Song Lyric Sunday — Laugh Laugh

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has give us “chat,” “laugh,” “rant,” “scream,” and “talk” as our theme choices. Digging back into the Wayback Machine, I decided to go with “Laugh Laugh” by the Beau Brummels.

Written by guitarist Ron Elliott and produced by Sly Stone (of Sly and the Family Stone), “Laugh Laugh” was released in December 1964 as the band’s debut single. The song reached number 15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart the following February. It  was the first hit single to come out of the emerging San Francisco music scene in response to the British Invasion. The song was later included on the band’s first full-length album, Introducing the Beau Brummels, released in April 1965.

Eager to capitalize on Beatlemania, which was sweeping America at the time, two San Francisco DJs, Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell, discovered the Beau Brummels playing at a local club. They thought the band had the perfect sound and signed them up for their Autumn Records label. “Laugh, Laugh” was the first hit single from a burgeoning San Francisco music scene — including such bands as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, We Five, Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Country Joe and the Fish. The harmonies of “Laugh, Laugh” were reminiscent of popular British acts of the time, such as the Beatles and The Zombies. However, songwriter-guitarist Ron Elliott said the song was directly influenced not by British bands, but by the American pop group The Four Seasons.

“Laugh Laugh” was credited as one of the earliest tracks to blend beat music with folk rock, even before The Byrds recorded “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Even though some critics wrote “Laugh Laugh” off as an indistinct ripoff of the Beatles, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s curatorial staff, along with rock critics and historians, selected “Laugh, Laugh” in 1994 for a Hall of Fame exhibit featuring “The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”

The song describes a rejected lover who takes pleasure in revenge when someone rejects the one who had rejected him. Here are the song’s lyrics.

I hate to say it but I told you so, don’t mind my preachin’ to you
I said “don’t trust ’em, baby” now you know
You don’t know ev’rything there is to know in school.
Wouldn’t believe me when I gave advice, I said that he was a tease
If you want help you better ask me now
So be sincere, convince me with a “pretty please”

Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh you met a guy who taught you how it feels to be
Lonely, oh so lonely

Don’t think I’m bein’ funny when I say you got just what you deserve
I can’t help feeling you found out today
You thought you would, you could, you had a lot of nerve

Won’t say I’m sorry for the things I said. I’m glad he packed up to go
You kept on braggin’ he was yours instead
Found you don’t know ev’rything there is to know

Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh you met a guy who taught you how it feels to be
Lonely, oh so lonely

Before I go I got to say one thing, don’t close your ears to me
Take my advice and you find out that he
Is just another guy who’ll cause you misery
Don’t say you can’t get any boy to call, do be so smug or else
You’ll find you can’t get any boy a’tall
You’ll wind up an old lady sittin’ on the shelf.

Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die
It seemed so funny to me
Laugh, laugh you met a guy who taught you how it feels to be
Lonely, oh so lonely

Lonely, oh so lonely