Didn’t Want to Have to Do It


1966 Daydream-Lovin' Spoonful-Kama Sutra KLPS-8051 (1a)Lovin' Spoonful 1

Didn’t Want to Have to Do It (John Sebastian)

Lovin’ Spoonful with vocal by Cass Elliot — recorded during the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Daydream sessions, in 1965

From a comment by “iris music group,” dated Mon May 30, 2011, in a thread titled “Didn’t Want to Have to Do It – 1964-65,” at the Cass Elliot Community Forum:

Cass Elliot 1The two versions of Cass Elliot singing “Didn’t Want to Have to Do It” is an important historical story itself. In 1964 Alan Lorber developed a group called the Mugwumps, which consisted of Cass, Denny Doherty, Cass’s first husband Jim Hendricks and Zal Yanovsky, and recorded them for Warner Bros Records. The recording is historical because before they became Mamas & Papas and The Lovin’ Spoonful, they were the Mugwumps. The album was not released until 1967 after both successive groups hit [sic]. After cutting the album the Mugwumps broke up (it’s all told in “Creeque Alley”). Lorber then developed the Lovin’ Spoonful. During the “Do You Believe in Magic” session, John Sebastian asked if Cass who was leaving for L.A. could cut a recording of a new song he had written. The result is here in two versions, one with harmony, and the other without, both with Sebastian on guitar with guitar solos by him and Zal Yanofsky.

(below) presumably the “with harmony” version referred to above


1966 Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind- Lovin' Spoonful-Kama Sutra KA 209 (d58)

The Lovin’ Spoonful — recorded in 1965, and released as track 2, side two of the Lovin’ Spoonful LP Daydream, Kama Sutra ‎KLPS-8051, KLPS8051 (stereo), in March 1966

In April 1966, it was also issued as the B-side of “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind” (Sebastian), on the 45rpm single Kama Sutra KA 209 (also issued with the sides reversed, according to the single cover images provided by Discogs)


Demo version, previously unreleased, from the 2002 re-release of the LP Daydream, Sundazed Music ‎LP 5160 (180 gram), which includes four bonus tracks


Julie Driscoll — issued, as “I Didn’t Want to Have to Do It,” on 6 May 1966 on the single Parlophone (UK) R 5444, b/w “Don’t Do It No More”


The Duprees — issued 6 September 1966 on the single Columbia 4-43802, b/w “It’s Not Time Now” (John Sebastian, Zal Yanovsky)


Jackie and Roy — from their 1966 album Changes, Verve Records ‎V6-8668


The Rovin’ Kind — issued in May 1967 on the single Dunwich D-154, as the B-side of “She”* (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)


“She” (Boyce, Hart) — A-side of Dunwich D-154


Rotary Connection poster 1-d50

Rotary Connection — from their self-titled debut album, released in October 1967


Madeline Bell — released, under the title “I Didn’t Want to Have to Do It,” on the 1967 album Bell’s A Poppin’, (UK) Philips ‎SBL.7818


The Hangmen — previously released on the B-side of the 1967 compilation LP Battle of the Bands, Vol. I, Ren-Vell Records ‎LP-317, featuring recordings by various bands


1968-2 Shows Nightly (LP)-Peggy Lee-Capitol Records ST 105

Peggy Lee — from the 1968 live album 2 Shows Nightly, Capitol Records ‎ST 105; also issued in May 1968 as the B-side of “Reason to Believe” on the 45rpm single Capitol 2171

Of the album, Wikipedia says:

At Lee’s request, this album was abruptly withdrawn from circulation almost immediately after its release in 1968.


Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends — from the 1968 self-titled album A&M Records ‎SP 4139, SP-4139


Jackie DeShannon-5

Jackie DeShannon — A-side of the cancelled 1968 single Imperial 66312, b/w “Splendor in the Grass,” released in 2013 on Jackie DeShannon: The Complete Singles, Vol. 3 (1967-1970). A slightly longer version was issued on her 1968 LP Me About You, Imperial ‎LP-12386.

selected Jackie DeShannon discographies:


Ralfi Pagan — originally released on the 1973 LP Ralfi, Fania Records ‎SLP 00417; also issued in 1974 on the single Fania 705, b/w “Too Late”



1976 Welcome Back (LP)-John Sebastian-Reprise Records ‎MS 2249

John Sebastian — from his 1976 album Welcome Back, Reprise Records ‎MS 2249


Steve Woodhams — from the 2001 CD album This Dream Called Life


Ray Mason Band — from the 2003 album Idiot Wisdom, on the Captivating Music label


Rick (engineer909) — uploaded on 24 May 2011


The Beatniks

The source of the live recording featured in the video is unknown. It could be from one of the following (perhaps both):

  • World Happiness 2011 festival, Sunday, 7 August 2011, as suggested by the title used by the YouTube provider
  • the group’s CD album Last Train to Exitown, (Japan) Virgin ‎TOCT 27097, released on 12 October 2011


(below) The Beatniks members Takahashi Yukihiro and Suzuki Keiichi talk (in Japanese) about the recording of “Didn’t Want to Have to Do It” included in their 2011 album Last Train to Exitown


Patrick Clark — 2012


Tony & The Swing Blues — from the MP3 album More Needles and Pins, released in 2013


The Lovin’ Spoonful — live at The Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 7 February 2014

members include:

  • Joe Butler (founding member, far left) – vocal
  • Steve Boone (founding member, center) – bass
  • Jerry Yester (replaced Zal Yanovsky in ’67, far right) – guitar & lead vocal
  • Phil Smith – guitar
  • Mike Arturi – drums


Morgan Jesse Lappin — published on YouTube, 20 April 2014


Marshall Crenshaw — from the Move Now EP, released in November 2014

According to SecondHandSongs.com, Crenshaw also released a recording of the song on the 2009 compilation album The Village – A Celebration of the Music of Greenwich Village (by various artists). However, track lists from that CD that I’ve found elsewhere (Amazon) do not include the title “Didn’t Want to Have to Do It,” or any recording by Marshall Crenshaw. Nevertheless, an alternate recording of the song by Crenshaw, attributed to that CD, which is similar but considerably longer than the 2014 EP version, is presently available on YouTube.


Empathy Project — 2016 live performance at JFC Jazz Club, in St. Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast, Russia; published on 19 March 2016

The arrangement used here is heavily in debt to the Oliver Nelson arrangement used in the 1966 Jackie and Roy recording (see above).

Alexandra Kurkova – vocal
Dmitry Vasiliev – vocal, bass
Grigory Bazhanov – keyboards
Den Kaverznev – drums
Semen Klimenok – guitar
Victor Arkharov – sax


* “She” (Boyce, Hart) had been originally recorded by the Monkees. It was featured in Episode 11 (airdate: 21 November 1966) of the first season of their TV show, and appeared as the opening track on side A of their second album, More of the Monkees, released on 9 January 1967. It was also issued on 27 March 1967 on the “I’m A Believer” EP Colgems CGLP-102, as the last of six tracks.


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