Neil Sedaka

Bad Blood

Composed by Neil Sedaka / Phil Cody

Song Review by

Three minutes and seven seconds of a Bo Diddly riff funked up and played at half to quarter time "Bad Blood" went to #1 for what is essentially an uncredited Neil Sedaka/Elton John duet. Proof that Elton should tour as a duo with his legendary predecessor, the vocal trade-off is certainly unique for both these superstars with Neil's record company president doing a higher voice than the naturally high voiced sixties singer/songwriter icon.

Though the majority of Sedaka's big hits were co- written by Howie Greenfield that team only managed one #1, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do". This fourth Top 40 hit in a year span for Neil Sedaka was the second #1 in that time frame co-written with lyricist Phil Cody. Originally from the amazingly great and consistent The Hungry Years album bassist Leland Sklar from The Sectionis back while Elton John drummer Nigel Olsson is now onboard to provide the beat. The flute sounds (probably from the keyboards) on this different style for a once formula hitmaker give the song a strange Jethro Tull-esque vibe. The track is engineered by co-producer Robert Appere, Sedaka finding renewed creativity with this somewhat revamped session crew from "Laughter On The Rain". The Brill Building backing vocals of "shoo bop" and "doo ba ba ba oh do bop she down down" are replaced by The Crystals style inverted "Da Doo Ron Ron" - doo ron doo ron do do do doo ron ron - while the hook's conclusion "the only good thing about bad blood is lettin' it slide" is so obscured in its pronunciation it didn't find much buzz as a mis-heard lyric. The entire package came out of left field, elements strange to the Sedaka's fan base and a sound and sentiment not really employed again by the singer. It is odd not to see this #1 on the double disc London Palladium album Neil Sedaka And Songs, an acoustic piano version would have really been special, Conspicuous by being absent from a career retrospective the "bad blood" referenced here is lack of communication, people not getting along, and it isn't the problem of the singers! They are singing to a "brother" who has been deceived by a woman, the friends of the friend ganging up on that woman with their sure advice: get away from her! The deception and the lies lead to the double entendre - is the bad blood of the argument because she's got bad blood? That's the question on Rocket Records 45 #40460 from the summer of 1975, and maybe the answer would lead investigators to find the song was written out of spite.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Solitaire 1972 Pazzazz 2:57
The Hungry Years 1975 Varèse Vintage / Varèse Sarabande 3:09
No Image 1976
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1977 Rocket Group Pty LTD 3:06
No Image 1986 Polydor 3:06
Greatest Hits Live [K-Tel] 1992 K-Tel Distribution 2:53
Laughter in the Rain: The Best of Neil Sedaka, 1974-1980 1994 Marble Arch Records
Billboard Top Hits: 1975-1979 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:09
The Immaculate 1997 Prism Platinum 4:00
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:17
No Image 1998 Bcd
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:09
The Very Best of Neil Sedaka [Universal #1] 1999 Universal Distribution 3:09
Magic Collection: Neil Sedaka 2000 The Magic Collection 3:00
Laughter & Tears 2000 Spectrum Music 3:07
Timeless Classics Live 2001 Legacy 2:59
Suddenly '70s 2001
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:10
The Very Best of Neil Sedaka [RCA] 2001 PolyGram 3:07
Best of Neil Sedaka [Castle Pulse] 2002 Castle Pulse 3:01
Oh Carol: In Concert 2002 Unlimited Media
Laughter in the Rain [Disky] 2002 Disky
Then: Totally Oldies 70's, Vol. 6 2003
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande 3:07
Anthology: 40 Years of Hits and More 2004 BMG International
No Image 2004 Forever Gold / Weton 2:58
Best 1200 2005 Universal Distribution
70s Music Explosion: Magic 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:10
The Show Goes On: The Very Best of Neil Sedaka 2006 Universal / Universal International 3:09
Barry Williams Presents: 70s Music Explosion 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:09
Laughter in the Rain [Pazzazz] 2007 Pazzazz 2:57
The Definitive Collection 2007 Razor & Tie 3:09
70s Music Explosion [Time Life] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:10
Oh! Carol [LT Series] 2007 Lt Series 3:01
Laughter in the Rain 2010 Universal
The Tra-La Days Are Over/Overnight Success 2012 Beat Goes On 3:08
blue highlight denotes editor's pick