Lovin’ Spoonful – You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice

The Lovin’ Spoonful’s songs seem so effortlessly written and performed. They were popular for a short while in the mid-sixties. They influenced many bands including The Beatles who released Good Day Sunshine as a nod to The Lovin’ Spoonful’s song Daydream.

In the 1980s I really got into this band. I purchased one of their many greatest hits. I first heard of John Sebastian in the 70s when he wrote and sang the theme song of  TV show Welcome Back Cotter called “Welcome Back” which went to #1.

They were considered by TV producers to be in a television show but they were dropped over a conflict of song publishing rights. After an audition process, the producers figured it was more trouble than they expected. For one thing, the Spoonful were writing their own music at this point, and the show was not interested in giving up the publishing rights to the songs written for the show, so it really did not make sense for either party, and the producers instead turned to open auditions for the show. The Monkees were found soon after that. 

Brian Wilson said this song influenced one of the Beach Boys’ best songs…God Only Knows. The group was only active from 1965 to 1968, which John Sebastian described as “two glorious years and a tedious one.” John Sebastian wrote the majority of their songs. He had a #1 hit as a solo artist in 1976 with “Welcome Back,” the theme song to the TV series Welcome Back, Kotter.

This song was written by John Sebastian and bassist Steve Boone.

Lovin’ Spoonful played what they called “jug band” music and like the Rascals, they were more of a singles band than an album band. In 1967 Zal Yanovsky left the band citing musical differences. In 1968 Sebastian left for a solo career and the band carried on until 1969 without a significant hit.

The song peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1965.

John Sebastian:  “We started off in a world of 45 singles, so our only game still was three minutes of heaven every time out. That was all. We thought of it as four-man Phil Spector music. We wanted it to have that big quality, but we didn’t want to hire the Wrecking Crew.”

“Our producer Eric Jacobsen understood something about this funny hybrid that we were working on,” “Things like the chimes on ‘You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice’ were our attempts at creating that kind of vibe: harmonica, slide whistles and penny whistles. I hate calling it folk-rock. They called The Byrds folk-rock and then they were too lazy to come up with something else for our band, but we weren’t really drawing from the Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan catalog. It was a time of a lot of seriousness, and a lot of fake seriousness and people talking about Important Things. And Loving Spoonful didn’t really go for that. We were just trying to entertain.”

You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice

You didn’t have to be so nice
I would have liked you anyway
If you had just looked once or twice
And gone upon your quiet way

Today I said the time was right for me to follow you
I knew I’d find you in a day or two
And it’s true

You came upon a quiet day (ooh)
You simply seemed to take your place (ooh)
I knew that it would be that way (ooh)
The minute that I saw your face (ooh)

And when we’ve had a few more days (when we’ve had a few more days)
I wonder if I’ll get to say (wonder if I’ll get to say)
You didn’t have to be so nice (be so nice)
I would have liked you anyway (would have liked)

Today I said the time was right for me to follow you
I knew I’d find you in a day or two
And it’s true

You didn’t have to be so nice (didn’t have to be so nice)
I would have liked you anyway (would have liked you anyway)
If you had just looked once or twice (once or twice)
And gone upon your quiet way (quiet way)

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

50 thoughts on “Lovin’ Spoonful – You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice”

  1. Pretty good 60s pop song. I’ve heard from several people how good a musician Sebastian is… which is likely very true, I just don’t know a huge amount of his/their stuff. But when I think Ls, I think of three songs quickly, this, “Summer in the City” and “do You Believe in Magic?”… all good songs and quite a range between the three which is telling… they weren’t a one trick pony.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. https://wp.me/p2kcxd-xI . I wrote a blog post about my meeting them in April of 1966. Check it out. Sebastian was a much too nice fella to be from New York, he fit right in with us redneck Texas boys. The band I was in at the time played “Do You Believe In Magic” for a while. I used a Rick 12 string for the opening chords and it worked as well as the auto-harp. I ran across that album a few months back and played a few tunes, still as good as it was then. You keep finding all these great bands from that time period. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a fantastic story. It reinforces my thought about Mike Love also.
      John always seemed like a down to earth guy…glad to know he was… Did you go to the Beach Boys concert?

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      1. Yes, the three of us did go. The tickets were maybe 6 bucks for ground floor seats. The LS were good, but in a different way unlike the BB’s and their surf sound. A local band always opened and I can’t recall who that was. Chad and Jeremy did maybe 4 tunes, then off the stage, they didn’t have a huge repitore in those days.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Phil it was The Mystics. Now we all know what you did on April 1,1966. I had to find that damn opening band lol. I love mysteries.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll check, it may have been the other site. I did an interview with them via the internet some years ago. When we changed our name from The Orphans to ATNT is was because of a legal matter. Alice Talks N Talks. Our old manager, Alice Davis was the inspiration. A fellow wanted to be our manager, attempting to lure us away from Mark Lee Productions. We refused his pestiness more than once, so he had the name The Orphans copywrited all legal and then threatened us with it. MLP advised we change the name. We also found out that he had started another band in Garland Texas called The Orphans. It was a mess for a while. Back then, most bands didn’t consider copywriting their name, we just thought one up and went with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Dude! “Johnny Strawn!” Boy, you had a lot of hair!!! I finally found the pix on YOUR site. What an awesome time you had. That guy that copyrighted your band’s name out of spite…I hope someone smacked him for that at some point.

        Poor LuAnn. It’s good you didn’t burn down her place, though I can see why the event would be exciting. Jimi got away with it.

        On the subject of football, you are correct and it isn’t just back then. I’ve told you, before, that I lived in Round Rock for nearly a decade and worked in downtown Austin. I had co-workers that would attend local high school football games, whether they had kids in school or not. It’s just a thing, there. And, OH LORD, Longhorn games. The rich locals could afford the expensive tickets to attend. The not-so-rich locals, and folks from outside Austin, would come in, in their RVs and set up shop ALL OVER downtown. One spot they liked was our south-facing, non-parking-garage parking lot (which I parked in quite often). We were always told “move your cars by 5pm (on a Friday).” It didn’t matter that the game was on Saturday. Those folks were coming in, parking and partying downtown, whether you liked it or not. Every Monday morning, there would be beer bottles, baked beans, charcoal and napkins strewn all over that parking lot. Narry a piece of brisket left behind! LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Glad you sherlocked and found the info. Granbury is much like Plano was then, the place shuts down on Friday nights. Louann’s did burn down years later, how could it not being a giant bonfire waiting to happen. Thanks for enjoying a bit of musical history that I was lucky enough to be a part of.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh no. That’s a shame for Louann.

        Max helped me out with the broken link. I did the “sherlock search.” LOL!

        Lucky you. I always wanted to be a singer in a rock -n- roll band. I’ve had to settle for chorus in middle school, a pageant in high school and karaoke. *sigh*

        Liked by 2 people

      7. I’ll check, it may have been the other site. I did an interview with them via the internet some years ago. When we changed our name from The Orphans to ATNT is was because of a legal matter. Alice Talks N Talks. Our old manager, Alice Davis was the inspiration. A fellow wanted to be our manager, attempting to lure us away from Mark Lee Productions. We refused his pestiness more than once, so he had the name The Orphans copywrited all legal and then threatened us with it. MLP advised we change the name. We also found out that he had started another band in Garland Texas called The Orphans. It was a mess for a while. Back then, most bands didn’t consider copywriting their name, we just thought one up and went with it. Try Garageband.com

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Phil…a little off topic question…how much did a bar gig make back then? In the 80s we usually got 200 bucks that we split…not a lot but I wouldn’t trade the fun we had for anything.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I know this sounds crazy, but depending on the club or private gig, our band of 5 and our manager would split around $400, some private parties paid higher, but never under $300. That was considered a lot of money in the 60s, and most of the good bands in DFW made good wages. A bunch of teens making that kind of cash was criminal. Most fathers supported their families on much less a week. We spent every penny on crap for our cars, guitars, amps and hippie dippy clothes at places like the Electric Rocking Horse on McKinney Ave. At one time, I had 6 amps in my bedroom; Fenders, Kustoms and Voxs. I usually played with my Fender Dual Showman and the others gathered dust. The 200 is about right for bars back then, it’s not much better now. My last band, The American Classics played mostly country clubs in our last years and asked 800. for 3 hours and folks usually didn’t blink. Now, restaurants and such have become stingy and tend to hire a duo or a single guitar playing singer. I see a lot of that in Granbury, but Fort Worth is geared towards bands. Like any musician will tell you, ” it’s not for the money, man.”

        Liked by 1 person

      10. That was good money at that time…would have been when I played also. I spent mine on the same stuff…when I could. I’ve ended up with 12 guitars hanging up in my music room and some amps. I don’t have to tell you but you grew up in a great time!

        The trouble we had was there wasn’t really a rock scene…Nashville wanted pure country bands and the only rock places were lowly or sports bars.

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      11. Oh Jeez, I didn’t know you were going at it in Nashville? The Spoonful wrote a tune about that. My dad spent some time there as a studio musician in the mid 50s. He and Grady Martin would go from Springfield MS, where they were in the band on the Red Foley Show to Nashville and do studio work a few days a week. Foley found out about it and fired them both, but relented and kept Grady on. Dad, Mom and me came back to Texas where he became a member of the Light Crust Doughboys and continued so for almost 60 years. There was no way in hell a bunch of teens should have been making that much dough. If only I would have saved some, or at least kept all the guitars and equipment. My son has my dads fiddle that was gifted to him by Bob Wills and he plans to hand it down to my grandson. My oldest grandson and granddaughter also play guitar, so I guess it’s somewhat in the family genes.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Yea…Nashville wasn’t exactly a swinging joint for Rock and Roll back then. We managed to find some places though but the pay wasn’t great….but we had a ball.

        Bob Wills! Wow Phil…that is really cool.

        Hell Phil…even those cheap Japanese guitars you had at the beginning with all of the switches are worth a bundle now…. Also that Gibson that got water logged after you and it were deposited in the water…

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Strange stuff indeed. That band appears to be Gerry and the Pacemakers or a clone. Try ATNT, we did change the name over a legal dispute. If not, try reading the two interviews on my blog, that should fill in a lot. My good friend Danny Goode, a past member of the Excels from McKinny Texas, found over a dozen bands called the Excels from all over the country. Thats what we get for not copywriting our names.

        Liked by 2 people

      14. https://wp.me/p2kcxd-Ps. Some of the bands that would open for touring rock shows. My band is the ATNT. Our manager, Mark Lee Productions put this show together and it was a huge deal. The Doors were scheduled to perform but canceled. The next day, Kenny Daniel of Kenny and the Kasuals left for BootCamp and Vietnam. Kenny recently passed from Althimzers.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. I loved the story in one article when your guitar player had enough and bomped someone over the head….Oh how I wanted to do that once but I didn’t.

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      16. He surprised us with his meltdown. Jarry was, and is a laid back guy. It ruined his guitar, put a crack in the back from the neck down, but it was repaired by a good luthier in Dallas. It was an interesting tour and we were glad to get back home after playing the next two nights in Surfside, Texas, a beach town south of Galveston. Not a happy place to be during a cold winter.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always thought they were a great pop group, in the good way. A clean crisp sound- no mumbled misunderstood lyrics here! A few other of their songs reflect an essential sweetness, ‘Never Going Back,’ Younger Girl’ ‘Rain On The Roof.’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Lovin Spoonful had some excellent tunes and this may be their best. I appreciate learning more about them through your post. The first video is a true gem. They look like they are having a good time.

    Like

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