Lovin’ Spoonful – Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

I grew up with a Lovin’ Spoonful Greatest Hits album. Like The Rascals (or Young Rascals) they were primarily a singles band more known for their hits than their albums.

This song was written by John Sebastian. He said he was influenced by a pair of sisters he met at a summer camp where he was a counselor. Neither sister was interested in Sebastian, even though he taught himself the autoharp in an attempt to impress them.

The song did very well peaking at #2 on the Billboard 100, #6 in Canada, and #5  in New Zealand in 1966. A good song by the Lovin’ Spoonful who had a string of hits in the sixties. They had a short window…1966-1969 but they had 14 songs in the Billboard 100. 1 number one and 7 top ten hits.

Their songs are grounded in folk, jug music,  and blues. I don’t know if it is possible to be in a bad mood while listening to them. They are now staples on oldies radio stations.

Zal Yanovsky left in 1967 after being dissatisfied with John’s more personal songwriting and a pot conviction. John Sebastion left the group on 1968 and with him gone the hits dried up.

A fun band to listen to. You won’t hear rock operas or rocking solos but you will hear a band that sounds like they are having a good time.

They reunited once in 1979 and for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2000.

As the ’60s drew to a close, The Lovin’ Spoonful disbanded and Sebastian started working on a variety of projects. He wrote music for the Care Bear series, published children’s books, made harmonica instruction videos, and, wrote the theme song to the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter, which was a #1 hit.

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

Did you ever have to make up your mind?
And pick up on one and leave the other behind?
It’s not often easy and not often kind
Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Did you ever have to finally decide?
And say yes, to one and let the other one ride?
There’s so many changes and tears you must hide
Did you ever have to finally decide?

Sometimes there’s one with big blue eyes, cute as a bunny
With hair down to here, and plenty of money
And just when you think she’s that one in the world
Your heart gets stolen by some mousy little girl

And then you know you’d better make up your mind
And pick up on one and leave the other behind
It’s not often easy and not often kind
Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Sometimes you really dig a girl the moment you kiss her
And then you get distracted by her older sister
When in walks her father and takes you in line
And says, “Better go on home, son, and make up your mind”

Then you bet you’d better finally decide
And say yes to one and let the other one ride
There’s so many changes and tears you must hide
Did you ever have to finally decide?

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

44 thoughts on “Lovin’ Spoonful – Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”

  1. Love the Spoonful and John Sebastion. After the band he really made some great solo LPS and was such a great live act to see. It’s sad that about 10 years ago he lost his voice and his shows were quite sad and painful to watch.

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  2. John Phillips before he was in the Mamas and Papas met John Sebastian in Greenwich Village and the comradery among musicians in this Bohemian paradise became a place where everybody got to know each other. Denny Doherty who also became a member of the Mamas and Papas was in The Mugwumps and John Sebastian briefly played harmonica with them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m reading a Grateful Dead book right now and they played in some of the same circles as the Spoonful as well…maybe still as the Warlocks…I’m not sure if they had changed their name yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The Mamas and The Papas sang about that in Creeque Alley: “Zal and Denny workin’ for a penny/Tryin’ to get a fish on the line./In a coffeehouse Sebastian sat/And after every number they passed the hat.” And in the next verse: “Zally said Denny, you know there aren’t many/
      Who can sing a song the way that you do, let’s go south./Denny said Zally, golly, don’t you think that I wish/I could play guitar like you./Zal, Denny and Sebastian sat (at the Night Owl)/And after every number they’d pass the hat.”

      Liked by 2 people

    1. My daughter sings ‘Rain On The Roof’ as a lullaby to sooth our grandson off to the land of Nod, as we did for her when she was baby. Well, she tries; he sleeps when he wants, so… it rarely works.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Nice tune! It’s funny or perhaps sad would be the more appropriate term. While I’m very well familiar with their name, I hardly know any songs by The Lovin’ Spoonful. That said, “Summer In the City” is among my all-favorite ’60s tunes.

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  4. Even as a kid back then, I thought these guys were kind of smarmy, and this song was one of the worst offenders. 😀 They skirted close to ‘adult contemporary’. But I appreciate them now. Their hits are such a part of the 60s. I rediscovered Sebastian’s voice as a ‘tween’ when Welcome Back Kotter came out. Then he became ‘cooler’.

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  5. Nice to get a little background info on the song. I always enjoy his crisp picking (Nashville Cats is another favorite of mine.) and the organ ditties in here make it so charming. It’s pure feelgood but it’s also deeper in the lyrics that it first appears. Sebastian was a talented guy and cuter than a bug’s ear to boot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just adore Nashville Cats for obvious reasons and it’s true! Everyone you meet here plays or has family or friends who do. They had a short window but they took advantage of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve noticed that about them…very to the point. I love Darling Be Home Soon and Nashville Cats of course. Every single they had was so likable.

        Liked by 1 person

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