The Flirtations :: Nothing But a Heartache :: Northern Soul Monday
“I got a lot of those heartaches.
I got a lot of those tear drops.
all of the way.
Nothing but a heartache every day!“
In this Week’s Edition of The Best of Northern Soul Music Monday we are featuring our first Northern Soul Girl Group, The Flirtations, with the Song “Nothing But a Heartache”. This is one of the Best Northern Soul Songs, a Heartbreaker of a Song that you can still dance to. Quite a combination. So, c’mon now, Press Play and have a listen, while you learn some about The Flirtations and this Excellent Northern Soul Song, “Nothing But a Heartache”.
“Nothing but a Heartache” is a Northern Soul Hit Song originally released on the Deram Records label in November of 1968 by the South Carolina trio, The Flirtations. The Song was produced by Wayne Bickerton, who also co-wrote it with Tony Waddington. Wayne and Tony were the British songwriting/producing duo who would be later responsible for the 1970’s success of The Rubettes.
“Nothing But a Heartache” just missed the UK Top 50 at its prime, peaking at # 51. However, the Track did reach the Top 40 in the Netherlands, and in the U.S., where it spent two weeks at # 3 in late May 1969 during what was then considered a lengthy 14-week run on Billboard’s Hot 100, especially for a Hit that never reached the Top 30.
In 1962, in New York City, Lestine Johnson, and sisters Ernestine, Shirley and Betty Pearce from South Carolina, formed The Gypsies. In 1964, they signed to Old Town Records, where they released their debut single, “Hey There, Hey There”. The song received airplay only on local radio stations, but thier next single, the J.J. Jackson penned “Jerk It”, was more successful, reaching # 111 (Pop) and # 33 (R&B), in 1965.
Despite the relative success of “Jerk It”, Lestine Johnson left the group, replaced by Viola Billups. The Gypsies released only two singles on Old Town Records in 1966, giving them a total of four.
That year, now on Josie Records, the four women renamed themselves The Flirtations, and released the well-regarded Northern Soul Dancer, “Change My Darkness Into Light”. It was ignored by DJ’s and sales suffered accordingly. The quartet then moved to Festival Records, where they released “Stronger Than Her Love” and “Settle Down” as a Single, which also failed to spark interest.
Betty Pearce left the group, reducing the Flirtations to a trio.
After winning a small local talent contest in 1968 to see who could sound the most like the Supremes, they packed their bags and headed for England, where they signed to the Parrot label and in the fall of 1968 supported the label’s star act Tom Jones on his European tour.
The Flirtations’ sole Parrot release was “Someone Out There”, backed with “How Can You Tell Me?” “Someone Out There” rose to 2nd place on the “Bubbling Under” list in September 1968, and the track did afford the Flirtations a chart hit in the Netherlands with a # 25 peak.
In late 1968 the trio signed with Deram Records and released what would become their signature recording, “Nothing But A Heartache” — a dense, dynamic, earth-shattering melodrama produced by Englishman Wayne Bickerton and written by Bickerton with Tony Waddington. The B-side was a Christmas song, “Christmastime Is Here Again”.
“Nothing But a Heartache” rose to first place on the “Bubbling Under” list in December 1968 and gave the Flirtations a second Top 40 hit in the Netherlands, reaching # 36 in early 1968.
“Nothing But a Heartache” marks our 4th Installement of the Best Northern Soul Music Monday. I hope you enjoyed this Heartbreak that you can Dance to Number, and that you enjoyed a little Northern Soul History, as well. Be sure to check back every Monday for more of the Best Northern Soul Music and start your Mondays out right.