Little Anthony & the Imperials

I'm on the Outside (Looking In)

Composed by Bob Weinstein / Teddy Randazzo

Song Review by

Little Anthony & the Imperials sang that they wanted to be back on the inside, and with "I'm on the Outside (Looking In)," they came back in from the cold. The doo wop group had achieved instant fame in 1958 with the Top Ten hit "Tears on My Pillow," put five more singles in the charts through 1960, and then fell off the map. They made it back four years later by pacting with DCP Records, conductor/arranger Don Costa's custom label distributed by United Artists, whose A&R man was songwriter Terry Randazzo. Randazzo and his songwriting partner Bobby Weinstein came up with "I'm on the Outside (Looking In)," a wonderful update of the doo wop sound that gave Little Anthony a chance to put some more tears on that pillow of his. In addition to the heartbreaking lead vocal, there were some interesting parts for the backup singers and such dramatic effects as the full stops that precede sections of the song and give it greater dramatic weight. "I'm on the Outside (Looking In)" brought Little Anthony & the Imperials back into the pop Top 20 and the R&B Top Ten. As it turned out, good as the song was, it was only window dressing for "Goin' Out of My Head," the timeless standard that Randazzo and Weinstein came up with for the group next. There weren't many covers of "I'm on the Outside (Looking In)," though a notable one is the Miracles' version on their 1967 Make It Happen album. For a group that had put out a very similar release in 1965 with "Ooh Baby Baby," it was a near-admission of their debt and, through the royalties to Randazzo and Weinstein, at least a minor payback.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Best of Little Anthony [EMI] 1966 EMI Music Distribution
No Image 1984 Liberty
The Best of Little Anthony & the Imperials [Rhino] 1989 Rhino 2:55
Classic Rock: 1964 - Shakin' All Over 1989
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:09
Art Laboe's Dedicated to You, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:00
Art Laboe Killer Oldies 2 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:00
Slow Jams: The '60s, Vol. 4 1995
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 3:05
Greatest Hits [EMI-Capitol Special Markets] 1995 EMI-Capitol Special Markets / CEMA Special Markets 3:07
The Best of Little Anthony & the Imperials [EMI] 1996 EMI Legends of Rock 'N' Roll Series / Capitol 3:08
25 Greatest Hits 1999 EMI Music Distribution 3:01
I'm on the Outside (Looking In)/Goin' Out of My Head 1999 Collectables 3:11
I'm on the Outside (Looking In)/Reflections 1999 Beat Goes On 3:12
The Very Best of Little Anthony & the Imperials 2000 Collectables 3:11
Lowrider Oldies, Vol. 10 2002
Various Artists
Thump Records 3:03
Greatest Hits [Collectables] 2003 Collectables 3:07
Absolutely the Best 2003 Fuel 2000 3:07
It All Started with Doo Wop: Looking for an Echo
Various Artists
3:08
blue highlight denotes editor's pick