiss the cop" led to the song being banned by some radio stations.
  • As a pop culture reference, "Love Potion No. 9" is found in the animated film "Shrek 2": on the bottle of love potion that the Fairy Godmother gives to the king, IX (the number nine in Roman numerals) is depicted.
  • An alternate version of the song is also featured on the American Graffiti soundtrack.

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