Song Lyric Sunday: Climax Blues Band, “You Make Me Sick”

Jim got today’s prompt from Ai: "fix/make." I found a song that I hadn’t heard in a very long time. It’s so obscure that I had to transcribe the lyrics myself.

The Climax Blues Band started out as The Climax Chicago Blues Band in 1968 and changed their name to Climax Chicago in 1970, adopting their permanent name in 1972. Their two frontmen through much of the band’s first 20 years were Colin Cooper on saxophone, harmonica, guitar, and vocals, and Pete Haycock on lead guitar, slide guitar and vocals. Another original member, Derek Holt, played bass and keyboards. The band is still around, albeit with none of the original members. Cooper died in 2008, Haycock in 2013. Around the mid ’70’s, they began to emphasize more chart-friendly songs and had their two big hits, "Couldn’t Get It Right" (1976, #3 US, #8 Canada, #10 UK) and "I Love You" (1980, #12 US, #14 Canada).

"You Make Me Sick" appeared on their 1972 album Rich Man, which came out before the name change from Climax Chicago. The version I’m using here is from their 1973 album FM/Live, which was recorded live at the Academy of Music in New York. The whole band (Cooper, Haycock, Holt, and drummer John Cuffley) has a writing credit.

Just so you know, I transcribed the lyrics from the studio version. In the live version, they go back to verse 1 instead of on to verse 3. They probably forgot…

1. You’ve got a wicked spell
You’re making me feel unwell
You burn me with your touch
You make me sick ’cause I love you so much


I’ve got hammers ringin’ in my head
I’ve got snakes crawlin’ in my bed
If you keep on pushin’ me, I’ll soon be dead
You make me sick ’cause I love you so much

2. Why do you treat me so mean
You’re actin’ like a voodoo queen
Magic in your touch
You make me sick ’cause I love you so much

CHORUS and instrumental break

3. Why did you pick on me
I’m livin’ in misery
You burn me with your touch
You make me sick ’cause I love you so much


And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for May 3, 2021.

21 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Climax Blues Band, “You Make Me Sick”

  1. Quick correction to the lyrics in the chorus – “I’ve got hammers ringin’ in my head” should be “I’ve got hammers bangin’ in my head”. Otherwise, I’ve posted the lyrics online based on your transcription, with the ad-libs before verse 3 transcribed as well.


    1. Glad you liked it! They were a really good band that deserved more attention than they got. Eventually they started doing less blues and more pop, and had some chart success, but even so, people forget them or never heard of them.


  2. Sounds really good…all I’ve known from them are the two hits…I like this one though.


  3. I remember this song and I always loved the way it started out with those wailing guitars and then switched to the horns. It peaked at #33 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #9 on the UK Singles Chart. Thanks for going through the trouble to get the lyrics John.


    1. I couldn’t find any chart info or even that it had been released as a single. I looked all over. Where’d you find that? If it’s a book, I’d like to get it…


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