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Sunday 19 April 2020

Single Song Sunday

It's this time again - and we have a Jimmy Webb song for you, which is always a guarantee of quality.

For many years the only version of "Do You What You Gotta Do" I knew was the one by The Four Tops, which made the Top Twenty in the UK in 1969 (but which wasn't even released as a single anywhere else as far as I can tell). I had always assumed theirs was the original version, but I was wrong. There had already been three charting versions before Levi and the boys got round to it.

Admittedly none of them were what you would call global smashes. Al Wilson had the first go and took it to No. 102 in the Billboard charts in early 1968. Nina Simone dwarfed his achievement by getting it to No. 83 later in the year. Larry's Rebels, on the other hand, did get into the Top 10 with their rendition, but only in New Zealand.

Rounding things up, Tom Jones gives it a bit of a belting, B.J. Thomas goes for a more mellow take as you might expect, while Meg Baird is wispy and wistful. The Mandatory Reggae Version comes from Mr Pat Rhoden. 

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Al Wilson

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Nina Simone

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Larry's Rebels

"Do What You Gotta Do" - The Four Tops

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Tom Jones

"Do What You Gotta Do" - B.J. Thomas

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Meg Baird

"Do What You Gotta Do" - Pat Rhoden

Inexplicably I can't find videos of any of them performing the song on YouTube. In fact all there seems to be is a very badly recorded live performance by Linda Ronstadt and an acoustic version by a Fleet Fox. So instead here are some different videos from some of those folks.


  1. Top 2 of SSS: Larry's Rebels and Pat Rhoden. The others, much the same, and I include the Four Tops in that. Some of your other 18 readers might disagree.

  2. Nina Simone wins for me. Johnny Rivers does a pretty good version too

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  4. Levi Stubbs has that deep, deep emotion in his voice that always makes me love The Four Tops more.

    1. Me too. I like most of these but the 4 Tops is still my favourite I think