Song of the Day: The Capitols, “Cool Jerk”

One last song of the "everyone stops but the drummer, then comes back in one at a time" genre, and maybe my favorite of the bunch (I play it all the time here), is "Cool Jerk" by the Detroit-based vocal trio The Capitols. They were (secretly) backed on this track by The Funk Brothers, the house band at Motown Records. According to one Funk Brother, the song was originally named "Pimp Jerk," which, according to Wikipedia, was inspired by "watching neighborhood pimps, who would dance in the clubs, but were too ‘cool’ to do the jerk like regular folks." Ollie McLaughlin, the producer, was concerned that stations would either ban the record or not give it sufficient airplay with that title, and the song as given its current name.

Released in 1966, it went to #2 on the R&B chart, #7 on the Hot 100, and #9 on the Canadian charts. It placed #36 on the year-end Hot 100.

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